First Aid to the Battlefront: Life and Letters of Sir Vincent Kennett-Barrington (1844-1903)

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9780750900164: First Aid to the Battlefront: Life and Letters of Sir Vincent Kennett-Barrington (1844-1903)
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Vincent Hunter Kennett-Barrington (1844-1903) was an early pioneer of international medical relief work whose services led to his knighthood in 1886. These letters to his family written during the course of six campaigns - the Franco-Prussian War, the second Carlist War, the Turco-Servian War, the Russo-Turkish War, the Suakin Campaign and the Servo-Bulgarian War - reveal the working life of those in the relief services and provide an insight into the early history of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance movement.
A superb letter-writer, Kennett-Barrington recounts the difficulties and dangers of the conditions under which he laboured, including the practical aspects of helping and transporting the wounded within war zones, as well as the many amusing incidents in his work. The confusions and complications of voluntary activity in foreign quarrels, as well as the problems of operating in countries with poor communications, are illustrated together with the variety of motives which led young Victorian humanitarians to offer their services. Also evident are the difficulties to which personal relationships were subjected by such a commitment. The letters combine to form a love story, an account of human misery and the attempts made to relieve it, and a tale of heroic adventure.
The nineteenth century saw the emergence of British relief agencies because although Britain was at peace for most of the century British public opinion was keenly aware of wars elsewhere, especially those in which religious issues were involved. This correspondence captures the attitudes, values and concerns of those attracted to voluntary activities.
Illustrated with contemporary drawings and photographs, and with maps and chronologies clarifying each campaign Kennett-Barrington was involved in, this book will be of interest to those concerned with the early history of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance movement, and military historians, as well as to the general reader interested in later nineteenth-century social history and public affairs.

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