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N is for Nurse

N is for Nurse

Our current object of the month, now on display in the War Memorial gallery, is a cape that belonged to a nurse during the Second World War. The insignia on the inside of the cape are a selection of badges that had been given to the nurse by her grateful patients.

At the start of World War Two, nurses travelled to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. They were famed for their scarlet and grey capes although they found that it was more practical to wear battledress and khaki rather than their ward dresses and veils while working in dressing stations and field hospitals. In the book ‘Millions Like Us’ author Virginia Nicholson tells the story of one matron who did not want her nurses to be confused with the ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service), so insisted that they wear their scarlet caps over their khaki uniforms.

Throughout the war nurses served in every campaign and in 1949 they became Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) which still forms part of the Army Medical Services today.

Why is it the Object of the Month?

As we continue to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Belfast Blitz this year, we also remember the extraordinary wartime roles played by local people during the raids, the nurse being one in particular.

A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz

A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz

Earlier this year we published ‘A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz: The Diary of Emma Duffin 1939-42’ by Trevor Parkhill.  Emma Duffin’s eye-witness account of the devastating raid and its aftermath are vividly evident in her graphic and extensive diary entries. Her description of a journey through the city centre to north Belfast, which had borne the brunt of the raid, confirms the devastating extent of an aerial raid which left hundreds dead and thousands of houses destroyed. Equally gripping is her account of a gruelling day spent in St George’s market, where she helped grief stricken families identify loved ones from the laid out, often mangled, corpses.

Emma Duffin’s diary, amounting to some 138 closely-written manuscript pages in one volume, is held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast.  It has been transcribed and is represented in A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz, almost exactly as it was written.

The book is divided into five chapters, each with a short contextual introduction by the editor, Trevor Parkhill.  Where possible, extra information is given in footnotes about events and family members mentioned in the text.

Emma Duffin’s diary, amounting to some 138 closely-written manuscript pages in one volume, is held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast.  It has been transcribed and is represented in A Nurse in the Belfast Blitz, almost exactly as it was written.

The book is divided into five chapters, each with a short contextual introduction by the editor, Trevor Parkhill.  Where possible, extra information is given in footnotes about events and family members mentioned in the text.

The book has been illustrated with objects from the Northern Ireland War Memorial collection and Inver Museum Collection of St John Ambulance Memorabilia. Photographs from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Belfast Telegraph, Queen’s University Belfast, and Stranmillis University College Belfast, illuminate and enhance the text.  Expertly designed by Professor John McMillan, the book is accessible and reader –friendly, featuring a map illustrating Emma’s route through Belfast on the day after the Easter Tuesday air raid in 1941.

Find more information on nurses in the Second World War or details on NIWM publications.

*NIWM is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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The New NIWM Craft Day Programme Is Launched This Month!

We are launching our new Craft Programme this August!

Visitors can drop into the NIWM Gallery on Thursday the 11th of August 2016 as part of Craft Month to take part in the launch of  our If You Can Knit – You Can Do Your Bit’ Craft Programme.

This Make Do and Mend event launches a series of 1940s workshops that will take place in the Museum throughout 2016 – 2017.

Drop in to learn how wartime shortages fed creativity on the Home Front, while Textile Artist Tineke Kroes demonstrates wartime knitting. Visitors can listen to wartime tunes on the gramophone and view a display of 1940’s textiles.

Don’t forget to pick up our new Craft Days calendar from the gallery with dates of when you can come in and get involved with new taster craft activities to suit all ages.

 

Craft Month

Craft Month

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Visitor Notice July Closure

Visitors please note that the museum will be closed from Monday 11 July to Wednesday 13 July.

We will however reopen as normal on Thursday 14 July at 10.00 am.

July closure

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Visitor Notice Monday 30 May 2016

Please note that the museum will be closed this coming bank holiday Monday.

We have however, devised a bank holiday reading list of our most recent publications which can be found on the above publications tab.

We will reopen as normal on Tuesday 31 May at 10.00 am.

 

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Drawing Day

Saturday 21st May 10am – 2pm  

Visit the War Memorial Museum on Drawing Day to take part in a day of creativity inspired by our Second World War collection.  Discover more about the Belfast Blitz, the Home Front in Northern Ireland, American GI’s, and the contemporary art pieces in the museum. Pick up a pencil and draw – and then share your art on our Facebook page.

Chalk and colouring pencils will be provided, with drawing activities to suit all. You can join in at any time between 10am and 2pm on the day, and stay for as long or short as you want.

People of all ages can join in, listening to 1940s music and playing with 1940s toys and board games.

No experience or booking required. Free admission.

Drawing Day

Drawing Day

 

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Bank Holiday closure

The museum will be closed for the bank holiday on Monday 2 May 2016 however will reopen as normal on Tuesday 3 May at 10.00 am.

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The Belfast Blitz (75th Anniversary)

A History Ireland Hedge School
At The Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum, 21 Talbot Street, Belfast BT1 2LD, Thursday 5 May at 7pm

While public attention has naturally been focused this year on the centenaries of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, April and May also marks the 75th anniversary of what former air raid warden, Jimmy Doherty described as ‘the most disastrous event in the history of the city’ — the Belfast Blitz. On the night of 15/16 April 1941 German bombs fell on the densely populated working class terraces of north Belfast, killing 740 civilians (Catholics and Protestants without discrimination). No other city in the United Kingdom, save London, lost so many in one night’s raid. Neutral Ireland did not stand idly by; firemen from Dundalk, Drogheda and Dublin responded to the call for assistance. Three weeks later, on the night of 4/5 May, another 190 civilians were killed in air raids on the city’s industrial heart in the docks area. Adding military casualties to these figures, well over 1,000 died; half the city’s housing stock was destroyed; c. 50,000 were left homeless; and by the end of May an estimated 220,000 (half the city’s population) had been evacuated, such was the atmosphere of panic and fear.

Join History Ireland editor, Tommy Graham, for a Hedge School (a lively round table discussion) with Brian Barton (The Blitz: Belfast in the War Years), Ciaran Elizabeth Doran (Curator Northern Ireland War Memorial), Michael Kennedy (RIA’s Documents on Irish Foreign Policy), and Peter Collins (St. Marys College).

Tickets available through Northern Ireland War Memorial, booking is essential as there is limited availability info@niwarmemorial.org, www.niwarmemorial.org, 0044 (0) 2890 320 392 ext. 4

Belfast Blitz

Belfast Blitz

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#MuseumWeek

7 days, 7 themes, 7 hashtags!

Find out the 7 themes of the 2016’s edition

#secretsMW
Monday 28/03
Monday is dedicated to discovering your most well-kept secrets! Show a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your museum!

#peopleMW
Tuesday 29/03
Tuesday is dedicated to honor the people – well known or anonymous – who have helped make your museum. Feature your founders, other icons, and current staff members and talk about their expertise!

#architectureMW
Wednesday 30/03
Wednesday is about telling the story of your building(s), your garden(s), your neighborhood or other key locations for your institution. Introduce your museum from a different point of view!

#heritageMW
Thursday 31/03
On Thursday, focus on your tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Help your audience discover the variety of content your institution has on view, in storage or online!

#futureMW
Friday 01/04
On Friday, share your most innovative projects, your barriers to innovation, your research or your institutional goals, all of which can lead to a greater understanding of your future initiatives and developments!

#zoomMW
Saturday 02/04
Saturday zoom in on your content by sharing details and anecdotes that provide an interesting insight into your collection (e.g., images of hands or frames, anecdotes about the origins of a book…).

#loveMW
Sunday 03/04
Sunday, time to share what you love about your place! Take advantage of this opportunity to promote your museum’s greatest attractions (art works, displays, rooms…) and use Twitter as a helping tool for the visit!

Museum Week

Museum Week

 

 

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Ladies gas mask

L is for Ladies Gas Mask

A new addition to the Collection of the Northern Ireland War Memorial is this ladies gas mask bag pictured above. The bag with gas mask enclosed was gifted to the museum along with a large piece of shrapnel that was salvaged after the Blitz on Belfast in 1941.

For more information on wartime gas mask bags, and wartime fashion more generally, visit the website for the Imperial War Museums at http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-clothes-rationing-affected-fashion-in-the-second-world-war

A recent exhibition at Imperial War Museum London ‘Fashion on the Ration’ told how the war changed what people wore both at work and at home. ‘By the outbreak of war in September 1939, over 40 million respirators had been distributed in Britain as a result of the potential threat of gas warfare. Although not compulsory, people were advised to carry their gas masks with them at all times. Usually they were issued in a cardboard box with a string threaded through so it could be carried over the shoulder. Retailers were quick to spot a gap in the market for a more attractive solution.’*

Laura Clouting and Amanda Mason, ‘How Clothes Rationing Affected Fashion In The Second World War’, http://www.iwm.org.uk/

 

 

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