Guernsey Press

‘Herstory' Fest tells of women’s achievements

Historic achievements of women in Guernsey was the focus of Candie Museum’s weekend opening.

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The Guernsey Military History Company had a display set up to demonstrate the lives of nurses in WWI, including the stories of local nurse Violetta Thurstan. Samantha Rouse, left, and Caitlyn Le Patourel are pictured. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33139529)

‘Herstory’ included displays of notable women and a variety of workshops led by women.

It included an outdoor display of female nurses during the First World War, including a tent set-up to replicate the living conditions of the nurses and a field hospital.

Russell Doherty from the Guernsey Military History Company said that more than 100,000 women became nurses during the First World War.

‘A lot of them wouldn’t have seen a naked man before so this must have been quite shocking for them,’ he said.

Caitlyn Le Patourel, also from the Guernsey Military History Company, was representing the women who became nurses, but more specifically Violetta Thurstan, a former Ladies’ College pupil who won multiple war medals across Europe during the First World War.

‘Violetta was a really hygienic person so usually we would have fake blood around but that wouldn’t be accurate where Violetta was involved,’ she said.

‘She was an incredibly brave woman and was awarded a ribbon by the Tsar of Russia for her work on the eastern front.

‘She also was awarded for bravery, and she was also wounded in late 1917, but still carried on.

‘Largely I’m representing the higher role of a matron who was in charge of all of the administration and overseeing patients coming in.

‘The public have responded to this really well and have seemed interested, there’s been a steady flow of people.’

She hoped that similar re-enactments could be done again in the future.

Guernsey Museums has also been running guided walks around St Peter Portabout women who have recognised with blue plaques and in the museum itself there was an array of historical women’s clothing, and spotlights on individuals such as the island’s first female deputy, Marie Randall MBE, who had a blue plaque unveiled at the former Randalls Brewery in St Julian’s Avenue earlier this year.