What a great nurse Kate Luard was – one of those women who, even having written two volumes of wartime memories, has received very little publicity over the years. Born in 1872, she served with the Army Nursing Service Reserve during the Boer War, and then having been mobilised during the first week of the Great War, she went straight to France, serving on the Western Front until her resignation in December 1918 due to the critical illness of her father. She was never a member of the regular QAIMNS service, but remained on the Reserve, but already known to the senior nursing staff from her time in South Africa she was singled out both for her nursing ability and her personal qualities, and was often posted to the most forward medical units, and worked under the most trying conditions. Her writings show her as always outwardly cool and calm, willing to adapt to anything, anywhere, and carrying out her daily duties with unfaltering composure and dedication to the patients she nursed. She was one of only a tiny number of women to be awarded a Bar to her Royal Red Cross, normally the realm of the Regular QAIMNS, and a sure sign that her work did not go unnoticed by those in high places. So much publicity seems to be conferred on those few nurses who died during the war, while the service of unassuming women like Kate Luard, which was on a grand scale, often passes by virtually unnoticed. She was truly the ultimate ‘worker bee’ of nurses during the Great War.
Sue Light, Great War Forum, June 2009