Florence Nightingale’s letter on display

November 25th, 2010 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Nov 25 (IANS) A letter written by legendry nurse Florence Nightangale, who served British soldiers during Crimean War over 150 years ago, has been put on display at a university in Britain.

The letter dated May 20, 1856 was sent to Gunner Howell Evans’s sister informing her about the “sad certainty” his death.

Nightingale’s letter suggests that Gunner Evans, of the No.1 Company, 12th Battalion, Royal Artillery, perished during the “fearful” winter of 1855, the Daily Mail reported.

In the poignant letter, Nightingale - known as the Lady with the Lamp - asks the letter’s recipient to pass on the news of the death to Evans’ father.

The tireless nurse who died 100 years ago, aged 90, also writes that the soldier’s death may have been a result of desertion, but recommends that this information should not be divulged, to prevent further anguish.

“To the father I would say that I regret very much that I am unable to send him any of those particulars concerning his son which it is natural that he should wish to hear,” the letter reads.

“But though I have made every enquiry in my power I am unable to do more than send him the sad certainty of his death. (For I would fain put it so).”

The note is addressed from The Balaklava General Hospital in Crimea where British troops were stationed. It was addressed to Miss Howell, Glas Pant, Newcastle Emlyn, South Wales, in an envelope with a black wax seal.

Elizabeth Mason-Whitehead, professor of social and health care at Chester University, bought the letter for 500 pounds on the University’s behalf.

“She was so compassionate in times of such difficulty and trauma and for our students today that level of caring remains the very essence of nursing. This is an invaluable piece of history and helps to tell a part of Florence Nightingale’s story which is sometimes overlooked,” Mason-Whitehead was quoted as saying.

“Much is made of her work in a social context but this letter, which is penned directly from the scene of conflict, shows how she went far above the call of duty.”

The letter will form part of a display of donated health and social care items at the the university.

The Crimean War was fought between Russia and the major European powers including Britain and France in order to gain control over the territories of the then Ottoman empire.

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