Granddaughter in Canada recognises First World War photograph of nurse in Bedfordshire whilst watching BBC show

Picture was taken at Wrest Park when it served as the first wartime country house hospital
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A First World War nurse who cared for injured soldiers at Wrest Park - the first wartime country house hospital - has been identified for the first time, English Heritage announced.

Researchers at the charity were contacted by Canadian Carol Jephson who recognised her grandmother Olive Buller in photographs of the hospital shown on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow.

English Heritage had put a call out in 2018 and colourised a selection of photographs in the hope that relatives of the nurses might come forward.

Olive Buller on the leftOlive Buller on the left
Olive Buller on the left

From cleaning the wards and making beds, to changing wound dressings and tending to injured soldiers, the nurses at Wrest Park in Silsoe were hugely important to the daily running of the hospital.

However, no formal records exist of many of the hundred plus nurses who answered the call to serve at Wrest Park and many of the identities of these women have been shrouded in mystery.

Carol said: “I feel very fortunate indeed to have been watching Antiques Roadshow at exactly the right moment. During their discussion about the history of Wrest Park, several photos of First World War nurses were shown and I was very surprised to see a photo of my grandmother.

"I have the same photo of her so I recognised her right away. It is wonderful that my grandmother's collection will become part of the archive and it is especially lovely that now several other nurses will be recognised as well.”

Olive Buller on the leftOlive Buller on the left
Olive Buller on the left

Carol has also shared photographs from her grandmother’s collection which show an interesting and more informal side to the hospital with images of soldiers being unloaded from an ambulance, mattresses left to air over the terrace railings, the copper for heating water in the louse house and one of the doctors playing cards with the men.

Andrew Hann, English Heritage lead properties historian, said: “These women were the backbone of the hospital, and a crucial part of the war effort, providing much needed treatment to the wounded, but also acting as a comfort to those soldiers traumatised by the horrors of war.

"Being able to identify Nurse Olive Buller and others included in her photographs help us better understand life at Wrest Park during the First World War. It’s incredible that we’ve found these answers all the way across the Atlantic and we’re grateful to Carol for coming forward.”