Nurse Florence (Florinda) Tunnard
Florence Tunnard was the daughter of Christopher Tunnard, factor to the Earl of Haddington. The family lived at Tynninghame. Both her brothers served overseas as soldiers and she was one of several local women who volunteered with the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs). Florence was already 24 in 1914 and so could apply to serve overseas once she had demonstrated her competence: only women over the age of 23 were eligible. Thus, after gaining experience at Dunbar Battery Hospital she went to the Royal Army Medical Corps No 58 (Scottish) General Hospital at St Omer in France.
Florence’s hospital was attacked several times. One air raid in September 1917 killed 19 nurses and patients and wounded 63 more. At the start of April 1918 the hospital was forced to move to Rouen when the German Forces advanced. Florence was later Mentioned in Dispatches for ‘gallant and distinguished services’ at this time.
Many other East Lothian women served in some capacity in the nursing services during World War One. However, their stories are difficult to piece together. Official records of temporary hospitals do not seem to survive. Other records – such as burgh and county records – provide some information. The local press can be a good way to discover details of this time: letters and appeals were often published.
If you know the story of an East Lothian nurse or woman war worker from World War One then please get in touch – we are always delighted to find out more.