Red Poppies [Excerpt: Seasons of Change book 4]


Edith Cavell

“The British nurse, Edith Cavell, was a true war heroine. Is it her you mean?” Adele’s mother chipped in. “She was executed by the Germans after helping hundreds of soldiers of the Allied Forces to escape from the Belgian Hospital she ran in the Netherlands…”

“No, no, I mean a female doctor. I remember now, Doctor Elsie Inglis, she founded her own medical college. She faced a hard time when she offered to take women’s medical units to the Western Front. She set up The Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit…”

“Yes, I know of her…” her father intervened. “The War Office didn’t like her offer to work near The Front Lines and said they didn’t want any ‘hysterical women’ there! Between me and you, I think they didn’t want her poking her nose in as her main sponsor was the ‘National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies’, an organisation with a leaning towards pacifism.”

Adele moved in closer across the table to make her point. “But what about Mabel Stobart, Father?”

“The suffragette?”

“Yes, she founded a hospital in Belgium staffed exclusively by women and moved later back to the Balkans to resume hospital work there. And Doctor Inglis, took her hospital units first to France in 1915 and then Serbia, she did some sterling work. You have to admit that?”

Her father nodded then cleared his throat. “True enough, though she was briefly held captive at one point by the enemy, I wouldn’t want something like that for my daughter, who knows what could happen. This war was supposed to be over quite quickly and it’s been two years and not over yet…”

“Women like Doctor Inglis and Edith Cavell, they are to be admired though and demonstrate Britain’s deep involvement in helping her allies?” Adele persisted.

Her father frowned. “Maybe so, but the doctor could have been killed and Edith Cavell was executed by German firing squad, as well you know!”

Adele’s chin jutted out in defiance. “Well if you won’t allow me to train as a doctor, then I am going to join the nurses at The Front and you can’t stop me!”

Her mother smiled nervously, “Please calm down, Adele. You’re a fine nurse and needed at the General Hospital. I, for one, wouldn’t like to think of you serving overseas. Please reconsider…”

“Look…” said her father, “let’s eat our dinner before it goes cold. I admire your passion, young lady. It’s highly commendable. I just want you to think it all through.”

“I have, Father. I’ve thought of nothing else this past couple of months since Uncle Joshua died. I want to do something meaningful with my life.”

“Is that what you want to do? Become a captive? So you can become a heroine like, Dr Inglis? Or a martyr even like, Nurse Edith Cavell?”

“No! I just want to serve my country somehow!” There, she’d said it and her eyes were beginning to fill with tears and she stood, her knuckles placed firmly on the table. “I want to become a doctor!” she said, her lower lip trembling as she made her point, “or if they do not wish to have me as a physician, then as a nurse…serving at The Front!”

“Very well, Adele. Please sit down,” her father smiled. “I don’t wish a daughter of mine to go to a war zone, so I think you are going to become a doctor after all and hopefully by the time you are trained up, the war shall be over and done with.”

Red Poppies, available here:



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