I don’t want to get well



During the First World War thousands of women served as nurses, in military hospitals at home, in casualty clearing stations and field hospitals on the Eastern and Western fronts. They were closer to the front line than in any previous conflict and conditions were hazardous.


In contrast to the realities on the battlefield, an idealised, romanticised image of the nurse was frequently used for propaganda purposes during the war. The nurse tending an injured serviceman became an iconic image of the time.


Projected transcripts from my diary describe the everyday reality of nursing training to the accompaniment of the First World War propaganda song ‘I don’t want to get well: I’m in love with a beautiful nurse’




Recording by Van and Schenck, November 1st 1917



I Don’t Want to Get Well – 1917 Author: m. H. Jentes, w. H. Johnson and H. Peas




I just received an answer to a letter that I wrote, 
From a pal who marched away, 
He was wounded in the trenches somewhere in France 
And I worried about him night and day, 
“Are you getting well,” was what I wrote, 
This is what he answered in his note: 




I don’t want to get well, 
I don’t want to get well, 
I’m in love with a beautiful nurse. 
Early ev’ry morning, night and noon, 
The cutest little girlie comes and feeds me with a spoon; 
I don’t want to get well, 
I don’t want to get well, 
I’m glad they shot me on the fighting line, fine, 
The doctor says that I’m in bad condition, 
But Oh,Oh,Oh, I’ve got so much ambition, 
I don’t want to get well, 
I don’t want to get well, 
For I’m having a wonderful time.