About

My name is Jessica Meyer and I am a research historian at the University of Leeds, currently funded by the European Research Council. I am working on a project that examines the care provided to disabled ex-servicemen by the British state, charities and their families after the First World War.  I am particularly interested in the ways in which the provision of care by these three groups was shaped by gender (of both carer and cared for), and how this in turn shaped cultural understandings of the gendering of care provision.

I am also currently writing a monograph based on research funded by the Wellcome Trust into the experiences and identities of non-commissioned military medical servicemen (basically, the RAMC stretcher bearers and orderlies) of the First World War.

Broadly my interests include the history of gender, particularly masculinity, the history of disability, especially war disability, the history of popular and middlebrow literature, mainly detective and adventure fiction, and the social and cultural history of warfare.

As the mother of two young children, I am also interested in the teaching of the history of the First World War and the representation of the war in popular culture, as well as questions relating to how academics (women in particular) can attain and maintain a work/life balance in the current climate. All these topics will form the subject matter of this blog along with musings on academia and working motherhood more generally.

Further details about my work and how to contact me can be found here.

16 thoughts on “About

  1. Jessica, My thesis on British and Dominion AMC stretcher-bearers is progressing well, I am at the writing stage and can’t wait to share my info. with the world. My thesis is based on ‘operational plans/failures’ and the effect on the S/B’s. I wish I had access to the new archival material you have your lucky fingertips on! Cheers Liana

    • Hi Lianna, how lovely to hear from you! I’m so glad the thesis is going well. I can’t wait to read it. I seem to be concentrating on orderlies at the moment, but hope to get back to the recruitment and training of stretcher bearers soon. We should talk about seeing if we can get you over here again soon.

  2. Hello Jessica: I just came across your new blog for the first time and wanted to congratulate you for what looks as if it will be a valuable resource. There’s been a real gap since Esther MacCallum-Stewart abandoned Break of Day in the Trenches a few years ago, and I hope your new project will help to fill that space for discussion. Best, Alan

  3. Hi Jessica -just found your blog via WW1 Historical association on Facebook. I recently found out [through online research] that a great uncle was an orderly and his most of his papers have survived.

    • Hi Ann-Marie, that is fabulous news. There are relatively few collections relating to orderlies in libraries. I’d love to hear more about your great-uncle.

  4. Hello Jessica Meyer, I’m researching a documentary about WWI in the Balkans and I came across a series of photos from the No.7 Platoon, B. Company Royal Army Medical Corps, Salonica on the Wellcome Images site (e.g. http://wellcomeimages.org/indexplus/image/V0011972.html) . I was wondering if you discovered any written records from the corps and their time in the Balkans? I would be really interested to read any first hand accounts and most grateful for any help tracking them down. Can you point me in the right direction? Unfortunately, I’m not in the UK so can’t visit the National Records in person.
    Leonidas

    • Hi Leonidas, do you have a unit for them? It sounds like a section of a Field Ambulance which would be numbered and, in all probability, attached to a battalion. If you know which FA it was, I may be able to help and a lot of information is being digitized, so there may be more records available on line.

  5. Dear Jéssica
    I´m a researcher also, but in Lisbon, Portugal, and i´m starting my Ph.D Thesis/Research in the área also, for i´m going to work the medical staff with portuguese expedicionary forces in World War I. I´m following your work. So, good luck and good work.

    • Thanks! Your project looks very interesting. I know very little about the connections between the war and science fiction, so will look forward to learning more.

  6. Hello Dr. Meyer, I just finished the FutureLearn course on heroism. Excellent work and presentation. I was wondering if you have read Dr. Harvey Cushing’s book, From a Surgeons Journal? I found the book insightful concerning the medical challenges that were faced by the RAMC and with his trying to get medical people in the US up to speed with what he has learned serving with British forces. If you have read the book, I would be very interested in your commentary about it. Thank you

  7. Thanks, Michael. I know of Dr Cushing’s book, but I haven’t read it in any detail for this project as I am focusing of the perspectives of those without medical training. I will have to go back to it though, I think, as the connection forged by medical care providers between the Allies and the US before the US entered the war is something that I am looking at at the moment, although in terms of ambulance drivers from the AFSU rather than the voluntary doctors. Many thanks for bringing this to my attention.

  8. Dear Jessica
    I have come here after completing the Changing Faces of Heroism course on Futurelearn. I am a serving officer in an Army Reserve Medical unit and have spent the last few years researching the men of our antecedent WW1 Field Ambulance and CCS units. Our unit proudly commemorates the award of the Croix de Guerre to 24 Field Ambulance in 1918, a unique award in the AMS. If I can help you in any way, I would be pleased to do so. We have a limited archive of WW1 papers at the unit, I have a small blog (not updated for a while I am afraid) and public family trees of the men who died on Ancestry. I am currently compiling a tree for every man who landed in France with the three of our units on 5th November 1914. Having been researching these men for many years, I am intrigued that so many historians are now focusing on what has been a poorly known branch of the Army. (I am sure you have read “Wounded” by Dr Emily Mayhew) I hope that we can all promote and strengthen their contribution to the war for the future.

    • Hi Elaine, thanks so much for getting in touch! I would absolutely love to know more about the 24th Field Ambulance and the award of the Croix de Guerre. I have been doing some more on the American Field Service Unit and their relationship with the French military, including the numbers of Croix de Guerre awarded to AFSU volunteers. One of the questions I am particularly interested in is how medical units, both military and voluntary, integrated with the structure of the armed forces over all, and the awarding of medals (or failure to do so) is a useful way of examining this. Perhaps you could email on j.k.meyer@leeds.ac.uk?

      I agree that there has been an upsurge in interest in the medical services recently. (I do know Emily’s book and have been meaning to review it on here for some time; thank you for reminding me that I still need to do so.) I’m not sure what the reason is but, as you say, it provides a great opportunity to tell the stories of this fascinating group of men and women.

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