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Rose of No Man's Land

Updated: Feb 22



Risking their lives to save others, thousands of women served as nurses along the soldiers in the war torn zones during the World Wars. No mans land refers to the disputed area between each sides barb-wired trenches. In the chaos and bloody thunder of the environment one might look up thinking he was dead and seeing an angel soon to realize that they were actually seeing the 'angel of mercy' in her white dress and hat with a red cross. For a heroic account of one exceptional nurse PBS put out this article on U.S. Army nurse Beatrice MacDonald.





In dedication to these brave nurses a song was written titled Rose of No Man's Land. First written in french at the end of the first world war and then re-written in english in a longer form at the end of the second World War. "La Rose Sous les Boulets" written by Louis Delamarre in 1918 was widely distributed by Leo Feist, who was one of the largest music publishers of the time. In 1945, after the second world war, Jack Caddiganand and James Alexander Brennan wrote the english version of the song published by Jack Mendelsohn Music.





The song elegantly describes the hope these nurses brought to the treacherous situations of war. Soldiers who were injured in battle and survived because of the nurses care would often wear these tattoos.


English version by Jack Caddigan and James Alexander Brennan:


I've seen some beautiful flowers,

Grow in life's garden fair,

I've spent some wonderful hours,

Lost in their fragrance rare;

But I have found another,

Wondrous beyond compare.


There's a rose that grows on "No Mans's Land"

And it's wonderful to see,

Tho' its spray'd with tears, it will live for years,

In my garden of memory.


It's the one red rose the soldier know,

It's the work of the Master's hand;

Mid the War's great curse, Stands the Red Cross Nurse,

She's the rose of "No Man's Land".


Out of the heavenly splendor,

Down to the trail of woe,

God in his mercy has sent her,

Cheering the world below;

We call her "Rose of Heaven",

We've learned to love her so.


There's a rose that grows on "No Man's Land"

And it's wonderful to see,

Tho' its spray'd with tears, it will live for years,

In my garden of memory.


It's the one red rose the soldier knows,

It's the work of the Master's hand;

Mid the War's great curse, Stands the Red Cross Nurse,

She's the rose of "No Man's Land".







https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/the-great-war-american-nurses-world-war-1/


https://www.tattoodo.com/a/the-touching-history-behind-rose-of-no-mans-land-tattoos-13232


https://www.tattoolife.com/rose-of-no-mans-land-tattoos/

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