Kate Luard, from Birch in Colchester, offered her skills to the Army Nursing Service and served for two years in South Africa during the Second Anglo-Boer War.
Within days of the First World War starting in 1914, she put her hand up again to work near the front line in France.
It was world's away from her life in Essex, where she was one of 13 children and daughter of the local vicar.
During the war, she sent hundreds of letters to her relatives and to the families of soldiers who would not be returning home. Today, these letters offer an incredible insight into the true horror of the First World War.
One of the most powerful letters was one Kate wrote home on the eve of the Armistice:
- Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Malcolm Robertson
Much of her correspondence from the war is kept at the Essex Record Office in Chelmsford.
On Saturday 10 November, in the build-up to the centenary of the end of the war, there is a chance for the public to see some of those letters at a special remembrance event.
Kate's great nephew, Tim Luard, is delighted he got the chance to meet her shortly before she died in 1962.
For him, her letters of correspondence give a glimpse into what life must have been like for her during the Great War.
The Record Office also keeps letters she received from grieving relatives. One from a Mrs Rigby in Portsmouth said:
Although she survived, her life was still touched by tragedy as her brother Frank was killed at Gallipoli in 1915 and her father died in 1919, shortly after she returned to England to nurse him.
She resumed her nursing career in England before retiring to the Essex village of Wickham Bishops.
She is buried in the village's churchyard, where a simple headstone reveals she was amongst a handful of people to be honoured with the Royal Red Cross and Bar.