First World War Nurse who cared for injured soldiers in Bedfordshire identified by granddaughter

Olive Buller seen here on the left.
Olive Buller seen here on the left. Credit: English Heritage

A nurse who cared for injured soldiers at a former hospital in Bedfordshire during the First World War has been identified - thanks to her granddaughter.

English Heritage put out an appeal on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow for anyone who recognised photographs of Olive Buller at Wrest Park.

The charity put a call out in 2018 along with a colourised selection of photographs in the hope relatives might come forward.

They were then contacted by Canadian woman Carol Jephson who recognised her grandmother.

“I feel very fortunate indeed to have been watching Antiques Roadshow at exactly the right moment", Carol Jephson said.

"During their discussion about the history of Wrest Park, several photos of First World War nurses were shown and I was very surprised to see a photo of my grandmother, Olive Buller."

"I have the same photo of her so I recognized her right away. It is wonderful that my grandmother's collection will become part of the archive and it is especially lovely that now several other nurses will be recognised as well.”

Nurses at Wrest Park in Silsoe, the first wartime country house hospital. Credit: English Heritage

Ms Jephson also has her grandmother's autograph book, in which soldiers have recorded details of their unit, wounds and personal messages of gratitude.

It's an extremely rare survival, with only two other autograph books owned by nurses at Wrest Park located.

One soldier with heart trouble wrote Ms Buller a short poem on November 9 1915, describing her as being "as sweet as sugar".

Wrest Park was offered by its owner Auberon Herbert, the 9th Baron Lucas, directly to Winston Churchill as a place to treat wounded service personnel.

By September 7 1914, it was transformed into a convalescent hospital, ready to welcome its first patients.

Only two other autograph books owned by nurses at Wrest Park have been located. Credit: English Heritage

No formal records exist of hundreds of the nurses at Wrest Park, after a fire at the country estate in 1916.

"Being able to identify Nurse Olive Buller and others included in her photographs help us better understand life at Wrest Park during the First World War", Andrew Hann added.

"It’s incredible that we’ve found these answers all the way across the Atlantic and we’re grateful to Carol for coming forward.”