Sisters of Mercy Tatiana Romanov and Anna Vyrubova
Sisters of Mercy Tatiana Romanov and Anna Vyrubova, a Romanov family friend.

From the 1914 diary of Tatiana Romanov:

“Wednesday, 13 August. In the morning two of us went to the hospital with Mama and Anya. [I] changed dressings on the same patient.  Assisted others Went to [see] Cuirassier Karangozov. Mama was also changing dressings. Had breakfast 5 with Papa, Mama Aunt Elena and Uncle Nicky. During the day went to the tower with Papa. Went kayaking. Had tea and ate lunch with Papa and Mama. At 6 o’clock Princess Gedroitz lectured. After lunch spoke on the telephone with Nikolai Pavlovich.”


From the memoirs of Anna Vyrubova, a Romanov family friend:

For the benefit of those who imagine that the work of a royal nurse is more or less in the nature of play I will describe the average routine of one of those mornings in which I was privileged to assist the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, the two last named girls of nineteen and seventeen. Please remember that we were then only nurses in training. Arriving at the hospital shortly after nine in the morning we went directly to the receiving wards where the men were brought in after having first-aid treatment in the trenches and field hospitals. They had traveled far and were usually disgustingly dirty as well as bloodstained and suffering. Our hands scrubbed in antiseptic solutions we began the work of washing, cleaning, and bandaging maimed bodies, mangled faces, blinded eyes, all the indescribable mutilations of what is called civilized warfare. These we did under the orders and the direction of trained nurses who had the skill to do the things our lack of experience prevented us from doing. As we became accustomed to the work, and as both the Empress and Tatiana had extraordinary ability as nurses, we were given more important work. I speak of the Empress and Tatiana especially because Olga within two months was almost too exhausted and too unnerved to continue, and my abilities proved to be more in the executive and organizing than in the nursing end of hospital work. I have seen the Empress of Russia in the operating room of a hospital holding ether cones, handling sterilized instruments, assisting in the most difficult operations, taking from the hands of the busy surgeons amputated legs and arms, removing bloody and even vermin-infected dressings, enduring all the sights and smells and agonies of that most dreadful of all places, a military hospital in the midst of war. She did her work with the humility and the gentle tirelessness of one dedicated by God to a life of ministration. Tatiana was almost as skillful and quite as devoted as her mother, and complained only that on account of her youth she was spared some of the more trying cases. The Empress was spared nothing, nor did she wish to be. I think I never saw her happier than on the day, at the end of our two months’ intensive training, she marched at the head of the procession of nurses to receive the red cross and the diploma of a certificated war nurse.”

From the book  Tatiana Romanov, Daughter of the Last Tsar: Diaries and Letters, 1913–1918  


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