Buddug Annie Wynne-Roberts was born in Carnarvon, Wales. She entered the service of The Canadian Bank of Commerce on March 6, 1916 at the Toronto branch. Enlisting in the 13th Brigade in the Voluntary Aid Detachments, she served as a VAD Nurse in Birmingham, England, and in Rouen Havre and Calais, France. After the war, Wynne-Roberts returned to the bank in November 1919 and served until June 1920.
Excerpt from letter written from No. 1 Southern General Hospital in Birmingham, England:
We arrived on Saturday night. On Sunday morning we were told in what wards to work, and now feel as if we had been here for months. For the present I am in the convalescent section, so am not overworked, nor do I get much actual nursing experience. The others are nearly all in surgical wards and have started right away on dressing, etc. The work is very interesting and it is good to be able to do something for the poor chaps. Some of the wounds are horrible, so bad that one wonders if it would not be more merciful to let the men die. And yet the boys are so plucky, always ready with a smile and a joke, and those who can get about at all, always ready to help.
In another letter Wynne-Roberts writes about the satisfaction of her trying duties:
Instead of the eternal cleaning or supervising of cleaning I now spend my mornings and evenings doing the rounds with scissors, forceps and probe, applying fomentations, putting packages of gauze into big holes in the flesh and winding yards and yards of bandage round arms and legs and heads. Rather a change from banking anyway. At first I found it awfully trying--the smell of the antiseptics and lotions made my head ache and the sight of poor battered bodies made me dizzy, but now I am used to it and love the work. There is a tremendous satisfaction in seeing dirty wounds become clean and big holes close up, to say nothing of having the boys one by one gradually become convalescent and have restored to them the use of their limbs. We don't get any of the worst cases over from the main hospital, but I am glad of the experience I get, and some of the cases are scarcely trifling.
Excerpt from letter written during her night shift in July 1917 from the hospital in France. It tells of a rare tranquil morning and the return to the reality of war:
Yesterday morning I went for a lovely walk. I started out just for a little stroll, but the morning air was so fresh after a wet night that I felt unusually energetic... On top of the hill is the village of Bon Secours, chiefly renowned, I suppose, for its church and for the monument to Jeanne d'Arc, both of which look over the river... It happened to be nearly time for la Grande Messe when I was there, so I sat for a while and watched the congregation assemble. There were French soldiers in blue-grey uniform and Belgians in khaki; quaint old ladies in dresses which must have been made sixty years ago, and snowy white mob caps; ladies of fashion, schoolboys in very grown-up stiff collars, short trousers and socks, and many widows in heavy sombre black. Perhaps it is the elaborate mourning that emphasizes their bereavement, but certainly there seem to be an appalling number of young widows here...
I have just been buried in real Canadian yarn, 'A Sower of Wheat,' by Harold Bindloss; so that it was with a bit of a jar that I heard one of the boys moan and realized that I was not seeing the aurora on the prairie nor eating corn cakes with maple syrup. As a matter of fact, I am sitting in a little two-by-four bunk...waiting for the cold, grey dawn, when it will be time to start the round of washings and bed-makings and temperature takings.