Nurse, artist and author
Posted by Andrew Howard - 5 years ago
Artist and writer Joyce Dennys’ connections with Budleigh Salterton are well recorded, and she is also known more widely as the author of Henrietta’s War, a series of letters subtitled News from the Home Front 1939-1942.
The letters were originally written as a series for Sketch magazine during World War Two, which were later published in book form.
Perhaps less well known is Joyce’s more active role in the First World War, when she served as a VAD nurse in Budleigh Salterton and Exeter.
The role of the Voluntary Aid Detachments and the Budleigh Salterton Auxiliary Hospital is highlighted here on this website.
Joyce worked at Budleigh Salterton’s hospital from December 1914 for 12 months, moving to a larger establishment in Exeter until October 1916.
Born into a military family in India, which was then part of the British Empire, the young Joyce moved with her parents to Budleigh Salterton, attending a local school before going to the Exeter Art College and then to London for further art studies.
But her studies, like those of so many other young people across the world, were interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1914, and she signed up to work with the VAD back home in Budleigh Salterton, at the hospital run by Harriet Barton at Green Bushes, in the town’s West Hill.
The following year she was commissioned to produce a series of pictures for Our Hospitals ABC, a book written by Hampden Gordon and MC Tindall, and also produced a series of posters supporting the war effort, including one which can be seen at the Fairlynch Museum in Budleigh Salterton.
It depicts three women in the VAD, and calls for recruits to help with nursing, cooking, administration, laundry, driving and more.
She also designed recruitment posters for the Women’s Royal Naval Service.
After the war in 1919, she married Thomas Cann Evans, a doctor originally from Budleigh Salterton who had been in Australia in 1914 and who had been a major in the Australian Army Medical Corps. The newly-weds moved to New South Wales until 1922, when they returned to Britain