A Rose for the Anzac Boys is a book written by Jackie French, an Australian author, that tells the story of Midge Macpherson, a teenager from New Zealand eager to contribute to the war effort. With both of her brothers serving in the war, she enrolled in an English boarding school where she befriended Anne and Ethel. Together, they traveled to a railway station in France, where they established a canteen to provide nourishment to the weary soldiers arriving on trains.
One crucial decision in the story was Midge’s choice to assume control of the ambulance. This decision presented numerous opportunities to Midge and had the potential to alter the book’s final outcome if she had declined the offer.
Midge was given the chance to operate the ambulance because the usual driver, slogger, had severely chapped hands that caused her great pain. Midge’s desire to drive had been mentioned earlier in the book, but her age prevented her from doing so. This is why she ended up working at the canteen. However, Midge longed to travel and witness the injured soldiers firsthand. Her motivation for this extended beyond aiding them; she also hoped to gather news about her missing twin, Tom.
Midge’s decision to become a driver led to another significant event involving Anne. While assisting Midge, Anne was injured by shrapnel. Walking ahead of the ambulance with a lantern in the darkness, an aircraft dropped explosive cargo near Midge and Anne. The shrapnel left scars all over Anne’s face, which greatly affected her due to her previous concerns about her appearance. Anne expressed her sadness and anger in a letter to Midge, concluding with the statement “Don’t mind me, I’ve just got the pip is all.”
The next point I want to discuss is the opportunity Midge had because she took the job as an ambulance driver. Due to this job, she was able to drive Colonel Mannix to a casualty station. This led her to run away and find another job at a different casualty center. Although it was exhausting, she had the chance to work with her Aunt and reunited with Harry. Their encounter allowed them to establish deeper feelings for each other, leading them to aspire for more than just friendship. If this sequence of events hadn’t occurred, Midge might have never visited Harry at the end of the book and realized her love for him.
In summary, Midge’s choice to operate the ambulance had both positive and negative impacts on her future. On one hand, it presented numerous new prospects and took her to unexpected places. On the other hand, it had a detrimental effect on Anne. Ultimately, Midge proved that women are capable of excelling in their work.