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20th August. This day in the past

August 20, 2010

Precisely 100 years ago today at midday mourners in their hundreds filed into St Paul’s Cathedral in London to mourn and commemorate the death of Florence Nightingale. Nowadays opinion is divided about her contribution to the Crimean War, and many people would emphasise the contribution of Mary Seacole who was instrumental in increasing ward hygiene. However, Florence Nightingale is still known as The Lady with the Lamp and most importantly, she highlighted to the public the poor standard of care being received by soldiers and the need for funds and improvement. She went on to become most influential in the development of nursing standards and training.

At 3.52pm in Whitehall, 70 years on exactly, one of Sir Winston Churchill’s most famous wartime speeches will be reprised by Robert Hardy. 70 years ago, between July and October, the RAF were engaged in the Battle of Britain. This aerial engagement, and the men who died defending the UK, were instrumental in preventing a successful invasion.

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few..”

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