08.07.

1918: Ernest Hemingway Wounded by a Mine

1918: Ernest Hemingway Wounded by a Mine
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons/The Hemingway family in 1905 (from the left): Marcelline, Sunny, Clarence, Grace, Ursula, and Ernest

Story Highlights

  • Historical event
  • 8 July 1918
  • Young Ernest Hemingway was an ambulance driver on the Italian side of the battlefield. The Italians were attacked by the Austro-Hungarian units. Hemingway sustained severe shrapnel wounds to both legs, he urgently underwent an operation and was sent to recover in a hospital in Milan, where he spent six months. There, he fell in love for the first time in his life, with the nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, who was even seven years older than him.

The famous writer Ernest Hemingway, as a young man, accepted the invitation for recruitment organized by the American Red Cross during World War I. 

He became an ambulance driver on the Italian front. He was only 18 years old when on this day an Austro-Hungarian mortar mine exploded in his vicinity and wounded him severely. 

He was hit when he was returning from the canteen to deliver chocolate and cigarettes to soldiers on the battlefield. 

Despite being wounded, he managed to convey an Italian soldier to safety, for which he later received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery. 

Ernest Hemingway was on the Italian side of the battlefield that was located on the river Piave, only about 20 kilometers from Venice. 

The Italians were attacked by the Austro-Hungarian units. The Austro-Hungarian army was under the command of the famous Field Marshal Boroević von Bojna, most competent Austro-Hungarian commander in World War I.

It is interesting that Boroević was the only Croat who ever reached the highest rank of the Austrian Field Marshal. 

Austro-Hungarian forces made an overwhelming breakthrough in Italy in 1917, after Russia was defeated, but precisely at the river Piave the Italians managed to hold their enemies and push them back later. 

Hemingway was wounded in Fossalta di Piave. He sustained severe shrapnel wounds to both legs, he urgently underwent an operation and was sent to recover in a hospital in Milan.

He spent six months in the hospital.  Hemingway described his experiences from the Italian battlefield in the famous novel “A Farewell to Arms”.

 

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