From 1896 May Sinclair was writing professionally to support herself and her mother who died in 1901. In 1914 she volunteered as a secretary and reporter with the Munro Ambulance Corps, a charitable organization aiding wounded Belgian soldiers on the Western Front. Although only there for a few weeks, her wartime experience would shape her fiction for the next few years.
After her return she wrote A Journal of Impressions in Belgium, a fictionalised record of her experiences: excerpts of her journal were published in the English Review between May and June, 1915.
Believing that arrangements would be made for her return to Belgium, Sinclair travelled back to England to raise funds in the second half of October 1914. She felt a profound sense of betrayal when it became clear that she was no longer wanted by her ambulance corps. Her verse ‘Dedication’, first published as the preface to the Journal, barely kept at bay her anger at those erstwhile colleagues who had ‘taken [her] dream.’ [Tim Kendall, Poetry of the First World War: an Anthology, p. 16]