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DIARY – AUGUST 1914
Tuesday Aug. 4th. I received a letter telling me to hold myself in readiness to be called up at any minute, and in the evening I had a wire saying that orders had been posted.
Aug.5th I had a letter and cheque from the War Office and was very busy the next three days getting my uniform and kit ready. Eva helped me with it all and Emmie came up on Friday to see me off.
Sat. Aug.6th. I left London for Preston by the 11-25 train travelling with Miss Foster, who had been in the Q.A.S. for the years, but was now in the Reserve. At Preston we went to the Park Hotel and found Miss Steen the Matron. There was not room to put up the 43 nurses there, so 17 of us had to go to the Crown Hotel. Twelve nurses from the London Hospital and five others went. We found that we had to sleep four to a room and two in a bed. Miss Cain and I slept together and Miss Broads and Miss Bennett in the other bed.
We were to have started for our destination on Sunday, but the orders were cancelled and we heard that we should probably not start until Thursday. Preston holidays were on and all the shops were shut and the whole town full of military. The people were all very good though and some opened their shops to let us have things we needed.
Wed. Aug.12th. We had a special service at 7-30 a.m. at the Parish Church, and heard definitely that we were to start next day.
Aug.13th. We left Preston at 3-30 ,and arrived at Burscough Junction ay 4-30 p.m. The people were all very kind to us and entertained is to tea and dinner.
At 11-p.m. we entrained for Southampton where we arrive at 8-0 o’clock on the morning of the 14th. The Red Cross Sisters gave us lunch and tea at the Docks. At 6-p.m. wex were told that there was no boat to take us across that night and the same party who were at the Crown went to the Bugle Hotel. This turned out to be a dirty sixth-rate place. The beds all had dirty sheets on and the people of the house owned that they had no clean ones to put on. The room Miss Cain and I were put in was one on the ground floor which belonged to the proprietor and his wife. All their things were about including the good lady’s false hair and bread and cheese and onions on the table. It ended by Miss Cain sleeping (?) on a couch in the coffee room, and I on one in the sitting room.
The delay at Southampton was caused by Col. Clarke as he had failed to say that there would be sisters with his party, and there was no accommodation for ladies on
the ship provided for them. We heard after that they had a dreadful voyage as it rained heavily all the time and there was no shelter for any of them.
Aug.15. We spent another day waiting at thedocks only going into the town for lunch and tea.
Late in the aft rnoon we heard that a boat had come in which would take us across. We had to be on board at 7.30 p.m. but she did not leave until 5-a.m. on Aug.17th. We had nothing to eat on board but biscuits, and did not reach Havre until 4-p.m. boats not being allowed to go more than 10 knots an hour. As we entered Havre the Quays were lined with people cheering and shouting “Vive l’Angleterre”, and singing “Rule Britannia”. The ship was the “Cestrian” of the Leyland Line. She had been used as a troop ship in the South African war. The 11th Hussars and the 5th Dragoon Guards crossed with us and over a thousand horses. We were still looking forward to a good meal when we were told that we could not land until 10.p.m. (The 11th Hussars wear red trousers and are called cherrypickers)
The steward managed to give us bread and cheese and tea which was very acceptable. At 11-30 p.m. we left for Rouen which we reached at 4-a.m. on Aug. 17th. No arrangements had been made for meeting us ,and we all had to sit about on the platform until 6-a.m. when we went into town and had coffee and rolls. After that we visited the Cathedral which is a most lovely building Although it was only 7-o’clock, there were many people praying there.
We returned to the station at 8-a.m. and at 9-30 motors arrived to take us to our destination.
The hospital is in a large house in beautiful grounds about three miles beyond Rouen. The sisters are being put up at the Convent of St-Vincent and St-Paul. The nuns gave us coffee and rolls as soon as we arrived. (This is a teaching order, and there are a great many girls of all ages here. They all look very heavy-eyed and unhealthy, but as forty sleep inone badly ventilated attic it is not to be wondered at. The sanitation too is dreadful.There is hardly any water to be got for any purpose)
We have to sleep in one large dormitory containing 36 beds. There is no bathroom of any sort and nowhere at all to put any things and no room for our trunks and other luggage. We hear that there is not likely to be any work for four or five days. There was no work to do ,so in the afternoon we went into Rouen to tea and saw the churches of St-Owen and Zaclan and the Rue Rorain where there are some very old houses. We then returned home and had supper and looked forward to a good night’s rest. But alas it was not to be as we were nearly all disturbed during the night by very unwelcome visitors.
Aug.18th. In the morning I helped to clean in the hospital, and in the afternoon Sister German gave us a lesson on military hospitals. After tea we again went into Rouen for and an hour. The village we are in is called Boisguillane.
Aug.19th. we had another disturbed night. We spent the day in putting the wards straight and padding splints and making plugging. After tea we again went into Rouen and received a great ovation from a troop of A.S.Corps men who were resting on the road. Their goods were in the vans of many well known London firms which look very homely. A large tent was put up which some of the nurses slept in.
The A.S.C. men had not had their clothes off for a fortnight and much enjoyed a wash in the washhouse & yard.
Aug.20th. Had rather a more restful night and spent the day in making binders etc. in the afternoon matron told Miss Cain that she was to go to a receiving hospital with Miss Parscalli and Miss Ayre.
The sanitary arrangements are very primitive. There are 16 basins in a row. We fetch water in xxxx xxxxxxxxxx a bucket and was in turn in a small cupboard.
Four patients were admitted in the hospital.
Twelve of the nurses have gone out to a large tent.
Aug.21st. Sewing all day, raining off and on. Several patient admitted. After tea we four went down to Rouen and had dinner at Miss Cain’s invitation. When we returned matron told me I was to go to nurse officers with Miss Hill.
Aug.22nd. Misses Cain ,Pascalli and Ayre went to the casualty hospital in the morning. Did sewing in the compound until lunch time.
In the afternoon and evening we were very busy getting the tents ready and at 8.p.m. 196 men arrived from the front Sore feet etc.chiefly. Capt.Ferguson and all the men were very good at helping.
Aug.23rd. Did sewing in the surgical officeall the morning went off duty at 3-p.m. Miss Broade and I went to see Miss Cain –she was in bed. I went to the hospital service at 6-30 p.m.
Aug.24th. The Consul general fetched Miss Hill and me at 10-am. and took us to the Monastery of the Visitation at 68 bis rue de Capucins.
This is an enclosed order and there are about forty nuns living there. The building is very old and some parts of it date back to the XV1 century. (I find that the convent was built for the Order of the Visitation in 1642 and has been occupied by them without a break ever since. Six years
ago they were afraid that they might be turned out so that secured property at Carisbrook I.O.W. and have founded a branch there). acres of
There are five or six/beautiful gardens containing a great deal of fruit. The Mother Superior of German nationality and she has three nephews fighting on the German side and three on the French. She has been here since she was 19. This is a very friendly order ,and many of the nuns are ladies with big fortunes .
We seem likely to be killed by kindness. We seem to be surrounded by nuns anxious to wait on us. We have been given two large cubicles which are beautifully clean ,and the beds are very comfortable and have fine linen sheets etc. The nuns seem to do themselves extremely well, they have only to say the eight offices each day, submit their will and have no connection with the outside world. They open the door as little as possible, and we have been asked to go out and come in always at the same time. I feel as if I am in prison. They are also most anxious that we should stay permanently and that there should be no changes. The Mother and an Irish novice too us over the wards that they have got ready for twenty officers. The Irish novice is a trained nurse and wishes to do the day nursing and we are to do the night duty.
At 12o’clock we had dinner in a room which has been given us as a dining room. It was very nicely served and had peaches, pears etc. After that we unpacked and very much enjoyed hot baths in a very nice bath-room. We went to bed at 4-p.m. but at 7-o’clock we were brought tea and bread and butter and told that nopatients had arrived ,so we could stay in bed until morning.
We breakfasted at 9-15 a.m. and after a long interview with the Mother Superior we were allowed to go out. This is quite a difficult process. We are escorted down stairs to a small room in a corner of which is a small wooden cupboard with a seat in it. One at a time we enter this and the nun turns it round on a pivot and you face the outer world. What a relief it was to be free even for an hour or two! I went up to No.3, and after a short interview with Matron I went out with Miss Broade who had just heard that her brother’s company was in camp on the Race Course. We had nearly reached there when we were told that they were at the station so we hurried there ,only to find that he had been left in England. I found Miss Hill waiting in the outer garden ,and we were let in the same way as we had been let out. After lunch we sat in the garden until bed-time. Still no patients have arrived. I hope they will come very soon as Miss Hill is a very trying person to be shut up with. She is rather like Uriah Heep and talks continu-ally and there is never anything in what she has said. I suppose it is good discipline for me.
Aug.26th. We breakfasted at 8-30 hoping to get out early ,but we were kept talking until 10-15. It was a very wet day so we both went up to No.3. Matron was very nice and gave us tea in her bedroom. Miss Jane No. *. was there as well. 29 wounded and 300 sick had been admitted to No.3.last night. We returned to prison are 1-30 and spent the afternoon and evening sewing and writing. Very wet day. There are one or two men at work in the wards ,and whenever a man enters the convent one nun walks in front and another behind, and each rings a little bell to warn the other nuns to keep out of the way.
Aug.27th. Went out with Miss Hill in the morning and called at Boisgnillaume for letters. In the afternoon the Mother took us over the building. It was very interesting The dining room is entirely of oak and is a very big room. There is a pulpit at one side in which one of the nuns sits and reads to the others during meals. The large stone kitchens remind me of some of those in the colleges at Oxford. There arealso very large cellars containing a bake house and a big cider press, and a roomful of shelves built on purpose to store the fruit in for the winter. There are large quantities of delicious apples and pears as well as peaches etc.
The nuns were made prisoners in their cells during the Great Revolution, and you can still see the marks on the floors where they lighted small fires to sook their food. After tea we again went up to No.3., as the nurses were being inoculated against typhoid. I managed to get out of being done.
The news from the front is very bad. No.7 .hospital at Amiens has been sent back and the Germans seem to be advancing rapidly. ( The West Kent have been almost wiped out whilst bathing.) We met wounded being brought up in trains as we came down. A x
Aug.28th . Again visited No.3. and heard very bad news .from the front, many wounded were being brought in. When we returned to the Monastery we heard that Col .Westcott has ordered it to be reserved for sick sisters instead of officers. We hear that the hospital at Amiens has been sent back and that the nurses have had to leave without their things.
Aug.29th. Went to the Military Post-office where I xxx met Dora Godsall. She is with No.12 ,and may be sent on to Marseilles.
We then went to No.3. and heard that they have 30 officers there and 36 at the Grand Serinaire, and all are so bury they don’t know what to do. We took letters to the Hospice General and found that they were badly in need of help also. Matron says that she cannot move us without orders from head Quarters , so here we remain in idle luxury.
Colonel Clarke has been asked how long it will take
him to evacuate the hospital, as it may have to be moved at any minute. Some of the wounded who came yesterday say that they were in a church being attended by the cure and were flying the Red Cross, but the Germans fired on it at once and those who were able had to crawl away on their hands and knees for some miles.
Aug.30th. Went to the post-office with Miss Hall, and then we went up to No.3, thinking we should be in time for the 11-o’clock service. We were met by Miss Steen who told us to return and pack our things and bring them up, as quickly as possible, as we might be leaving Rouen at any time. It was a hot day and we found it very trying. The nuns were very kind to us and insisted on our having lunch before we left and gave us chocolate and pears to take away with us. The wards are to be left as they are, and they hope we shall be returning later on.
I had great difficulty in getting a cab, but at last managed to get a horse one and packed the luggage in while I went by train. Everyone had their things packed and the hospital was dismantled and the tents taken down. All the patients who were well enough were sent to England, and the few who were not able to go were taken down to the French hospital. After supper we were told that we should not be leaving until morning. The big tent was still up so I lay on the ground there, preferring that to bugs etc.
At 7-30 a great many Belgian soldiers passed going towards Amiens. Colonel Clarke looks very sad. Already between £3000 and £4000 had been spent on the hospital. Miss Hill and I called at the Monastery during the morning to get our laundry. They were again most good to us and loaded us with pears, biscuits etc.
We had to go to the station at 5-0’clock and we sat waiting on the station until 8-30, when we were allowed to get into the train. There were a lot of sick horses on the station also with the A.V.C. We were in a third- class carriage without cushions and there were eight of us altogether. The other four belonged to No.12 and were very nice girls, and they tried to make us as comfortable as they could, but we had very little sleep.
We reached Le Mans at 6-pm on Tuesday and heard that there were 40,000 troops in the town on their way to Paris. There were a great many wounded passing through and twenty of our party were left behind to help the Red Cross people who were very busy. We saw several trains of refugees leaving Paris, all the way along.
Sept.2nd. After abother weary night in the train we reached St. Nazaire at 8-am. Two of the sisters belonging to No.12 a regular and a reserve had been badly burned about the face and neck while boiling a kettle in the train. They were taken to the Civil Hospital. No arrangements had been made for us so we sat on our luggage on the station. Until 2-pm. (We find that all our heavy baggage has been lost on the way).
We then went by train to Parnichet, a pretty little place a few miles north of St.Nazaire. We stayed at the Hotel de l Place, which was very comfortable.
We heard that fifteen of our boats had left St.Nazaire full of our troops for an unknown destination. This is a very beautiful place and the weather is lovely if we were only suitably dressed it would be extremely nice. We are paying six francs a day and they feed us extremely well and the hotel is very nice and clean. We had a very nice service at the hotel de 1 Europe at 10. Went to the 6-O’clock service, but it was not so nice. Miss Davies and Miss Thompson came to tea with Miss Cain.
Sept.5th Spent 1 ½ hours in the sea, and had tea in a tent with Miss Ayre, etc.
Sept.7th. Bathed in the afternoon with Miss Broade, afterwards went to tea in a café and Miss East and her friend came with us.
Sept.8th. Went to church in the morning, walked to La Baule xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx before lunch, bathed in the afternoon. Miss Ayre came to tea with us.
Sept.9th. Was told not to go far as I might be wanted.
Sept.10th. Went for a nice walk after lunch with Miss Broade Miss Thompson and Miss Davies came to tea with us. I was told after dinner that I might have to gox to St-Nazaire, but at 10-0’clock we heard that we were not to go until 6-0’clock next morning. 500 wounded were expected at 10am.
Sept.11th. Started at 6-15 for St-Nazaire. Mr Benton went with us The Hospital is in a large boy’s school and on the whole is fairly nice. We found things in a great muddle in the hospital. I had a ward with eighteen beds, which all filled up. No serious cases but nasty shrapnel wounds in the feet hands and arms, chiefly. With great difficulty I managed to get a bucket and get them all a wash and a meal and dressed their wounds. Our meals are a great muddle now, and there is no accommodation of any sort here for us. Many of the men tell me that they have not had their shirts off for three or four weeks or been able to change their socks. A great deal of our equipment got lost or spoilt leaving Rouen and we have no new shirts to give them. How they appreciate a wash though! Our baggage is still missing, so we have not even our camp beds. XX Ten of us, including Matron, slept on the outside of the beds in one of the wards. Fortunately there is a toilet room next door which we retire to by twos to perform our ablutions Letters arrived to-night, the first for nearly a fortnight. There was great excitement.
Sept.12th. Dressed all my patients, two went to England and several to the rest camp. More wounded were expected but did not turn up. I went to St.Nazaire after tea, it was very wet. Still sleeping in the ward.
Sept13th. Fairly busy with dressings all day. Went into ST-Nazaire in the afternoon. A big ship, the “Italian Prince” had just arrived at the docks with troops and there were two aeroplanes on board.
Sept.16th. The other nurses arrived from Pornichet.
Sept.21st. Started sleeping in tents and found it bitterly cold.
Sept25th. We have had such a rush for the last ten days I have hardly had time for anything and am so tired at night I go straight to bed. Two thousand patients passed through the hospital in three days. They come into the ward one day and are sent to England the next to make room for a fresh lot. My patients nearly all have two or three wounds and now they are in a very bad state when they get down here. There have been five or six cases of tetanus. I had a patient brought in to the ward dying one evening, he only lived an hour. The horrors of war are appalling.
Sept.27th. We sent a great many patients out to go home by the Asturias.
Sept.28th. The surgeon General was coming to inspect so there was a great cleaning up. We had no new patients in so had a fairly easy day. I saw nothing of the big man so he seems to have done very little inspecting.
Sept.29th. I hear that the S.G. was very pleased with every-thing and said that we had done very good work. I found when I went on duty that my amp.case had been moved to the tetnus observation tent. There were still no new cases, and we had a quiet day. (Dr. and Miss Fisher had hurried out from England as his son had been seriously wounded and was at the Australian Hospital. They were four days on the way and arrived to find that he had left for England earlier in the day on the Carisbrook castle.)
Oct.1st. The patients are not coming down now. I have only seven patients and have had a half-day off to-day. I went to the Docks with Miss Broads and sawthe St.Andrew come in. Dr Fisher and his daughter offered to take letters to England for us, so we hurried back to write them and then I took them down. After dinner I had my first bath in the tent. It was fairly satisfactory.
Oct.2nd. Off in the afternoon. Went into town with Miss Cain very few patients. Had a nice lot of letters.
Oct.3rd. Over two hundred patients arrived, none of them were very bad and a good many went to England on the Asturias.
Oct.5th. Miss Cain, Miss Broad, and I had a half day off. We went by boat to Minden and then by bus to St-Brevin. It was a glorius afternoon and the sunset was lovely. I received a parcel of sweets from Eva.
Oct.7th. Things still very slack. There are rumours that we are moving soon but we know nothing definite. I went to the post office and sent off money to England. A French lady came round the Hospital with Matron this afternoon, and after dinner the officer of the guard came to enquire about her, as they think that she is a German spy. After tea the Matron came to ask me if I would go to the enteric tents to help admit fifteen bad cases that were arriving I had a very busy evening. ( I hear that the garrison at St.Nazaire at present is larger that the one at Aldershot)
Oct.9th.Returned to the tent. I have seven cases all acute ones, and three of them are very bad. I find it very difficult to get through my work espeolly when Miss Caldwell is off duty and I have eight others to see too.
Oct.14th. Our first very wet night. The rain came in a little but not very badly. Received a box of cigarettes from Sister Mary and some socks and mittens from Bath.
Oct15th. Off duty duty in the evening. Went down into the town with Miss Broade and had my hair cut and tried on hats. Very damp day. One of my patients is very ill.
Oct.18th. Went to service on the tennis court in the afternoon and into the town in the evening. There are many signs of packing up and many rumours going about but we hear nothing definite.
Oct.21st. A great many patients went to England on the Asturias. A good many more came down from the Hospital at Le Mans. I had another nice parcel from Eve.
)ct.22nd. Went into town and bought lining for capes.
Oct.24th. Went off duty in the morning. Had my hair shampooed.
Oct.25th. All had half days. Very wet but went into town for tea.
Oct.30th. A wire came saying that eleven sisters were to start at once for Boulogne. Sisters Barrett, German, Barrett Matthews etc went.
Oct.31st. Very wet. Miss Brade and I took wreaths up to cemetery. We had to take a lantern to see by, and got wet through before we got back.
Nov.1st. Off in the afternoon. And went to service in the verandah. When it was over we heard that 16 sisters were
to go at once to Rouen. Two are ill so only 14 went.
Nov.2nd. A Concert was held in the mess room. The orderlies performed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.
Nov.3rd. A wire came at 1-o’clock to say that Matron Miss Foster, Miss Broade and Miss Malling were to go by the 7-20 train to Boulogne. I was bitterly disappointed at being left behind. I helped Miss Broade pack in the afternoon and managed to get to the station to see them off. Fryer died at 5-p.m.
Nov.4th The hospital has now about 450 patients in and we are left with fourteen sisters (two ill) Miss Roscoe is in charge, no boat can be spared to clear the patients away
Nov.5th. I went to the cemetery to see the graves. There were about 80 of them and they are simply covered with flowers and the French people have put a French and English flag crossed at the head of each grave.
I miss Miss Broade very much and the whole place looks deserted. Three tents have been taken down and only Miss Cain and I are left in ours. Poor Miss Cain is furious at being left so far from the front.
We hear that the Asuruias will be here in three or four days. We have had nine enterics in from Nantes to wait for the boat.
I have had some lovely parcels to-day. A sleeping bag and bed-socks from Glasgow and things from Bath. Also a letter from the “Caesar”.
Nov. 13th. Had to leave our tents and to into a garret in the building.
Nov. 15th. The Asturias came in and all our patients were dressed ready to go, but after all they were not allowed to. It was a very rough wet day.
Nov.16th. All the patients except Airey left early in the morning. I stayed in the house until I was moved into the house at 3-o’clock.
There was a Concert for the orderlies after dinner. I sat with C.F. in the front.
Nov.17th. Went into the town and saw the French Red Cross ship Ceylon going out. There are between two and three thousand French wounded coming here within the next few days. I had a shampoo during the afternoon.
Nov.18th. Very cold East wind. Went for a walk with Miss Cain in the morning. All the men very busy packing. Called to see Airey.
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Nov.20th. We all had tea and dinner in the town and left St-Nazaire at 8-30 p.m. Miss Roscoe and several of the others were late in getting to the station. We travelled in great comfort, being only two in a 1st class carriage. Miss Obee and Miss Burnell were in the next carriage and we had meals together. The country looks very pretty being covered with a thin layer of snow. It was very different from our journey from Rouen to St-Nazaire.
Nov.22nd. We reached Rouen at 10-a.m. but we are still waiting the train 10.a.m.
Nov. 23rd. We have been camping out at the station and had quite a nice time. Miss Obee has made a most excellent cook. We have most tasty meals of Bully stew and Eva’s contributions have been most acceptable. To-day we are to go to a convent school at 2 rue de Joyeuse.
Nov. 24th. Our new quarters are not very nice. We each have a little cubicle and the beds are clean, but we are only given one blanket, so should be very cold if we had not our rugs with us. The rooms too are very dirty. We are paying 5/- a day, but the good lady means to make a big profit on us. We always rise from the table hungry. We have a roll and butter and coffee at 8-a.m. Tough raw meat and one vegetable (French beans or carrots) and a little apple jelly or a pear at 12 o’clock, and burnt soup and more uneatable meat at 7-p.m. It is so cold too we all have healthy appetites.
I went to see Mother Superior at the Monastery of the Visitation during the morning.
Nov.25th. We expected Miss Bennett to tea but she could not come. We visited the Museum and saw some interesting skeletons etc.
Nov. 27th. Miss Burrell and I went up to the camp at No. 3 The Colonel was most gracious and opened my parcels of papers for me and gave us tea. Madame was very rude and we decided to leave the next morning.
Nov. 28th. We left the Rue de Joyeuse and went to the Monastre de Visitation 68 bis rue des Capucines. The Mother and all the sisters were charming to us. They give us delightful meals and wait on us in every way.
They have thirty wounded Belgians and French instead of our English officer.
Mr. Buxton came to tell us to be ready to move at any time as the Colonel, he and Captain Glover were
starting for Treport that evening with thirty men. We met Miss Obee and took her to tea in the afternoon.
Nov. 29th. My face and neck have been very bad so I went up to the camp to get Colonel Morphew to give me some lotion. He and Captain Furgion were very nice and longing to start for Treport. We called at No. 10 and had tea on the way down.
Nov.30th. Did a little shopping in the afternoon.
Dec. 1st. Packed in the morning and heard after tea that we were not to start until the next morning. We went out with Miss Witherington and bought candlesticks.
Dec. 2nd. Left the monastery and started to Treport. Had comfortable journey and found Miss Steen awaiting us. The Traanon Palace Hotel is a very palatial place and has a bathroom to each room, but there is no water to be had!
Dec. 3rd. Busy getting beds ready all day
Dec. 4th. Getting beds ready all day and helped Miss Steen with Red Cross things in the evening.
Dec. 5th. Still busy finishing off beds and helping with Red Cross things.
Dec. 6th. Went into the village in the afternoon.
Dec. 8th. Motored to Bois de Circe to see a new hotel with the Colonels. Came back by Rn and went into the church. On the way back we were stopped by a gendarme and told that two men had been caught as deserters. One was to be shot and the other imprisoned for three years.
Dec. 12th. Went into the village with Miss Carthew in the morning. It was a very nice day.
Dec. 13th. Matron called us at 6-a.m. and said that 460 patients were coming in at 7-o’clock.
We had a very busy time. I was running errands for Matron all the morning and at dinner time was sent to take charge of the whole of the top landing with 104 patients. I also heard very sad news. My dear Colonel Morphew had to leave to take command of No. 5 General. He came up to say good-bye to me before he left.
Dec. 16th. Just as I was getting a little settled the officers were brought up to the top floor and I was moved down, to struggle with 75 patients and eight orderlies. Medical and surgical wards as well, and the patients scattered about in twenty different rooms.
Dec.17th. Six new sisters were expected, but they did not arrive and nothing was heard of them.
Dec.19th. Seventeen of my patients went out and I may be able to get things into working order a bit.
Dec. 20th. Went to Parade Service in the hall. We had a new padre Mr. Smethwick.
Dec.21st. Went to the village to look at likely cake-shops with Miss Cain.
22nd. Was off in the afternoon and went into En and ordered cakes for the patients teas.
24th. The Colonel came round in the morning in a very bad temper.
25th. Miss Conal and Miss Carruthers joined me. Two very nice territorials. Went to the service in the morning The patients had tea all together and seemed to enjoy the cakes. Then afterwards had singing in the Resturant.
Mr. Dalziel and Mr. Walker and Mr. Batchelor all brought me nice boxes of chocolates.
26th. We went out for a walk in the rain with matron.
27th. Miss Caldwell left on seven days leave.
31st. We had our Christmas dinner, at which the MoO’s were present. We played blind man’s buff etc. and the Colonel was very jovial. We walked over to the golf hotel to wish them a Happy New Year. I went with the Colonel and returned with Mr. Walker and Captain Furguson.
Jan. 4th. Miss Cain and two or three others/went into Dieppe with the Colonel. I had a case of S.F. and the whole place had to be re-arranged.
5th We were called at 1-a.m. to receive 170 sick. One of my orderlies was found drunk by the Colonel.
14th Went to Abbeville to get P. Orders for Miss Cain and Miss Smythe. Mr. Walker and Miss Calder and Mr. Chubbe went as well. Had lunch at the Hotel de France.
21st. Sir Arthur Hoggett and Miss McCarthy came to inspect A Zeppelin passed over the hotel in the night.
23rd Had a half-day off and walked to Ault with Mr. Walker.
26th Patients went to England. Went down to the station to see the Ambulance train.
28th. Heard that a convoy was coming. Waited up but they did not begin to arrive until 11-45 p.m. I had 23 cases, chiefly frostbite. There were 160 cases altogether.
Jan.29th. Lord and Lady Gladstone and several French celebrities came round the hospital. Lady Gladstone is going to take Lady Murray’s place at the Golf Hotel.
Feb. 2nd. Miss Burrell has gone on night duty and we have to have Miss Priestley in her place!
Feb. 4th. Miss Burrell left this morning for St. Over.
Feb. 6th Miss Cain and Miss Ridley left at three hours’ notice for No. 3. And No. 5 Ambulance trains.
Feb 5th . Miss Cain and I had half days off and went to Eu and had tea there.
Feb. 9th. Had to go to bed for night duty on the top landing for medical patients and sick officers.
11th. Convoy arrived but did not unload until morning I went to the station and brought Miss Daly up to see Matron. I now have eleven officer.
13th. Mr. Maitland Jones and Mr. May left for St.-Over Mr. Dicky and Mr. Roberts arrived.
14th. Patients left for England. Went to the station to see Miss Foster.
15th Went to pick snow-drops with Miss Ropson and Miss Deeks.
16th Walked to Eu with Miss Conol. Miss He ??? left for Derville. I was inoculated by Capt. Furguson in the evening.
19th Went to bed early.
20th Got up early for a concert.
21st Went for a long walk with Miss Ray and Miss Conol.
22nd. Went to Treport.
23rd. Had a shampoo.
24th Walked to Eu in the snow with Miss Ray and Miss Conol. Bought two pairs of shoes.
25th. Got up early and went out to tea with Miss Ray and Mr. Dalziel and Mr. Walker.
29th Convoy came in and also went out to England.
Miss Cain was on the train and came to breakfast. I went down to the train with her.
Mar. 2nd. Matron wished me to have two nights off. Mr. Brown started very drastic treatment for my neck.
Mar. 3rd. Mr. Brown would not allow me to go to Abbeville with Miss Ray. My neck was very bad. A convoy came in in the night and also one went to England.
5th. Went on duty in Miss Smythe’s division.
7th. Mr. S. came to visit the place quite drunk.
A convoy of three hundred and twenty patients came in between 1-30 and 4-a.m. and we sent a lot out to go to England.
Mar. 8th. Went for a walk with Miss Connal. Very cold.
9th. Went to have a shampoo in the morning. Matron stayed in bed.
12th Expected a convoy all night, but it did not arrive.
13th. Went to Eu alone and changed shoes.
15th Convoy came in the early morning. We had only 17 patients.
No. 16 General Hospital and also No. 2 . Gen. Canadian hospital are very busy putting up their tents and opening here. The Canadian sisters came here to help each morning and evening until their own hospital is ready.
August 26th 1916. I started my first voyage on Barge A.195
Miss Ramsay and I left the Misses Hare at Abbeville at 7-45a.m.
When we got to the barge everything looked dreadfully dirty and untidy as the patients had left late the night before. We had a great shock when we saw our living room. We were told that the barge was not leaving until 9-30 a.m. so we went into the town to do some more shopping, buying among other things some white paper with which to paper the few shelves we had in our bunk. We then returned and found things looking a little beter as some of the cleaning had been done and also our hatch had been removed, which made it much lighter and more airy. We spent the morning getting our things packed and settled. Our M.O. Mr. Jupp, introduced himself and brought a big stock of tinned things for the journey, also chocolates and biscuits. After lunch we explored the ward, which has thirty beds and seems quite spacious and comfortable. We then cut up dressings ready for sterilising. At 5-p.m. we started on our journey and sat on deck until a very heavy storm drove us below. At 7-30 we reached Fort Renny the first lock, and remained there for the night. We passed a large country house on the way, but the place looked very deserted, and the lawns were not well kept. There were a good many soldiers about as there are several rest camps in the neighbourhood. There were small boys on the two path waiting with vegetables and fruit which they threw on the barge s and our men threw back tins of bully beef and jam in exchange.
We did not see anything of our companions on Barge 190 all day.
After dinner we each retired to our little cupboard for a bath in a basin and then climbed to our beds I having chosen the top one.
Unfortunately it was a wet night so we could have very little air, so whether it was that or because I thought I heard rats among our vegetables in the cupboard, I did not manage to get much sleep.
We left Port Renny at 7-a.m. It looked as if it would be a wet day, so after breakfast at 9-a.m. we went on deck to take advantage of the sun.
The river is quite pretty and well wooded, but there is a good deal of marsh land lying either side. We reached another lock at 10-30. Going through is a slow process as first the tug goes and then the barges one by one. One tug takes two barges and each barge carries thirty patients with staff of two sisters and about ten orderlies and a medical officer between the two, in addition to the engineers to run the barge.
We reached Piquigny at 2-o’clock and Miss Ramsay and I got off and walked to the next lock at Ailly sur Somme. There we saw a battery of R.G.H.A. pass on their way up to the Front. We reached Nantiere at 5-30 and then got off the barge and went by train to Amiens. It is quite a large town and although it was Sunday most of the shops were open. We went to see the Cathedral which is a very fine one. All the most beautiful parts are banked up with sand-bags, in case of air raids. There were hundreds of transports lined up round the greens in Amiens, both French and English
It was some time before we could find the locks. But we at last reached it just in time for dinner. We stayed the night just outside Amiens.
We did not start until 8-o’clock as one of the engineers on the tug had been bitten by a wasp on the forehead, and we had to wait for another man to take his place.
It was a very bright morning but it soon clouded over. We sat on deck for a bit after breakfast. We came to the telephone barge and they were very pleased to see us as we bought their letters to them. All the bridges are new along the river as they were all blown up when the Germans were in possession in 1914.
We passed a French horse camp and after that a camp of German prisoners guarded by French soldiers with fixed bayonets. They were busy loading barges with stones. At 10-15 a heavy shower came on so we had to go below.
We saw several aeroplanes during the day and at one place could see the captive baloons which are moored over the French trenches. We reached Corbie at 5-p.m. and heard that we should not load up until the next morning. We went for a walk through the village which seemed to be full of troops both French and English. At 2-p.m. we were it Donar and went for a walk through the village while the barges were going through the locks. It is rather a quaint little place. There were a great many motor transports about and was also the Headquarters of the R.F.C.
We took in thirty patients between 9-0 and 10a.m. There were three bad head cases and two amputations. We had ten officers among them being Capt Horsley and Mjr. Garnett, the latter being a spine case. Nearly all the cases had to be dressed during the day. I was on duty until 2-a.m.
It rained in torrents today. One of the amp. Gnr. Arnott died at 9 .a.m. We were all very busy dressing all the morning. We reached Abbeville about 4-p.m. After the patients had been unloaded we went to the house and had tea and dinner there. We had to do our shopping and returned to the barge at 8-30 ,p.m. Mr. Jupp had been in to dinner as it was so wet.
We left Abbeville on out return journey. It was a lovely day and we sat on deck nearly all day. We reached Perquigny at 7-pm and stayed there the night. After an early dinner we went out with Miss Galloway and Miss Spicer to get eggs etc.
We left Perquigny at 6-a,m. At Nantiere we met Barges 142 and 143 and Captain Pedlar came on board for a chat.
We reached Amiens at 12-O’clock and went into the town. We found the fruit and fish markets and did some shopping and also bought butter and jam dishes. When we returned to the locks the barges had departed and we had to run along the tow-path until they at last stopped to pick us up.
We reached the farm at La Neuville at 7-o’clock and found that there were no patients for us. The dentist who is officer came on board and had a chat, also the padre and another officer. Mr. Jupp went back to dinner with them. Graham was ill with a temp. of. 1026.
After breakfast we were ferried across the canal and walked to Corbie about 2 miles away. We went to No. 5. and left a note from Mjr. Garnett. We walked back by road and cane through No. 21 and passed the cemetery. There were 554 buried there since July 1st. Three bodies were brought and placed in the trench while we were there. The service is held at 2-o’clock each day. It was a very close day and we were tired when we reached the barge.
After lunch we sat on deck and General Sutton came to see over the barge. We then heard that we should not be loaded until the next day at 11-o’clock. After tea we went out for a walk with Miss Galloway and Miss Spicer. We went through La Neuville and up on to some high hills beyond, where we saw 34 aeroplanes and captive balloons in the air at the same time. It was very clear and they seemed quite near us, but the balloons are really fixed over the front line trenches. There were a good many Australians about in the village. Coming back we talked to sister Ruck at the hospital. Mr Jupp again went out for dinner.
Went with Miss Spicer to a service at 21 C.C.S. It began at 9-30 am. and was held in a large attic in the building. A lot of minor patients had been sleeping there on mattresses so there was quite a fair congregation.
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We were only the second sisters who had been to a service in 10 months. We got back to the barge at 10-40 to find that the patients had already begun to come on board. We had only five officers, none very ill. We had several bad lung and abd. cases, three amps. and one poor boy had both eyes shot out. We were busy doing dressings all the afternoon.
We reached Abbeville at 3 p.m. I went up to No.2 with one of the officers, a shell shock who could not speak nor open his eyes. I saw sisters Corinal and Carruthers. I went in to see Mjr. Garnett, they say that he cannot possibly get better. His father a Cambridge Dean, and his mother were with him. Afterwards I went to the House to tea and dinner, doing some necessary shopping between. I found several letters and a big buget of letters waiting, also a parcel from Eva.
It was raining torrents when we got back. Chisholm helped us down with our numerous parcels and made us tea before we retired.
We did not get up until 9-o’clock and the barge started at 10-o’clock. It was not at all a nice day, cold and heavy showers at intervals. I did a little washing and we got the dressings ready. We got to [blank] at 7 o’clock and stayed there the night. We went to look for eggs and milk before dinner, but had great
difficulty in getting any. The cows are not milked until 8-o’clock and a little girl promised to get some and bring down to the barge.
We left at 6-30. It was a glorious day. I sat on the deck and read some of my papers. We had an early lunch and got off at Nantiers and went into Amiens to do a little shopping and rejoined the barge at 3-p.m. We were introduced to Lt. Johnstone of the I.W.T who is a friend of Miss Spicer’s. We reached D at 7-p.m. and were told that we were to stay there until morning. We heard a great many heavy guns, some of them shaking the barge. They went on more or less all night.
We had a telephone message telling us to stay at D until we heard further. We went for a walk through the village and saw Miss Brice Campbell at No. 34 C.C.S. They were all packed up ready to go on to Bray.
In the afternoon No.193 and 194 came up and told us that one of the locks had broken down and would have to be repaired, hence the delay. Miss Gallaway took me on board to introduce me to Miss Ward who had missed the
Both she and her companion were most dirty and untidy looking. The barges went on before we had had time to get off and we were both taken to Corbie, about four miles further on. We tried to get tea at the canteen but Mr Nicholas was just leaving. He said he would try to get a car to take us back. We went to a tea room and heard no more from him. When we got to the canal some stone barges were passing, so I hailed them and we went gaily back to D on their tug. Miss Spicer had had tea with Miss Ramsey. After dinner we took some letters to the post.
8.9.16 The guns had again been very busy all night. It was a very nice morning as there was still no news. Miss Spicer Miss Ramsay and I went for a long walk. We passed No. 216, C.S. There were 80 more graves than there had been last Sunday. There are now 633, all since July 1st. We went through La Neuville which is an ammunition centre. We returned by road and passed through about fifty German prisoners who were mending the road. Further on we met hundreds of horses. The 4th Dragoon Guards and the R.H.A. were camped on either side of the road. We passed our cemetery at Daonis where there are about 300 graves. At one end there are the graves of six Indians. One has a very elaborate tombstone and several biscuits had been placed on it.
We reached the canal at 1-o’clock tired and hungry, to find that our home had vanished, and we had to walk nearly two
Miles to the farm before we again found it. We were told that we should not be taking in to-day, but on going on deck after a rest at 3-0 o’clock we found the first ambulance of patients arriving. Our patients were nearly all chest cases, none very ill. We left at 5-pm. And got nearly to Amiens before dark.
9-9-16. We did not get to Abbeville until 7-30pm. After a very easy journey. It was 8-o’clock before we got away to do a little shopping, and to go to the House. We found several letters and papers waiting for us. We did not get back to the barge until 9-30pm.
10-9-16. We left Abbeville at 6-30 am. It was a lovely day and we spent the morning on deck reading numerous papers. In the afternoon we prepared dressings etc. We reached Pirguing at 5-pm. And went into the village to get milk. We went to a quaint old farm where the old lady was busy milking the cows. She insisted on filling our bottles as a souvenir. We decided to walk to Ailly-sur-Somme. It was 8-o’clock and quite dark before our home arrived.
11-9-16. We left at 6-o’clock and reached Amiens at 9-0. We could get no definite news, only that we should probably load up to-day. We ventured out shopping in the morning and in the afternoon Miss Spicer and I went to the Hotel de Belfort for a bath. We had delightful ones, but had to pay 3 francs
Each for the luxury! We were loaded up at 6-30 pm. All our cases being dysentery patients. We only got as far as Nantieres when it was quite dark and we had to stop for the night.
22-9-16. We have been staying at Amiens for two days. At 3-o’clock this morning we were wakened by guns firing all round us. A German aeroplane was overhead and dropped several bombs. It was a beautifully clear night and you could see the xxxxxxxx shrapnel bursting all round. A few small bombs were dropped but very little damage done.
25-9-16 Still waiting at Amiens. A German aeroplane has been hovering about all day, but we have not been able to see it. We could see the shrapnel bursting all round. At 9-15 pm. The aeroplane returned and dropped bombs all round. It was just above our barge for a few minutes and the shrapnel burst very near us. At 10-o’clock things quieted down and we went to bed. They returned and disturbed us three times during the night. We heard afterwards that two children had been killed.
30-9-16. Another air raid at 10-pm. Only lasting 20 mins.
2-10-16. We went out to do some marketing in the morning, and when we returned we found patients coming on board. These were nine surgical cases from the New Zealand Hospital and
21 cases of dysentry from No.39.C.C.S. We had a very wet journey and only got as far as Ailly.
3-10-16. We reached Abbeville at 4pm. To be told that the barges were to be tied up for the winter. After visiting the House we returned to pack up all our belongings and left the barge for good at 9-p.m. after having had a very happy time.