CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3991
SUMMARY OF VISITS AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF VISITS AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
With Miss Hartigan, RRC A/Principal Matron, QAIMNS, I inspected the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, the OC of 11 CCS Lt. Colonel Hallows, and the Sister in charge Miss Fergusson, ARRC, TFNS also accompanied us. This Unit has recently been transferred from Malassises, and is now established in a long, well-built house, supplied with suitable annexes of every description, including pantries and kitchen and bath-rooms. It is big enough to accommodate 40 and has a very nice sitting-room at each end, and is absolutely solid. The sick sisters are very well placed here, and Sisters are received from the 2nd and 5th Armies, also any English women or motor drivers in the neighbourhood.
With Miss Hartigan I then went first to Headquarters, DMS 2nd Army. The DMS himself was on leave. I saw the ADMS Colonel Howe, and discussed the question of reducing the number of Nurses on the Barges, and also the question of the training of the pupil Anaesthetists. In this Army the DMS has appointed an Officer, Major Marshall, to superintend and be responsible for the training of these ladies in all the CCS in his Army where the training is taking place, and it has been finally decided that no lady Anaesthetists are to administer an anaesthetic of unmixed chloroform. I was anxious to know if I could reduce any staffs of Casualty Clearing Stations in the 2nd Army, and I was asked to wait for another week, as the work in the 2nd Army is at present uncertain.
From there I went to the Headquarters of the DMS 5th Army where the DMS General Gerrard was away, having just heard of the loss of his young son*, who had only been out in France for one month.
From there I went to 39 Stationary Hospital and 54 CCS, both established at Aire.
54 CCS, OC Lt. Colonel Duncan, RAMC, Sister in charge Miss Rogers, QAIMNSR. Everything was going in a most satisfactory manner. This Unit is mainly under canvas, and I inspected the marquees, the Operating Theatre, and the Sisters’ Mess. The Army Commander had recently presented the Sisters with a wonderful Mess Hut with a wide verandah and little ante-room and pantry and kitchen. The sleeping accommodation is in bell tents dug four feet into the ground, and well boarded and sand-bagged. I found that there was an Anaesthetist there who was doing very little work, and arranged that she should be sent to the 3rd Army, also a Team Sister who was not willing to work when not employed on Team duties, so I undertook to send her to the Base.
Then to 39 Stationary Hospital, OC Lt. Colonel Unwin, Matron Miss Teevan, ARRC, QAIMNS. This Unit had again opened up and was in good working order. I ascertained that one of the Team Sisters refused to work in the wards, and that she wanted to spend her off-duty time as she wished and be quite an independent member, going in and out and staying away as long as she fancied. I saw the CO on the subject, and learnt that the Consultant Surgeon of the Area had been asked to give his opinion on the subject. I told the CO I was arranging to make a change, and that it was a pity the Consultant Surgeon had been worried about a matter which was so entirely the CO and the Matron’s responsibility.
From there I went into the 2nd Army, to 62 CCS at Arneke, OC Lt. Colonel Marrott, RAMC, Sister in charge Miss L. M. Clieve, TFNS. It is an excellent Unit and was very busy indeed. Here I found two Anaesthetists who had just completed their duty had been moved by the Unit to another Army without orders having been issued from this office. I had tea at the Sisters’ Mess, which is a very excellent one. A good many Armstrong Huts were being put up for sleeping accommodation, and a great big hut and ante-room for the Staff. Here the Unit was very full of patients, and there was no doubt they were being very well looked after. There was a fine Operating Theatre with 8 tables in it, and a first rate resuscitation ward. The staff at this Unit is very keen and capable, and the Sisters are certainly doing their best for the patients.
I went on to No.10 CCS where I saw the OC Lt. Colonel Mitchell, RAMC who had just taken over, and the Sister in charge Miss Foley, QAIMNS, and Major Marshall, chief Anaesthetist Instructor. He was very anxious to discuss the question of the course of instruction, and he particularly wished that this should be carried out in a business-like way, and that the pupils should be divided up into classes (a) and (b) according to their capabilities, (a) those who were very excellent, (b) those who were not so proficient. I returned to Boulogne next morning.
*John Gerrard 2nd Lieutenant, 74th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery CWGC entry
Left for the 1st Army after lunch and went to Agnez-les-Duisans to 23 CCS, OC Lt. Colonel Fawcett, RAMC, Sister in charge Miss Alexander, ARRC, CHR. A group of three Units has opened up here, Nos.23 and 1 and 4 Canadian CCS. They were all very full, but as they were only just establishing themselves, they were merely taking in walking and lightly wounded cases, and sending the serious cases to Nos.57 and 42 CCS. They were opening in the old positions of Nos.8 and 19 CCS and had most of the tents and Sisters’ quarters intact, but a great deal had still to be done in the way of cleaning. No.23 CCS had a staff of 14 which included 1 visiting Team and 1 Anaesthetist.
No.1 Canadian CCS had a staff of 12, and No.4 of 20. I went to 23 CCS and everything was working smoothly and satisfactorily, and it was wonderful how orderly things had got in the short time they had been there, and the numbers of patients who were streaming through. The place seemed to be over-run with lightly wounded Germans. I saw the Sisters in charge of the 2 Canadian Units, and they were busy getting ready and settling themselves in.
I then went on to No.57 CCS. It was getting very dark. This Unit was crowded to overflowing with terribly wounded and sick men, many of whom it was not possible to move. OC Lt. Colonel Clayton, RAMC, Sister in charge Miss U. Russell Lee, QAIMNSR. There was a staff of 35, which included 4 teams. I went round the wards and into the Operating Theatre, and everyone was working at very high pressure. I learnt that Major Kazanjian, the Jaw Specialist of 20 General Hospital, was there, and was finding difficulty in getting on, as he had not his own special Theatre Sister or his mechanic. I saw him, found out the name of the Theatre Sister, and telephoned for her to be sent at once.
I then went to 42 CCS which has just opened up, and is at present only taking walking wounded, passing all the serious cases over to the other side of the road. OC Lt. Colonel Martin Leake, Sister in charge Miss Sloan, ARRC, TFNS. This Unit is to take in the same sort of cases as No.57 CCS, they had 11 Sisters on duty, and I telephoned to increase their staff by 7 more. Up to the present they had no Teams.
I then went on to No.7 CCS getting there at 8.30 p.m. OC Lt. Colonel Williams, Sister in charge Miss Taggart, ARRC, CHR. Staff of 28, including 4 Teams, 2 qualified Anaesthetists, and 3 pupils. Both Nos.7 and 33 and 1 CCS were extremely busy, and working at the same high pressure as No.57 CCS.
I stayed the night at No.7 CCS, was put up for the night in a room in a farmhouse near. After dinner I went round the Hospital with the Sister in charge, and it was full to overflowing with seriously wounded. Everything was in first rate order, and there was no doubt the very best was being done for the patients. One big marquee was full all one side with English and the other side with Germans, for all of whom there was very little hope of recovery, and in addition there was a resuscitation ward equally full of patients waiting for operation. In the Operating Theatre they had 8 tables going, and they were working 12 hour shifts. The Theatres were going continuously day and night, leaving only just time for the Operators to have their meals and the Sisters to clear up.
I started at 8 a.m. and visited No.33 CCS, OC Lt. Colonel Winder, Sister in charge Miss Crawford, QAIMNSR and a staff of 27, which included 3 visiting Teams and 5 Anaesthetists. This Unit was in the same condition as No.7 CCS, everyone hard at work.
After I went to No.1 CCS which had only opened up under a week ago, it was in perfect order and everything was going in a most wonderful manner. At the time of the visit they were busy evacuating and taking in at the same time, and everything was going splendidly. I was quite struck with the comfortable condition in which all the patients were leaving the Unit. There was a beautiful little Church in a marquee, to which one of the chaplains had devoted his time.
From there I went to Headquarters of the 1st Army, where I saw the DMS Major General Thomson, the Surgical Consultant General Wallace, and the Medical Consultant Colonel Hume, all of who expressed themselves absolutely satisfied with everything that was being done in the way of Nursing arrangements. They told me of many changes which would be made shortly in consequence of the rapid advance, and that certain of the CCS would be moving forward.
I then went on to the 3rd Army, calling in at No.6 Stationary Hospital, where I discussed the question with Colonel Harding and Miss Daly, QAIMNS, of whether they could take in and accommodate Sisters who would be passing through to their Units, and also Staffs waiting while their CCS moved forward. At present they could take in 33 Nurses, and they want a staff of 23 to carry on. When the hut which is in process of erection is completed, it will give them 14 more rooms, thus accommodating 28 more Nurses.
I went to DMS Headquarters to lunch. The DMS was away, but the ADMS told me of certain changes which were likely to occur in the Army in the near future.
From there I went to Varennes to 59 and No.3 Canadian CCS, both of which Units were just opening up under canvas.
No.59 CCS, OC Lt. Colonel Hughes, about to moved. Sister in charge Miss Church, ANSR. This camp compares very badly with many other CCS which I have visited recently, and which were obliged to open in the same rapid manner. The marquees seemed to be overcrowded, and there seemed to be a lack of interest in doing what was best for the patients. The Sisters’ Camp had been pitched absolutely next to the patients, and on the day of my arrival orders had been issued to strike the Camp and pitch the marquee and the bell tents on the other side of the road, so that everything was in confusion.
No.3 Canadian CCS which was opening up next door compared much more favourably with the other Casualty Clearing Stations that I have seen, and has every appearance of being a very capably and well ordered Unit before many days are over.
Then I went to Colincamps to Nos.4 and 49 CCS. These Units also had only recently opened up under canvas and were close to the railway line. The Sisters were particularly well accommodated in an orchard a little way from their Unit. Both these Units were very full at the time of my visit, and everything seemed to be going smoothly and well. I saw the OC and Sister in charge of both Units, and they expressed themselves satisfied with the staff that had been provided. I then returned to Abbeville and stayed the night at the Annexe.
I left Abbeville at 8 a.m. and arrived at the office soon after 10 a.m.
Left for Paris with Miss Barbier, RRC, CHR at 11 a.m. and lunched at Abbeville, where I visited the DMS Office and saw both the DMS and the DDMS. I told them that I was lunching with the DGMS of the Americans the next day, visiting the American Hospitals during the afternoon, and dining with the Chief Nurse, Miss Stimson, in the evening; that I knew our DGMS was in Paris and that I had informed him where I was staying, and that he was going to meet me. We arrived in Paris at 6.30 p.m. and stayed at the Hotel Crillon. I found a letter awaiting me from Miss Stimson, and also a telephone message for me from the DGMS General Burtchaell.
I met General Burtchaell at the Hotel Continental, where he presented me to General Ireland, the American DGMS. After spending the day with the Americans, the DGMS was anxious that I should visit No.6 Canadian General Hospital, the Station Hospital, the Hertford Hospital, and Mrs. Hay’s Hospital for the French in the Bois de Boulogne, and he felt that in consequence of the heavy work going on up North, it would be better to postpone the inspection of the Rest Camps at St. Germain and Cherbourg till later.
I lunched with General Ireland, Miss Stimson and Miss Morgan also being of the party. We discussed many matters in connection with the Nursing arrangements for the benefit of the American Nurses working with the BEF, and he agreed that it would be a good thing to put up the question of their leave, and what was to happen to them when they were invalided, so as to have a proper official ruling on these subjects. He quite approved of the leaves for the American Nurses working with the BEF being issued by the English authorities, and he was anxious that when invalided these Nurses should be transferred to Paris instead of to the United Kingdom, as he felt that in that way they would be keeping in touch with their own people better. He was also anxious that vacancies occurring in the 6 British Hospitals nursed by American personnel should be filled from the 2 groups working with the BEF, and that we should always be supplied with two groups, that is 200 Nurses, who would be continually gaining experience from us before being drafted to their own line. He asked that all these matters should be submitted officially, so that there would be a proper official ruling. After lunch I drove with Miss Stimson to the Ritz, where we met our DGMS General Burtchaell, who undertook to make arrangements so that Miss Stimson might visit the Casualty Clearing Stations on the British Front.
We then drove to Auteuil and visited No.5 American General Hospital, which is established actually on the Race Course, and is under canvas of a different pattern to our English marquees, and I was told they were French tents. They were fine, big double-lined tents, supplied with windows, and capable of accommodating 25 patients on either side quite comfortably. They could be pitched with the greatest ease, and with much greater rapidity than our English marquee, and they struck me as being first rate in every respect. I was presented to the CO and the Surgeon. Their Operating Theatre arrangements are first rate; they have two large Operating Theatres communicating with Sterilising Rooms and Dressing Rooms, and the X Ray Department is in the same Block. The Nursing Sisters are accommodated in billets in the village, and in addition they have a fine marquee supplied by the Red Cross, where they can have tea, and where when off-duty, the Nurses can, if they wish, sit and sew or read. The Matron, Miss Leete, seemed a very capable woman and the Unit looked very well managed. When she first came out she was Assistant Matron at No.9 General (Lakeside Unit) Hospital, and she said that her experience there had helped her enormously in opening this new Camp.
From there we went to an Officers’ Hospital established in a fine old house in the town, arranged, equipped and supported by Mrs. Whitelaw Reid, and able to accommodate 100 Officers. At the back there were very nice grounds and gardens where a large number of convalescent patients were having tea with their friends. I had dinner with Miss Stimson in her flat, her brother, Major Murphy, Miss Bates and Major Fahrsburg having been invited to meet me.
Next morning I went to ADMS Office where I met General Burtchaell, and from there with Miss Barbier drove to Joinville, where I inspected the Nursing quarters of No.6 Canadian General Hospital. They are very over-crowded and established in two houses, there is no hot water supply of any kind, and the bathroom accommodation entirely inadequate. The Matron was on leave and the Assistant Matron off duty, and I was shewn round by one of the Sisters. Afterwards I saw the CO, Colonel Beauchamp, who informed me that the had recently been to England where he had seen the DMS Canadians on the subject of the accommodation for the Nursing Sisters and that he was arranging to meet the French authorities on the next day with a view to having the matter put right and a suitable house taken; that he would like best of all for the Nursing Staff to be established in huts in their own Compound, but as the Canadians were disinclined to do this the only way out of the difficulty was to take more houses.
In the afternoon I visited the Station Hospital, where I saw the CO, Captain McDougall, and the A/Matron, Miss I. Whyte, QAIMNS. The Unit was very full of patients, many of them seriously ill with some sort of influenza of a very virulent kind, and there had been a certain number of deaths from it. The DGMS had visited the Unit the day before and was arranging for a Bacteriologist to visit and go into all particulars of the cases. The Hospital seemed well managed and was very clean and orderly. They were having a certain amount of difficulty with their orderlies, who were very indifferent workers, and in consequence of the large number of patients who were passing through the Unit, it made the work extremely difficult. The Nursing Staff had a nice duty room where they had tea, and they were accommodated in an American Pension where they were extremely comfortable and well fed.
I then went on to the Hertford Hospital to see Miss Gillespie, who was recently bitten by a dog and who was staying there for treatment at the Pasteur Institute. I went round with the Matron, Miss Moreton, who informed me that if any of the Nursing Sisters belonging to the Canadians or the British were ill, there would be no difficulty about their being accommodated and nursed at that Hospital; that there had been an arrangement made with the Army who paid 9.50 francs per day for any Officers, men or Nursing Sisters who should be admitted for treatment.
From there I went to visit the French Hospital run by Mrs. Hay, an English lady, which is situated in a beautiful position in the Bois de Boulogne at the head of a lake. She had been working there for 2 years, and she was able to accommodate 50 or 60 French soldiers, and many operations were performed there. Before the war the building was a Hotel; there was very good kitchen accommodation, and one or two fine big rooms, she also had quite a good Operating Theatre and an X Ray Department absolutely next door which was run by herself.
Left after lunch for Abbeville, and stayed the night at the Annexe.
Before leaving for Boulogne I saw the Matron of No.2 Stationary Hospital, also Sister G. M. Jones, QAIMNS and Sister J. Watson, QAIMNS with reference to their grievance of having to work under an Assistant Matron who is a member of the Reserve. I pointed out that they had only recently been made Sisters, and that the Assistant Matron in question, Miss Reid, had not only been an Assistant Matron at St. Thomas’ Hospital, but had also done Matron’s duties there. I felt that they had no grievance, but so that the matter might be put absolutely right, I said that I would refer the matter to the Matron-in-Chief, War Office. I then went to Headquarters, where I saw General Carr, and reported what I had done while in Paris. I then returned to Boulogne.
Before leaving Boulogne I visited Sir Arthur Lawley, who wished to see me in connection with the General Service VAD Section and their present status, as he was being called to London to attend a Committee Meeting at Devonshire House on the 2nd. I pointed out that the position was a difficult one, and I felt the only way to deal with the matter was for the General Service VADs to be looked upon in the same light, conform to the same rules and regulations, and enjoy the same privileges as the QMAAC, as they were doing precisely the same work, only they were attached to Medical formations, and they were in the same way replacing men. We discussed the question of the three convalescent Homes which were opening in the South of France in the middle of next month.
From there I went to GHQ where I saw the DGMS and the DDGMS, and discussed the new method of drawing rations, which I pointed out would not be entirely satisfactory, and he has undertaken to look into the question and approve of my remarks if he finds that it will be to the advantage of the Nursing Services.
We discussed the question of the new list of Honours and Mentions, and of the lady Anaesthetists.
From there I went to the 3rd Army to Bac-le-Sud where Nos.45 and 46 CCS had recently opened up. They had only opened up about ten days ago and were then quite near the Front, but now owing to the rapid advance they are 20 miles behind the line. They have opened on old ground where Casualty Clearing Stations have constantly been before, and are now in a very desolate part. No.45 CCS is entirely under canvas, both patients and personnel. No.46 CCS is almost entirely hutted for everyone, the huts being found still standing there when they returned to open up again. At the time of the visit neither of the Units were very busy. During the night they had taken in 500 walking cases, and as four other Units had opened up in front of them, two at Boisleux and 3 at Grevillers, their work is likely to get even less. They had a staff of 28 and 30 respectively, and both Commanding Officers and the Sisters in charge said that these staffs might be reduced with advantage.
I then returned to Fillievres where I spent the night at No.6 Stationary Hospital, OC Colonel Harding, A/Matron Miss Daly, QAIMNS. The quarters are completed, and in addition to their staff of 22, they will be able to take in 28 members of the Nursing Staff passing through on their way to the Armies. Miss K. Holmes, QAIMNS who had just arrived from the United Kingdom joined as Assistant Matron, and on Miss Daly’s return from leave she will be appointed A/Principal Matron of the 3rd Army, and will be responsible for keeping my office informed of all matters in connection with the Nursing arrangements in all Units in that Army.
I left early in the morning and visited Headquarters of the DMS 3rd Army at Noeux. I saw the DMS and the Surgical Consultant, Colonel Pilcher, and learnt that Nos.3, 43 and 21 CCS were shortly going to move forward, that the Army Commander had been more that delighted with their recent successes, that the Hindenburg line had been broken, and that their great success had been overshadowed by the American Victory.
I went on to Boisleux, a long and tedious journey, and as one advanced all the surroundings became more and more desolate. Nos.19 and 38 CCS had been working for a week. They had opened up in a very desolate spot, where they had had great difficulty in establishing their Units owing to the shell holes and the condition of the roads. They were now established one on either side of the road, and were taking in alternately, 500 at a time. It was extraordinary what had been done in the time, and the marquees were thoroughly established, mostly boarded, and the patients looked very comfortable and well cared for. Both Operating Theatres had opened up in marquees, 8 tables were working, they were well lighted with acetylene gas. These Units both had a staff of 30 which included several visiting Teams and lady Anaesthetists, many of whom had come from the Lines of Communication.
After lunch, which I had at No.19 CCS, I went on to Grevillers, the country becoming still more desolate as I went on, and the difficulty of getting along greater. I passed quantities of German ammunition which they had been obliged to leave behind, and everywhere there were German notices along the roads, which had replaced our English ones in their advance.
Nos.34 and 56 CCS were busy establishing themselves, and had already begun to take in. I met the DMS General Murray Irwin, at the Unit. Both stations were under canvas, the Sisters tents being well dug in several feet deep. These Units are subjected to nightly air-raids.
I drove through Albert which is hardly recognisable, being simply a heap of ruins caused by our guns in the German retreat when we drove them out of the town. I travelled by Doullens to Abbeville, where I spent the night at the Annexe.
Before leaving Abbeville I went over the Nurses’ Home, which has been thoroughly done up from garret to Basement, and which is now in first rate condition. The floors are well polished, and all the beds are supplied with bed linen, until recently all the Sisters passing through had been expected to sleep in blankets; this only came to my notice when the Matron of the Sick Sisters’ Hospital took over the care of the Nurses’ Home as well. The Home has an excellent dug-out, and the Sisters’ Hospital a cellar. Of late they have been very little disturbed in Abbeville with air-raids. I returned to Boulogne about 11 o’clock.
Miss Stimson, Chief Nurse, American Nursing Service, arrived from Paris at 7 a.m. and was met by Miss Blakely, RRC, QAIMNS, and Miss Craig, VAD. After breakfast I left with Miss Stimson for the Headquarters of the 3rd Army at Noeux, where we met General Murray Irwin and his Staff at lunch. The General informed us of the extraordinarily good work that had been done, that over 4000 prisoners had been taken, and that the Army Commander, General Byng, was absolutely delighted. He told us of the various changes that were taking place in the Army. After lunch we left for Beaulencourt, driving through Albert and Doullens to No.43 CCS.
No.43 CCS had opened up in a very desolate part of the country near No.4 CCS. Both Units had only been open for 3 days, they were fully established, and were crowded with badly wounded patients. Both the Commanding Officers and the Sisters in Charge expressed themselves satisfied with everything. The Nursing Staffs were accommodated in Bell tents, which had been well dug in by the Australian engineers.
We then went on to Grevillers to Nos.34 and 56 CCS both of which Units were very much improved since my visit last week. Everything was in wonderful order, and a tremendous lot of work was taking place.
Then on to Boisleux through Bapaume. Still nothing but desolation everywhere, no trees and no vegetation, and large shell holes everywhere, and quantities of German ammunition on all sides which had not yet been collected up. We stayed the night at No.19 CCS and Miss Stimson and I were provided with a small Armstrong hut. This Unit is fortunate in opening up on the old site, and one or two Nissen Huts were still standing and had been repaired for the Nurses convenience by the engineers. Nos.19 and 38 CCS are both at Boisleux, and were working well. On all sides I heard of the good work of the Nurses and of the suitable people who had been sent up.
We left early in the morning, and after visiting No.29 Ambulance Train, we drove to Varennes, where we visited No.3 Canadian CCS. We had lunch in the Mess with Miss Wilson, Sister in charge. This Unit had just evacuated, so there were not many patients, but all the arrangements, especially in the Operating Theatre, were extremely good. They had splendid arrangements for sterilising instruments, a very large number being done when so many tables are working, and they had a big covered receptacle which enabled all instruments to be kept absolutely sterile and in groups, so that all Team Sisters could easily find the instruments they required without delay.
We then drove to 59 CCS, where a new Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Delacourt, had just taken over, and the whole of the Camp looked absolutely different since my last visit.
We returned to Abbeville to Headquarters of the DMS, L of C and saw Colonel Gallie, Captain Greig, and Dr. Sandeman. We went up to No.2 Stationary Hospital where Miss Stimson had an opportunity of seeing the American Nurses working at that Unit who have been lent to the BEF We stayed the night at the Annexe.
We left early for Bertangle the Headquarters of the DMS 4th Army, where we saw the ADMS Lt. Colonel Potts, the DMS being on leave. All the Headquarters of the various departments are here established under canvas in a huge Aerodrome, sheltered by trees. In consequence of the tremendous advance we are making these departments are moving to Peronne, and being dug in for the winter, there being no form of habitation of any kind in the Area through which we are now advancing. The ADMS told me of the various moves which are about to take place among the Casualty Clearing Stations.
We travelled through Albert and Peronne to Doingt, where No.20 and 55 CCS have recently moved form Edgehill. The move had only taken place 48 hours before, both Units were absolutely in order, operating Theatres, resuscitation and pre-operation wards, huts, marquees, and Sisters’ quarters. Both Units were full to overflowing with patients. Everything was going on as if the Units had been established many months. We had lunch at No.55 CCS In both these Units were some of the recent American arrivals, who were doing good work.
Then on to Brie to Nos.47 and 48 CCS. At 47 CCS Lt. Col. Bateman OC, Sister in charge Miss Gray, TFNS. At 48 CCS Lt. Col. Dive, OC, Sister in charge Miss Roy, QAIMNS. Everything was excellent in every way. No.47 CCS promises to be an unusually nice Unit. The CO is making arrangements to have an exceptionally large Theatre which will be in three marquees, so that the patients need never be taken out into the open when gong backwards and forwards for operation. It rained heavily all day.
We went on to La Chapelette to Nos.12 and 53 CCS. These Units ere not so busy as the others, being now rather far back, and there is a question of their closing down and moving forward almost immediately.
We left for 41 Stationary Hospital, near Amiens. This Unit is established in a Lunatic Asylum, and here we stayed the night. We heard that Amiens is again to be taken over by the French requiring the Asylum for their wounded. The DMS is making a very great effort to retain the building, as it is in every way suitable, and is capable of accommodating an enormous number of patients. If it is possible to keep it, they are anxious to open centres for all special work, such as Head, Jaw, Eyes, Nose and Ears, and to establish a Sick Sisters’ Hospital, and they should be able to accommodate almost any number of Nurses passing through backwards and forwards to the Armies without any inconvenience whatever. The Asylum is built in wings in enormous grounds, which are beautifully laid out and surrounded by brick walls, and which contain several fine houses, where no doubt the official staff of the Asylum were accommodated. There are beautiful flower, fruit and vegetable gardens, where the medical and Nursing Staff are able to purchase what they require. There are four big Operating Theatres, leading one to the other, and the Sisters’ quarters are in one of the blocks and are most comfortable in every respect, the only peculiarity being that no doors can be shut without a master key.
Left early for Treport travelling via St. Ricquier and Dusement, and arrived in time for lunch, which we had at No.16 General Hospital, the American Unit, with Miss Dunlop, Chief Nurse, and a beautiful woman, Miss Gibson, YMCA entertainer, who has got one year’s leave from the University where she was lecturing, and has been appointed Head of the YMCA American Red Cross. Among other things she arranges to post educated ladies when required in Sisters’ quarters of Hospitals to do letter writing for the Matron and to arrange classes for the Nursing Staff in French, History, languages, or any other subjects which they wish to study. We went round the wards, and afterwards went to No.47 General Hospital, where Miss Stimson had an opportunity of seeing the American Nurses who are working in this Area, and I of talking to the Matron, who has only recently taken over, and finding out how things are going. From there I went to No.3 General Hospital, where I saw the Matron, Miss Mowat, QAIMNS and the CO and had tea with them, and before leaving called on the ADMS of the Area.
We then left for Etaples, travelling via St. Valery and Rue, and arrived after dark. I saw Miss Hewetson at the Villa Tino, who has recently taken over from Miss Hopton, and Miss Stimson had an opportunity of going over the Villa Tino and the Villa les Pins, and of seeing 5 American Nurses who were sick there, among them being Miss Pepoon, who was suffering from Septicaemia and has now developed endocarditis. We spent the night at the Villa Tino, and were disturbed by a certain number of guns, and the sounds of a heavy barrage in the Boulogne direction. We were unable to call on the DDMS as he had just left for England to attend the wedding of his son.
I left early with Miss Stimson for No.22 General Hospital, where Miss Stimson saw the Matron, Mrs. Hagar with reference to the question of considering the application of many of her Staff who had not renewed their contracts and who had gone to Paris with a view to joining up with the Americans.
Returned to the office, where Miss Stimson was shown all the official side of the work of the office, including the monthly Diary, our method of moving Sisters and keeping in touch with all members working in our Units, how we obtain information as to their work and capabilities to enable us to supply the right sort of Nurse to meet the requirements of each special Unit. She went into the office set apart for the work of the Overseas, and with Miss Craig, the VAD in charge of that Department saw all the particulars and how exactly the records were kept, and the work we did with index cards. She was very much impressed by the information we found necessary to include on the index cards and took a copy of one with her, also a copy of the headings of the summary which is always attached to the end of my Diary each month. We had lunch at the billet, and afterwards I started with Miss Stimson for Hesdin to see the General Hospital.
We arrived late in consequence of breaking down by the way, and having to leave the car and the driver on the road, and proceed in another car which was fortunately placed at my disposal. We arrived at Headquarters in the middle of tea and found all the DMSs and ADMSs of the Armies at tea at the Mess, having been summoned there to attend an important Conference. After tea we proceeded to No.12 Stationary Hospital, where we stayed the night, and where we were met by Miss Bond, the new Matron, who had recently taken over, and the OC Colonel Crombie. A large supply of Nurses were waiting to proceed to forward Areas, and staffs of two Casualty Clearing Stations had just arrived to rest until their Units had moved forward. The arrangements at this Hospital are excellent in every respect. Miss Stimson and I were accommodated in two rooms in the Sick Officers’ Division, and we were extremely comfortable.
With Miss Stimson I left in an Ambulance used by His Majesty the King and lent by the Ambulance Convoy, as the car would not be ready for 24 hours at least. We went to Wavrans first to see the Rest Camp where we were met by the DMS of the Army and two British Professors, one a professor of Mathematics and Bacteriology, and the other a professor of Anatomy, who were visiting the Front. The Camp was full of men resting from the Line, and was a perfectly run and managed Unit, with every possible comfort and convenience which could be supplied so far forward for the benefit of men resting. There was a first class Dining Hall, recreation rooms, recreation grounds, many of the marquees were supplied with beds, the gardens were full of flowers and vegetables, the kitchen was one of the best I have seen of its kind, and supplied with a wonderful fat trap. The delousing chambers wee remarkable and most interesting to see.
From there we went with the party to Agnez-les-Duisans to No.23 CCS and Nos.1 and 4 Canadian CCS. These Units are now working smoothly and were very busy and making vast preparations for the work which they expected at any time.
From there we went to Boisleux where Nos.23, 30 and 33 CCS were busy preparing to take in the next day. It was only 24 hours since these Units had closed at their old position and established themselves in their new. Twenty Nurses had just arrived for duty and some were busy getting the quarters in order, and others were making beds and putting everything in order. A mile or so further on No.1 CCS was making great preparations to receive merely walking cases. Here there were only 8 Nurses. The attack here is going to be made by a Canadian Division, and as large numbers of Canadians are likely to be taken in as patients, I arranged for some Canadian Sisters to join this Unit to assist in looking after the lightly wounded Canadians and walking cases.
We then drove back to No.6 Stationary Hospital where we stayed the night, and where Miss Stimson had an opportunity of seeing a Stationary Hospital which had been moved bodily only the month before and was absolutely established and in perfect working order; paths made, lawns laid out, flowers and vegetables in the garden, electric light laid on, and every possible convenience supplied, and everything had been done mainly by large numbers of patients who were suffering from shell shock. Miss Daly, the A/Matron, was on leave, and Miss Holmes, QAIMNS, was acting for her. The staff of 29 CCS had just arrived, as that Unit also was closing at Gezaincourt and proceeding further forward.
Left early with Miss Stimson and drove straight to GHQ where I was fortunate enough to see the General before he started to the Front, and we both met the Director General of the American Army in Washington, General Gorgas. After seeing the DGMS I sent a telegram to the Matron-in-Chief, AIF asking her to postpone her visit for October 1st till she received a letter from me, in which I was suggesting that she should delay her arrival, unless it inconvenienced her very much, till after I returned from leave.
From there we drove to Moulle, and had lunch with Miss Hartigan. Afterwards Miss Stimson, Miss Hartigan and I proceeded to Remy, where we inspected the Units which had just taken up their position on the old site, Nos.10, 62, and 2 Canadian, CCS. I saw all the Casualty Clearing Stations and everything seemed to be quite satisfactory, though No.62 CCS did not appear to be up to the standards of the other two. The Operating Theatre was working and seemed lacking in order, and there was no Sister in either the Resuscitation or the Pre-operation Wards.
From there we went on to Rousbrugge to 36 CCS, a most wonderful Unit in remarkable order, laid out in quite an unusual and fine manner; all wards connected with the Operating Theatre and the X Ray Department, warmed and of an even temperature, lit by electric light, and thoroughly comfortable in every respect. The Sisters’ quarters were equally good, and there was no doubt that the CO Colonel Harvey and the Sister in charge, Miss Skinner, are first rate administrators and managers.
From there we went to the Headquarters of the 2nd Army where we met General Guise Moores, and Major Marshall, Anaesthetist for the Army, and we discussed the best methods to be pursued in future with regard to the training and distribution of lady Anaesthetists. We learnt that Nos.18 and 58 CCS were moving to another Army, that No.10 Stationary Hospital was going back almost to its old site at St. Omer, and that possibly a General Hospital was going from Calais to take the place of No.18 CCS at Malassises when it closed up; that two Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations had been transferred from Ana Jana to the 5th Army at St. Venant, and that Nos.8, 17, and 64 were taking up their position there, and that No.63 had gone to Ebblinghem. It was nearly dark when we left Headquarters, and almost directly after we started, we began to see the French troops who were moving forward in the dark, absolutely quietly and absolutely without light: large numbers of cavalry, infantry and artillery, with their equipment and transport. We arrived at Moulle quite late after everyone had had their dinner.
With Miss Hartigan and Miss Stimson left for the Headquarters of the 5th Army where we met General Gerrard, the DMS, Colonel Smith, and Colonel Miller, the Medical Specialist of the Army. I discussed with the General the question of appointing Miss Hartigan Principal Matron of his Army as well as of the 2nd Army, and of this he entirely approved. We also discussed the Barges and he approved of the suggestion that the sisters for duty on Barges should be posted at the Unit nearest to where they were likely to be until required and that the EMO should always acquaint the Matron when nurses would be required to proceed for a journey on a Barge. The General asked me to visit No.39 Stationary Hospital and discuss the question with the Matron and the CO of the importance of training the orderlies in that Unit.
We then proceeded to No.39 Stationary Hospital, and Miss Stimson and Miss Hartigan inspected the Hospital while I saw the OC and the Matron on the point of instruction of the orderlies and the accommodation of Barge Sisters, and they undertook to start classes at once, and to let me have the syllabus, and the CO is giving the Matron 3 extra rooms, now used by the Medical Officers, for the accommodation of Barge Sisters.
We then went to St. Venant, a long drive, and great damage has been done to the villages and the town itself, as well as the Asylum where two Australian CCS have opened up. This Asylum is a commodious building in grounds, much the same as the Asylum near Amiens, but owing to the frequent bombardments is not in such good condition, and the engineers are busy repairing the roofs, ceilings and walls, and making the place as habitable as possible. Like at Amiens, the wards are so airy and lofty and supplied with tessellated pavements. There is commodious and suitable accommodation in houses in the grounds for all members of the personnel. We had lunch at No.1 Australian CCS and afterwards interviewed the staff of the Advanced Operating Centre which was on its way as far forward as it was considered safe to a town called Anzin, quite close to Bethune. This Operating Centre is a section of No.54 CCS. While interviewing them we learnt that the ADMS of the 19th Division had been instructed by the General to meet us, and was going to take us to see the building and accommodation which had been obtained for this Advanced Dressing Centre. We drove there and found quite a nice house, with two little sitting rooms and three bedrooms being got ready for the Nursing Staff of 5, and absolutely next to it in another building 3 fine big rooms capable of accommodating 30 patients, beds supplied and already made up, and a fine, well lighted, lofty room which was busily being converted into an Operating Theatre.
From there we drove to Lozinghem, the old site of No.22 CCS, where No.32 CCS was now working. This place, like all others, was dreadfully dirty when it was taken over, and they were busy trying to get things ship-shape. The Nursing Sisters were accommodated in a beautiful Chateau in the grounds. In the Operating Theatre, which was an excellent one, we saw a transfusion being done on a patient who was in a very critical condition. The donor and the patient were side by side, and Miss Stimson had an opportunity of seeing the whole operation which was done in a very skilful manner. She was very impressed with the capable way in which the orderlies were working, and with the thorough way in which they had been taught, and she was also much impressed with the intelligent way in which the Team Sister was assisting the Surgeon.
We had tea at Moulle and left Miss Hartigan there, and came on to Boulogne. Miss Stimson signed out at the office of the American APM. We had dinner at the Mess, where I had arranged for Miss Butler, American Matron of No.13 General Hospital, to meet Miss Stimson, and after dinner Miss Stimson left by the mail train for Paris.
SUMMARY FOR SEPTEMBER 1918
No.15 Casualty Clearing Station, on 18.9.18: Staff supplied – 8
No.50 Casualty Clearing Station, on 28.9.18: Staff supplied – 10
Total – 18
Trained – 88
VADs – 53
Sent home Sick
Trained – 21
VADs – 13
Returned from Sick Leave
Trained – 9
VADs – 3
Total at present Sick in England
Trained – 129
VADs – 77
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 16 (5 for marriage)
To Home Establishment – 23
To Italy – 1
To Palestine – 1
To Hospital Ship “Valdivia” – 7
Approximate No. of leaves granted
To United Kingdom – 769
To Paris – 8
To Etretat – 1
To Rest of France – 3
Total – 781
VADs returned to England
Resigned – 7 (1 for marriage)
Termination of Contract – 12 (1 for marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment – 4
Total – 23
No.30 General Hospital, on 15th September. No casualties, although slight damage was done to the Officers’ wards.
No.12 and No.53 Casualty Clearing Stations. No casualties to Nursing Staff.
Military Medals awarded
S/Nurse R. Brain, TFNS: No.55 General Hospital
N/Sister E. J. Thompson, CAMC: No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital
N/Sister M. Hodge, CAMC: No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital
Insigne de Bronze awarded
N/Sister F. W. Brown, CAMC: No.7 Canadian General Hospital
N/Sister E. Gallagher, CAMC: No.1 Canadian General Hospital
N/Sister E. M. Clarke, CAMC: No.8 Canadian General Hospital
N/Sister E. Bagshaw, CAMC: late of No.6 Canadian General Hospital
N/Sister J. Galbraith, CAMC: late of No.6 Canadian General Hospital
N/Sister M. Macdonald, CAMC: late of No.6 Canadian General Hospital
Total No. of CAMC
Transferred to England – 28
Arrived in France – 29
Now in France – 752
Total No. of AANS
Transferred to England – 13
Arrived in France – 7
Now in France – 451
Total requirements of Nurses in the BEF according to War Establishment on the L of C, including Stationary Hospitals in the Front Areas:-
Trained Nurses – 2252
VADs and Special Probationers – 1659
Total requirements in Front Areas (CCS, Trains, Barges)
Trained Nurses – 920
Total requirements in BEF
Trained Nurses – 3172
VADs and Special Probationers – 1659
Total British Staff now in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2436
(Not including 5 Dietitians and 85 Anaesthetists)
Americans attached to British Units nursed by British personnel – 92
AANS attached to British Units nursed by British personnel – 17
Total – 2545
Shortage, Trained Nurses – 627
Surplus, VADs etc. – 63
Grand total in BEF (including Overseas and Americans)
Trained Nurses – 4815
VADs and Special Probationers – 3243*
*includes 850 General Service VADs in British Units