CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3991
From this time the diary continues in the same form, with the first section outlining the day to day activities of the Nursing Services, and the second section giving an account of the visits to hospitals and other medical facilities made by the Matron-in-Chief and her staff. However, from January 1919 the first section of each month's diary becomes little more than a very long list of nurses being demobilised and returned to the United Kingdom, so from this month onwards I have included only the 'visit' sections for each month, and combined them into one page. It provides an unusual and interesting insight into hospital life in France and Germany after the Armistice.
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Left with Miss Barbier CHR, for Hardelot, where I left her for a few days rest at Princess Louise’s Villa, which has been lent for a Convalescent Home for Nurses since the beginning of the War. Lady Victoria de Trafford has recently taken over this Villa from Lady Gifford, who has gone to Cannes to open a Home for Nurses in the South of France. The Villa is staffed entirely by VAD members, not General Service people. The Home was filling up with Nurses requiring rest, from the Base. During Christmas week the numbers had been extraordinarily small. Everything seemed satisfactory. The Villa is particularly charming, well built and well furnished.
Left Hardelot at half past 11, and in consequence of many difficulties with the car did not arrive at Abbeville until half past four. After having a meal at the Sisters’ Home, I went to the office of the DMS, L of C where I saw the DDMS Colonel Gallie, General Carr being on leave. I discussed the question of the removal of the British Nurses lent to the Belgians for work in Bruges, as I had heard from the Matron, Miss A. P. Wilson QAIMNS that the work had been and was decreasing rapidly. She had a staff of 24. He advised me to put the matter up officially and ask that authority might be given for their withdrawal.
We also discussed the question of demobilisation, and it was arranged that I was to ask officially if, when No.13 General Hospital (USA) closed, the Marine Hotel, at present the Sisters’ mess of that unit, might be retained for the use of the Nursing Service for demobilisation purposes. Discussed the question of the unfavourable report on S/Nurse Munday QAIMNSR on No.25 Ambulance Train, and it was decided to attach with her application to resign the unfavourable report on her work. I stayed the night at No.2 Stationary Hospital Annexe.
I inspected the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. Everything as usual very satisfactory, and although there were a large number of patients none of them were seriously ill. Afterwards saw Miss Willetts QAIMNS, Matron No.2 Stationary Hospital, with reference to an unfortunate incident which had been reported by the Night Wardmaster with reference to irregularities which had occurred in the German Division during Christmas time. These irregularities affected the Sister QAIMNSR in charge of the Division and three VADs. After seeing the Matron I saw the CO Lt. Colonel Meadows, and it was decided that before leaving I should see the four members and that the matter should be reported officially to me for transmission to the DMS, L of C.
After luncheon, I left with Miss Loughron QAIMNSR (Australia) for Doullens, where I visited No.18 CCS which has recently opened up in the Citadel, the old site of No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital. I saw the CO Colonel Storrs, and the Sister in Charge Miss Barrett, TFNS. I inspected the Unit, which is not at all satisfactory, and arranged to send Miss Meeke QAIMNSR, who had originally been in charge of this Unit, to replace Miss Barrett, who was not up to managing such a large, scattered and difficult CCS.
Spoke to Colonel Storrs and the Sister in Charge about the unfavourable reports which had been submitted from the Unit on Staff Nurses Dipple, Corrigan and Maisey QAIMNSR. Both agreed that they were very futile [sic], and unsuitable in every way. Had tea in the Sisters’ quarters, which are established in the old mess of No.3 Canadian Stationary, a chateau in the grounds. Everything was very satisfactory, and they were holding their Sunday afternoon At Home. The Unit itself gave one the impression of lack of interest, and was very unsatisfactory in every respect. Returned to Abbeville where I stayed the night.
Interviewed Sister Farmer QAIMNSR and VADs Dowson, Rickards and Wickens. From what I could gather the Sister is a very weak woman who finds it difficult to check her VADs. The VADs were quite young and thoughtless girls and seemed very upset at the incident. Miss Wickens, who, I have been informed, was taking Strychnine and Dovers’ Powders, and had a tube of Strychnine and Dovers’ Powders in her possession, was admitted into the Sick Sisters’ Hospital for treatment. Rang up the CO after the interview, and with his approval I suggested moving the three members and asking for a further report on their work and general behaviour in two months’ time. To this he entirely agreed. Before leaving Abbeville I saw the DDMS, L of C and explained the situation.
Went on to GHQ where I had lunch, and afterwards spoke to the DDGMS General Thomson about the unfortunate bungle which had been made at Etaples about the GHQ dance, and he fully realised and had already made it known that the blame entirely fell on the DDMS and Principal Matron of the Area. I here learnt that 22 General Hospital was leaving the next day, and I undertook to go and see the Matron.
Then went on to Etaples in consequence of having had a telephone message from Miss Wilton Smith saying that a letter had been received from 20 General Hospital which required attention, and which she had sent to the Principal Matron’s Office for me to see before visiting the Unit. At Etaples I saw the DDMS and said that I would be visiting No.20 General Hospital after receiving the letter. He could not imagine what could be the contents of this letter which needed immediate attention, and the only things which he could think of was that he had heard something of the management of the mess recently, and the Principal Matron had visited the Unit and had settled the matter.
No.24 General Hospital: Visited No.24 General Hospital where I saw Miss Allen QAIMNS and received the letter, which proved to be anonymous, written by the Sisters and Nurses at 20 General saying they regretted having to approach me, but as they had repeatedly appealed to the Matron and Home Sister with regard to the Messing arrangements and no notice was taken they felt the only thing to do was to approach me.
No.20 General Hospital: I then visited No.20 General Hospital, where I had already telephoned to let the Matron know I wanted to see her. I went into the matter very thoroughly with Miss Humphries. The explanation was most unsatisfactory, and as she is requiring leave I told her that during her absence I would put a Matron in, and would replace the Home Sister.
No.22 General Hospital (Harvard Unit): Then went on to 22 General Hospital where I saw the Matron Mrs. Hagar and invited the whole staff to lunch at the Hotel du Nord next day prior to their embarkation by the afternoon boat. Said to her that it was most important before she left to submit all the confidential reports to the DDMS Office, and to have all the medical certificates and Gratuity Forms completed. I also let them know that before embarkation they were going to be paid everything that was due to them as well as their gratuity.
Harvard Unit: With Miss Wilton Smith and two of my Secretaries, Miss Craig and Miss N. Wilkinson VADs, I went to the Hotel du Nord where we met Mrs. Hagar and her staff of 95 and where before taking lunch all records of their work were completed in our registers. Mrs. Gordon Brown, Lady Superintendent Canadian Nursing Sisters’ Rest Home, Hotel du Nord, had arranged an admirable luncheon for everyone, and immediately afterwards they all proceeded to the Base Cashier, where they all received their pay and gratuity before embarking. Colonel White DMS and the CO Colonel Cabot accompanied them, Col. White having come over from America specially to make arrangements for this Unit. Accommodation for the Nurses had been arranged at various hotels in London until their departure for America, which they expected would be on 11th instant.
I went to Abbeville with the Principal Matron Canadians, and saw the DMS General Carr. I gave him a large number of confidential reports on members of the Regular Service, for him to make his remarks on. We discussed the question of the withdrawal of the nurses from Bruges, and he advised me to go and see the Belgian Authorities and inspect the hospital before the nurses left, after which to put it up officially if I considered their services were no longer required, for permission to withdraw them. I gave him particulars of the difficulty in the Nurses’ Mess, and returned to Boulogne the same night, having spent 7 ½ hours on the road on the way there and back in consequence of car difficulties.
20 General Hospital: Miss Humphries TFNS Matron of 20 General Hospital, came to Boulogne and stayed the night at our Mess. I discussed the question of the management of her hospital and the reduction of her staff, which was no doubt far too large and which neither she nor the Principal Matron had reported officially to me. Arranged with her to go to the South of France for a fortnight and later to go to Edinburgh on leave, to enable her to arrange her affairs for the future. I undertook to write to Miss Gill, Matron of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, to ask if she was making any arrangements for Miss Humphries after the War, and asking her to let me know if she wished her to be released at an early date. Arranged for Miss Drage QAIMNS to proceed to 20 General Hospital, asking her to proceed with Miss Humphries next morning in order to be with her for a few days before she took over and to enable Miss Humphries to complete confidential reports on her staff before leaving the Unit.
DGMS visited the Office: We discussed the question of the new Honours and Mentions for the Peace Despatch and he asked me to be sure to look into the question very carefully so that nobody deserving should be overlooked, and to remember the Lady Workers and Convoy Drivers. Discussed the unsatisfactory report I had received of the Sisters’ Mess at No.20 General Hospital, and he approved of my suggestion of sending a circular on the subject to all Bases making the A/Principal Matron of the Areas responsible to the DDMS and that all particulars should be forwarded to this office. The following is a copy of the circular in question:-
“Owing to certain complaints that have been made of late, it is thought advisable that the A/Principal Matrons of Areas should pay special attention and satisfy themselves that the arrangements which are made in all hospitals by Matrons for the comfort of the Nursing Staff are as excellent as can be under present conditions. They should, when inspecting hospitals constantly visit the Sisters’ quarters, the Mess, kitchen, and bedrooms, and satisfy themselves that all matters are being arranged as well as circumstances will permit for the comfort of the staff, also that the instructions contained in paras. 7 & 8 of Standing Orders of the QAIMNS are complied with. Points requiring special attention are:-
1. Kitchen arrangements.
2. The amount of domestic help provided.
3. The appointments for the table.
4. The menu, which should be as varied as conditions will permit, and there should be plenty of everything. There should never be need for Nurses to have to supplement their meals by private purchase.
5. The bedroom accommodation.
6. The care of all rooms.
7. Bathroom accommodation, where there should always be an ample supply of hot water and baths available at any time during the day.
When difficulties arise, the matter should be looked into at once, and it should be reported to this office, stating what arrangements have been able to be made."
Major Lord Greville came to the Office with reference to the three day trips which he was arranging for the benefit of Nurses and VAD members from both Calais and Boulogne Bases on three successive days, parties to consist of 14 members with a Conducting Officer in attendance, and I arranged that a senior Member of the Service should be in charge of each party. These trips were to begin on 20th instant, and the parties from Calais would finish the trip at Boulogne, and the Boulogne parties at Calais. The programme drawn up is as follows:-
1st day: Leave for Blendeques. Sleep at Blendeques. 2nd day: Arras, Vimy Ridge, Lens, La Bassee, Gezaincourt. Sleep at Gezaincourt. 3rd day: Somme Battlefield, Bapaume, Albert. Sleep at (Boulogne) or (Calais). The Principal Matrons of the Areas were issued with full instructions regarding these trips, and the names of the Members selected were also notified.
Pilgrimage to Lourdes: The Roman Catholic Chaplain from GHQ Colonel Rawlinson, rang up to say that he had made arrangements with the Etaples Padre for Nurses to proceed on an 8 days’ tour to Lourdes, leaving Etaples on 29th. I let him know that I knew nothing about it, and made an appointment to visit him at his Headquarters the next day after discussing the matter with the DGMS should it meet with his approval.
Honours & Mentions: The Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox came to the office with reference to the names of her Lady Workers whom she wished to include in the Peace Despatch. She arranged to let me have all particulars, and I undertook to consider their names with all others when going into the question with the DGMS.
With Miss Wright VAD to GHQ where I saw Colonel Rawlinson, Principal Roman Catholic Chaplain, with reference to the Pilgrimage to Lourdes, and said that until something was settled officially on the subject no further arrangements should be made. He told me that Col. Wroughton, Adjutant General’s Office, had told him there would be no difficulty in the matter. Father Coyle, a Jesuit Priest at Etaples, would be in charge of the party, and arrangements had been made with the railway authorities for accommodation to be provided, and they would go direct from Etaples by train, via Paris. The fare would be 30 francs each way from Paris, and their expenses at Lourdes would be 8 francs a day.
From there I went on to GHQ and saw Colonel Price Jones who informed me that he had heard of the matter but had nothing on paper, and he advised me to put up the request with as little delay as possible.
From there to Etaples. Saw the DDMS Colonel Barefoot, who had not realised the necessity of this trip being on thoroughly official lines before any orders could be given. I also found that he was arranging privately for trips to the Forward Areas for Nurses in parties of 14 one day and 24 the next, without any definite instructions on the subject, and he undertook to delay the starting of these trips until proper instructions had been circulated by the Acting Principal Matron as had already been done at Boulogne.
Had tea at 24 General Hospital in the Matron’s sitting-room, where were also Colonel Barefoot and Colonel Anderson, the new OC. Returned in time for dinner at Boulogne.
Heard the news of Prince John’s death, which occurred in his sleep on 18th instant at Sandringham.
Left early for Bruges, and arrived at the Hospital at 1 p.m. This is a well built institution, the Sisters being comfortably accommodated in one wing. The Matron, Miss A. P. Wilson, ARRC, QAIMNS and a staff of 24 others had been there since November nursing principally Influenza cases of a very severe character. The patients were now reduced to 16, and the Belgian authorities were still loath to part with the English Sisters, who had been asked for from the War Office by the Queen of the Belgians. During their time in Bruges there had been no official inspection of any kind, neither had anyone visited the Unit officially to let them know if their work was satisfactory or otherwise. The OC of the Unit does not live at the hospital, but in his own home in Bruges, where he has a large private practice as well as the hospital work.
The Hospital is in a beautiful building, formerly a Lunatic Asylum for Women, capable of accommodating 900. When the Germans occupied the town the women were let loose without any arrangements being made for their care, and the building was opened up as a German Hospital. It is in a well preserved condition, and has not suffered much damage. I spent the night there, and was most comfortably accommodated and looked after. The Belgians have treated the Nurses with every consideration, and have provided them with not only good accommodation but with good attendants. They were supplied with Belgian rations and were made honorary Members of the Officers’ Canteen, and when supplies were available they were able to buy them at reduced prices.
Returned from Bruges, arriving at midday.
The 3 day trips to Forward Areas from both Bases completed. Each day (22nd, 23rd, 24th) the Conducting Officer and the Sister in charge of the party called at the office to say that all had gone well and that the members had had a very interesting and instructive time. The Matron in charge of each party was writing to Major Lord Greville thanking him, and as well I wrote on behalf of everybody to thank him for arranging the trips, and for the great privilege each Member of the party realised had been given in having the opportunity of visiting the Front Areas under such pleasant and interesting conditions.
Miss Ridley, Principal Matron Canadians, accompanied by Miss Campbell and Miss Isaacs, Matrons CAMC, left for a tour of inspection in the Forward Areas, intending to visit all Canadian Units right up to Cologne, and returning via Brussels.
Miss Barbier CHR was today suddenly compelled to go home on 3 days’ special leave to settle urgent private affairs in consequence of her sister-in-law’s sudden death leaving two babies and her brother being still mobilised.
Left for Abbeville with confidential reports and recommendations for British Honours for American Nurses serving with the BEF for the General’s signature. Saw General Carr, who signed and made the necessary remarks. I let him know as well the difficulties that had existed at 20 General Hospital, and what arrangements had been made and were being made for the 3 day and the daily trips to Front Areas, and for the Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Then on to Hesdin to the DGMS with the American recommendations. Saw Colonel Bowden-Smith and Major Buckley, both the Generals being busy with work in connection with demobilisation etc. at other Bases. Discussed the American recommendations just sent in. The Peace Despatches, which they would like to arrive at the office if possible on 1st, the other copies of which were going through the usual channels and were to be at Headquarters L of C on 3rd. Spoke on the dancing question and the many requests I was receiving from the Armies, and was advised to put the matter up officially, to DGMS.
Went to see Sir Arthur Lawley, Commissioner BRCS with reference to the Honours and Mentions and went thoroughly into all of them. Undertook to let him have a complete list of the names of those that had gone forward.
Received War Office wire recalling Miss Blakely QAIMNS, A/Principal Matron Boulogne Area, for duty in England. Arranged for Miss S. Daly QAIMNS, A/Matron 6 Stationary Hospital to join 74 General Hospital to release Miss L. E. Mackay, QAIMNS to come to Boulogne as Acting Principal Matron vice Miss Blakely; Miss A. P. Wilson QAIMNS Matron 72 General Hospital becoming A/Principal Matron Trouville Hospital Centre in addition to her other duties. Let the DMS and DDMS and OCs concerned know of the approaching changes.
Received official notification that the Portuguese Authorities could now spare the British Nurses, and arrangements were being made for the Portuguese Red Cross ladies now working at the Portuguese Hospital to take over this work. Miss Hill TFNS Matron in Charge of the Portuguese Hospital, came to see me with reference to the approaching change, and said that all the Medical Officers were very distressed at their departure, and that a large number of the names of the Nurses at this Unit had been included in the Portuguese Despatches, and she undertook to let me have a copy of the Army Order, so that this honour might be added to their records in this office. Miss Hills is anxious to be released as soon as possible in order to resume her post as Matron of the Halifax Royal Infirmary, which she held at the beginning of hostilities. I asked her to put the matter up officially, and that it would receive every consideration. Later I received a letter from Miss Hills saying that the Portuguese authorities were putting up the matter officially asking that the question of the release of the British Nurses might be reconsidered, as they felt that the condition of the patients would suffer should the British Nurses be taken away at this moment and be replaced by untrained ladies. They still had a large number of sick and wounded, and in addition to this, like the British, they were losing many of their best orderlies.
I rang up the War Office to ascertain whether Miss Blakely could be permitted short leave in the South of France before returning to England as she has been out since August 1914 working very hard, and has not yet had an opportunity of going. Spoke to Dame Ethel Becher, Matron-in-Chief, who regretted that she could not arrange this as Miss Blakely’s services were urgently needed to fill the place of Matron in a very large hospital (Netley) who had suddenly been put on the sick list.
Miss Blakely left to report at the War Office. Miss Appleton QAIMNSR who has been out since the beginning of the war and who is a woman of considerable experience, is working temporarily at the Principal Matron’s office until the arrival of Miss L. E. Mackay.
Left after lunch for Douai, via St. Pol, where I picked up the A/Principal Matron of the Army, Miss Bond QAIMNS. Saw the site of the late administrative block at 12 Stationary Hospital which had recently been completely destroyed by fire, absolutely nothing being left. A small lean-to had been erected merely for telephone purposes. I learnt that the OC had been in hospital with rheumatism for some time. The hospital was extremely busy with German Prisoners of War, many in a seriously ill condition. A bitterly cold day, with the roads like glass.
Went on to Douai, arriving there at 7 p.m. Stayed at the Sisters’ Mess of 42 CCS, a most beautiful house very much out of repair and knocked about by the Germans, no water, no lighting. The Sister in Charge of 42 CCS, Miss E. R. Sloan TFNS has proved herself a most remarkable Matron, manager, and Home Sister. The quarters were perfectly wonderful, not to say luxurious, and in consequence of her own and some of the Sisters’ goodness to French refugees at a hospital where they were working before the British opened their CCS, a Frenchman who had come in close contact with their work had given them all numbers of useful things for their comfort and convenience, including a most beautiful Minton dinner service. I found that I had a sitting-room, bedroom and dressing room set apart for me. We had dinner in a room with an enormous wood fire, the meal being beautifully cooked by one of the Staff Nurses. After dinner I went into the Sisters’ Mess, where we had music, two of the Sisters sang most beautifully, having undoubtedly been very well trained.
Inspected the hospital. Found it in a big building with every sort of convenience, very scattered, very well managed, with few orderlies. Some Chinese help, but everything is in a first rate condition, cupboards, beds, bathrooms. The hospital is capable of accommodating a very large number of people. They have all classes of patients, large numbers of German Prisoners of War, Italians, Belgians, French, Algerians, Chinese. I visited the large dining hall, for which Miss Sloan is responsible. It was in very fine order, the tables nicely laid, with enamel mugs, salt, pepper, mustard and a large bottle of pickles on every table, and capable of seating 200 people. At the head of each table she had an NCO in a special seat. The CO spoke in the very highest terms of Miss Sloan, and said that since she had taken over the dining hall the difference had been extraordinary, and also the general tone and behaviour of the patients had improved enormously.
The DMS of the Army met me at Douai, and we discussed the names which were considered suitable for inclusion in the Honours and Mentions list, and the difficulty of keeping the numbers down, as there were so very many people who had done remarkably good work since the beginning and others who had proved themselves in a short time. We discussed the question of dancing, and I said it could not be. Either we were going to look after the patients or the nurses were going to enjoy themselves, and in addition it was a very bad example to civil nurses who had been attached to the Reserve or TFNS and who would shortly be returning to their civil employment where such things as constant dances were not considered suitable. He quite saw the point. We also discussed the question of Nursing Sisters in Forward Areas being made honorary Members of Officers’ Clubs, and I said that this was a thing that had been debated and was not considered desirable. We then discussed the daily trips for Nurses in Forward Areas to see other parts of the country, and I said that if there was sufficient staff to allow daily trips, and the patients were not going to suffer, I saw no objection provided that definite arrangements were made in some way similar to the lines on which these trips had been organised at the Bases, and I undertook to send him a copy of the instructions, which I though might be of assistance to the Principal Matron when considering these trips with him.
Left after lunch for Boulogne, visiting the Detention Hospital, Hesdin, on the way. Saw Miss Hopton QAIMNSR the Sister in Charge, who had arrived on the 26th instant with two Sisters specially to look after an officer who was in a critical condition. Learnt that he had very much improved. There were a large number of patients also needing attention, and very few orderlies. Found that only two rooms had been allotted to the Sisters, one of which was in use as a sitting and mess room, and the other as a bedroom where the night and day staff all slept. Saw the OC Lieut. Bykes, who said that no other arrangement could be made. I said I would see the DGMS and if it was necessary for Sisters to be there permanently a more satisfactory arrangement should be made for their convenience. Went round the hospital and found the patients comfortably accommodated and apparently very well cared for. Miss Hopton reported that the cooking was better than any she had come across in France, they had a most excellent cook and a great variety of food. She found that the patients with a temperature had been sent to a garage at the end of the garden to have a bath as a routine thing, and came up in their pyjamas. This she stopped. Returned to Boulogne.
SUMMARY FOR JANUARY, 1919
No.54 CCS, on 18.1.19: Staff supplied – 7
No.16 Ambulance Train (Taken over from BRCS) on 29.1.19: Staff supplied – 3
No.41 Ambulance Train (Returned from Italy) on 28.12.19: Staff supplied – 3
Military Hospital Bruges, on 31.1.19: Staff released – 25
No.22 Ambulance Train , on 29.1.19: Staff released – 3
No.5 Ambulance Train, on 13.1.19: Staff released – 3
No.27 Ambulance Train, on 4.1.19: Staff released – 3
No.8 CCS, on 27.1.19: Staff released – 10
No.37 CCS, on 8.1.19: Staff released – 12
No.63 CCS, on 1.1.19: Staff released – 10
No.22 General Hospital (Harvard Unit) on 7.1.19: Staff demobilised
SJAB Hospital, on 23.1.19: Staff demobilised
Queen Alexandra’s Hospital, on 11.1.19: Staff demobilised
VAD – 1
Sent Home Sick
Trained – 34
Untrained – 24
Returned from sick leave
Trained – 14
Untrained – 7
Total present sick in England
Trained – 150
Untrained – 91
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 54 (12 for marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment
Trained – 9
Approx. No. of leaves granted
To United Kingdom – 633
To Paris – 35
To South of France – 84
To Italy – 12 (CAMC)
Untrained returned to United Kingdom
On resignation – 39 (2 for marriage)
Termination of contract – 21 (2 for marriage)
Transfer to Home Establishment – 4
Sister E. M. Gladstone, QAIMNSR, on 24.1.19: (Pneumonia)
Miss J. Williams, VAD, on 31.1.19: (Broncho-pneumonia)
Total no. of CAMC
Transferred to England – 38
Arrived in France – 1
Now in France – 688
Total no. of AANS
Transferred to England – 26
Arrived in France – Nil
Now in France – 255
Total requirements of Nurses in BEF according to War Establishment on L of C (Excluding Stationary Hospitals in Front Areas and including Ambulance Trains)
Trained Nurses – 2236
Untrained – 1438
Total requirements of Nurses in Front Areas (Including Stationary Hospitals in Front Areas and CCS)
Trained Nurses – 628
Total requirements of Nurses in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2864
Untrained Nurses – 1438
Total British Staff now in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2454
(Not including 3 Embarkation Sisters, and 4 employed at Hostels
Untrained Nurses – 1580
(Not including 9 Secretaries to A/Principal Matrons and 6 employed at Hostels)
Total shortage on establishment
Trained Nurses – 410
Sick in Hospital – 97
On leave – 210
Actual shortage Trained nurses – 717
Total surplus on establishment of Untrained Nurses – 142
Sick in Hospital – 82
On leave – 188
Actual shortage Untrained Nurses – 128
Grand total in BEF (Including Overseas and Americans)
Trained Nurses – 3918
*Untrained Nurses – 3023
*This includes 854 General Service VADs working in British Units.
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Boulogne – GHQ
Went to GHQ to discuss the question of demobilisation, and the necessity of having 2 extra buildings reserved as Hostels. Suggested the Marine Hotel, which should be taken over after the staff of No.13 General (5th Harvard Unit) Hospital had left, and the Chateau de la Falaise, where at present part of the staff of No.83 (Dublin) General Hospital are accommodated, and which could easily be released at any time when the staff are reduced. Pointed out the present need of cooks for the Sisters’ Messes in consequence of men being withdrawn in large numbers, and the DGMS approved of the suggestion of applying officially for General Service VAD cooks, to be attached to Sisters’ Messes, and come under the control of the Matron. Also discussed the question of the reduction of Nurses now that the number of sick were decreasing so rapidly. The DGMS approved of the suggestion of a form similar to that of the TFNS being circulated privately to members of the QAIMNS Reserve and Civil Hospital Reserve, to enable it to be found out all those who are anxious to be released at once, those willing to remain 3 months or 6 months, or as long as required. He advised me to let the DMS, L of C know what I am doing, and to circulate it with as little delay as possible.
On my return to Boulogne, I visited Headquarters, BRCS to let the Commandant VAD Department know that I was making a request officially for the employment of General Service VADs in our Sisters’ Messes.
Left early for Abbeville, calling at GHQ on the way, where I saw the Military Secretary with regard to Honours and Mentions for the Peace Despatch. Discussed the question of recommending Lady Workers for the RRC 1st Class, which I had been advised to do, but I was uncertain whether they were eligible or not. He undertook to look into the question thoroughly, and let me know later – which he did, and from the WO Letter of 1916, there is no doubt that these ladies cannot be considered for this special honour.
Went on to Abbeville, where I saw the DMS, Major General Carr, and also the DDMS. The DMS signed all the Honours and Mentions submitted for the Peace Despatch, and sent them on to the GOC, L of C reserving one office copy which I was instructed to take to the DGMS. The question of American Nurses, which was passed to the DGMS for transmission to the GOC, L of C was also discussed, and it has now been decided that it must be returned and passed through Headquarters, L of C to GHQ.
I had lunch at the Sisters’ quarters, 2 Stationary Hospital ‘Annexe’, and afterwards went on to GHQ having been telephoned for by the DDGMS in order that I might meet Colonel Jones, who is working on demobilisation. He entirely approved of all the arrangements that had been made, and felt, like myself, the urgent necessity of reducing our staff as soon as possible. He is putting the whole matter up officially to this office, and asked Units who are anxious to be released as soon as possible.
The Detention Hospital at Hesdin is going well, and satisfactory arrangements have been made for the night Sister to have a room set apart for herself. The Officer who had been seriously ill was continuing to improve, and the Commanding Officer has been instructed to discontinue admitting patients whose condition is of a serious nature to this small Unit, and all patients requiring special attention and nursing should be sent immediately to No.6 Stationary Hospital. Returned to Abbeville for the night.
Left early for Treport. It was snowing hard. First visited No.16 General (Philadelphia Unit USA) Hospital, where I saw the Matron, Miss Dunlop, and learnt that the Isolation Block had just been taken over by No.47 General Hospital, and that all patients remaining in the American Hospital were being transferred to No.47, and the whole of the American Staff were busy packing up, and waiting in readiness to proceed, all in hope that they may be permitted to travel by London, instead of going direct to America via Brest. They all expressed regret at leaving, and spoke in the highest terms of the kindness and consideration they had received while working side by side with the British, and how much they had enjoyed the privilege of working in France.
Then went on to No.3 General Hospital, where I saw the Matron, and where I learnt that all patients belonging to No.2 Canadian General Hospital were being transferred to No.3 General Hospital, and the staff of the Canadian Unit were waiting instructions to proceed home via Boulogne and London.
I was unable to see the Matron of No.47 General Hospital as she was on leave, but I instructed Miss Mowat to be more than careful that all her records, her Mess Books, and all important communications, not only belonging to the Hospital, but also the Nursing quarters, should be in absolute order, as they might at any time be ordered to close up. That it would be important for her to keep all her Mess property and supplies together with her own personal luggage, as there was a possibility of both No.3 and No.47 General Hospitals only closing temporarily, to re-open elsewhere. She undertook to let Miss Howe, the Matron of 47 General Hospital, know on her return, so that her things might be in readiness and up-to-date when her orders came.
Had lunch at No.3 General Hospital Mess. Everything was most satisfactory, comfortable and even luxurious. Attendance was extremely good, - General Service Section – [sic]
I saw the ADMS Treport before I left. Returned to Abbeville, where I had tea, and got back to Boulogne in time for dinner.
Received a telegram from Dame Sidney Browne at the Villa Roquebrune, asking me to ascertain whether Miss Riddell, Matron of 53 General Hospital, would be willing to accept the post of Principal Matron, TFNS, under her at the War Office. I saw Miss Riddell, and let her know what was being proposed. She was quite willing to accept the post. Wired Dame Sidney Browne letting her know, and telling her as well that I was instructing Miss Northover, Matron, TFNS to take over No.53 General Hospital, sending copies of both wires to DGMS and DMS, L of C for information.
Went to an ‘At Home’ at the Canadian Nurses’ Hostel, Hotel du Nord, given by the Lady Superintendent, Mrs. Gordon Brown, in honour of Lady Drummond and Lady Perley, two Canadian ladies belonging to the Canadian Red Cross, who had been in France visiting Forward Areas.
Went to GHQ and discussed with the DGMS the questions of demobilisation, of extra allowances for members of the Regular Service, War bonuses and gratuities. The DGMS advised me to discuss the matter with the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, when I went over. Nothing was definitely settled, but as far as he could tell at the moment approximately there would be 22 General and Stationary Hospitals remaining after demobilisation. I pointed out to him that at present there were a large number of nurses out of work, but until we knew exactly where we were it seemed unwise to release too many for fear of a sudden outbreak of illness or an epidemic, and from the sick reports I noticed that there was a certain amount of Influenza.
I went to the DMS, L of C Office and let him know that I was going to England, and there I learnt of poor Major Gibson’s sudden death from Influenza, and that his wife and father were hardly even knowing that he was very ill. They had already rung up the office and asked Miss Wilton Smith and Major Stirling to meet the boat, and I arranged that Miss Loughron, the Matron of the Sisters’ Hospital at Abbeville, should accommodate Mrs. Gibson. At the same time I wrote to Col. Cummins, the head of the Pathological Dept. where Major Gibson had been assistant, letting him know what I had done.
Went on leave to England on the 14th and returned to Boulogne on the 24th. While in England visited the War Office, and saw both the Matron-in-Chief and the DGMS with reference to the demobilisation of nurses. The reason why it has been up to the present impossible to say how many nurses definitely could be released is, that although the work has been very light, the only Units which have actually up to the present been demobilised are the BRCS, New Zealand, and a certain number of Canadian and Australian Hospitals. So many of our Units are beginning to close down and are parked, but it has not yet been decided whether they are to re-open again elsewhere. Just before leaving France a fresh outbreak of Influenza had started, and since my arrival in London I had heard that the numbers of officers and men, as well as women, in the Hospitals were increasing rapidly day by day. I had also circulated privately a form similar to that of the TFNS to enable me to know exactly how many TFNS, Reserves and VADs were anxious to be released at once, how many were willing to serve for another 3 months after peace was declared, and how many for as long as required in a military hospital.
I discussed the question of War gratuities and War bonuses for members of the Regular Service, and pointed out that in the scheme of new rates of pay to come into force on February 1st, there was no reference to the Nursing Services, and the Matron-in-Chief is putting up these matters. The DGMS decided that it would be better for me to remain in France until the work there was finished before retiring from the Service.
I visited the Headquarters of the VAD Department at Devonshire House. The Lady Ampthill was ill but I saw Lady Oliver, and discussed the question of gratuity or a grant for VADs when being demobilised to enable them to obtain civilian clothing, also the need of a Club for VADs in London after the War, and the question of their employment. With regard to the latter I learnt that application should be made to the Labour Bureau who had undertaken to give them an opportunity of obtaining suitable posts, and that this is a matter which Devonshire House is going to watch very carefully to see if it is a satisfactory arrangement. Lady Almoners, like all other branches, can receive a course of training in connection with the Scholarship scheme which has been inaugurated for the benefit of VADs by Devonshire House.
On two occasions I visited 83 Pall Mall where I saw Georgina, Lady Dudley, with reference to the necessity of replacing Miss Watt, late QAIMNS India Ret., who had been put in charge of an Officers’ Convalescent Home at Cannes, and who was not entirely satisfactory. At first it was arranged that I was to go down and make a report, later it was decided that the resignation which had been submitted should be accepted, and that the DGMS should be asked officially to supply a member of the Regular Service for this post.
On the 18th I attended an Investiture at Buckingham Palace in order to receive a Bar to the RRC and also the medal of the GBE.
Miss Luckes, Matron of the London Hospital, died on the 16th, and I attended the Cremation Service on the 19th and on Saturday the Memorial Service at St. Philips, Stepney, which was very largely attended by all branches of the medical and nursing profession.
I visited the Australian Administrative Headquarters, and saw Miss Conyers, the Matron-in-Chief, and ascertained from her that she was quite willing for the Australian Nurses to be demobilised in groups whenever we wished and how it suited us best. I let the Matron-in-Chief know and she wired to the DGMS saying that they should report in groups of 10 every other day. Unfortunately I was unable to see the Matron-in-Chief, Canadians, or the Matron-in-Chief, New Zealanders, as they were both laid up with Influenza. Returned to France 24th.
Left for Cologne at 10 a.m., arrived at No.12 Stationary Hospital, St. Pol, and had lunch with the staff and Assistant Matron, Miss Pedler, QAIMNS, the Matron and A/Principal Matron, Miss Bond QAIMNS being at Valenciennes. The Hospital was very busy, all temporary staff having been transferred to Casualty Clearing Stations in the Army, which were requiring extra help. I instructed Miss Pedler to telephone to my office asking that extra nurses should be sent as soon as possible for emergency work.
Left after lunch for Valenciennes. The roads were very bad and I was obliged to go round by Cambrai. Arrived at No.57 CCS in time for tea. The whole Unit, the arrangements for sick sisters and officers, the Nurses’ quarters and Mess were all quite excellent.
I spent the night at No.2 CCS. Miss Corbishley has improved the quarters enormously, and everything was going smoothly. In consequence of the Influenza epidemic, in addition to the French refugees they are obliged to take Tommies, and they are very busy. As soon as this epidemic subsides it is expected that all Units in this Army will close, possibly by the end of March. The French are wanting No.12 Stationary Hospital also.
Left early for Charleroi arriving at 11.30. To No.20 CCS where I went round with Miss Schofield, the Sister i/c, and Major Morrison, who was acting for Colonel Ritchie, OC now on leave. The Unit has opened in an enormous building, very full both with officers and men, many critically ill. There was evidence of care and attention for the sick everywhere, and the building was well ventilated, windows open and everything possible being done to give the men every chance. They had lost a great many during the last week, but many had recovered. The nursing staff are very well and comfortably accommodated in a large house near by which is well furnished. 3 batmen manage the work, 1 woman doing the bedrooms. There were 18 nursing staff on duty, and Miss Schofield and Miss Staveley were both anxious to be released as soon as possible.
No.55 CCS is at Charleroi also. This Unit is not so well managed, nor is the work so heavy as at No.20 CCS. There was a nursing staff of 19, including the Sister i/c, Miss D. P. Foster, TFNS, CO Lt. Col. Thomas. It is a fine building, and in no respect is the management as good as at No.20. The wards were stuffy, hardly any windows being open. The nursing staff mess in a wing of the Hospital and 8 nurses are accommodated there, the remainder are in billets in the town. Four of the staff are due for leave and the Sister in charge is able to spare them now and will not require reliefs.
I went on to the Headquarters of the DMS 4th Army at Namur, arriving at 3.30. I found the DMS was at GHQ and I saw Colonel Gast, the Surgeon of the Army and Major Tonshill. I arranged to go to Headquarters to see the DMS on my return from Germany.
Went to the Nurses’ Hostel belonging to No.48 CCS where I saw Miss Gascoigne and Miss Lulham on their way to the Base, Miss Gascoigne having left No.53 CCS before her relief Miss Devenish Meares had arrived. Went round the Hostel with Miss Roy, RRC, QAIMNS, who is in charge of No.48 CCS as well as of the Hostel, where her staff are accommodated, and where in addition there is accommodation for 14 temporary nurses. The Hostel is well furnished, well managed and most comfortable. The Home Sister, Miss A. I. H. Cunningham, TFNS is managing well.
Went to No.50 CCS at Huy. In consequence of being directed incorrectly did not arrive until 8.30. Went straight to the Sisters’ quarters – a very comfortable house – well furnished, where I had dinner and stayed the night. Everything was first rate.
SUMMARY FOR FEBRUARY 1919
No.17 Ambulance Train (taken over from BRCS) on 7.2.19: Staff supplied – 3
No.46 Field Ambulance, on 19.2.19: Staff supplied – 9
No.6 Stationary Hospital, ceased to admit on 8.2.19: Staff disbanded
No.3 General Hospital, ceased to admit on 7.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.47 General Hospital, ceased to admit on 7.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.3 Stationary Hospital, ceased to admit on 8.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.11 Stationary Hospital, ceased to admit on 8.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.42 Stationary Hospital, ceased to admit on 8.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.81 General Hospital, ceased to admit on 26.2.19: Staff awaiting dispersal
Portuguese General Hospital, on 27.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.3 Casualty Clearing Station, on 5.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.32 Casualty Clearing Station, on 5.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.56 Casualty Clearing Station, on 5.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.23 Casualty Clearing Station, on 10.2.19: Staff dispersed
No.9 General Hospital, on 17.1.19: Staff disbanded
No.12 General Hospital, on 17.1.19: Staff disbanded
No.13 General Hospital, on 17.1.19: Staff disbanded
No.16 General Hospital, on 31.1.19: Staff disbanded
No.18 General Hospital, on 21.1.19: Staff disbanded
No.25 General Hospital, on 8.2.19: Staff disbanded
No.2 Australian General Hospital, on 27.2.19: Staff awaiting dispersal
No.1 Australian CCS, on 19.2.19: Taken over by British
No.2 Australian CCS, on 27.2.19: Taken over by British
No.8 Canadian General Hospital, on 7.2.19: 1st party of N/Staff proceeded
No.1 Canadian General Hospital , on 12.2.19: 1st party of N/Staff proceeded
No.2 Canadian General Hospital , on 23.2.19: 1st party of N/Staff proceeded
No.3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, on 19.2.19: 1st party of N/Staff proceeded
No.1 Canadian CCS, on 8.2.19: Taken over by British
No.2 CCS, on 8.2.19: Taken over by British
Sent home sick
Trained – 39
Untrained – 33
Returned from sick leave
Trained – 10
Untrained – 0
Total sick in United Kingdom
Trained – 178
Untrained – 102
Trained – 1
Untrained – 2
Trained – 8
Untrained – 1
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 47 (10 for marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment
Trained – 29
Approx. No. of leaves granted
To United Kingdom – 443
To Paris – 34
To S. of France – 230
To Italy – 48 (CAMC)
Untrained returned to England
On resignation – 37 (10 for marriage)
Termination of contract – 57
Transfer to Home Establishment – 2
Sister Wakefield, TFNS, on 7.2.19: Cerebro-spinal meningitis
Miss A. E. Young, VAD, on 13.2.19: Influenza
Miss M. C. Bousfield, VAD, on 24.2.19: Broncho-Pneumonia
Total number of CAMC
Transferred to England – 223
Arrived in France – 0
Now in France – 465
Total number of AANS
Transferred to England – 33
Arrived in France – 0
Now in France – 206
Total requirements of Nurses in BEF according to War Establishment on L of C (excluding Stationary Hospitals in Front Areas and including Trains)
Trained Nurses – 2133
Untrained Nurses – 1347
Total requirements of Nurses in Front Areas (including Stationary Hospitals in Front Areas and CCS)
Trained Nurses – 684
Total requirements in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2817
Untrained – 1347
Total British Staff now in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2341
(Not including 3 Embarkation Sisters and 6 employed at Hostels)
Untrained Nurses – 1437
(Not including 1 employed on embarkation duty, 8 at Hostels, 10 Secretaries to A/Principal Matrons)
Total shortage on establishment of Trained Nurses
Trained Nurses – 476
Sick in Hospital – 110
On leave – 156
Total working shortage of trained nurses – 742
Total surplus on establishment of untrained nurses
Total surplus untrained nurses – 92
Sick in Hospital – 95
On leave – 96
Total working shortage of untrained nurses – 101
Grand total in BEF
Trained Nurses – 3144
Untrained Nurses – 2794
(Figure includes 711 General Service VADs working in Military Units)
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Inspected No.50 CCS at Huy. This Unit is in a big building, and seemed to be very well managed, but there was little ventilation; apart from the fact that there were few windows open anywhere, the patients, of whom there were a large number, seemed to be well cared for. I saw the OC Colonel Simpson, who is satisfied both with the Sister in charge and the staff. Before leaving the town, I went into the cathedral, which is a most beautiful building. The journey from Namur was most lovely, all along the banks of the Meuse.
Then I went on to Cologne, arriving at 2 p.m. I had lunch at No.44 CCS where I thought the Principal Matron, Miss Tunley, RRC, QAIMNS was established, but I found she was living at the Hostel, which is some distance from No.44 CCS. Went on there, and found the Hostel is a most up-to-date nursing home, with every modern convenience, supplied with an Operating Theatre, Anaesthetising rooms, sterilising rooms Laboratory, X-Ray Room, and plenty of bathrooms on every floor. The Principal Matron had an office and a sitting-room. There is accommodation there for 22 sick sisters and 22 nurses passing through, the Hostel staff, and as well 5 German servants. In the basement there is a fine kitchen, and all the various offices, including a servants’ hall, also a big steam laundry. There is telephonic communication all over the house.
I visited General Guise Moores, the DMS 2nd Army, and discussed the future of army of occupation. I learnt that 10 General Hospitals, 5 Stationary Hospitals, and 3 extra Casualty Clearing Stations were under orders to come to the Army. It was arranged before I left I was to make a report as to requirements and let him see it before leaving. The need for a Convalescent Home both for sick sisters and officers, a separate office for the Principal Matron, and one of HRH Princess Victoria’s Rest Clubs were among the Units to be included when all these large Units arrive.
Went with Miss Tunley, Principal Matron, to Bonn. First visited No.21 CCS, OC Lt. Col. Waters, Sister i/c Miss Cardozo, RRC, TFNS with a staff of 11. The Unit is established in a very fine Hospital, which has only recently been opened, and it will be excellent. There is central heating, very good light and water supply, ample lavatory and bathroom accommodation, and is able to accommodate both officers and men. The nursing staff is accommodated in a wing of the Hospital in beautiful, big rooms, well furnished and with every convenience, and also in a lovely, well furnished house immediately opposite, with a very comfortable sitting-room, and in addition a grand piano.
We then went to 29 CCS, OC Lt. Colonel Carmichael, Sister i/c, Sister Cameron, RRC, TFNS. This is a magnificent establishment, situated in a huge park. There are two buildings, one of which is set apart for the men, and the other, a great big red-brick, five-storied house for officers, and the Medical Officers and nursing staff to be accommodated on two different floors. The building for the men was solid, it had only recently opened up, and seemed very comfortable, but the cooking, I should think, was very bad. The other building set apart for officers was evidently before the war, a big private Hospital. There was a long, well lighted corridor the whole length of the building, and the wards opened off it. There were big rooms, and a beautiful big sitting-room, well furnished, and heated, and electric light with plugs everywhere where reading lamps could be attached. Both officers and men were feeling the need of proper cooking, and one of the officers, a General, complained of the way the food was cooked and served, and said he was not complaining for himself but for the officers in general. On the same floor as these rooms is the kitchen belonging to this branch, so there certainly seemed no reason why the food should not be served hot. I saw the Sister in charge and also the Sister in charge of the floor, and spoke to them on these matters. They said they had many difficulties to contend with, both the cook and the orderlies being very bad, and I undertook to discuss the question with the General and see what could be done to better the condition of things. I went upstairs to the Sisters’ mess which was equally luxurious and comfortable and where I had a very excellent lunch. I remarked to the Sister in charge that they had apparently the only good cook in the building. She complained of the difficulty in getting supplies, such as butter, eggs, milk, fruit and biscuits, and said that they had to depend entirely on rations.
After lunch went on to Rhinebach, 141 Field Ambulance, where 4 Sisters were doing temporary duty, 2 on day duty and 2 on night duty, nursing some seriously ill patients, both officers and men. Here I was struck with the great difference in the nursing arrangements. They were established in a smallish building, and in the ward kitchen I found the Sister had made jelly, blancmange, and a big jug of still lemonade, and they told me they were able to get both fresh eggs and plenty of milk, the only thing they had difficulty in obtaining being butter. The difference between that and the CCS I had just left was remarkable, and everything possible seemed to be done for the patients.
I then went to Euskirchen, to No.3 Australian CCS. This Unit is in a magnificent building, with equally fine accommodation both for officers and men, previously a big deaf and dumb Asylum. The Sisters were accommodated in a large house, evidently where the whole of the staff of the Asylum lived before. Solid, well furnished, and with magnificent bathrooms. Here also they were able to get all the extras with regard to food.
All these Units which I visited were full of seriously ill people, many of them suffering from Influenza and double pneumonia. They had lost a good many patients, and there were many more who were not going to get better.
On my return, I called at the DMS Office, told him of my interviews with the General at No.29 CCS, and that I thought there was a lack of management both as far as the CO and the Sister in charge were concerned, and he undertook to go in the morning to see the General, and go into the question thoroughly with him.
Went to Duren to No.17 CCS one hour’s drive from Cologne. OC Lt. Col. Hughes, Sister in charge Sister Laing, RRC, TFNS on leave, and Sister J. McCallum acting for her during her absence. Another large Sanatorium, being a number of solid buildings in grounds. It was arranged in the following manner:- An Officers’ Block, a general patients’ block, an isolation block, an administrative block, and another block where the nursing staff are accommodated. All airy, well built Units, and very well managed, and one had the feeling, as one went round, that the very best was being done for the patients. They had no difficulty in getting extras such as eggs, milk, etc., to supplement rations, the only thing unobtainable being butter, which was quite out of the question. There were a large number of patients in this Unit, but there did not seem to be so many dangerously ill. The nurses’ mess and quarters were very comfortable. I had lunch with them, they had a good cook and two batmen, who were working very well.
Then went back to Cologne to No.36 CCS, OC Lt. Col. Harvey, Sister in charge Miss Skinner, QAIMNSR on leave, and Miss Clarke acting during her absence. Before the war this building was a very big private Hospital, built, furnished, and arranged for the accommodation of paying patients in three grades: 1st class, beautifully furnished bed-room and sitting-room leading off one another and with double doors; 2nd class, smaller well furnished bed-room; 3rd class, wards of various sizes, very comfortable and like our ordinary wards, for the poorer patients who pay as much as they are able to. It was arranged on various floors, but on all there were duty rooms, lavatories and every convenience, and in addition in the little duty rooms, there were places where food could be kept hot, a small oven for hot plates, and a gas ring where three vessels could be cooking at the same time. There was a first rate kitchen and a big laundry, where all the washing of the patients and personnel was done. The Sisters’ Mess, sitting-room and a few bed-rooms were in the Hospital, and the remainder were accommodated in flats in a very nice house quite close. There were a very large number of patients, many of them critically ill at the time of my visit, and an evacuation was taking place. I met the Consultant Surgeon, Major Fraser, while I was going round the Unit, and he asked if I would consider the advisability of appointing a trained lady anaesthetist to each Unit to give anaesthetics when necessary. I issued orders for the Sister in charge of the Officers’ Division and the Sister in charge of one of the men’s wards at No.29 CCS to proceed to No.44 CCS and sent two capable people from that Unit to take their place.
Went to No.44 CCS, OC Lt. Col. Emmerson, Sister in charge Miss Wood, RRC, QAIMNS. The Unit is established in an enormous building, ½ of which is devoted to the CCS where 500 can be accommodated, and in the other half German students are working and attending classes in engineering. The Sisters have their sitting room in the building and live in very comfortable flats close to the Unit. I saw the Ophthalmic Surgeon, who asked if a nurse specially trained in Ophthalmic work could be posted to this Unit.
Then went to No.64 CCS where I had lunch. OC Lt. Col. Wolstanton, Sister in charge Miss M. G. Foley, RRC, QAIMNS. This is a great big Hospital and able to accommodate 350. The nursing staff live in a most luxurious house, beautiful rooms, and most lovely china, a very nice sitting room and two floors of bedrooms, the rest being occupied by German people. The remainder of the staff are accommodated in flats quite close by.
I then met General Guise Moores and went with him to Army Headquarters, where I had tea with General Plumer. He was having an ‘at home’, and I met all the Generals belonging to the Armies, his own personal staff, and chief of the staff of GHQ. These Headquarters are in part of a mansion, more like a palace, big entrance, lovely reception rooms, dining rooms. Discussed various matters in connection with the Hospitals. I went with the DMS of the Army and his staff to the Opera House, where we met Miss Tunley, and where the Army Commander gave us his box. We saw ‘Madame Butterfly’. Afterwards I dined with the DMS 2nd Army in another luxurious establishment, with his 3 staff officers, his physician Colonel Miller, the Consultant Surgeon, Major Fraser, and the Army Chaplain, another Colonel Miller. We had a very good dinner.
Left early for the 4th Army. Before leaving, Col. Poey, ADMS, 2nd Army Corps, came to see me. I then learnt that he had recently lost his wife, who had died suddenly.
Arrived at Namur at 3.30. Called at the Office of the DMS 4th Army, where I saw Lt. Colonel Lightstone, and received a message that the General was inspecting and wished me to dine with him at 7.30. I then went with Colonel Lightstone to No.47 CCS which I inspected. They were busy getting into it, it was in a Convent in grounds, and the nursing staff were in billets at some distance, arrangements being made for them to be brought backwards and forwards by Ambulance. It was quite a small place and would accommodate about 300, and will be most comfortable. There is suitable accommodation both for officers and men.
I then went on to No.48 CCS, OC Lt. Col. Dive, Sister in charge Miss Roy, RRC, QAIMNS. I inspected the Hospital and the sick sisters’ wing, where there were 4 Sisters sick and a YMCA lady, Miss Fenwick. Everything was well organised, well managed and comfortable looking. The patients looked well cared for and the personnel was working happily. I was struck with the cleanliness and orderliness of the ward kitchens and bathrooms. Then went to the Hostel, where the staff of No.48 CCS are accommodated, sisters passing backwards and forwards, and a temporary staff for emergency work. Miss Roy and Miss Gray were both invited to dinner by the DMS. Before leaving, Colonel Dive, OC 48 CCS came to see me. I dined with the DMS and staff. Very excellent dinner and we had music afterwards.
Left early for Boulogne, and arrived in time for dinner.
In the afternoon saw Lady Norman, who is visiting France for the purpose of making a photographic record of women’s work in France in connection with the Imperial War Museum, on her return from Bruges. We met in the DDMS Boulogne, Office, and with him arranged which Units would be the most suitable for her visit in connection with her work, and also arranged that Miss L. E. Mackay, RRC, Principal Matron, QAIMNS Boulogne Area should accompany her on the 9th inst.
Spent most of the morning dealing with a communication from the War Office dealing with the numbers of nurses who were supposed to have been released since November 11th, the day of the signing of the Armistice.
Went to GHQ in afternoon and saw the DDGMS, the DGMS being still in England. I also met Major Mackenzie from the War Office. He had been sent to look into the question of the release of both Officers, and Nursing Members, and had been instructed by the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, if possible to get into touch with me. We had a long consultation, and I undertook to wire the War Office and let them know the exact number that had been released. I pointed out the fact that a large number of the Military Units had been staffed by Overseas Nursing Services, who were now being released in very large numbers, and also that the BRCS Units had been closed since the beginning of the year. These were matters which I thought had been overlooked by the War Office, so that although we still had a large number of British Nurses and Military VADs, they were filling the places and doing the work of these other Units, had they still been open. That until it was decided what Units were going to remain in France, and how many it was expected would open in the Army of Occupation, it would not be wise to release large numbers of Nurses. I pointed out that I had ascertained how many nurses and VADs were anxious to be released as soon as possible, and that this number amounted to over 1000, and that although we had put up officially last week asking if we might release them as they could be spared, so far no reply had been received. Major Mackenzie asked if I would have the actual numbers that had been released ready for him when he went by the afternoon boat the next day. This was done, and the return shewed that on November 1st the total trained was 4882 and Untrained 2391. On March 9th, the total trained was 2895 and untrained 1903, shewing the number released from the BEF France to be 2475 Trained and 488 VADs. Of these 493 were British trained and 446 British VADs, and 8 trained masseuses.
Received wire from the War Office to the following effect:- “Your DMS M.254/8/1 Jan.30.1919., shews strength of nursing service 3971 all ranks on that date AAA November 11th 4158 AAA This shews in spite of the reduction 50% occupied beds in France ex. convalescent cases, that 187 nurses only have been released AAA Large numbers of nurses are urgently required to meet civil needs and you must take immediate steps to reduce nursing personnel by one half AAA Two thirds of the members demobilised must be trained nurses AAA Demobilisation of nursing personnel must be carried out in accordance with para.1330 Demobilisation Regulations Part 1 and a weekly telegram sent to AMD4 War Office shewing the numbers demobilised week by week AAA At least 400 nurses must be demobilised every week until your establishment of nursing personnel has been reduce by half and within the next fortnight the largest number possible of the total should be demobilised to meet the present urgent demands AAA Ends AAA Take necessary action AAA See para.20 of Demobilisation Regulations France AAA Despatch weekly wire to AMD4 War Office direct repeating this Office and Med. Comms. AAA”
Replied to this wire that certain discrepancies are noticed. The wire quoted gives strength of Nursing Services, all ranks, on January 30th as 3971, while our returns shew the strength of the nursing services, all ranks, on February 1st to be 6099. Again War Office wire gives strength of nursing services, all ranks, on November 11th 4158, while our returns shew the total strength of nursing services, all ranks, on November 1st to be 7273. From these figures it will be seen that 1174 nurses had been released from France on February 1st, and by March 9th this number had been brought up to 2475.
I rang up the DGMS office and let him know that orders were being issued at once to release 400. Major Mackenzie came to the office and I explained the situation as far as I was able, and as well gave him the approximate numbers that had been released since the Armistice.
The Marine Hotel had already been fully equipped and staffed, and although the equipment asked for had not actually arrived, the Sister in charge, Miss Easby, QAIMNSR had been fortunate in obtaining from the BRCS and No.83 General Hospital some beds and linen, lest suddenly she might have to accommodate a large number of nurses. Everything was in readiness and she had already engaged French servants, so that when the Nurses began to arrive on Sunday evening, there was no confusion or delay of any kind. This Hotel is able to accommodate comfortably 100 people. The Staff consists of the Sister in charge, Miss Easby, 4 VADs, Sister Appleton, QAIMNSR who with a VAD secretary will take all particulars, and 5 French servants. The Demobilisation Sister, Miss Woodford, RRC, TFNS will be responsible for the departure of those being demobilised and for the dispersal of their luggage. There will be a Sister in charge of each party proceeding, whether Sisters or VADs, and as the Marine Hotel is so close to the Quai, these parties will be able to walk down to the boat, an Ambulance being necessary only to bring their hand luggage down. A certain amount of difficulty has for some time existed owing to the fact that although for some weeks we have been asking for the necessary forms for demobilisation, the Stationery Department have experienced great difficulty in getting these from England. The Officer in charge has done all he could in this matter, and has helped enormously. Directly we knew demobilisation was going to take place, we got into touch with the Command Paymaster, who is going to assist as far as possible in this extra work, but he is suffering from loss of officers and clerks, like all other departments just now. It was arranged that only those Sisters who had not drawn their January pay should receive payment in France. For his assistance he was anxious that a certificate should be supplied by each member passing through, stating whether she had received an advance since last receiving her pay. This certificate is to be attached to the pay sheet the Member is taking with her, as well as AFZ9 which is being sent to the Command Paymaster.
Lady Norman came to dinner, and I found out which Areas she was going to visit, and arranged to get in touch with the DDMS and the A/Principal Matron, so that she might be received and given every assistance. At Etaples, she will be met by the DDMS, and Miss Allen, A/Principal Matron. At Abbeville, by the DMS and she will be accommodated at the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, and entertained by the Matron, Miss Loughron, QAIMNSR Aust. At Havre, by the DDMS and Miss Minns, RRC, A/Principal Matron, QAIMNS. From there I understand she is going to visit French and American Lines.
I inspected the Marine Hotel. Everything was in first rate order and most comfortable. The Sister in charge is now getting her telephone established, so that she can get in touch with this office, and other departments, which will facilitate matters. She has an office for herself and the Sister who is taking all the records, two sitting-rooms for the Nurses who are being demobilised, and a very large dining-room, and from the mess equipments which have been brought down from various Units which have closed, there are ample table appointments, and everything is most comfortable. Miss Easby is an admirable manager, and I anticipate no difficulty when the heavy work begins.
I then went on to the Nurses’ Hostel, where I made arrangements for the demobilisation of the General Service VADs, as the Chateau de Falaise, which was originally intended for this purpose, cannot now be utilised, as No.83 General still continues to do heavy work, and requires this building for their nursing staff. When demobilisation of General Service VADs begins, the Nurses’ Hostel will cease to receive Nurses and will be able to take 1 Officer and 20 VADs and pass them through daily.
I then went on to the Hotel Christol and let the Principal Commandant, VADs know the arrangements which I had made, and of which she approved. She undertook to let me have the particulars with regard to the rations of General Service VADs, how the expenses of washing will be met, and whether the extra allowances of 1 franc per day can be supplied to each member to enable the Sister in charge to supplement the ration.
I then visited the Hotel du Nord, the Canadian Rest House, where members of all branches of the nursing profession, as well as Canadians, have been accommodated when coming and going from the Front to the Base, and when proceeding or returning from leave. To ensure that there should be no question of this Unit closing now that the numbers of Canadians are being so considerably reduced, I made a point of ascertaining that as long as the Hotel du Nord was required, it would be kept open. Later the Commissioner of the Canadian Red Cross rang me up on the subject, and I undertook to write and let him know my opinion on this subject, so that if the question should be considered of closing this Unit, he will keep it open until it is no longer required.
Left for Paris via Abbeville. Arrived at Abbeville midday, stayed at the Nurses’ Home, and after lunch went to the DMS, L of C Office, where I saw the DDMS, Colonel Gallie, and the ADMS, and discussed demobilisation. I learnt that the DMS had received orders to return shortly to the United Kingdom for duty, that the L of C Office, as well as the GHQ Office, were shortly going to be transferred to Boulogne, on Sir Douglas Haig’s departure, General Asser was going to be appointed GOC i/c of France, and would have his Headquarters in Boulogne.
Left next morning for Paris. Arrived at lunch time and went to the Station Hospital, which I inspected, and where I had lunch. Miss Strange, RRC, QAIMNSR had recently taken over charge when Miss Whyte, RRC, QAIMNS was transferred to the United Kingdom for duty as Assistant Matron at the Kitchener Hospital, Brighton. The Hospital work was much lighter than usual and everything appeared satisfactory. I saw the OC and he expressed himself entirely satisfied with all the arrangements. I then went to the ADMS Office, where I saw Colonel Statham and Major Black. Later I left by the evening train for Marseilles, on which Major Black had taken a couchette for me. Before leaving I went to Headquarters of the American Red Cross, where I saw Miss Carrie Hall, as I wished to know if Miss Stimson, Director of the American Nursing Service, was in Paris. However I learnt that she was visiting the American lines in the Army of Occupation.
Arrived at Marseilles at 12.30 and was met by Miss Walker, RRC, A/Principal Matron QAIMNS, and drove straight to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, where I had lunch, and which I afterwards inspected. Miss Elston, RRC, QAIMNSR was in charge. This Hospital has opened in a fine, old-fashioned chateau, situated in charming grounds, and in the same grounds is another building where the staff are accommodated. Owing to the large number of women and children who are constantly arriving from the East on their way to the United Kingdom, several big marquees have been pitched in the grounds, where they can be accommodated when necessary. The house is well furnished, well arranged, and most comfortable. On the ground floor there is a fine mess room and a charming sitting room with long French windows on two sides opening on to a lovely lawn.
I then went to No.57 General Hospital and the Stationary Hospital, which have now been converted into one, and there the ADMS Colonel Scott, and the OC Colonel Westacott, met me. They had just returned from meeting six ships from the East, with large numbers of patients, men, women and children, and officers on their way home. I inspected the Hospital which at present is not in a very satisfactory condition owing to the transfer of the Hospitals. The Officers’ Hospital in the Chateau is first rate in every respect, and at present the staff of the Stationary Hospital are accommodated on two of the top floors. They are about to be transferred to the Sisters’ quarters of No.57 General, and the whole of the Chateau become an Officers’ Hospital. This is necessary in consequence of No.81 General Hospital closing down entirely, where there was accommodation for a large number of officers also. It was decided that at present it would be necessary to keep this Unit up to full strength as far as nursing staff is concerned, until the large and continuous evacuation from the East is over.
Left by Train for Cannes, travelling with the Base Commandant, General Lawrence and his daughter. At Cannes was met by Lady Gifford, and Mrs. Seymour, and drove to the Convalescent Home. General Lawrence was very much interested in everything in connection with our Hospitals, and spoke in very appreciative tones of the work which had been done by the Nursing Services and of Miss Walker, the A/Principal Matron’s tact and ability.
Another wet day. I received a telephone message from Colonel Goodwin, Commandant Cap Martin, to say that he would send a car for me on the morning of the 22nd. I then inspected the Home which is beautifully arranged and well managed, and at the time of my visit there were 100 sisters and VADs there, many senior members amongst them, including Miss Smith, Matron TFNS 73 General Hospital, and Miss Mary Crowdy.
I also inspected the Officers’ Convalescent Home, at the California Hotel, run by Georgina, Lady Dudley, where I saw the OC, Colonel Dalrymple, who told me he was thoroughly satisfied with the present Matron, Miss Phoebe Watt, late Indian Nursing Service, and the 10 BRCS nurses. I went round the Hospital, which is capable of accommodating about 300 officers, though there were only about 100 at the time of the visit. It was beautifully furnished and most luxurious in every respect, having a fine table d’hote, sitting room, writing room, and billiard room on the ground floor, and most comfortable and luxurious bed-rooms.
In the evening at Lady Gifford’s Convalescent Home there was a fancy dress dance got up at very short notice, and some of the costumes were remarkable.
Miss Barrett, RRC, QAIMNS Ret., Matron of Cap Martin Officers’ Convalescent Home, came over for me about 11 o’clock, and we drove by the Upper Cornice Road to Nice where we had lunch, and afterwards went on to Cap Martin, where I had tea. After tea, I walked to the Villa Roquebrune to see Dame Sidney Browne, Matron-in-Chief, TFNS and Miss Richards, RRC, Principal Matron, QAIMNS. I found them both very much better. I had dinner with the Nursing Staff at the Michelham Convalescent Home, and had most luxurious rooms set apart for me, a big bed-room, a sitting room, a dressing room, and a bathroom. After dinner I saw the Commandant, Colonel Goodwin, who invited me to lunch the next day to meet Miss Richards, Miss Gedye, and Miss Payne Hodge.
In the morning with Miss Barrett and General Lawrence I went to see some lovely gardens belonging to Colonel Stern. After lunch I went to inspect the Casa del Mare, a convalescent home lent by Mrs. Angas for Sisters belonging to the Overseas Dominions and military VADs. It was a luxurious building, beautifully furnished and full of very expensive and wonderful objects of art. The grounds were beautifully laid out. Miss Payne Hodge, the Matron, seems to be a very capable woman and had managed admirably. The house was well kept and she had a fine staff of servants, and judging from the tea, her cook must have been an excellent one.
I then visited the Villa Roquebrune, a most beautiful and luxurious convalescent Home belonging to Captain and Mrs. Warre, who had simply left the house as they lived in it, with all their books and nick-nacks, plate and table linen, as well as their staff of servants.
Colonel Goodwin gave a luncheon party to meet the Duke of Connaught and Princess Louise of Argylle. The party was eleven in number and I had the honour of sitting next to the Duke, which was most interesting and enjoyable. The Duke was full of anecdotes, and among the guests was an officer who had been a prisoner in Germany almost from the beginning of the war, had twice tried to escape and been caught, and eventually managed to escape.
Dame Sidney Browne was transferred to Marseilles, to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, as the OC did not consider she was fit enough to travel a great distance on an ordinary train, and an Ambulance Train was available which would convey her direct to the Base.
Left with Miss Richards and Miss Hollins, VAD for Paris, the Commandant having taken a Salon Lit for us which accommodated 3. We drove to Nice, where we took up the train. We arrived at Marseilles at 6 o’clock, and were met by the Headquarters Staff, Miss Walker, A/Principal Matron, as well as Dame Sidney Browne’s two nurses, who told us Dame Sidney had stood the journey well, but the Consultant there considered that she should remain in bed for another three weeks before it would be safe for her to begin her journey.
Arrived at Paris and were met by my chauffeur and the car. Miss Strange had also come to meet us. We drove to the Hotel Continental, where rooms had been taken for us and later we went to the Station Hospital, where we had lunch. After lunch, while Miss Richards was resting, I called at the ADMS office, where I saw Major Black, and received a telegram from Miss Wilton Smith saying it was advisable, if possible, for me to return direct to Boulogne. Here I also sent off a wire to Cap Martin and Villa Roquebrune to inform both places that Miss Richards had arrived safely and had stood the journey well.
I then went to the Nurses’ Club where I saw Mrs. Stevenson, and where I learnt that everything was going on satisfactorily. She, like everyone else, was beginning to wonder how long the Club was going to remain open, now that she had learnt that demobilisation was going to take place.
I then went to Headquarters of the American Red Cross, to ascertain if there was any news of Miss Stimson, and learnt from Miss Hall that no news had been received of her since I was last in Paris. She told me of the coming big Red Cross Allied Conference which was about to take place at Cannes, and was very interested to know whether I knew which ladies, if any, were being summonsed to the Conference.
Left early for Abbeville, and arrived in time for lunch. Rang up my office, and learnt that it would be advisable for me, if possible, to go to GHQ with reference to certain matters in connection with demobilisation which had taken place in my absence.
I drove immediately to Hesdin where I saw the DDGMS and discussed various matters with him with regard to the Nursing Staff, and I pointed out to him that as Units continued to close it would be quite easy to release more and more members of the nursing services, both trained and untrained. We also discussed the question of the Army of Occupation and the Units which would be requiring a staff of nurses, and I learnt that an official letter had been received from the War Office notifying that staffs were to be supplied at the rate of 75% of war establishment. Returned in time for dinner. Stayed the night at No.2 Stationary “Annexe”.
With Miss Richards and Miss Hollins left early for Boulogne, and arrived at lunch time.
After lunch went to the office. Lady Norman and her two secretaries arrived shortly afterwards to take photographs of the staff at work in their various departments.
Learnt that Miss Gill, Principal Matron, TFNS Scottish Command, and Miss Lloyd Still, Principal Matron, TFNS and Matron of St. Thomas’ Hospital, London, had arrived by the boat, been met by the Principal Matron, BRCS, Miss Fletcher, and were proceeding at once by train to Paris on their way to Cannes to attend the Red Cross Allied Conference there. They sent me a message saying that they were sorry that there had not been time to let me know of their arrival, but that they hoped to see me on their return journey.
Miss Richards and Miss Hollins left by the first boat. I saw them off. A special cabin had been taken for them, and seats in the Pullman car from Folkestone. A wire had also been sent to Miss Leggatt at Vincent Square and to the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, informing them of her arrival.
After lunch I drove to Le Touquet and called upon Lady Haig. Left cards, as she was out.
SUMMARY FOR MARCH 1919
No.42 Stationary Hospital, on 14.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.3 General Hospital, on 4.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.3 Stationary Hospital, on 13.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.11 Stationary Hospital, on 13.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.47 General Hospital, on 20.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.55 General Hospital, on 15.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.74 General Hospital, on 20.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.73 General Hospital, on 20.3.19: Staff dispersed
Marseilles Stationary Hospital, on 11.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.81 General Hospital, on 11.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.5 General Hospital, on 25.3.19: Staff dispersed
Michelham Convalescent Home, on 23.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.49 CCS, on 13.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.33 CCS, on 12.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.4 CCS, on 19.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.54 CCS, on 18.3.19: Staff dispersed
No.3 Canadian General Hospital, on 4.3.19: 1st party of Sisters left for U.K.
No.2 Canadian Stationary Hospital, on 7.3.19: 1st party of Sisters left for U.K.
No.4 Canadian CCS, on : Staff dispersed
No.3 Canadian CCS, on 14.3.19: Staff dispersed
Sent home sick
Trained Nurses – 52
Untrained – 34
Miss M. C. Croysdale, Special Probationer, on 2.3.19
Sister M. E. Goldsmith, TFNS on 5.3.19
Sister E. Radcliffe, QAIMNSR, on 10.3.19
Miss D. Crewdson, VAD, on 12.3.19
Sister E. Armstrong, QAIMNSR, on 20.3.19
Returned from sick leave
Trained Nurses – 1
Untrained Nurses – 3
Retained while on leave
Trained Nurses – 61
Resignations sent forward
Trained Nurses – 18
Transferred to Home Establishment
Trained Nurses – 32
Trained Nurses – 473 (British)
Untrained returned to England
Resigned – 44
Termination of contract – 55
Transferred to Home Establishment – 21
Demobilised – 519
Approx. No. of leaves granted
To United Kingdom – 349
To Paris – 36
To S. of France – 132
To Italy – 26 (CAMC)
Total No. of CAMC
Transferred to United Kingdom – 202
Now in France – 263
Total No. of AANS
Transferred to United Kingdom – 112
Now in France – 94
Total requirements of Nurses in BEF according to War Establishment on L of C
(excluding Stationary Hospitals in Front Areas and including Trains)
Trained Nurses – 1910
Untrained Nurses – 1173
Total requirements of Nurses in Front Areas
(including Stationary Hospitals in Front Areas and CCS)
Trained Nurses – 637
Total requirements of Nurses in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2547
Untrained Nurses – 1173
Total British Staff in BEF
Trained Nurses – 1693
(not including 4 Embarkation Sisters, 4 employed in Hostels)
Untrained Nurses – 762
(not including 15 employed at Hostels, 11 Secretaries to A/Principal Matrons)
Total shortage on establishment of Trained Nurses – 852
Total sick in Hospital – 75
Total on leave – 116
Total working shortage, trained Nurses – 1043
Grand total now in BEF
Trained Nurses – 2120
Untrained – 1234