CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3991
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Dame Ethel and I attended Church at 10.30am. The GOC and his staff were there.
After the service, we visited 36 Casualty Clearing Station which is accommodated in buildings on the block system. There are very good grounds at this Hospital. This building was formerly used by the Germans for a Hospital for paying patients and two blocks are being arranged for the WRAF. These will be most comfortable and entirely suitable. The work is heavy in this Unit at present and everything is very satisfactory. This Unit is actually a Stationary Hospital and will require a large staff as there are so many special departments. There were paper curtains, mats and stair carpets here also, very remarkable and difficult to believe that they were not material.
We then visited the Hostel, a very good house, in good grounds and well furnished, which has recently been taken, and thoroughly done up for Sisters arriving and leaving, and also where the staff of Units can be accommodated while a Unit closes and opens elsewhere. It is situated in one of the best parts of the town and is one among a large number of well built houses in a fine Avenue. The BRCS Commandant who is attached to the Principal Matron’s Office and the General Service VADs attached to the Headquarters’ Office will live here. A charming bed sitting-room has been set apart for the Commandant. This Hostel is staffed by three German servants paid by Government who live in. Sister Griffiths, QAIMNSR is the Sister in charge. There is accommodation in the Hostel for twenty-four. Here there are also paper curtains, stair carpets and bedside rugs.
We then visited 64 Casualty Clearing Station which is accommodated in a large school, a very suitable building. The Unit is working under difficulties. There is a new Commanding Officer and a shortage of Medical Officers and orderlies. A number of Infantry men are under instruction for the RAMC. The Unit is very busy and many heavy cases are being nursed, amongst them two patients in an especially critical condition, also a mental case who has a guard with him. He had jumped out of the window on a top floor and fractured his femur. He was in a very critical condition. The Sisters are accommodated in a good, luxurious house. Returned to the Home for tea, where we met the DMS, Colonel Nixon, Colonel Poe, and Colonel Jenkin. After tea drove with the DMS into the country, which was looking beautiful, but it is really needing rain badly. The weather still continues to be quite beautiful. Returned to the Home for dinner.
The next day accompanied by the Principal Matron we went to 64 Casualty Clearing Station and attended a lecture given by the DMS to all his DDMSs, ADMSs, and officers in charge of Units, on the necessity of paying special attention to the training of two hundred Infantry men who have been detached for training as orderlies, and if considered suitable were to be selected for the RAMC. He went thoroughly into all the branches of their training including that done by the Matron and sisters. There was a demonstration given in stretcher work. He paid a tribute to the work of the nursing service to which the Matron-in-Chief, QAIMNS replied on behalf of us both. He made a point that the training of these orderlies should be made as simple and as attractive as possible and should come under two headings: (a) Field training and (b) Ward duties and stores. This took up most of the morning. We then returned to the Home and went on to the GOC Sir William Robertson’s for lunch.
Sir William Robertson lives in a magnificent mansion out of the town on the banks of the Rhine in beautiful grounds. The owner of this house is a self-made man, who began life as a boy in the Steelworks in Sheffield and then returned to Germany when he had made his fortune. The family had been turned out of this house, but the German servants were still there. At lunch there was a Mr. Maxse and the General’s own personal staff only. We had a very good lunch and left immediately after, the General and his staff starting for Verdun to decorate the French General with the KCB.
We then visited 2 Casualty Clearing Station which is in a skin hospital. This unit is very scattered and difficult to work and it is very dirty. Two nurses work here daily. The unit is now being put under 44 Casualty Clearing Station with Miss Wood QAIMNS to supervise. There is a wonderful arrangement of baths, with plunge, shower and spray.
From there we went on to 37 Casualty Clearing Station which is situated in a poor part of the town. The hospital is accommodated in solid buildings in the block system with large brick huts and also paper huts which are solid and lasting. There are very good grounds. The Matron Miss K. Smith RRC, TFNS is a capable woman, pleasing with nice manners. The Sisters are accommodated in a solid building, well furnished and comfortable. If the work of this Unit increases to any extent the accommodation for the nursing staff will not be adequate. At present the night duty people have to be accommodated at the Nurses’ Hostel.
Returned to the Home for tea and went to the opera with the DMS Major General H. Thompson, who had taken a box. After the opera we returned to the Home for dinner.
Left early for Leichlingen, visited 3 General Hospital which is wonderfully situated in beautiful hills with a very steep ascent. The supplies are taken up to the hospital by an overhead system of transport worked by machinery which we were told was such a saving of expense that the whole sanatorium had been built by what would have been spent, had motor transport been employed. There is a magnificent system of baths, spray, shower, steam, with electric appliances – I have never seen anything like it before.
Visited 83 General Hospital at Langenfeld which is quite close to 3 General Hospital. It is accommodated in buildings which are in the usual solid fashion in blocks and are situated in beautiful grounds. This was formerly a large lunatic asylum. If these buildings are entirely handed over to the British they will be quite suitable for the hospital, but at present the OC Lt. Colonel Gunter who has been in possession for some weeks before the Matron and her staff arrived, seems disinclined to make any effort to remove the Germans. There are still German doctors and nurses here and men and women patients occupying buildings which are necessary for the Unit. The Head Doctor’s house which it was arranged was for the nursing staff is still being occupied by himself, his wife and family, and some of the Medical Officers are billeted there, while the nursing staff have been given two unsuitable and inadequate houses. No accommodation has yet been arranged for the General Service VADs who are arriving shortly. The hospital kitchen is still in possession of the Germans, and the recreation room given to them each afternoon. Many of the wards are overcrowded with beds in consequence of blocks still being occupied by Germans. In order to make up the number of beds to 520, beds have to be placed in the alleys. The OC had sent practically all the orderlies for a day on the Rhine and lunatic women were cleaning the hospital.
Returned to the Home and picked up Miss Barrett QAIMNS retired, we were still accompanied by Miss Reid, Principal Matron who has been with us all the time on our inspections of the Hospitals. We went into the town to see the shops and make a few purchases and got back to the Home in time for tea. It rained on and off all that day. We went to dinner at the DMS; there were twelve at dinner, Dame Ethel, Miss Reid and myself and the rest officers. All were very cheery and everybody most kind.
Here in the Army of the Rhine a committee meeting has been held at which representatives from all ranks, officers, nursing staff and men were present, and where it was unanimously passed that a lasting Memorial should be placed in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in a prominent position with the names of all men and women of the Medical Services who lost their lives in the Great War. It was decided that two days’ pay was to be given by all. All here consider that the Memorial would not be complete without the inclusion of the women who had taken such an active and valuable part in the work of the Medical Services all over the world since August 1914.
We visited no Units today. In the morning visited the Cathedral which is a very fine one and interesting and beautiful in many respects. From there we went on to the Church of the Apostles which is built in the 11th Century style. There are wonderful mosaics in this building which reminds one of St. Mark’s Venice and a wonderful and beautiful high Altar, and from there on to St. Joseph’s which is very beautiful but has some extraordinarily ugly figures. We then visited the Museum where we saw some very fine pictures evidently these pictures must have been taken away for safety at the time of the Retreat as some of them have not yet been replaced.
After lunch visited HRH Princess Victoria’s new Club for Sisters which is to open on the 9th June. The three lady workers for this Club are expected to arrive on the 9th. The Club is accommodated in a large mansion expensively furnished but to my mind lacking in taste of every kind. There is a fine entrance hall, a series of fine reception rooms and also fine large bedrooms. From there we went on to the YMCA Headquarters and called upon Miss Weldon who called on us on Sunday.
Then visited the Empire Club and met Miss Decima Moore who was just going to the GOC. We were shewn round by Lady Gatacre. This Club is a splendid place for the men – has a fine dining room, reading room and writing room. It has also a cinema, ballroom and classrooms. The men are given a four days’ pass to stay here, where every form of recreation is provided for them as well as a trip on the Rhine. Arrangements are made for them for them to be shewn places of historic interest. There are also lectures given. The arrangements for each day are plainly notified in the front corridor, next to an enquiry office where information of every description can be obtained.
Left at 9.15am for an expedition up the Rhine starting from 44 Casualty Clearing Station. The party consisted of twenty people including the following: the Matron-in-Chief War Office, the Principal Matron Army of the Rhine, Miss Hordley, Miss M. Wood, Miss Foley QAIMNS, Miss K. Smith TFNS, a VAD from the YMCA and myself; the DMS, the ADMS 6th Corps, Colonel Dunn, Lt. Colonel O’Neill, Captain O’Connor, Captain Dickinson and five others. The party started in five cars to drive along the banks of the Rhine to Coblentz and from there along the valley of the Mozelle. The weather was not too fine in the early part, it improved later. The day was one of great beauty, interest and enjoyment. We passed through lovely country places of interest – every available inch of country cultivated; orchards, fields with wild flowers of every colour and kind. Miles upon miles of vineyards in terraces from the road’s edge right up to the very top of the high hills which bank the river on both sides. On the Mozelle there are no bridges, merely old-fashioned picturesque ferries. At Coblentz we saw the huge Memorial to Frederick the Great, unattractive except in its size and position. We saw the old fort, which is next to Gibraltar the most impregnable in the world. We had lunch by the wayside under cherry trees on the banks of the Mozelle. We went as far as Treves and did not arrive back until 10.30pm, having had to go considerably out of our way, in consequence of a fire having taken place in an American ammunition dump.
Went to the DMS Office and found that Dame Rachel Crowdy, Principal Commandant, VADs France had arrived the night before with her sister and had been to see the Principal Matron and the DMS. We met her in the Principal Matron’s Office. Miss Reid has informed her that the Joint Committee personnel in Germany do not come under her control.
Saw the DMS with reference to an official application he had made without reference to the Principal Matron for 490 VADs to take the place of nursing orderlies. Dame Ethel pointed out that all these matters should be referred to the Principal Matron before sending letters to the War Office; that she was responsible for the nursing arrangements and that unless she was kept in close touch with all these matters it would be impossible for her to manage. After this discussion the DMS sent a wire to the War Office cancelling the order for the present. Dame Ethel further pointed out to him that just now there was not adequate or suitable accommodation for the nursing staff already in Germany, and also if recruits were now to be under instruction for duties as in peace time, if VADs came out, there would be no opportunity of giving these men the nursing duties they should have to complete their training. The DMS told us that he had arranged for us to see General Haldane and the French and Belgian Generals tomorrow, so we were obliged to postpone our journey to Antwerp until Sunday. I accordingly notified my office to this effect.
Then left for 42 Stationary Hospital accompanied as usual by Miss Reid the Principal Matron. There we were met by the ADMS Colonel Grattan, the OC Lt. Colonel McDowell and Miss Gibb RRC, QAIMNS, the Sister in charge. We three proceeded immediately with Colonel Gratton to lunch at the Headquarters Corps Mess. It was a pleasant meal in a nice Mess. Most of the Staff Officers went off immediately afterwards to the Race in Cologne, which had been arranged by the Cavalry.
We then went round the hospital. The nursing staff is not adequate and is to be increased at once. There are at this Hospital however 50 retainable RAMC orderlies and 50 Infantrymen under instruction as nursing orderlies. 26 of the latter are to be transferred elsewhere. The hospital is in a big building, formerly a Deaf and Dumb Asylum. It has great possibilities of extension under canvas and huts to 520 beds or even 720 beds if necessary. The sisters are at present accommodated in a big house which is shared by the Medical Officers. Arrangements have been made however, for the Medical Officers to be moved. It is doubtful if even then there will be adequate accommodation for the nursing staff, who in addition to their ordinary work will require extra help for instruction purposes. The accommodation secured for General Service VADs is not adequate or suitable. The General Service VADs are not to be sent until more satisfactory arrangements are made. There is a very good laundry on the premises run by the nuns, who live in the compound and do their cooking in the Hospital kitchen.
Visited 11 Stationary Hospital at Duren, and were met by the ADMS Colonel Ramson, the OC Lt. Colonel Williams and the Sister in charge, Miss Laing TFNS. The hospital is situated in blocks of buildings, which were formerly a Blind Asylum. Much has already been done to improve the hospital, but there is still a great deal to do. The equipment is extremely short, there are not even bedside lockers. The Sisters’ quarters are not adequate or suitable. One room is even partitioned off by sheets, but these conditions are shortly to be improved. We had a wonderful tea including cakes of all descriptions and ices; the sisters have as their cook the late Chef of the Crown Prince. We drove back to the Home after tea.
After dinner the DMS came over to say that General Haldane 6th Corps, and General Deverell 3rd Corps, were coming to see us between ten and eleven o’clock tomorrow morning and that at 12 o’clock at his office we were to meet others including Americans, French and Belgians; that we were to lunch with the DMS and subsequently to go to the Races. Consequently our plans were altered and we postponed starting for Antwerp until Sunday.
We saw General Haldane and another General who it seems expected us to lunch and to go to the races with them, but we refused as we had thought the DMS expected us, but found out later it was a mistake. General Deverell arrived later; he was most charming and complimentary with regard to the work of the Nursing Services.
After going round the Home and seeing the sick sisters which included a YMCA lady, we went to the DMS office. Found the French General whose name I do not know already there. He spoke English well and was loud in praise of the English Nursing Service and what they had done for the sick and wounded French, including civilians, since the commencement of hostilities. He was shortly followed by General Montgomery, General Handboro, Q Branch, General Biddle the American, who was most amusing, General Jacob and Colonel Newman the Military Secretary, all speaking in the highest terms of the Nursing Services and their work in France. It was a most unusual experience meeting all this gathering of notable Generals. General Jacob, who had his ADC Captain Scoones with him asked us to dinner, but we were obliged to refuse. We found then we were expected to lunch with General Haldane, however Dame Ethel and I eventually lunched in the DMS Mess. His flag was put on our car and we drove in state with the DMS, Major Dickinson and Captain Chase to the races. These were held on a parade ground where the Kaiser used to review his cavalry. The Grandstand was on a German Fort on the parade ground. There we met many other Generals including General Mangain, the French General who has recently received the KCB, the GOC, Generals Wingham and Lawford and many others. The occasion is memorable for the “Legion of Generals” we were privileged to meet and the Races. We spent a delightful and memorable day. There were many sisters there both French and English, and lady workers. There we saw three four-in-hands. There were bands, conducted at times by Staff Officers. We had a lovely tea, everything was perfect and a glorious day. The GOC was indeed most charming and so was everyone. They were very appreciative of the work done and very friendly. We then drove home for dinner. After dinner General Thomson and Captain Whitehead came and gave us plans of Waterloo, and much advice with reference to the journey of tomorrow.
Today, Whitsunday we went to early service at the YMCA.
Left for Antwerp at 10am, provided with a most luxurious lunch. We drove through Jullich, Aix-la-Chapelle, Liege, Louvain, Mallines to Antwerp. The heat was intense and the roads were not too good. We lunched and rested at a corner of a field outside Liege. At Louvain we visited the Cathedral which was much damaged. One part of it which was untouched was very beautiful. There were altars and banners of extraordinary beauty. At the time of our visit a little baby was being christened. From there we went on to Mallines where we also visited the Cathedral, which although very beautiful was not so beautiful as the one at Louvain. This Cathedral was also very much damaged.
Arrived at Antwerp at 7pm and drove to 6 Stationary Hospital where we were met by Miss Drage RRC, QAIMNS, the Matron, and taken straight to the Quarters. These are situated in a very comfortable not to say luxurious house formerly owned by a German Diamond Merchant, who report has it, will be returning later as a Pole!!! We had a champagne dinner with the staff. After dinner Colonel Ensor the ADMS, Lt. Colonel Ahern, the OC 6 Stationary Hospital and two other officers came to visit us. Miss Drage the Matron gave us most charming rooms, and we spent a very comfortable night.
Visited the hospital the next morning and were met by the General, Brigadier General Compton and the ADMS Colonel Ensor. This is a very fine Unit. After visiting the hospital, we all including Miss Drage, were conducted by the General and Colonel Ensor round the Camps, the Dock, the Remount Camp which includes a Detention Hospital. This hospital is for officers and men and has an outpatient department, where accidents from the docks or Camp can be treated at once. The OC is a very keen officer and the whole Camp is excellent and well arranged. There are good dining rooms and recreation rooms for officers and men, and good meat stores and a canteen. There are also excellent kitchens. There is a YMCA Chapel here. Lunched with Colonel Ensor the ADMS at his Mess, a luxurious house with a charming garden.
After lunch we drove to the Cathedral, Miss Drage accompanied us. On arriving at the Cathedral we dismissed the car. Visited the Cathedral, where we saw the three famous pictures of Rubens. The Cathedral is a beautiful building with wonderful altars and confessionals – there was a high altar and beautiful wood carving. From there we went to the Church of St. Paul, much more beautiful in every respect to my mind that the Cathedral. Here there was a wonderful calvary and grotto outside built in the 12th Century. We were conducted round by a very nice old Belgian, who spoke English fluently and who evidently loved the Church dearly and had been here for 70 years!!! Walked back through the town, had tea in a smart tea shop. Antwerp is a very beautiful city filled with places of interest. It has very fine houses.
In the evening we dined with General and Mrs. Compton and their daughter; Colonel Ensor was also at dinner. They are staying in a Mansion with a fine entrance and staircase. The rooms are beautifully furnished. This house is owned by a German millionaire, it has a pretty garden. The dinner table was very pretty with perfect appointments; we spent a very enjoyable evening, everyone most welcoming and charming.
Before leaving the next morning went round Sisters’ quarters, these are situated in two well-furnished houses very clean and comfortable. There is ample accommodation for an increase of staff if necessary – each sister having a room to herself. There is a possibility of being able to get a house nearer the hospital with a very large rooms in which case the rooms will be partitioned.
Left Antwerp and drove to Namur through Brussels, where we visited the Cathedral, a fine building full of beautiful stained glass windows. This building was quite untouched. We also visited a lace factory. From there we went on to Waterloo, where we had our lunch in a nice little garden, and the owner gave us “Good English tea” as she called it and told us many interesting stories with reference to the Germans and their departure. We had a very good guide and with General Thompson’s plans and books had a wonderfully interesting time, visiting all the places of historic interest still in existence. We also saw the panorama from a hill which was very fine.
Arrived at Namur 48 Casualty Clearing Station in time for tea, which we had in the garden. Had dinner early at 7.30 expecting to go to bed early but during dinner received a telephone message to say that Major General Sir Bruce Williams and the ADMS Colonel Moore were calling at 9.30pm. General Williams had just been made a Knight. They were very cheery and we talked a great deal about South African days.
Before starting on our journey the next morning we went round 48 Casualty Clearing Station accompanied by Lt. Colonel Dive OC, and the Matron Miss Russell Lee QAIMNSR.
We then drove to Charleroi in time for lunch at 20 Casualty Clearing Station. After lunch we were taken round the Unit by the OC Lt. Colonel Ritchie and Miss Lawson TFNS. From there we drove to Valenciennes, a long dusty drive through Maubeuge to Headquarters of the 1st Area. The ADMS was not in and I only saw a very young officer. From there we went on to 57 Casualty Clearing Station where we were met by the Sister in charge Miss E. Rogers RRC, QAIMNSR and Captain Robinson, who was acting for the OC Colonel Clayton, as he had gone to the War Office on duty. He was expected back the next day. We had a very good tea. This is a very good unit, everything first rate. It is not very busy at present.
From there we drove to Douai and arrived at 42 Casualty Clearing Station at 8.15pm. Although the Sister in charge Miss Newbould RRC, TFNS had received before 5pm information to the effect that we were coming, no arrangements had been made for our arrival. They were just finishing dinner. Slept the night there.
Before we were up next morning we received a telephone message from the office to say that Lt. Colonel McCammun had arrived from Cologne in order to shew us places of interest in Arras and Lens districts. Got up at 9am and took photographs of the outside of the Sisters’ Quarters which had been knocked about by the Germans. These quarters are in a good solid house with many good rooms not used. This house could be very much more comfortable if well managed, instead of that it was very dirty. There is lots of help here, the place is apparently not being supervised properly. The Home Sister was a kind little thing who provided us with lunch for the journey and nice fruit. We then visited the Hospital.
Before leaving this Unit asked the CO to telephone and wire 22 Casualty Clearing Station, Cambrai to let them know that we and Lt. Colonel McCammun were coming for the night. We then started. We had a very long and very interesting day spoilt at the beginning with the intense heat and red dust-storms, quite tropical. We drove from Douai through Billy Montigny and Lens. The town of Lens was very heavily gassed by us in 1917. It is in absolute ruins among which the brave little inhabitants are beginning to build little huts and shelters. From there we drove on to Marac, where we visited the cemetery and took photographs and placed flowers on grave, then on to La Bassee, where we visited a French home which was in a shelter. This was very clean and comfortable and the poor folk were having their midday meal, there were nice flowers in jugs. This shelter was among the ruins. Took photographs and a group. From there we passed famous brick stacks, and saw an observation post, a camouflage tree absolutely like a real one on the road with others. I understand the French are particularly good at this.
From there on to Bethune which is a heap of ruins to Ruitz where we had lunch and a rest at 15 Casualty Clearing Station. After lunch we went round the Unit with the OC Lt. Colonel Forsyth and Miss E. Woods, TFNS. There was a high wind blowing and it was very dusty. The Unit was not very busy, there were some bad cases. In one ward there were Chinese, Boche and English side by side; said this was not a good arrangement.
We then drove through Souchez to Villers au Bois Cemetery where we took a photograph and Colonel McCammun made a little sketch also. This was a huge French and English Cemetery well arranged.
From there we drove to the Vimy Ridge and took photographs of the Canadian Monument then on to Arras, where we saw the Cathedral a mass of ruins. We went all over the ground where Lt. Colonel McCammun had been with the 4th Division and saw the sites of his old Field Ambulances and dug-outs now all gone. From there we drove along the Arras and Cambrai Road to Cambrai, passing many places of interest by the way, Feuchy, Pampoux, Monchy lying left of the road. We picked up some shells there, 2 German and 2 English. On the right of the road was the Morginon Canal, Bourlon Wood.
Arrived at Cambrai at 8.30; we left Colonel McCammun at Hospital where Officers’ mess is, there we were met by a fat Sergeant Major who said nothing; we asked the name of the OC and he replied “Colonel Sedgewick”; did not even say he was dining out. We then went round to the Sisters’ Quarters and found we were not expected, a dinner in full swing. The Matron, Miss Wyllie, QAIMNSR (Australia) was much upset and was anxious for us to join the party. We were too tired and dirty and insisted upon retiring and also asked that the CO, who was of the party with his wife, should go and see Colonel McCammun. We washed and then I went to the Hospital to see if we could get some dinner at the Officers’ Mess. Saw the Orderly Officer Captain McIntosh who could not arrange this but suggested the Officers’ Club, where Colonel McCammun had already gone. We went with Captain McIntosh to the Club and had dinner with our companion of the day. Afterwards sat in the Park until our rooms were ready and then went to bed. We had spent a very long day full of interest, although very hot and dusty.
The next day was much cooler but very windy. We left the next morning at 10.30am. I visited 22 Casualty Clearing Station before leaving (this Unit has ceased to take in patients) and drove through Agnes les Duisans where we lunched and inspected 7 Casualty Clearing Station.
From there we drove to 12 Stationary Hospital which we found had had orders to close, but was now again admitting patients and did not expect to close until Peace was signed, although the French were asking for the Hospital. The French are at present working in Isolation Division, which is very changed since they took over, crops having been planted round huts and marquees. At 12 Stationary Hospital there are still some French civilian patients being nursed, whom neither the Hospital next door, who said they were a Military Hospital, or the Civil Hospital in the town were willing to take in . From there we travelled to Boulogne via Devres and had tea by the roadside arriving there at 6pm.
Went to Headquarters, DMS Office and saw General O’Keeffe and General Gerrard and discussed with them the question of the training of men for the RAMC. Arrangements are going to be made to form a Depot, where men are to come and have one month’s training, a modified course to that held at Aldershot for one month. There will be four classes, 100 men being instructed in each class so that when once going, 100 men a week, it is hoped, will be ready for transferring to Units. A member of the QAIMNS is to be selected specially for this work.
Dame Ethel Becher and I left Boulogne at 2pm driving by car to Abbeville. On our way we called at the Hotel du Nord before leaving Boulogne, hoping to see Mrs Gordon Browne and say goodbye but she was not there. From there on to Mrs. Robertson Eustace’s to say goodbye. Arrived at Abbeville, 2 Stationary Hospital at 4.30pm in time for tea. After tea we went round the hospital, which was very light there being very few really serious cases. There is a large nursing staff more than what is required for present needs. Was told that several of the staff were already under orders. There is a shortage of orderlies, but they are at present being assisted by Germans. The day was one of intense heat. We had a very good dinner, and spent the night there.
Left Abbeville at 9.30am. Before leaving we saw Major Galloway, the temporary OC of 2 Stationary Hospital and asked him to get in touch with L of C at once with reference to General Service VADs being supplied immediately for this Hospital. Colonel D. Lawson RAMC, late OC 5 General Hospital is being posted to this Unit as the OC.
We arrived at Rouen at 12 o’clock having travelled along a beautiful road. It was a very hot day. On our way into the city we got out and looked at the old site of 8 General Hospital, the huts are being taken down. I showed Dame Ethel the Sisters’ Quarters and where the Sick Sisters’ Hospital had been situated. We then visited the Cathedral; some of the side chapels were looking very neglected. There are good stained glass windows. The whole building was decorated for the Festival of Pentecost with tapestries on pillars and French Flags in groups of three all round the buildings, large flags below and smaller ones above. We then visited the Flower Market and bought a rose tree and other plants for charwoman’s son’s grave.
Arrived at 6 General Hospital in time for lunch, and lunched with the staff. Everything in the Hospital appears well managed and looks comfortable. There are no men employed as batmen in the Sisters’ Quarters, these are run by General Service VADs only.
After lunch we visited the Isolation Division. At present it contains 100 beds and it is situated on the old site of 25 Stationary Hospital (Isolation).
From there on to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital which has now opened in the old Officers’ Mess of 5 General Hospital and is fenced round. It has quite nice grounds. Everything is frightfully dusty at present as rain is very badly needed, and the heat was intense. We had no time to go round the Hospital. We were accompanied all the time by Lt. Colonel Adye Curran the OC, Colonel Bray the ADMS being on leave. We were then taken to see the poultry yard and rabbit run. There were every kind of fowl here, thoroughbreds wired off in separate yards, ducks, turkeys and geese, large numbers of chicks and goslings, also young turkeys all looked after by the Germans. The Colonel seemed very depressed and disappointed at not being able to get further advancement and is not content with his present scope of surgery.
From there we went to the Cemetery with Miss Coulter, VAD, who had already found the position of the grave and taken a photograph. It is situated in the extension of St. Sever Cemetery, an open space now being put in order. There seemed to be thousands and thousands of wooden crosses here and numbers of men and a good many Germans were working on it. A Lt. Colonel was taking photographs of graves apparently specially asked for.
Left at 3.30 for Havre and soon it began to grow cooler, we drove through country of great beauty which was under cultivation everywhere. Arrived at Havre at 5.45pm and went to the Officers’ Hospital and had tea in the grounds with Miss Minns RRC, QAIMNS, the Matron, who had come to meet us. Miss Fox RRC, QAIMNS had come over from Trouville to see us was also there, and a Lt. Colonel Bateman, who is a patient, but is getting very much better. He had had pleurisy following influenza on his way to India and returned to Havre to be nursed. Then walked to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital which is quite near. This is a charming place in beautiful grounds, everything is very nice indeed. Miss Middleton QAIMNSR is the Sister in charge. On return went round the Officers’ Hospital which is extremely nice, well furnished and well managed. There are General Service VADs here still working under a Commandant. They have delightful rooms at the top of the house overlooking the sea. In the evening there was a nice dinner party, beautiful roses on the table. There were twelve at dinner including the ADMS Lt. Colonel Morgan, the OC Lt. Colonel Babington, and the OC of the Officers’ Hospital, Miss Fox QAIMNS, Miss Meeke QAIMNSR Sister in charge Officers’ Hospital, Miss Minns QAIMNS the A/Principal Matron and two sisters. We sat in the grounds after dinner and went to bed early.
Left Officers’ Hospital at 9am and drove straight to Harfleur to 40 Stationary Hospital, which has just been taken over by Colonel Babington and Miss Minns RRC, QAIMNS, Matron and Principal Matron of the Area, late Matron of 2 General Hospital, who is now responsible for 650 beds in the Area, which are in this Unit, in the Officers’ Hospital and Sick Sisters’ Hospital Havre. This Unit is hutted and is well managed and most comfortable. There are many improvements taking place. There are also a few marquees. This Unit nurses English, German and coloured patients. There is an Isolation Division with accommodation for all ranks of men and women. The chaplain a Mr. Stewart, a very keen young man is very interested in the patients. He takes their photographs, even the coloured patients also, and sends them to their relatives. There is a very nice chapel in a marquee. Saw the remains of a beautiful rose garden. The Sisters’ Mess is very good. Visited the General Service VAD department and were taken round the compound by the senior VAD, the Commandant not being there. This is a very good camp. The present Isolation Hospital 52 Stationary Hospital is out of bounds just now. It will close immediately the four convalescent smallpox patients can be discharged.
Went on to Dieppe driving through Fecamp and St. Valery. We arrived there at 1pm and drove to the Sisters’ Quarters of No.5 Stationary Hospital. These quarters are situated in a very nice, well-furnished and comfortable house in good grounds, with a lodge at the entrance gate. The OC Lt. Colonel Robinson and his wife met us. Afterwards we inspected the Hospital. A member of the QMAAC was murdered in this Area a day or two ago, she was found with a bullet in her side. It was supposed that this had been done by a Sergeant-Major who was nowhere to be found. He was a married man.
Left Dieppe at 3pm driving through Eu, St. Valery-sur-Somme, Noyelles to Etaples and went straight to the office and then straight to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital Villa des Pins which is situated at Le Touquet, where we had arranged to stay for the night. Here we found them preparing for a dinner party which was being given by Colonel Barefoot the DDMS, in the Sisters’ Mess. He had invited the following guests to meet us: Lord and Lady Ardee, Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox, Major French, Major Corbett and the Matrons Miss Hopton QAIMNSR, the Matron Sick Sisters’, Miss Allen RRC, QAIMNS Principal Matron Etaples, Miss Lang RRC, QAIMNS Matron 46 Stationary Hospital, and Miss Merriman Matron TFNS 26 General Hospital. It was a well arranged served and cooked dinner. There were beautiful flowers everywhere, and the sitting rooms were charming. After dinner we sat in the garden. This is a very pretty Villa in beautiful grounds; the bedrooms are charming with every comfort, even to finely wired windows to guard flies and mosquitoes.
Left at 10.30am and inspected the Villa Tino now empty. It adjoins the Villa des Pins and is another splendid and luxurious building in good grounds with every convenience.
Went on to 24 General Hospital and Quarters, unfortunately the CO Lt. Colonel McClelland was on leave. We were met by four members of the QAIMNS at the entrance, Miss Rentzsch, Miss Gordon, Miss Roberts and Miss McCormick. Inspected this Hospital. We then proceeded to the Cemetery which is a very large and well arranged one, there are already over 1200 thousand people [sic] buried there. We lunched at the Officers’ Mess of 26 General Hospital invited by Lt. Colonel Barkly the OC; Colonel Barefoot and Miss Merriman the Matron were also present.
After lunch we inspected 26 General Hospital and Quarters and went on to 46 Stationary Hospital (Isolation) where we had tea. Various people were there to meet us among them was Miss Macpherson the sister of Major General Macpherson. We also inspected this Hospital. We came back to Boulogne at 6pm with most beautiful flowers sent with us from the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. We sent a telephone message to Calais expressing regret that we were unable to go so far; we had intended spending the night there but unfortunately time did not permit. On arrival at Boulogne we heard that a dinner party had been arranged for us at Calais. Arrangements have now been made for removal of my office to Wimereux, which is very unfortunate.
On the morning of the 19th we visited the Dispersal Hostel, which is situated in the Marine Hotel, Boulogne.
From there on to 32 Stationary Hospital and had lunch there. After lunch we went with Miss Congleton RRC, Matron 32 Stationary Hospital and looked at the huts about to be taken over as offices and Mess for my staff, which will be handed over shortly to the new Principal Matron Miss Bond RRC, QAIMNS. The DMS branch is moving into the same Compound. The late Sisters’ Quarters of 54 General Hospital are taken over for the offices and mess. We visited the Chapel.
From there we went to the Chateau Mauricien, the Sick Sisters’ Hospital and were met there by the A/Principal Matron of Boulogne Area, Miss L. E. Mackay RRC, QAIMNS and Lt. Colonel Hine. Inspected this Hospital.
Then on to 14 Stationary Hospital to see what was left of this Unit. This Hospital is moving to 7 Stationary Hospital. We had tea in the Sisters’ Mess. From there we went on to the Nurses’ Hostel, which is situated at No.6 Rue du Pot d’Etain, in the town of Boulogne, and returned to the billet.
Visited the Embarkation Sister’s Office and saw the arrangements made for storing luggage of members arriving and departing. Then went on to the luggage store. Lunched with the DMS General Gerrard, and I saw Dame Ethel off by the afternoon boat to England.
SUMMARY FOR JUNE 1919
No.2 General Hospital, on 1.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.25 Stationary Hospital, on 1.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.12 Stationary Hospital, on 27.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.7 Stationary Hospital, on 23.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.18 Casualty Clearing Station, on 27.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.3 Ambulance Train, on 16.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.37 Ambulance Train, on 12.6.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
Sent Home sick
Trained – 9
Untrained – 4
Demobilised – 147
Resigned – Nil
Transferred to Home Establishment – 4
Transferred to England
For duty on Hospital Ship “Kalyan” – 1
Reinforcements for Army of the Rhine – 65
Reinforcements for France and Flanders – 1
Untrained returned to England
Resigned – Nil
Termination of Contract – Nil
Transferred to Home Establishment – 3
Demobilised – 157
Approximate number of leaves granted
To United Kingdom – 136
To Paris – 2
In France – 8
Total for CAMC
Transferred to United Kingdom – 12
Now in France – Nil
Total requirements of Nurses
For Army of Rhine (Calculated at 75% of War Establishment)
Trained – 292
VADs – 120
For Clearing Up Army and additional Units while still open in France and Flanders
(Calculated at 50% of War Establishment)
Trained – 512
VADs – 268
Total requirements of Nurses
Trained – 804
VADs – 388
Total Number of Nurses available on July 1st
Trained – 811
VADs – 266
Total Shortage and Surplus
Surplus – 7
Shortage – 122
Grand Total of Nurses working in Army of the Rhine in France and Flanders, including 416 General Service VADs in BRCS Hostel and Military Hospitals
Trained – 811
VADs – 860
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF WORK DONE AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Went to see the DMS General Gerrard in connection with a course of instruction for the training of 300 Infantrymen as RAMC orderlies as he desired my assistance. He was anxious for the course to begin as soon as possible. The course is to be similar to the one held at the Depot in Aldershot, it is to be somewhat modified and is to last a month. On completion of this course those men who are unsuitable and willing may be transferred to the RAMC and drafted to the various units in France and Flanders now practically without orderlies of any kind. I undertook to appoint members of the QAIMNS to assist in this course and suggested Miss Teevan QAIMNS at present A/Matron of 39 Stationary Hospital as Sister in charge. The Depot is to be on the old site of 20 General Hospital at Camiers. Colonel Scott Jackson is to be appointed Officer in charge. The DMS expressed a wish that I should call on the DDMS L of C, Colonel Barefoot, as soon as possible with regard to arrangements to be made for the Training School.
Accordingly in the afternoon accompanied by Miss Wilton Smith QAIMNS, I called on Colonel Barefoot and made several suggestions in connection with the course of which he entirely approved. The following are some of the suggestions:-
1. That Miss Teevan, QAIMNS be appointed in charge with a certain number of junior QAIMNS Members (possibly 8 in all may be required to assist her).
2. That one hut be set apart for lectures where practical nursing work could be demonstrated and bandaging taught, and that some dummies were procured, large classes of bandaging could take place at one time; that another hut be attached and fully equipped with 25 beds which with the annexes, duty rooms etc. could be kept as a ward, where bedmaking, nursing of helpless patients etc. could be demonstrated practically and the cleaning of the ward, annexes etc. could be carried out.
3. That if a few necessaries could be supplied in the Operating Theatre the cleaning of Instruments before and after operations, sterilising etc. could also be taught.
We then went on to the Villa des Pins where we had tea and then went round the hospital prior to its being handed over to the QMAAC as a Convalescent Home. From there we went on to No.20 General Hospital where I was fortunate in meeting Colonel Scott Jackson and gave him an outline of this course of instruction it was proposed to take up, of which he entirely approved, returned to Aubengue in time for dinner.
Miss Bond OBE, RRC A/Principal Matron QAIMNS, accompanied by Miss G. Wilton Smith proceeded to the 3rd Area on a tour of Inspection of all Units there and she reported to me as follows:-
‘Miss Wilton Smith and I left for Etaples at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and arrived there in time for tea at 24 General Hospital. The Matron Miss Allen QAIMNS was in bed sick, but I saw Miss Rentzsch QAIMNS, the Assistant Matron and Miss Teevan QAIMNS, the Sister in charge of the RAMC School of Instruction. Miss Wilton Smith talked to Miss Teevan about the course of training and also regarding her staff. We also saw Colonel Barefoot the DDMS Lines of Communication for a few minutes and told him the list of Recommendations had not been sent through the L of C but had been sent direct to the DMS to avoid delay. From there we went on to Abbeville and stayed the night at 2 Stationary Hospital. We had very nice comfortable rooms.
The next morning we left Abbeville at 9.30am and drove to 41 Stationary Hospital which is just outside Amiens at Poulainville. On our way we called at the Headquarters of the 3rd Area at Flexicourt and saw the ADMS who advised us as to the route we should take. Inspected 41 Stationary Hospital accompanied by Miss Bannister QAIMNSR the Matron and Captain Brown who was acting OC in the absence of Colonel Ellis. Found everything very satisfactory. This is a very good unit.
From there we went on to 58 Casualty Clearing Station which is situated at Tincourt. Went round the Unit with the Sister in charge Miss Dunn QAIMNSR, and the OC Colonel Pinches. This is a very isolated Camp but is well managed and very pretty. It is situated on the side of a hill. The huts are facing one another on either side of the main path with picturesque porches at the end of each. The Hospital was in very good order and everything was quite satisfactory. Members of the Women’s Legion Motor Drivers had arrived there and were being accommodated under canvas. These drivers are to be attached to the Unit, but will have their own Mess.
We then went on to 43 Casualty Clearing Station which is situated at Beaulencourt. Went round the Unit accompanied by the OC Colonel Campbell and the Sister in charge Miss F. M. Tailer, TFNS. This Unit has a large Isolation Compound attached which makes it more or less busy. Everything was very satisfactory. We spent the night here and were most comfortable.
We left 43 Casualty Clearing Station the next morning at 9.30 and drove to 19 Casualty Clearing Station at Caudry. This Unit is at present stationed in a large building. The hospital is being moved a little way out of the town under canvas as the French are requiring this building. Went over the Hospital with the CO Colonel Dunbar and the Sister in charge Miss K. Bulman QAIMNS Retired.
From there we drove to 12 Casualty Clearing Station which is situated at Le Quesnoy. On our way there we passed through much devastated area. We inspected this Unit accompanied by the Sister in charge Miss Duncan QAIMNSR. Saw the OC Colonel Williamson who begged to be excused accompanying us around as he was exceedingly busy. This is an excellent Unit. The Sisters’ Quarters are in a large house at the back of the hospital, which was very clean and well managed. The Sister in charge manages the Mess herself.
We then went on to No.1 Casualty Clearing Station which is situated at Mons, arriving in the evening about 7 o’clock. We saw a little of the town. Found this unit was in the act of closing down.
The next morning we left at 10am for Namur which is a very long drive, arriving at Namur at 1pm in time for lunch at 48 Casualty Clearing Station. After lunch we saw Colonel Moore, the ADMS of the 4th Area and spoke with him regarding the Women’s Hospital, the present site is to be moved to another building which has plenty of ground attached where marquees can be put up and which will accommodate the Casualty Clearing Station and the Women’s Hospital. The building is to be opened at once as there are 200 or 300 women arriving in the district, Ambulance Drivers, Clerks etc. Miss Russell Lee, the Sister in charge of 48 Casualty Clearing Station has a very nice Unit, and will move into the new site as soon as possible. Had tea there and returned to Mons and stayed the night there.
All the Sisters of 1 Casualty Clearing Station except two went to 48 Casualty Clearing Station for duty, these two left at 9.30 for the Base and Miss Gedye QAIMNS the Sister in charge left for Etaples. She is to take over from Miss Teevan QAIMNS, Sister in charge of the School of Instruction for RAMC Orderlies, as Miss Teevan has reported sick. We left soon after and called at the ADMS Office, Valenciennes and saw the ADMS regarding the accommodation for sick women and arranged that 57 Casualty Clearing Station was to take them in.
Went to 57 Casualty Clearing Station and saw the OC Colonel Clayton, and the Sister in charge Miss Rogers QAIMNSR and arranged with them regarding making accommodation at their Unit for the nursing of sick women.
From there went on to 39 Stationary Hospital and arrived there in time for lunch. Saw the Matron Miss Watson QAIMNS Retired. This Unit was not at all busy. Left at 3pm and arrived at Aubengue about 7pm. Found great improvements had been made during my absence both in the Mess and the garden.’
(Ends Miss Wilton Smith’s report)
Sunday the 6th of July having been set apart as a Special Thanksgiving day, Special Services were held everywhere. With some of my staff I attended a service held on the Golf Course at Aubengue at 11 o’clock on that day. There were present at the service, the Matron of 32 Stationary Hospital and some of the members of her staff, Members of the QMAAC, General Service VADs, Officers and men, patients from 32 Stationary Hospital and a number of civilian ladies.
Went down with Colonel Potts and Colonel Butler to Boulogne to see General and Lady O’Keeffe off to England and to bid them farewell.
I was very glad to be able to arrange for some of my staff to go to Paris on the 12th to see the Peace Celebration Procession which was to take place on the 14th July.
Dame Furze, and Miss Kane WRNS and Dame Rachel Crowdy called on Sunday and stayed to tea.
Miss Bond OBE, RRC A/Principal Matron QAIMNS, proceeded to Boulogne on Inspection duty and she reported to me as follows:-
‘Left Aubengue at 8.30 for 14 Stationary Hospital which has been transferred from the old site only three weeks ago to the site of 7 Stationary Hospital. Went round the Unit with the Matron Miss Mackay QAIMNS, who is also A/Principal Matron of the Boulogne area. She and the OC Colonel Hine have done wonders in turning the place into a Hospital of 900 beds including 200 beds for infectious cases. Wonderful improvements have been made both in the wards and in the making of the gardens around the Hospital and the Colonel told me that most of the credit was due to the nursing staff. Miss Wilton Smith QAIMNS (who was staying there for a few days) and I, went to the DDMS Office and saw the DDMS Colonel Thurston regarding accommodation for Nurses passing through Boulogne either on demobilisation, leave or on duty, as the Marine Hotel, which is at present being used for this purpose is required and must be given up. The Officers’ Club was suggested for this purpose, it is available, and is a most suitable building, can accommodate between 40 and 50 Sisters and has a good many separate rooms. It was settled that it should be taken and that the whole staff and furniture of the Marine etc. should move in, in about a fortnight, as it will take that time to thoroughly clean the Club and put it in order.
From there we went on to the Nurses’ Hostel which is beautifully clean and is made the very best of, and it is hoped that when the other building is ready that this Hostel may be given up. Returned to 14 Stationary Hospital for lunch and afterwards drove back to Aubengue.’
(End of Miss Bond’s report)
In order to take part in the “March Past” to be held on the 19th July, I proceeded to London by the morning boat on the 18th, crossing to Dover. Six members of the QAIMNS and three members of the QAIMNSR proceeded to London on the 15th inst. for the same purpose.
Dame Ethel Becher GBE, RRC, Matron-in-Chief QAIMNS and I headed the contingent of Nurses in the “Peace Procession” which we joined at St. Thomas’ Hospital and took part in the March as far as Buckingham Palace. The following Nursing Services were represented: QAIMNS, QAIMNSR, TFNS, QAIMNS Probationers, QARNNS, VADs, Military Massage Corps and members of the New Zealand, Australian and South African Services also took part.
Accompanied by Miss Wilton Smith RRC, QAIMNS, I went to No.20 General Hospital, where the School of Instruction for orderlies is now in full working order. Arrived there in time for lunch which we had in the Sisters’ Mess. After lunch visited the School of Instruction accompanied by the OC Colonel Scott Jackson and the Sister in charge Miss Gedye RRC, QAIMNS. Everything seemed to be going on most satisfactorily. They spoke of the great interest the men were taking in their work and said they seemed most promising pupils and would no doubt become very good orderlies. The following questions affecting the permanent transfer of these Infantrymen to the RAMC were discussed:-
1. Whether in these cases this course they were now taking would be substituted for the elementary course nominally held at Aldershot, or whether they would have to join up at Aldershot and take the usual preliminary course there.
2. Whether the fact that an RAMC orderly receives twopence a day less proficiency pay than an Infantryman, would prevent those who wished to do so from permanently transferring to the RAMC.
I said that these questions would be represented. At the time of our visit, there was a class of bedmaking and poultice making going on.
Miss Bond OBE, RRC attended a Conference of ADMSs which was held at the DMS Headquarters at 2.30pm on 25th July. The following subjects were discussed:-
1. The accommodation for sick women.
2. Members of the Women’s Legion Motor Drivers being made Members of the Sisters’ Messes.
3. The Employment of General Service VADs
4. The Establishment of Sisters in Casualty Clearing Stations.
With regard to the last question, the establishment of Casualty Clearing Stations had been fixed at eight Nursing Sisters, and it had been thought that this would be enough, but it has been found in some Units that this is not so, and as there are likely to be more sick women in these advanced Areas than has been in the past it was thought that it would be necessary in a good many cases that more staff should be provided when available.
SUMMARY FOR JULY 1919
Sick Sisters’ Hospital Marseilles, on 28.7.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
Sick Sisters’ Hospital Havre, on 28.7.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.52 Stationary Hospital, on 2.7.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
Station Hospital Paris, on 21.7.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
No.26 General Hospital, on 17.7.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
Nos.1, 22, 51, and 62 Casualty Clearing Stations: Staff dispersed and demobilised
Nos.1, 2 and 10 Ambulance Trains, on 31.7.19: Staff dispersed and demobilised
To United Kingdom – Trained 18
Demobilised – 49
Resigned – Nil
Transferred to Home Establishment – 4
Retained on leave in the United Kingdom – 1
Transferred to HM Ambulance Transport – 2
Total – 74
Untrained returned to England
Resigned – Nil
Termination of Contract – Nil
Retained in the United Kingdom while on leave – 2
Demobilised – 38
Evacuated sick – 6
Total – 46
Approximate number of leaves
To the United Kingdom – 90
To Paris – 2
To France – 2
Total – 94
Total requirements of Nurses
For France and Flanders (calculated 50% of War Establishment)
Trained – 407
VADs – 226
Total number of Nurses available on August 1st 1919
Trained – 428
VADs – 220
Total shortage and surplus
Surplus – 21
Shortage – 6
Grand Total of Nurses working in France and Flanders, including 580 General Service VADs in BRCS Hostel and Military Hospitals and 25 BRCS VADs
Trained – 428
VADs – 825
In peacetime Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service reverted to having only one Matron-in-Chief in post at the War Office, with both the Army of the Rhine and the rest of France and Flanders being supervised by a Principal Matron. Having spent the whole of her five year term of office in France, Miss McCarthy's departure also signified her retirement from QAIMNS. The following report of her departure is written by her successor, Mildred Bond, Principal Matron, France and Flanders. Although Miss Bond's report suggests that Miss McCarthy would be returning to civilian life, she did in fact immediately take up a new post at the War Office as Matron-in-Chief of the Territorial Army Nursing Service, which she held for the next five years.
Departure of Matron-in-Chief, France
On August 5th the Matron-in-Chief, BEF left France, from which date I took over the duties of Principal Matron of France and Flanders.
On the evening of the fourth, Dame Maud McCarthy GBE, RRC, dined with the DMS General Gerrard CB, and the officers of his staff, who were giving a farewell dinner in her honour. The following guest were present: Colonel Barefoot DDMS, L of C, Colonel Statham the DDMS Boulogne and Etaples, Colonel Gordon the ADMS Calais, and also the A/Principal Matrons of the Areas, Miss L. E. Mackay QAIMNS, Miss Allen QAIMNS and Miss Rowe QAIMNS; also Miss Congleton QAIMNS, Matron 32 Stationary Hospital; Miss G. Wilton Smith and myself. In the centre of the dinner table was placed a gorgeous basket of choice hot-house flowers which was afterwards presented to Dame Maud, and the DMS made a very appropriate and gratifying speech in which he expressed so much appreciation of her noble work and character and regrets at her leaving France, in which we all concurred so heartily.
On the afternoon of the 5th, Dame Maud left by the afternoon boat for England. I went with the DMS in his car to see her off, and Miss G. Wilton Smith and Miss Barbier CHR went with her in her own car. There was a large crowd waiting on the Quay when she arrived. Among those present were a Representative from GOC, General Asser being absent from Boulogne; the DMS and his staff; Brigadier General Wilberforce CB CMG the Base Commandant; Colonel Barefoot DDMS L of C; Colonel Statham DDMS Boulogne and Etaples; Colonel Gordon the ADMS Calais; and many other officers; Major Liouville, who represented the French Medical Service and Monsieur M. Rigaud, Secretary to the Sous-Prefecture who represented the French civil population, came in place of Monsieur M. Buloz who was absent from Boulogne. These two men thanked her on behalf of the Military and Civil Authorities for all the goodness and courtesy they had always received at her hands. The Matrons and the Nursing Staff from all the near Units who could be spared from duty and who were anxious to show a last mark of respect to their retiring chief were present.
She shook hands with everyone and was wonderful to the last, in the way she carried through a most difficult and trying farewell. Her cabin was a perfect bower of most beautiful flowers sent from the staff of the different Hospitals. One of her own staff, Miss Hill VAD, was able to cross with her as she was going home on demobilisation. As the ship moved off the Matron-in-Chief, Miss Hill and Major Tate RAMC of the DMS staff, who was proceeding to England on transfer, escorted Dame Maud to the bridge and remained with her. They all waved from the bridge and we all waved and cheered our loudest and sang “For she’s a jolly good fellow” as the ship sailed out of the harbour. I think we shall never forget that sight and shall always like to remember the courageous and plucky way in which our chief carried our flag flying to the very last moment into her civilian life, where we wish her all happiness and success and where she will still command the love and respect of us all.
FINALEThe war diary continues to describe the day to day workings of the nursing services in France and Flanders until March 1920, but is in a very reduced form as the number of hospitals dwindles to nothing. Separate records were held for the Army of the Rhine, but were no longer included in this document. As this diary started in August 1914 with Miss McCarthy's boat journey to France, her return journey almost exactly five years later seems an apt point to bring these pages to an end.