CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3988
Went early to ADMS office to meet DMS who had not arrived from Headquarters. Met him at noon, and after lunch went with him to Red Cross to a meeting in connection with the opening of the Refugee Hospital at Malassises for Belgian men, women and children suffering from enteric and who are being transferred from an infected area through which our troops will have to move.
The building selected is a Monastery not far from GHQ capable of accommodating 300 in the building, part of which the monks will not give up. To expand under canvas. The Staff to consist of Lt.Col. Guise-Moores in charge, 12 Physicians, Miss Hartigan Matron and 2 Reserves all of whom speak French fluently and 60 Red Cross nurses.These will include those who have been working in 13 Stationary since October, and who have been very favourably reported upon.To begin with 50 orderlies and the question of 26 VADs under consideration, as well as Belgian refugees as scrubbers. Left for HQ at 5.30 bringing with me list of equipment unable to be obtained at Boulogne or from the Red Cross – to be applied for from Headquarters.
Met Mademoiselle Sauerwein who had come with orders from WO to visit a Clearing Hospital and see our methods, and who has to wait until she gets authority to proceed from HQ, IGC. Arrived at Abbeville 8pm, where I reported all that had been arranged to Major Fell, with regard to this new Hospital.
Telegraphed for Mademoiselle Sauerwein to proceed, also to No.2 General for Miss Plaskett and Miss Gardner who I am requiring for train duty and as senior Sister for Miss Reid, Matron 6 General.
Wrote to Miss Watt re Indian Sisters for duty in operating theatres of Indian Hospitals, asking her to give the names of the Sisters QAMNSI who she could recommend for that duty.
Wrote to ADMS (Col. Skinner) Rouen about the new staff for 3 Stationary Hospital just opening in a fine building with Miss Bills as Matron. Received official authority for appointing the Senior Matron at each Base to act for me as Assistant Principal Matron in addition to her other duties – a circular letter to this effect is being forwarded to each base.
Wrote to Mrs Robertson Eustace about the Club which she is proposing to open, a Club for nurses where they can have a bath, have their clothes mended, have tea, rest, and where she hopes to have one or two spare rooms where nurses could come for a weekend. Received a telegram informing me that Miss Hartigan and the 2 Reserves had arrived at the Refugee Hospital. Mademoiselle Sauerwein arrived 6pm.
Obliged to wire for 40 more nurses, in consequence of more being required at 13 Stationary Hospital in consequence of the departure of the Red Cross and also for new Clearing Hospital and increase of Nursing Staff required at other Clearing Hospitals. I am arranging to have only a senior Sister QAIMNS in charge in each Clearing Hospital, now called Casualty Clearing Stations and I will select suitable Reserves for the remainder of the staff to enable me to have more Qs available for all units now being established.
Received most kind letters from Lady Roberts and Lord Knutsford with reference to the recent report forwarded for the Nursing Board.
Miss Fox QAIMNS took Mademoiselle Sauerwein to see 5 Stationary Hospital, the Red Cross Hospital and the French Hospital. She invited her to lunch so she had an opportunity of seeing how the Nursing Staff were accommodated and of meeting them all. She expressed herself very surprised at the nursing arrangements. Received a telephone message from Major Paine Wilson saying Mrs Robertson Eustace had arrived.
Left with Mademoiselle S. for GHQ, arrived at 1pm. Drove straight to the office where we saw Colonel Burtchaell and Major Barrett who invited us to lunch at the Mess, where we met Surgeon General Macpherson also. After lunch Major Birrell drove us to 9 Casualty Clearing Station where we introduced Mademoiselle to Miss Pedler. She having already arranged about her accommodation, we left her, Major Birrell very kindly arranging to take her the next day to see the Convalescent Camp and 10 Stationary Hospital.
We then drove with Col. Guise-Moores and Miss Hartigan to see the Monastery which has been taken over as a Hospital for the Belgian refugees suffering from enteric, and the accommodation for the Nursing Staff. Everything is going on well, and the Hospital has great possibilities and will be excellent in every way I think. A large quantity of equipment had already arrived – annexes were being put in order, gas and water laid on etc., this all being done by the French.
Miss Barbier returned from Boulogne where she had been to meet the Nurses. Wrote to Major Watson to say I would meet Mrs R. Eustace on Saturday at Boulogne.
Arrived HQ 8pm.
Spent the day attending to correspondence and arranging more staff for 3 Stationary Hospital which I have obtained from various hospitals. Received a telegram from Dehorted* informing us of the arrival of 31 nurses on 6th, so sent Miss Barbier by train to Boulogne to arrange about accommodation.
The question of allowing Matrons’ pay and charge pay for Sisters in Charge has been forwarded here. I have not recommended it – reasons – no establishment of beds – appointed only temporarily – staff only small. Actual Matrons’ duties very small.
* The telegraphic address of the Matron-in-Chief's office, War Office, London
Arrived Boulogne noon. To ADMS office – saw Major Watson – found he had arranged for Mrs R. Eustace to be at the Louvre to meet me. Found her awaiting me with her cousin, a very nice practical woman who is anxious to do all she can for the Army nurses independent of any Society, but so far has been unable to find a suitable house in a suitable position.
Saw DADMS Ambulance Trains in connection with the moves I am making on the trains, where I am substituting suitable Reserves in charge, so as to relieve QAIMNS who are urgently required elsewhere. Now the trains are running well and the arrangements good, I feel Reserves carefully chosen ought to be very successful in charge.
Visited Lady Hatfield’s Anglo-American Hospital now known as No.5 British Red Cross Hospital. A nice Hospital, well arranged and well managed I should say, by Mrs de Winton, the Matron. The difficulty being Mrs Kennard a friend of Lady Hatfield’s with 6 weeks training at St. Thomas who apparently was causing much trouble, and Lady Hatfield who not being trained, did not understand the necessity (if a Hospital is to be well managed and successful) of rules and regulations which must be kept.
Some Lady VADs were doing most excellent work as housemaids - Misses Gore, Annesley, Seymour. I noticed on their bedroom doors their names in very plain letters so: HOUSEMAID Gore, and so on. Miss Gore is the head housemaid. They get up at 6.15am and do all the housemaids duties for the Nursing Staff!!! Saw Major Green and Col. Carr RAMC, both attached to this Hospital. Saw Miss Knowles who is about to join 5 Casualty Clearing Station [and] Miss Plaskett who is taking Miss Knowles place on No.1 Ambulance Train.
Miss A. B. Smith RRC who came to report about the heavy work they all are having at 7 Stationary Hospital, and the number of seriously ill officers.
Arranged for a circular letter to be sent to all Bases re arrangement of leave for the Nursing Staff.
In the morning called on Sir A. Lawley the new Red Cross Commissioner, during Sir C. Thomson’s illness, with ADMS Boulogne. Met Sir A. Stanley also, who is anxious to arrange for 12 VADs to go to Belgian Refugee Hospital. Undertook to get sanction for their employment when I return to HQ. Saw Miss G. M. Smith about to be moved from Ambulance Train to Casualty Clearing Hospital and Miss Carr who is replacing her.
Received a letter from Miss Oram saying she was coming here – nothing official has arrived yet, nor did Matron-in-Chief refer to this when she wrote – her letter was also awaiting me.
Moved into an office which is for the Nursing branch entirely. Busy all day with correspondence. Mademoiselle Sauerwein returned from GHQ very much impressed with all she had seen. She was at the Refugee Hospital when the first 100 patients were being admitted. She said it was inexpressibly sad as they had been so neglected especially the children – none of them spoke French, all only Flemish.
Telegram from Miss Wilson saying that she thought she had been able to secure Hotel du Nord which would enable her to have all her staff under one roof. I am instructing the Matrons at Boulogne to try and make like arrangements. Received news of arrival of 31 nurses on 10th. Wrote to Miss Wilson in consequence.
Arranged about various moves. Wrote Miss Hartigan in reply to her letter asking her to write officially about camp kit, pay and allowances etc. for Red Cross Nurses.
Sir A. Lawley and Major Stocking came – wanted list of requirements for nurses, as Reserves are expected to be provided with when coming on Active Service. This list I made from memory so was not iam sine [sic] complete, but consisted I know of the most important articles.
Mademoiselle Sauerwein left for Paris – a most interesting and amusing woman, who spoke good English.
Sent orders for QAMNSI to proceed to Indian operating theatres and wrote to Miss Watt on the subject, also said it was not possible to move the 4 from Marseilles where they are needed unless more Nursing Sisters were sent from India. Telegram from Dehorted instructing us to send Miss Pagan home to report in person to Matron-in-Chief. This was reported to ADMS Boulogne.
Miss Steen from 3 General Hospital came to see me. The Hospital is to expand to 750 beds including 100 for officers and 50 for infectious cases.
Nurses wired for for 10 Casualty Clearing Station – sent 1 QAIMNS and 4 nurses.
Miss Wilson is meeting 34 nurses arriving from England today at Boulogne – have arranged that those who have already been doing good work in England should go to Casualty Clearing Station, Train and 10 Stationary Hospital, the remainder are being sent to various hospitals for temporary duty.
Major Watson rang up from Boulogne to say that Mrs Watson had arrived and was going to inspect in Dunkirk Boulogne and that the Commissioner of Red Cross thought it would be well if she met me. I arranged to meet Mrs W. at noon tomorrow and in consequence have postponed my visit to Etretat until later.
Left for Boulogne – arrived noon. Saw commissioner with reference to Mrs Watson’s inspections, then to see Mrs Watson who had intended inspecting Lady Hatfield’s Hospital thinking it was for French, but decided not to go once she found it was for the English.
Was going to meet the Matron Mrs de Winter at 5 at her Hotel. Saw Sir Bertrand Dawson who spoke again in very high terms of the nursing at 14 Stationary Hospital. Miss Close QAIMNS suffering from pneumonia. Miss Rebara CHR admitted to 14 General from 11 General, with high temperature NYD.
Saw Miss Wilson who reported the arrival of the Nursing Sisters. Learnt staff for 1000 bedded Hospital arriving – 1 Matron, 26 Sisters, 46 Staff Nurses.
Saw Mrs. Robertson Eustace. Has taken house and is going to England to bring furniture and all necessaries for the house which she is opening as a Nurses’ Club and Home. A very charming and a very nice woman. Returned by 7pm.
Very busy completing nominal rolls and arranging for the staffs of the new hospitals arriving. Authority from War Office for me to draw allowances according to my rank – those I was unable to draw until War Office authority had been received even though my pay had been notified.
Miss Rob… reported seriously ill.
Colonel Skinner wrote to know if there was a convalescent home for nurses at S. of France. Replied no – one at Hardelot and that I was going to arrange for Sisters to go to Versailles where No.4 has a certain number of beds set apart for Sick Sisters, where they could be accommodated. Col. Leishman returned from the front with good reports from Clearing Hospitals.
Letter from Matron in Chief. Staffs for new hospitals to be met with what Nursing Staffs here at my disposal, and the weekly instalment of nurses arriving. In this arrangement the difficulty of Matrons will be the only question which may need serious consideration in consequence of the size of these new units, and the number of units already established requiring people of great experience at their head.
Wire from DMS Canadians re staff for Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations – wired for them.
Left midst wind and rain for Etretat. Went via Dieppe, St. Valery and Fecamp – arrived 4pm after a very trying journey. Etretat a beautiful seaside village. No.1 General Hospital seems to occupy most of the town, the Hospital occupying 2 Hotels – The Casino, a private house as an officers’ building and another building where there are a splendid arrangement for bathing of Troops – 60 bathrooms where the men on arrival day or night can have hot baths – this is a great boon, and the men revel in this luxury when arriving from the front in the Ambulance Trains. The Nursing Staff are well accommodated in another Hotel, where they are most comfortable, and where they run their own Mess. Miss Hodgins the Matron is doing excellent work and the CO is loud in his praises of many of the staff, especially Miss Perkins who is managing one of the Hotels excellently and Miss Jacob who is managing the Officers’ Hospital in a very businesslike and satisfactory manner. The Nursing Staff health is good. Everything appeared satisfactory and running smoothly. These scattered charges increase work and anxiety considerably. The Matron has an excellent Red Cross store which she says is kept well supplied with goods mainly by her friends.
Left after breakfast for Havre – arrived noon – reported myself ADMS office, then on to the Quai, where I found Miss Richards and her Commanding Officer. The Hospital was very full with patients waiting to go home who had been delayed by the bad weather, and the inability of the Hospital Ships to come in. Everything here as is always was in excellent order, and since my last visit the nurses’ accommodation had been very much improved by a wing being added so that all have now a bedroom to themselves. A bathroom also had been provided. The Staff here consists of 20, more nurses now being required in consequence of the beds for officers now being constantly occupied.
After lunch I visited the Casino, the Palais de Regatta and the Officers’ Hospital, all in excellent order. Miss Lyde, Miss G.G. Wilson and Miss Barber being in charge.
Then went to No.6 Stationary Hospital where Miss C. Mackay is in charge – a fine building. Everything was in good order and seemed well managed. The Staff accommodated in a house which had just been taken and which was I believe very comfortable – this I did not see, there was not time. I have arranged for Miss Richards to be responsible for this area and to visit the Hospital Ships on arrival so that I can be kept in touch with their requirements. I stayed at the Officers’ Hospital where I was most comfortably accommodated. 27 officers were in with only 1 empty bed. No-one very serious ill. This is a very well managed hospital – everything being in first rate order.
Returned via Rouen. Saw the ADMS before leaving. Had lunch at Rouen with Major Becher who is waiting to go to the front and where I also met Sir Bertrand Dawson and Sir Berkley Moynihan.
Arrived Abbeville 5pm where I found many letters awaiting me, including one from the Matron-in-Chief who apparently thought we were still employing Red Cross Nurses in Military Hospitals, and had also taken on VADs! The mistake originating I imagine in consequence of the VADs being taken on in the end at the Refugee Hospital after their order being cancelled and their being sent out in spite of receiving the order not to come. Replied explaining the matter.
Busy all day with correspondence. Wire arrived informing us of the arrival of 34 nurses on 17th. Instructed Miss Wilson to meet them. Extra nurses required at 2 and 3 Clearing Hospitals. Telephone message from Mrs Watson – arranged to meet her tomorrow.
Left early for Boulogne – arrived in good time. Called to enquire for Miss Close who has pneumonia. Had lunch with Mrs Watson, who talked a great deal about her trip to Dunkirk, where she had been inspecting the Anglo-French Hospitals, some of which she considered very satisfactory and others indifferent. Saw Miss Wilson and told her about her orders to return to England. She had intended to go on leave – this she has had to postpone as Miss Tunley who I have arranged to relieve her cannot come until Miss Lyde has arrived at 10 Stationary to relieve her. Miss Smith at 7 Stationary was busy opening a third floor for officers. Miss Plaskitt from No.1 Ambulance Train came to see me, she just having relieved Miss Knowles who is going to a Casualty Clearing Station. One of the Sisters not suitable for train work who I changed – the OC of 6 Ambulance Train also found his new Sister i/c not suitable – Miss Wilson-Jayne.
Left after lunch for GHQ arriving about 4pm. Went to Headquarters and from there to 10 Stationary where I saw the OC and told him of the impending changes. He is very grieved to part with Miss Tunley, but would not stand in the way of her advancement in any way, and said he had been so fortunate in the Staff he had, that he was sure that I would select someone suitable to fill the vacancy. Miss Lyde has been instructed to proceed from 2 General Hospital forthwith. Stayed at the new Sisters’ Mess – a very comfortable one where a room has been set apart for me, the OC very kindly providing a bed. The Staff using their Camp Kit.
After breakfast visited the refugee enteric hospital,
Returned to GHQ after arranging to send a substitute to 9 CCS to fill vacancy made by Nurse Cook contracting SF. She is being transferred to 14 Stationary Hospital. Returned to Abbeville 4pm. Found a telegram from 14 General Hospital saying Staff Nurse E. H. Cole was dangerously ill, later one saying her condition critical. Wired for news as to what was the matter – received reply ‘cerebro-spinal fever.’ Immediately Col. Leishman heard he telephoned to GHQ for some special to come to be sent at once to 14 General Hospital, and arranged that I should go with him the first thing in the morning to 14 General to see her.
Left with Colonel Leishman for Boulogne, arrived 11am. Went to ADMS office and then to 14 General where we saw Miss Cole. She had a headache on Thursday 18th. Friday 19th while dressing evidently fell unconscious on the floor where Miss Clements the Matron found her. Sir Bertrand Dawson was sent for. She had every care and attention including vaccine treatment to which she was beginning to react, giving a small ray of hope. Her friends had been informed. She had specials and a comfortable quiet room quite to herself, where she was lying quite unconscious apparently out of pain, but breathing heavily.
From there we went to 14 Stationary Hospital which we went over. The Hospital is expanding and the enteric and various infectious diseases increasing. More huts are being built and the OC Major Evans is most anxious to be the only Enteric Hospital in the district and to take all enterics. He is able to expand to a very great extent by going on building huts. The Matron will be requiring a much larger staff and she is arranging to have all her staff together and entirely under her control. The nurses who have been there since October I am now moving and replacing them by fresh nurses as I consulted the Medical Officer on this subject and though he will be, like the Matron, very sorry to part with many of them, he thinks the change is necessary. The whole staff have been working very hard, and have come into contact with every sort of infectious case since October and not one of the staff have contracted any infectious complaint nor suffered from any illness of a serious nature. Before returning we called in at 14 General Hospital to get the latest bulletin. She was about the same.
Got back about 5pm, to find everyone very excited about Sir J. French’s despatch and those who had been mentioned and those who had received honours. A certain number of the Nursing Staff had been mentioned which will give great pleasure to everyone. All have worked well I hear on all sides and many most excellently, in a truly devoted, unselfish, nurse like manner and are continuing to do so.
Heard early in the morning that poor Nurse has died. Busy all day writing letters and arranging about the Staff. Miss Fletcher the Red + Matron called in the afternoon on her way from Rouen about the Matron of the Red + Officers’ Hospital who doesn’t seem to be satisfactory. Miss Bills only left there Feb 1st after wheeling the place into line. Miss Fletcher suggested that the present Matron should be replaced by Mrs de Winton now at the Anglo-American Hospital, apparently a busy, capable woman, but who had had some difficulty with the Lady Patroness, Lady Hadfield, who had discharged her before this Hospital had been placed under Military Control.
Left early with Miss Barbier for Boulogne to attend Miss Cole's funeral, which took place at Wimereux. A large number of Officers and Nursing Sisters attended the funeral and a large number of beautiful wreaths and flowers were sent. Miss Barbier returned to Abbeville. I remained and inspected Sir H. Norman’s Hospital, where the whole Staff including the Matron is anxious to join the Reserve. The Commanding Officer is going to forward their applications recommending. The Hospital 100 beds in a Hotel – small but those well arranged and comfortable.
Then to Rawal Pindi Hospital which is established in 2 Hotels, with Col. Carr in charge, nursed by Indian Nursing Sisters and Reserves. Then to the Anglo-American Hospital (Lady Hadfield’s} where I went with the Commandant Col. Carr to see Lady Hadfield with reference to the appointment of a new Matron – Mrs de Winton the present Matron is being transferred to the Red Cross Officers Hospital Rouen. Much friction had existed between Lady Hadfield and the present Matron. I pointed out that unless the Matron had complete control of her Staff it would be quite impossible for a Hospital to work satisfactorily and that it must be clearly understood that only trained nurses could work in the wards. Telegram received stating that Miss Oram is temporarily medically unfit to proceed here for duty. Miss Tunley arrived to take over from Miss Wilson, who leaves tomorrow for War Office, taking with her a letter from me, asking if she might have a few days leave before joining as she was about to proceed on leave when her orders arrived. Nurses telegraphed for for Casualty Clearing Stations and Hospital now opening in Rouen.
Before leaving went to 7 Stationary Hospital where I saw Miss Smith about her new duties. Also visited Miss Blakeley who was off duty with a cold and told her how extremely annoyed I was about Miss B. G. Smith and impressed upon her the importance of seeing that her Staff were dressed according to regulations and wore Regulation uniform only. Found also that the times of going on and off duty were varying at different Hospitals and determined to send definite instructions.Everywhere heavy snowstorm. After many delays and difficulties arrived at Abbeville 3pm. Saw DMS reported matters. He with Col. Beveridge leaving for Marseilles tomorrow.
Busy with correspondence and moves all day. Miss M. S. Smith called on her way to England on sick leave. On her return will be put in charge of one of the Hospitals if she is then fit. She has been very seedy and run down – should have liked to put her on one of the ships but unfortunately she is a bad sailor. Moved to new office. Now have quite a good room.
Left early for GHQ arrived noon. Found DG was at Boulogne to return at 5pm. Had lunch at Officers’ Mess and then went to Malassises Hospital. Saw OC and Miss Hartigan. Hospital quite full. Now going to expand with marques. Many of the Red Cross Nurse contracts fall in this week. I have suggested Matron to let me know whether all are willing to transfer on to the Reserve if eligible and to let me know without delay. No more Red Cross are to be sent from England – it seems important to keep all those who are working well here and to be judged by their work here and when unsatisfactory have them sent home at once. However I do not know if this suggestion will be considered a sound one as Miss Grant, Cockburn and Taylor-Hay have and are working excellently here though not accepted by WO.
Saw DG before leaving St. Omer and found that all personnel for Hospitals in future will be sent through the War Office, and that the Red Cross Nurses now employed at the Refugee Hospital are being paid by Government also as this Hospital increases more nurses will be required. Marques are now in readiness for more patients arriving tomorrow. The VAD cook and her assistant are found most valuable in the Sisters’ quarters.
Abbeville 9pm. Got back late. Saw DDMS and reported what I had done.
Busy all day in the office. On the 25th arranged for Miss M. S. Potter to proceed to Havre to take over Matron’s duties on the Carisbrooke Castle, and Miss Stronach to proceed to Rouen for Matron’s duties at one of the hospitals now opening. Letter from Matron-in-Chief War Office saying Miss Stevens, Matron i/charge of S.S. Asturias was looking very seedy and overworked and suggested that she should be relieved for a time, but not yet. I have written that I had meant to do this for some time. Will now wait as she wishes for the present, possibly she has some change in view to suggest.
Had a wire from Dehorted requesting Miss C. ... return forthwith to take up her duties again as Matron, Isolation Hospital Aldershot. This I arranged at once – I am exceedingly sorry to lose her, as she was one of those I had intended to put in charge of one of the new hospitals. All leave Home is cancelled after March 1st for the present. Miss Burkitt’s and Miss G Wood’s sick leave has been extended.
Busy all day in the office. Completed all official returns and claims for the month, ending today. Received official report of Lady Gifford’s Home for the 1st month. Everything most satisfactory in every way, and all sides I hear how delightful it is. A perfect rest in beautiful surroundings and meeting with nothing but kindness and a hearty welcome on arrival – always a difficulty to find a vacant bed and always some hoping to go next. Mrs Robertson Eustace Home should open this coming month. The Hon. Mrs Cyril Ward and Lady Ponsonby’s Nurses’ Club at Wimereux to open on Tuesday next, March 2nd.