CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3988
CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3988
In the morning visited 14 Stationary Hospital where everything had very much improved since last inspection.
Instead of 1 ward for enterics there is now 3, and 45 patients were being nursed. The arrangements all of the very best – nurses in overalls, orderlies in canvas suits and overalls as well, which were removed before going to the barracks. Separate kitchen, a disinfector for clothing, and also an incinerator for urine and faeces. 2 officers were nursed in the large ward, their beds being screened off and were most comfortable and cheerful looking. All the cases were doing well. The infectious cases were nursed in the bathing houses and arrangements are excellent, ventilation, heating, lighting and general comfort. Their own kitchen, disinfector, Sister's bunk and an officers sitting room. At the time of the visit 2 officers were being nursed for SF [Scarlet Fever] and were looking very comfortable and happy. The enterics have increased in number and the whole of the ground floor of this Hospital is set apart for them. All arrangements for disinfection, feeding and nursing, excellent. All rules and instructions being plainly written for guidance and placed in each ward. The orderlies wearing canvas suits over their khaki as well as overalls.
14 General has improved in a remarkable manner, and looks well managed and orderly. The dinner tables well laid and a nice supply of pot plants in very nice pots supplied by the Officer in Charge.
The officers' wards and wards set apart for Sick Sisters are very good indeed.
The British section of the Indian Hospital is opened in 2 Hotels and when ready will accommodate 520. 7 Indian Sisters are already there and they all required Reserves to complete their establishment when they are ready to receive patients.
11 General, 13 General and 7 Stationary Hospitals are now in good working order and now that they are not asked to take more than their actual equipped number of patients, everything is going well and the Hospitals look orderly, well kept, and clean and the patients well done by.
13 Stationary has now 2 operating theatres, an X Ray department and an ophthalmic and Casualty Department and 2 more sheds are being awaited increasing the wards by 3 and the beds by some 200. Miss Denne arrived to take over 2 Stationary so as to relieve Miss Steen who is needed for a much larger charge at Le Treport where No 3 General Hospital is opening in the large Trianon Hotel.
Sent the Queen Alexandra's Gifts of tea etc. for Nurses on the Ambulance trains to the trains.
Arranged about Queen Mary's gifts of warm clothing being sent to the Clearing Hospitals. Returned to Abbeville with Miss Barbier.
Worked all day at the office. Received a letter from the M-i-C about winter uniforms and hats which have been approved by Queen Alexandra, also a request for a nominal roll of all nurses serving in France for Queen Mary, as Princess Mary wishes to send them all a present from her fund. A wire from Rouen for 35 Nurses and Havre for 17 which I found were not urgently required as the Hospitals are not yet ready for them. Also heard that the Matron of No.2 General Hospital was off duty with a slight attack of bronchitis.
A letter from DG saying he would like to meet me on Saturday at Boulogne and to go with him to meet his wife and Miss A. L. Pierce who he wished to be stationed at 10 St. Hospital, but didn't know under what conditions she was coming out but that could be arranged later. Completed Nominal Rolls for M-i-C and forwarded them.
Left early, went to office. Met DG went with him to meet Lady S, Miss Pierce and Mrs Cooper whose son is wounded and at the Christol. Found Miss Pierce had not been appointed to any Society before leaving London as she had been formerly on the Reserve with the DG suggestion and approval, wrote to M-i-C giving her all particulars and asking if she could be placed on the Q Reserve.
Left Miss Barbier to meet 16 Nurses arriving who were to go to Rouen for 5 General, and got back about 6pm and reported matters to DMS .
Working all day at letters and returns. Wrote to all in charge re pay and uniform.
Received a censored letter from Col. Skinner from Rouen written by a Nurse. DMS advised it should be sent on to War Office, which I did and wrote to Matron for a confidential report on this lady. A letter from Lord Knutsford about the best way of supplying smokes for officers, which I replied to asking they might be sent to all DDMS for distribution.
Left early for Boulogne with Miss Barbier. On arrival went to office where Col. Lynden Bell had returned and learnt that a Sister in the sick ward at 14 General was running a temperature and had been returned seriously ill. Went out to see her. She was looking very comfortable. Then went on to 14 Stationary to see what arrangements were being made for nursing of Sisters and officers suffering from enteric. Found that 4 rooms of the 1st floor were to be set apart for that purpose and the Engineers were busy completing a back stair case which would communicate with the rest of the enteric division and a door was to be put in that [cut] off that part from the rest of the floor.
Miss Beadsmore Smith came after dinner about pay and various matters. The whole of the 1st floor of 7 Stationary Hospital is to be set apart for officers and the large officers' ward at 13 General is to be closed, which is I feel a most admirable arrangement as this ward was too large and most [un]satisfactory in every way. There will now be 46 beds for officers in 7 Stationary Hospital.
Went to the office. Colonel Lynden Bell had returned. Met DMS who had just arrived from HQ. Went to Wimereux, saw Continental Hotel which the British section of the Indian Hospitals has taken over with Hotel La Plage as a General Hospital, and will be able to open with 520 beds, Lt. Col. Carr in charge - 7 Indian Nursing Sisters, Miss Watt Matron. Arranged that I should supply the staff with Reserves and wrote to all Matrons and Sisters in charge about the new proposed uniform both winter coats and hats. Also asking about the pay and allowances of their staff as complaints are still constantly arriving from England on this subject. Received telegrams about the Nurses at Angers no longer required - ordered them to 7 Stationary. One from Matron 10 General Hospital asking for permission for Miss Deeks to go home as her mother was seriously ill - 7 days leave was granted. Also one from M-i-C with reference to the local employment of nurses - Red Cross only being authorised and that temporarily. Miss Pierce taken on to the Red Cross and stationed at 10 Stationary at his express wish. Sent 4 Nurses from 14 General to 14 Stationary Hospital where they were required in the enteric wards. Miss Barrett called to say the Reserves on 10 Train were not suitable for the work and arranged that they should be replaced by 3 just arriving.
Saw DMS Went and called upon the DG with reference to the Matron-in-Chief's telegram and in consequence of it not being possible for Miss P. to be taken on to the Q. Reserve as I have already mentioned she now was taken on to the Red Cross.
Met 16 Nurses; arranged for 5 for 13 Stationary, 6 for 4 General, 3 for 10 Train, 2 for 7 Stationary Hospital Miss Barbier took the 3 to the train which was said to be in a siding 4 miles away, proved to be 29 kilometres. She didn't get back till 12.45pm!!!
Visited 2 Stationary Hospital - Major Steele in charge, Miss Denne Sister-in-Charge with a staff of 22. Good building with accommodation for Nursing Staff at one end. The Building a school which had never been occupied.
Good airy rooms well ventilated, heated by stoves and lighted by electricity, wash houses, bath rooms and operating theatre in process of building - 230 beds. Many invalids on their way to England by a ship sailing that day. Miss Foster Home Sister. Quite a nice quarter but very bare looking at present but will improve. Have suggested that Miss Denne should convert her bedroom into a bed-sitting room so that the staff could have a sitting room. Miss Barbier went to Abbeville for the letters.
Bad weather all the week. Raining still.
Visited 11 & 12 General Hospital and 7 & 13 Stationary - saw many of the staff. The numbers in the Hospitals considerably less so that the Red Cross Nurses in 11, 13 and 7 Stationary can be dispensed with. Arranged the staff of most of the Ambulance trains should be reduced by one member as the work has been considerably less for some time. Miss Woodward came about uniform coats and said that the night people at 13 General were complaining that they had not [been] paid. Found she had not informed her Matron, also that they were coming on duty late because they couldn't get their breakfasts. Sent a message to the Matron Miss Wilson.
Went to office, then to the Convalescent Camp where arrangements had been made for all men to be admitted to Hospital until certain alterations had been made in consequence of the incessant rain and muddy surroundings. Then to Rawalpindi Hospital where I saw Colonel Carr and Miss Watts, the former asked for Miss Raitt and Miss Warwick both Indian Nursing Sisters from Orleans and Marseilles to be added to their present staff of 7 Indian Nursing Sisters and I have promised them also 33 Reserves to complete their Staff.
Then went to 13 General where I found that with the exception of one, a lately joined Sister, all had been paid; that Miss Woodward had not given the message and that why their breakfasts were late was because at the Hotel they were staying, no-one was up. Decided to move Miss Woodward and am sending Miss Bills to assist Miss Wilson.
On to 13 Stationary where the Sister showed me over the ophthalmic department and I saw Miss Holman about her pay being stopped. Saw Lady Sloggett. DG has arrived from GHQ.
Still raining. Saw DMS - brought letter for Major Birrell. Arrived 12.30pm. Had lunch. Got parcel which was sent to DMS by car. Many letters awaiting me re the censored letter and the employment of Red Cross Nurses. Also a letter from Col. Burtchaell instructing me to take N. Palin of Asturias to find out where she would like to serve in France and to inform Sir Arthur Sloggett as soon as it had been done. Also a letter from Miss Steen written on the 8th asking if Miss Caldwell QAIMNSR. might go home as her mother was seriously ill - wired. Spent the evening answering letters in connection with uniform, pay and moving of various members of the Staff who it was considered would be better working under a roof instead of under canvas.
Abbeville – St. Omer midday
Before leaving for St. Omer visited the Pay Office and saw General Bray in connection with the difficulty some of the Nursing Staff had in obtaining their pay while others had received it up to date. Told him I had written to all units asking every Nursing Sister in charge to give me all particulars, and also told him that the Matron-in-Chief had written to say she had constantly had complaints from civil nurses on this subject. I have undertaken to let him have all particulars so that they can be investigated. He naturally was very annoyed. Arrived at St. Omer. Went to DDMS's office. Saw Major Cummings and was asked to return at 9.30pm to meet DDMS as he was then at the Front. 8 more Nursing Sisters were needed. I telephoned at once for 6 QAIMNS and 2 Reserves from Boulogne. I then visited 10 Stationary Hospital with Miss Barbier who had accompanied me. Everything was going smoothly. The Hospital looks clean and comfortable and several improvements had been made since my last visit. The enteric ward had been moved and an observation ward as well had been arranged for, which was situated nearby. The officers' wards had been moved and there is now also an acute medical ward. The Nursing Staff with the exception of Miss ... the Matron and 1 Nursing Sister live in a very comfortable house quite close by. In consequence of the increased staff which is now required, I telegraphed for 2 more Reserves 2pm from Le Havre, one to be Home Sister. There had been a little disturbance about some information which had appeared in some nursing papers and to which no-one would own. I discussed the matter with the OC and the DDMS and it was decided unless there was anything further not to make any changes in the staff. Left some of the Queen's cigarettes for the officers. Then to 1 Clearing Hospital where everything is most satisfactory - Major Symons entirely satisfied with his staff and the patients looking most comfortable and well cared for.
Saw the DDMS Arranged to go to the Clearing Hospital which I found would take 2 days, and be put up at the Sisters' quarters belonging to 10 Stationary, which are exceedingly comfortable. Saw Miss A. L. Pierce, who has settled down and is working well.
Arranged for Miss Barbier to go to Boulogne with some sick officers so that she would be there to meet and detail the Sisters arriving from London on the 16th. Left by motor car at 8 a.m. in driving rain for Bailleul where we arrived at about 10am. Drove straight to No.2 Clearing Hospital, Major Leake in charge, Miss C. L. A. Robinson and 4 Reserves on duty. The Hospital being in a Priests' College, capable of taking from 3 to 400 pts., 30 beds being set apart for the French who were arranging to nurse their own people. There were a certain number of beds in cubicles where officers and seriously wounded men can be nursed and they had been able to obtain sheets and pillowcases for these beds. The remainder were simply nursed on stretchers raised from the floor by tressels, and where pts. were only looked after until they can be moved to either Stationary or General Hospitals. All the arrangements struck me as excellent. All the wards were clean, well lighted and warm, and everything which was possible was being done for the patients. Rooms had been set apart for Medical, Surgical and isolation cases. The Chapel had been converted into a mortuary. Went to see where the Nursing Staff were billetted - 1 QAIMNS and 4 Reserves, to be increased by 3 more, Miss Matthews to be in charge.
Then to No.8 Clearing Hospital in another big building. Very full, very dirty, owing to rain, the approach and the amount of work. Many serious cases which had recently been operated upon in beds. Many dying. The staff to be increased by 3 more, making the number 8, Miss St. Quintin in charge of the nursing, Major Rogers of the Hospital. Lavatory accommodation bad; water has to be carried from a distance.
From there to Hazebrouck, first to 5 Clearing Hospital where there were very few patients. Miss Holmes in in charge of nursing arrangements, Col. Bentley in charge of the Hospital. Three Reserves not suitable are to be replaced by others. This Hospital is also in a good building, well situated and well managed. The staff are in billetts and they with No.3 Clearing Hospital all Mess together.
No.3 Clearing Hospital quite close in another good building. Both Hospitals had recently evacuated and were in readiness to move or take in patients as the case may be. Miss Newman in charge - not doing very well - will replace her as soon as possible. Got back to St. Omer 6.30. Went to office to report to Surgeon General O'Donnell. Met Col. Burtchaell and Col. Leigh, Sir A. Bowlby and Sir Wilmot Herringham at the office.
8 Nurses telegraphed for; arrived 10pm, put up at 10 Stationary quarters.
[This entry says 15th, but appears to be a new day]
Raining hard. Miss Barbier left for Boulogne to meet Nurses expected from England.
Before leaving for letters I saw Major Bourke OC in charge of 10 Stationary Hospital in connection with some information which had appeared in some nursing papers about 10 Stationary Hospital and to which none of the nurses would admit they had given - already stated the above – left early for Lillers where I saw No.4 Clearing Hospital – situated in scattered buildings. Several officers, one an Indian officer with a head injury seriously ill, his wife was with him. 5 Nursing Sisters were stationed there, accommodated in billets and doing good work.
Went on to Merville, arriving at noon, and went straight to 6 Clearing Hospital, Lt.Col. Ford in charge, Miss M. Smith with 4 Nursing Sisters on duty. A good building with beds for the seriously ill. At 7 Clearing Hospital, a Territorial Unit with Lt.Col. Weir in charge and 3 Reserve Sisters – 2 additional QAIMNS arrived while I was there. Not a good building and there is much can be done to improve matters. Everything looked its worst in consequence of the bad weather. Got back, reported to DDMS and started for Boulogne after dark but owing to bad roads and insufficient light returned to St. Omer.
After many delays left for Abbeville at 10.30am. Endless punctures and delays and after dark ran into 2 French carts at separate intervals, on the wrong side of the road on each occasion – not supplied with lights of any kind. Both sides of the car was knocked about and in the end when starting for the 3rd time, the steering gear was out of action and on the brow of the hill just escaped a serious accident, the car being brought to a stand still by coming into contact with a tree. Got out. Walked back to office and reported the matter.
Found many official letters awaiting me; received news that one of the Nursing Sisters at No.8 had gone mad.
Writing all day. Replied to Matron-in-Chief’s letters in connection with the Red Cross and the employment of the Nurses, in which I explained the situation very plainly and shewed her that no irregularities had been permitted and in all things I had kept the DMS informed of what I was doing and obtained his sanction and approval.
The car had to go to Paris – damage too great to be dealt with here.
The Nurse who is suffering from some mental derangement to go to England, attended by 2 Nurses in the Asturias her next voyage.
Have been provided with a new closed car which I shall be able to use shortly. In the meantime a car was lent so that I could go to Rouen. We left, Miss Barbier and myself at 1 p.m. and arrived at Rouen about 4pm.
Drove to No.8 General Hospital to enquire about the Nurse – found she was suffering from some sort of religious mania and would be leaving in the [morning] for Havre en route for London. It was not considered advisable that I should see her and Specials had been provided from the very first and a second nurse was always at hand. Then went to DDMS office where I saw Colonel Skinner and told him I was going in the morning to No.12 General to enquire about the censored letter and hoped to be able to visit the other Hospitals before returning which I had to do.
Stayed at Hotel Dieppe – Miss Suart, Matron 8 General came to dinner; I missed her when at the Hospital.
Left early for 12 General Hospital where I was kept all the morning. First saw OC Lt.Col. Jameson, then Nurse Hunt who didn’t seem to think there was any need to think any more about her letter as the Censor had stopped it. She struck me as rather a silly vulgar girl who appeared to be taking up other peoples grievances. However I pointed out that I had come to put matters right if possible and that she must write officially through her Matron. Then I saw all the Reserves, the chief complaint being that they didn’t consider that fully trained nurses should work under a Sister and that every one was quite capable of managing their own sick – but as they found it was our system, now they were reconciled!!! Some said how ashamed they were that such an incident has occurred that they were perfectly happy that everyone had been treated with the greatest kindness by the QAIMNS and I think what trouble existed was among the Reserves themselves. Afterwards saw the Matron – said she must exercise more control and keep her staff in hand. The system of censoring does not seem to be at all satisfactory at this Hospital.
Didn’t get away till 2pm. Returned to office and informed DDMS to what had occurred. Went to the Pay Office where I was kept for some time giving the names and places of where many of the Nursing Staff are stationed. Found everyone most kind and helpful and I am sure everyone now will get their pay regularly. Saw General Bray; he was very disappointed that it was impossible for me to arrange for a niece of his who is not fully trained to be employed in one of our hospitals as she did not require any salary. I pointed out that all nurses were sent from the War Office, except some of the Red Cross who I was permitted to employ temporarily in cases of emergency.
Arrived Abbeville 8pm. Saw DMS; reported what had occurred in Rouen. Arranged for reliefs to go to 3 Clearing Hospital – 3 Reserves to take the place of 3 who were to go to 3 General at Le Treport.
Sir Bertrand Dawson came to see DMS.
Moved 4 Nurses from 12 General Hospital to different Hospitals and think this will improve matters. N. Hunt, Daish, Strange and Lord to 1, 2, 6 and 8 General Hospitals. 4 extra nurses required at 12 General in consequence of the increased number of enterics there. Nurse Street from 13 General moved to Sick Sisters wards at 14 General suffering with diphtheria – it has now transpired that she has had diphtheria 4 times before.
Busy all morning. Wrote the Matron-in-Chief at great length about the employment of the Red Cross Nurses and pointed out that until a definite order was received from the War Office it would be impossible to discharge all those at present employed provided they were doing good work and were entirely satisfactory, in consequence of instructions received here. Left in car with Miss Barbier for Boulogne at 1pm to meet the various gifts which were expected to arrive for the Nursing Sisters.
To DDMS office, then to supply stores to find no gifts had yet arrived. Then to 13 Stationary where I learnt that Miss Holman had been given permission to do dressings and which I told her was not permitted – she is returning to England on 28th, not to return. I told her very plainly that untrained people were not permitted to nurse in any Military Hospital.
Miss Wohlmann came to see me wearing Queen Alexandra’s Christmas Gift, a beautiful fur lined cloak with fur collar, a muff, a hood which I didn’t see, which she had received enclosed in a bag tied with ribbons and containing also her photograph and a letter in her own hand writing – Miss Steenson also came from her ship.
Princess Mary’s gifts arrived which I unpacked and sent off. Everyone should receive them for Christmas with the exception of Havre.
Queen Alexandra’s nor any other gifts not yet arrived. Nursing Sister Palin TFNS who had been on the Asturias arrived from Havre on her way to 10 Stationary Hospital ... . Found a Nursing Sister had not yet joined 13 General Hospital from 6 Train and issued further orders.
Visited 14 Stationary, 14 General, Rawal Pindi Hospitals. Miss Stronach from another ship came to see me.
Visited 13 General, 13 Stationary and 7 Stationary Hospitals. Had lunch with Sir Bertrand Dawson who on the whole considers the Hospitals most satisfactory, and some most excellent. Returned to Abbeville 7 p.m. Before leaving Boulogne saw the most beautiful flowers which Lady Blanche Gordon Lennox had sent from England for Christmas and also saw the beautiful crucifix and vases sent by Queen Alexandra and the candlestick by Princess Victoria for the little mortuary inscribed from Alexandra ‘Rest in the Lord : Now is Peace’ and from Victoria ‘Rest in the Lord : Now is Peace’ also. When this war is ended they are to be presented to one of our Military Chapels.
Abbeville 7pm. Many letters awaiting me when I arrived.
Received the King and Queen’s cards. The little Company at Headquarters were paraded. DMS addressed them and presented the cards to all officers and men. In the afternoon visited the little Red Cross Hospital; gave the Nurses Princess Mary’s gift.
Sent a telegram to Queen Alexandra:
“The members of Your Majesty’s Military Nursing Service respectfully offer their heartfelt thanks for the beautiful gifts which are being distributed, and offer you every possible good wish for Christmas” and one to Princess Mary:
“The QAIMNS and Reserve thank your Royal Highness for their Christmas gifts and wish you every happiness.”
Miss Barbier and I dined with Colonel Leishman and Major Birrell. Letter from Matron-in-Chief saying gifts were coming from Lady Galway – turkeys and puddings – Princess Mary’s book for everyone – wallets and soap from the Daily Express, so that I am returning to Boulogne to arrange about their distribution. It is not noted where they are arriving but I presume Boulogne.
Left for Boulogne 11am, arrived 1pm. Drove straight to Supply Stores; could learn absolutely nothing about the gifts. Then to DDMS office; from there to 13 Stationary where I learnt Miss Holman had invited 3 QAIMNS and 1 Reserve to her dinner party, not the Matron; so wrote her and said that I am sure had the Sisters known they would not have accepted her kind invitation, as on active service it was not considered advisable for Nursing Sisters to go to parties – a large dinner party of officers.
Unable to learn anything about the Gifts – the Supply people are telegraphing to Havre.
Spent the evening answering official letters.
Letter from Lady Sarah Wilson asking for chocolate boxes for her nurses.
Spent the morning looking for Queen Alexandra’s gifts. After lunch visited 11 General Hospital. Left Miss Barbier behind to await arrival of gifts and returned to Abbeville by 7pm. Seymour Hicks and Company expected in Boulogne to give an entertainment at 13 General, The Casino.
Wire from GHQ for Nurses for 9 Clearing Hospital – 5 needed. Instructions issued. Also for staff for Hospitals opening at Abbeville and Dieppe which necessitated moving some of the Senior Sisters from the trains to meet requirements, our Regulars being so few (160) and now being required for so many units. A QAIMNS also asked for as Matron of Red X Officer Hospital, Rouen – instructions issued.
Wire received from Havre to say 11 packages have been sent addressed to me to GHQ Wired for them to be sent to Boulogne. After lunch came to Boulogne in the hopes of getting them – Major Moore accompanied me.
Miss Bills from 6 train came to see me, before proceeding to Rouen for duty as Matron at Red Cross Hospital. Found that a Nurse from 13 Stationary had been transferred with diphtheria to 14 General Hospital.
Mrs Loder-Symonds, widow Commanding Officer S. Staffords* called – has had a children’s training – anxious to get work on a train or barge – referred her to Matron-in-Chief, War Office, as also many Red Cross Nurses and nurses from Voluntary Hospitals whose engagements are terminating. Saw Miss Hartigan who is now in charge of 6 Train. Lady Brook who has been given permission to travel on the same train superintends the Red Cross stores only – they were on their way to Versailles with a train full of patients, mainly frost-bites. Went over the S. Yacht Albion which is most luxurious and carries about 40 patients – unfortunately the Sister and Officer in Charge were not on board.
30 Nurses arrived from London – were met by Miss Barbier and their destinations arranged for, those going further on were accommodated in the Hotel for the night and seen off in the morning.
* See entry Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Saw Sister i/c 7 Train – prepared her for a move when another Hospital opens. Spent the day dealing with correspondence. Wired DMS about the arrival of Nurses.
Met Sir Kingston-Fowler on his way back to England, who is very much impressed with the earnest work done in our Hospitals, and the general behaviour of the Nursing Staff. Spoke also in the highest terms of the work done by the VADs at the stations.
Called on the new High Commissioner of the Red Cross, Col. Sir __ Thomson. Also met Sir Claude MacDonald on his way back to England, head of St. John’s Ambulance there – he also very impressed.