CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3988
Neglected to note arrival of letter from Matron-in-Chief WO authorising retired QAIMNS now serving on the Reserve to wear the Scarlet Cape. Acting Matrons to wear scarlet cuffs, Acting Sisters to wear stripes – sent circular letter to all units.
Started for Versailles taking with me Queen Alexandra’s gifts. These it has not been able to take before owing to pressure of work, and delay of their arrival in time for Christmas. Left Miss Barbier in the office to attend to correspondence and to wire or telephone me when the necessity arose. Obliged to stay the night at Pontoise in consequence of spring of car breaking.
Left early by train for Paris, taking car and left it at Daimler Works. Mr. Main the Manager kindly sent me to Versailles in another car while mine was being repaired. Arrived Versailles for lunch. Found Mademoiselle Sauerwein awaiting me. Took her to 4 General and introduced her to OC who took her round the Hospital. Found everything excellent order. The Hospital expanded into grounds and field adjoining where enterics and convalescent are nursed in separate compounds. Everything in admirable order, the Nursing Staff well and well accommodated in Hotel. Wire from Headquarters saying Nurse Gorham had enteric and had been moved to 14 Stationary Hospital.
Left for Abbeville at 11am arrived 5pm to find that Canadian Sisters 5 in number had arrived at Havre and were instructed to proceed to Boulogne. Miss Hodgins had heard her father was dangerously ill and had been given 7 days leave. Miss A. A. Wilson was doing duty during her absence.
Left early for Boulogne where I was obliged to go with reference the arrangement of the work and the distribution of the Nursing Staff in consequence of the increased number of units. Saw Miss Beadsmore Smith whose Hospital is now being converted entirely into an Officers’ Hospital, the ground floor being converted into a receiving room for officers, a sitting room and a Mess, the Mess being quite close to the kitchen and a pantry and store room, and serving tables being in the annex. Everything should be most satisfactory. Wired official to War Office for sanction for Miss Roy CHR to resign in consequence of her mother’s serious illness. This was granted. Letter from Matron-in-Chief asking for nominal roll of staff so that those doing Acting Matrons and Sisters duties might be gazetted, to correspond in a measure to the large list of promotions in the RAMC.
Spent the day in the office. Completed seniority list. Wrote at length to Matron-in-Chief to try and explain exactly what had been done. Arranged for Miss L. G. Mackay to relieve Miss Fox at 5 Stationary, Section A, and for Miss Fox to take over 12 Stationary Hospital which is expanding to 500 beds. Sent list of nurses at Sir Henry Norman’s Hospital who wish to join the Reserve.
Went to GHQ with Col. Barefoot saw the DG and arranged about how Red Cross Nurses were to be obtained when required for Malassises and recommended that all Red + Nurses working at Malassises who wished to join the Reserve should be instructed to apply officially through him to the WO for appointment. Also told him that a Miss Brise-Miller was anxious to open a convalescent home for nurses near Boulogne – this met with his entire approval. Wrote to Miss Brise Miller asking her if she could come over to discuss matter.
Abbeville 5pm. Wrote Rouen and Havre informing them that arrangements had been made to accommodate Nursing Sisters wanting rest and change at No.4 General Hospital in a certain number of rooms set apart for that purpose where they would have an opportunity of having rest and change as well as seeing many places of interest.
Office all day. Sent circular letter to all Units re times on duty and summer uniform, saying that later instructions would be issued. This I did in consequence of hearing that some members were thinking of ordering what they considered suitable!
Arranging staffs for 1 and 12 Stationary Hospitals, this can’t be completed till more re-inforcements arrive from Home. DMS arrived from Marseilles.
16 General Hospital and Canadian Hospital both busy striking tents and making ready. Staffs for both will soon be required. Left in the afternoon for Boulogne and straight to Red Cross and to see Miss Fletcher and Col. Stewart with reference to the moving of nurses and appointments of Matrons to Red Cross Officers’ Hospital. Also arranged about 2 Red Cross Nurses and 2 VADs from Malassises going to Hardelot for change as they had all had influenza. Instructions were sent for them to come to Boulogne and Miss Fletcher was to arrange the rest. Visited 14 Stationary Hospital and saw Nurse Gorham who is progressing satisfactorily.
Left early for Le Touquet. Visited first the Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital – beautiful position in a Casino with every convenience. Looks to be well managed. The Staff consists entirely of fully trained nurses, principally ‘Bart’s.’ Major Gordon Watson in charge. The Duchess of Westminster and the Lady Alice Grosvenor manage the linen room and Red Cross stores and writes letters for the patients, but takes no part in the nursing.
Then to Canadian Stationary Hospital situated in Golf Hotel and expanding in marques to 520 beds. The officer in charge and the Matron unfortunately were not there – the Home Sister took me round. Like all hospitals of this kind there are several large wards on the ground floor and the remainder of the Hospital is composed of a series of small rooms which have been converted into wards. A good Theatre Operating Room, Xray, ophthalmic department, as well as having a specialist and every appliance for examination of nose, ear and throat. The arrangement for the disposal of bed pans etc., brooms, buckets etc. were not as good as it might have been. The floors are cleaned with paraffin. The Nursing Staff are accommodated at a Chateau nearby, but they mess at the Hospital.
Arrived Abbeville 5pm to find much to be done. A wire from WO asking if we could employ 57 Canadian Sisters temporarily. In view of having some Reserves still available and also the difficulty of accommodating so large a number, I wrote saying they were not required at present, but would like to draw from them when needed. Sent a wire instructing 5 Canadians unemployed at Boulogne to join 13 Stationary for duty. Wired for 3 Nursing Sisters to proceed to Serqueux for station duty, and 3 Canadians from 2 Stationary (Canadian) Hospital for similar duty at Etaples. Arranged for 4 groups of 3 nurses to be ready packed to start at short notice for duty at Casualty Clearing Stations for temporary duty. Similar arrangements had been made for extra Medical Officers. Motor Transport was also in readiness to start at once.
Arranged for extra nurses at Abbeville for station duty. Wire received from GHQ asking if 11 Canadian Nurses were required at 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital. Replied in affirmative. These needed to complete establishment now Hospital had expanded to 520 beds.
Wired Malassises that 8 Red Cross Nurses were arriving to relieve 8 Reserves required at Le Treport for 16 General Hospital. Miss Wilkin QAIMNS sent from 3 General for duty at 5 Stationary Hospital A Section, to relieve Miss Drage who is required for duty at 16 General as Matron.
Received letter from Miss Smith saying 5 Canadians ordered for duty at 13 Stationary did not wish to work anywhere but their own Hospital.
Went to Boulogne. Learnt that CO Canadian Hospital had written saying that instead of employing his nurses, those now working in our Hospital should be given a fortnight’s holiday!! He was informed DMS orders were to be complied with. Tried to see the Matron without success as she had gone to Wimereux. Canadians not on duty.
Trains streaming in one after the other, crowded with wounded. Arrangements good. Stayed till a late hour seeing the wounded taken from the trains and put in ambulances. All done carefully and well. Sir John and Lady Bradford were present for some time and were much impressed.
7 Stationary Hospital now capable of admitting 200 officers.
Forwarded names of 4 Red Cross Nurses stationed at Abbeville who are anxious to join the Reserve. Mrs Robertson Eustace came to see me. Had just arrived back with Mrs Oxley to get house in order to open Nurses' Club. Has brought everything over from England, and has taken an exceedingly nice house with electric light, central heating and bathroom.
Sent the car with a note and one of the Canadian Sisters for the Matron. Didn’t come – sent a note to say she was in ‘neglige’ [sic] would call at 3pm. Visited 7 Stationary, 11 and 13 General Hospitals. All very busy and very full. A large number of dreadfully wounded men.
Canadian Matron arrived after lunch. I explained the situation – eventually she arranged to write explaining there was a misunderstanding and that her 4 nurses would go on duty the next morning at 7.30am. She wished to be excused as she had much back work to settle! Arranged a Staff to proceed to Hesdigneul for station duty. The Canadian letter arrived and was forwarded to ADMS Boulogne.
Before leaving Boulogne visited St. Patrick and St. Andrew, both in good order. The Staff both spoke about only having 6d. allowances, in comparison with what those received serving in France. They have not all supplied themselves with hats and coats and did not think the order applied to them. Agreed to write Matron-in-Chief on both these matters. Hats and coats to me seem most necessary. Returned by Hesdigneul, where I saw the RTO about billets for nurses. Arrived Abbeville 1.30pm.
Busy the remainder of the day answering letters and arranging about staff for 16 General and accommodation and meeting of Canadian Nursing Staff for Le Treport. Arranged for 4 groups of Nursing Sisters to proceed to Merville without delay. Extra surgeons had been wired for also. Mrs Pilcher called about 2 Nurses, Crosbie and Barnes who wished to join the Reserve – referred her to Matron-in-Chief War Office.
Received telegram from Matron Red Cross Hospital Rouen:
“Situation impossible here can you come please”
So arranged to go to Rouen midday after I had seen the letters. Left 3.30pm arrived 7pm. Went to ADMS office where I learnt that Miss Fletcher Matron Headquarters BRC had already been and had gone to Abbeville hoping to see me about disturbance at Red Cross Hospital, and that the Staff were in a state of general mutiny in consequence of the new Matrons and some Charge Sisters arrival, which they had all resented and gone even so far as ordering the Sisters out of the wards. Decided to wait until the morning before visiting the Hospital.
In consequence of a report I received I sent a letter to all Ambulance Trains with reference to the use of the camera which was entirely contrary to Routine Orders, and requesting that the practice should cease.
Spent most of the morning at the Red Cross Hospital. Saw OC then Matron, then Nursing Staff in detachments. A very disgraceful condition of things. No order or method appears to exist. Everyone appeared to do what they wished. There was no real head and no Sisters in charge of divisions. Everything in disorder. The new Matron on arrival had not apparently been very tactful in tackling the situation. Got particulars of everything. Pointed out where changes must be made and recommended the removal of 5 of the Staff. Reported the matter to ADMS and arranged to inspect the Hospital the next morning at 10.30am.
Then went to 8 General Hospital which is now well established. The wing set apart for the Sick Sisters is most excellent in every way. The huts for the Nursing Staff is now completed and they are occupied and are most comfortable in every way. They have hired what extra furniture they required and the bedrooms are furnished with their Camp Kit. Miss Suart is managing admirably.
6 General Hospital with Miss Reid in charge were busy moving into their hutted Hospital which will be most comfortable.
5 General Hospital with Miss Hordley in charge is under canvas and now presents an entirely different aspect now the weather is improving.
9 General Hospital with Miss Osborne in charge is also busy moving into her hutted Hospital.
1 Stationary with Miss M. Smith in charge just getting into order. I hope she is going to settle in – she still seems very fussy and excitable and talks so much that she does not inspire confidence.
11 Stationary Hospital with Miss Minns in charge and which the Scotch Red Cross is attached is an excellent unit and improves daily. It never sits still – it is always improving, it is now expanding into a meadow alongside which is going to be very good. The Recreation Room and Dining Room for the patients is now completed. Also the Mortuary which is black, hung with a purple hanging, a crucifix, vases and Union Jack as pall – very small, quiet and simple, given by Col. McMunn and made by the Matron.
Matron of Red Cross Hospital and Miss Suart came to dinner, who is a friend of Mrs de Winton and who I thought might cheer her up. She had just learnt her husband, Major de Winton was coming down sick from the Front.
Visited the new Water Ambulance, composed of 6 barges – 1 Personal, 1 Stores, 4 Patients, 25 in each – a Staff of 10 required. Captain Douglas Hall took me over it. It is well thought out and has been expensively equipped, but the beds are too close together and I am sure there will be much difficulty in nursing seriously ill or wounded men. I think the beds will have to be reduced or the smaller bed substituted for those at present supplied.
Then to Red Cross Hospital which needs reorganising from top to bottom and which the present Matron gives one the impression of being able to do, if she is tactful. Keen to write a report of the late difficulties as well as a report on the Hospital for DGMS and the Commissioner.
Then visited 3 Stationary Hospital in Rue Danatel – originally a prison and Miss Bills Matron in Charge. A fine hospital, well built with every convenience. Full of seriously wounded patients. The Staff comfortably accommodated in the grounds in a part of the building. The Matron working very hard, as indeed all the Staff were doing, and everyone feeling the need of proper assistance and encouragement from the OC who apparently was making things very difficult. He apparently is out of health and not up to managing or tackling the situation. He is I understand going to be replaced at once.
10 General I visited next with Miss Mark in charge. Entirely under canvas – 750 beds, including 80 beds for infectious cases, where a Nursing Staff had been set apart to nurse these lines, those who have had special fever training having been selected for this purpose. Miss Mark reported well on her staff both with respect to health, behaviour and nursing capabilities.
Then to 10 Stationary. Miss Fox has only just taken over and was busy establishing herself and her Staff. No Nursing Staff had been supplied to this Hospital before. She gives the impression of going to do very well – equipped for 500 beds.
Then to 12 General with Miss Cheetham as Matron. This has tremendously improved in every way and has every appearance of being well managed. Electric light, dry ... , comfortable marques, the surgical ones as well as being boarded covered with linoleum. An Enteric Division, Mental and Prisoners' Divisions in addition to the usual Divisions, all lines marked out with scarlet posts and most of the marques beginning to have flower beds round them. The Nurses accommodation is now excellent. Had a wire from Miss Brise-Miller saying she was arriving in Boulogne to look for a house for her Nurses’ Convalescent Home. Learnt that the Nursing Staff of some of the Hospitals were making a practice of dining at Hotels and Cafes and returning to Camp after. Am giving instructions for this to be discontinued as it is not desirable that they should be returning to these large Camps which are a long way from the town at night.
St. Patricks day. Went with Col. Skinner and Col. Gray to a Requiem Mass at the Cathedral for the English and French Soldiers. Most impressive except the sermon which lasted 1 hour.
Visited the Rest Station run by the Red Cross at the Station. Everything in first rate order, a complete little unit with everything needed included. 4 beds for serious cases till they can be taken to Hospital, a bathroom, dressing room, Sister's bunk, OMO’s room, kitchen, etc.
After lunch met Sir A. Lawley, the Commissioner of BRC with Col. Stewart and his secretary and the ADMS at the ADMS office, where the recent disturbance at the Officers’ Hospital was discussed, and I was asked to forward my report without delay. I suggested that in future when I am going to visit any Red Cross Hospital I should acquaint the Commissioner and that Miss Fletcher should accompany me if he wished.
Then visited the Convalescent Camp, managed by Major Bostock. A most wonderful and absolutely complete unit, which had been wonderfully thought out and which is supplied with every comfort and convenience for the men, as well as every amusement and game. A certain number of marques and huts, all bedded out, all the men looking so well cared for and happy.
Left for Abbeville with Colonel Skinner, my car following so that I could visit the Rest Stations at Gournay, Foyes les Gants, and Serqueux by the way. The 2 former run by VADs, the latter Reserves – all these have done valuable work in the recent rush. At Serqueux Col. Skinner returned to Rouen and I came on, stopping at Le Treport by the way to see how 16 General Hospital was getting on, and also to see what arrangements were being made for the 57 Canadians who are now arriving. Rooms have been taken and till their Hospital is fully established they are to do duty at 16 General and 3 General Hospital.
Arrived at Abbeville 5.30 to find many letters awaiting me. Telegraphed to Versailles for 9 nurses doing temporary duty, these to proceed to 3 Stationary and 10 General Hospital for duty, where they are very busy and short-handed.
Busy at office all day. Sent report of Red Cross Hospital to DGMS for transmission to Commissioner.
Colonel Russell came to say Miss M. C. Clarke dangerously ill at Dieppe with enteric. Too ill to be moved. Sent 3 Nurses. Wire from Etretat to say N. Matheson also seriously ill.
Miss Eardley replaced by Miss Fairchild on Red Cross Train.
Wired to Commissioner for 6 Nurses for Malassises who were urgently required – 4 sent – 2 to follow.
During the recent influx of wounded there were 38 deaths in less than 48 hours at 3 General Hospital, and 6 deaths of officers at 7 Stationary.
To Boulogne to meet Miss Brise-Miller who proves to be very nice, with a Miss Brown her friend, who is a trained nurse and who has worked at the Families’ Hospital, Malta. After some difficulty arranged about a car, Mr Westmacott very kindly lending his – obtaining a pass has been another very great difficulty.
Then to see Lady A. Gordon Lennox, with regard to the Nurses' Clubs which HRH Princess Victoria is interested in, and a list of summer garments for the troops which was required by Her Majesty. Went to see Mrs Robertson Eustace’ Club which has just been opened for the nurses and is quite charming. A little bit of England, so pretty and dainty, everything purchased at Shoolbreds.
Visited 12 Train after dinner and watched the detraining – a very good train in every respect.
Visited the Commissioner re Officers’ Hospital, and also whether the BRC would be able to accommodate some of our nurses.
Went to Paris Plage to take rooms for Lord Derby’s Nursing Staff. Found an excellent Hotel capable of taking everyone.
Lt. Col. Green came about Lady Hadfield’s VADs who are anxious to be employed by the Army.
Obtained passes at last for Miss Brise-Miller who went by car to Le Touquet.
Visited the Australian Hospital which is first rate, well managed and beautifully clean. Then to Anglo-American to interview the new Matron and call on Lady Hadfield. Everything going smoothly.
To 2 Stationary Hospital to find Miss Denne very seedy, with no voice, not wanting to go to Hospital. Arranged for her to go to 14 General and for Miss Dalton to carry on in her absence. Miss A. B. Smith is making 7 Stationary Hospital first rate. The Mess room and sitting room very good.
Returned to Abbeville in time for dinner. Lady Ponsonby came about Club for nurses – is going to Rouen to look for a house, and I have arranged for Miss Reid to meet her.
Busy in the morning. After lunch went to Dieppe to see Miss Clark who is very ill indeed, very delirious. The nursing arrangements not at all good. The Nurse not satisfactory. Arranged to have her moved at once.
More nurses required at 14 Stationary Malassises, and 5 Stationary. These all settled. Telegram from DG Canadians asking for all nurses temporarily employed to be transferred to their units. This was done – orders were issued accordingly.
Nurse Clarke and Matheson both slightly better. Busy at office all day.
Started for GHQ going to Malassises by the way, arriving there noon. This is now thoroughly established and working well. The building with the exception of 1 ward is now devoted to women and children, the men in marques. 490 patients, the Nursing Staff still in billets, and driving backwards and forwards in ambulances. The Staff consists of Red Cross, Reserves and VADs, all working well. From there I went to GHQ Headquarters, saw DGMS and Col Burtchaell, and where the employment of VADs in our Hospitals was discussed. An official letter on the subject had been passed to DMS which I shall see on my return.
Visited 10 Stationary Hospital which Miss Lyde has recently taken over from Miss Tunley. Everything going satisfactorily. More wards have been taken over and there were many seriously ill and wounded. From there to GHQ office and then to Lillers to 4 Casualty Clearing Station, where I arranged for Miss Devenish-Meares to be put in charge so as to relieve Miss Buyers QAIMNS who I am requiring elsewhere. The Station is a well managed one. There had been a great deal of work, but at the time of visit most of the patients had been evacuated.
After lunch to Chocques, 1 Casualty Clearing Station, situated in a Chateau to which they had had to retreat rather hurriedly from Bethune some weeks ago, in consequence of the Hospital being shelled. Col. Symons shewed me everything. They all able to be accommodated, Medical Staff, Nursing Sisters and patients in the same building, the Company being accommodated in one of the outbuildings. They had recently evacuated and in consequence not many were in Hospital. Miss Caulfield has recently been moved from this unit, and Miss Watkins is in charge. I then went to Bethune to the 4th Field Ambulance, ½ of which is in a building for officers only and ½ in part of a French Hospital, both most excellent buildings and most comfortable. 2 Territorial Nurses were doing temporary duty at the Officers’ Hospital, and upon being asked by Colonel Holt if I could arrange to give them some nurses permanently, I arranged to send Miss C. V. S. Johnston, Miss Barclay Smith and Miss Luard.
Had tea at the 1st Army Mess. Afterwards drove to Aire, where I saw Surgeon General Macpherson and reported matters to him, he entirely approving of nurses being sent permanently to Bethune.
Left early for Poperinghe with Col. Guise-Moores, to visit 3 Casualty Clearing Station. This is situated in several buildings in one street. A great deal of very serious work is being done with Lt. Col. Boyle and Miss G. M. Smith in charge. The former reported most favourably on the Staff and excellent work which as been done under most trying and difficult circumstances. Afterwards visited a Chateau lent by the Countess ____ [sic] where Belgians suffering from enteric are being nursed. This has expanded and there are also several wooden huts erected, full of patients. They are being nursed partly by Community Sisters and partly by the English, and the arrangements are good, and all precautions taken. We had lunch with the Medical Officers and orderlies all specially enlisted. After lunch we went to the local Hospital. Here the enterics are in a bad [way]. The nursing appeared to be practically nil. Most of the patients were in bed suffering from enteric and fully dressed.
On my return visited the DGMS. When I told him of my recent visits and also of the existing conditions at the Red Cross Officers' Hospital Rouen and of the changes which were being made.
Visited Casualty Clearing Stations 6 and 7 at Merville. Everything satisfactory at both. Arranged for Miss M. H. Smythe to be in charge of the new one just opening and arranged to send 4 Territorial Nurses to complete her Staff, this being a Territorial Unit at Bailleul. Visited 2 and 8 Casualty Clearing Stations, both fairly empty, in consequence of recent evacuations, but still many serious cases needing a great deal of attention.
At Hazebrouck visited 3 and 10 Casualty Clearing Stations, both these units vastly improved since Miss Knowles and Miss M. B. Williams had relieved Miss Newman and Miss K. Holmes.
At Aire Hospital visited the Canadian Casualty Clearing Station situated in a prison. A complete Staff but only recently established and not yet in full working order.
The Bishop of London had been holding many services at St. Omer today including a confirmation one and a special evening service at the Soldiers' Club after Evensong.
The Bishop of London held a Common Service at 10 Stationary Hospital at 7am and afterwards addressed the Company.
Before returning to Abbeville I visited 9 Casualty Clearing Station. Everything very satisfactory. The Nursing Staff accommodated in a nice little house which Miss Pedler has made quite charming.
The Fever Hospital a very good and useful unit – well run and comfortable in every way. 2 Territorial Nurses with fever training are here. When necessary extra help is provided.
Returned to Abbeville 3pm. Found much work awaiting me and was glad to learn that Miss Clark and Miss Matheson were both improved.
Left with Miss Barbier in Colonel Barefoot’s car for Etaples, Paris Plage and Boulogne, 1st to meet Lord Derby’s Matron and Staff at Paris Plage, which we did. They busy opening in a Casino until Etaples huts are ready. Then with Col. McMunn to lunch and afterwards to see the large camp which is in the process of making and where we met the Sanitary Commissioner and Surgeon-General Woodhouse. 4 General Hospital, Lord Derby’s, St. John's Ambulance, an Isolation Hospital, a Convalescent Camp and 18 General are to be established here. A fine position and an enormous camp covering a large area.
Then to Boulogne, where I left Miss Barbier for a few days leave to meet her sister for Holy Week and returned to Abbeville by 7pm.
Saw Miss MacCrae who is doing good work under difficulties on 6 Ambulance Train.
Busy all day writing and arranging moves. Miss Clark and Miss Matheson continuing to improve.