CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3988
St. Omer GHQ
Letters by DRLS. Matron 18 General wanted to see me urgently. Wired her I would be returning midday tomorrow. Sent a telephone message to that effect to HQ, IGC.
Left early for front – first to DMS 1st Army. Saw Surgeon-General Macpherson, who told me of how the Clearing Stations were moving. Then on to Lillers to 6 Casualty Clearing Station, now established in 4 CCS position, Miss Pallin TFNS in charge, not very busy, but some very bad, and a good many officers. These wards are getting more and more on the lines of a Base Hospital. Then to 9 Casualty Clearing Station, recently at GHQ in new appropriated buildings – old in structure and not very suitable but the best to be had. Miss Pedler very much missed – Miss Woodhouse, QAIMNSR not up to the work – am replacing her by A/Sister Foley QAIMNS, Miss W. going at end of year. Then to West Riding CCS in Highland CCS site. Will be an excellent unit. Under canvas in most beautiful grounds belonging to a Chateau – the Staff billetted. Asked the OC whether they might not be under canvas, as 10 Casualty Clearing Station. There is some doubt if this is possible – question of getting bell tents. Miss E. Todd TFNS in charge – will I think be very good. Then to 1 Casualty Clearing Station at Chocques, partly Chateau and partly under canvas in the beautiful grounds belonging to Chateau. Lt. Crawford in charge, Miss Barrett, Q Retired, Sister in Charge. Everything in beautiful order – nice officers’ wards in Chateau. All doors and windows supplied with gauze in frames to exclude flies, with much success. Nursing Staff live under canvas, well supplied with Red Cross goods and books from war library.
Then to Merville to London Casualty Clearing Station. Miss E. Smythe in charge. Everything vastly improved since last visit. Officers’ wards comfortable and well kept – 2 huge rooms to accommodate 40 officers. At the time of visit teas were being prepared most daintily. Men very comfortable, the little Mortuary supplied with all that was needed, one of the orderlies supplying fresh flowers every day. Then to 7 CCS Very much improved, Miss M. C. Johnston, Sister in Charge is about to be moved. Then with Col. Weir the OC, to the Isolation Hospital some 2 miles away in connection with this Casualty Clearing Station. A beautiful Chateau, a Staff of 3, not much work at the time of visit, but this varies considerably and owing to the isolated situation, a staff of 3 is necessary. From there back to Aire to see DMS and then on to Canadian CCS established in a huge prison. Everything absolutely clean and in order, very few patients. Got back to GHQ after 8pm to learn that 3 CCS had been shelled and 4 orderlies killed and 2 wounded. Nursing Staff had returned to 7 General Hospital, no one hurt, building untouched, and the aerodrome which evidently was being aimed at untouched. The guns some 25 miles away.
After dinner to office to ascertain if any orders were waiting – everything in absolute darkness, not a light to be seen anywhere.
Started 9am to office then 21 CCS just opening in 9 Casualty Clearing Station’s old buildings, recently hit by bomb just after they had occupied – no one hurt. Then to Officers’ Hospital, recently converted from Isolation Hospital, a well-built, comfortable building, everything in excellent order. Has been painted throughout and have everything which is needed. Owing to appointment with Miss Hills was unable to go to 7 General Hospital and see the Nursing Staff from shelled hospital – wrote to Miss Denton, Sister in Charge.
Abbeville. Arrived 1.30pm – found Miss Hills waiting for me. Very worried about VADs 2 of whom had nearly drowned bathing, and in consequence of the unsafe nature of the ground they had been permitted to go and bathe with officers. This I said must be discontinued at once, also that driving and dining out was not permitted. Miss Drage, A/Matron 16 General came asking for more trained people because she couldn’t manage and yet wanted to let 3 go on leave! A great deal of correspondence. Wrote M-in-C for more nurses.
Busy with correspondence all day, and making various moves so as to meet requirements with what trained people I have. Many gaps also made among trained workers in consequence of resignations, and withdrawal of Canadians temporarily employed. Miss Little TFNS returned from leave to pick up her train here. Miss Toller Q from 11 Train to report. Miss Beeder from Red Cross train for application form to apply for Reserve – said she had not applied before. Miss A. B. Smith wrote to say that a Memorial Service on the Anniversary of the Declaration of War was being held at Boulogne, and everyone was taking flowers. DMS approved of Miss A. B. Smith being moved to Etaples as a Principal Matron and Miss Mark going to Boulogne to take her place there, now that we have learnt no more senior people are coming. Sent orders.
Letters from Miss A. B. Smith and Miss Tunley reporting a Mrs. O’Dwyer for bathing with an orderly. She admits to bathing once by chance and once by arrangement at 5am. Wrote M-in-C and suggested she should be sent home and that no official report of the incident should be sent through the usual channels. Miss Stewart Robertson and Miss Hayes’ resignations withdrawn. Two Red Cross nurses arrived and replace Nurses McCrae and Cunningham on 16 and 17 Train. Orders have already gone for these nurses on the arrival of their successors. Discussed the question of lack of trained nurses to meet all requirements in those units which are now preparing for casualties from 800 – 1000 men, which are expected to be much worse than any we have ever had.
To Beauquesne: Amiens: Corbie: Villers Bocage: Beauvall:
After arrival of letters started for DMS 3rd Army our new area. Drove first to Headquarters where I met General Treherne and Colonel Fell, the latter went with me to see where the new Casualty Clearing Stations have been established. The South Midland CCS established in buildings with all the equipment belonging to No.7 General, which was left in the “retreat,” used by the French until now – all in beautiful condition – intact, and the linen well washed and spotlessly clean. These 2 buildings capable of becoming a fully equipped General Hospital. Then to 5 CCS at Corbie – two buildings, one for officers very good, beds, bed linen, Theatre, one for men – much requires to be done. Then to Highland CCS at Villers Bocage. Under canvas, purely a Scotch unit, and have supplied a Scotch Nursing Staff – it remains to be proved what the result may be. Then to Beauvall – 4 CCS partly under canvas, partly in buildings – first rate in every way. Got back 8pm to find that Miss Duncan had had a relapse – acute septicaemia. Her sister had been telegraphed for from Highland Casualty Clearing Station.
(29 VADs arrived)
Letters from all areas needing attention. Many moves to be made to meet present requirements, in consequence of resignations at completion of year’s service, loss of Canadians from temporary employment and opening of units.
Boulogne 2pm. Left after arrival of letters from GHQ. To 7 Stationary to make arrangements of change of Assistant Principal Matrons. Miss Smith sad at leaving. Then to meet Special Probationers, also Miss Bulman Q retired, Mrs. McLeod, both of whom I wanted to go at once to the front in charge of 2 units. Then to see how Miss Duncan was. Condition good, dangerously ill – looking very comfortable, quite sensible, no vomiting or diarrhoea, temp. not so high, arm opened again under anaesthetic, but not discharging. Then to DDMS office. Back 8pm.
Saw DMS, told him what I had done – he of opinion that a QAIMNS is necessary in the office. Am going to send for Miss Hordley to ask her if she would like to come – takes away a Matron from a big hospital, but it can’t be [helped]. DMS went on leave.
Busy all day with correspondence. Wire from Dehorted asking for Miss Kaye’s (TFNS) resignation to be forwarded. Replied, quoting number correspondence sent in June. Miss Duncan better. Miss MacCrae Q from 17 Train came on leaving train to join 11 Train, to enable Sister Toller to get her leave. I told her that I had heard she had not always worn regulation uniform while on the train – learnt she had taken her scarlet cape off and worn Red Cross collars sometimes when at front. Later Red Cross nurses came to explain. Seem to be very nice women, Miss Freshfield and Griffiths – ladies. OC, 1 Ambulance Train came about Nurses – civilian - MO Harrow on the Hill, a keen human man, keenly interested in his work and the patients. Impressed with the organisation of our Hospitals, and the work done by the Nursing Staff. The 2 VADs getting on famously*, very interested in their work, one busy with the register only, completing particulars of nurses now resigning. Wrote Miss Gordon Lennox, re Rouen Nurses’ Club.
*Refers to Miss Walford and Miss Skinner, the new office clerical assistants.
Sister Barclay Smith’s leave extended 10 days, father’s illness. Miss Mark leaving for Boulogne today. Miss Smith to Etaples Thursday. Staff asked for, for 15 Casualty Clearing Station – urgent – wired orders. 2 more required 20 CCS. After lunch left with Colonel Barefoot for Dieppe where we met the SMO Colonel Gordon and visited the Convalescent Home for officers, run by the Canadians, a Mrs. Douglas, a very charming woman, being in charge, kind and motherly with 2 sons in the Engineers who have just gone to the Dardanelles. A charming Home – can accommodate 25. 1 Trained, 4 VADs and Mrs. D., all Canadians. Charming in every way – every convenience – electric light, baths, plentiful hot and cold water supply and lavatory accommodation. Then to 5 Stationary Hospital. Everything in excellent order, Miss Bowles in charge, doing well, but anxious to get work at Home because of her Home people. Told her when on leave to call on Miss Becher. Sent a telephone message to Miss Hordley asking her to come so that I could discuss with her, her coming to assist in the office and giving up her _____ [here a blank space]. Abbeville 7.30pm.
Busy with correspondence, arranging moves. Miss Duncan better.
Miss Hordley arrived lunch time. Sorry to leave her hospital but will do whatever is required. She returned to Rouen. I gave her a letter to the DDMS and her OC explaining why she had been sent for. Colonel Barefoot saw her in the absence of the DMS who is on leave. This arrangement was agreed upon by the DMS before his departure.
Nursing Sister E. Smythe QAIMNSR arrived from 3 General to take over charge of new Nurses' Home here. Miss Barbier took her to see Madame, to take over and to arrange about the French servants. Was arranged that I should go to Boulogne to meet “Lady Rodney’s party” and to accompany these during the visit in France, the King wishing them to visit certain hospitals in all the areas as well as the YMCA huts. Many moves necessary in consequence of the resigning nurses at completion of 1 year’s service – 29 in number so far.
Arranged for Miss Denne to take over 1 General Hospital, Miss A. A. Wilson 5 General vacancy made by Miss Hordley coming to Headquarters, Miss A. B. Smith going as Assistant Principal Matron to 24 General Hospital, Etaples, taking over from Miss Bills. Miss Bills on returning from leave going to 10 General Hospital which has become vacant in consequence of Miss Mark coming to Boulogne as Assistant Principal Matron vice Miss A. B. Smith, and taking over 7 Stationary Hospital, one of the Officers' Hospitals at Boulogne.
After lunch with Colonel Barefoot to Le Treport to inspect the Hospitals there. Went over 3 General, especially the officers’ wards. Accommodation for 100 at the top of the building – very crowded – 4 and even 5 beds in a ward. One wing Nursing Sisters – tiny Mess, still tinier scullery – landing screened off as a lounge – very thick cups and enamel plates – not good, and the MOs’ Mess in part of the lounge in entrance hall well appointed!!
Then to 16 General under canvas, excellent in every way. The Isolation lines with Miss Luard in charge very good. Miss Drage, Acting Matron doing well. Then to Canadian Hospital. The operating theatre there excellent. Saw the Mortuary which will be very nice when completed, but I fear will not be big enough for the whole area. Returned 9pm. Busy with correspondence all the evening.
Waited for letters and then left for Boulogne to meet Lady Rodney’s party, including HRH. Princess Victoria-Schleswig Holstein. IGC and Staff, Base Commandant and DDMS at wharf to meet her. Was presented by IGC. Then to lunch and met party at 2pm at the Folkestone and went with them to 13 General, 14 General, Rawal Pindi, The Nurses’ Club and YMCA Huts. The party consisted of Lady Rodney, Lady Londonderry, Mrs. Corbet, the Quarter-Master General Col. Jenkins – very pleased with everything.
25 VADs and 2 QAIMNS arrived and were detailed to their various places. Miss Mark and Miss Walker to dinner. Miss Gordon Lennox wedding day – married at Welbeck Abbey to Marquis of Titchfield*. Sent wire to her and her mother. Heard that my sister was arriving 14th – oversight that she didn’t come 12th as previously arranged.
* William Cavendish-Bentinck, later 7th Duke of Portland
In the morning 14 Stationary, 14 General, 13 General. 14 Stationary to arrange about Staff and to let them know that the Matron-in-Chief is not able to supply more trained nurses in consequence of needs in Mediterranean and England. To 14 General to see Miss Duncan who is better. To 13 General to see OC and Matron re reporting officially re Miss O’Dwyer (the bathing incident). To lunch. After lunch to Folkestone and went with party to Calais, I driving with Colonel Jenkins. To Lahore British General Hospital in Casino, to various YMCA huts and to Ordnance sheds, where we saw a remarkable sight of endless repairs of every description going on in numberless sheds, from straps and boots to large guns and hundreds of rifles which had been brought down from the front. Got back in good time, and saw three Red Cross Nurses for Matron-in-Chief War Office, Miss … , Nurse Boyce and Miss Williams all from Anglo-American Hospital. All seemed about the average, Miss Boyce the most presentable, trained at London Hospital with not a very good record from there.
To market before breakfast, got fruit and flowers for party. To 15 Train, Princess Christian’s, which is to be inspected this evening. Left early for Etaples to let ADMS know of slight alteration in plans to get more in, in the day.
Party arrived 11am YMCA Hut Dannes Camiers. Went over 20, 22 and 25 General, then to Etaples over Canadian, then we all had lunch at Le Touquet. Then to Duchess of Westminster’s Officers’ Hospital, the huge Government laundry, where all washing in the area is done by machinery, French people being employed. Then to YMCA Huts, back to Boulogne to see the Train.
My sister* met by Miss Woodford and Miss Walker. When I returned I met her. We had dinner together. After dinner went for the luggage. Saw Colonel Barefoot at Etaples who instructed me to bring her to Abbeville by car on my way to Havre to drop her at Le Treport, where she is going to work.
* Maud McCarthy was one of twelve children. Three of her sisters had the first initial 'M', but the Medal Index Card shows this to be Madeline, known as Matty, born 1870. She was not a trained nurse, and worked as a VAD/Masseuse.
Left 7.30 with my sister for Abbeville, arrived 9.30. Left my sister at the billet went to office, reported matters DDMS. Dealt with correspondence – a letter from Matron-in-Chief desiring me to deal with all unsatisfactory people over here and report. This quite easy to do – until now had thought these matters were expected to go direct to the War Office. Sent official reports forward re Miss O’Dwyer of 13 General Hospital and Miss Claridge, 2 General Hospital, who it seems was unsatisfactory before being sent abroad.
After lunch to Le Treport and then on Havre arriving at 8.30pm. Reported to ADMS after dinner – was informed of Miss Claridge’s work and asked that she might not return – apparently has been most unsatisfactory since arriving, have only recently been informed though I have asked repeatedly as Matron-in-Chief had asked me to put her under a strict Matron, and to inform her if there was any difficulty of any kind. Met General De Gex who is conducting the Quarter Master General on his tour.
Went to Continental saw Lady Rodney. Found I was not wanted till the afternoon – left at once for Etretat and saw Miss Denne who has just arrived to take over from Miss Wilson and asked her to keep Miss Steen and myself in touch with anything requiring attention. Also asked her to devote special attention to the VADs and see that they had every assistance. Here like everywhere it was pointed out that married VADs with their belongings at the front* are not likely to prove satisfactory. After lunch went to Continental and accompanied the party to Palais de Royalle, the Casino and Officers’ Hospital, all very satisfactory. Everything in first rate order. Then to various YMCA Units, ending up at a concert, which was most touching and memorable in consequence of the very simple and touching address made by Major Yapp, HRH with a message from the King, and Lady Rodney with a message from the Women of England, the wives, mothers and sweethearts who were left behind. After deafening cheers and the National Anthem we left – got to Hotel 9pm. After dinner to the offices to deal with correspondence which had arrived by DRLS.
In the afternoon I went over the Carisbrooke Castle, saw the OC who told me how entirely satisfactory Miss Potter is and told him that I had been instructed to move all of the Nursing Staff who had been on for a year, and that I would remove them in 3s in the rotation they could most easily spare them. Saw 33 Germans who were going to England with our wounded. Was informed privately of the loss of our first Transport in the Mediterranean the report being that very few had been saved.
* A reference to married women whose husbands were also serving in France and Flanders.
Left early with party, went to see the trenches, and see some hand grenades, one of which was thrown. Then to Convalescent Camp, Remount Depot, Veterinary Camp, YMCA Huts, all most interesting. After lunch to Quai D’Escale where we were met by Miss Steen and Col. Babington. Everything most satisfactory and looking in apple pie order. Nurse Grey QAIMNSR who nursed Princess Christian when her baby was born was remembered by HRH. I then left, being asked by Lady Rodney to arrange at Rouen for only 2 Hospitals, one to be seen tomorrow afternoon and the other on Thursday morning, and also to call at the Headquarters of the YMCA and let the Manager know they were coming. Went to the office said goodbye, asked them to phone to Rouen and Abbeville – left after tea, arrived Rouen 7pm.
Met Colonel Morphew who took me to see Miss Hordley who was then leaving for Abbeville. Then to DDMS office where I gave messages. Major Worthington went with me to YMCA Headquarters, and afterwards I dined with him and Colonel Kirkpatrick. Met Major Davis RAMC (Pretoria) and Capt. Maurice Drummond. Letter from Headquarters – still requests for trained nurses in various areas, a letter from Matron-in-Chief’s asking me to see a Miss Kinnear at 4 Red Cross Hospital Rouen. This I shall be able to do tomorrow. Colonel Morphew spoke in the highest terms of Miss Hordley, said how splendid she was in every way, how she would be missed by them all.
Started early. Saw Miss Kinnear who appears satisfactory in every way. Then to 6 General, saw Miss Reid. Interviewed Staff Nurse Brown QAIMNS on her irregular ways. She has undertaken to do her very best in the future. Saw Miss Wilson. Visited the Mess which Miss Hordley was very anxious I should see, then drove to DDMS office, called on Colonel Harrison. Am hearing on all sides how satisfactory the VADs are as a whole, but that the married ladies are not suitable, certainly not those with husbands at the front. Interviewed a Mrs. Wood-Martin, who wants to be employed as a VAD in our Hospitals. Has been accepted by Lady Perrott – is now working at one of the Huts for Soldiers in Havre before leaving yesterday.
After lunch started with the party, going to 3 YMCA Huts, the Remount Depot, Veterinary Camp, Convalescent Depot, also No.6 and 10 General Hospitals where the party were much interested in all the arrangements and spent some time talking to all the patients in the wards they visited. We were accompanied by the Base Commandant, his Staff Officer, the DDMS and Major Worthington, and the officers of each unit we visited went with us. Miss Reid, as Principal Matron, came to dinner. My cousin Colonel Harrison CRE came after dinner – I was glad to introduce him to Miss Reid, especially as the REs are now providing suitable accommodation for the Nursing Staff of 11 Stationary Hospital.
Started early with party. First visited the Red Cross Hospital for Officers. 180 can be accommodated, with Mrs de Winton as Matron. This Hospital has improved enormously since the change of Matron – is now well organised and comfortable, officers well looked after and nursed, and there is evidence of order and discipline everywhere.
Then to No.8 General Hospital. Not many patients and certain alterations are being made, so as to have 100 beds set apart for officers in this unit. Authority has been obtained for procuring the additional equipment required, and Miss Reid the APM with the Ordnance are going to select from local establishments those articles unable to be provided by the Ordnance in France. From there to the Ordnance Depot, the Bakery where 160,000 rations of bread are sent to the front daily, and to various YMCA huts which are established in the neighbourhood of most of these large units, for the benefit of the men when off duty. Here games, note paper, books and refreshment can be obtained and in most instances a large Hut for Concerts is also erected as well as the hut for recreation, teas, etc. Billiard tables are provided in nearly all, some have as many as 3 and each has a ‘quiet room’ where services are held. After lunch we visited more huts, attended a meeting of all workers both ladies and men, opened a new Hut, and after dinner went to a Concert given in a Hut on the Race Course, which was given specially for the officers and Nursing Staff.
Left early for Dieppe. After going to DDMS office and reporting myself arrived at Dieppe noon, where I met the Surgeon-General who has just returned from leave, the remainder of the party arriving 1pm. All lunched together. Many presentations were made, and then left for Le Treport where we arrived 3pm. 3 General (The Canadian Hospital No.2 General) and 16 General Hospital, had tea at Lady Gladstone’s French Hospital. The party stayed the night at an Hotel at Treport. I came on to Headquarters arranging to join the party at Boulogne tomorrow.
On arrival found a large amount of correspondence awaiting me, though each day during my absence I am always informed by DRLS of what is going on. Miss Hordley had arrived and was properly established – our office now seems very crowded with 5 tables in it but there is no other room. The office has increased so enormously since we arrived here in October that all rooms are filled and another building is required if it can be found. More Canadian Nurses have been withdrawn from our units to fill vacancies made in Canadian Hospitals by nurses who were required in England. Staff asked for 3 more Barges. 6 instructed to join at Nurses Home*, Abbeville to await further instructions.
Letter from Matron 13 Stationary Hospital informing me that while on leave Staff Nurse Willey, Manchester Royal, while on leave had married a man now stationed on Salisbury Plain. Wrote asking Miss Walker to report the matter officially through her Assistant Principal Matron and OC to this office. Letter from Miss Gill PM TFNS, saying that Miss Lang and Murray TFNS had been sanctioned by the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary to remain for another year and asking that their resignations might be withdrawn. This was dealt with. Nurses’ Home well established. Miss G. Smythe QAIMNSR working well. Dehorted wired to say Miss O. Curran recently taken on Reserve from Red Cross here, on leave in England had been retained for service in England.
Also informed of arrival of 36 Nurses tomorrow – most welcome news as we are not in any way complete. I am however rearranging my staff as far as I am able, knowing how hard pressed the War Office must be to meet all requirements in the way of fully trained nurses. Wired Assistant Principal Matron Boulogne to reserve rooms for 36 and sent orders where they were required.
* The Nurses’ Home, Abbeville, was a large house used for nurses to stay while temporarily awaiting orders for Casualty Clearing Stations, Barges, Ambulance Trains etc., and for those temporarily passing through while waiting for onward transport.
Busy all morning. Arranged Staffs for 18, 22 and 33 Casualty Clearing Stations, which have just arrived in the country and will need nurses probably at short notice. Left for Boulogne via Etaples. Arrived at Etaples 3pm. Went to 26 General to see Miss A. B. Smith, Assistant Principal Matron of the area who had recently taken over 26 General Hospital as Matron in addition to her PMs duties. This area includes Le Touquet and Dannes Camiers and when complete will include 16 units, with a Nursing Establishment in the area of 1029 at least, and it is quite evident if to be of any use, Miss Smith must have an office at the ADMS office, must have a secretary and an Acting Matron to run No.26 General. I have obtained authority to order a VAD who I find has done secretarial work for an MP from 10 General to assist the Assistant Principal Matron. Arrived at Boulogne too late to go to 13 Stationary Hospital where a number of French Convalescents had been invited to meet our patients and where the Governor was going and was sending the French Band.
Arrived Boulogne 7.30. Found a note awaiting me inviting me to dine with Lady Rodney’s party at 8pm. Spent a pleasant evening getting back before 10pm. Lord Reading, Lord Cunliffe and Mr McKenna were dining at another table. Learnt that a cokeing steamer had been blown up by a mine in the harbour – sank in 1 minute, 5 were saved. Port closed. The channel to be swept.
Went to Folkestone early, port still closed. Spent the day visiting 7 Stationary – saw Miss Mark told her how Miss A. B. Smith arranged. Then to 14 General saw Miss Fox and the Sick Sisters. Then to 13 General and 13 Stationary and to call on Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, who has just returned from England. A hut is being built for the Red Cross Stores at the new site for 13 Stationary, since they have been obliged to give up their present site as the sheds are required by the French for stores.
Went to DDMS office then to Folkestone, found port still closed. Party unable to leave till tomorrow – 7 mines had been blown up. Still 2 missing. Went with party and DDMS and Commandant on 2 ships, one an Indian one, where I found some Nursing Sisters and where I learnt they had been since May. This is the first I had heard of this. One Sister had missed the boat at Southampton and they were then leaving 1 short. I find they take Indians to Alexandria where they tranship and the boat is then cleaned and brings English wounded back from the Dardanelles and Malta, the journey takes 1 month. I asked her to let me have the nominal roll and told her that in case of need that when at Boulogne, the Assistant Principal Matron would always be glad to give assistance and advice. On the St. Patrick the acting Matron asked that Nurse Jones might be moved as she was not quite suitable.
The Cambria was lying alongside, but as she was coaling we were not able to go on board. I saw the Acting Matron Mrs. Priestly and gave her the same instructions as those given to all A/Matrons in charge of Ships. Then left for Abbeville via Etaples which I reached at 1pm. Had lunch with [Matron] 24 General and then went with her to Dannes Camiers to 25 General and 20 General where we saw the Matrons and discussed their management and who they had each appointed in charge of their different divisions, as I found although these instructions has been issued some time ago, in some instances these arrangements had not been carried out. From there to 26 General, where I saw the Matron, Miss Suart, also Miss Frazer who was anxious to withdraw her resignation – this I instructed her to do officially.
Then to ADMS office where I reported and asked that some arrangement might be made to alleviate the question of numbers of the Staff in the Etaples area requiring rest being transferred to Mrs. Brice-Miller’s Home at Le Touquet. The same arrangements are going to be made as in Boulogne for Lady Gifford’s Home. An Ambulance is going to be at an appointed Hospital each day, where the Sister’s names of those coming and going will be sent, so that they can be called for and those returning to their units can be brought back. An office too is being put in for the APM of this area, and a tent will be struck in the meantime. Back to Abbeville by 8pm.
Saw DMS on my return. Miss Wheatley and Miss Wilson-Jayne appointed Sister in Charge of 21 and 22 Trains, and joined, each with 2 Staff Nurses. Telephone message from Havre saying Miss Claridge had returned, what was to be done. She was not expected after her unfavourable report. Wired Dehorted. Wire from DMS Canadian Contingent, asking for Miss Hambling, 2 Canadian General, to join Moore Barracks Hospital, Shorncliffe, Sept. 1. Issued orders.
Left at 11.30am for Etaples arrived 1pm. To 26 General to see several of the Nursing Staff who seemed to be in a very unsettled state, all suffering from imaginary grievances, which I think have now been put right. Had lunch, then called for Miss A. B. Smith. Went to Isolation which is only in the making. Found the Matron, Miss Devenish-Meares very worried – arranged to increase her staff and give her one or 2 good Sisters, who would give real help. Those already there seemed weak backed and not making any effort to make the best of things.. 18 General had suddenly received orders to strike their camp and open up at Dannes Camiers, in the meantime the Staff has been distributed.
To Mrs. Brice-Miller’s. This delightful Home has not been made as much use as it should have done, owing to no-one so far having been really responsible for making arrangements. There were 4 Sisters there at the time of visit, and 4 more were going today.
Saw OC 24 General Hospital who spoke of Miss Bills’ capabilities but lack of tact and for this reason he did not regret her departure. Then to ADMS office and back to Abbeville arriving 8.30.
Busy all day. Increased the staff at Isolation Hospital Etaples by 3 capable Sisters and 3 Staff Nurses. Sent a circular to all areas to ascertain the number of NCOs and those in all units in possession of AF C344. In consequence of Miss Claridge’s return from leave, wired Dehorted asking what was to be done and stating that unfavourable reports on Miss Claridge and O’Dwyer were forwarded to London 15.8.15. Wrote Miss Becher re Miss Kinnear, a candidate for Reserve from Scottish Red Cross - returned confidential reports. Forward Miss Thorold’s application for appointment to QAIMNS. Telegram from 1 Casualty Clearing Station informing me that 2 Nurses had gone to Bethune to nurse wounded officer. Sent 2 Nurses from 10 Stationary to fill vacancy.
Visited the new Nurses’ Home with the DMS, Miss E. Smythe in charge. Everything very satisfactory and comfortable. A letter from Matron 1 Canadian General Hospital attaching a report from a police sergeant at Boulogne reporting the presence of 2 Canadian Sisters on a lorry at 10pm at the Gare Maritime, with 5 soldiers on a lorry from Etaples! Sent it on to the Assistant Principal Matron to investigate this matter and have sent through officially.
General Macpherson forwarded a letter from Col. ____ re Miss Claridge and her desire for more responsible work, such as secretary to me in this office or to Miss Oram in Egypt. Wire from Dehorted – Miss O’Dwyer’s resignation accepted – letter following re Miss Claridge.
Bomb dropped here – no-one injured, nor building destroyed. 18 Casualty Clearing Station Staff ordered to join Miss White QAMNS for India, Sister in Charge. Forwarded confidential reports on Miss Baillie Hamilton to WO. Wrote M-in-C re members VAD, qualified cooks, being sent to France. Went to Railway Station. Saw Captain Purchase re questions of Sisters on Ambulance Trains being accommodated at Nurses’ Home while trains are waiting, many of which may wait more than a day. He thought the arrangement an excellent one and would work well as he always knew which would be the first train to go out. Am issuing Rules and Regulations to all trains.
Letter from Assistant Principal Matron Etaples re the lorry incident. Miss Nesbitt on leave and the Nurses in question on night duty and in bed. She is to see them tomorrow. Report from Miss Milner on Staff Nurse Poole – not suitable for Sisters’ duties. Reports on Canadian Nursing Sisters recently working in our Hospitals temporarily forwarded to GHQ for transmission through WO to Matron-in-Chief Canadian Contingent.
Letter from Miss Furze re agreement forms, uniform, those at 20 General not being happy. Replied. Said I would look into all matters. Sent copy of letter and reply to Matron-in-Chief WO. Applied officially for authority to employ one man servant at Nurses’ Home here.
Left at 8am for Etaples to investigate the question of the VADs at 20 General Hospital. Went to ADMS office, then to 24 General for Miss A. B. Smith. Drove to 20 General. Saw the Matron and interviewed all the VAD Members in the acute tent. Whatever their grievances were they are now at an end. Originated mainly from too many joining at once at a new unit and partly caused by some undesirable members who have since been returned. The majority seemed extremely nice women, and several got up and said they were and had always been absolutely happy.
Got back 4pm. Found many letters among them one from Matron-in-Chief re Confidential Reports, VADs and the great demand for Nurses for the MEF. Col. Stenning came about a friend of his a Miss N. Warleigh who is anxious to obtain work as a VAD in the United Kingdom, preferably the Curragh. Lt. Col. Birrell came from GHQ for the night. Reply received from Paymaster re Miss Claridge’s pay, forwarded to WO.
Busy at office all day. VAD agreement forms from 5, 6, 8, 9, 10 General Hospitals Rouen forwarded with exception of 2 from 8 General requiring amendment. A letter of explanation from Miss Church QAIMNSR as to why she applied direct to the War Office with reference to the question of her pay – did so because she had been serving in England before she was transferred to France. Telephoned to Miss Mark asking her to see Miss Hodgins before she left for England, and instructed her to call at the War Office on her way through town, so that she might explain about Miss Brownrigg VAD who both she and the OC considered unsuitable for service in France.
Sir A. Lawley called about work allotted to VADs – was under the impression they were expected to scrub floors! Miss Codrington anxious to come out. Sent a circular letter to Assistant Principal Matrons of areas drawing attention to the necessity of appointing divisional Sisters in the new large Hospitals, as well as Matron’s Assistant, Home Sister, Night Superintendent and Theatre Sisters. The names of all required for our nominal rolls.
Colonel Fell and Major ... Thomson from 3rd Army came. The problem of more trained nurses required at some of the Clearing Stations. Have arranged to go one day this week and visit all Clearing Stations in their area, Amiens too where they are now nursing both English and French wounded needs a large increase. Wired Dehorted re Staff Nurse Hadderton from 12 General who was unable to return after leave – medical certificate was attached. Miss Suart wrote to say Miss Tyler-Cove was anxious to transfer to the Indian Nursing Service. Unfavourable report upon Sister Evans, 4 Train brought by Colonel Gallie, which had been forwarded by OC. The OC of St. Andrew also saw Colonel Gallie with reference some matter in connection with the Sister in Charge Miss G. H. Hay. This I understand is being referred to London. Additional Regulations sent to Sisters in charge of Ambulance Trains.
Urgent telegram from GHQ for Miss M. Hale to proceed at once 10 Stationary. Instructions accordingly issued and 10 Stationary informed. Wrote officially asking for authority to supply VAD Cooks in Nursing Quarters, and also to Miss Becher with reference to VADs at 20 General, all of whom I had seen and to ask for 100 more in detachments of 20. As there seem some doubt that more trained nurses will be forthcoming, it is necessary to get the VADs settled in before the rush comes. Telegram from Medsercan* re transfer of Sister MacDonald to London, and the proposed visit of Miss MacDonald Matron-in-Chief on Sept. 7th. This has been sanctioned by DMS. Left for Treport 1.30, arrived 2.30pm.
* The Telegraphic address of the Canadian Medical Services in London
Met by Col. Thurston and Matron. Visited Isolation Block. Saw Miss Mackay QAIMNS Retired, recently arrived, who has been a Matron for many years. She looks very tired and worn. Is most anxious to do her very best and has kept up well with the times with reference to all new methods, even though she has been working in S. Africa for years. Have asked Matron to initiate her with all our Army methods. Had tea at the Mess, a very comfortable one, and then went to 3 General to see the Matron there about the increased nurses’ accommodation which they are requiring so as to expand and enable them to only have 2 and not more officers in one room. This scheme has been put forward and approved. The question of putting up Huts with ante-room and accommodation for 12 nurses is under consideration. The staff has been doubled since this unit has been established in consequence of the increased number of beds for all ranks. Those of the officers has been increased from 20 to 100. All sick Nursing Sisters in this area are also nursed here. Enquired everywhere about the VADs and their work most satisfactory. Many I spoke to very happy. Enquired about the Red Cross on their aprons – found the laundresses in this area have been removing them.
Returned 7.30pm. After dinner arranged about many moves. Saw DIGC who had just returned from Marseilles. Said the 3 Nurses there were feeling the heat and were begging for a change – this I am arranging. Applied officially for authority to appoint Assistant Principal Matron at Etaples, and at the same time asked for authority to appoint an Acting Matron to work under Miss Reid Rouen, Miss Smith Etaples, in consequence of the size of their charge and the large amount of administrative work in both these areas in connection with the nursing arrangements in these areas.
Noted officially the names and dates of appointments all members now in this office:
Miss Hordley QAIMNS 18. 8. 15
Miss Barbier QAIMNSR 14. 9. 14
Miss H. Walford VAD 31. 5. 15
Miss M. Skinner VAD 31. 7.15
Sent the Nominal Roll Home of all numbers of the Nursing Staff still sick in England. Confidential Reports on Canadians recently temporarily employed by us and recalled to their own units forward to DMS Canadian Contingents through DGMS and WO.
Establishments opened during the month
Nurses Home IGC Headquarters
15 Casualty Clearing Station
18 Casualty Clearing Station
New Members Nursing Staff joined from England
56 Trained Nurses
8 Special Probationers
Joined from France
8 Trained Nurses
Sent Home Sick during the month
At present sick in England since January 41
Returned from Sick Leave
Transferred to Home Establishment 6
Resignations put forward
In August 16
Total since June 42
Including Miss Witchells TFNS which has not been accepted
Leave during the month approximately 205.