CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3989
Left early with Miss Lyde for Aire, calling at Chateau and leaving shawl for the King. Then on to Station to 14 Train to see that all final arrangements were complete. Everything in order and looking first rate, except the weather, still very wet. Overhead aeroplanes were guarding us. The Suite, servants and luggage began to arrive, later Generals French, Haig and Sloggett. Then a little convoy of Ambulances, the King in one – the Nurses and Surgeons arrived. I assisted to lift him onto his bed. Before leaving the King decorated a Lance Corporal Coldstreams with VC*. Everyone most gracious. Sir A. Bowlby anxious for me to go to Boulogne in the train, however I decided to go by car so that I would be able to see that all arrangements on the Anglia were correct. Left by car after departure of train. Called at office. Drove to Boulogne to office, where I had lunch and then went with Surgeon-General to Anglia. Found everything beautifully arranged. Waited till I saw the King safely and comfortably established in his bunk and then returned to Hotel to see Miss Kelly late QAMNSI who had come over from WO with 10 Special Probationers. Drove her with Miss Warrack, an Indian Sister who had come to meet her, to Rawal Pindi Hospital and then drove to Abbeville arriving 6pm. Saw DMS and told him all the news.
Found a wire awaiting me from DMS 2nd Army, wishing to see me urgently. Wired I should go tomorrow.
Wire from WO informing us that 51 VADs are arriving tomorrow. Informed Boulogne, also Assistant Principal Matron as to their disposal. Miss M. Williams VAD recently arrived St. Johns, both deaf and blind, recommended to be sent Home. Miss M. T. Wilson’s and Miss Buckingham’s resignations accepted.
Miss Kinkead anxious to have her appendix removed in France. Informed APM that only emergency operations are permitted at this side. Sent WO the sick return.
* Lance-Sergeant Oliver Brooks, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards, for his actions at Loos, 8th October 1915
51 VADs arrived.
ADMS reported departure of Miss Robinson, suspended from duty for familiarity with an orderly. Report received. Received pattern and photo of how new VAD cap was to be worn. Am circulating it to all areas. Received letter from Major Worthington re Officers’ Convalescent Home, Cimiez. Wrote Miss Glossop re the employment of cooks, she anxious to be employed with us sooner than the French who have offered her a post. WO letter asking for names of officers and nurses wishing to sign on.
Saw DGMS on his way through to Paris, re the Canadian Nurses temporarily employed in our units, so many of whom will not settle and work contentedly away from their own units. Also about Countess Bathurst application to work as a VAD in our Hospitals. Suggested that work with YMCA would be more suitable. Sir A. Sloggett wrote to her to that effect. He wished a Regular Sister to be placed on 14 Ambulance Train – Miss Wakelin to remain on, in subordinate position and 1 Reserve to be moved. Spoke about Nurse arriving from Marseilles, also the sudden wire to go to 2nd Army. Also about the question of exchanging our present Qs with those who have been working at Home since mobilization.
Left in teaming rain after lunch for 2nd Army. Drove a French officer as far as Hesdin. Arrived 2nd Army Hazebrouck 5pm – quite dark. Saw DMS. Found that Nurse Rawlinson and another had been behaving badly with 2 officers, who had been already moved – one a senior one, Nurse R. having him in her bunk till 3.30am, when she was on night duty, the orderlies reporting the matter. Saw Col. And Sister in Charge of 12 Casualty Clearing Station, then the Nurses, who are to be moved at once, the DMS feeling they should have another chance elsewhere. Said I would consult GHQ in the morning. Arrived GHQ 9pm. Went to 10 Stationary Mess where I had supper and stayed the night. Very bad cold, not improving.
Left early. Went to office. Arranged to move Nurses. Discussed the question of the request for nurses for MEF from here, a wire having been received. Wired to know how many needed, and when, that the Canadians were overstaffed - could volunteers be asked for from those above required establishment.
Arrived Boulogne. Had lunch, then to 13 Stationary to tell Matron about Nurse Rawlinson, who was arriving from 12 CCS.
Then to Etaples, where I saw A.PM with reference to new house for Sick Sisters’ Hospital. Went over it – most beautiful and most luxurious with 9 bathrooms. Rather far from Etaples. Miss Beadsmore Smith, APM informed me that Miss Henry, Military Probationer had written direct to M-in-C WO with reference to the addition of the grey cape to their uniform, and which had not been authorised. From what she said, I gather Shoolbred only was to blame for making the suggestion.
Abbeville - arrived 8pm. Very tired – cold still very troublesome. Picked out Staff for MEF, awaiting reply from wire. Col. Gallie came about nurses from 9 Train being accommodated at Nurses’ Club while train was being repaired – this has been done. Nurse with tonsillitis sent from 2 Stationary here to report for treatment. Letter from OC 28 Casualty Clearing Station saying they were moving and saying how excellent the Nursing Staff had been.
Madame Dumond placed flowers and laurel wreaths on all the English graves here, 205, for All Souls’ day.
Sent circular letter re VAD discs and brassards to all areas. Also wrote Miss Crowdy asking her to communicate direct to me with reference to any matter which she needed help, or anything needing attention with reference to her people to be dealt with from here. A letter from M-in-C apparently very annoyed – had had no time to read my letter! She certainly has no conception of the work here, or what is required, however, one must just carry on to the best of one’s ability. The constant ___ of responsible QAIMNS from here makes matters more than difficult. A letter of complaint signed by 4 Canadians at 3 Stationary Hospital sent to DG. This I have looked into. None like working away from their units. Wired instructing all to return to their units – 27 in all. Instructed Nurses from 25 Casualty Clearing Station to join Nurses’ Home.
Busy all day with correspondence. All Indians moving – so far a secret – this means the loss of all Indian Nursing Sisters. Temporary help supplied at 26 Field Ambulance, where a woman had been admitted and operated on, the Staff there now being 4. Sister sent to 7 Casualty Clearing Station to replace one suffering from Measles. Supplied regular, Miss Molloy, for duty on 14 train. Wire from Dehorted – 70 Nurses required at earliest possible date. Also 2 senior QAIMNS as Matrons and no Canadians.
Left early for Boulogne. To office then to lunch. After lunch to Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox, where I stayed an hour and where I learnt many interesting things. She is arranging about Princess Victoria’s Clubs now. Is anxious to open one at Calais when it is required. From there to Hardelot, Lady Gifford’s Nurses’ Home, where Queen Amelie of Portugal was staying, she being gracious and very pleased to see me. A most kind, sweet woman, really interested in everything. Showed me a letter she had received from Matron LH and Lord Knutsford in reply to a letter she wrote with reference to poor Nurse Cavell’s assassination. Miss Barbier rang up to say Col. Stewart wanted to see me tomorrow and that Capt. Amy 14 Train wired that Miss Wakelin on 14 Train was resigning, as she is not either Red Cross or Army and has been privately engaged and paid by Lady Michelham. This arrangement is a good one and resolves a difficulty.
Returned from Hardelot after lunch, arrived tea time. Found a pile of correspondence, as well as many arrangements to be made with reference to finding 70 nurses and 2 QAIMNS suitable to leave as soon as possible for MEF and to replace them. Also found that the arrangement for the departure of the Indian Nursing Sisters had to be dealt with. Also saw Col. Stewart with reference to the censoring of nurse’s letter. Some trouble existed at one of his units. Col. McNab ADMS Indians came about the approaching departure of all Indians. Wired instructions for all Nurses taking a certain number from every area and the best we have to proceed to England for duty MEF and to report WO on 10th, so am losing no time. Instructed that all claims were to be adjusted and all were to be in possession of last pay certificate. Wired DG that all instructions had been given.
Busy all day with correspondence. Cold still very bad. Took correspondence to billet and didn’t come to office after 4pm. Wrote in bed – very comfortable, with a nice fire made by Madame. Wired final instructions to Indian Nursing Sisters. Saw Nurse Robinson, who had arrived from Marseilles. She was so insistent that the accusations against her were not true and that the Matron only had been witness, that I asked if she might be given another chance. A further report asked for in a month’s time – rang up GHQ this was sanctioned. Wrote Countess Bathurst re her coming out as VAD and advising her to get work on YMCA which I feel will suit her better. 49 VADs arriving 9th.
Miss Skinner VAD on leave to 15th to Boulogne accompanied by Miss Barbier who is staying for the night, and will meet VADs tomorrow with Miss Woodford. Sent particulars of Nurses proceeding to MEF to GHQ for transmission to WO. Miss L. Robinson seen by Colonel Barefoot, is being given another chance at 2 Stationary – further report to be given in a month’s time. The same arrangements are being made with respect to Miss Rawlinson and Andrews.
Wired Dehorted – Nurses arriving Wednesday. Reply came saying if more convenient they need not arrive till 20th. Replied “Thank you but all arrangements already made.” The wire asking for this large number was requesting they should arrive as soon as possible, which was done. They will however now be able to have a little leave before they start which I have no doubt all will appreciate. 33 Canadian Nurses recalled London. 12 Indian Nursing Sisters leaving with Indian units immediately, which leaves now 5 large units without Matrons. Miss Beadsmore Smith rang up about changes now in her area. Was anxious Miss Rice TFNS should be among those detailed. As however the numbers were complete, I wrote saying it would not be fair to strike any name out for her.
Wrote M-in-C re Miss B. Walker’s complaint of being short of 1 blanket. Found she was a CHR who had recently (August) come from Reading War Hospital – not a VAD. Her statement was not correct. She is reported upon as unsatisfactory and undisciplined. Most of the day taken up with the question of Miss Wakelin on 14 Ambulance Train being replaced by Miss Molloy QAIMNS – the whole business is a difficult one. After much consideration and consultation with Col. Barefoot and Capt. Amy OC of the train, as Miss Wakelin has been engaged and paid by Lady Michelham and put on the train by authority of WO, and is neither Red Cross or Reserve, it was decided that until the matter was referred to DGMS, Miss Wakelin should resume her position on the train and Miss Molloy await further orders at Nurses’ Home. Wired Dehorted to ascertain if Miss Wakelin could be employed on the Reserve. Have written DGMS on the subject.
Miss Bowles QAIMNSR again forwarding her resignation – reason, needed at home – also because she is unhappy. Returned to know the cause. SMO Treport rang up about Miss M. B. Williams who wishes to visit the dentist Boulogne. Arranged for her to go to Lady Gifford’s and attend from there. 49 VADs arriving. 70 Reserve and 2 QAIMNS leaving for MEF.
The number of sick among the Nursing Staff is increasing everywhere in consequence of the weather. Wire from Dehorted to state initial rate of pay of Miss St. Leger, and whether she has received an increment. Dehorted wired initial rate of pay of Nurse St. Leger and whether she has received any increment . Received information from Rouen and replied: arrived as Staff Nurse 4.11.14, Acting Sister pay 1.7.15, increased pay 4.11.15, moved Casualty Clearing Station 31.7.15, received Sister’s pay for July.
Miss Barbier returned from Boulogne where she was able to say goodbye for me to Nurses leaving for MEF from Boulogne, Dannes Camiers and Treport. Through a mistake, the Nurses for Etaples are not leaving until tomorrow as they had not been informed in that area that there is now only one packet leaving at 3.30pm. Letter from Nurse Rawlinson thanking me for giving her another chance.
Left 10am for Boulogne after waiting for the correspondence and seeing Colonel Barefoot. Sent a confidential letter to DG, to catch him at Treport re 14 Ambulance Train and the Nurses. My shawl sent back from Buckingham Palace with a letter from Nurse E. Ward, saying how comfortably the King travelled and saying she hoped I had already received an acknowledgement. Letter from Lady Lawley asking me to let her know how the things which were arriving from the Needlework Guild were appreciated.
Arrived Boulogne 12 noon. To DDMS office. Discussed what would be considered the best arrangement for Miss Steenson, who still had trouble with her eye. Suggested she should go for change to Versailles. DDMS approved and was going to discuss the question with Col. Evans. Then asked about the buildings now being vacated at Rawal Pindi and Jesuit College, as to what was going there – no definite arrangements have been arrived at so far. There is a possibility of Lady Norman’s and Duchess of Westminster’s Hospitals both closing for want of funds. To lunch at Louvre with Miss A. B. Smith. Saw many VADs. Met Miss Suart and many nurses leaving for MEF by afternoon packet. Since learnt that the port was closed and they were unable to leave. Met General Egerton, who was very upset, as he was going with Indian Division and had only 3 days leave and hadn’t got off. Went to Rawal Pindi Hospital and saw Miss Watt. Made arrangements about Nurses when they leave. At present no patients.
Then to 7 Stationary Hospital where I saw Miss Mark, who appeared to be extremely disappointed at not being selected for MEF She however seemed comforted when I said 2 senior Sisters had been asked for. She kept mentioning she had the greatest length of service of anyone out here – everyone is becoming unsettled and wanting to be able to say they have worked on both Fronts, not content to remain where they are and where, as I tell them, the war will be won. Not many wounded officers at 7 Stationary but many sad cases. A sudden death and a suicide only recently. Then to Etaples where I dropped Miss A. B. Smith, who finds the work in that area most difficult, being made more so by constant changes in the Staffs which has been unavoidable. The weather and the conditions under which everyone is working so different to Boulogne. Arrived Abbeville 7.30pm.
Telephone message from DGMS saying he wished to see me tomorrow here. Letter from Sir Arthur Lawley, asking whether his girls and Miss Latham, with Misses Seymour, Gore and Annesley would have any chance of going to Salonika. Replied that I would make some enquiry in the matter and let him know later as all these six ladies have done admirable work since joining our units. Letter from Miss Drage asking if Miss Black might be moved as she was continuing to give trouble. Wrote her and arranged to move Miss Black to 14 General, a report to be forwarded in a month’s time from the new unit.
Letter from WO re employment of lady cooks in nursing quarters. Letter from Mrs. Blenkinsop asking for particulars with reference to her son’s death and burial – forwarded DMS 2nd Army. To 2 Stationary Hospital. The huts are getting on slowly and in the meantime the Staff are most uncomfortable, but are making the best of things, and doing good work most cheerfully under very trying circumstances. The dug out is getting on for the protection of the Staff when next this Hospital is shelled, but the nurses say of course they will not think of leaving the patients.
Then to 5 Stationary which has improved in every respect since Miss Mackay took over.
Then to Nurses’ Home which was looking spick and span – flowers, plants, large fires, polished floors and a great feeling of comfort pervaded the whole establishment. Miss E. Smythe in charge, run with soldier servants and 1 French maidservant.
After lunch DGMS arrived from Treport – going to stay the night and return to GHQ tomorrow. Saw DGMS with reference to Miss Wakelin and 14 Ambulance Train, and it is now arranged that she should remain on as Sister in Charge. Sent a telegram to OC 14 Train. I also wrote to Lady Michelham and Miss Wakelin informing them of the decision. DGMS spoke of the Hon. Mrs. W. Cooper’s house at Cannes, which has been placed by her at his disposal for the benefit of convalescent Sisters and which he proposes that Lady Sloggett and his daughter should manage with one of our Sisters to assist, and some VADs. The Home I understand a most luxurious one, and will accommodate 20 Sisters. It is to be run by BRC as far as expenses are concerned, and subsistence allowance claimed for all patients. All other expenses to be met by the BRC.
Wired OC 32 CCS instructing him that the Nurses who have just left Meerut Casualty Clearing Station are to proceed to 7 General Hospital until the new Casualty Clearing Station is established. Spent the day arranging many moves which have been necessary in consequence of many of the Staff at Casualty Clearing Stations being there long enough. Wrote to Sir Arthur Lawley in reply to his letter asking if his daughters and his niece, as well as Misses Seymour, Gore and Annesley, might get work at Salonika. Have written advising that they should apply officially and that I will ask for confidential reports on their work, which I know has been excellent, and their behaviour exemplary, which I will attach.
Letter from Matron-in-Chief Canadians asking me to get a room for her – she having received official permission to come to Abbeville to discuss certain matters. Wrote Lt. Col. Green re the departure of the Indian Nursing Sisters. It is now decided to close Dannes Camiers for the winter, and the Hospitals to move into buildings now occupied by the Indians, who are going to MEF. The DMS arrived from Marseilles looking extremely tired, having had an extremely tiring and worrying time. The Officers’ Convalescent Home at Cimiez seems to be surrounded by many difficulties. Miss Burkitt QAIMNSR from 10 General to Marseilles vice Miss Taggart who will return to 10 General Hospital.
Wire from Lady Michelham acknowledging letter with reference to Miss Wakelin.
Orders sent to Miss Daly, 12 Stationary Hospital which is supposed to be closing shortly, to relieve Miss Perkins, Isolation Hospital, Havre, to enable her to join 1 Stationary Hospital, Rouen as Assistant Matron, so that Miss M. S. Smith, Acting Matron could take over 12 General which had become vacant, by Miss Cheetham QAIMNS receiving orders for the MEF. Also Miss Hartigan 7 General, to proceed Etaples to join 26 General Hospital now vacant through Miss Suart’s departure to the East, Miss Woodhouse being left temporarily in charge, 7 General Hospital.
Arranged for Matron-in-Chief of Canadians to be accommodated at Nurses’ Home while here, a bedroom and sitting-room has been set apart for her convenience. Saw Miss Close about the khaki stretcher covers which have been left by Miss Wheatley, a gift from her friends for an ambulance train. Miss Close is communicating with her OC asking him whether he would like them for his train – No.2. Ordered a Thermo Irrigator for Lady Guernsey who is running a French Hospital at Fecamp.
Went to the Nurses’ Home for lunch. Everything in excellent order. Most comfortable lunch – soldier servant waiting excellently. Still no news of Miss Peers TFNS who should have returned 28th Oct., had 10 days leave to be married – wired DGMS again. Sisters from No.5 Train accommodated at 6 General Hospital Rouen, train under repair. This arrangement is carried out at certain Hospitals in different areas which trains are out of action. Letter from Miss Richards telling me of her new appointment and also of Miss Wilson’s, also a letter from Miss Wilson. Miss Wilson Principal Matron, Salonika, Miss Richards to War Office in her place.
Owing the port being closed at Boulogne for 3 days, Sisters going on leave have been able to go by Calais. There have been certain delays for those returning as the same arrangement was not made. Nurse Brundle sent to 14 Stationary Hospital with Scarlet Fever. Miss Bowles resignation forwarded. A troublesome woman who has had every consideration, is never satisfied, and keeps saying that she realizes that older nurses are now not wanted, in spite of being given Charge duties and being told repeatedly how valuable older members’ services. Wrote Command Paymaster to find out the ratings with reference to VADs who arrived in the possession of insurance cards. 4 Nurses on ships applying to come off.
Left for Etaples 10am arriving noon. To office to see Miss Smith, Assistant Principal Matron with reference to the proposed changes and the closing of Dannes Camiers and the moving of all units. She rather disappointed at Miss Richards appointment at War Office which she had already been told about. The ADMS was at GHQ. Trouble was existing at the Baltic and Corn Exchange Hospital between the OC and Nursing Staff. Miss Smith was going to inspect on Monday and report matters. The Matron Miss Coates had been moved and Miss Carr of S. African experience had been appointed.
After lunch to Isolation Hospital which since by last visit has been completed – everything going well. Everywhere, all Nursing Staff are experiencing great discomforts in consequence of the recent stormy and wet weather. Marques and tents being blown down, and the hutted accommodation in none of the Hospitals being complete.
At Treport at 3 General Hospital the windows were blown in – large plate glass windows, as large as the Metropole – fortunately no-one was hurt. Went on to Boulogne arriving 7.30pm. Went to DDMS office to report. Then to Louvre. During dinner Miss Mark APM arrived and stayed to dinner, and I was able to tell her of the approaching changes in her area when the Indians moved. Letters from HQ by DRLS.
With Col. Forest to see Jesuit College and Convalescent Camp, now vacated by Indians, where 2, 1040 bedded Hospitals are coming in from Dannes Camiers. The Infectious Camp of 17 large huts, supplied with water, electric light, entirely apart between two Hospitals, would accommodate the 2 Staffs if certain alterations were made – it was thoroughly cleaned and fumigated. This matter is under consideration.
Then to Red Cross to see Sir Arthur Lawley – in London. Saw Miss Crowdy about VADs’ new caps, pointing out how unsuitable they are and what a source of trouble they would be to our Matrons, for the few who are now wearing them, are not wearing them as they are intended to be worn and that my instructions were that all were to be most particular on this point.
Then to 14 General to see Miss Steenson who was anxious to get back today, although not considered really fit. Arranged for her to go to 4 General Hospital Versailles, for a fortnight’s change and where I know she will be well cared for, and happy with Miss Byers. Before leaving Boulogne tried to see Miss Watt QAMNS for India without success, with reference to Miss Bird QAMNS for India, who is engaged to be married before he is moved – I having received letters from them on the subject. Met Miss Skinner VAD who had been on leave, and drove her back with me arriving Abbeville 8pm.
Saw Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox who was anxious to know if a club would be desirable at Calais, and who also discussed the question of the Convalescent Home for Sisters at Cannes which is under consideration. Received wire from Dehorted with reference to Miss … Chicago Unit, returning to America via Bordeaux. £28 to be paid before departure. The OC and Miss Nunn 11 Ambulance Train came to see me during my absence but left no message as to what they had come about. DGMS rang up about Home at Cannes – would be in Boulogne tomorrow if I was there. I was to go to Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox at 10am and then on to BRC to meet him at noon, if not he could ring me up at 5pm. On my return I rang him up, and it was decided I need not return to Boulogne. I was glad of this arrangement as it gave me an opportunity of getting on with my official work. 2 Reserves and 2 VADs arrived unexpectedly.
Busy all day with correspondence.
Wrote M-in-C re proposed exchanges among QAIMNS, VAD caps – their unsuitability, moves of sea-sick members on ships who should make the change, marriage of Nursing Staff, VADs wishing to transfer to Special Probationer Corps. Nurses who - [sic] question of VAD cooks sent forward, giving names of 5 Sisters’ Messes where it is proposed appointing them as a trial. This will release 5 Cooks – 1 Nurses’ Home Abbeville, 2 Nurses’ Mess Boulogne in Marine Hotel, 3 Nurses’ Mess Havre, 4 Nurses’ Mess 10 Stationary Hospital, 5 [at] 3 General Treport. Wrote Miss Byers re Mrs. Wake VAD who resigned at completion of 2 months’ service and has now been permitted to re-engage. Sent instructions for VADs Mrs. Houghton and Miss Highmore to return to England – neither suitable. Extra ward maid wanted and recommended for Sick Sisters’ Ward 24 General. Sent telegram confirming telephone message re Miss … , Chicago returning America by Bordeaux, after receiving sanction now finds she does not wish to go by that route. Received WO [letter] re marriages of Members of Regular Service and Reserve. Will be circulated. Letter from Lt. Col. Stewart BRCS re No.11 Red Cross Train, the Nursing Staff and their accommodation. Have replied that when the train comes in I will look into the matter. DGMS rang up about the Convalescent Home for Nurses at Cannes, to say Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox was coming tomorrow to discuss the matter, and also suggested Lady Sloggett running it.
Lady A.G.L. came on her way to Paris. She saw DMS and self. She had already written to Princess Victoria of Wales about the Club, and had asked her to reply by wire whether she would include this Home with the Rest Clubs, and on receipt of her reply, if HRH consented it was decided that Lady A.G.L. should write making her request to the DMS, when he would set the matter moving in a thoroughly military and official manner, and would then let the DGMS know what he had done. The Princess would reserve the right, Lady A.G.L. felt sure, of appointing who she wished to be in charge.
After lunch went to Dannes Camiers, to arrange about the transferring of 100 beds of officers from 20 General to 24 General and to see into the question of the accommodation of the Nursing Staff while the moves are taking place. It seems quite sad that now that these huge units are beginning to be in order, that all have to be dismantled. Gardens even are in process of being put in order and in 18 General already 5cwt of bulbs are planted, and another 5cwt were ready to be put in.
Visited 18, 20, 25 General Hospitals, everyone making the very best of everything – all well and happy. No.20 only is to remain for the reception of the local sick. Received a confidential letter from Rouen re Miss Claridge at 6 General, asking that she may be removed. There seems to be most unnecessary delay in this matter, owing to the reports being sent backwards and forwards after her return from England, which is regretted was ever permitted. Learnt that the Anglia had been blown up, but could get no particulars. Mrs. Mitchell the Matron wired to her husband Major Mitchell that she was alright, and so far no more information has been received.
Wire from Dehorted, asking for a statement to be furnished as soon as possible showing numbers of Matrons, Sisters and Staff Nurses employed in QAIMNS, Reserve and TFNS, showing numbers by Hospitals under present strength and establishment, as per forms sent by post. Received list of TFNS Sisters and Staff Nurses serving with BEF in France.
DGMS rang up to find out the result of Lady A.G. interview. Letter came re Miss Boosey VAD who when she arrives wishes to go to 20 General Hospital forwarded by DGMS. Miss McDonald, Matron-in-Chief Canada, arrived from Boulogne. Came by lorry as she appeared unable to find any other mode of transport. Had we known we would have sent for her, but thought the Canadians would have sent her out in one of their cars. Busy all day with returns for WO – only today saw the new War Establishments – but here all Hospital Staffs have to be considered according to their situation and the nature of accommodation. Endless Americans, Chicago, applying for leave for Paris before completion of their Contract. Am arranging for all units now waiting to move should take leave. The Misses Field VAD after sending in the resignation wish to re-engage after having had a holiday – this should have been [done] for them before leaving their unit – have written sending fresh agreement forms and sending authority for 7 days’ leave.
Wrote Miss Byers 4 General Hospital re Miss Steenson going to her from 14 General Hospital to convalesce after her recent operation on her eye. Wrote also to Miss Steenson so that she should have a few lines on her arrival, for although she was not really fit and is suffering a great deal from neuralgia, she was anxious to return to duty. Letter and telegram from Miss Wakelin and OC 14 Train, saying she wished to stick to original decision of sending her resignation and that she was unwilling to join the Reserve.
Left for Rouen with Miss MacDonald at 9.30, arrived 12.30. To DDMS office. Saw DDMS who spoke of the long delay there had been in getting rid of Miss Claridge and what a trial and disturbance she had been at 6 General. He also spoke of how unsatisfactory all married VADs have proved themselves in his area. I said I had asked that they should not be sent out – they still come however.
Then to 6 General where we had lunch and where I saw Miss Worthington QAIMNS who asked for leave, and then explained how upset she was that she wasn’t given even Matron’s or Assistant Matron’s duties. Pointed out that she had been unfavourably reported upon. She is very anxious to be moved from 6 General – thinks she has not been fairly treated. Have asked Miss R. to arrange about her leave. Then saw Miss Bowles who has sent in her resignation and who is anxious to go to be near her sister and return to her post which has been kept open so long for her. She has never settled, and after being given a small charge was anxious to get an exchange for Home Service. Saw the Matrons of 9 General and Meerut – both well and everything going smoothly.
Then to 12 General to see the huts which the Staff had just got into and which are extremely comfortable and are going to be very pretty. Time and thought is being expended on them to make them as nice as possible.
Then to 12 Stationary. Everything at a standstill as they are expecting daily orders to close. Making the best of everything but very uncomfortable. On to office – missed everyone. Then to 8 General, where they are badly in need of more trained nurses – this I am going to arrange for them. Arrived at Abbeville 8pm.
Miss Claridge’s official papers again arrived and forwarded asking that the matter may be settled at an early date – recommended to everyone that she is not suited for service in France. Letter from GHQ re reinforcements for Casualty Clearing Stations in times of stress. Pointed out that 3 nurses are always to be obtained from 7 General and 10 Stationary, and that as each group is taken this office should be informed by telephone so that they can be replaced without delay – that has always been the arrangement. Letter from Miss Oram, saying what sad news she has had – 10 Sisters drowned – 3 deaths – one accidental – and that the climate is so bad and such an amount of sickness. Letter from WO saying that my application for consideration for increased pay for our senior Matrons cannot be considered. What is, is right, but it is hard on the Seniors.
Busy with official correspondence. Miss Wakelin 14 Train now sick – at 10 Stationary being transferred to 14 General. Letter from Miss Stronach, saying Miss Wood CHR not returned from leave. VAD agreement forms for 2 Train coming in. A great many leaves being granted. Indians still waiting. No moves of Hospitals can be effected till the Indian units have been altered. Colonel Thurston came about the Acting Matron for 1 Canadian General Hospital, who had been selected by M-in-C of Canadian Hospitals. Wire from Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox to DMS, saying that HRH The Princess is anxious to arrange about the Convalescent Home for Nurses at Cannes.
Went to the Nurses’ Home to dinner, and saw various nurses who are waiting to pick up their trains. WO letter – Miss Sloggett and Miss Swan VADs not permitted to transfer to Special Probationers Corps as the conditions of service are identical. Telegram OC 10 Stationary saying Miss Wakelin sick 10 Stationary Hospital, should she go 14 General, replied yes. Busy with return of Nursing Staff on special form for WO A long business will take some time. Letter from Mrs. Furze re Lady Bathurst coming out as VAD – no vacancies at present. Have already written at length to the Countess, saying she would not find VAD work either suitable or congenial. Emphasized the fact that all are subject to our rules and regulations, and that everyone has to live with the Nursing Staff and that it was impossible to make exceptions.
Letter from Miss Crowdy, VAD Commandant – asks whether she might sent letters privately to all members for subscriptions for the proposed bed for a paralysed bed, that it was hoped that VADs would be able to endow at the “Star and Garter” now taken over by the Red Cross for disabled and paralysed soldiers. A Committee of VADs had been formed, Miss Crowdy Chairman. Sir A. Lawley had been asked to be Patron and I to be Patroness. Asked, while thanking her, what extra work this would involve as I should not be able to undertake more than I am doing at present. Letter from Col. Worthington – not official, saying that so far Miss Tunley the Matron disappointing – no initiative and not observant. Gave several instances with regard to convalescent officers and their attention. Am writing to say I will be there shortly.
Miss Walford going on leave – Miss Barbier going to Boulogne with her, to see about Miss Wakelin, the Indian Sisters’ departure, Miss Mark’s health, what had been settled about hers and 11 General Nursing Staff accommodation at Marine Hotel, to Miss Crowdy about the discs (VADs). DGMS rang up about Miss Wakelin – forwarded all correspondence by DRLS. Officially reported Miss M. Wood’s absence without leave. WO letter back from GHQ re employment of VAD cooks and what class of man will be released.
Further letter from Rouen re Miss Claridge, and what everyone is suffering. This letter states that the men complain she gives them too many aperients. Letter from Matron 4 General, saying that she has now made very satisfactory arrangements with the Hotel Suisse to take all the staff – lately it has been so exceedingly uncomfortable at Hotel Recevoirs. Wrote Major and Mrs. Mitchell re Anglia 19th, also the Lady-in-Waiting Queen Mary and Queen Alexandra re the King.
Saw particulars in Times with King’s approval of a second order of RRC, to be known as Associate and designated after name as ARRC. This will give great satisfaction to the Regular Services. Miss Barbier saw Miss Mark when in Boulogne, as I was anxious about her health, as she had been seedy for a day or two and has not been looking well for some time. Said she was feeling almost quite well and quite fit for duty.
The arrangement about the Marine Hotel still hanging fire. Can get no satisfactory statement. The question of a new Manager is under consideration as it does not seem possible to take over the Hotel and run it ourselves for the Nursing Staff of 11 and 13 General and 7 Stationary Hospitals. She also went to 14 General to see the OC about Miss Wakelin – condition better. Miss Fox, Matron 14 General, came out from Boulogne with Miss Jacob to tell me that Sister Oxley CHR had smacked one of the servant’s faces and what was she to do. Said that the matter must be dealt with officially and that it was necessary for her to have driven all the way here about a matter which should be dealt with at the Hospital, and that also Miss Mark, Assistant Principal Matron
DGMS returned correspondence re Miss Wakelin. Sent Canadian reports on Sisters working in our units for transmission to WO and Canadian DMS. Left for Boulogne with Matron-in-Chief Canadians noon, arrived 2pm.
After lunch to see Miss Mark who had fainted and been sent off duty. Seen by OC and Sir Bertrand Dawson to see her. Arranged for Miss Newman to carry on at 7 Stationary temporarily and Miss Hordley to do Assistant Principal Matron’s duties temporarily also.
To 14 General to see Col. Gordon about Miss Wakelin, who I saw, and who was much better, but is to go home, and Miss Oxley. Said he considered she should be sent Home as she didn’t seem to realize it was anything serious and that she would do it again – report had been sent in. Then to 7 Stationary where I saw Miss A. B. Smith about arrangements necessary with the closing of Dannes Camiers. Stayed at Mrs. Robertson Eustace’ – no room at Hotel.
Went to see Sir B. Dawson about Miss Mark, then to 14 Stationary to see how many nurses could be accommodated there and at the Auxiliary Hospital. Went over Auxiliary Hospital – busy getting into huts which are going to be most excellent, and are arranged with separate blocks for each disease, with large, smaller and convalescent wards, with scullery and offices in each.
Then to Canadian Hospital 2 Stationary with their Matron-in-Chief, in the buildings recently occupied by 2 Stationary Hospital. Hospital well managed and going well. The OC is arranging for the Staff to be accommodated in the quarters attached and the stores removed, this arrangement being made by the late OC which necessitated the Nursing Staff being nearly 2 miles away at an Hotel, and there is nothing suitable in the near neighbourhood. The Nursing Staff finding the arrangement most inconvenient. Had lunch at Officers’ Mess. After to 7 Stationary. Miss Mark had been transferred to 14 General Hospital. To DDMS office and then to Etaples to arrange about the accommodation of Nursing Staff from Dannes Camiers, the increasing of 24 General Hospital trained staff, as 100 officers’ beds to be arranged for, and the new Staff for Sick Sisters’ Hospital, Le Treport, opening Dec 1st, 1 Sister, 2 Nurses, 5 VADs one to be a cook. Returned 8pm.
Letter from Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox about the proposed Home at Cannes. The matter placed officially before the IGC, who is not at all in favour of the arrangement in consequence of the expense entailed.
Returns of Nursing VAD establishment in France completed with covering letter sent to DGMS, GHQ. Telegram from Cimiez asking for a Masseuse – referred to DMS who was in Boulogne, who approved. Instructed VAD McCarthy* to proceed. Letter from the Director of Brassards, Captain the Earl Donoughmore** re Brassards of VADs, the disposal when members are transferred to England on termination of one month’s service or those unsuitable or invalided. WO letter with reference to Miss … request re transferring to Indian Service or any other service – not permitted, but able to resign at end of year’s engagement. Wire from Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox to await news on … before taking further action re Cannes Home.
* Madeline McCarthy, sister of the Matron-in-Chief
** Richard Walter John Hely-Hutchinson [1875-1948] 6th Earl of Donoughmore
Letter from Sir John French asking me to go and see him the next time I am at GHQ as he wishes to convey to me personally his great appreciation of the work of the Nursing Services in France under my control. Wrote in reply, said I would be at GHQ next week and would let his ADC know so that an interview could be arranged. Letter from Lady Bertha Dawkins, Lady in Waiting re the King’s health and message for Her Majesty. Wire from Cimiez cancelling order for Masseuse. Had already written BRCS Paris, asking for a permit and a couchette to be taken to enable Masseuse to proceed by night train. Wrote also to Sir E. Worthington – had to wire to cancel arrangements. Miss Stronach Matron 3 General wrote to say Captain ___ had written to OC to say he had married Miss Wood – so far no-one has heard anything official – wired Dehorted again saying she is still absent. Letter from Miss Jones asking for extension of leave in consequence of father’s illness – said she had written to Miss Becher and she had referred her to me – sanctioned. A wire also received from Dehorted asking if Miss K. Johnstone leave might be extended – parent’s serious illness, also sanctioned. Letter from Miss Rice QAIMNS telling me of her engagement to a Captain in RGA. Letter informing me of Miss Wood CHR engagement to a Medical Officer.
Letter from Miss Bird QAMNS India and application for leave to be married to a Captain IMS. Checked Nominal Rolls. Sent money from Londoners employed in various Hospitals towards Edith Cavell Memorial to Miss Becher. Miss Waite TFNS from 7 Ambulance Train to see me after 1st journey.
Miss Close QAIMNS 4 Ambulance Train to see me – both report everything satisfactory. Letter from Miss Minns re her leave. Miss Mark about the same. Letters from Sisters in Charge of Casualty Clearing Stations in 1st Army all informing me of arrangement for leave which has been made by new DMS 1st Army. Having heard nothing of it and am writing to GHQ about it. WO wire re appointment of Nurses Henry, Henderson and Hall QR.
Mrs. Furze and Miss Crowdy came to see me, with reference to VADs, their reports and discharge, of which they learn nothing from WO Asked they might have a report also, and that members returning should be instructed to report WO. Letter from Sir A. Lawley, saying Mr. Stanley wanted to know when Lady Bathurst could come out as a VAD, also to say VADs Gore and Annesley wished to go to Palermo, the 2 Lawleys and Latham to Egypt and Miss Seymour Salonika – all applying officially. Busy with correspondence.
Colonel Lynden Bell came to see me on way to Front. Sent £20 for the Edith Cavell Memorial to Matron in Chief, collected from various Londoners in Voluntary Hospitals. Letter from Sir J. French’s ADC asking me to go after Wednesday. Wire from Dehorted informing me Miss M. Wood had resigned. The Matron 3 General had already heard unofficially that she was already married to one of the Captains, now on leave!!
Heard from Mrs. Mitchell giving an accurate account of her experiences on the Anglia. Miss Bird’s leave QAMNSI sanctioned to get married. On arrival in London she has undertaken to go to the India Office.
Left early for Boulogne. Went to 7 Stationary to enquire about Miss Mark and to find how things were progressing. Saw DMS, L of C, to tell him about Sir John French’s letter and also to give him some correspondence from the BRCS with reference to a suggestion of Lady Norman’s to get women out and train them at their Hospital for their various duties – this I hope will not be considered.
From there to 14 General where I saw Miss Mark, who was looking better than I expected. She will need a long rest. Then to see A/Sister Oxley, who had recently slapped a French maid’s face. She was quite hysterical, but did not understand that she had behaved in even a peculiar manner as she felt sure though she admitted she was very angry that she had not hurt her! The official report had already arrived but as she had asked to see me, I had seized the opportunity of seeing her. Then to Sir Bertrand Dawson about Miss Mark. He thinks she will need a long rest, but that she will be able to work again later.
To see Miss Watt. 6 of her Sisters had gone with the 1st section of the Indian division and she with 5 others leave with the 2nd section. They are getting tired of the long delay in the start. She told me she had heard various complaints by the Nurses from the Marine since Miss Smith’s departure – food bad, lack of knives and forks, tumblers etc., crockery. Went to see Miss Hordley who is acting for Miss Mark and asked her to look at the matter and report. Then on to pick up Miss Walford VAD who had returned from leave and got back 8pm.
Letter from Miss Becher with reference to an unsatisfactory member Nurse McNulty who had been selected from here for service with MEF. A letter (love) have been sent to War Office for her from a Sergeant in the Irish Guards. She referred also to the last list of Mentions, which does not appear to meet with her approval. She said the … had been to the WO about it and wanted to know if I had anything to do with the recommendations. I wrote explaining everything.
Heard that VAD Wilson dangerously ill at 14 General with Enteric – informed Dehorted giving address and saying friends in Glasgow had been informed. Supplied Staff for 32 Casualty Clearing Station. Wrote to Col. Goodwin with reference to Nurse Oxley suggesting that instead of sending her Home she should be moved to another Station, reduced to Staff Nurse, and a report asked for in a month’s time.
Left 8am for Aire arrived 11am. Saw Surgeon General Pike with reference leave, then to 1 CCS, which has much improved and is almost entirely converted into huts. Everything in excellent order. From there to 18 and 23 CCS both under canvas. Very muddy and conditions difficult in every way but everyone well and making the best of things.
Then to Lillers to 7, 9, and West Riding Casualty Clearing Stations – 2 former in buildings, last under canvas, all working well and everything ___ . All seemed pleased to see me and said my coming was such a help in every way. The work of these people under the greatest difficulties is beyond all praise.
Got back to GHQ 7pm. Saw Col. Burtchaell – the DGMS away on leave – went to 10 Stationary Mess to stay for the night. The weather was quite dreadful and the mud everywhere past description. Miss Baird CHR from S. Midland Casualty Clearing Station sent to 14 General with asthma. Miss Lowndes VAD gone to 14 General with septic arm. Anaesthetic and multiple incisions made. Miss Rayside Matron 2 Canadian General wrote re appointment of Assistant Matron – Sister Allen. Miss Eager, QAIMNSR arrived from London, posted 14 Stationary.
2 Barges, No.4 Ambulance Flotilla
Establishments closed temporarily
Nos. 18, 23, 25 General Hospital
No.3 Canadian General
Rawal Pindi British General Hospital
Meerut Indian Stationary Hospital
Meerut Casualty Clearing Station
Secunderabad Indian Hospital
12 Stationary Hospital
New Members of Nursing Staff joined
From England - 3 Trained, 10 Special Probationers, 103 VADs
From France - 4 Trained
Transferred from Reserve to QAIMNS
4 Nurses between September and November
Transferred to Home Establishment
Transferred for Service with MEF
QAIMNS - 2
Reserves and Territorials - 70
Canadians - 35
Sent Home Sick
Trained – 13
Special Probationers – 1
VADs – 6
At present sick in England
Trained - 32
Special Probationers - 1
VADs – 10
Returned from Sick Leave
Trained - 4
VADs – 1
Resignations sent forward
Trained - 4 and 1 American
Miss M. Wood CHR resigned when on leave in England, forwarding her resignation direct to WO
VADs returned to England
Ill Health – this month 2: April to November 2
Otherwise unsuitable – this month 3: April to November 19
Not wishing to sign on – this month 2: April to November 2
On termination of 6 months’ service – this month 6: April to November 6
Invalided – this month 2: April to November 4
On resignation of appointment – April to November 4
Total - 37
Leave granted during the month approximately 130