CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3989
Queen Alexandra’s birthday – sent congratulations from the Nursing Staff in France. Left early for 2nd Army.
Visited 12 Casualty Clearing Station, Hazebrouck, where Miss MacCrae has worked wonders – everything in excellent order, and all buildings running smoothly. In consequence of officers’ beds being increased to 70 another nurse required, bringing numbers to 9.
Then to Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station, where now only 90 beds were left for wounded, in consequence of the large number of scabies and although these arrangements had existed for some weeks, the Sister in Charge, Miss Irvine RRC had not let me know though her staff was far too large, because she did not like to dictate!!! Have moved 3 nurses.
Then to DMS 2nd Army, General Porter, where I discussed the various changes which are needed in the various Casualty Clearing Stations. He spoke most highly of Miss Denton’s work at 3 Casualty Clearing Station and how splendidly everyone had worked in the recent dreadful weather. Huts are being erected everywhere and where this is possible both for patients and nurses.
Then 15 CCS which is first rate, Miss Allen QAIMNS managing well and all details are excellent in all tents and wards. Had lunch with them. Everything most comfortable, cooking excellent. My visit was unexpected, and it was good to see how first rate everything was. Saw the OC and told him about a member of his medical staff who was causing trouble – this he is going to deal with.
To 2 Casualty Clearing Station. Still going well with Miss Jolly in charge. They now have their Mess next door, which is a vast improvement, in a nice house.
To 8 Casualty Clearing Station. Miss K. Stewart in charge. Everything orderly and comfortable, and such numbers of such dreadfully ill and wounded men.
To 3 Casualty Clearing Station in the Asylum. Crowded with men, mostly with trench feet, and a fine big officers’ ward. All fresh and comfortable and everyone saying how well they were treated.
Then to Remy to see 10 and 17 Casualty Clearing Station – nearly dark. Both under canvas on either side of the line. Teaming with rain – No.14 Train at siding and both stations busily evacuating – seas of mud everywhere. Trench mats, which consist of narrow boards, attached so between all the lines. Huts in process of erection both for Hospital and Nurses’ quarters. Miss McClelland i/c 10 CCS doing well, Miss Wharton TFNS very capable and hardworking, but argumentative and always raises objections to any orders given. Is inclined to carry on as she wishes in spite of definite orders, and does not write to refer the matter and her own suggestions because she doesn’t wish to worry. Found the Theatre Sister had been on duty from 3pm to 4.30am the next morning without relief. Got back late to DGMS office to report. Letters by DRLS. Nothing of great importance, except Miss Mark and Miss Wilson better, Miss Lowndes the same, Miss Devenish-Meares in Hospital with varicose veins, to lay up for a week. Miss Carthew carrying on in her absence. DDMS Boulogne wired to know if 4 Nursing Sisters could be lent temporarily to Australian Hospital till reliefs arrived – arranged. Telephone message from DMS 1st Army, asking me to go there between 10 and 1am tomorrow.
To C in C – not yet returned. His ADC is to wire me giving me choice of 2 days to come, and in the meantime I am to let him know if I have to go South. Then to 1st Army to see DMS about leave and increase of some of the Staff. To 22 Casualty Clearing Station, Miss Plimsaul i/c. All very good, with exception of arrangements for officers, which needs attention and improvement. Acting Sister Croft not suitable – under the impression anything will do for a Clearing Station.
On to Lillers to 1/2 London and 7 CCS both wonderfully improved. Miss Lang’s especially good – all sorts of contrivances, and walls covered with large posters obtained from England, the pictures cut out without advertisement – very effective. Men all looking so comfortable.
Bac St. Maur. To 26 Field Ambulance, not 2 miles from Trenches, in a bleaching factory – first rate.
Bethune. To 33 CCS and 6 Field Ambulance as I heard they had been shelled the day before. Found them all right – everything quiet. No-one willing to go on leave lest they might not return. The drive most remarkable – dark, raining, regiments coming out of the trenches, others going in, with pipes playing – such a strange sight. Most of the men looking very anxious as they marched forward – those coming out singing and cheering those passing by. Got back 8pm. Saw DDG and Col. Burtchaell before going to Mess. AG wanting to see me about Cannes, Mentions in Despatches – sent me a letter from the Duke of Teck.
Went with DDG to see AG about proposed Convalescent Home for Nurses at Cannes. Both he and IGC not in favour of it – nothing further to be done till I had seen house and sent report. I was told to get into a train at once and forward report as soon as I could.
Then to 7 General Hospital now an Isolation. Miss Woodhouse now in charge. Everything beautiful in the Hospital, but the accommodation for the Nursing Staff hardly enough and no space for an expansion except rooms which have been taken by MOs and would be most useful. Back to lunch with DDG. After to see Col. Burtchaell about the question of reducing number of awards for Regulars and increasing those of Reserves, as contained in the Duke of Teck’s [letter] as considered by our medical branch at Home. No-one here agrees, and I was directed to take a copy of the letter and from L of C to write my views on the subject. Heavy rain and wind all the way, arrived 7pm.
Wire from Calais for extra nurses. Wire from Queen Alexandra in reply to ours. Being circulated, letter from M-in-C re Edith Cavell Memorial. All subscriptions to be sent to her at Holt’s – instructions being circulated. Also letter re badges Reserve, how to be procured from Carrington’s, price so far not known. Numbers wanted first – this also being circulated. OC 8 Stationary asking for permanent Matron – Miss Jacob not experienced enough. Miss Stewart, Richardson and Cracknell … . Wired WO about Miss Lowndes – Relatives expected. Miss Dalton QAIMNS been admitted 14 General suffering from overdose of Morphia – large quantity of Morphia, Veronal, Cocaine and Tinct. Opium found in her box. Given a room to herself and a day and night special – to be sent home at once. Miss Robertson Home sick to Millbank. Always a difficult member.
Wrote a letter with reference to the criticism of excess in the number of awards to our people, which DMS approved. Submitted more names, but was most emphatic that, instead of numbers of awards for QAIMNS being reduced, there were many more as deserving. This attitude at Home is incredible to me as the whole success of the nursing arrangements here hinges on the Regulars. I pointed out that the 20 RRCs ordered to be awarded last list had [no] criticism.
Busy with moves. Sent orders for Miss Oxley to be reverted to Staff Nurse and sent to 6 General, a further report furnished in 1 month’s time. IGC arranged about Convalescent Home for Nurses Cannes. WO letter received re Miss Claridge at last. She is to resign if she prefers, otherwise her services are no longer required. Too much work here to leave for South till Wednesday. Wrote DDG asked him to inform AG. Wrote Lady Algernon – said I would meet her in Paris Wednesday. Miss Seymour VAD ordered to 4 General Hospital. In consequence of the arrival of letters and parcels requiring redirection for old residents in France, sent a circular asking everyone to inform their relatives and friends of their proper address.
SMO Dieppe telegraphed for nurse for officers’ child – arranged it. A telegram later, saying he was dead and cancelling this. Miss Dalton transferred to England.
Busy all day with correspondence. Marshy* arrived in London with 2 Boys. They have been attached to the Flying Corps, and he taken on as Captain RAMC, to be attached to station in London and eventually going to Malta. Miss Sampson returned from sick leave. Miss Stapleton arrived. Both ordered to Havre.
Wrote Miss Becher re Miss Dalton. Miss Steen wrote to say Miss Hanson fell into the water – might have been drowned – put up at Sick Sisters Hospital for the ___ . Wrote to Miss Reid for Nurse Huston’s report. Wrote to Staff Nurse Douglas to ascertain why she has put on … .
* Her brother, Marsham McCarthy. Information received from Susan Jenkins (December 2015) included the text of an article published on 14 February 1918 in the Evening Post newspaper, Wellington, New Zealand (and digitised by the National Library of New Zealand) which clarifies the identity of the '2 Boys.'
"Some time ago (says the Wairarapa Daily News) Dr. Marsham a Becket McCarthy left his practice in Greytown to offer his services to the Home Government for the period of the war. He took with him two young lads, Fred Nicholls and Henry Benge, both Greytown boys. Mrs. Benge, of Greytown, has lately received photographs of Colonel McCarthy, R.A.M.C., and her son taken together. Colonel McCarthy is in charge of an important hospital in England. Henry Benge is a sergeant in the Royal Flying Corps, and has already obtained his pilot's certificate (first class), and is on the high road to promotion. Fred Nicholls, on account of his health, was ineligible for the Flying Corps, but has proved himself a clever mechanic, and has been awarded sergeant's stripes. At the time of writing he was daily expecting his promotion to sergeant-major. Sergeant Benge also intimated that most likely he would shortly be sitting for a commission."
Received Staff Nurse Tyler’s report at end of 3 month’s service a fortnight too soon. Returned. Captain Fell came. Medsercan applied through WO and DGMS for 31 Canadian Nurses to be sent to London from 3 General Canadian at Dannes Camiers now closed. Letter dated Dec 1st received 5th. Issued instructions by wire and asked each unit to report departure. 1 from Treport, 30 from Dannes Camiers. Replied to letter re Mentions from Col. Burtchaell saying it was excellent and that she would represent my views to the responsible people.
Went to Boulogne arriving 11.30am. Direct to DDMS office about the Marine Hotel. A new management being arranged, reduction of prices to 7F, everything inclusive, teas, baths, English breakfasts, another sitting-room, proper service and removal of all French servants. To send to the Base Commandant and referred to IGC. Then to Miss Hordley, with reference to the Sick Sisters’ at 14 General. Miss Steenson who has just returned from 14 Stationary – to enquire about her eye, and to 8 Stationary to find out what the trouble is there.
Miss Riddle QAIMNS sanctioned leave in consequence of her father’s illness. Saw Miss Batteson Q retired in a disgraceful hat and talked to her about it. Lunch with Miss Hordley, and then to Etaples, arriving 3.30pm. To ADMS office, saw him and Miss A. B. Smith and went with them to new Sick Sisters’ Hospital which is perfectly charming – most comfortable, well furnished and luxurious. Miss Toller in charge, beds 32. Then to see new accommodation for sick officers at 24 General Hospital. This also very good. So good that the DMS told me he thought it was the nicest in France. Got back 8pm.
Letter from Sir A. Lawley re inspection at Baltic and Corn Exchange. Colonel Fell came about his niece. Saw Sir Allen Perry re Harvard Unit. Pointed out that accommodation was ready for Staff at Wimereux. The Rawal Pindi Hospital which he is taking over only 420 beds available. In consequence his Staff of 73 would be too many. He is applying officially to know if 36 might join the Chicago Unit, to fill vacancies now being made by those going Home at completion of contract and not desiring to extend. Said that possibly some other Nurses were coming from Chicago, but that I knew nothing about it so far if they were, nor did anyone on the L of C know either.
Major Hartigan called. Just been moved to 3rd Army. Miss Nunn came from 11 train. Told her about the irregular costumes of the Red Cross Nurses as I saw them coming off her train at Aire. Wire from Dehorted for Miss Byers as soon as possible to replace Matron suddenly deceased. Numbers over here getting … less. Ordered Miss Steenson to 14 Stationary. Wrote pay people re Insurance Cards. Nurses Rawlinson and Robertson’s report after recent move and unfavourable report – good. DMS 1st Army phoned for 1 more nurse 1 CCS. Wrote Miss Jacob re her move to 24 General as Assistant Matron. Wrote Miss Knowles re her move to 8 Stationary, telling her what is expected of her. Telephone message from DDMS Rouen, saying Miss Claridge refused to resign.
OC 14 Stationary rang up re Miss Steenson’s move, and said Miss Congleton, Assistant Matron, was going on leave tomorrow, could she go. Said not possible. Suggested a Member acting for her for 10 days, who I had previously been told was not reliable. Am writing to Miss Congleton. Telephone from GHQ about the movement orders for the 31 Canadians who should not have gone without the AGs approval. The orders were sent from GHQ. Wired OC 4 General to say I would be there tomorrow. Letter from Miss Richards for M-in-C asking for Miss E. Foster to be replaced when she returns to duty.
Telegram from Rouen saying Miss Claridge was resisting orders. DG wired that WO letter was to be complied with. Letter from M-in-C WO re Miss Buckingham’s death, Matron Birmingham Hospital, and Miss Byers QAIMNS withdrawal from 4 General to fill her place. Letter from WO for names and addresses of nearest relatives of Harvard and Chicago Units. Paymaster General telephoned about the question of insurance for VADs, and will go into the question. Was glad to think I had raised it now, than leaving it till later. Wrote Matron 24 General with reference to the increased staff now required that she has 100 beds for officers. Matron of 2 General Canadian Hospital asking if 10 Nurses might be on leave at Xmas time. Replied this could not be permitted – 3 might be considered, but it was not usual for Members of the Nursing Staff to be absent from their Hospitals at Christmas time. Sent Rules and Regulations for Miss Cowie, Sister in charge of new Barge.
Left for Versailles, arrived Paris 2pm. Went to see Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, re Home at Cannes which I had been instructed to inspect and report upon. She had intended to accompany but owing to illness was unable to go. Found her in bed with a temperature – Sir Bertrand Dawson going to see her.
Arrived at Versailles in time for tea. Had taken Miss Byers orders with me. She very sad at being moved. Told her Miss Steenson had been instructed to relieve her. OC out so didn’t see him. Miss Byers dined with me.
Went to Hospital 9am. Saw OC. Went round the Hospital with Miss Byers and Miss Steenson who had arrived the night before. Received wire saying Home at Cannes off. To go only Cimiez and Marseilles. The Hospital was in its usual state of perfection and was quite full of patients, many seriously ill, others wounded. One large ward only empty. The OC and Surgical Specialist both spoke most highly of the Nursing Staff – said the VADs were most excellent, but they said they were feeling the strictness of the regulations. I pointed out that they signed their agreements knowing they had to conform to the regulations of the regular service, and that if they were not willing to comply they must go Home. Before leaving telephone Miss … to say to go and see Home Cannes.
Went into Paris to the APM for my pass and found a wagon lit had been taken for me, also went to see Pasteur’s Tomb as time permitted, a most wonderful and beautiful chapel. Then to the Invalides where I saw a large number of French Officers and Soldiers decorated. Had the honour of being presented to the British Ambassador, who asked about the Convalescent Home for Officers at Cimiez. Left by 8pm train for Nice – a comfortable journey, a compartment to myself. Arrived at Nice 4.30pm.
Met by Miss Tunley and MO. Found everything fresh and bright looking. About 83 officers. Saw Commandant after dinner.
Spent the morning going round and discussing matters with the Commandant and Matron. Everything in first rate working order. Rules and regulations good, and everything quite regimental – no fear of any irregularities. Miss Tunley doing her best, but hardly suitable for a post of this kind. The 3 Red Cross Nurses doing well. There is now a block for Sick Officers, where those requiring special attention can be nursed and accommodated. The Nursing Staff have a wing to themselves. A masseuse is required and I wired HQ for VAD McCarthy to proceed forthwith. After lunch I drove with Sir E. and Lady Worthington to Cannes to take rooms for Lord Dudley who was arriving from the Dardanelles sick, and when able to, was to be moved to Cimiez. Lady Dudley was expected to meet him there. Took a luxurious suite of rooms for them both at the Grand, and then went on to see the Chateau belonging to the late Lord Rendel by his sister the Hon. Mrs. Wilbraham Cooper. A most beautiful house situated in 98 acres of beautiful grounds and 5 ½ miles of walks, spacious, luxuriously furnished rooms – not suitable for Convalescent Home for Sisters – not enough room for any large number, expenses would be great. Got back late.
With Commandant in the morning. Wire to say General de Gex and ADMS Marseilles were arriving and as it was necessary to see the ADMS Marseilles I decided to stay another night. After making this decision, received a wire from HQ IGC saying not to hurry back – everything quiet, so decided to wait another night, so that I can return to Marseilles at the same time.
Went over the Annex, the Pavillion Victoria, where Queen Victoria used to stay. Suitable to accommodate 50 more officers. Quite early Victorian and very different to the adjoining palatial building. A letter had been forwarded from DGMS enclosing a letter from the Speaker making serious complaints as to the treatment of his son while at Cimiez, of which there was information and the Commandant wrote fully on the subject. Curiously enough, I had met this officer Mr. Lowther almost immediately he was wounded at a Clearing Station on 2 occasions, his wife and mother were both there. He was then sent by Barge to Calais, and later was sent to Cimiez for rest. Apparently every possible consideration was shewn both to him and his wife. Commandant went to meet Lord Dudley at Cannes, who had arrived in a Hospital Ship, he the only passenger. Found him established at his Hotel awaiting Lady Dudley, smoking. He was a paratyphoid who had also had a slight attack of jaundice, but was quite better. Expected to proceed to Cimiez in a day or two.
Left by midday train for Marseilles, with Colonel Hickson. Arrived in time for dinner. Met my sister on her way to Cimiez and spent the night together.
My sister left by 9.30am train for Cimiez. I drove with Colonel Hickson to call on Base Commandant who was most interested in Hospital affairs and made many enquiries about Cimiez. Then to Houssa Camp which is being given up by the Indians, and with slight alteration is considered would be an excellent site for 2 General Hospitals of 1000 beds, an Officers’ Hospital, Infectious Hospital, Convalescent Camp. Lots of room for accommodation of officers and Sisters, Medical Stores – sanitation excellent, water supply perfect, sandy soil, ample supply of beehive incinerators in each sanitary area.
After lunch to Lahore British Hospital. Hospital good. Sisters’ quarters very bare and comfortless – staff apparently saving all they can, sooner than supply themselves with decent homelike surroundings. Told Miss Burkitt the Matron to alter matters, and to make like in all other Hospitals, each member to pay 1 franc a day into the Mess for extra comforts and dainties. The Staff to be increased by 2 Nursing Sisters as the work has considerably increased. Major Bateman arranged about my wagon-lit, and saw me off 6pm. General Bray and Major Hunter travelled by the same train and we dined together.
Train six hours late, in consequence of the movement of large numbers of troops going south. Restaurant car was taken off during the night, so were unable to get anything to eat until midday, when we had a cup of chocolate and a brioche, as until then we never stopped at but outside the stations. Drove to Hotel Crillon. Saw Lady Algernon – said I thought the Home was hardly suitable for the purpose we wanted it. She naturally was disappointed, and said that HRH Princess Victoria was also, but that there had been so many instructions lately about the whole matter, in consequence of a misinterpretation at the beginning. Drove back arriving Abbeville 8pm. DMS away. During my absence I found the following matters had been attended to:
Miss Lowndes VAD still dangerously ill. Miss Wilson and Miss Donaldson, both very ill also.
OC 14 Train reported unfavourably on Miss C.M. Pearce and she was not suitable as Sister in Charge. Letter written saying the matter was receiving attention. Extra Nurses supplied to 4 and Highland Casualty Clearing Station. Miss Fleming Red Cross Nurse post, taken on Reserve in France, returned, not sufficiently addressed. Sir A. Lawley wired asking me to be Patroness of the VAD fund in aid of bed at Star and Garter for Paralysed Soldiers. A wire was sent saying I should be pleased. Miss Power VAD report not satisfactory, ordered to return Home. WO telegram saying N. Brooks, Chicago, Nurse I.C. Smith and S. … returned from sick leave all instructed to go to 23 General, others 14 General. Excited letter from Miss Bird about her leave, as her marriage had been settled but authority had not arrived – this was settled.
Regulations sent to Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station, 8 and 14 Stationary and 4 General, all having recently had new Matrons and Sisters in Charge. Wire from Versailles. Miss Byers crossing to London tomorrow. Still trouble with Miss Claridge, who had not left. Sir A. Lawley wrote re Red Cross Convalescent Home, Mentone, to me, with reference to Army Nurses being admitted also. DMS wished letter to wait my return. Wired Dehorted re Miss Oddy transfer from Red Cross, posted 14 General. Letter from Mrs. Furze re passes for leave of VADs not employed in Military Units, asking that they might have the same privilege as ours. Addressed to DG and forwarded to him for consideration. DG telephoned for Christian names of extra names submitted for Despatches, the result of the Duke of Teck’s letter. Miss Bulman QAIMNSR ill. Villa Mauricien to be attached to 14 General and an additional 14 nurses wanted in consequence. 4 more nurses asked for, for 2 new Barges – supplied. Villa Tino now opened for Sick Sisters, Etaples area. Miss Toller in charge – all sick from 24 General Hospital transferred – 26 in number. Letter from DMS 1st Army, re Sisters’ leaves and Sisters in Charge visiting other Casualty Clearing Stations in his area.
Nurse Black’s report very good. Letter from OC Brassards, giving names of responsible people where VADs on going Home can hand in their Brassards at Rouen and Havre. Correspondence re Miss Claridge forwarded WO – a most troublesome and undesirable woman. Letter from M-in-C asking for Miss Dalton’s medical report to be forwarded at once – she is denying everything. Miss Jones TFNS typhoid on dangerously ill list, 14 Stationary. Friends and WO informed. Miss Nunn QAIMNS came to report in a very shabby hat. Next of kin with addresses asked for from WO. Circular sent to all areas, including Barges, Trains, Cimiez, Marseilles. Miss Loder, 5 Stationary, sent to 16 General with Diphtheria.
Orders sent to VAD McCarthy to proceed to Cimiez for duty. Masseuse needed. Miss Watt, Rawal Pindi, wrote saying 66 Americans had arrived and were all accommodated. Miss Newton CHR 14 General applied for permission to be married. Miss M. B. Williams, now Matron 14 Stationary Hospital now wrote about Miss Jones condition, which is satisfactory. Wrote DG with reference to VADs Gore and Annesley request to transfer to MEF. Asked about the Nursing Staff of Trains out of action, as it is desirable they should be sent to report at established units until they are again required. Miss Steen, 2 General Hospital wrote about the result of the explosion at an ammunition factory … , close to Havre, and near the German Prisoners’ Camp. Many were killed, and many men, women and children were admitted to 2 General Hospital. Miss Jones CHR, 10 Train, confidential report – caused friction with MOs and men, otherwise work satisfactory.
Nurses’ Home Abbeville inspected with regard to drains. Office repapered and washed. Made arrangements with APM re VAD McCarthy’s ticket and couchette for Cimiez. Miss Steen wrote to say women and children from Marseilles accommodated until Southampton boat came. Miss Whyte QAIMNS brother, N.Z. Mounted Rifles crossed to see his sister. VAD Hunt applied to resign a/c sister’s marriage.
Sent lists and instructions to all areas where Canadian Nursing Staff are stationed, that all moves were to be reported to DAG as well as this office. DMS wired Miss McCarthy, saying to remain till end of week – all quiet here. Satisfactory reports received of all Nursing Sisters on serious list. Miss Cosby S/N resignation accepted. Miss Conway transferred to Home Establishment. Wrote Miss Luard that M-in-C would not be pleased at S/N Leacy going on leave after having only joined a Casualty Clearing Station 6 days. Miss Tyler’s QAIMNS report forwarded - satisfactory. Also Miss Andrews CHR. Letter from Miss Lucas, saying it was Miss Buckingham, a civilian Matron, who had died suddenly. Miss Byers QAIMNS required to replace her. Miss Lindsay NZ resignation forwarded. Mrs. Maddock TFNS application to resign forwarded.
Miss C. M. Pearce wrote saying Lady Michelham had given Captain Amy 50 francs each for the Sisters as a Xmas gift. Sent Harvard and Chicago list to WO of Nursing Staff next of kin and address. Miss Barwell wrote quite busy and that the DMS had inspected and was pleased. Letter from Miss Aitchison enclosing correspondence re winter cloak of Mrs. W. M. Smith, 13 General, who had ordered it from a firm other than Shoolbred.
Orders sent for Nursing Staff of 25 General to proceed to Hardelot, the new site. Lady Rodney wired about her brother Hon. Oscar Guest. Letter from Matron 14 General to say VAD Heaton-Ellis on sick list with septic throat. Miss Stewart QAIMNS, 26 Field Ambulance wrote that the Canal was flooded and water up to house – patients being taken away in boats. All other matters kept till M-in-C’s return.
Went through all the correspondence which arrived during my absence. Instructed Matron 10 Stationary Hospital to appoint a suitable Sister in Charge of Barge re Miss Healy, not suitable for charge duty. Miss Roe sent record of Miss Frazer’s work. Miss Caulfield appointed to 14 Ambulance Train vice Miss C. M. Pearce, not considered suitable for the work, and who had joined 8 Stationary Hospital. Sent Miss Dalton’s particulars of all that had reached this office to GHQ.
DGMS passed through on his way to Paris. Sent orders for Miss M. Davis QAIMNS to join Isolation Hospital as Acting Matron, vice Miss Devenish-Meares on sick list and not likely to be fit for some time.
Wrote Miss Newman requesting the names of regiments of officers when she is reporting on them – valueless without it. Instructed Miss Warrack TFNS to join for duty at Montreuil during Miss Bird’s absence – leave for marriage. Telephoned to Matron 3 General to let her know the IGC was going to see Major Ponsonby and asking her to put Mrs. Ponsonby up in the Mess. Received a letter from Lady AGL suggesting that she would like to take the Home at Cannes, be responsible for everything, take her servants and car down, and have the Nursing Staff who really needed change as her guest, if the authorities consented. Referred the matter to the IGC who said that as the matter had been settled at GHQ by the AG, he did not wish to re-open the subject. Replied to that effect. Asked for a report on Miss Pearce work while on 14 Train. Misses Clarke, Fisher, Maude, Smart, and Carpenter’s leave sanctioned by telephone in consequence of serious illnesses of relatives. Miss Jordan QAIMNS applying for extension of leave. Medical certificate attached – granted. DMS at Havre.
Left early for Etaples. To ADMS office, where I learnt that certain irregularities were supposed to be existing in the Chicago Unit, which so far had not been verified. Called on the Matron, Miss Patton, who said her present Staff was most satisfactory, and that she had got rid of all her undesirable members. After lunch, which I had at 24 General, to 18 General, to find that they were all packed up and ready to move to Boulogne. Then to Hardelot, where I had already been asked to send the Nursing Staff for 25 General now opening in the Secunderabad buildings. Got there to find the OC out, the Nursing Staff not arrived, and no-one could even tell me what villas had been taken for the Staff. All I could find out was the orders which had been given from here had been cancelled without this office being informed.
On to Boulogne to DDMS office to find the hitch was that the Staff was asked for before authority had been received to occupy the villas. This matter was being dealt with and they hoped the Staff would be able to join during the week. The Sick Sisters were progressing.
Returned by 7pm to find orders had been sent for 2 nurses needed to join Marseilles. Miss Warrack ordered to Indian operating theatre until Miss Bird’s return. Heard from Matron, 3 General, Major Ponsonby better. VAD Mosley's resignation forwarded. VAD Brewer application for leave – father ill – this VAD is the one whose father is a confirmed invalid and at the time of signing her contract this question was under consideration – she was, however, recommended eventually. Miss Smart TFNS – leave – serious accident to brother, condition critical. Miss Wilson, Australian, pneumonia, DI list – people in Australia, WO informed, and cousin in England.
Miss Barbier and 2 VADs to Boulogne to shop, left 8.30am, away all day. DMS returned from Rouen.
Wrote to IGC re Mrs. Ponsonby. Said all arrangements had been made, and that 3 General Staff would be delighted to welcome her to their Mess. Lady A. Gordon-Lennox offer re Cannes Home not approved. Miss Fisher’s grandmother, seriously ill, leave granted. Finally decided 18 General is to open again at Dannes Camiers – instructions given. Wrote to 4 CCS and 29 CCS giving Sisters permission to Mess with MOs Christmas Day. Dehorted wired. N. Plumley returning from sick leave, also E. Chatfield and Hay. Miss Rowe QAIMNS from 21 Ambulance Train called to say train going to Boulogne for repair. Instructed her to report with her staff at Acting Principal Matron’s, 13 General for orders, while train is out of action. Nurses Bowdler, Owen and Todd, transferred sick to Millbank.
Staff Nurse E. Priestley QR resignation arrived “to resign today.” Sent back to OC to know if she had left the ship as the irregular request was not understood. Wrote Miss Steen re Christmas entertainments.
The IGC came to thank me himself for Mrs. Ponsonby – said how comfortable and happy she was, but wished to pay Mess expenses. Wrote Matron Lahore General about Australians going on leave and saying they should be replaced. Wired WO re Miss A. Millard’s address. Numbers of letters, papers, parcels and a telegram had arrived – unable to trace her in France. Reply – unable to trace her at WO. WO letter received – Miss R. Newton QR may marry. WO letter received – Miss Shaw’s resignation accepted. DMS 1st Army rang up to know whether Miss Mowat QAIMNS was in charge at Bethune. Replied yes. There appears to be some trouble, and he was going to write later. Wrote to Lady Perrott and Mrs. Furze asking them to apply officially to this office when they are wanting any information in connection with any VAD working in any of our units. Wrote to Sir A. Lawley thanking him for the Red Cross offer to admit Army Nurses to their Convalescent Home at Mentone, but saying that we had so many Homes that the one recently under consideration was not approved, partly for that reason, and partly because of the distance. Miss Wilson no better. Circular letter to trains instructing them to draw rations and for each member to pay 1 Franc a day into the Mess for extra as is done in all Hospitals.
Letter from Miss Becher, enclosing a letter from Miss Priestley making various complaints. Replied, explaining everything, and saying her work had been uniformly indifferent, and that she was a grumbler. Miss Hanson came to the office. I spoke to her about her irregular conduct, and pointed out that a recurrence of her recent behaviour she should be sent Home. A common little person, who talked about not being told officially. She went away thoroughly understanding her position I think. Letter from M-in-C enclosing a very vulgar picture of 8 women in pyjamas, supposed to be nurses at the Front, asking me to look into the matter. Letter from Commandant Cimiez, saying Miss Tunley unsatisfactory. Busy all day with correspondence. Mrs. Hoskins, late Q, pulling wires to get to the Front. Written to Sir A. Keogh, who wrote DGMS, who wrote DDMS Rouen. DMS L of C saw her – was very unfavourably impressed. Letter from Miss Becher asking for VAD particulars.
Sir A. Lawley came on way from Paris. Miss Nunn Q from 11 Red Cross Train came. Train has been out of action for a fortnight – Staff still on train. Most undesirable, am still agitating about them being posted to a Hospital on all occasions while the train is out of action. Wrote to DGMS asking if Sir John French’s letter might be circular. Wire to say Miss Wilson’s condition critical. Still more letters are arriving for A. Millard, and a gramophone is on the way!!! Supplied Staff of 6 for Hospital Ship Copenhagen. Invited to dinner with DMS Christmas Day, all of us. Invited to entertainment 2 Stationary 27th. Invited to entertainment Nurses’ Home 28th. Telephone message from 14 General Hospital saying Miss Wilson, Australian on Q Reserve, condition critical. Informed WO. Later to say she had died 7.30am.
Rang up early to find out when Miss Wilson’s funeral was to take place. 2pm today, so arranged to go, and asked 14 General to procure flowers for me if they had not already done so. Left at 11am. Raining incessantly. Arrived 1.30, had lunch, drove straight to 14 General, where I found the Matron Miss Fox had neglected to tell anyone in either the Boulogne or Wimereux area of the early date of the funeral, or the Australian Hospital, not even the Assistant Principal Matron, so that she could have informed all Hospitals so that everyone might have an opportunity of paying a last respect to one who had come so far and who was among strangers. I was extremely annoyed. The rain was continuous. There were a great many officers, and not a dozen Nursing Sisters from the whole area. On return to 14 General the Assistant Principal Matron had arrived with flowers from some of the Hospitals, but did not know anything about the funeral. Went into 13 General, where Christmas trees were being decorated.
Got back 8pm to find much correspondence and parcels. Wrote Miss Reid about Miss L. G. Mackay going to Cimiez vice Miss Tunley, not being very suitable for that particular kind of work. Sent a copy of Sir J. French letter to obtain permission to circulate it. Received a wire from 2 General Havre and Colchester wishing me Christmas wishes. The Canadian DG wired about Staff for new Canadian Clearing Station, to be selected when required from 2 Canadian Stationary Hospital. Wrote Miss Woodhouse re Miss Hanson and her recent behaviour.
Christmas Day Went to midnight service at the Cathedral. Lasted from 11.30 to 1.30am Christmas morning. Most beautiful music. The huge Cathedral simply crowded, seats reserved for French and English Military Officers. After High Mass concluded with Adeste Fidelis – very fine indeed.
Came early, to arrange all the presents for the office and found presents on all 4 tables from the various officers, with nice little notes accompanying them. Decorated the table for the Mess dinners. Cakes and crackers ordered from England never arrived. Were able to procure others, from gifts which had been sent.
Sent a telegram to Her Majesty Queen Alexandra. After lunch dealt with correspondence. Went with the General to 5 Stationary Hospital, which was exceedingly nicely decorated, and where one concert was going to be given at 6pm. There was not time to wait for it. We all, Miss Barbier, Skinner, Walford and I dined with the General, his son and Colonel Barefoot, after going to see the men before they began their dinner at 6.30pm when the usual toasts and songs were given. After dinner came to see what letters had arrived, and as none were urgent they were left till tomorrow.
Beauquesne: Beauval: Dernancourt: Doullens: Abbeville
Went to 3rd Army. Saw DMS (General Treherne) and Colonel Fell, and then went to 4 Casualty Clearing Station, and was taken by Major Harding from there to 19 and 29 Casualty Clearing Stations all most satisfactory, and where all had had a nice Christmas and in every instance the Sisters were busy preparing their Christmas teas for the Company. Everything going smoothly, and good reports everywhere of everyone. Returned 6.30.
DG has arrived from Paris for the night. DMS 1st Army rang up about 6 Field Ambulance, where some friction has been going on for some time – decided to move the Staff, and am going there when new Staff arrives to put them in the way things should go. A letter from Miss Crowdy re VADs Brassards and asking if the Matrons might be instructed to see that the VADs take more care of them!!! Instructed Nurse Nunn to join 6 General Hospital as No.11 Train has been standing doing nothing for nearly 3 weeks. Sent orders for 3 nurses to join from 24 General Hospital to 6 Field Ambulance. Arranged various moves. Find we are getting very short of trained nurses. Letter from AG with Christmas wishes and talking of the great work done by our people.
The DGMS came about the Home at Cannes, bringing another letter from Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox. It seems that she has the money now to finance the Home. The only thing needed being the warrants. I told the DG that both the AG and IGC were not in favour of it at first, but since it was not going to cost the Government anything, they might now be willing to consider the matter. He then spoke of Cimiez, and the Michelhams, where some trouble still existed in consequence of Lady M. not being able to visit the Home. Some reports apparently being made to which there was no foundation. The question of the name was still being under consideration. Spoke about the question of moving Miss Tunley, who is not quite suitable as Matron. He has no objection – wishes me to do what is best. The DMS agrees. Staff for 30 Casualty Clearing Station asked for and arranged.
Wrote to Commissioner, informing him that I had instructed Miss Nunn to join 6 General Hospital while train is out of action, and asking him to arrange for the Red Cross Nurses to be posted at units where they can be procured at short notice, when the train is again needed. It has now been out of action 3 weeks.
Wrote to DMS 1st Army re Bethune, and the Sisters being moved, and asked him to let me know when he had any suggestions to make which may be an improvement in the nursing arrangements of CCS, so that I could circulate what orders may be necessary from here, as I was anxious that all instructions should apply to all Armies as far as possible, so that I should have the nurses at the front more under my control to prevent any irregularities if possible, as I am not able to have a representative in each area, as I have in all areas on L of C.
Wrote Mrs. Furze saying she should write to the WO re any VADs who have been sent Home sick, in reply to letter from her. Wrote to Miss Crowdy in reply to her letter re Brassards, in which she asked me if the Matrons would be responsible and pay more attention to the VADs with reference to their Brassards, which some had lost. I asked what were the rules, and also said I was afraid the Matrons couldn’t take any responsibility, that those VADs who were careless, would, I expect, be so under any circumstances.
Was invited to Liverpool Merchants’ Hospital to tea, 26 General to dinner and Villa Tino to stay the night, Etaples area. Telephoned – not possible, could not get away. Went to tea at 2 Stationary Hospital in their Mess – the others remained to the Concert. I returned. Went to the Soldiers’ Home, and then returned to office. Sent wire instructing Nurses from No.7 train to join 1 Stationary Hospital – 4 trains now out of action.
The correspondence re Miss Dalton QAIMNS returned and sent to GHQ for transmission to the War Office. Busy making many moves which are necessary. Both Nurses and Sisters still applying for leave or extension of leave in consequence of serious illness of near relatives.
Capt. Lambe came for APM to make enquiries with reference the procedure when VADs Military go on leave, and what the particulars of what happened with the Red Cross VADs. I was unable to give him any information, but said I would get all particulars and let him have them as soon as possible. APM sent a letter from Miss Greaves, Matron Australian Hospital to a Miss E. Graham, from American Ambulance instructing her to proceed to Boulogne, asking if I knew anything about her. Added a minute to say I do not know the lady or anything about her. Busy all morning with correspondence and moves. Wrote Col. Clay re Nurses McEwan and Burke who were not satisfactory at Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station, where the late Sister in Charge appears to have been more interested in the social side of life to the patients, and for this reason I had already moved her, replacing her by Miss Stewart-Richardson. Wrote Col. Kiddle with reference to sending Miss Barrett to 7 Stationary Hospital as Matron. Miss E. Ward and Miss E. S. Jones both return from leave posted to 18 General Hospital. No.4 General closing at Versailles, and going to Jesuit College Boulogne. The Canadian Hospital intended to go to Jesuit College is now remaining at Dannes Camiers. 25 General Hospital at Hardelot to take in patients tomorrow. Still no arrangement made for the accommodation of the Nursing Staff, 17 of whom are still waiting at Wimereux.
The DGMS rang up about Lady Bathurst, asking why we were not taking any more VADs just now. Explained that at present we had more VADs than we required, as when I sent the numbers of Trained and VADs required to complete our establishments, only VADs were sent, so they are out of all proportion.
Received a New Year’s card from Queen of Portugal. Wrote and thanked her. All went to a Christmas tea at the Nurses’ Home which Miss Smythe had managed and arranged everything just perfectly. After tea there was music, bridge and jig-saw puzzles, and the Sisters and VADs from the various units with the MOs were invited. Miss Mackay, Matron 5 Stationary going on leave in consequence of the sudden illness of her brother.
Letter from Matron, 8 Stationary Hospital (Miss Knowles) saying she is faced with many difficulties, but she hopes to overcome them. She has now the orderlies under her control, and working them on peace lines, with reliefs and 2 meals, so that the times off can be satisfactorily arranged. Heard Matron 14 General has Influenza. Letter from Rouen re Miss Claridge’s last pay certificate which is being forwarded to the War Office. Letter from Miss Reid saying that Miss K. Mathew has not been well, and might she go to Mrs. Brice-Millers’ – said yes. Miss Becher returned letter giving particulars re Miss Priestley QR who is wishing to resign, having made various complaints among them that she had had no leave since mobilization. Miss B. merely added to let her resign, but that I had not yet explained why she had had no leave. I stated that no application had reached this office.
Miss Minns forwarded a letter from Miss Becher to here, saying that a grave injustice had been done to Miss Dalton, and saying that this matter must be investigated, and she wanted to know who had seen the Morphine etc. Miss Minns also forwarded her reply – a copy is being taken – and I wrote thanking her for letting me know and saying that all further communications should be passed through this office as a matter of this kind can only be official. It is all very dreadful. I am very sorry for Miss Dalton, but I cannot think that such a report would have been forwarded without foundation. Nominal Rolls done. Telegraphed authority for leave for 2 Nurses at 1 General Hospital. Parcels continue to arrive for Miss A. Millard, and still no trace of her. Miss A. Clarke QAIMNSR leave expires today, has applied officially to have her leave indefinitely extended in consequence of her mother’s serious illness. She had already written to me on the subject, and I had already advised her to apply for Home Service, and get work near her Home, if she was not wanted at Home permanently, otherwise it seemed wiser to resign for the time being. The Commander in Chief has been expected in Abbeville today. Wrote Commandant, Officers’ Home Cimiez, sending on jig-saw puzzles which should have been sent direct there, from Harrods, instead of coming here. Wrote Mrs. Wilson, mother of Miss Wilson, Australian Nurse, who died on 23rd December.
Busy with correspondence all day. Miss Jarvis CHR writing about her leave. This has been applied for officially – 10 days leave granted, then she applied for extension as she was not out of the dentist’s hands, and after that had been completed, she still asked for further leave. This has been referred to WO. Miss A. Clarke ANSR application to have her leave extended indefinitely in consequence of her mother’s serious illness aged 86, has been recommended without pay.
Sir Arthur Lawley came to know if his daughters might live with him and go to duty 14 General Hospital daily. Said that the Regulations clearly stated they were to live in the Mess under the supervision of the Matron, and felt no exceptions could be made, as other privileges and exceptions would be asked for. The only thing he could do would be to put it up officially, but that I felt it would not be sanctioned. I mentioned also Lady Bathurst had asked when she came as a VAD whether she might take her own rooms and that she did not wish to be paid, and that we had replied that all VADs employed in Military Hospitals must abide by the same regulations. Lady Lawley sent a parcel of old linen. She also asked me if I would inspect the Baltic and Corn Exchange, and whether I could arrange and take Miss Fletcher the Red Cross Matron-in-Chief with me. Wire from DGMS asking if it would be convenient for the Red Cross Nurses on Hospital Trains to be posted at Red Cross Hospital Rouen while it is temporarily out of action. Replied in the affirmative. Rang up to ascertain how Miss Fox is? Better.
Lady Gifford is inviting all the Matrons in the Boulogne and Etaples area to lunch tomorrow and has invited me also – have said unless something unforeseen occurs will be there. Matron-in-Chief of Canadians sent me as a Christmas Box a nice woolly jacket, which she has made herself. Miss R. Lindsay, QR “Australian,” resignation accepted – she has now applied to be released at once in consequence of her father’s serious illness – this has been forwarded to GHQ. Letter from Lord Knutsford, talking of my work, and wishing me a happy year. IGC came to see me with reference to the house at Cannes. Saw him with Col. Barefoot. He said both AG and he were entirely adverse to it. He said it was so far away, that he would not recognise it as a Military Unit, but had no objection to me giving a nurse 3 weeks’ leave to go there, but that they would be under Military Control, and that he was entirely against. I told him that of course if he approved I could make use of it, and could send Nurses there, but that if he didn’t, I could make other arrangements for them.
Left 11am for Etaples and Hardelot. Arrived Etaples 12.30. Saw ADMS and Miss Beadsmore-Smith. Learnt that everything had gone off most satisfactorily in all the Hospitals. 25 sick in the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, all of no very serious nature, and that Miss Knight QR was making most satisfactory progress. Drove Miss A. B. Smith and Miss Patton (Matron Chicago Unit) to Lady Gifford’s Convalescent Home for Nurses where she had invited all the Matrons from Etaples and Boulogne area to lunch. Most of them were able to come and I was glad to see in spite of all their heavy and long work, they all looked extremely well. Lady Gifford had arranged progressive games for after lunch.
I however left immediately after lunch with Miss J. B. Smith Acting Matron 25 General Hospital to see what arrangements were being made at 25 General Hospital in their site recently vacated by the Indian Unit. The Hospital consists of 1 Hotel, 3 Villas, 4 Bungalows, 2 Huts. In Hotel and 2 Villas, 360 have been allotted for patients. The arrangements are not good, and there was I felt a great deal too much crowding in the numberless small rooms, as many as possible beds were crammed, with not even room for bedside ___ to be placed as they might prove useful, a total absence of tables or chairs of any description. The OC who went round with me said that the beds should be reduced. In the Villa the same crowding existed. These Villas are quite close to the Hospital. All basements were filled with Hospital stores, as this Hospital was equipped for 1040 beds. The personnel is accommodated in top floor of building in Hotel yard (the lower part being set apart for linen, pack and equipment stores) and also in 3 Villas. The Huts are airy rooms for Company and Kitchens, for Sergeant’s Mess and Men. The Nursing Staff at present are put up in an Hotel at some distance from the Hospital until a question about a Villa has been settled, the Medical Staff being already comfortably established in Villas close by.
Returned 8pm passing by the way a French division who were moving, a weird and impressive sight in the dark, moving along these straight roads lined with bare trunks of trees, thrown up here and there by the light of lanterns, all transport was drawn by horses, there being no motor transport whatever in this Company.
Miss Fox still running a little temperature which is though to be influenza. Sir A. Lawley rang up twice during my absence to know when I was going to inspect the Baltic and Corn Exchange. Telegram sent DGMS, informing him of the number of Nursing Staff required to complete Chicago Unit, and saying that the Harvard Staff were far in excess of requirements. IGC sent the AG letter and his reply (copies) re Cannes Home, in which he did not recommend it – reason the distance, expense, warrants – and that he felt the Sisters would prefer going to their friends. There is no doubt, as this matter had already been settled, they were not disposed to consider the question again. Letter from DGMS re Lady Bathurst enclosing hers, and saying that he had said that when we requiring more VADs she would not be forgotten. Miss Nunn, with the Red Cross Nurses on 11 Train, having wired for instructions to Miss Fletcher instead of here, and it took her 4 days to join 6 General Hospital!!! DGMS wired re extension of leave for P. Smith and VAD Daly – recommended (as brother and mother ill) 5 days. Understood it must mean A. P. Smartt, as Miss P. Smith on leave. If all leave could be dealt with in this manner it would be much more satisfactory, that the various methods which have been adopted of late. Went to the Midnight Service, a crowded congregation in the tiny church room at the Soldiers’ Home.
During this month
All units which have recently closed for moving after the departure of Indian Units, are now re-opened or established in their new sites, with the exception of 12 Stationary Hospital.
Establishments opened during the month and staffed (21) Nursing Members
30 and 32 Casualty Clearing Stations
2 Barges, No.4 Ambulance Flotilla
Hospital Ship Copenhagen
Transfer to Home Establishment
New Nursing Members joining
From England - 2 Trained
From France - 1 Trained and 4 Trained from last month omitted to enter.
Sent Home Sick
At present Sick in England since April 1915
Returned from Sick Leave - 7
Resignations sent forward - 7
Leaves granted during the month - Approximately 158
Deaths - 1 Miss Wilson (Australian) QAIMNSR pneumonia, died Dec. 23, buried Dec. 24th.
Returned to England
For ill health
At end of Probationary Month – 2: April to December – 4
At end of Probationary Month – 1: April to December – 20
Not wishing to sign for service
At end of Probationary Month – 1: April to December – 3
On termination of 6 month’s service
At end of Probationary Month – 9: April to December – 15
At end of Probationary Month – 2: April to December – 7
On resignation of appointment
At end of Probationary Month – 2: April to December – 6
Number of arrivals of VADs in France since landing of 1st Detachment in April – 653
Transferred to England during that time for ill health, otherwise unsuitable or termination of contract – 64
Total number in France - 589