CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3989
Nursing Staff asked for, for 4 Ambulance Train – arranged. 1 Ambulance Train into garage and Nurses instructed to join 24 General Hospital temporarily. Asked to supply Mental trained Nurses to look after certain cases in the areas. Colonel Myers, Nerve Specialist, had been to see DMS on the subject. He is applying officially and in the meantime am looking up in our register to see how many nurses we have in the country with mental experience. Miss Nunn, A/Matron QAIMNS, called on joining 2 Stationary Hospital in relief of Miss Barber, who is proceeding to 12 Stationary Hospital, 3rd Army – gave her certain instructions and advice in taking up this new work. 8 Nurses joined Asturias for duty, and on relief 8 joined for duty in France – orders were awaiting them at 2 General Hospital. Letter from DDMS Etaples, re appointment of Matron Miss Densham at Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital, and appointment of extra Sister. Wrote this arrangement has been officially sanctioned, also said it had been arranged for Miss A. B. Smith to be appointed Principal Matron of the Etaples area, and asking that all units should be officially informed – orders posted today. Letter from Surgeon General O’Donnell, saying goodbye, on his departure to India as PMO India. Letter from Matron Lahore British General, informing me of Staff Nurse Hoskins return from 4 days leave as Mrs. Rosling. Forwarded correspondence to GHQ that she should terminate her engagement. Miss A. B. Smith granted 4 days leave (special).
Lady Gifford’s Convalescent Home in quarantine – a nurse having arrived … from one of the Sick Sisters’ Hospitals. Lady Murray, who has been running a Hospital at Treport for the French called. Now that the French have left the area she is anxious to be recognised by the BRCS, and be attached to one of our Hospitals, in the same way as Lady Hadfield’s and the Duchess of Westminster. The Hospital is a nice one originally a medium sized Hotel, situated in its own grounds and with several good tennis courts, and would be suitable for officers. The DMS quite approves of the suggestion. She is to write officially and if recognised by the BRCS it is thought it could be an annex to 16 General Hospital. Application for 6 Nurses for Officers’ Hospital, an annex of 29 Casualty Clearing Station, Gezaincourt. Ordered Miss Rice as Sister in Charge and 5 others to join Nurses’ Home Abbeville, for further orders.
War Office letter informing us of return of Nurses Eyton and Kinnear, and VAD Lady Hilda Kepple from sick leave. Sent orders to Boulogne. Letter from Matron 14 General Hospital saying the Surgeon General and she met Mrs. Charteris – she dined with her. Stayed the night at the Chateau Mauricien and she saw her off by the packet the next morning. Letter from Miss Rannie Assistant Principal Matron Rouen, saying Staff Nurse Guest, who doesn’t like living near the sea and who is anxious to return to Rouen, is engaged to Major … and it is advisable she should not return. This lady has been medically examined, and is considered fit. She is to be moved to 7 General Hospital – another inland seat!! Miss K. Stewart QAIMNS resignation forwarded in consequence of approaching marriage. Miss Smith QR applying officially to transfer to Indian Nursing Service. Miss Drummond QR applying officially to transfer to CAMC Service. Letter from Sister in Charge 12 Casualty Clearing Station saying she had been called to Sir H. Plumer’s quarters suddenly one night, to look after him during an attack of renal colic. He soon recovered, was not necessary for him to go into Hospital, nor to have further nursing attention after that one night.
Application for Mrs. Rosling, nee Hoskins, Hospital Ship Brighton to resign at once – forwarded. Application for Staff Nurse Bourne QR to marry and remain in France returned for particulars. Letter from Paymaster saying the question of back payment of acting ranks who reverted according to their regulations before 15.12.15, being referred to WO. Heard Lord Donougmore, Commissioner BRCS, had been wounded in Dublin during the Riots.
Recent moves: A. B. Smith, Principal Matron from HQ to Etaples as Principal Matron of that area. Miss Blakely to Havre as Matron 2 General Hospital, and APM of Havre. Miss Denne from Havre to 24 General Hospital Etaples. Miss G. M. Smith from Rouen, Meerut British General Hospital to 1 General Hospital, Etretat as A/Matron. Captain Heaton OC 15 A.T. reporting that Miss Worthington not suitable as Sister in Charge – now sick at 14 General, asked him to report officially. Miss Rice TFNS called for instructions re her new charge at 4th Army as Sister in Charge, Officers’ Hospital, in Chateau at Gezaincourt. Nurse Botting who suffers from train sickness from 4 Ambulance Train, to 24 General Hospital, replaced by Staff Nurse Surtees. 3 extra Nurses asked for 42 CCS supplied. Canadian Nurses instructed to proceed 3 Casualty Clearing Station from Boulogne. Miss Wohlmann, Matron QAIMNS 7 General Hospital wrote about A/Sister Shearer QAIMNS, her silence, her mode of living, never eats breakfast or tea, and her request to be moved – not happy, and her peculiarity of never making friends. Is having leave and on return is being moved to 24 General Hospital. Miss Hordley, Miss Blakely, Miss Rannie – all Assistant Principal Matrons of areas, writing about the amount of work and the need of more trained help. Replied in all instances, that when the Nurses come they should be distributed, and expressing regret that constantly Nurses had to be withdrawn for new units opening in the Armies.
Application for Staff of 7 Nurses for 1 Australian Casualty Clearing Station. Miss Rannie from Rouen reports that Miss Beamish QAIMNS is engaged to the Registrar – now going on 7 days’ leave. Letter from Miss Todd QAIMNS reporting their experiences of the gas attack at 8 Casualty Clearing Station – all had to wear their helmets. Many men brought in suffering and 29 deaths in 24 hours. Miss … reporting Staff Nurse Netherwood for going out with NCOs and orderlies. She is a transfer from BRCS and of common extraction – has promised while serving at 18 General not to offend again. Matron of 2 Canadian General Hospital asking if she and her Staff can accept invitation to dine at Australian Mess. Said this was not permitted on Active Service and referred her to our instructions, a copy of which had already been sent to all units. Col. Stewart BRCS came to ask me how I made my moves. Show him my methods – how I know what their capabilities were, the length of time they were at each unit, and who was in charge of divisions, theatres, Home Sister and Assistant Matron. Urgent letter from A/Matron 2 Stationary Hospital asking for more help – suddenly taken in 30 very badly wounded, 2 of her Staff sick, 4 on leave, 2 being special leave, family trouble. Sent 3 Nurses from Nurses’ Home waiting for orders for Clearing Station.
Miss Barwell, A/Matron 5 Stationary Hospital, wrote to ask if she should take her holiday – said her senior Sister who has been at the unit a long time, and is considered quite capable. Mr. Rideal from Filtration Barge A176 called to say he had a case of socks, felt slippers for the Troops. Thanked him and said they should be sent for. Miss A. B. Smith received a letter from Bishop Gwynne with reference to Miss Claridge which she answered. This letter was a private one. Many letters in connection with application for leave and increase of staff dealt with.
Left at 9.30am for 1st Army, arrived 11.30am. Went with DMS to West Riding Casualty Clearing Station – everything most satisfactory. Hutted accommodation completed, arrangements excellent. The OC spoke highly of the excellent work done by the Nursing Staff in the recent gas attack.
22 Casualty Clearing Station Bruay. Excellent in every way. French huts taken over from the French with every convenience including electric light. Quite close to the railway line, no Australians required when evacuating. The Nursing Staff under canvas, bell tents and marque, all boarded, the position an excellent one and everything admirably managed. A great many beds, ample linen, and being run quite on the lines of a Hospital. I had lunch at the Mess, a surprisingly excellent one. So far the Sisters have nothing to do with this Section. The other Sections are at some distance one from another. The Staff of 7 with Miss Denton in charge, superintends this unit. They are billetted in the town and all Mess at one billet. This is the best arrangement which can be made in this town. I also saw 3 of the Nurses of 6 Casualty Clearing Station, who are joining 22 Casualty Clearing Station until their unit is established, so that 3 of 22 Casualty Clearing Station can go on leave. 4 of 4 Casualty Clearing Station whose leave was due have also gone on leave, and will be returning in time to be in readiness as soon as No.6 Casualty Clearing Station has arrived in this new position.
Returned, arriving at Abbeville 8pm, where I found that the Staff for Officers’ Hospital belonging to 29 CCS had been wired for, that 2 Stationary had admitted a large number of cases and required more help, and that the additional nurses taken off all communicating trains were again needed, 2 not being found to be enough, and that a new Train No.26 would be wanting its staff immediately. All these matters were dealt with, orders to be sent out tomorrow.
Miss A. B. Smith left for Etaples where she is taking up her position as Principal Matron of that area. Busy with moves all day, changing people on Barges and trains, many of whom have been many months doing duty. These should if possible be moved I am convinced every 3 months. A Red Cross Nurse, Miss Horne, who is now working with the French called, anxious to get work with the English, and is very keen to be allowed to run a hut for the convenience of troops passing through at the Station. Miss Duckett QR returned from sick leave, is rejoining Hospital Ship St. George. Miss Rannie APM Rouen wrote about Miss Beamish’s engagement to their registrar, Capt. Wilson. He also wrote, and asking that she might still remain in Rouen. Replied that she shouldn’t go too far, but that at present I was not sure where it would be. Staff Nurse Bourne’s, 1 Stationary Hospital, application for permission to marry forwarded, but not recommended that she should return to the BEF.
Miss Barber 12 Stationary Hospital wrote asking for her Staff to be increased. Major Smallman who has been in this office since we arrived in Abbeville is leaving this office for GHQ. His loss will be very much felt. Am arranging to put members of the Australian Nursing Service as the additional Nurse on the train and am giving 26 Train a complete Australian Nursing Service Staff. Miss Piddock Staff Nurse, a transfer from BRCS under orders for 18 CCS, came to the office and I gave her certain instructions and let her know what is expected of her when at a Casualty Clearing Station. She is a very capable good-looking young girl – should do well. OC 1/2 London CCS wrote to ask if Nurse Dodds might have leave to Hardelot, instead of going Home, as she has no friends in England. Said after 12th – until then Hardelot (Lady Gifford’s) in quarantine.
Major Smallman left office for GHQ – regretted by everyone. Letter from Matron-in-Chief Canadians, wishing to see me before she returns Home – now in Paris. Wrote to Mrs. Furze in reply to her letter, to say that the conditions of VADs and Special Probationers are identical, and that all information the VADs working in our Hospitals they are wanting, our Matrons will be only too pleased to give them, and that it is not necessary she should be worried. Wrote Miss Mark asking her privately in the event of her being passed fit for duty, if she would like to come to this office, if the War Office would sanction it, but before I made the request I wanted to know her feelings on the matter. Orders sent to Australian Sisters to join No.26 Ambulance Train, the new one, and 1 Australian Sister to join each communicating train to make Staff up to 3. Miss Stewart Richardson wrote about the difficulty of accommodating Sisters for the night when passing through Hazebrouck to other Casualty Clearing Stations, when arriving late at night. Am enquiring into the matter and will ascertain if it will not be possible from all areas to arrange so that they can get to their destination in the day. WO letter Mrs. Bardon and Miss Bills Q Reserves resignations accepted. VAD Crew applied to withdraw resignation – forwarded to DGMS. 25 General now taken 3rd Villa, so that a Staff of 73 can now be accommodated. Mrs. Bardon appointed Sister from October 1915.
Left for Boulogne midday, arrived 3pm. Went with HRH Princess Victoria to 13 General, 14 General and Queen Mary’s YMCA hut. Lady Rodney, Mrs. C. Ward, Lady Pembroke and Col. Jenkins in attendance. Everything most satisfactory, Princess pleased with everything. Simply pelted with rain all the time. Stayed at the Louvre – Miss Hordley dined with me.
Left at 9.30am with the Princess, Lady Rodney, Mrs. Ward and Col. Jenkins for Calais. Drove with the Princess who is intensely interested with the work in France. Before lunch visited many YMCA huts, also the repair factory in the Ordnance grounds for men’s boots, where boots looking quite useless are repaired, several thousand each day. As well as men, 700 women French work here. Had lunch with Colonel Nicholson the Base Commandant, the Duchess of Sutherland, also of the party. After lunch went to the Lahore British General Hospital, now to be known as No.35 General Hospital. Very many very seriously wounded men who had just come from the Front, as well as some dreadfully burnt from an explosion. Everything was looking at its best, and the patients undoubtedly were being well nursed.
From there to the Duchess of Sutherland’s – a nice little hutted Hospital, 102 beds only, well managed and comfortable, Trained Nurses and VADs as helpers, the Duchess only looking after Red Cross Stores and doing correspondence. Everyone very happy I should say.
Then to Auberge near St. Omer, to see new hut and back to Boulogne 7pm. Miss Barrett came to dinner with me. Met Miss Bartlett a new Reserve arrival, who is joining 13 General, a very nice quite capable woman. After dinner went over 29 Ambulance Train which had arrived from the Front, with over 400 on board, most sick. The arrangement for detraining is now excellent, ambulances waiting for the stretcher cases and large charabancs for the walking ones. Saw OC who expressed himself satisfied with the Nursing Staff. Arranged for the 3rd Nurse to join.
Began early, to DDMS office, where I saw the Surgeon-General, also Surgeon General House, Australian Medical Service. Then to 13 Stationary Hospital which I went round. Saw Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox with reference to the Nurses’ Club at Cannes and agreed Mrs. Latham should remain if she was willing.
Then to 8 Stationary Hospital where I went with the OC Lt. Col. H. Simson to see the new Mental block, now run by Nurses as well as Male Mental Attendants. Everything in excellent order and everything running smoothly. Was to be at Hotel Folkestone at 11am to meet party and go with them to Etaples. Arrived 10 to 11 – found that the Princess had left at 10.30, and message that I was to wait for Mrs. Ward, and that we were to meet them at lunch. She didn’t arrive till 12.30 – arrived when they were in the middle of lunch. Made my apologies. After lunch Party visited the Chicago Hospital – very bad; St. John’s Hospital – excellent, most extravagant, and the Liverpool Merchants’ Hospital – very good. The party returned to Boulogne, and I came on to Abbeville arriving 8.30pm. Before leaving Etaples saw the Principal Matron, who is now established in her new area and is very full of work.
During my absence Mrs. Rosling’s mother wired asking that she might be released from her work at once. Sent copy to DG asking what action should be taken. The correspondence with reference to the Harvard Nurses which were taken on from the American Ambulance and who proceeded to London to purchase their uniform without authority was sent to Etaples. Correspondence received from Rouen, with lists of articles required in Sisters’ Messes sent on to DOS asking if they might not be supplied. Letter from Principal Matron Etaples saying that Miss E. K. Ward QAIMNSR, who recently had nursed the King, had been to see her, and said the King had said she might ask to go on a Barge for duty, or a Casualty Clearing Station. As Miss Ward is neither young or active, she would not, I feel sure, be suitable in a Casualty Clearing Station, but I will of course bear her in mind for a Barge later. Letter received from Miss Becher, with reference to Miss Bartlett who has already arrived, and Miss Aitchison* who is bringing out 23 Special Probationers on the 15th and who can remain until 20th, and see something of France. Application from Miss Parsons, Harvard Unit, asking for 14 days’ leave, 4 days to be spent in Paris. Leave granted 14 days to England.
* Gertrude Alice Aitchison, Staff Nurse, QAIMNS from 1906-09. Returned to Reserve during Great War, and was employed as an assistant in the office of Ethel Becher, Matron-in-Chief, War Office.
Received from DGMS correspondence re Harvard Unit, a letter sent by Matron direct to Matron-in-Chief WO, asking that Miss Parsons should be informed the correct mode of submitting correspondence. Forwarded correspondence with reference to Nurse Netherwood recommending that she should be instructed to report at WO, having been in the habit of going out with orderlies and Sergeant.
Left for Camiers at 1pm, arrived 2.30. Met the Princess and the Party, went with them to YMCA hut, and Hostel for friends and relatives of the men seriously ill. Very comfortable indeed. Saw the baby who had been born there.
Then to 18 and 20 General Hospital, both of them excellent in every way. The Princess delighted with everything. Had tea at Lady Greenknowe’s hut. Drove back with party to Le Touquet, and got back to Abbeville 8pm, having beforehand seen the Principal Matron who reported certain irregularities which had been occurring at Isolation Hospital, with a Staff Nurse Mair, who had been receiving anonymous letters from an orderly it was supposed. Saw the OC, but could not get to the bottom of the matter. With the knowledge apparently of the OC this had been going on for some time since Feb., and the Matron only came to know about it 2 days before. Reported the matter on my return, and wrote to the Principal Matron, asking that she would see Miss Davis and report the matter officially. Rang up Miss … and asked her to have everything as nice as possible for the Princess tomorrow.
Heard Brigadier General Kirk had died of CSM*, no-one had come – wired for on Tuesday. Highland Casualty Clearing Station to close – Staff to be moved, and not work at a Casualty Clearing Station again. Asturias at Havre – 8 more of the Staff exchanged. Miss Rentzsch joined, and Miss McCormick Q ordered to Abbeville. Sent confidential report on Miss Milner to DGMS asking if he approves that she should be sent to report to WO, then to DGMS asking if Nurses at the Front might have 14 days’ leave every 6 months, as now arranged for L of C. Received WO letter, saying Nurses Gilligan and Edgar and VADs Urqhuart, Green and Robertson, are returning from sick leave. Forwarded Staff Nurse Longmore’s recommendation for promotion, to Matron-in-Chief TFNS. Letter from OC 1/2 London CCS reporting Miss Anderson QAIMNSR wish to resign in consequence of her approaching marriage to someone not in his unit. Wrote saying she must make her application officially and wrote Sister in Charge to know to whom she was engaged.
Had lunch at the YMCA ladies’ house with Princess, to meet her party. The IGC and DMS and Base Commandant were there. After lunch in teeming rain she inspected 2 Stationary Hospital. She returned to Le Touquet, where she is remaining till Tuesday in order to rest. On return rang up Colonel Thurston asking him to make all arrangements for Tuesday.
* Cerebro-spinal meningitis
Wrote to Principal Matron with reference to her request for Reserve Badges, to say that so far we have not heard from the WO since forwarding the last list of names of nurses requiring them. Telephoned to Havre for VAD Martin to join here for duty at this office. Wrote to Matron, 2 General Australian Hospital, for names of 10 suitable nurses for Casualty Clearing Station, also for names of 10 she would like to bring with her when the unit moves to Abbeville and informing her that the remainder of her Staff will be ordered to various Hospitals till their services are required. The DG, Australian Medical Services, came, and approves of this arrangement. Wrote Colonel Jenkins re the arrangement for Tuesday. DGMS rang up about Miss Milner’s report, which is being forwarded to WO and recommending that ___ . Unsatisfactory report on Staff Nurse Mair unofficial – a matter in connection with anonymous letters of a disturbing nature, which she had been receiving for sometime past, and which the OC only seemed to have known, without informing the Matron on the matter. The Principal Matron wrote saying that it was impossible to find anything definite to report . Something not straight about the matter. Am moving Nurse Mair to work under a Matron who will I trust be able to keep more satisfactorily in touch with her Staff. Letter from OC St. George, wishing to see me with reference to his Staff. Colonel Myers called about Nurses with Mental experience for his neurasthenic wards. DMS spoke about the Matron 2 Stationary Hospital yesterday being too forthcoming, and the OC too retiring. She certainly took possession from start to finish, partly her fault I think, and partly because the MOs hung back. Letter from Mrs. Furze, enclosing letter to the Matron of 3 General and a VAD Welding with reference to the question of wearing the cap with their new alpaca mess dress, and saying that if I preferred, the letters need not be sent, and that perhaps I ought to deal with the question generally. Surgeon General Murray Irwin wrote about 4 Nurses for Infectious Division of 43 Field Ambulance. Replied would supply them, if the DG approved of the position of the unit.
Sent programme for tomorrow’s visit of HRH Victoria to Col. Jenkins for approval. Miss Martin VAD arrived for duty in the office. Miss Warrack TFNS came to ask if she might apply for a transfer Home in consequence of her father’s death, and her sister being left alone. Told her to apply officially and the application should be forwarded to Matron-in-Chief TFNS. Staff Nurse Roach from 36 Casualty Clearing Station on her way to Rouen called. Very distressed at being moved from the Front – had a septic finger and has orders to join at 6 General Hospital Very excitable and disappointed at having to work at the Base. Informed that 12 and 21 Ambulance Trains are now in garage. Also that 6 Barges from St. Omer are to be transferred to the Somme.
Lahore British General Hospital now to be known as 35 General Hospital.
Meerut British General Hospital now to be known as 25 Stationary Hospital
Isolation Hospital Havre now to be known as part of 2 General Hospital.
Telephone message to know if Staff Nurse Dimond, Boulogne, might visit her brother dangerously wounded at Etaples – sanctioned. 39 Casualty Clearing Station requiring a Staff of Nurses – now in their new position. Lord Donoughmore, the Commisioner BRCS came today to discuss the question of opening one or two Convalescent Homes for officers now that Cimiez is closed. Arranged new Nursing Staff for the St. George, and Hospital Ship Dieppe. Confidential report returned from GHQ with reference to Miss Netherwood. To be sent to another Hospital and a report asked for in a month or six weeks’ time. Arranged for her to go to 10 Stationary. Am annoyed at this decision – I feel this nurse should be sent Home, as the moving of this nurse is only spreading the trouble to another area. Miss Aitchison QAIMNSR from War Office arrived with 23 Special Probationers at Boulogne. She to remain until Saturday to get some opportunity of seeing some of our Hospitals. Arranged with Principal Matron of Boulogne to arrange so that she could see as much of our nursing arrangements as possible, and that she is not to be put to any expense – all expenses to be forwarded to me. Staff Nurse Roach arrived to see me to express regret at being sent to the Base, and wishing to point out that she was only suitable for work at a Clearing Station. She had a septic finger and it had also been reported she was not physically capable to taking the heavy work which came in rushes. She also said she didn’t like being sent to Rouen as it was called the Reformatory. Miss Martin VAD arrived for duty in the office, this making the 4th VAD.
Sent circular to DG to be circulated in Armies requesting that Sisters proceeding on leave and returning should report to Principal Matron of Base if delayed either on arrival or departure, so that satisfactory arrangements can be made for their accommodation. Received application from Miss Warrack for transfer to Home Establishment in consequence of family ties – forwarded to DG. WO letter received re Miss Fitzgerald, Edith Cavell Memorial Committee – will pay whole cost of providing service. Particulars of payments made by Army Funds to be furnished. Correspondence from DG re 14 days leave for Nursing Staff at Front. All applications to be forwarded to the Matron-in-Chief for concurrence, prior to leave being granted. Confidential correspondence from DG re Miss Milner, to be replaced as well as rest of Nursing Staff in Dieppe. Sister Baird and 2 Nurses wired for, for Isolation Hospital, 3rd Army, forwarded and arranged. No.1 Australian General Hospital asking for 10 more Sisters – dealt with, 10 ordered to proceed.
Left 11am for Treport, arrived 12.30. Met HRH Princess Victoria and party, the SMO and Lady Murray. Went over YMCA huts, 16 General and the Canadian Hospital, then had lunch at Lady Murray’s Hospital, now for French soldiers, but which Lady Murray is hoping will be taken over by the English now that no French come to this area.
After lunch drove to Dieppe with party where I had tea and left them and went to Rouen, where I saw DDMS. Learnt that DG was in Rouen. Called on him – out – left a note to say I would call at 10am tomorrow. Stayed at Hotel Dieppe.
Called on DG. Went to Pay Office, where Major Knapp pointed out that the Regulars were not receiving the same consideration as the Reserves; that France was the only country where the QAIMNS were not drawing the same allowances of their Class as the officers and were consequently not being looked upon in the same light. He also said what an assistance it would be if all Nurses arriving in the country from Home Service could come in possession of 91 days advance Field Allowance.
Took Lady Pembroke to 3 Stationary Hospital – not very satisfactory, spring cleaning in full force. Met Party who had arrived from Dieppe, and went with them to 16 General Hospital and 1 Australian General Hospital, as well as YMCA Huts, Convalescent Depot. Did not get back till 8pm.
Learnt at 16 General Hospital, that while on 7 days’ leave, Miss Beamish QAIMNS had married Capt. Wilson, and was proposing to returning at expiration. She had not applied for permission, nor given anyone any idea that she was going to marry. Rang up headquarters. DDMS directed me to wire DG informing him and requesting that she should not return. DDMS at the same time told me of an unfortunate incident and a very disgraceful one, which had been reported from Etaples area re a nurse of Chicago Unit being found drunk with an Australian officer – Nurse’s name O’Shea, man’s not known. IGC instructed that she should be sent Home at once. He would let the DG know before any further action was taken.
Saw DG. Told him about both Miss Beamish and Chicago Nurse – instructed me to make arrangements for the Nurse to be sent Home at once, the Matron to accompany her, so that she could explain fully to War Office and make necessary arrangements for her return to America.
Went to Australian Hospital, saw Matron and OC, with reference to their nursing arrangements, and the extra accommodation needed for their Nurses, a Staff of 60. Explained that I was making use of the remainder, and I should be glad if the Matron would give me some idea of the capability and suitability of members of her Staff for duties of responsibility in various units. This she is undertaking to let me know.
Then to 8 General Hospital with HRH and party. Hospital excellent, she delighted with everything. Learnt that Colonel Lawson was being sent Home sick.
Had lunch with DDMS. After lunch went on board St. Andrew, which had just loaded up. Everything being managed in a most systematic and regular manner. Taken round by Matron Miss Ram; after saw OC who spoke most highly of his present Staff, and the incompetence of the late Matron Miss Hay, that she was lazy and unreliable, and I pointed out that he should have reported the matter officially long before, and not waited so long. Informed him of the approaching moves of his Staff.
To 6 General where I saw Miss Rannie, also Miss Milner, late Matron Hospital Ship Dieppe, on her recent unfavourable report. She has without doubt acted without tact or judgement, and is not at all clear about her statements. I told her the whole correspondence had been sent Home. She is at present doing Home Sister’s duties satisfactorily. To 25 Stationary Hospital (late Meerut) to see Miss Phillips, who has recently taken over Matron’s duties. She seems to have settled in well, and has a good grip of things. She has done Assistant Matron’s duties at 14 General for some months. WO telegram phoned to me from IGC saying Miss Beamish returning and to remain till official correspondence arrived at WO.
To DDMS office. Rang up Havre re Miss Beamish, now Mrs. Wilson’s return. To 12 General Hospital where I saw the Matron and Assistant Matron. Everything most satisfactory both in the Hospital and quarters and the Matron and Staff much interested in the training of orderlies.
Left with HRH and Party for Havre, lunching at Cordebecq by the way, arrived 4pm. Reported at ADMS office – found he was going round with DG. Put up at Officers’ Hospital, the DG expected there to inspect – waited for him. Went over Casino, which was in excellent order, Miss Close QAIMNS in charge. DG did not arrive. Had dinner with Staff at Officers’ Hospital – everything in excellent order, and Staff evidently quite happy, Miss Hale QAIMNS in charge. She about to resign to get married; anxious to transfer on Reserve and return to France. Told her what I felt about the matter but advised her to put in her application which would be forwarded. Heat intense for days which is still continuing.
Started at 10am with party. Went on a German submarine which had just been captured – built in 1915. Workmen repairing it for use. From there to Quai D’Escale. Very full of patients, many beds on the verandah. Party delighted with everything. Huts full of patients, also the Hospital Ship Panama alongside waiting to take on patients. No train in. On to various YMCA huts, all intensely interesting.
Lunched with Colonel Gray. After lunch to office and then to Remount Camp, Veterinary Camp. Horses with charts, diet boards and history sheets like Hospital patients, also operating and anaesthetising room, and arrangement for hot and sulphur baths, where we saw the horses undergoing treatment, all most interesting and wonderful.
Had tea at the Guards’ Depot, Coldstream Band playing, which is going to the Front tomorrow morning. Then to Hospital Ship Panama with part of Party, Lady Pembroke and Mrs. B. Corbet, all patients on board first. Most satisfactory in every way. Arrangements and management good, and OC spoke highly of all his Staff.
To church with HRH and party. To Garrison Church at Convalescent Camp – a most impressive service, the National Anthem sung at conclusion of Service, finishing with ‘Amen,’ so often omitted, and in Churches it is emphatically a prayer. Returned to ADMS office. Went with Col. Douglas VC to 6 Stationary Hospital, full and well managed. Many German wounded. Lunch with Miss Blakeley. After lunch to Palais de Regatta. Mostly local sick, fine building, satisfactory arrangements. This area – each visit improvements and enlargements are evident, no-one stands still. Then to meet party. Drove with them to Etretat.
Had tea at 1 General Hospital, very well managed by Matron Miss G. M. Smith. Many of the Staff presented to HRH. Went over Hospital. Lady Guernsey there to meet HRH, she anxious like Lady Murray for her Hospital to be taken over by the English, as the French are leaving Fecamp entirely. Had only 50 patients in 6 months. This also is being put up officially.
Left for Abbeville 6pm, arrived 9.30pm. After dinner went to office. During my absence found the following had happened:
The correspondence re Miss Beamish QAIMNS marriage, and Miss Shea’s disgraceful behaviour had been forwarded to DGMS to be dealt with. Miss Patton the Matron, Chicago Unit, had accompanied Miss Shea to London. Special leave pending resignation being accepted had been granted Miss McLean QAIMNSR to enable her to be married. Leave granted VAD Adams in consequence of father’s death. Application for extension of leave for Miss Brailsford 10 Stationary Hospital in consequence of serious illness of brother – 7 days’ extension granted. 4 Nurses asked for and sent to 64 Field Ambulance, 3rd Army. I have already seen this unit – beautiful Chateau in grounds equally beautiful.
There has evidently been some trouble at the Australian Voluntary Hospital and certain Nurses wishing to resign. The OC had applied to us to pay expenses – refused – as all Nurses have been engaged, agreement signed, and paid privately from the beginning. Miss Flanagan 42 Casualty Clearing Station granted 14 days’ leave pending resignation being accepted. She anxious to leave in consequence of her brother’s serious illness – in consequence of unnecessary delay in making arrangements by Sister in Charge, her brother died before she was able to get away for which she was very annoyed.
6 Barges being moved from Northern area to the Somme and while the move takes place, Nurses have been accommodated at 10 Stationary and 7 General Hospital. 25 Special Probationers arrived 17th. The 4 from 6 Field Ambulance are returning to 10 Stationary Hospital. The place is going to be taken over by a Clearing Station and a new Staff will be supplied. These Nurses have done excellent work since Loos and are to have leave before taking up work at another unit. Application to resign from Miss Anderson CHR 1/2 London CCS forwarded DGMS, reason approaching marriage. This Nurse has done excellent work always. Instructions from WO forwarded to Rouen ordering Miss Milner’s return to London in consequence of unfavourable report. Miss O’Donoghue’s QAIMNS confidential report at completion of 6 months’ service forwarded DGMS. Matron 1 Australian Hospital wrote officially with reference to expenses incurred by Sisters temporarily employed in our units. Have written to Australian Paymaster for definite instructions with reference to these ladies, as these ladies I understand get consolidated pay to cover all expenses.
Miss Beadsmore Smith, Principal Matron Etaples area, wrote saying the Commander-in-Chief Sir D. Haig expressed himself delighted with the Hospitals in this large area which he had recently inspected. Mrs. Brice-Miller’s Home has re-opened. Miss Cooper VAD had been not conforming to rules and has become acquainted with a not desirable officer. Have moved her and she has undertaken to break no further rules.
Hurried back on 21st as it was understood the wife of the Roumanian Prime Minister was going to Etaples tomorrow and the DMS wished me to meet her. On arrival found that her visit had been postponed. Highland Casualty Clearing Station closed. Nurses sent to 7 General with the exception of Sister in Charge Miss MacLeod who came to Nurses’ Home.
Correspondence from Etaples re payment of Chicago Nurses to date from arrival in France or departure from America forwarded to DGMS. Letter from Lady Bathurst saying she was coming out 25th. Wrote to Colonel Goodwin and Miss Fox on the subject, and the importance of making no exceptions. Wrote to Matron-in-Chief with reference to obtaining badges to Reserve and the cost of each, as we are having constant application for them. Received a letter from Mrs. Wilson, née Beamish enclosing a letter from Miss Becher in which she tells her to resign. Trains 1, 2, 3 and 5 in action again and Staffs ordered to join from units where they are temporarily employed. Sister Lloyd TFNS from sick leave after Cerebro-spinal Fever, joined 13 General. Isolation Hospital Etaples now section of 24 General. Acting Matron Miss … moved to 18 General as Assistant Matron. Miss Potts QAIMNS (ANSR) late Assistant Matron Hospital Ship drawing £75 per annum and doing Sister’s duties since arriving in France. Replacing her as charge of the unit. Wrote to Mrs. Furze in answer to her letter with reference to leave of VADs and enclosing a letter from Lady Crawford. Said lengthened leave had already been arranged, and asked Mrs. Furze to assure Lady Crawford the welfare of all our people is never forgotten.
VAD Miss Walford on leave to June 6th. Went over with Colonel Leishman. Postings of 25 VADs arriving 24th forwarded to APM Boulogne. Postings of 25 VADs arriving 25th forwarded to APM Boulogne Postings of 2 Trained Nurses arriving 25th to APM Boulogne. DG came to office about bathing being stopped, and said he thought if OCs made themselves responsible that the places they bathed in was safe, and that mixed bathing was not permitted; that they, the Sisters, bathed in parties at certain hours, it should be alright. Circular letter sent in consequence.
Left for 1st Army and DMS office – out – left message. Went on to Bethune, 33 Casualty Clearing Station. Found things rather at 6s and 7s in consequence of the Surgical Specialist interfering in matters not quite in his province. Saw OC with reference to hiring a house for the Staff which is a large one and which would also accommodate the Nurses off the Barges when unemployed and who could then relieve the Sisters in Casualty Clearing Station by doing their duty there, and as well, becoming acquainted with the patients they are later going to take down by barge. Arranged for a Theatre Sister to be deputed for night duty if required each night, the Sister’s name to be given nightly and the Sister to sleep in a wing of Hospital where their Sister in Charge also has her room, the room to be called Orderly Night Sister’s room. The night report to be given to OC each morning, and the Sister in Charge to be notified by him of any changes he thinks may be necessary.
To 18 CCS to see Miss Plaskitt, new Sister in Charge here. I met DMS 1st Army, and discussed question of taking of house. There has been heavy bombardment all along front and he asked me to go on to 22 CCS at Bruay, which I did, where I found everything in excellent order, they having just evacuated after an exceedingly heavy 48 hours. The OC Colonel Goodwin quite satisfied with nursing arrangements. Got back to Headquarters 9pm.
After dinner went to new office in which we are now comfortably established. I have a room to myself with 3 rooms leading off where my 6 are now occupied.
25 VADs arrived Boulogne. Postings sent to APM Miss Hordley. Staff for Australian CCS asked for and ordered to proceed forthwith. Wrote to Matron-in-Chief … re marriage question and reasons why Nurses should not return after marriage. Letter from Miss MacDonald, Matron-in-Chief Canadians re leave in France, whether a Convalescent Home for Canadians was required. Replied, saying leave in France not desirable, except when it could be spent at any of our Convalescent Homes, which met all requirements. She spoke of their Margate Home, suggested arrangements should be made for the Canadian Sisters to go there.
Sent report of visit to 1st Army to DGMS. Received letter from Captain Wilson, Miss Beamish’s husband. Wrote Miss Beamish asking for her resignation to be forwarded without delay. Miss Stewart Richardson’s second brother killed. Arranged for her to get Home at once to her mother. Sent relief. Miss Ram A/Matron Hospital [Ship St.] Andrew – measles. Sent relief from Rouen to fill vacancy temporarily. Sent congratulatory letter to HRH Princess Christian on the anniversary of her birthday, for ANSRs past and present. Telephoned permission to Matron 3 General Hospital for VAD Morse to go to Boulogne to see her brother dangerously wounded at No.8 Stationary Hospital.
Left for GHQ, arrived 11am. Saw DG re his niece Miss Cooper who was being moved to Calais, also about work in 1st Army. Agreed to all suggestions which I am forwarding officially.
On to Boulogne to say goodbye to HRH. Found I had been expected for lunch. Unable to see Lady Dudley with reference to Australian Voluntary Hospital, as she was much occupied with people in high places with reference to opening of officers’ clubs, which HRH Princess Victoria wished to undertake and had already been given authority to carry on with. Went to see Col. Forest, ill in 7 Stationary, with ulceration of vocal chords. To DDMS office. Great tribulation everywhere in consequence of orders regulating the uses of ambulances and motors only for the purposes for which they are really needed for military purposes.
On to St. Omer arrived 7pm, stayed at Sisters’ Mess.
Left early with Miss Lyde for 2nd Army. Went to DMS office first. Unable to see him – met Colonel Rigby who accompanied us round the area to Remy.
To 10, 17 and Canadian Casualty Clearing Stations, all working hard and going satisfactorily. All Nursing Staffs are comfortably accommodated, gardens are being made outside marques and huts. Inside things are as comfortable looking as circumstances permit. Met Surgeon General Bowlby who as usual spoke highly of the Nursing Staff. On to Bailleul to 2 and 8 CCS in buildings. At the time of visit not very busy. These units never seem so satisfactory in any way as many others, why I’m not at all sure.
Then to Estaires to the Australian CCS, which is only [just] opening in schools, which should be very nice. The Sisters had only just arrived and are to be billetted in the town, and Mess under canvas in Hospital compound. Returned by Hazebrouck. DMS out – went on to Aire where I saw DMS 1st Army, with reference to going to Barlin tomorrow. Got back 8.30pm.
Left early. 1st to 10 Stationary Hospital where I saw OC and went round. As usual everything in excellent order. The MOs have started a Magazine, the 1st number just out, giving history of unit since mobilization – very good indeed, except that with all account of the work not one word of reference is made to the Nursing Staff and which they naturally are very indignant, as they have been with the unit from the very beginning in our darkest days. Then to see Capt. Jacob, OC of Ambulance Flotilla, to ask for report of Staff Nurse Collins, who proved unsuitable for Barge work, and to thank him for letting me know what is the general opinion of Nurse Fowler and for which reason he did not think she was suitable for Barge duty.
To 7 General, where I saw OC who spoke about Matron Miss Wohlmann not being up to the work. Her memory not good, want of tact and judgement. Saw her, asked her about Nurse Fowler. Found she had been told she was frivolous and unsuitable and was still going to let her go on a Barge. Saw Nurse Fowler – a common little girl – who said she constantly went out with officers, knew it was against the rules, saw no harm. Found she had been taken on from the Red Cross, had been working at La Panne. Have decided to move her, and ask for further report. Found that also Nurse Collins was not considered a desirable person and yet was allowed to go on Barge. Am afraid I have given Miss Wohlmann too big a charge. It’s hard being given these junior, not capable Matrons, who are not so good as the Sisters, and that my capable Sisters who have grown up in the work should be taken from me. After lunch to Merville to 7 and 1/2 London Casualty Clearing Stations, both units quite excellent.
23 Casualty Clearing Station improving daily, Miss Williams recently taken over from Miss A. P. Wilson – Theatre and huts quite excellent. Billetted in Chateau, Nursing Staff bedrooms too untidy for words. Complimented them on their Hospital work, and told them more attention must be paid to their rooms – they have 2 women servants.
Then on to Barlin, 6 CCS, which they have just taken over from the French. Such a sad condition of things, crowded with wounded which were still coming in, Nurses and Orderlies working magnificently. Arranged to send more help. Nurses accommodated in miners’ cottages. A Staff Officer came to enquire for his groom while I was there, his pocket was full of bullets which had fallen in his bedroom and he was unhurt. Several grooms, some horses and some officers at Headquarters had been wounded. He spoke of the magnificent work of the Nurses and walked away murmuring they were angels in the midst of it all.* Got back 9.30pm.
* I wonder if it more likely the Staff Officer was muttering 'Angels in the midst of Hell' ?
After dinner went to office. Rang up DMS 1st Army. Said I thought more help was needed at 6 CCS – arranged to send 3 Nurses by ambulance in the morning. Sent message to DADMS Ambulance Trains asking that all OCs of trains should be informed that all matters in connection with the Nursing Staff should be referred to me. WO accepting Miss Patterson CHR resignation arrived. On 26th telegram sent to HM The Queen from all branches of the Nursing Service in France – reply received. 3 General asking urgently for 4 trained nurses and saying they have too many VADs. Have written pointing out that they have their full proportion of trained and untrained, and that if it doesn’t meet the requirements of their particular unit, they must put up an application for more officially. 2 Stationary also asking for urgent help in consequence of the heavy work. Received particulars from Australian Paymaster which is being circulated to all areas. WO letter re Staff Nurse Bourne asking for statement re reasons for declining recommendation for her to return to country after marriage, and that facilities should be given her to marry. 25 VADs arrived including Lady Bathurst, who was sent to 14 General Hospital. VAD Morse, whose contract is expiring 10.6.15 wired for to her brother at 8 Stationary Hospital, who is seriously ill. Matron 3 General let her go without arranging for her to report to Miss Hordley, nor making any arrangement as to how long she was to be away, not even asking her to let her know the condition of her brother. I rang her up, also Miss Hordley to look out for this poor girl and to make arrangements for her. Received particulars from Australian Paymaster as to the procedure with reference to the Nursing Sisters’ pay, now temporarily employed in our units, which will be circulated to areas.
Sent 3 Nurses to 6 Casualty Clearing Station by Ambulance and sent fruit and asparagus with them. Miss MacLeod, Sister in Charge of Highland Casualty Clearing Station which has just closed came, a very capable, sensible woman. Am arranging for her to join Hospital Ship St. Andrew as Matron, in relief of Miss Ram, now with measles. Miss Caulfield QAIMNS came to see me also. She has only had 4 days’ leave since mobilization, and I was arranging for her leave which she didn’t wish to take. However, I pointed out that it was a convenient time now, and that it was important for her to take her leave in England or at a Convalescent Home in France, whichever she preferred. WO wire asking for Staff Nurse Thomas’ Medical Sheet to be forwarded. She had recently been operated on for abdominal cyst, which had been most successful and she had been transferred to England by Hospital Ship. Telephone message from Etaples stating that Staff Nurse Munby who had recently returned from leave had been operated upon by Surgeon General Makins for appendicitis – a straightforward case.
Miss Smythe, Sister in Charge Nurses’ Home came so that I might tell her about the arrangements with reference to the Nursing Staff on the Ambulance Flotilla now beginning to work on Somme. I told her very definite instructions would be forwarded, that she was to put in for their pay and allowances, and that rations only are to be drawn; that directly they arrive at Abbeville they are to report to Nurses’ Home and remain there until the Barges leave again. Rang up Miss Rannie with reference to Staff Nurse Bourne and said that leave should be arranged for her to be married when convenient – and the decision of whether she is to return to the country or not. Wrote to Miss Tunley, Miss Wohlmann, and Miss Mackay with reference to the pending changes. Letter from Sister in Charge 18 CCS, saying that at certain Stations the Nursing Sisters consider that the laying out of the dead was the orderlies’ duty – asked my wishes on the subject. Replied very strongly on the subject, and removed any doubt that might have existed on the subject.
Matron 2 Stationary Hospital asked for help, exceedingly heavy and many deaths. WO letter accept Miss Anderson’s resignation – reason approaching marriage, now working at a Casualty Clearing Station. Rang up GHQ re Miss Beamish’s marriage – she still at Rouen and no reply had been received from WO. Her husband also serving at Rouen. Sent rules and regulations which have been amended to Miss Lyde and Miss Smythe, re Nurses on Barges, for their guidance and assistance, Miss Lyde being responsible for the Northern area Barges, Miss Smythe for those beginning on the Somme. VAD regulations sent out, with reference to the outdoor new pale blue dress, recently sanctioned as an addition to their present uniform and quite unsuitable. Orders to Nurses A/Sister Macpherson QAIMNS and Staff Nurse Stanforth who both speak German fluently to come to Nurses’ Home for duty on Ambulance Train which is going to take German wounded to Switzerland and bring back wounded English prisoners. Sent 3 Nurses 2 Stationary Hospital for temporary duty.
Left for 4th Army at 10am. To 39 Casualty Clearing Station just opening, mainly under canvas for infectious cases. At present Nursing Staff billetted – to be under canvas as soon as Bell tents arrive. Staff to be increased to 7 (now 5) as soon as accommodation ready.
Then to Corbie. Saw OC 5 Casualty Clearing Station to make arrangements about the Nursing Staff of Barges, and to have a house taken for them and the same arrangements as at Bethune, provided DMS 4th Army approves. Had lunch with Nursing Staff, everything most comfortable. Then to Headquarters, where I saw the DMS and DADMS. Both agreed to my suggestion which I am going to submit to DGMS. I heard that 5 more Clearing Stations will shortly require to be staffed.
To Heilly to 36 CCS Things improving, new OC just taking over. Saw Surgical Specialist, who is hard to satisfy. Staff of 8 – do not propose to increase it at present, as a second Clearing Station is opening quite close, and shall wait until the new OC is established and will be able to tell me if he is satisfied with the nursing arrangements.
To Warloy, 92 Field Ambulance. Staff of 4, all quite satisfactory. At the time of visit, they were not by any means heavy.
To Gezaincourt to Officers’ Hospital, 29 CCS A great deal had been done since last visit and there remains much more to be done. Miss Rice Sister in Charge managing well and the OC speaking in the highest terms of her and her Nursing Staff. The Chateau is a large one, and the grounds beautiful. Already a great many patients. The Mess Room and Sitting-room most comfortable. The Staff accommodated on top floor. Got back 9pm.
25 VADs arrived and posted. Busy with official work all day. Miss Drage wrote about St. Nurse Jones, who her father had written about, asking that she might have some leave. She wrote saying that she could not sleep, was in a nervous condition, that she had been seen by MO, not considered at present bad enough to be taken off duty. The DMS agreed with me that the letter did not display much thought of the seriousness of the girl and I wired to say that leave was to be arranged for at once. On receipt, a request was made that someone might accompany her, which was sanctioned. Telephoned for 3 more nurses to be sent at once for Barge duty. Letter from Miss Richards, at Matron-in-Chief’s request, sending a copy of Miss Wilson-Jaynes letter to her, making complaints as to her treatment in France, with reference to septic fingers, which she attributes the cause of her ... trouble. Am getting all particulars of dates etc., for Matron-in-Chief. Miss Nunn rang up about Miss Corbishley’s teeth. Saw Miss McPherson with reference to her work on Ambulance Train with wounded Germans to Switzerland and return of English prisoners.
Establishments opened during the month:
26 Ambulance Train - 3 Nurses
30 Ambulance Train - 3 Nurses
Infectious Hospital 43 Field Ambulance - 4 Nurses
14 Field Ambulance - 4 Nurses
Australian Casualty Clearing Station - 7 Nurses
Officers’ Hospital 4th Army - 6 Nurses
Increase of Nurses wanted at Casualty Clearing Stations – Total 10
37 Nurses extra required.
Arrivals from England
QAIMNS - 1
TFNS - 1
Canadian Red Cross - 2
Reserves - 18
Total - 22
Taken on in France - 1
Arrivals from England
Special Probationers - 44
VADs - 119
Transfers to Home Establishment
TFNS - 1
Resignations forwarded - 11
Approximate leaves granted - 280
Sent Home Sick
Trained - 23
Untrained - 9 (VADs)
Still Sick in England
Since April 1915
Trained - 45
Untrained - 12
Returned from England
During May 1916
Trained - 19
Untrained - 12 (VADs)
Recalled to England
In consequence of unfavourable report - 1 QAIMNSR
VADs returning to England
On termination of Contract - 39
Resigned - 2
Invalided - 2
Married while on leave without sanction - 1 QAIMNS
Deaths - 0