CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3989
Miss Crowdy came to ask me certain questions re VADs which I said ought to be asked by Mrs. Furze to WO, but which she said they didn’t wish to worry Matron-in-Chief about. I pointed out I would have to instead:
1. Whether VADs ought to hand in their Camp Kit (a Government Supply) when considered not suitable after 1 month’s or 6 months’ work.
2. When returning to England they might be instructed to report to WO or BRCS.
3. Whether VADs on expiration of contract might be transferred to BRCS in France without going Home – this latter I said I knew would not be permitted.
Miss J. McPherson QAIMNS came to receive instructions re her duties when going on train duty with wounded German prisoners to Switzerland, to bring English ones home. Telephoned to Matron 10 Stationary with reference to Barge Sisters now waiting for orders to proceed Abbeville for Barge duty on Somme – orders issued. Said ambulances would meet them and bring them to [Nurses’] Home to await further orders when Barges were absolutely ready. WO letter, TFNS Sister Warrack’s transfer approved. Sent postings and lists of arrivals of Reserves and VADs who arrived on 24 and 27 of May to WO. Also sent lists of transfers during the month. Forwarded correspondence re Canadian Red Cross Nurses. Confidential correspondence re VAD Cochran was sent by Special Messenger from Treport. This lady has only been 6 days in France – she has recently been working in our Hospitals in Egypt. The report is that she was missing for some hours and was then found on Dieppe Station, not being able to get any further, her intention being to return to England as she said she had learnt her fiancé was ill. She is stationed at 16 General Hospital Treport, and has been suspended duty. Correspondence been forwarded to GHQ recommending she should be sent Home. Miss Blakeley Acting Principal Matron Havre, leave sanctioned. Miss Barber, Assistant Matron acting in her absence. Miss Fitzgerald, America’s Edith Cavell Memorial Nurse – all pay and allowances are going to be paid by American Government.
Sent posting for 25 VADs arriving 3rd to Boulogne, for Assistant Principal Matron to arrange. Miss Woodford TFNS still doing this very responsible and monotonous duty of meeting all arrivals and arranging for their accommodation and departure to destinations ordered. Received correspondence from Rouen, notifying that at the Australian General Hospital No.1 there are 2 Masseuses not fully trained who could be employed elsewhere, they having no work. Wrote to ascertain how many more not fully trained were among the Staff of this unit. 4 days’ leave approved to Sister Gregory from Rouen to proceed 7 Stationary Hospital to see her brother who is dangerously ill. Canadian Sister Mills married whilst on leave in England, replaced by I. Follette. Resignation accepted for Nurse Drummond, Treport and Nurse Mahoney, Havre. Telephoned to DDMS Rouen to say leave granted Nurse Bourne in order to get married pending decision as to whether she should return to the country. 3 weeks’ medical leave granted Miss Corbishley to have her teeth attended to. She has been looking very delicate for a long time and is suffering from pyorrhoea?. Regulations forwarded to the Sisters in Charge of all Barges under cover of OC, and emphasizing the fact that no infringement of regulations is permitted, and that in cases of doubt or difficulty, by applying to this office all Sisters will get advice and assistance.
Left for 3rd Army. Visited:
39 Casualty Clearing Station at Frevent, only recently established and which had just received orders to pack up, to make room for 6 Stationary Hospital which is on its way up. This will be a hutted unit, handed over from the French. The Officers’ Hospital accommodation for 30 is in part of a school at some distance from the rest of the unit, and which should I think have its own separate Staff. These can be billetted near their work and the remainder will have to be under canvas in their own compound when the new tent arrives. I have arranged to make use of the present Staff until 39 CCS re-opens, as the OC reports that his Staff was most satisfactory and adaptable in every way. The unit looks entirely satisfactory, and the patients on the stretchers were made as comfortable as possible. It was evident on all sides that the very best that could be done was being done for these men.
St. Pol, 12 Stationary, now in working order, with a large Staff, but at present not much work to do. There is every possible convenience in this unit, and it is unfortunate it is situated some distance from the line, but in times of stress it will be most useful.
To Headquarters where I had lunch with the DMS, Surgeon General Murray Irwin, and where I was able to discuss certain matters with him, and mainly with the nursing arrangements in the units in his area, and the suggestion of having a certain number of Nurses ear-marked at 12 Stationary for emergency work at the CCSs in his area in times of stress, and also I told him of the fresh rules which were being circulated for the Sisters in Charge assistance and guidance while working at the Front, with which I heard that many at present were in doubt. After lunch to Aubigny.
30 Casualty Clearing Station since my last visit has vastly improved and everything is working smoothly and well. The Sister in Charge Miss Cameron TFNS is an able manager. Miss Warrack TFNS unfortunately has asked for a transfer Home, which has been granted. She is an admirable Theatre Sister, and has done great work in equipping her theatre in an admirable manner. Now that the transfer is permitted, she is wishing she could remain till her time at the front has expired, but this unfortunately cannot be arranged. So many of these girls really do not know their own minds. The Staff is comfortably and suitably accommodated.
42 Casualty Clearing Station which is next to 30 Casualty Clearing Station is not by any means so satisfactory, it’s dirty, ill managed and a lack of interest and management everywhere. This I told the OC and said that I was not satisfied with the nursing arrangements, and after reporting the matter to the DMS I would make certain changes which I hope may improve matters at any rate in my department I hope.
At Harbarcq I visited 14 Field Ambulance, where 4 Nursing Sisters under Miss Wood QA are working in a Chateau which is being set apart for seriously wounded men and officers, and where French women and children are also admitted sometimes. At the time of my visit there was a little French girl who was being nursed in one of the rooms near the Nurses’ quarters. She was doing well, and also a poor Sergeant who it was reported had been picked up in the trenches where he had been for 10 days without anything to eat. He had been in 2 days and was better, but still in a very serious condition. This unit should be a very good one later, at present only in the making. The accommodation for the Nursing Staff is good and the Staff keen and I think good managers.
At Avesnes – 36 CCS all was going smoothly and is much as it was the last time I visited it. All these units are very near the firing line. The sound of bombardment was incessant and one could see Taubes in the air. The CO here is a difficult and not an able one I should say.
At Le Quesnil 43 Field Ambulance, Isolation Hospital. This unit is situated in the most glorious park. The Chateau has been converted into a Hospital for the serious cases. Here we have 3 Nurses, Miss Baird in charge, accommodated in one of the wings. This is a beautiful unit, in beautiful surroundings, lovely tapestries and pieces of lovely furniture which is still left here and there. All these things leave a feeling of sadness, and thoughts for the poor owners. The avenues of wonderful trees are particularly beautiful here, and I was told that it is feared many of the trees are permanently damaged by the French Cavalry which have been recently quartered here since the beginning of the war until they recently moved their line. One cannot help devoutly hoping this is not the case – for the moment they are quite wonderful. The lavatory accommodation here as in most French buildings is the one difficulty here. Returned to Abbeville 8.30pm. After dinner went to office where much correspondence was awaiting me.
Busy all day at office. We are now comfortably established in the new office. Our rooms are quite palatial and at last I have a nice quiet room to myself, the first time since we came out, from having none at all at first, to sitting in a tiny room with 4 others and a telephone, I have now a whole wing for my branch – 4 rooms leading out of one another, with separate passage. Large airy rooms, lovely windows, overlooking nice grounds, mirrors, electric light, roomy cupboards and the VADs have given me lovely window boxes, which are now full of heliotrope. I have now 4 VADs, one a type and shorthand writer, a QAIMNS Reserve, all faithful, hard and interested workers, and a Sister of the QAIMNS is expected any day to carry on during my absence. No.26 and 9 Ambulance Trains garaged, Staff temporarily employed at 6 General. The Sisters from the Barges on the Somme are arriving (16 of them) at the Nurses’ Home, for duty on Barges, 2 on each, their route being from Corbie here. Received particulars from Australian Paymaster with reference to payment of Australian Nursing Sisters working temporarily in our units. Official application from Nurse C. Croft QAIMNSR for transfer to Regular Service forwarded under registered cover to DG, her birth certificate and certificate of training being enclosed. Saw A/S Osler from 41 Casualty Clearing Station who was wishing to resign because she felt she could [not] do enough for her patients. Found she had only a month ago returned from leave, and it was no doubt the number of deaths at the Casualty Clearing Station had worried her. Arranged for her to go to Lady Gifford’s for a fortnight, and will see her again before she begins work and if necessary will arrange for her to get some Special Leave. Received official correspondence with reference to the question of uniform allowance being granted to the Chicago Unit. Is causing much dissatisfaction among the Staff, who provided their own uniform, understanding that the expenses were to be refunded. Forwarded to DGMS for favourable consideration. I hope this may be satisfactorily settled, as so much has been done for these Americans that it seems a pity to quibble about the uniform allowance, which may lead to many disagreeable incidents later. Col. Gray Surgical Specialist and Consultant Rouen area came to the office. Received news of the naval engagement off Jutland – our losses great – the Germans were put to flight. Miss Waite TFNS, Sister in Charge 7 Ambulance Train came for 24 more khaki covers.
Official application forwarded to DGMS from Miss Naismith QAIMNSR for transfer to Home Establishment – reason family ties. Official application from A/S Grayson QAIMNSR for transfer to the Regular Service forwarded. Extra Nurses sent to 10 and 17 Casualty Clearing Station with special theatre experience, in consequence of heavy fighting going on. Command Paymaster asked for WO letter appointing 6 Nurses from American Ambulance to Harvard Unit – forwarded. Honours just out – 516 RRC - 20 only for France. 80 Mentions and 20 Honours forwarded. Apart from Mentions and RRC for lady workers, and 10 VADs names submitted for Mention, the number asked for in France was 7 only, which was permitted to be increased to 20.
I neglected to mention yesterday that I went to GHQ to see the DG. Both he and the Surgeon General were away. I saw the DADMS Colonel Morgan with reference to VAD Cochran, who is still suspended and found that the correspondence has to go to WO before anything further can be done. Had lunch, and afterwards went to Doullens where I saw 41 and 19 Casualty Clearing Stations.
41 Casualty Clearing Station not at all satisfactory – very crowded, very little attempt at making the best of things. The Nursing Staff rather disappointing, not very adaptable I should say and a want of method everywhere. Unfortunately didn’t see CO. Pointed out many things to the Sister in Charge which need improvement.
19 Casualty Clearing Station absolutely … , 2 Sections, officers and men in separate buildings. Everything first rate – 2 operating theatres, good arrangement for dressing minor cases, fine day room for walking cases. Very full, very busy. Everything first [rate].
Left for Boulogne 8am with my sister who I drove to catch the boat as I learnt my younger sister was seriously ill and likely to be operated upon. Left her at the boat. Went to 13 General to see Miss Hordley to get some particulars with reference to Miss Wilson-Jaynes’ illness to send to Miss Becher, in consequence of an unpleasant letter of complaint she had received from Sister with reference to her treatment while in France, which was not reliable. The particulars are to be obtained from Miss Tunley, who was Matron at the time as well as from 14 General where she was warded. Then to DDMS office. Everyone talking about the Naval engagement, and the Birthday Honours list. Everyone amazed at the RRCs. Returned to Abbeville after lunch. Spent the rest of the day with correspondence.
Sister Rogers QAIMNSR applied officially for a transfer Home in consequence of her mother’s advanced age, 80 – forwarded. Received official notification from WO of 25 VADs arriving 7th instant. Received telegram from Australian Casualty Clearing Station asking for relief as a Sister had met with an accident – not serious and was being sent down to 14 General Hospital. Relief sent from 13 General where some Australian Nursing Sisters are temporarily employed. Nurse Wills QR applied officially for a transfer to another station as she has been a year in Boulogne, this being the reason given. Returned “Noted”. I have since heard this lady is somewhat discontented, and has been troublesome at both 13 General and 13 Stationary Hospitals. Sent RRC ribbons to as many as I was able with the ribbon I possessed, a supply I had having mysteriously vanished. Sent a wire to 30 Casualty Clearing Station instructing Nurse Harkness to return to Abbeville – wanted to give evidence at a Court Martial. Wrote Miss A. B. Smith to make definite arrangements with reference to Nurses spending a night off at the Nurses’ Club at Dannes Camiers, this arrangement being suggested by Mrs. Latham, the lady in charge of HRH Princess Victoria Club there. I am anxious that this should be put on a proper footing so that what should be a pleasure may develop into something irregular. Nurse Bridges who has just resigned has written thanking me for the work she had and how she had enjoyed it. Nurses asked for from 5 Casualty Clearing Stations in consequence of pressure of work.
Heard of the fate of Lord Kitchener, not yet generally known. Almost incredible, a stunning blow. So many came to the office to talk about it, thought by some to be the result of the Secret Service.
DGMS and Major Black came with reference to the moving of units, and also question of policy with reference to evacuations, and releasing of men driving ambulances, their places to be filled by women. Wrote M-in-C with reference to VADs and departure of VAD Cochran. Heard Miss C. W. Jones from 43 CCS being transferred to Treport with albuminuria. Telephoned Hardelot, and found that the Matron of 12 General was still there, although only intended to remain 10 days. Extension given without reference to Acting Principal Matron or this office, and we have been waiting anxiously for Miss Jacob’s arrival who could not leave 12 General Hospital where she was doing Matron’s duties in the Matron’s absence. Forwarded Mrs. Wilson, née Beamish’s application to transfer to the Reserve for the duration of the War. Forwarded further regulations to be forwarded to Sisters in Charge of Casualty Clearing Stations to the DG for his approval, these being on punctuality, the necessity of the Nurses being moved to where they were most needed, the importance of a proper night report, an orderly theatre sister for night work to be warned each night, and who would be called if required, and the care of the dead. Captain Foley APM came asking that his sister A/Sister Foley QAIMNS who is now convalescent from German Measles might be stationed near the sea. Said I would bear his request in mind as soon as she was fit for duty. She is now staying at Lady Gifford’s Home.
25 VADs arrived Boulogne, instructions were sent as to their postings. Miss Walford VAD returned after 14 days leave. Came by train from Boulogne. Miss McPherson QAIMNS and Staff Nurse Stanford QAIMNSR came for orders with regard to their journey to Switzerland, taking German prisoners of war and bringing back English ones, they having been selected as they spoke German fluently. DMS 4th Army rang up – 3 Casualty Clearing Station now ready for Sisters. 7 ordered to proceed at once via Amiens. This unit will be very near the firing line under canvas. Sisters wanted for 2 more Barges – supplied. DMS returned from Etaples where he had been for a week.
Nurses Todd and Johnson returned from sick leave and sent 35 General Hospital. Miss Drummond QR resignation accepted – papers sent on to Treport where she is working. Application from VAD Greenstreet for 14 days’ leave – returned from a month’s sick leave in March – not sanctioned. Sister Cooke arrived Boulogne from sick leave, posted 18 General Hospital. 16 Nurses of Harvard Unit returned to London at completion of contract. Went to Boulogne to say goodbye to them – was told the boat was leaving 4pm, got there 3.15pm to find it gone. Miss Skinner VAD, Miss Hill VAD and self to Boulogne, former on 14 days’ leave, Miss Hill to British Consul in consequence of losing her Identity Certificate. On arrival to British Consul. The 2 girls had lunch at 13 General, I went to Wimereux and lunched with Sir Bertrand Dawson, who I wanted to see with reference to the work, and my sister, who is in England and who there is a question of an operation, as the X-Ray showed an hour glass stomach. Approved of another opinion being asked. He spoke very highly of the work done by the nurses in all hospitals, which he said was excellent all round.
To 7 Stationary Hospital (Officers). Everything very good indeed, many very seriously wounded.
To 14 Stationary Hospital to congratulate Miss M. Williams on receiving RRC, unfortunately she was out. I went round with the Assistant Matron Miss E. H. Davis recently promoted, who didn’t appear to know anything about anything. The arrangements in this Hospital are excellent, and is most[ly] infectious work. Returned with Miss Hill VAD, after having had tea at 7 Stationary Hospital, and doing some shopping in Boulogne, where we purchased some pretty new tea things for the officers’ teas in the office.
Found on the sick return that a Sister at one of the Casualty Clearing Stations was on the sick list. Rang up 4th Army to find out why she hadn’t been sent to the Base to learn she was on duty again. 3rd Army rang up to say 6 Stationary arriving and when would the Staff be arriving. The Staff not able to be supplied at present in consequence of lack of trained nurses – only VADs arriving, although 360 Nurses were asked for weeks ago and up to the present only 27 have arrived. Major Fox the Senior Chaplain and Major Churchmond came about the necessity for a Chapel for the men at 5 Stationary Hospital and asking whether any room at Nurses’ Home which is immediately opposite might be set apart for the purpose. Said I would see the OC, 5 Stationary Hospital and see what could be done, that I would help in any way I could, but that I was afraid the Nurses’ Home was constantly so full that there was no room which could be set apart for the men. The Nurses left on 19 Ambulance Train to meet German prisoners arriving from England. I have instructed them to write a very full report of the journey for me. The question of the supply of uniform allowance for the Americans (Chicago) still hangs on. Miss M. L. Hayes, late QAMNS for India now on Reserve, resignation accepted. Nurses Colston and Bills QR from sick leave arrived in Boulogne and posted 35 General Hospital. Miss Paterson resignation forwarded to WO Miss … resignation accepted from June 26th forwarded to 33 Casualty Clearing Station where she is working. Sent circulars to Principal Matrons, that Sick Sisters sent to England for 3 weeks should be sent to this office to differentiate from those sent Home for an indefinite time.
To ADMS Havre, asking that beds for Sick Sisters at Etretat should be increased by 6 in consequence of the increased number of Nurses in the area, and also now lady motor drivers. Miss Crowdy wrote asking if VADs might wear blue overalls as in England. Said no additions or alterations in uniform could be made without instructions from WO. Miss Jacob QAIMNS arrived from Rouen for duty in this office. Have a nice billet for her and she will Mess with me, the party being 3, Miss Jacob, Barbier and myself. The 4 VADs Mess next door in consequence of lack of room in my billet – all are very comfortably and happily housed now. DMS and DDMS to GHQ with reference to the question of rapid evacuation from Front to Bases.
Wrote to Matron-in-Chief WO re Miss Wilson-Jaynes’ complaint as to her treatment while in Hospital in France. Was able to procure dates and particulars of everything, including her sprained ankle, time at 13 General and then transfer to 14 General Hospital with septic finger. Wrote Matron-in-Chief Canadians with reference to Canadian Sisters when sick being transferred to the Canadian Convalescent Home at Margate. Staff asked for 3 Casualty Clearing Station and supplied. Miss Browning from sick leave sent to 12 Stationary Hospital. Went and inspected 5 Stationary Hospital. Everything very satisfactory. Went over Nurses’ Home, everything in first rate order. Miss Smythe the Home Sister still in bed but better. Find it is quite impossible to find any suitable in the way of a vacant room at the Home where Services could be held. Heard from Miss Stronach, Matron 3 General Hospital, that Sister C. W. Jones was slowly improving. The IGC came to tea to see the new office – very pleased with everything. Miss Nunn, A/Matron 2 Stationary wrote to say Nurses Jickley, Lock and Lyons were going to resign. Jickley and Lyons because they were still Staff Nurses, having been out since August 1914, both Guy’s trained. Miss Lyons has been awarded the ARRC and wrote to me direct, saying that she could only suppose that her work must have been considered eminently unsatisfactory by the Army and she had been honoured with a decoration!!!! Miss Lock was resigning because she had only done Base work. I shall go to 2 Stationary Hospital on Monday and will then see these discontented ladies. Considerable dissatisfaction exists in consequence of so many young nurses coming out straight from England with stripes, while many who have been here from the beginning are still only doing Staff Nurse’s duties.
Whit Sunday. Staff for 20 Casualty Clearing Station ordered to join. Staff asked for, for 6 Stationary Hospital now opening at Frevent, the old site. With the Staff is still remaining [sic] and is forming another section of 2 General Hospital, making the beds 1,800 in 5 different sections at great distances from each other. The difficulty of supplying these new units with Staffs is becoming increasingly difficult in consequence of the reinforcements asked for last April not forthcoming. 386 Nurses asked for, 42 only having arrived so far. Have written to DGMS this day asking that they may be expedited – these are only needs for Expansion A, and as the crisis expansion is now being proposed, a further supply of Nurses will soon be needed. Colonel Gray came to see some cases at 2 Stationary Hospital – had lunch. Miss Bryce-Campbell came. I wanted to see her about Nurse Collins CHR, whose work and behaviour on the Barge has been most unsatisfactory, but when asked for a confidential report, although I was requested to move her hurriedly off the Barge, the report was valueless, and gave no real unfavourable impression, and yet there is no doubt that both she and Nurse Fowler ought to be sent Home. Staff asked for, for 31 Ambulance Train, now waiting at Boulogne.
Sister Smythe, Sister in Charge Nurses’ Home, sick in quarters. DG had rung with reference to recent application for Nurses urgently needed and asked for a full return of units, beds, trained and untrained needed. Also WO Establishment numbers and deficit. This will take a long time and causes much delay when Nurses are so urgently needed. Six Nurses required at Frevent, originally for 6 Stationary Hospital recently moved there – supplied from Treport. Sent circular to all Casualty Clearing Stations and Field Ambulances with instructions re arrangement for operating theatres, the night report, care of the dead, the Mortuary. Miss Dodds CHR, Hospital Ship Cambria, resignation accepted. Miss Proctor QAIMNS 18 General, resignation accepted. Wire from WO asking that Australian Nursing Sister McDonald might be given leave to go to United States to attend a will case [sic], Madame Nodica, all expenses paid – a month’s leave sanctioned. 6 Nurses ordered to Frevent; obliged to stay the night at Nurses’ Home owing to not being able to get on by train.
Barges 140 and 144 waiting for their Nursing Staff – instructed to join forthwith. Sent orders for Miss Caulfield QAIMNS to do Sister’s duties at Home until Miss Smythe’s return. Staff for 31 Ambulance Train supplied. Miss McMillan replaced Miss Montgomery – ordered in consequence as the 2 Sisters Montgomery anxiety not to be separated. Clothing allowance for Americans (Chicago) forwarded to DG suggesting they should be allowed the allowance (£9) as all other nurses are granted who are nursing our men. Circular circulated asking for list of people requiring badges and money for same.
Miss Barbier and I left for Paris 2pm arriving 6pm. Stayed at Hotel Maurice. Miss Barbier’s 2 soldier brothers came to dinner.
Left in pouring rain for St. Cloud to inspect No.4 Canadian Stationary Hospital to inspect, a telegram having been sent on Monday to the OC, our arrival was not expected – OC and Second in Command out. Met by Acting Matron, the Matron having been suspended since June 7th. She sent for OC. In the meantime I went round the Hospital, filled with seriously wounded French from “Verdun”. The Hospital is for reception of French wounded only. The wards very crowded, not orderly and neat, but the men looked as if they were being well nursed and looked [after]. The unit very complete, all special departments with special offices and appliances for each. Nursing Staff accommodated under canvas in compound quite close. A splendid hut as sitting-room, tastefully furnished, including grand piano. Mess in huts near the Hospital. No Sick Sisters’ wards, no MO specially detailed. They choose who they wish to attend them, each separate Sister. No night duty sleeping arrangement, a curious lack of any rules or regulations. Saw the Matron who said she had resigned in consequence of receiving no support from her MOs, that there were many irregularities occurring with the Nursing Staff, both in the Hospital and the vicinity and she forwarded it to the Matron-in-Chief and in consequence her OC had suspended her when it came to his knowledge. While I was with her the OC sent for me. He suspended the Matron he said for sending in her resignation over his head. She was excitable, not suitable, yet he didn’t wish her to be moved! The Acting Matron said the unit had not been a happy one, and that if she was appointed there were certain Members of the Staff who she would wish moved. There is also trouble existing in consequence of the Staff refusing to pay their Messing money into the Matron, and the Paymaster had been consulted. After lunch, which we had with the Staff, which was good and suitably served, we left for Abbeville returning 7pm.
Etaples rang up, urgent request for more Nurses for Chicago Unit. Official application made 14 days ago. Said temporary help should be supplied from Harvard unit which has now received reinforcements. DMS 4th Army rang up about Miss Waters’ CHR leave – sanctioned and on return to report to 14 Stationary Hospital. OC 3 General rang up to know if VAD McCarthy could have a week’s extension in consequence of sister’s illness – sanctioned. Australian Nurses required for temporary duty at Treport from Marseilles – sent on. The need of Nurses is very much felt, everyone tired, unable to arrange leaves, the work continuous and heavy, not realized at War Office. 25 VADs arrived – they fill up gaps and are all very good on the whole, but they cannot take the place of all trained people. Application to resign Staff Nurse Sykes in consequence of not being promoted – return to ascertain if suitable. Staff asked for, for 43 Casualty Clearing Station and supplied, 7 left, Etaples. Miss Crowdy, Principal Commandant VADs, called with Miss Campion, senior VAD for Rouen district, responsible for Hostel for patients’ friends and VADs not working in our Hospitals. Unfortunately I missed them both as I had not returned. Arranged for Miss Creagh, Special Probationer, to proceed Calais. Miss Heath’s application for leave sanctioned, one of the Australian Nursing Service who had leave in March but granted as a special case in consequence of her health not being too good.
Letter from Matron (Miss Denton) 9 CCS enclosing an unofficial application from Miss Dodd CHR requesting a change of stations, nothing more. Miss Denton in writing told me that Miss D. was an excellent worker, but was constantly causing trouble by giving way to uncontrollable fits of temper. I wrote, sent the application back, asking that it should be sent officially and that Miss Dodd must state her reason for wishing to be moved. I also advised Miss Denton that the step she was taking was a serious one unless there was some real cause for complaint.
Staff Nurse Beverley leave extension granted. Confidential correspondence arrived from 30 General Hospital in connection with Miss Roberts, Staff Nurse, TFNS, who had written for Red Cross things to Headquarters while working in Malta without either the OC or Matron’s knowledge. The matter had been passed through many official channels and in consequence Miss R. wished to resign. It was pointed out to her in returning the correspondence that it was quite realised that it had been done in ignorance, and that there was no need for her to resign in consequence, and that we felt sure she would not commit such an irregularity again. Spent the whole day working out the strength of Nursing Service, deficiencies, numbers required to meet present needs. Pointed out the number of units not shewn on War Establishments to which Nurses are now supplied. Sent circulars informing all units that VADs returning to England should report in writing to the M-in-C War Office, and return Camp Kit to 83 Pall Mall to Mrs. Furze, Commandant-in-Chief, VAD Women’s Detachment. Sent memo to all Principal Matrons asking what Staff they considered necessary for a charge of 50 – 70 beds. Sent circular to all areas limiting the time at Convalescent Homes to 10 days – if a longer time is needed they should be sent to Sick Sisters’ Hospital of the area.
DMS 4th Army telephoned for Nursing Staff for 9 Casualty Clearing Stations now opening = 63 Nurses, and 2 Field Ambulances = 8. All must be drawn from Base. The need of more Nurses is becoming critical. At present able to fill some vacancies temporarily by Australian Nursing Sisters until their units are opened. These ladies are very well trained, but are very loath to work anywhere except in their own units. Received a WO ruling re nurses returning to France after their marriage. No objection to married nurses being retained, provided their husbands are not in the same areas. Matron 2 General wrote to say beds now 1300 – quite full, more help needed. Miss Jones, C. W., QAIMNS, daily report better. Some of the Sisters on Barges wrote complaining of having to draw Rations only, and that a franc a day from each cannot now meet all their extra expenses. Surgeon General Russell, DDG, War Office, came, unfortunately I missed him.
Left for 1st Army 10am. To Bethune to arrange about a house for the Nurses of 33 Casualty Clearing Station and the Nurses on Barges while waiting. Found though a house had been under consideration for some weeks – no-one had taken any steps to settle the matter, the CO putting off from day to day. Got address of the owner and arranged to see the owner, who was near Lapugnoy, 12 miles off. On the way went to:
1 Casualty Clearing Station Chocques which is improving daily. Each time I go I find vast improvements. The Sister in Charge, Miss Molyneux most excellent. Had lunch at their Mess, most comfortable.
On to 18 Casualty Clearing Station Lapugnoy. Operating Theatre now complete. Can take 4 tables, anaesthetizing rooms, sterilizing etc. At last a Sister has been put in charge – things going very smoothly, a very fine unit. I went with the Sister in Charge to call on the owner of the house at Bethune. Found a lovely garden – a funny old couple, who on no consideration would let their house entirely. We might have 4 rooms, but their own private apartments they wished to keep to go into them whenever they wished. Their house in Bethune a beautiful one, beautifully furnished. This one full of wonderful things, they themselves not well kept, but full of kindness. Before leaving they insisted on showing many beautiful things of great value, and then produced most beautiful liqueur glasses and insisted upon us drinking success to the Allies. He conducted us to the car, and in saying goodbye, bowed very low, and kissed my hand. One felt one was in another world. I went away with my arms full of roses and the addresses of 3 other houses in Bethune.
Then to 9 Casualty Clearing Station, where Hospital sports were proceeding. They had just evacuated. Saw Miss Denton. Went round Officers’ Hospital where there were many officers, some very bad.
Then to Headquarters where I saw Col. Ensor, DADMS – DMS on leave. He said everything was going quite satisfactorily. Then on to DMS 3rd Army where I saw DMS, who told me of more units opening and asked me to complete the Staff of 6 Stationary Hospital, which had come up from Havre, as soon as possible. This I told him I would endeavour to do. Got back to Abbeville 8.30pm.
24 VADs arrived and 46 Canadian Nursing Sisters for 7 General Canadian. Staff supplied for 34, 35, 36, 38, 42, 44, 45. [CCSs]. Took some from all areas so as not to distress units more than possible. Matron 16 General Hospital wrote quite rudely, thought I might have given her Assistant Matron a better job after all the trouble she had taken in training her!!! Telephone messages from everywhere saying it would be impossible to carry on unless further help was sent. Told all they must manage, that we had asked officially for extra help and until it came, if need be, leave must be stopped. Communication from Boulogne. Lady Bathurst unable to sign her contract, as she wanted to go Home July 31st. Her month’s service completed June 24th. I wrote to her advising her to resign and re-engage. Mentions in Despatches giving great pleasure to the VADs especially. Miss McPherson and Stanford returned from duty on train taking German prisoners to Switzerland. Miss Caulfield in charge of Nurses’ Home temporarily.
ADMS Havre rang up about Canadian Nursing Staff for 7 Stationary Hospital (Canadian) now taking up their position in 6 Stationary. In Sisters’ Mess accommodation for 18 only. Asked that the remainder might be distributed between 1 and 2 General Hospitals – very short and very hard worked. Staff of 6 Stationary – suitable ones sent on to 6 Stationary in 3rd Army, remainder joining 2 General Hospital. Lady Gifford rang up about Miss Worthington and Miss Osler, the former had never ceased crying since she had received her orders to go to 6 General, as she never would be happy with Miss Rannie, and Miss Osler said she was not fit for duty. Arranged for them both to go to 14 General Hospital Sick Sisters’ section. Miss Smythe QR sent Home 4 weeks’ sick leave. Sent telegram to Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox asking if she would have £5 of Alexandra Roses sent by King’s Messenger for Alexandra day here. Left [for] 4th Army 8am, arrived at HQ 10am. Passed thousands of troops marching forward, each battalion with its band, all wearing masks. DMS very busy, many Clearing Stations opening and needing Staffs. Visited them all that I could in the time.
Heilly 34 and 36 CCS, both very busy, needing more help. Accommodation for Staff good.
Warloy 92 Field Ambulance. More help, only Staff of 4 and they had been working day and night.
Puchevillers 3 and 44 Casualty Clearing Station busy opening up under canvas. They are side by side, quite close to a railway side and both Staff will Mess together. Arrangements very good.
Authie South Midland Field Ambulance, in a Chateau, Staff not yet arrived, but everything being got into order, and good accommodation for Staff ready. Some very badly wounded there, who were being cared for devotedly by the orderlies – even flowers by their sides.
Doullens The Citadelle – a wonderful historic fort, inside which 35 Casualty Clearing Station is being established. Wonderful buildings, a Chateau, Barracks, etc., built 1618. Anxiously waiting for Staff which should arrive tonight.
On to GHQ with my particulars of staff with covering letter with which Colonel Morgan was quite satisfied. He said he had already applied officially for the Nurses, but he doubted whether we should get them. Well, if they don’t come, one must just carry on, but one can’t do impossibilities, and these people who work so hard, I am so sorry for them. However, they will not fail us I am sure, and leave will have to be stopped till more help comes. Got back to Abbeville 9pm.
Sent orders for 50 Australian Nurses from Marseilles to proceed for temporary duty in our units, 10 to Rouen, Etaples, Boulogne, St. Omer and Treport. Rouen and Boulogne rang up re shortage of Nurses. Everywhere giving the same reply – will supply all I can, when I can, regret having to take nurses, but urgently needed at the Front. Miss Greaves Matron Australian Voluntary Hospital asking if her Nurses may transfer on to the Reserve as her Hospital is closing at the end of the month. Replied in the affirmative and to send all particulars without delay. Sent instructions and regulations to 34, 35, 38, 44, 45 Casualty Clearing Stations and 2 South Midland Field Ambulance. WO letter informing us that VAD Cochran’s engagement is terminated (the lady who tried to escape to England without permission).
Went to 2 Stationary Hospital where I interviewed Nurses Lloyd, Edwards, Jickley and Lock QAIMNSR, all about to resign because they were not promoted, and because so many their junior were arrived from England as A/Sisters for the Reserve. I explained the situation and pointed out also that already a circular has been circulated, as recently done for the Territorials, asking for the names of all Nurses to be submitted who are eligible for promotion. Another great grievance being nursing the “local sick.” They were pacified and somewhat ashamed in the end, and realized the importance of looking after the “poor local sick.”
Interpreter Monsieur … came to ask about his sister, an American trained nurse joining the Reserve. Sent an application form to be filled in and sent to WO. Informed DGMS that Miss S. Macdonald, Australian Nursing Service, had left for United States. DGMS and Major Black to office for tea on way to GHQ. Sent circular to all areas informing Canadian Units that Canadian Nursing Sisters when sick can go to the Canadian Convalescent Home, Margate, where 30 beds are set apart. Nursing Staff for 7 Canadian Stationary arrived at Havre, taking up position of 6 Stationary, now moved to Frevent. Accommodation only for 18, instructed remainder to be distributed in Military units which will help to fill vacancies made by Nurses wanted for the Front. Miss Worthington and Miss Osler transferred to Sick Sisters’ Hospital, 14 General. WO letter informing us of Nurses Franklin and M. Hale returning from sick leave. Miss De Carteret’s resignation accepted. Miss Fairchild, 7 General, telephoned for more nurses – filling up with severely wounded. Sent 4 making their numbers only 38, with 1040 bedded hospital.
Left at 11am for Etaples, arrived 12 noon. To office, DDMS out. With Principal Matron to Villa Tino, where we had lunch and went round, Miss Morris, Q retired, just having taken over from Miss Toller who has gone in charge 35 CCS. Miss Smith, Principal Matron, spoke of the difficulty of keeping things in order with the many irregular units. The DDMS had sent very difficult orders on the subject to all OCs and a copy to the APM. All Nursing Sisters out after 9pm in summer, their names to be taken and forwarded to the office.
After lunch to Isolation Section of 24 Hospital, Miss Potts ANSR, late as Matron on one of the ships, in charge, she drawing £75 per annum. Great dissatisfaction exists with the regulations owing to the fact that Reserves and TFNS get annual increment on appointments and when once promoted continue to draw the pay, no matter what their work, unless reported on unfavourably, whereas the Regulars have none of these privileges – no annual increment, or A/rank, and revert to original rank immediately they cease to act. Everything in this Hospital in first rate condition, most comfortable quarters, and a nice cinder tennis court for the Staff.
Then to Harvard Unit where I had tea with the Staff and met the new arrivals. In this unit for Home Sister they have a qualified “Dietitian” who is not trained. All Hospitals very full.
To 4 General. Everything first rate. Saw DDMS before I left, who expressed himself satisfied with everything. Got back 9pm. To office after dinner.
Queen Alexandra’s Rose day. Roses arrived by King’s Messenger for distribution. 25 VADs arrived and were ordered to various areas. Ordered 50 Nurses from Marseilles from Australian Unit for distribution at 5 Bases, 10 at each, to take the place of those hurriedly sent to the Front. Miss Tunley arrived from leave, received instructions with reference to her new post at Bethune, at 33 Casualty Clearing Station, where she has a large staff and where she is to take a house for their accommodation and the accommodation of the Barge Sisters. Sent Roses to all units, Bases, Front, Barges and Trains. Forwarded renewal contracts of Reserves who signed in August 1914 to end of April 1915, completing return with the exception of Sisters Alliss and Dodds on Cambria Hospital Ship. 50 Nurses supposed to be coming from Paris here for transfer. Sister at Station all day meeting trains – only 10 arrived and sent to Treport, remainder spending day in Paris!!!
The paper re Servants’ allowance for Principal Matron and myself recommended and forwarded to IGC cannot be traced. Sent to office 6.6.16; asked Paymaster in Chief for copy of correspondence. 3 Nurses arrived from Havre and sent on to 33 Casualty Clearing Station. DMS 4th Army rang up to say 39 Casualty Clearing Station very short-handed, 2 more nurses wanted. An Isolation unit with only 5 Nurses.
Left early for Boulogne, taking Miss Barbier and Martin who are going on leave – left them at Louvre. Went to DDMS office, missed the Surgeon-General – told DADMS what I had come for.
To 14 General Hospital. Saw OC, explained the necessity of selecting the best nurses for the front, and those who had been tried. Will fill up vacancy when help comes, but said that I had had a letter from M-in-C saying it was not possible to supply more at present. He pointed out their heavy work with officers, men and Sisters. I said they should not be forgotten. Saw Lady Bathurst and said I would discuss the matter with the DG, but that I didn’t think it would be possible for her to remain on without signing her contract, she wishing to remain on till July 31st and return Oct 1st, her day of joining being May 24th. A nice delicate-looking little woman, who has 2 boys and naturally must go home for their holidays. Had lunch at Nurses’ Mess – Matron away, Miss Branson Q acting.
Then on to Australian Voluntary Hospital, with reference to the Staff who are asking to transfer to the Reserve. Their unit ceases to exist June 30th, is then to be taken on by the Army. Took application forms which I pointed out must be filled in at once and I would see what can be done to hasten matters, but that the time was very short. She wanted to know if when they signed on whether they could always remain together, and I explained that when they joined they would be expected to go wherever they were sent and that no conditions could be made.
Tried to see the OC of No.2 Australian General Hospital without success, which is just open in No.5 Convalescent Camp, and I was anxious to see him about his Nursing Staff now employed temporarily in our units and who are complaining of the extra payments for Messing which they have to pay.
On to Marine Hotel, where I had invited all the Matrons to tea at the Sisters Mess, which Miss Hordley had arranged for me in one of the Sisters’ sitting-rooms, where I wanted to point out to them the necessity of all helping in the matter of arranging when any Members of their Staff have to be moved to the Front, so that the work of the wards should continue with as little inconvenience as possible to all concerned. In that way they all sharing their powers of management. This they are all most willing to do and fully realize the situation I think now, and the necessity of giving out best for the Casualty Clearing Stations. I have also pointed out to them too, that at the completion of six months these people will be returning and others going up who [they] will have been … in the meantime.
After tea went to 14 Stationary Hospital to see the OC who was anxious to see me with reference to his Staff. Found out what people were in charge of divisions. Miss Williams the A/Matron was on leave, Miss Davis the A/Matron not satisfactory. Met Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox, gracious and charming as usual, bringing messages she said to me from The Queen and Queen Alexandra, also Sir John French, which seems incredible but nice. Got back 9pm. To office after dinner.
Intended to go to 4th Army, but delayed with much work until too late to attempt it. Miss Waite TFNS, Sister in Charge, 7 Ambulance Train, came to report that when at St. Pol and she found that the train was not leaving for 36 hours, she got permission from the OC to be off the whole day, not saying where she was going. She started early with the intention of getting if possible to Arras, some 30 miles. She had no permit, nor did she … – passed sentries, got lifts and eventually got into Arras, having arranged with a driver of one of the convoys who was leaving at 5pm to drive her back, but when she was leaving, and had got into the lorry, she was stopped by an officer, put in his car, driven to St. Pol, where she was arrested under suspicion. While she was here the official report arrived. I pointed out how dreadful the whole thing was, the irregularity, and how even at the Bases nurses are not allowed to leave their areas. She quite saw the point, and regretted the indiscretion, but she kept adding it was most interesting. The matter had to be forwarded officially and in the meantime she is waiting at the Nurses’ Home. Placed A/Sister Doyle in charge, and sent N. Rowe to complete the Staff.
VAD Halshin's father seriously ill, informed by Mrs. Furze – arranged for leave at once. Miss Mowat QAIMNS from 33 Casualty Clearing Station proceeded to Rouen as A/Matron, 3 Stationary Hospital. DMS 4th Army rang up for Nurses for 11 CCS, and at 35 CCS both in Citadelle. Arranged for Miss Toller to be in charge of both and to distribute a Staff of 14 where required. Australian Sister Wakefield, special leave granted to get married, France, arrived from Egypt, returning Wednesday next. Wired DG to ascertain whether Nurses can now be permitted as a special thing to take on for 6 months only.
Telephone message, Nurses Warner, Collins, Donaldson, and VAD Conran arrived from sick leave in Boulogne – sent orders. QAIMNSR Miss Gander 8 General sanctioned special leave, father dangerously ill.
Left 8am for 4th Army, arrived Vequemont 10am. Visited 34 and 45 Casualty Clearing Station opening up side by side under canvas, near railway siding, everything getting in readiness for the coming push. Nursing Staff in both units increased to 10, accommodated in huts and to Mess together. Both units capable of taking 1000 each, and everything in readiness.
Then to DMS 4th Army, where I learnt what was being arranged for the coming work, and he was extremely pleased how I had been able to supply all with nurses to the extent I had done.
From there to Heilly to see 38 Casualty Clearing Station which was now working. Raining heavily, things going smoothly. This unit also under canvas, except operation hut, large enough for 4 tables to be working easily at once. Had lunch with Sisters 36 Casualty Clearing Station. All well settled in and glad of extra help in readiness for coming work.
On to Authie to South Midland Field Ambulance. 4 Sisters had arrived and were getting Chateau clean and workable. One of the dirtiest places I have seen and the difference since last Sunday quite remarkable. Unfortunately have not yet met OC – out each time I have been.
On to Doullens to Citadelle, where 35 and 11 Casualty Clearing Stations are now opening. Miss Toller and 6 others have only arrived so far. Have arranged for Miss Toller to be in charge of both, with a Staff of 14. A great deal had been done since I was there last Sunday. From there I went to Frevent, where 6 Stationary Hospital is just opening, and where the Staff is not sufficient, but where I am unable to send any more until the accommodation for them is available. This I am told will be ready in a few days. Got back to Abbeville 9pm. After dinner to office.
Major Knapp rang up about Field Allowance for VADs which has been drawn since their arrival in France, saying that he thinks that it should not have been issued since the new contract was circulated in February, and asking for the names of all VADs who have renewed their contracts since then. If this is the case, there are many VADs who will not be able to stay on, in consequence of the heavy expenses existing to live in many areas. DGMS rang up about Lady Bathurst to say she must go at the completion of her month’s service if unable to remain for 6 months, she wishing to go July 31 and return October, her month’s probationary period expiring today. Correspondence forwarded to DDMS Etaples re uniform for Chicago Nurses, authorizing the payment provided there is a representative who would receive the payments for them all, and suggesting if there is no representative in this country, the OC Colonel Harrison should be responsible. Staff supplied for No.27 Train, which will be ready to start tomorrow. Miss Osler transferred sick to England. Miss Hale QAIMNS and Miss Dunk CHR resignations forwarded DGMS – reason marriage.
DMS 4th Army rang up saying OC 29 CCS in distress at Miss Pears and Hayes being transferred. Pointed out they were being replaced by excellent people, and that they had been there 8 months, and that it would not be advisable for them to stay longer, in view of the heavy work expected almost hourly, that 2 first rate Sisters were joining, and from their unit the same appeal had come might they remain. Orders sent to 5 Nurses waiting at Nurses’ Home to proceed to Casualty Clearing Stations needing help, all in 4th Army. Application from Matron of Australian Voluntary Hospital with 23 of her Staff to be transferred to QAIMNS Reserve, inconsequence of the unit closing 30th instant and becoming a Military Unit July 1st. Forwarded to GHQ asking that the WO might be asked to wire their approval. Resignations of Miss Norrie, McDowell and Owen forwarded DG, GHQ. Wrote to Colonel Goodwin OC 14 General, and Lady Bathurst, regretting that she could not sign on unless able to serve for 6 months and explained the situation. Correspondence from ADMS Calais saying Miss Roberts TFNS 3 General Hospital has now decided not to resign. Wired DGMS asking whether Nurses might be permitted to sign on for 6 months, but are unable to stay longer in consequence of losing their permanent posts if they remain longer.
Forwarded correspondence re servants’ allowance for Matron-in-Chief and Principal Matron to IGC for approval. Orders sent to Miss Marshall QAIMNS, 10 Casualty Clearing Station on 18th instant to proceed 2 Stationary Hospital. Today had a letter from her written on 24th informing me of her engagement to the Chaplain!!! Wrote asking the reason why she did not comply with her order sooner. Nurse Turner from sick leave joined Nurses’ Home, under orders to join 8 Ambulance Train. DGMS rang up to say the minimum number of Nurses should be asked for, not the maximum. DMS 4th Army wired for 3 more Nurses for 20 and 43 Casualty Clearing Station, also to say 43 Field Ambulance moving, and that patients and Nursing Staff were being transferred to 12 Stationary Hospital. When unit was ready the Nursing Staff would be required again. Postings of VADs who arrived in France on 21.6.16 sent to the War Office, and a copy to Miss Crowdy at Boulogne. General Makins wrote re special staff for experimental work in special ward set apart for the treatment of wounds at 26 General Hospital. Replied I would ascertain the names of Staff and would see they were not moved for the present. Sent orders for 2 Nurses to proceed South Midland Casualty Clearing Station to replace two who had suddenly been moved to 29 Casualty Clearing Station. Correspondence returned from GHQ re Nurse Waite. Informed that she was to be moved to a Base Hospital and that she should be informed that any further disregard of orders will entail her services in France being dispensed with. Wrote to her privately, ordered her to 1 General Hospital Etretat and sent the information officially to the Base. Special leave granted to Miss Wakefield Australian Nursing Sister to get married on Saturday – tonight a wire asking if her leave may be cancelled. Arranged the matter – marriage off I presume. DMS to Havre to settle some trouble of a disciplinary nature at 9 Stationary Hospital (Non-Sisters’ Hospital).
Letter received from Miss Keene, Matron, Asturias, to say Nurse Francis TFNS causing trouble, OC wishing her to be moved. This is the Nurse who was so troublesome at 25 General Hospital, and who I interviewed. Very undisciplined, inclined to think all hands against her. Miss Todd writing from 8 Casualty Clearing Station to say Staff Nurse Ridpath engaged to Captain M___, he RC, she C of E. Sent instructions for her to join 35 General Hospital, Calais. Miss Steen writing to say her operation satisfactory – gallstones found, stitches removed. Lady Rodney wrote to give name and particulars of her son and to keep a look out for his name and wire if need be. Poor thing has already lost her youngest boy. Miss Kerrison VAD now at 2 British Red Cross Hospital asking how she could transfer to Military Service – has a sister working now at 18 General – replied instructing her to apply officially to Mrs. Furze. Miss L. Mackay, 35 General Hospital, wishing for an elderly Home Sister to manage her 3 houses which are at some distance one from the other, and pointed out she wanted someone of experience to help her now that she has so many VADs. Miss Rannie writes that she is seeing all the Matrons in her areas according to my instructions, with reference to all helping in managing as well as possible with the Staff I am able to give them, that the VADs must be made as much use of as possible, and the capable ones selected to do night duty in larger numbers, to release more trained for day duty. Millicent Duchess of Sutherland wrote in despair – no barges or trains for 14 days. Explained delayed higher up to make journeys shorter to the front; that they would be arriving again soon. Mrs. Stewart Richardson wrote saying Sister Wright was going to be presented with a travelling clock by the French at Hazebrouck, in recognition of her valuable work in the operating theatre where she had assisted with Capt. Saint RAMC from time to time, both at the Civil and Military Hospitals. Major Knapp rang up about the reduction of Field Allowance for the VADs – is going to write fully on the subject. Miss Pears and Miss Hayes from 29 Casualty Clearing Station came to see me and afterwards had lunch with me. They have both done excellent work.
Miss Crowdy came to report that one of her VADs at the Rest Station at Serqueux had taken it upon herself to phone to DART* to ask where the improvised trains would be moving to and could she be moved, a grave breach of discipline, which has caused much trouble. She also discussed the payment of VADs, and the arrangements it was necessary for her to make for the safe accommodation of her Motor drivers, 40 now at Treport. Supplied 8 Stationary and 35 General with new Home Sisters, Miss Golstein and Miss Diggle, both new arrivals. WO authority received for taking on Nurses for 6 months only. Miss Toller appointed Sister in Charge 11 and 35 Casualty Clearing Stations, both close to one another in Citadelle, Doullens. 14 Field Ambulance moving, replaced by 42 FA both in 3rd Army. The same Staff remaining at the Chateau and transferred to new unit. Increased Staffs of 10 and 17 Casualty Clearing Stations to 10 each. Colonel Burridge to say that 1lb Glaxo made only 7 pts of milk only by the addition of 7 pts of water.**
* Probably DADRT - Deputy Assistant Director Railway Transport
** One of the more inexplicable lines in the diary!
50 Trained Nurses and 25 VADs arrived at Boulogne without any official intimation. The question of getting accommodation for these large numbers of nurses arriving without any warning causes much inconvenience, and often it is impossible to obtain suitable accommodation. Instructed Nurse Hanhart CHR to join Nurses’ Home and arrange for her to be replaced by Miss McKitrick, and left instructions that I wished to see Miss Hanhart before she joined 16 General Hospital as there seemed to have been some trouble on the Barge, and I feel the Nurse is not getting the support she should from her OC. Resignation received from Miss V. Davy – reason marriage. WO approves of Australian Voluntary Hospital being taken over by Military as an Army Stationary Hospital. The Nursing Staff are asking to be permitted to transfer to the Reserve – have wire permission.
Left early for 3rd Army. Went to 43 and 20 Casualty Clearing Stations at Warlencourt and Solerneau, on either side of a road, quite near a new railway siding. Both these units are only just opening and had just evacuated their first patients in the first train from this new siding. It was pouring with rain and had been doing so for 36 hours. Everything was looking, and was, most miserable, but everyone working and making the best of things. 20 CCS under canvas, 43 CCS partly under canvas and partly in an old Chateau which had not been inhabited for years, but which will later be alright. Everyone was working hard, cleaning, officers, nurses and orderlies. I had lunch there. In both Stations the Staff are suitably accommodated, 20 CCS in huts and under canvas; 43 CCS 1st floor of Chateau and Mess in a marque.
From there to Avesnes, 37 CCS, where I met the DMS Surgeon-General Murray Irwin, and where I found more help was needed and arranged to send at once.
Harbarcq: From there I drove with the Surgeon General to 92 Field Ambulance which was just moving off and 14 Field Ambulance taking its place. Here the Sisters had done wonderful work. Place full of abdominal cases.
I left the Surgeon General there and went on to 30 and 42 CCS at Aubigny, both of these Stations very much improved, especially the latter, which has entirely bettered in every way since certain of the Staff had been moved. Then on to Headquarters where I again met the DMS and where I learnt that more Nurses were required at 6 Stationary Hospital. Major Hartigan drove with me to 12 Stationary Hospital all in readiness for coming expected rush. Back to Abbeville at 8pm.
Much correspondence awaiting me on my return – Misses Jacob, Walford, Skinner and Hill having had a very busy day. The Base Commandant rang up to say Lady Dudley anxious to see me tomorrow, before I go to the Australian Voluntary Hospital to which I had arranged already to go in the afternoon in consequence of the wire from WO saying that the Staff could be taken on to the Reserve, provided I had seen them and approved.
Letters from all areas re the withdrawal of Field Allowance for VADs. Wrote saying this matter was being dealt with. Orders to have Staffs ready for 4 more Barges by 1st. Correspondence from WO re Mrs. Parsons, Matron Harvard leaving in August, to be replaced by Mrs. Hagar. Suggested she should do Assistant Matron’s duties at a Military Hospital before taking over, and that she should spend some days with the present Matron before she left. Forwarded correspondence, and arranged that when Mrs. Hagar arrives August 1st she should join 18 General as Acting Matron. Correspondence from WO re request for 365 Nurses – 200 to be supplied, the surplus to be replaced by VADs. Miss Hayes and Miss Pears, late 29 CCS came again to see me. Also received a letter from the latter, saying if she could not return to 29 CCS where her whole heart was she must resign. Have not answered letter at present. Left for Boulogne noon, arriving 2pm.
Was taken by … orderly from Base Commandant’s office to Lady Dudley, who lives in a most charming house in “The Happy Valley,” where I had lunch and after, Col. Wilberforce the Base Commandant came. The Staff of Australian Voluntary Hospital was discussed, also VADs and the employment of women generally, and the impossibility of making use of the working class woman in France, in consequence of the different conditions and lack of suitable accommodation. Then to DMS office to say I was going to interview Staff at Australian Hospital, with a view to them being transferred on to the Reserve. Saw OC of 2 Australian General, who wished to see me about his own Staff now scattered and temporarily employed in our units, with the exception of 40, 10 of which are remaining at Marseilles at the small section of the Hospital and the remainder were on their way here. Said when Staff were required, I would see they were ordered to join at once.
To Australian Voluntary Hospital, where I first saw OC and Matron and then rest of Staff. All seemed suitable and willing to transfer. Said in all probability they would all have to join as Staff Nurses and that they would be promoted to acting rank as they proved themselves; that they would have to sign on for a year, to conform to our rules and regulations and to be prepared to go where they were wanted. They were quite willing to agree. Said I would inform GHQ and that the forms of agreement would be forwarded to them. Went over the quarters, where there is ample accommodation for the increased Staff. Saw DDMS, and told him what I had done, and that I was going to GHQ in the morning. Saw Principal Matron, Miss Hordley, everything going satisfactorily. Had tea, on to St. Omer arriving 8.30pm.
Stayed at 10 Stationary Hospital Mess. Matron busy moving into a large convent, which has been deserted and where the whole of her Staff can be accommodated – a great improvement on 3 large houses. Telephone message awaiting me from HQ, re Nurses needed 4th Army which I arranged.
Early to go over Convent with Miss Lyde the Matron, which will be most comfortable. Then over Officers’ Hospital. Everything in beautiful order, Miss Sandbach QAIMNS managing beautifully. On to 7 General Hospital, which was simply crowded with seriously wounded men. The 8 Nurses which had just arrived were most acceptable, but more are still needed. All the Camps round the building were rapidly filling up, the officers wards comfortable and well managed. Miss Fairchild managing well and the OC very satisfied. Rang up 2nd Army to ascertain if help was needed – everything going smoothly. Received a telephone message asking me to go to 33 CCS Bethune from DMS 1st Army. Went; found the place overflowing with badly wounded. Miss Tunley who had just gone in charge very busy – many deaths during the ___ and operations were going on continuously. Went to see a house for the Staff which is comfortable, well furnished, and which I had advised her to take, the present arrangements of scattered billets being most unsatisfactory. Patients were being rapidly evacuated by Barge and Train to make room for others. On to GHQ where I only saw Col. Morgan as the DG and DDG were both in 4th Army where the wounded were beginning to arrive everywhere in large numbers.
To GHQ. Gave Col. Morgan all the particulars with reference to Australian Hospital, Lady Dudley, Lady Bathurst who has renewed her contract, and pointed out the urgent need of Nurses, and told him of the 50 who had arrived unexpectedly. After tea return to Abbeville, arriving 7pm. Found that during my absence a great deal of work had been done. Barges had been busy arriving with wounded and returning to Corbie. Trains had been evacuating those able to be moved, and Nurses had been sent to increase the Staffs at 32, 39 Casualty Clearing Stations and 6 Stationary Hospital. WO correspondence arrived appointing Mrs. Croft and Grayson provisionally to the QAIMNS.
6 Barges - 2 Nurses on each = 12 Nurses
2 Trains Nos. 27 and 31 - 3 Nurses on each - 6 Nurses
34 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
35 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
38 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
44 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
45 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
11 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
3 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
2 South Midland Field Ambulance - 4
20 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
43 Casualty Clearing Station - 10
Total - 112
6 Stationary Hospital transferred from Havre to 3rd Army, 7 Canadian Stationary Hospital occupying 6 Stationary Hospital’s old position.
Trained - 75
Untrained for military units - 175
Americans, Trained - 33 for No.23 General Hospital, Harvard Unit
Transfers to Home Establishment - 2
Sent Home Sick
Trained - 12
Untrained - 3
Still Sick in England
Since June 1915
Trained – 63
Untrained – 16
Returned during month
Trained – 15
Untrained – 5
Trained – 10
VADs returning to England
On termination of contract - 23
Resigned - 2
Invalided - 1
Approximate leaves granted - 240
Deaths - 0
Marriages - 1 Staff Nurse Bowne, TFNS, now Mrs. Stokes