CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3989
Went back to old time. Received particulars of Miss Kay and Miss Maconochie, VAD members, from Mrs. Furse. Sent to Rouen for confidential report on Miss Harvey QAIMNS, who has applied for transfer. Received WO letter stating that demands for nurses and doctors for France cannot be dealt with until the requirements for India, Mesopotamia and Salonica have been met. Arranged for Miss Shearer, AANS, doing temporary duty at 13 Stationary to proceed to No.2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station in relief of Miss Carpenter, who had gone sick to England. Special leave granted to Miss Briscoe, VAD, 20 General. 4 Canadian Sisters at 8 Canadian General, St. Cloud, asked for permission to travel to Biarritz, Fontainbleau and Dieppe – forwarded to APM for approval. Received departure report of Miss Gifford, VAD.
WO letter sanctioning transfer of Miss Botting to Home Establishment, and informing us that Miss Scribner is being sent in relief. WO letter asking for Miss Draper, AANS, to proceed to England and report to Matron-in-Chief, AANS – forwarded to Rouen. WO letter notifying that Miss M. Bigue and Miss A. Jalabert had been instructed to rejoin 8 Canadian General. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss T. McDonagh, 13 Stationary Hospital. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss Knowles, QAIMNS, and asking that she might return her badge – forwarded to Boulogne for compliance. Resignation received from Miss Elsdon, QAIMNSR, saying she was unable to sign on for another 12 months owing to approaching marriage. Returned, asking if she knew that she could sign on for 6 months. WO letter received giving Miss E. M. Smyth’s previous service and rate of pay, £55 (late ANSR). WO letter received notifying that Miss Baudry, Matron and 6 Canadian Sisters had been authorised to proceed to France in August. Was informed that one of the Sisters on 6 Ambulance Train was not suitable for the work, so arranged for her transfer. Sent 2 nurses from the Home to join the train, as they were already short of one Sister. Sent for the Sister in question Miss Shirtcliffe, QAIMNSR, NZ, and found her very surprised at being moved as she liked the work very much; I found that she had gone on the foot-board when the train was in motion contrary to regulations. This Sister was put on the train by special request. As a nurse her work is good, but she has never proved herself to be a well-disciplined woman.
Sent circular to all areas informing them that the IGC had approved of 1 pint of oil per diem to be issued to each Sister. 6 of the Barges on the Somme temporarily put out of commission. The Sisters to be employed at various Bases in the meantime. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Galloway, Barge 190. WO letter received notifying the arrival of Miss Raw on renewal of contract after resignation which was necessary in consequence of serious illness of relative. WO letter received authorising transfer of Miss Lofthouse, TFNS to Home Establishment. A relief is being sent as soon as possible. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss Coward, HS “Newhaven” – reason – marriage. WO letter received saying that Miss Keenan, Staff Nurse, AANS, had been instructed to rejoin No.1 Australian General Hospital. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss D. Fraser, QAIMNSR, 2 Stationary Hospital, and asking if she would like to serve at Home after a holiday. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Eardley, QAIMNS, 6 General Hospital. Forwarded to DGMS report on Miss Grayson, QAIMNS, recommending her for permanent appointment. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Garnett, QAIMNSR, 19 CCS. Sent DDMS, Boulogne, application for leave for Miss Weatherhead, AANS, which had been forwarded by the Matron direct to the Matron-in-Chief, London. Asked that the Matron might be informed that all correspondence of an official nature must be passed through this office. Special leave refused to Miss Horner, QAIMNSR. Interviewed Miss Falconer and Miss Daniels, Sisters in charge of barges which are now being put out of commission. Instructed them both they and their nurses must remove all their luggage from the barges and orders would be sent to them at the Nurses’ Home.
Saw Miss Cooper, late Sister i/c, Highland CCS, who had sent in her resignation in consequence of not being able to get on with the OC. She appears to have had many difficulties to contend with and a very exacting MO who could not ever trust her to write the night report herself, and she felt that the situation was a difficult and unsatisfactory one and the best thing to do was to resign. She now asked if she might be permitted to withdraw her resignation, and I advised her to put the matter forward officially. This Sister has done excellent work since she has been out here, and also in charge of a Families’ Hospital before the war. She told me she was a good sailor and if she is permitted to withdraw her resignation, I am proposing to put her in charge of one of the hospital ships. Saw Miss Livingstone, who has just taken charge of No.5 Ambulance Train. She had made two journeys and everything had gone most smoothly, the staff being satisfactory in every way, and she felt she would be able to cope with the different sort of work. DMS, Reserve Army, rang up to say he had decided to send No.4 and No.11 CCS to Acheux. Where they were opening up is very near the firing line and the question is under consideration whether it would be advisable to send Sisters. No.47 and the Australian CCS are taking up the old positions. Where the Australian CCS is opening up is the site of No.11 CCS and I pointed out to the DMS that it would be advisable for the Officers’ Hospital to be attached to 29 CCS so that it would be run by English nurses as I did not think it would be advisable for Australian Sisters to take over this large and important unit, which has run very smoothly and satisfactorily up to the present, one Sister i/c being responsible for the chateau, 11 CCS and 29 CCS. He quite agreed with me on the subject and said he would discuss the question with the General and let me know.
Application for transport duty to Australia received from Miss Gibson, 2 Australian CCS, and forwarded to DGMS. Asked the AAG, IGC, if there was any objection to Misses Barnard, Didini, and Genorian to travel to Biarritz, Fontainbleau and Dieppe. These ladies are members of 8 Canadian General Hospital. Miss Lyde granted 1 weeks’ extension of leave on medical board. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Galloway, QAIMNSR, on leaving the barge. Confidential report received on Miss Shirtcliffe, QAIMNSR, NZ, on leaving her Ambulance Train. Informed DGMS that Miss Lowrie, AANS, 1 AGH, was transferred sick to England on September 28th. Forwarded resignation of Mrs. de Winton, Matron, 2 BRCS Hospital. Special leave at Canadian Rest Home, Margate, granted to 4 Canadian Sisters from 2 Canadian General. Correspondence returned by DGMS re local moves of CAMC being made from this office. Such moves as noted in WO letter need only be regarded as suggestions and subject to approval of DMS office. WO letter regarding the disposal of articles of equipment provided for members of Chicago Unit, now in Quartermaster’s stores. The matter to be referred to DOS in France. WO letter notifying the return to duty from sick leave in England of Miss C. W. Jones, QAIMNS, Misses Medway, Kennedy, and Young, QAIMNSR, and Misses Sutcliff and Gwillam, VAD. WO letter notifying promotion to rank of Sister of Misses M. L. Davies, Broadhead and Luke, TFNS to date from 26th September. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss Ivin, TFNS from 15th October. Reason – marriage. DGMS returned letter from Lord Donoughmore re Convalescent Home at Etretat – strongly approved of proposal but thinks that less exposed place than Etretat could be found. Telephone Message from 41 CCS saying that the CCS had closed and that the 3 remaining Sisters were proceeding to the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville. Received letter from A/Matron of the Salta telling me of narrow escape of a serious accident having happened to the ship off the Isle of Wight – it ran ashore but only slight damage was done, but the 1st Officer shot himself. No panic and no harm done to anyone.
Lady Michelham came to lunch. Came about her niece Miss Salomon, VAD, who has been working for 16 months in England and who is anxious to be taken on in France. She requested that, if she was accepted, she might do duty at the Convalescent Home, Cap Martin during the season. DGMS forwarded the names of certain members of the Nursing Service who should be included in next list of honours. Replied that the names should be included. Visited 14 Ambulance Train with Lady Michelham, as she was joining it to make a few journeys, the train having been presented by her, she had been given special permission to travel on it when she felt disposed. Went round the train – part of it in excellent order but sitting up coaches not satisfactory, owing to the fact that the personnel were making use of them while the train was out of action. Both kitchens were in excellent order.
Application received from Miss Macmillan, QAIMNSR, 2 Stationary Hospital to transfer to Home Establishment. Had to be returned to be forwarded through SMO, Abbeville. Special leave granted for 14 days to Miss Allan, TFNS, 10 Stationary Hospital. On return from leave to report to A/Principal Matron, Boulogne, for orders. Sent DGMS, names of VAD Stuckey and Cholmeley for approval for employment as cooks. Forwarded to units concerned, promotion of 3 Sisters, TFNS. Telegram received from DDMS, Southampton, saying that the “St. George” was proceeding to Rouen. Telephoned to the A/Principal Matron informing her of the fact so that she could arrange for the staff to be waiting to join as soon as the vessel arrived. DMS, 3rd Army, telegraphed to say expecting rush of work at 108th Field Ambulance, and he had taken 2 Sisters from 30 CCS temporarily.
Letter received from Matron-in-Chief, CAMC, with reference to the Nursing Staff of 6 Canadian General Hospital. She was anxious to know how I had got the authority for the disposal of these ladies who have not yet arrived in the country. Asked also for the location of members of the CAMC temporarily working in our units. Replied giving information required, enclosing list of Sisters working in our units and also those who had recently received orders to return to England in accordance with instructions received. Asked her if she was still willing that in times of pressure, I should continue to make use of nurses from her units, that if she now felt that the arrangement which she approved of some time back was not now satisfactory, would she let me know and I would issue instructions for them to return to their own units at once. As far as I know, everything is working very satisfactorily, and that I was not aware of any friction of any kind, that those working in the CCS were doing excellent work, and I had received nothing but good reports about them both from the Sisters in charge and the Medical Officers.
Communication received from OC, 1 Australian General, with reference to the employment of charwomen by the Nursing Sisters. Returned, informing the OC that the expenses in connection with the employment of women servants had to be met by Mess funds, as maid servants were not authorised by War Establishment. Letter received from Matron, 3 Canadian General Hospital with reference to the leave of the Nursing staff, many of whom mobilised in April, 1915, and have had no leave since – pointing out that her staff was over establishment, and that she could spare a certain number. Telegram received from WO instructing Matron Rayside, 2 Canadian General, to report at Shorncliff, and Matron Dulmage, 3 Canadian Stationary, to replace Matron Rayside.
After lunch, went to Treport to 3 General Hospital only to see Sick Sisters, - 20 in, mostly with minor ailments, bad colds, septic fingers, etc. One VAD, Miss Simpson suffering from Haematemesis. This girl had had gastric ulcer some time back – she was much better, although on seriously ill list, and there were beginning to give her tiny feeds. Miss Whittall, QAIMNS, dangerously ill at 14 Stationary Hospital with diphtheria. Her friends had been informed.
Letter from Matron-in-Chief, WO – there were two points she wished me to look into – (1) She had heard from outside sources that the newly appointed Sisters were very over-bearing and give the nurses a very bad time. (2) The question of messing, and the large amount of tinned meat which seems to be given – that in view of the allowances which are about to be restored, would it not be well to see that the nurses pay a larger sum into the Mess, especially in areas such as Boulogne and Rouen where more fresh meat could be bought. Private letter received from a lady in charge of one of the clubs for nurses in France, saying that the Australian nurses had been asking her if nothing could be done for them so that they might join the Reserve or be posted to hospitals where they could get more work. They say they have a half-day every other day and a whole day once a week. They had been previously in Egypt and had not had much work – would gladly go anywhere where there was more work, and if not possible, would go back to Australia where they might work in a Base hospital, but the did not want to go home. These ladies seem very nice and it does not seem a case of grumbling but merely anxiety to work.
Informed Command Paymaster conditions under which VAD cooks are employed – that they were serving under the same conditions as the other VADs but engaged specially for the work. Special leave granted to Miss Pearce, 15 CCS, Miss James, QAIMNS, 23 General, and Miss Francis, CAMC. Received silver badge for Miss Davis, QAIMNS, from War Office. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss Barklie, QAIMNSR. WO letter received notifying that instructions had been given to Miss E. G. Poole to re-join for duty in France. The Matron, Nurses’ Home, telephoned to say that a Sister who had just joined an Ambulance Train had reported sick with sore throat, that a swab had been taken – very suspicious of diphtheria. She had been sent to Isolation Section, 16 General, and the Sister who had shared a compartment with her was under observation. Every precaution was taken with regard to the compartment these two ladies had occupied. Permission granted to Miss Pierson, 24 General, to visit Boulogne, to see her brother on his way to the front. Instructed to report on arrival to Miss Hordley. Application received from SMO Treport for employment of female woman servant in Sisters’ quarters – 3 hours daily at 7 francs per week. This was sanctioned provided it would release a man. The Sick Sisters’ accommodation has had to be increased in consequence of the number of Sisters requiring attention and treatment.
Farewell dinner given to Miss Walford, VAD, who was leaving in consequence of her approaching marriage. Miss Barber and Miss De Rougemont, VADs from the Rest Station, came to lunch. DMS, 1st Army, telephoned to say that Miss Phillips, at West Riding CCS, had a septic finger. Arranged for her to be sent to the sick ward, 10 Stationary Hospital, and on her arrival Miss Pullar, TFNS, returned to the CCS from 10 Stationary to fill her vacancy. Received official communication from OC Troops, Hospital Ship “Cambria” asking that Miss Smartt, A/Matron, who had recently joined, should be replaced in consequence of her being a bad sailor. Telephoned to SMO, Treport, instructing Miss Hook, QAIMNSR to replace her, - Miss Smartt to proceed to the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville, for further orders. DMS, Reserve Army, telephoned to say 4 CCS and 11 CCS were moving forward, from Gezaincourt and Merville to near Acheux and that they were being replaced by 3 Australian CCS and 47 CCS. Arranged for the staff of 4 CCS to remain with their unit and undertook to supply fresh staffs for the remaining 3 Casualty Clearing Stations. Received official application from Miss Hyde, AANS, now at 5 Stationary Hospital “B” Section, to withdraw her application for transfer. Correspondence received from DDMS Havre, saying arrangements for Sick Sisters at Etretat completed and asking if number of beds (6) to be shown against No.1 General Hospital. Replied yes. Special leave granted to Miss Jarvis, QAIMNSR, 13 Stationary Hospital, in consequence of the loss of another brother at the front. Confidential report received from Miss Rannie, A/Principal Matron, on Miss Harvey, QAIMNS, who has applied officially for transfer to Home Establishment. WO letter received forwarding authority for promotion of 30 TFNS nurses to rank of Sister. Application for Miss L. Burke, 1 Australian General Hospital, for work in England not approved. WO letter received approving appointment of Miss Cholmely and Miss Stuckey as cooks in France. Resignation of Miss Ivin, TFNS, accepted. Miss E. S. Nicholson, CAMC, from Treport, detailed for transport duty between England and Canada.
Forwarded correspondence from DDMS Etaples, with reference to travelling claims for Mrs. Hagar, Matron, Harvard Unit, whilst on conducting duty in England. Forwarded to AQMG for approval. Forwarded to DGMS departure report of Miss Trottier, CAMC, invalided to England. Miss Wright, TFNS, granted 7 days’ leave on 16.9.16 and still absent. Sent correspondence to DGMS. Application received from Miss M. Davis, TFNS to resign, in consequence of urgent private affairs needing her presence in England. 14 days’ leave at Convalescent Home granted to Miss Stone, Miss Weighall and Miss Martin, 2 Australian General Hospital, and 14 days’ leave to Miss Read, QAIMNSR 10 Stationary. DMS, 3rd Army, telephoned saying that Sister in charge and one Sister belonging to the staff of 41 CCS should proceed on 2nd inst. as unit would then be ready and the remaining 5 required on the 11th. Also 5 extra Sisters required for 20 and 43 CCS on 10th, in view of large amount of work expected about that date. Letter from Matron, Hospital Ship “Newhaven” informing me of Miss Coward’s marriage to an MO in Manchester, and thanking me for leaving Miss Savile on board as she is suitable for the work and not strong enough for work in a Base Hospital. Letter from 29 Ambulance Train informing me of the death of a German patient on his way to the Base. Letter from Matron, Hospital Ship “Jan Breydel” asking for leave for Miss Goodacre till the 17th as she had had an operation for glands of the neck while the ship was in dock and was not well enough for duty. Letter from the Sister in charge, 36 CCS, asking for extra help and informing me of departure of Miss Allis on resignation – reason – marriage. Letter from Miss Fletcher, Principal Matron, BRCS, with reference to the resignation of Mrs. de Winton, Matron, 2 BRCS Hospital, saying that the Commissioner had accepted it and was replacing her on the 24th of this month. Letter from Miss Hordley, Principal Matron, Boulogne, saying that Miss Tunley was proceeding to St. Omer, from Convalescent Home, was quite well and taking over duties of A/Matron from Miss Lyde, who had received orders as Matron of the Officers’ Convalescent Hospital, Cap Martin.
Letter from Miss Stewart-Richardson, Sister i/c, Northumbrian CCS giving all particulars of the little boy Waddington who was accommodated in a French hospital and was being nursed on day by a nurse from the CCS and on night by a Red Cross nurse – suffering from meningitis, - Grandson of Sir ___ Waddington*, Ambassador at Rome, Paris and St. Petersburg. Letter from Miss Denne to say a Miss St. John, VAD, had been sent to 14 Stationary Hospital with scarlet fever. Two Sisters in the Isolation Hospital were suffering from Dysentery – in the officers’ block, and the OC thought they were too ill to move to 14 Stationary where Sisters suffering from infectious diseases are unusually nursed. No conveniences of any kind in the Officers’ Hospital for Sisters and Miss Denne felt they were really not so ill, but the officer was very anxious to get the care of all Sisters suffering from infectious diseases in that area.
* Blank in the original
SMO Abbeville, asked if application for charwomen for South African Hospital might be re-considered, pointing out that authority had been given for employment of a servant both at 2 Stationary Hospital and the Nurses’ Home. Special leave granted to Miss Burkitt, QAIMNSR and Miss Eastwood, CAMC. Sent correspondence to Boulogne notifying appointment of certain members of the AANS to rank of Head Sister. Telephone Message from Etaples – Miss Cornwell, under orders for duty on “Jan Breydel” in quarantine for scarlet fever contact. Extension of leave granted to Miss Little, VAD supported by medical certificate. Telegram to say Miss Smith, VAD motor driver from 3 General to be evacuated to England. Informed Miss Crowdy in the usual way. Correspondence received with reference to claim for uniform allowance for Chicago Unit forwarded by Miss Jocelyn for herself and 32 nurses. Letter from OC Col. Harrison, saying that no application had been made for uniform up to the time the unit ceased to exist. WO letter saying that Miss C. Douglas, CAMC to report at Cleveland House instead of Miss Motherwell.
Left for Etaples. Arrived for lunch – went to DDMS office and saw the DADMS. Had lunch at 24 General in Sisters’ Mess; quite unexpected – everything most comfortable – well served – appointments good – cooking excellent – plenty of everything – roast beef, potatoes, cauliflower, apple tart, cheese, fruit and coffee for everyone. After lunch saw Miss Gardner QAIMNS, Assistant Matron, who appeared to be rather unsettled and felt that she was not doing enough work, and the Assistant Matron’s post was not sufficiently responsible. Pointed out that as Miss Denne was constantly at the office of the DDMS I did not quite know what more responsibility she wanted, in a big hospital which is always full of seriously wounded and sick men. Before I left, she seemed to be more contented and then I suggested moving her to a unit where she could do Sister’s duties only, and it seemed to dawn upon her that the Assistant Matron’s work was more than that of even a Sister in charge, and she was not anxious to be moved from her present position.
From there I went with Miss Denne to the Isolation Hospital to see two Sisters who were suffering from dysentery – both very much better, and, not having had the result of the bacillary examination, they were still in doubt whether it was dysentery. I saw the OC and asked how soon they might be transferred to 14 Stationary Hospital, and pointed out that where they were now nursed was not very suitable or advisable – in the officers’ ward, one of the rooms being partitioned off, this arrangement being obviously an unsuitable one. Saw the Sister in charge of the hut as well as the Acting Matron and pointed out that there were many things in this hut which required much improvement. There seemed to be no arrangement of the whole of the hut, and I noticed under all the beds, bed-pans with covers, instead of being brought to the bedside when required – this is in any ward most unsuitable and out of the question in an Isolation Hospital.
Went on to Boulogne – arrived there at 6 o’clock and reported to DDMS office. Had tea with the Assistant Principal Matron and stayed the night at the Louvre.
Went to DDMS office. Rang up Abbeville. Then went to 2 Australian General Hospital where I saw the Matron who took me over the whole hospital. I saw the OC, Colonel Martin, before I left. The hospital is mainly under canvas – one hut already occupied and two others, as well as a very fine operating theatre in course of construction. At present, it is capable of accommodating 830 patients. Their staff is 30 Sisters and 60 Staff Nurses – on night duty 2 Sisters and 16 Staff Nurses. They work in an entirely different way from us. The Matron – rather an elderly woman – does not impress one as being very capable or experienced. The arrangement of their time on and off duty is as follows: The day people come on duty at 8.30 a.m. They have breakfast at 8 a.m., morning tea in the quarters at 11 o’clock, lunch at 12.30 and 1 o’clock, dinner at 5.30 and 6.30, and come off duty at 9 o’clock. Those who wish for tea can make it for themselves when off duty. Their times off duty are every other day from 1 o’clock for half the staff, and everybody has a whole day once a week. The arrangement does not strike me as being a good one and I asked the Matron how the morning work was done if the whole of the staff came on so late. She said it works well, and the night people do the work, coming on at 9 p.m. and off at 8 a.m. At present the nurses are accommodated under canvas, their Mess and ante-room being in a hut. Their hutted accommodation is in course of construction and they ought to be [ready] in a few weeks’ time. Their huts will be similar to those in all military hospitals which are hutted. The quarters are run by 3 soldier servants assisted by convalescent patients – the Sisters making their own beds. The Mess is run by a Committee and President and certain members who manage all matters entirely.
I then went on to 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital, which has a Matron and staff of 36 trained nurses. The OC was out at the time of my visit but the Matron took a great deal of trouble in showing me everything. This is a very fine, well-managed and well-organised unit. Everything seemed to be in first-rate order, the patients well looked after and most comfortable – the operating theatre and serious case ward opening off it are quite excellent in every way. I went to see the Sisters’ Mess and it happened to be lunch time – it is a huge hut with a nice ante-room, very tastefully and suitably furnished, and a good Mess where a number of the staff were having lunch. The kitchen, pantries and sculleries all in very good condition, and there seemed to be plenty of everything for everybody. The times on duty are from 7.30 a.m. to 7 p.m., the night people coming on at 7 p.m. and going off at 7.30 a.m. They have always two hours off, if possible 3, and a half-day once a week. The night people stay on one month. This unit, in consequence of its position, is moving, probably to Havre.
Then to lunch – I had invited all the Matrons in the Boulogne and Wimereux district to have lunch with me – 11 in all. All looked very well and, as far as I could gather, everything was going smoothly. The one difficulty everywhere is the lack of a sufficient number of trained nurses. After lunch I visited No.2 Canadian Stationary, where I was taken over the hospital by the Matron and the OC – Colonel Clarke. The unit is established where 2 British Stationary Hospital first opened. It is vastly improved in every respect and the water supply and electric are now very good. They have expanded from the building into a large number of huts and a certain number of beds under canvas. The nursing staff is now accommodated in a building where the school teachers lived before the war. Everything was in good order and a large number of seriously wounded patients. The convalescent patients are all kept together and have a fine big dining-room and recreation room.
After tea, went to No.3 Canadian General Hospital, now established in the building where the Secunderabad Hospital originally was. The Matron, Miss MacLatchey has a staff of 83 trained. Everything was in first-rate order. I went rather late, and the evening work was going on – all was being done in a businesslike and thorough manner and the welfare of the patients is certainly the first consideration of everyone in this unit. The operating theatre is excellent. A large recreation hut which was put up has been converted into a 70 bedded ward and is very bright and pretty, with a piano on the stage.
To the DDMS office – telephoned to Abbeville – learnt that 72 trained nurses and 28 VADs were arriving by the day-boat – informed the Principal Matron and Miss Woodford, who had to make arrangements for their accommodation – in consequence of the large numbers, these Sisters were not able to be accommodated even in two large hotels.
I then went to 32 Stationary Hospital (late Australian Voluntary Hospital). Went round with the A/Matron and the OC – a great many improvements recently made and on the whole everything is going smoothly, and satisfactorily. This hospital takes 16 officers besides the men. It is established in a hotel, expanding into huts and under canvas. The nursing staff are occupying a house – close by a large hut has been built as Mess and ante-room – the Mess being run by a Home Sister and VADs with a VAD cook. Three French servants are also employed. This hospital is some distance out of Boulogne, and an empty house not very far from it has been lent where they can have tea and sit in the garden when off duty. This arrangement was made by the Countess of Dudley who interests herself specially in this hospital for the benefit of the nursing staff.
From there I went to 14 General Hospital where I saw both the OC, Colonel Godwin and Miss Fox in connection with the recent information I had received that the Staff Nurses at this unit were not treated by the Sisters with the consideration they deserved. I went into the question thoroughly with the OC alone later, and from what I could gather, there was no truth in the report whatever. There is no doubt that some Sisters are more exacting than others but they were emphatic that as far as they knew no one was unhappy, but they had certainly one or two Staff Nurses who were very difficult and not very competent. After lunch saw the 72 nurses and VADs who had arrived and gave Miss Woodford instructions as to where they were to be posted. After going to DDMS office, left for Abbeville.
Arrived at 7 p.m. During my absence found that correspondence had arrived in connection with Miss Clayton’s resignation which had been approved. WO letter instructing Miss A. T. Scott, TFNS, 12 Stationary Hospital, to return to England and report to Matron-in-Chief, TFNS – relief to be sent in due course. Forwarded to 3rd Army. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Smith, CAMC. Application to resign received from Miss M. Lee, Canadian Red Cross, attached to QAIMNSR, on account of illness of adopted mother. This was forwarded to DGMS. Telephone Message to say that 6 Ambulance Train had to go under repairs to Paris and the Sisters were proceeding to the Nurses’ Home until the train was ready. Confidential report on termination of 3 months’ service on Miss Croft, QAIMNS, forwarded to DGMS. Names of recommendations for honours received from DDMS, Havre and DDMS, 2nd Army. Special leave granted to Miss Buchanan, Miss Shirtcliffe and Miss N. Hayes, all QAIMNSR. Letter received from Miss Snape, QAIMNSR, asking when she could be released from her duties. Resignation had been forwarded to DGMS on September 4th. WO letters accepting the resignations of Miss Clarke, VAD and Miss Osler, QAIMNSR. Official application from OC Hospital Ship “St. David” asking that Miss M. Dicke, QAIMNSR could be moved in consequence of suffering from sea-sickness. 5 nurses sent to 20 CCS and 5 to 43 CCS and DMS informed that they were travelling by Doullens and were reporting at 19 CCS where arrangements would be made to convey them to their new unit. Sent rules and regulations to Miss Bryant, A/Matron Hospital Ship “St. George” and Miss Baldrey QAIMNSR, new Sister in charge of 3 Ambulance Train. WO letter authorising transfer of Miss McDermott, CAMC to Home Establishment to take effect from 9th September.
Forwarded to DGMS recommendation by OC, 8 Canadian General, for post of Matron to be held by Miss de Cormier. Correspondence received from 26 General Hospital with reference to the application to the Westminster War Supply Depot for shrouds and bandages which were made by the Matron, Miss Hartigan, and supported by the OC. The latter strongly objected to the imputation that there was a “leakage” in this supply. WO letter received notifying return of Miss Harper, VAD, from sick leave. Asked Principal Matron, Boulogne, to select a suitable staff nurse from her area to replace Miss Dicke ( on account of sea-sickness) on Hospital Ship “St. David” when it arrived. Application for 14 days’ leave to Rest Home sanctioned to 2 Sisters from 2 Canadian General Hospital. Special leave granted to Miss Robb, VAD at 16 General Hospital. Telephone Message from DMS, 4th Army, saying that the Casualty Clearing Stations at Heilly, Grovetown and Edgehill – 6 in all – would want staff considerably increased by the 20th. Interviewed Miss Smartt, Miss Coward and Miss Reid before they took up new appointments as Sisters in charge of CCS.
Forwarded to DGMS report on result of investigation in connection with the article written by a VAD and published in the “Nursing Mirror” relating to many duties which VADs were called upon to perform and which they were not capable of doing. After getting a report from every unit in which VADs work, replied that I was convinced that the report was grossly exaggerated, that there was no doubt, in consequence of the shortage of trained nurses, that VADs were called upon to do many responsible duties which they would otherwise have been spared. Mrs. Furse and Miss Crowdy called on their return from Paris, the former having been to Switzerland with the first party of prisoners’ wives. They saw Colonel Barefoot with reference to the BRCS Home which they are hoping to open for convalescent Sisters. Miss Walford, VAD, left HQ, IGC on termination of contract. Saw Miss MacRae, QAIMNS on her way home, having resigned to be married, and leaving for India on 4th November. She expressed great regret at leaving and has no doubt done excellent work. Before she left the CCS where she has worked, the officers presented her with a silver salver, and the nursing staff gave her a silver mirror. Had letter from Miss Price, Matron of New Zealand Stationary Hospital giving the names of 6 nurses to make use of for work in CCS. Letter from Matron-in-Chief, Australian, saying that the nurses of 2 Australian General complained of not enough work to do. She would be very glad if I would select any of the staff and make use of them in our units. Also desires me to select staff for 3 Australian CCS from list of Sisters which she forwarded to me as being suitable.
Informed DGMS that Miss Stuckey, VAD whom I had recently received authority to employ as cook, was obliged to send in her resignation. Application received from Miss C. G. Llewellyn for special leave in order to be married. This was because AANS Sisters are not permitted to resign, but on marriage they automatically leave the service. Special leave of 14 days granted to Miss McBride, TFNS, also to Miss Finlayson. 3 weeks’ sick leave granted by medical board to Miss Fraser, QAIMNSR. Application to be transferred for duty on Australian Transport ship received from Miss Mackenzie AANS. WO letter received accepting application of Miss Geeves, QAIMNSR to transfer to Home Establishment to be married and to be allowed to remain in the service. Authorised, providing she is not serving in same locality as her husband. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss White, QAIMNSR from November 26th. When free, Miss White should apply again. DDMS Boulogne, telephoned to say Duke of Westminster arrived from Paris on his way to England accompanied by special nurse and medical officer, and seemed in a weak state. Letter from DMS, Canadian Contingents, informing us of arrival of Miss Cameron Smith who was coming to visit all units. Forwarded Miss Nunn’s bronze medal to WO asking that it might be replaced by a silver one.* DDMS Boulogne, telephoned, informing us of somewhat sudden death of Miss St. John, VAD, at 14 Stationary Hospital suffering from scarlet fever. She had been admitted on the 6th. The night before she had developed certain heart complications but was not very ill, but during the night she became worse and died next day. Funeral was tomorrow but owing to nature of illness it was not considered advisable that it should be delayed in any way to enable the relations to attend.
* When women were appointed to the Regular QAIMNS as a Staff Nurse, the service badge they wore was of bronze. On promotion to the rank of Sister, this was replaced by a similar badge in silver. Within the Regular service at that time, no woman was allowed to retain her badge on resignation or retirement, except for service in excess of 20 years, and as by that time all would have reached a higher rank than Staff Nurse, it follows that in all cases of nurses who qualified to retain their badge, that badge would have been in silver. Thus, the only bronze QAIMNS service badges found today, in private collections or on the open market, are those originally awarded to certain male members of the nursing section of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who WERE allowed to retain their badges, even after a short period of service.
Miss McDermott, CAMC, proceeded to England on sick leave, now transferred to Home Establishment. Forwarded correspondence to Boulogne. WO letter re Miss Powell, CAMC – instructed to report to London. Miss Bolster to be sent in relief. Telephoned to DGMS in connection with mentions in despatches – asking how many names might be submitted. He said I could send as many as I considered to be necessary – to be forwarded in duplicate to IGC and another copy sent to him. I also let him know of the sudden death of Miss St. John. Received receipt for Sister’s badge from Miss E. M. Davis, 14 Stationary Hospital. Received official application from Miss Chatfield, QAIMNSR, to be permitted to withdraw her resignation. This she had sent in quite recently in consequence of serious illness of mother who had since died and she was again at liberty to take up her work. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Woodhouse, QAIMNS, on urgent private affairs. 48 hours’ leave granted to Miss Carleton, CAMC to visit her brother at 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital. Sent Rules to Miss Smartt, Miss Coward and Miss Reid, on taking up new charge work. Saw Miss Tanner, Sister in charge, 25 Ambulance Train and Miss Fezor, trained nurse, off 16 Ambulance Train. Everything on these trains seemed to be going satisfactorily and I told them that they would always be welcome at the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville, when the train was waiting and they could get a hot bath there. Saw Miss Gibb and Miss Parry Jones before they joined 11 CCS and 2/1 South Midland Field Ambulance – 11 CCS being a new unit, and Miss Jones going to the Field Ambulance to relieve Miss Holmes who has been recalled for duty elsewhere and instructed to report at War Office on 18th. Went with Miss Hill, VAD, to Boulogne, to attend the funeral of Miss St. John, VAD In consequence of being delayed on the road, only arrived in time to hear the Last Post being sounded. The DMS, L of C returned from leave.
WO telegram received notifying the arrival of 50 VADs on the 14th. Sent to DMS, 1st Army, Army Council Instruction with reference to the issue of brassards, identity discs and identity certificates to members of the Nursing Services, in answer to a question as to what was meant by identity kit in circular QN 22/5 of 5-10-16. Forwarded to DGMS confidential report on Miss Allis, QAIMNSR who proceeded to England on 6.10.16 on termination of contract. Also forwarded departure report of Miss MacRae, QAIMNS who was leaving on resignation. Correspondence forwarded to SMO, Abbeville, with reference to the employment of women servants in the Sisters’ quarters of 1 South African General – asked if it would release a man. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Bone, QAIMNSR to see her fiancé who was returning to the front. Forwarded to DGMS recommendation for promotion of Miss Yule, TFNS, Staff Nurse. Miss Reid, Sister in charge, with Miss Gascoigne, proceeded to 41 CCS to assist in getting things into order before the remainder of the staff joined. Sent 3 Sisters to 11 CCS from the Nurses’ Home. Telephoned to Principal Matron, Boulogne, the distribution of the VADs arriving today. WO letter asking for verification of statement made by the Matron, 26 General Hospital with reference to her being unable to obtain many-tailed bandages from DG of voluntary organisation society, and in consequence she had asked some private society to supply her with them. Miss Robertson, a lady belonging to the French Red Cross called to see me to ascertain how she could be transferred to a VAD and work in military hospitals. I gave her the necessary and advised her, if staying in France, to apply to Miss Crowdy, or if in England, to Mrs. Furse.
Lady Michelham came to the office with reference to her niece’s appointment on the VAD staff in France. She said that she had applied to Mrs. Furse at Devonshire House and had heard nothing further, and she was still anxious for her to be on the staff of the Convalescent Home at Cap Martin during the winter. Received a letter from the Matron-in-Chief, enclosing a letter from the Commissioner, Canadian Red Cross, with reference to Miss M. Lee, Canadian Red Cross attached QAIMNSR who wished to return to Canada in consequence of the illness of a relative, and who said that she had been told by her Matron it would be improper for her to think of resigning. Forwarded the correspondence to Matron, 6 General, asking her to enquire into the matter.
Forwarded to DGMS completion of Canadian moves, giving dates. Forwarded to DGMS application to resign from Miss Leah, QAIMNSR who was needed at home for 2 months to be with her parents. Forwarded and recommended application of Miss F. Beardshaw, QAIMNSR to be transferred to Home Establishment on account of delicate health of mother. WO letter received recalling Miss K. Matthews and Miss Collins, QAIMNS – to report to the War Office on the 18th instant. Repeated the telegram to areas where they were working. 14 days’ leave approved for Miss Burrell, 20 Ambulance Train, and Miss Turner, 3 General Hospital. Application to resign received from Miss Sellars, QAIMNSR, 13 Stationary Hospital, wishing to return to civil post. Forwarded and recommended. Recommendation for promotion to rank of Sister of Miss Francis Smyth received from 3 General Hospital. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss G. Dalton, 38 CCS, from October 17th. WO letter received instructing 12 Sisters of the CAMC from 2 and 7 Canadian General Hospitals to report at Headquarters in London – reliefs to be sent. Special leave granted to Miss Henderson, 14 General, and Miss Hardy, VAD 8 Stationary Hospital. Recommendation for 1 months’ sick leave for Miss M. K. Daly, QAIMNSR, 1 General Hospital, suffering from neurasthenia.
Circular sent out asking for subscriptions to the Queen Alexandra Annuity Fund – to all Bases, CCS, Ships, Barges and Trains. Application received from Miss Neville, VAD to transfer for duty to Malta as she was anxious to serve under her aunt, Miss Beadsmore Smith. This was forwarded and recommended – Miss Beadsmore Smith having already written to me and to the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, on the subject. Correspondence received with reference to the Villa at Etretat taken by the BRCS for a Convalescent Home for Sisters – this was recommended if it were not possible to obtain a suitable house in an area which might possibly be in a warmer part. Received letter from Miss Plaskitt, Sister in charge 44 CCS, saying that a canteen had now been opened at 3 CCS so that both units could now get extras for the Mess. Work not too heavy and they were able to get various things to make the ante-room more comfortable. Miss Riach, one of the Sisters, being sent down sick to the Base and a relief asked for. This was arranged.
Asked for confidential reports on Miss Matthews and Miss Collins, QAIMNS, on transfer to Home Establishment. Correspondence returned with reference to certain members of the Chicago Unit who had permission to travel to Nice and Juilly, from APM, who had been asked by the French military authorities if the British authorities had given this permission to travel in the French war zone. 14 days’ special leave granted to 3 ladies of the CAMC to proceed to the Rest Home, Margate. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Coneys, Miss Fairweather, Miss Shaw and Miss Brasher, all from the Rouen area. War Office letter notifying the appointment of Miss M. M. Clifford to the QAIMNSR received, this lady was working at the Hospital Militaire Anglais at Limoges. Application to resign received from Miss E. Jefferson, QAIMNSR Staff Nurse at 7 General Hospital, returned to SMO, St. Omer, asking if she were not suitable for promotion. Resignation of Miss R. A. Love, CHR, 7 General Hospital, requiring long rest, received and forwarded to DGMS. Telephone Message from DMS, 4th Army, saying that 5 CCS was moving to Albert and the nursing staff had been instructed to proceed to the Nurses’ Home, until required which would not be for 2 or 3 weeks. Correspondence received from DDMS, Rouen, saying that Sister Macpherson, 1 Australian General, had been admitted to 8 General on the 6th and proceeded to Convalescent Home, Hardelot, on the 14th – that she would proceed to 2 General on return, and her departure would be notified. Received agreement form for QAIMNSR from Miss Smith-Elliott, 3 General Hospital and forwarded it to DGMS. Correspondence sent to SMO, Treport, with reference to periods of leave at Hardelot and Le Touquet – that application should be made through the Principal Matron and DDMS of the area. List of names submitted for Mentions and Honours forwarded in duplicate from this office to IGC for transmission to the Military Secretary. Triplicate copy forwarded to DGMS at GHQ the remaining copy being kept in this office. Interviewed Miss Bone on her departure from 3 Ambulance Train and Miss Hoare, Sister in charge of 12 Ambulance Train.
Miss Hordley telephoned that Mrs. Ball, who had been put on Hospital Ship “Jan Breydel” by Matron-in-Chief, War Office, was a very bad sailor and had left the ship at Southampton and proceeded by hospital train to report in person to Miss Becher. Special leave granted to Miss Grundy, 26 General, Miss Armstrong, 4 General, Miss Chapman, 8 General, and Miss Yule, 35 General. Miss Latham, VAD recommended 10 days’ leave at Hardelot. WO letter received notifying re-appointment of Miss Flanagan, QAIMNSR – instructed to rejoin the BEF. WO letter received approving of transfer of Miss G. Blackie, NZANS, to return to New Zealand on urgent private affairs. WO letter received forwarding authority for Miss Michie, CAMC to be taken on strength of BEF. WO letter received notifying that Miss E. S. Wright, TFNS would not be returning to France. Telephoned to DMS 2nd Army, informing him that Miss Maude would be arriving for duty at 37 CCS in relief of Miss Plumley, who was to come to the Nurses’ Home. DMS 3rd Army telephoned for the remainder of the staff of 41 CCS to join tomorrow. Miss Skinner, QAIMNSR proceeded from Nurses’ Home to 44 CCS in relief of Miss Crawford, TFNS who was not well – orders sent for her to proceed to 8 Stationary Hospital. DMS 3rd Army, telephoned with reference to leave for Miss Wood serving at the Field Ambulance at Harbarcq. Arranged with him that Miss James, QAIMNS would relieve her on her return from leave, when Miss Wood could take her own leave. Miss Carthew, CHR, joined 3 Ambulance Train for temporary duty as Sister in charge. Sent rules and regulations to Miss P. Jones, Miss Macfarlane and Miss Gibb on their taking up new charge appointments.
50 VADs arrived at Boulogne. Forwarded to AQMG, IGC correspondence with reference to claim for 15/- for waterproof sheet for Miss Rind, VAD 14 General, hers having been destroyed in a fire. Asked DDMS, Etaples, for confidential report on Miss Parsons, QAIMNSR who had resigned from 26 General. 14 days’ special leave granted to Miss Bowen, QAIMNSR 42 CCS and to Miss Webb, 6 Stationary. Received application from OC, 15 CCS, for Sister with special knowledge of ophthalmic work to work at Ophthalmic centre in the 2nd Army. Ordered Miss MacDonald, QAIMNSR to proceed as she was specially recommended for the work. Sent orders for Miss Devenish Meares from 2/2 London CCS to proceed to 37 CCS to relieve Miss Howe, QAIMNS who was anxious to get 14 days’ leave to be present at her sister’s wedding. Asked AAG for permission for certain members of the French Canadian unit at St. Cloud to travel to Versailles and Nice. Permission given for CAMC Sister to proceed to Rest Home, Margate on 14 days’ leave. Wrote to Principal Matron, Havre, saying that leave could be granted to any of her staff – 1 or 2 at a time – provided she could manage without expecting reliefs to be sent. DMS, Reserve Army, asked that the staffs of 4 and 11 CCS could be increased by the 21st. Five Sisters from barges put temporarily out of commission sent to 2 Stationary Hospital. Rang up the Matron and told her they could take temporary duty and allow at least 2 of her staff to go on leave. Received telegram from Matron Haswell, Hotel Bedford, Paris, asking if permission had been granted for Miss Lind and Miss Hitchcock to travel by hospital train and ship. Telegraphed to DGMS asking that the matter might be expedited, the correspondence having been forwarded to him some days ago. Major Worthington left HQ, IGC for duty at the War Office.
Received confidential correspondence from DMS, 2nd Army, with reference to some unfortunate incident which had occurred at the Officers’ Hospital, attached to 12 CCS. He recommended that Miss Plumley, the Sister on night duty, might be given a change of station. Telegraphed to DMS, instructing Miss Plumley to proceed to the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville. Confidential reports received on Miss K. Matthews and Miss MacRae, QAIMNS. DGMS came to see me on his way to Paris in connexion with a newspaper cutting with reference to the death of Miss St. John, VAD, also about a cutting in the “Nursing Mirror” written by a VAD about the work she was doing out here. He also spoke of the work of the nursing staff at 2 Australian General Hospital, and of the employment of Canadian Sisters for temporary duty in the CCS. Saw Miss Evans, TFNS and Miss Edgar, QAIMNSR Sisters in charge of 27 and 6 Ambulance Trains. Saw Miss Plumley, from 12 CCS, who explained the difficulties she had had at the Officers’ Hospital. She had not had leave for some time, so arranged for her to have 14 days’. Letter received from Matron-in-Chief, War Office, saying that Miss S. Browne had Miss Whyte’s Military Medal, and was forwarding it. Letter received from Miss Harvey, TFNS, Matron of 30 General, saying that her staff objected to wearing woollen jerseys under their aprons. What was she to do? Replied that it was not necessary for me to tell her that it was not suitable for them to wear woollen jackets and they should provide other underwear.
Forwarded to DGMS list of VADs returning to England during October on termination of contract. Forwarded to DGMS reports on Miss Ivin, TFNS and Miss Clayton, QAIMNSR, on resignation: also Miss Ivin’s Badge to be returned to the Matron-in-Chief, TFNS. War Office telegram notifying that Miss Snape’s resignation was accepted from the 19th instant. Repeated to DDMS Etaples. Application to resign from Miss M. Payne, Staff Nurse, QAIMNSR, forwarded by DDMS, Havre. Reason, sickness of near relative. WO letter received notifying the return to France of Miss E. K. Roberts, TFNS, and Miss Bulteel, TFNS, after sick leave in England. WO letter received forwarding list of 20 VADs who arrived on the 18th. Application received from Miss Forbes, CHR, and Miss Cameron, CHR, both at 4 General, to transfer to MEF. Sisters from 5 CCS arrived from Corbie at the Nurses’ Home. All, with the exception of Miss Teevan, sent to different Units where there were vacancies. Miss Teevan given 14 days’ leave: to return to the Nurses’ Home. Sent letter to Matrons of all areas asking them when checking nominal rolls, to put against VADs and others any special qualifications, such as cooking, house-keeping, etc. Employment of charwomen at 1 South African General sanctioned, on the understanding that a batman should be released.
Left early for Etaples. Went to Headquarters where I saw the Principal Matron, and learnt that she had invited Miss Cameron Smith and Miss Nesbitt to lunch. The former lady is visiting CAMC Hospitals, assisting the DMS Canadian Contingents to write a report on their work and medical arrangements in France. Before lunch, inspected the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade Hospital with Miss Denne. Saw the Matron who took me round most of the wards. This Hospital is wonderfully equipped in every way and has every possible convenience for the benefit of the patients. No money has been spared to provide everything that is necessary. I saw a nice sort of bed-rest for raising the knees different from anything I have ever seen before, worked on the principle of an inclined plane, to be shipped in quite flat, and then raised to any level advisable, according to the injury of the limb. I also saw a very fine apparatus for raising a patient with either a fractured spine or a fractured femur, so that the bed could be made with hardly any movement and no discomfort for the patient. The Officers’ ward, with Mess and ante room attached, seems very well managed. The Nursing Staff are accommodated in huts attached to the rest of the Hospital, and the Hospital cook does the cooking for the whole staff – personnel, medical officers, and nursing staff.
After lunch went to Hardelot, to 25 General, taking with me both Miss Cameron Smith and the A/Principal Matron. Went to inspect the two villas which are being taken with a view to the accommodation of Officers suffering from skin diseases. This Unit is capable of taking in 1500 patients, and it has been decided to take in a large number of patients suffering from skin diseases. Two skin specialists are attached to the staff, and the question is being considered of transferring all officers suffering from skin diseases to this Unit, where they can have specialist’s advice, and all the special conveniences which have been provided for dealing with these trying complaints. The two villas are side by side in one enclosure: the rooms are small, but when re-papered and painted, this should become a very useful and comfortable Unit. There will be two Mess rooms and ante-rooms, special bath-rooms, and a suitable kitchen and sculleries, and day rooms set apart for the benefit of the officers and convenience of the Nursing Staff. While I was inspecting this Unit, the A/Principal Matron took Miss Cameron Smith round the rest of the Hospital. Before returning to Etaples we had tea in the Sisters’ Quarters which are exceedingly comfortable and well arranged. Three large villas are now set apart for the Nursing Staff, one villa having a room large enough for a Mess. The situation of this Hospital is delightful, and they have the advantage of having three gravel tennis courts placed at their disposal. Return by Etaples, and got back in time for dinner.
Forwarded to the DDMS Etaples, rules and application form for Miss E. E. Haskins, 26 General, who is applying for transfer to the regular service. Correspondence received from DDMS Etaples, notifying the transfer of Miss M. E. L. Macdonald 1 Canadian General, to Granville Special Hospital, Ramsgate. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss C. Spence, VAD. Miss Plumley unable to go on leave from Nurses’ Home, as she was suffering from a sore throat. Telephoned to DDMS Rouen, asking that Miss Spence, VAD, might be released at once, as she was anxious to get to India with as little delay as possible to be married. WO letter received notifying the return from sick leave of Miss Maddock, QAIMNSR, and Miss Trotter, QAIMNSR. Forwarded to Principal Matrons, Etaples and Boulogne, next of kin forms for the last arrivals: these were sent to us by Matron-in-Chief, War Office, saying that they had neglected to get these particulars before they left. DMS 2nd Army telephoned to say that 3 Nurses were wanted for 46 CCS. Miss Lyde, QAIMNS, A/Matron for the new Convalescent Hospital, Cap Martin, and Miss Sandbach, QAIMNS, one of the Sisters, arrived at the Nurses’ Home. Sent orders for Sister Baldrey, QAIMNSR, to take charge temporarily at the Nurses’ Home, as Miss Smythe was off-duty and to be transferred to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital at Etaples. Forwarded to Miss Nunn, A/Matron 2 Stationary Hospital, her silver Badge received from the War Office. The Nursing Services at Abbeville were invited to a concert given by the Band of the 1st Battalion Black Watch. Saw Miss Teevan, Sister i/c 5 CCS, on her way from Corbie on 14 days’ leave to England. Received letter from Mrs. Henderson, a Canadian lady who had brought over a certain number of Canadian Red Cross VADs to work in our Hospitals. She explained that 10 were leaving for France, gave me the names, and asked that they might be posted together in couples, as they were friends and would no doubt work much better together. Replied that I would deal with the matter, but as the ladies had already arrived, it would not perhaps be possible to arrange this.
Miss Smythe, A/Matron Nurses’ Home, sent to Villa Tino with neuritis in her arm, and accompanied by a Sister. Sent to DGMS correspondence in connection with the application for Miss Lind and Miss Hitchcock, New Zealand ladies, to travel by Hospital Ship to England, informing him that his authority permitting them to do so was received too late (on 20th). Matron Haxell had wired on 19th that Miss Lind and Miss Hitchcock were obliged to leave that day. Application from Miss E. M. Jefferson, QAIMNSR, to resign, having been a Staff Nurse for two years, and wanting more responsible work. SMO St. Omer now notified that she was suitable for promotion. Correspondence returned to St. Omer saying that her name had been noted, that there were no vacancies at present – perhaps this lady would like to be transferred to the Home Establishment. Official letter received from Miss J. Cameron Smith asking for permission to visit a Canadian CCS. Correspondence forwarded to DGMS asking for the required authority. Confidential reports on Miss Ivin, TFNS, Miss Allis, QAIMNSR, Miss Guest, TFNS and Miss Leith, QAIMNSR, returned from DGMS, asking for the originals. OC Northumbrian CCS telephoned to say that the Sister i/c, Miss Stewart Richardson, had phlebitis, and would be sent down to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital on Monday. Arranged for a Sister to proceed at once to take charge. The Matron, 5 Stationary Hospital “B” Section, telephoned for extra help as she had a bad case of erysipelas. Arranged for two Sisters from the Nurses’ Home to go temporarily.
Left at 11 o’clock for the 4th Army. Had lunch at Headquarters, where I saw the DMS and he told me that all the Clearing Stations would require to be kept up to full strength till the end of the month in consequence of the heavy work to be expected. Told him of a report which I had heard that 3 Nursing Sisters had been seen at Fricourt looking at German trenches with heavy shell fire going on. He agreed with me that drastic measures must be taken and undertook to issue instructions to all his Clearing Stations that Nursing Sisters were not permitted to go further forward than where they were at present stationed. Passed four divisions of Australians going forward: roads very bad and crowded with both troops and transport going forward.
After lunch went to Drovetown where I inspected the 2/2 London CCS and 34 CCS. These Units are now fully established and in good working order, and their Staffs are complete and quite prepared for heavy work expected. In both units there were a large number of badly wounded Officers and men too seriously ill to be moved. The Nursing Staffs are well accommodated and have comfortable Messes, and although so far forward they have no difficulty in obtaining provisions. These two Units are in sight of Albert, and while I was there a heavy bombardment was taking place and the sky was filled with both enemy and allied machines.
From there I went to Edgehill, where I saw 45 CCS and the 1st South Midland CCS. These Units are also working well. It is wonderful in what splendid order they have become in so short a time – roads made and proper water and light supply. In both instances huts have been built and are in full swing. All these CCS are open beside the Railway line, which makes evacuation exceedingly easy. They are well supplied with Red Cross goods. Continued to pass troops marching forward all the way back as far as Amiens.
On my return found letter from Colonel Evans about Miss St. John’s death. Letter from Miss Crowdy, Principal Commandant VADs, saying that when she and Mrs. Furse were in Rouen they were very upset to see how badly VADs were dressed – not in uniform. She suggested that I should put a senior VAD in charge of such matters in each Unit; also said that two VADs had been dining out, and had given rise to a good deal of comment. Also asked that Miss Spence’s resignation might be forwarded. I wrote in reply that I should be most grateful at any time, if she found anyone improperly dressed, that she would let me know: that with a large number, such as she and I had to deal with, the only way was to stop the offender and find out who she was and where she came from. As far as dining out was concerned, it was not permitted in military units. Would she kindly let all VADs know that they had only to consult their Matrons in all difficulties. With regard to Miss Spence, if she had asked her Matron, her application would have been forwarded and recommended in the usual way.
Mrs. Creagh, Matron of the South African General Hospital, came to see me. As I was obliged to take Australian nurses temporarily attached to 1 South African General for duty at the front in a CCS, I was anxious to ascertain if she could carry on with her present staff or if she would like some VADs. She said she would like to discuss the matter with the OC and would let me know later in the day, which she did, and I have undertaken to let her have 5 of the next VADs arriving in France. Applications to resign received from Etaples from Miss Tait, Miss Angus, Miss Douglas, Miss Cumming and Miss Stroker, all QAIMNSR. Forwarded to DGMS. In the case of Miss Angus, who was resigning because she had not been promoted, it was pointed out that her name had not been forwarded for promotion. WO letter received notifying the arrival on the 28th of Miss Barclay and Miss Bray, both QAIMNS. WO letter received instructing Miss Thorold and Miss Templeton-Hannah, both QAIMNS, to report for duty at the Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, and the Connaught Hospital, respectively, on the 28th inst. Forwarded to Principal Matron, Rouen, Miss Crowdy’s letter and my reply re VADs uniform in Rouen.
25 VADs arrived. Orders were sent to Boulogne as to where they were to be posted. Sent orders for Miss Vernon-Harcourt to proceed to 6 CCS as Sister in charge, on relief, Miss Luard to go on leave. Asked SMO Treport, if it were possible for him to arrange that all Sisters proceeding on leave should go via Boulogne instead of Havre, as travelling by Havre meant spending a night at Dieppe and this arrangement was not very satisfactory. Received as a special case approval for Mrs. Hagar, Matron of Harvard Unit, for claim of £11-16-8 while on conducting duty in London. Approved by AQMG. Forwarded correspondence from DDMS Rouen, with reference to 11 additional cubicles to 25 Stationary Hospital, saying that hutted accommodation could not be approved and also asking that the Commandant might be approached to deal with the matter in connection with the posting of a sentry at night near the Sisters’ quarters. Interviewed Miss Lord, Miss Polwhele and Miss Bulkeley, VADs, with reference to going for duty at Officers’ Convalescent Hospital, Cap Martin. They seemed pleased to be going but expressed a wish to return to 2 Stationary Hospital, where they had been extremely happy.
Left for Reserve Army at 2 p.m. Went to Headquarters where I saw the DADMS and Surgeon-General Bowlby and learnt that heavy work was expected on the 25th and that all units in the Army should have a staff of at least 12.
Then went to Varennes to see the 2 new Casualty Clearing Stations which had been opened up – Nos. 4 and 11. The roads were dreadful and I got there with some difficulty. I found both Casualty Clearing Stations fairly well established side by side, and the accommodation for the two Staffs is together and most excellent, in the new form of huts composed of galvanised iron as well as wood in circular form, the Sisters’ part being well divided from the camp with a canvas fence. Roads have been made – all the marquees are pitched, and they have completed the operating theatres and special huts in both stations. These units are quite close to the railway siding and are capable of taking a very large number of men, and could expand to any extent. They are both very far forward – close to Acheux and a heave bombardment was going on, which seemed to have been continuing for some time. The roads were crowded with transport and other obstacles and I saw a tank. The OCs expressed themselves fully satisfied with the staffs and have already discovered that they have some first-rate Sisters capable of operating theatre work. In both units they have operating marquees with 4 tables going, and have so arranged the marquees that the tables are separated one from another and the patients cannot see what is going on from one table to another.
Went to the Citadel, where I arrived after dark, and stayed the night. This unit improves more and more each time – there were only about 100 patients as they had just evacuated and were ready for work expected.
Rang up Headquarters and arranged for nurses to be sent to 4, 9, 29, 11 and 47, and to the Special Operating Centre at Authie. Then went to 29 CCS where I saw the Sister in charge and the OC – Col. Brunskill. Everything was going satisfactorily, and the Australian Sisters who were attached to the unit to help in the Australian CCS which had just taken up the position next to 29 CCS, had just arrived. The Officers’ Hospital belonging to 29 was as satisfactory as usual – only about 30 officers – all sick, the wounded having been evacuated. Went with the Sister in charge to the Australian CCS where I saw the CO who took me round. He was loud in praise of the British nurses and was anxious that 2 working with him should remain, and that the Sister in charge should place the remainder of the nurses where she thought most suitable. He specially asked that when the unit moved, he might have the same staff. He showed me a wonderful light – somewhat like acetylene, called Glory light, an American invention, largely used in America when electric light is not available; very simple – easily portable – with small tank for the gas and piston for propelling it into the tube. The theatre was lighted with it – each light 36 candle power, and instead of using a primus stove for the sterilizer, they were able to keep up the light from the same tank. It never gets out of order, only the petrol used must be pure.
From there I went to 47 CCS recently opened at Beauval, which had been evacuated by 4 CCS. It was raining hard and things were not looking as comfortable and nice as they might. The Sister in charge told me that of the new staff who had recently arrived, two were already sick and had been sent to Treport.
From there I went to Contay and visited 2, 49 and 9 CCS Still raining hard. Lots of work going on and everything satisfactory. The difficulty of the laundry had been overcome and also of extras for the nurses’ Mess. The nursing staff of these units are well accommodated and these CCS are well supplied with water and electric light. They are also right against the railway siding. At the time of my visit, No.22 Ambulance Train was at the siding, waiting to load up. I visited the train and saw the Sister in charge and the 2 nurses. Everything was in excellent order and the accommodation for the nurses quite excellent. Each had a compartment, and they had a very nice Mess, all of which they had made exceedingly pretty.
Then to Warloy, where I saw the new Sister in charge, and where I found she had too large a staff so I arranged to remove 3. As usual this unit was full of dying men, and I was surprised to find that the staff had been getting into the habit of not going on duty till 8 o’clock. This I pointed out must be altered at once. They live in a billet outside the hospital, and have the cleaning done by soldier men. The nuns here assist the Sisters in the wards and are learning a great deal from them, they say. Called at Headquarters where I learnt that the DGMS was wanting to see me. Rang him up and arranged to go to GHQ the next morning. Returned to the Citadel where I stayed the night. The unit is exceedingly happy and the arrangement for the accommodation of the nurses a very good one.
Left at 9 o’clock for GHQ. Called in at Frevent on the way and visited 6 Stationary Hospital, where I saw the Matron and she showed me over the new quarters just completed. It is hutted – one hut for sleeping accommodation and a second hut for Mess and ante-room, with pantry, kitchen, bathrooms and lavatories. Everything is most comfortable and the staff had already begun to make it very pretty, having obtained from London pretty chintzes for curtains. This hospital has improved a great deal and is becoming a very excellent unit, and the Officers’ Hospital in the school close by is working well.
Arrived at GHQ at 10.30 – saw DGMS who gave me 4 more names which had been forwarded to him and which he considered should be included in the list of mentions, as the Duchess of Sutherland’s Hospital, through some mistake, had been omitted. The Matron and 2 VADs from this hospital and 1 VAD from 14 General were those to be added. I also saw Surgeon-General Macpherson and while in the office, asked about the correspondence in connection with the Principal Matrons for Boulogne, Rouen and Etaples to be appointed for administrative duties only. This paper seems to have been delayed. Got back to HQ, IGC at lunch time.
During my absence Lady Rodney had been to Abbeville to visit the YMCA huts, and had sent to ask me to see her, but I was away so could not do so. Capt. Mowat Biggs, from the Barges, called. WO letter received notifying that Miss Dickie, CAMC was to be transferred to England and Miss B. Mattice to come in relief. Informed officially that Miss Hartley, QAIMNSR sent home sick in May last, has been transferred to Home Establishment and posted to York. Received application to resign from VAD Dennison, in consequence of her sister’s ill health. Received from DGMS correspondence from Assistant Financial Secretary asking if Misses Rasmussen, Barker, McGuity and Johnson, of the Chicago Unit had rendered satisfactory service while on the staff of 23 General Hospital. Received from DGMS information about the Home of Rest for nurses now being opened by Mr. and Mrs. G. Warre at Mentone, and giving the instructions as to how Sisters were to be sent, Army Sisters as well as Red Cross Sisters to be admitted. Staffs of 3, 4, 9, 35 and 49 Casualty Clearing Stations were increased by 2, to be in readiness for heavy work expected.
In consequence of shortage of trained nurses, the Matron of 1 New Zealand Stationary was asked if she could spare any more for temporary duty – 6 having already been employed temporarily. She replied she was unable to do so in consequence of the heavy work. WO Telegram received notifying the arrival of 6 nurses from England. Sent orders for them to join various units, thus releasing 6 nurses who were ordered to the Nurses’ Home to await orders. Forwarded to DGMS letter from Miss J. Cameron Smith asking for permission to visit a Casualty Clearing Station whilst in the country (This lady is writing a history of the work of the CAMC). Mrs. de Winton, late Matron of 2 BRCS Hospital, called with Miss Fletcher, Principal Matron, on their way from Rouen to Boulogne. Mrs. de Winton was anxious to see me as after a little rest, she wishes to transfer to the Reserve. I advised her to apply officially and I would pass it through to the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, explaining the work she had done since she had been in France. Heard of arrival of Miss Coulson, TFNS and Miss Flamank, TFNS from sick leave, and sent postings for them. Returned recommendations for promotion of Miss Smyth, Miss Cameron, Miss Swales and Miss Hill, saying it was regretted that at present there were no vacancies. Sent to all areas asking the largest number each hospital could accommodate in the way of Nursing Staff. DMS, 3rd Army, rang up to know whether the Sisters of 12 Stationary Hospital could go to the cinema. Said it was a very excellent and well regulated entertainment, and he would arrange for them to be taken there and brought back by ambulance – it was a special entertainment. This was sanctioned. Received letter from Miss Steen, late Matron of 2 General, saying she was passed fit for duty, and had been taken on to Home Establishment and was joining at Reading.
WO letter received asking if A/Sister Newby, CHR, had returned to England. Replied saying she was transferred to Home Establishment and proceeded to England on 21-9-16, and instructed to report in writing to the War Office on arrival. This information had already been forwarded to GHQ. WO letter received approving transfer to Home Establishment of Miss M. F. Beardshaw, QAIMNSR. Informed of arrival from sick leave of Miss Venables, VAD and Miss E. D. Harper, QAIMNSR. Resignation of Miss Elsdon, QAIMNSR accepted, also that of Miss C. MacRae, QAIMNS.
Colonel Stewart called with reference to the Home for Nurses, also with reference to Mrs. Henderson, a Canadian lady interested in VADs and who had permission to visit Boulogne and Etaples. She wished to go and visit the VADs who arrived last week in Rouen. Wrote and said it would not be possible to grant a permit but the A/Principal Matrons of both areas would be only too delighted to show her anything she wished to see in our units and both had been instructed to call upon her. Asked SMO Treport, for official reports on 4 Sisters of Chicago Unit, from Miss Patton, late Matron of Chicago Unit, now at 2 Canadian General. Staff required for 3 Ambulance Train which had come out of garage and was waiting at the station – a Sister in charge and 2 nurses were ordered to join from the Nurses’ Home. Miss Bostead’s resignation was returned, saying that her name had not yet been submitted for promotion, but, when the time came, it would receive every consideration. This lady was resigning in consequence of still being a Staff Nurse. Forwarded to DGMS confidential report on Miss Templeton-Hannah, QAIMNS on transfer to Home Establishment.
In reply to a letter received from A/Principal Matron, Boulogne, with reference to hiring houses for the accommodation of those nursing staffs in Boulogne still living at hotels, I let her know that at St. Omer empty houses had always been taken by the billeting officer, and a certain amount of furniture in lieu of billeting allowance, and the nursing staff made their own arrangements with regard to messing, etc., as in all other canvas or hutted hospitals. Report asked for by Devonshire House on VAD Ringland. Returned saying that her work was satisfactory while in France, and added that it was requested that married ladies of VAD should not be sent to France for duty. Returned correspondence to DGMS with reference to article written by a VAD in the “Nursing Mirror”, informing him that no hospital on the L of C answered to the description, except perhaps 8 General, and I had not been able to elicit from any of the VADs there who was responsible. Received from Miss Hartigan, A/Matron, 26 General Hospital, with reference to the death of Miss St. John, VAD and attaching copy of cutting from “The Times” giving an account of the responsible work which she had done, which was not quite in order. Application to transfer to Home Establishment from Staff Nurse G. M. Webster, CHR, on account of health. Wrote to Miss Becher with reference to her suggestion of exchanging 100 nurses, beginning with those of 1914 class and those who were looking tired, and she would give us 100 in exchange. Pointed out that, if possible, it would assist materially if 20 could join us and would then release 20 of ours as we were extremely short-handed on the Lines of Communication, VADs being equal in number to trained. Also referred to the letter she had enclosed from “An anxious mother” (with reference to Miss Mills, TFNS) and said I was writing to Miss Rannie, Principal Matron at Rouen, to advise this lady to transfer to the Home Establishment.
Left for 3rd Army at midday. Went to Headquarters where I had lunch and learnt that 30 and 42 CCS were shortly to be taken over by the 1st Army. After lunch, went to the Field Ambulance at Harbarcq, where Miss James, QAIMNS had lately taken over. Found them very busy with a great many serious cases. The OC expressed great regret at Miss Wood’s departure and had hoped that, after leave, she would have returned.
From there, I went to 41 CCS at Wanquetin, a very fine unit, composed chiefly of French huts, with a very good operating theatre – very near the front – a large observation balloon just over the CCS and while I was there I saw a parachute come down. The nursing staff were just ready to take in and had their first patient – a man with bronchitis. They are extremely well accommodated in a nice house – good Mess and comfortable rooms, with a batman who is a very good cook. Miss Read, QAIMNSR the Sister in charge, had collected all sorts of nice things to make the house comfortable and pretty.
From there I went to 37 CCS at Avesnes, where Miss Devenish Meares had just recently taken over, from Miss Howe, QAIMNS, who had gone on leave. The nursing staff are accommodated in the new huts – Nissen huts – both bedrooms and Mess extremely comfortable.
I then went to 12 Stationary Hospital. It was getting dark when I went round. The wards were in first-rate order, and everything excellent. A large branch is being opened up for the new discovery of Capt. Shearer in connection with X-Ray work done by entirely new methods. This unit is now entirely hutted and they have a most comfortable Mess and ante-room with sculleries. The whole of the nursing staff are in huts and the Matron has her own special hut with sitting-room and bedroom, both very nicely arranged and prettily lighted with electric light. Got back in time for dinner.
Forwarded regulations and agreement form for QAIMNSR for Miss Bowes, Sister, 2 BRCS Hospital through Miss Fletcher, Principal Matron, BRCS. Received letter from Capt. Quinn, OC Hospital Ship “Newhaven”, saying he hoped that Miss Badger might remain as Matron. He had written as she had been on the ship 6 months, and he thought there might be a possibility of her being moved. Received application for transfer to QAIMNS of Miss H. Fox, QAIMNSR. The Sisters from Barges 142 and 143 were ordered to proceed to other units as their barges are temporarily out of commission. Telegraphed to DGMS that Miss H. Macgregor, QAIMNSR had been granted 7 days’ leave pending resignation in consequence of family anxieties. DMS, 1st Army, telephoned in connection with granting of leave to Sisters in Casualty Clearing Stations in his area. Asked if I could give him any reliefs. Said that as soon as the expected work on the Somme was over, I would fill up the staff of each CCS with as little delay as possible, and in the meantime if there were any units where the work was sufficiently light to allow it, I should be grateful if he would send one member of the staff on leave.
During the night was called up by Major Galloway asking if I could possibly supply a nurse to the YMCA ladies’ house, where a lady who had only arrived 14 days’ ago was seriously ill; if not influenza, it was cerebro-spinal meningitis. Arranged for Miss Keene, from the Nurses’ Home to go at once and said would see what could be done in the morning. In the morning found that she was no better and Sir John Bradford had been sent for from Etaples. Col. Leishman and Col. Beveridge went to see her at once and decided she was not fit to be moved. Instructed another nurse from the Home, Miss Rosenthal, to relieve Miss Keene, and arranged for the 2 nurses to be accommodated and fed at the YMCA ladies house. Went down at dinner time and found that Miss Rowe (the lady who was ill) was no better. Her Sister was fortunately with her and her brother – a Town Major on the Somme – was able to come down. Her condition was critical – every precaution was taken and the remainder of the ladies living in the house were isolated and not allowed to work at the YMCA hut, until considered free from infection.
Heard that a packet boat, “The Queen”, had been torpedoed and sunk – no passengers on board – mails all lost but crew saved. Miss Baldrey, A/Matron of the Nurses’ Home, came to see me about the Home. She told me she had been able to get mattresses for all the camp beds and had also been able to take on charge 6 hospital beds, as well as a certain amount of bed linen, for the comfort of the nurses accommodated there. The hot water arrangement is now quite satisfactory and all Sisters from trains and barges, as well as those passing through, can always obtain hot baths.
Miss Rowe*, the YMCA lady, died at 5 a.m. and was buried at 3 p.m. A certain number of the nursing staff from all units in Abbeville attended the funeral. Miss Keene and Miss Rosenthal, the nurses who had attended her, received orders to proceed at once to 16 General, where they were to be isolated until free from infection. Miss Barbier, Miss Skinner and I went to the funeral.
Learnt that the Hospital Ship “Galeka” had struck a mine on her way to Havre almost in the harbour. The nursing staff and most of the crew were picked up by the “Asturias”, which was just behind. 20 RAMC men were lost – one RAMC had to have both feet amputated in consequence of being crushed whilst lowering the boats. Sent correspondence in connection with Miss Cameron Smith’s wish to visit a Clearing Station to Boulogne to ask for the authority for her presence in France, and also to visit other hospitals. Informed DGMS that every enquiry had been made and that Misses Lind and Hitchcock, the 2 New Zealand ladies, had not been transferred by hospital ship or train. Unfortunately the authority came too late as they had been obliged to leave to enable them to catch the New Zealand boat. Received recommendation for promotion to rank of Sister of Miss M. Wilson, 2/1 South Midland CCS. WO letter received with reference to Miss C. MacRae and Miss Rooke, masseuses at 2 Australian General Hospital, if not required to be transferred to England. Forwarded to Boulogne to ascertain if they were required. WO letter received notifying that CAMC Sisters Leslie, Gerrand, and Lloyd were to report to Moore Barracks, and would be replaced. WO letter notifying return from sick leave of Miss Rapson, QAIMNSR and Miss Milburn, QAIMNSR. Sent instructions for their postings. Asked Base Paymaster, AIF, if AANS serving in the front area might draw their allowances from a Field Cashier. If this could be done, it would be much easier, as Sisters in the front area were not permitted to leave their units. Sent memo to all Principal Matrons to arrange so that 4 VADs might go on leave at a time, if possible. Miss Maude, VAD, arrived for duty at the office.
* Edith Fanny Rowe, daughter of C. E. Rowe, of Exeter
Left at 8.30 for 2nd Army. Saw the DMS who was anxious for me to go and see all CCS at Hazebrouck, especially 12 CCS with the Officers’ Hospital attached and to find out if I was satisfied with the arrangements for nursing in this hospital. He also asked me to go to Proven to see No.46 CCS which had recently opened. He also told me that a new Canadian CCS would be ready for the nursing staff shortly, and I told him that all were waiting at 10 Stationary Hospital, where they were temporarily employed.
Went to 15 CCS where I saw Miss Robb, Sister in charge, who had recently taken over. This unit is a large one, taking in local sick, self inflicted wounds, and has a large eye department. Everything seemed to be going smoothly and satisfactorily and the whole of the staff are suitable. Arranged with the Sister in charge for her to put in leave for one at a time, and if at any time the work was heavier than she could deal with, she could communicate through the OC and DMS, and I would send a relief. Had lunch with them in a very nice house close to their work, a comfortable little Mess with nice table appointments, and the family are very kind to the Sisters. This billet has been used for the last 2 years and each new unit taking the place of the one sent forward has occupied it, the house being always reserved for the nursing staff.
From there I went to 12 CCS The Officers’ Hospital seemed entirely satisfactory. The Sister in charge is on leave and not yet back in consequence of the port being closed for the heavy weather in the Channel. I found the A/Sister in charge in bed with a chill but she felt she would be quite well the next day. The OC took me round the hospital – everything satisfactory and he appeared entirely satisfied with the Sister in charge, Miss Custance, and the remainder of the staff. This unit has vastly improved and in the building the wooden partitions have been removed, making a splendid ward, capable of accommodating 120 beds with mattresses. There were a large number of beds, the remainder on stretchers with mattresses and foot and head pieces. Improvised lockers have been made out of Red Cross boxes with American cloth on the top, and each had a brightly polished tin as an ash tray, and there were scarlet blankets as counterpanes. Everything in first-rate order. The nursing staff of this unit are accommodated in billets and Mess in the hospital. They have a nice room and the cook cooks for them.
From there I went to the Northumbrian CCS where Miss Duncan, QAIMNSR had just taken over from Miss Stewart Richardson. This Clearing Station has never been as satisfactory as the others. The building is an old one and the whole arrangements do not seem so good. There is no doubt however that everything is done for the comfort and well-being of the patients. The staff is a small one – only 4, accommodated in a billet, not good and extremely excessive in price. Went and saw the Town Major about the matter, and he was going to meet the Sister in charge, and see if a better arrangement could be made in another house.
Went to St. Omer and stayed the night at 10 Stationary Hospital. Soon after my arrival, got telephone Message from DMS, 1st Army, to say that he was coming at 9.30 to see me as he was obliged to go to the 3rd Army tomorrow and was afraid of missing me. When I saw him I found there were a certain number of changes which he thought necessary, and he was anxious for me to inspect 22 and the 1/2 London CCS with a view as to whether I thought the staffs should be increased so as to enable the rest of the staff to get leave as many had not had any for some time.
Left early for the 2nd Army. Went to DMSs office where I let him know what I had been able to arrange with reference to the Casualty Clearing Stations at Hazebrouck. Rang up GHQ and asked DGMS whether he approved of the Misses Lawley and Leatham going to Paris to meet Sir Arthur and Lady Lawley who had just arrived from South America. Said perhaps it would be a good thing to allow it as a special case and to caution the unit not to talk too much about this special privilege. He approved and arranged for them to have 7 days’ special leave and to travel by train. Rang up HQ, IGC to ascertain if there were any important messages, and then went to Proven to inspect 46 CCS. This unit is some way behind Poperinghe – and is hutted and can expand to a large extent with fine hospital marquees. It has every possible convenience – electric light, water laid on, and a first-rate operating theatre and medical and surgical wards, with accommodation for officers. It was fearfully wet and a tremendous lot of mud everywhere. Every detail is being considered and this should be a first-rate unit. The nursing staff – only 3 at present – are accommodated in Alwyn huts and a nice hut is being built as a Mess with kitchen close by. The man who cooks for the officers will cook for the Sisters as well. I arranged to increase the staff by one.
From there I went to Remy to No.10 and No.17 CCS, and No.3 Canadian CCS. All most satisfactory, the OC in each instance being thoroughly satisfied with the work of the Staff and the Sister in charge. They are well accommodated in huts with comfortable Messes where they have made everything extremely pretty. From there I went back to 10 Stationary Hospital for the night.
Left early for the 1st Army. At Aire, inspected the Highland CCS where Miss McCormack, QAIMNS has recently taken over. There is also a new OC. Everything seemed satisfactory. The Sister in charge is arranging so that all the staff can go on leave one after the other. The present staff has only just joined and are proving entirely satisfactory, so on completion of leave, will return to the unit.
Went to Headquarters, 1st Army, where I saw the DMS, who informed me that he was taking over two Casualty Clearing Stations – 20 and 42, which until yesterday were in the 2nd Army. He is arranging for all the Sisters in Clearing Stations to have leave in succession and with the exception of Nos. 1, 22 and 1/2 London CCS, it can be managed without extra staff unless there is unexpected heavy work. I have undertaken to increase these three CCS by one Sister in each to enable these units also to arrange for leave. I then saw Surgeon-General Bowlby at the office, and he told me that the Reserve Army was now to be known as the 5th Army and that the DMS was going home, and was being succeeded by Colonel Skinner, who was given the temporary rank of Surgeon-General. He said that if the weather continued fine, heavy work might be expected.
Went to West Riding CCS at Lillers, where Miss Cook, TFNS had recently taken over. Everything going smoothly. The nursing staff are accommodated in billets in the town and have a Mess where they all Mess together. The arrangement has existed since the unit was opened and is satisfactory in every way.
Then went to 1 CCS, at Chocques, where Miss French, QAIMNS has recently taken over. This unit was in the usual satisfactory condition, and had a certain number of wounded and a good many sick. The work in this unit is heavier than it might otherwise be as the evacuation now taken place every third day. Had lunch in the Sisters’ Mess – all arrangements excellent. The accommodation for the nursing staff is entirely hutted – both Mess, ante-room and bedrooms are most comfortable and have been made extremely pretty. The cook who cooks for the sick officers cooks for the nursing staff as well, so that they are particularly fortunate. They draw rations, a certain number being on subsistence diet and they all pay a franc a day into the Mess.
I then went to 18 CCS at Lapugnoy, where Miss Meeke, QAIMNSR had recently taken over, as Sister in charge. Everything was most satisfactory – they had recently evacuated and in consequence there were very few patients in the hospital. 26 Ambulance Train was at the siding being loaded up.
At 23 CCS, Lozinghem, Miss Whyte, QAIMNS had recently taken over and here also everything was satisfactory – not many patients. It was taking-in day and the ambulances were beginning to arrive. The nursing staff are very comfortably – I might say luxuriously – accommodated in a beautiful chateau in the grounds where the lady of the house has placed a certain number of rooms at their disposal. They have a beautiful Mess – polished floors and handsome furniture. There are two women servants who look after the Mess and cook, engaged by the Sister in charge and paid by the Government.
Then went to 6 CCS at Barlin where Miss Vernon Harcourt has recently taken over. She has just returned from sick leave and had done a short time at one of the Base Hospitals before rejoining a Clearing Station. She was looking rather tired but said she felt perfectly well. Her staff, she said, was satisfactory in every way and at present the work at the unit was not heavy. Great assistance had been given by concentrating the work and putting medical and surgical cases in huts side by side. This arrangement is answering very well as the work at present is not anything like as heavy as it was a few months ago. There is an excellent operating theatre with a fine ward for acute operation cases opening off it. The nursing staff are accommodated in miners’ cottages which are suitable in every respect.
Then to 22 CCS at Bruay. There are practically no changes since my last visit, except that the nursing staff are now in Nissen huts instead of under canvas. Each hut is capable of accommodating 4 people and is divided in such a way that each has a room to herself. The Mess hut and ante-room are about to be erected and for the present they are in the marquee which is both comfortably and suitably furnished and supplied with a very good French grate.
In all these units the nursing arrangements appear to be excellent and the care and comfort of the patient is undoubtedly the first consideration of everyone concerned. The operating theatres are well established and supplied with every possible convenience – well lighted, the water supply is good, and in every hospital they have now established a suitable mortuary. At every CCS I saw the Officer in charge, and in each instance he expressed himself satisfied with the Sister in charge and the nurses in general.
Returned to Headquarters at 8 p.m. During my absence – 3 weeks’ leave had been granted for Miss A. B. Austin, TFNS. Application to resign received and forwarded to DGMS from Miss L. E. Power, QAIMNSR who wishes to return to Australia to her previous employment. Received a letter from the A/Principal Matron, Havre, giving details of the arrival of the 10 Sisters from the Hospital Ship “Galeka” which had recently been injured by a mine. All the nursing Sisters arrived in a good condition and were none the worse for their adventure. They had not been in the water at all and had been taken off in boats, very lightly clad in consequence of the accident happening at an early hour when they were all in bed. Many of the nurses in Abbeville, as well as members in the office, assisted in decorating the graves of the soldiers for All Saints’ Day. WO letter received notifying that Miss D. Clapham, TFNS, who had been granted special leave, would not now be returning to France. Correspondence received from DDMS, Boulogne, saying that 4 more rooms were asked for by the OC of 32 Stationary Hospital. New accommodation has now been provided for 14 Sisters so that the 4 more rooms could be built now whilst the building is going on, if the DMS approved. Also asking what number of staff would now be allowed to 32 Stationary Hospital.
Received a letter from DMS, Reserve Army, saying that the Army Commander had complained that the nursing Sisters at Contay – 49 and 9 CCS – were under canvas, and he asked me if I would kindly let him have a report on the subject. He said that the huts were under order and also asked if he were right in saying that all Sisters were provided with gum boots and Beatrice stoves. I replied that all over France a certain number of Sisters were in tents, that nursing Sisters for the Armies were specially selected amongst the strongest and most adaptable, that they were always impressed with the importance of being suitably clad and well supplied with things under as well as over their camp beds, that it was always pointed out to them it was probably they might have to live under canvas until other accommodation was provided and that I had constantly come across Sisters who preferred living in tents to huts or billets.
Received letter from the Matron-in-Chief, AIF, in reply to mine pointing out that the arrangement for the times on and off duty, as well as meals, were absolutely different at 2 Australian General to ours. She wrote thanking me for my letter and said she had been going into the question with Miss Gould and found that she had altered all these matters without reference to her, and as a matter of fact, both their times on and off duty and hours for meals were practically as ours, with the exception that, when it could be arranged, their staff are expected to have a half day every other day from 1 o’clock and a whole day once a week. WO letter received authorising the promotion of Miss Yule, TFNS to rank of Sister. WO letter received notifying the return to France from sick leave of Miss J. C. Adams, A. E. Cottrell, M. S. Lumsden, K. F. Hayne, E. F. Jones, and A. McInnon, QAIMNSR and Miss E. F. Graves and K. McCall, VADs. Asked all areas whether members of the QAIMNSR who had recently arrived in France had previously signed their contracts before leaving England, and attached forms to be signed if this had not been done. WO letter received accepting resignation of Miss M. Davies, TFNS.
Miss Cust, YMCA lady driver, called to ask me privately what arrangements were made for nurses arriving and departing from Havre as she understood that many arrived very sea-sick and no conveniences whatever were made for them. She said the YMCA ladies would like very much to welcome them at their headquarters, where they could have a good rest in their sitting-rooms and be fed, but before taking up the matter in any sort of definite way, she wanted to find out from me if it were necessary. She even went so far as to say that, if convenient to the Nursing Service, the YMCA authorities would be only too glad to open a house for the convenience of the Nursing Sisters. I explained to her that the Principal Matron at Havre was responsible for all these things, thanked her for her kind thought and said I would ascertain from Havre if any assistance of this kind were necessary and that I would communicate with her later on the subject. She spoke in very high terms of the Nursing Service and felt that we had always done so much for all their ladies when in distress that she knew the YMCA would be only too delighted to help in this matter if really needed. The 25 VADs arrived and were posted to different areas. Mr. Rowe, brother of the lady who died of cerebro-spinal meningitis, called to thank me for all that had been done for her by the Nursing Sisters. He said that both he and his sister and brother were most grateful.
47 CCS, on 12.10.16: Staff supplied - 9
11 CCS, on 13.10.16: Staff supplied - 12
46 CCS, on 22.10.16: Staff supplied – 4
2 Barges on 1.10.16: Staff released - 4
2 Barges on 2.10.16: Staff released - 4
2 Barges on 3.10.16: Staff released - 4
2 Barges on 28.10.16: Staff released - 4
Trained - 98 from England (including 4 members of the QAIMNS): 1 from France
Untrained - 210 from England
Total - 309
Transfers to Home Establishment - 9 Trained plus 1 NZANS (including 5 members of QAIMNS)
Sent Home sick
Trained - 19
Untrained - 16
(This does not include Colonials or members of the Nursing Staff on 3 weeks’ sick leave)
Returned from sick leave
Trained - 17
Untrained - 6
Total sick at present in UK
Trained - 83
Untrained - 51
Resignations sent forward
10 Trained (including Miss MacRae, QAIMNS, resigning to be married)
Approximate No. of leaves granted - 130
VADs returned to England
On termination of contract - 10
Resigned - 3
Transferred to Home Establishment - 2
Invalided - 2
Total - 17
Miss E. St. John, VAD
Miss Rowe, YMCA