CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3989
JANUARY 1st – 15th 1917
New Agreement Applications received from members of the Regular Reserve who were enrolled before the War, asking if it is necessary for them to sign the new agreement form, as their original agreement is renewable every 3 years and they sign on the undertaking that they are willing to serve for the duration of war. Asked DGMS for a ruling on this subject.
Hospital Ships Sent Command Paymaster a list of changes which have recently taken place on hospital ships.
Renewal of Contracts: Sent DGMS list of names of Nursing Sisters who joined for Army service in February and March, 1915 and 1916, and who are unable to renew their contracts.
New Zealand Stationary Hospital: Application with reference to further reinforcements for the New Zealand Stationary Hospital forwarded to DGMS asking that 6 Sisters might be supplied. These were asked for on December 21st, and it was now requested that the matter might be expedited as 6 members of the QAIMNSR were doing temporary duty and might be required at any moment.
Miss E. D. Smaill, ARRC Application received from Miss E. D. Smaill, ARRC, TFNS, for transfer to Home Establishment, in consequence of her mother’s illness and her anxiety if possible to get work nearer home. Returned correspondence saying she was one of the 15 selected to be transferred on the 15th January.
Miss E. A. Harvey: Confidential report on Miss E. A. Harvey, QAIMNS, was returned from the War Office, asking the Matron-in-Chief to explain her statement regarding this lady’s work and behaviour. Applied officially through the DDMS Rouen, to Miss Rannie, A/Principal Matron, 6 General Hospital, asking her to give specific instances of this lady’s unsuitability.
Resignation: War Office letter received accepting the resignation of A/Sister E. S. Riddall, QAIMNS, her reason being her approaching marriage.
Withdrawal of resignation: War Office letter received with reference to Staff Nurse Angus’ withdrawal of resignation, saying there is no objection to her services being retained, but the question of promotion does not rest with the War Office.
Canadian Reinforcements: War Office letter received notifying the arrival of 13 Nursing Sisters of the CAMC for duty. These ladies had already arrived on the 19th of December.
VAD Latham: Received statement from Lt. Col. Pinches, OC 35 General Hospital, with reference to Miss Latham’s statement, saying that her assertions were full of inaccuracy and requesting a full apology to the Matron and himself from the Commandant-in-Chief, VADs.
Promotion: Official application received from Staff Nurse Gordon, QAIMNSR, 13 Stationary Hospital, to be transferred to another hospital and to be promoted. Correspondence returned to the area to ascertain whether this lady was suitable for promotion.
Sick Sister: Miss Rice, TFNS, Sister in charge of 29 CCS brought down a member of the staff to the sick Sisters’ department at 5 Stationary Hospital, from the 4th Army. (K. Skinner, QR).
Detention Hospital: Colonel Burtchaell telephoned from GHQ for a Sister to proceed forthwith to the Detention Hospital at Montreuil to nurse a sick officer. He was emphatic in saying he only wished for one Sister as the orderlies were excellent. A/Sister Woollett, QAIMNS was sent by ambulance.
Went to Boulogne – reported at the DDMS office, and then went to 13 General Hospital, where I met all the Matrons working in Military Units in the area. I spoke to them with reference to the importance of all paying special attention to the training of VADs, and selecting them according to their capabilities in various classes under the headings “suitable for nursing”, “for general duty”, “for work in the Home”, “for clerical work”, or “as cooks”. Said that it was very important for them to be well trained and to realise that unless they had some very real reason for resigning at the end of their contract, that they ought to look upon it as their duty to do the work in whatever position they were needed. They should all be encouraged and shown that they were needed, and those who are not efficient should be at once discharged. Also spoke of the importance of keeping the rules, of looking after the health of their staffs, of seeing that no untidy uniform was worn, and in the Sick Sisters’ Hospitals, that they should be well looked after, friends and relatives should be kept informed of their condition if very ill, and the chaplains should visit these hospitals just as they do the men.
After lunch, went to 32 Stationary Hospital – went round the hospital and saw all the new improvements including several new huts and a new operating theatre and a large hut for dining, with one end for the men for writing and games. There is a big Mess hut for the Sisters with kitchen, built quite near the hospital – all most excellently arranged and in first-rate order. I saw both the OC and the Officer in charge of the Medical Division and asked, in view of a large number of shell shock cases being admitted to this hospital, whether they would require special nurses, with mental training. He said it was not at all necessary – he only required capable and well-trained nurses who were able to discriminate between the men who were really ill and the scrimshankers. Everywhere in Boulogne they seem to have had a most excellent Christmas with entertainments for the patients got up by the Sisters and the officers, and in each unit the officers had asked some of the Nursing Sisters to dine with them on Christmas night or New Year’s night.
Then went to Calais, to 35 General Hospital where I picked up the Matron as I wanted to go and see the Sisters’ quarters at 30 General. Saw the A/Matron who informed me that everything was going satisfactorily. The huts are now completed but the Mess hut with ante-room is in process of completion. The Matron is still on the sick list and the Acting Matron assured me that everything was going well. Went to the ADMS office, where I saw Miss Woodford, who is now on duty in Calais, meeting and seeing Sisters off until the port is open again in Boulogne. Then went to St. Omer where I stayed the night at 10 Stationary Hospital.
Left 10 Stationary early. Went to Headquarters, 1st Army, and discussed with the DMS the question of so many of the nurses overstaying their leave. He gave me names and asked me to visit the CCS where this had happened. He felt that only one out of five was really a genuine excuse and he agreed that it would be well to have the remainder sent to the Base and replaced by more seriously minded people.
Went to 1/2 London CCS, Merville, and saw both the CO and the Sister i/c. Everything was going smoothly and satisfactorily and a great many sick in hospital and several badly wounded. One of these was an RAMC officer and his servant, who had just been blown out of their dug-out. Both had fractured spines and were unconscious and dying. Interviewed one of the Sisters who had overstayed her leave and pointed out to her that the excuse she gave was not satisfactory, and told her she would be getting her orders to go to the Base, also told her how annoyed the DMS was, as he had arranged matters in such a way to have a car waiting to meet the Sisters and drive them back.
Went to 7 CCS – saw the OC and the Sister i/c, Miss Bannister, who has absolutely transformed the unit, making it seem more like a General Hospital. Everything is in perfect order, the floors polished, the annexes clean, the orderlies working hard, and I noticed in the surgical wards that the orderlies all had white overalls as well as the nursing staff. The Sisters are accommodated in a convent quite close, where I had lunch, and the Little Sisters took me over and showed me the chapel.
From there I went to 1 CCS. Here they had just evacuated, and the unit was fairly empty. I saw 3 Sisters here who had overstayed their leave. One was a genuine case, the other two clearly frivolous excuses. These two ladies I also told that they would be transferred to the Base.
Then I went to 33 CCS which has recently been opened, and where the work is just as heavy as ever. Everything going smoothly and a great number of terribly wounded men. The nursing staff now have a certain number of rooms in the building where some of the Sisters are accommodated, and the rest live in a house which was occupied by them before the recent bombardment. I saw the OC who expressed himself satisfied with the whole of the staff, and had tea at the Sisters’ Mess, with the OC and the DMS of the Army. Returned to Abbeville, arriving at 7.30.
During my absence found that:
OC Detention Hospital Montreuil, had telephoned for another nurse, and Sister Brander, TFNS, had been instructed to proceed by ambulance, this being in consequence of the sick officer having developed acute pneumonia. She took with her all sorts of things which might be necessary, hot water bags, air cushions, etc.
Australian Masseuses: War Office letter received instructing 2 masseuses from 1 Australian General Hospital and 2 from 2 Australian General to be transferred to England as their services are urgently required in Australian Hospitals in England.
VADs rejoining: War Office letter received saying instructions had been given to VADs Soames and Seymour to rejoin the BEF from sick leave.
Miss D. C. Bates: Correspondence returned from AAG with reference to transgression of Censorship Regulations by Miss D. C. Bates, of 5 General Hospital, saying that the GOC, L of C, concurred in the recommendation that the Matron-in-Chief should interview this lady and caution her.
Sick Sisters: Miss E. J. Campbell, CAMC, from 2 Canadian General, who only arrived in France on December 23rd, was admitted to 3 General Hospital on 2.1.17 and evacuated to England the same day – mental.
DDMS, Rouen, rang up to say that the A/Principal Matron, Miss Rannie, was on the sick list and being sent to hospital with bronchitis, and he feared she would not be strong enough for the work out here, and was breaking up in consequence of the heavy work entailed in having a large hospital and also the whole administrative work of the area. Rang up GHQ in consequence and asked whether it would be possible to hasten the question of the decision re Principal Matrons – that the situation was getting very acute, that one of the Principal Matrons had been ill and off duty for 2 months, and was only just returning, that Miss Rannie was now ill, that 2 Matrons were off duty from over-work, and another one had been ill for some months with heart trouble and although now on duty, she was causing me much anxiety as I feared she might knock up. He first said could I go home and discuss the question, but afterwards thought I could put the matter up again officially and it would be sent forward.
Principal Matron’s office: DDMS Rouen, rang up to say he had at last found a house for the Principal Matron to have her office in and also to form a small home where nurses passing through Rouen could be accommodated, in the same way as arrangements have been made at Abbeville.
South African General Hospital: Received official correspondence from the OC South African General Hospital, saying that his deficiencies in nursing staff as laid down for 520 beds are 6, but as he has now 620 beds, he wants the staff increased in proportion. Forwarded to DGMS a request for 12 nurses to complete the establishment, and make good deficiencies.
Leave via Calais: Learnt from DDMS Boulogne, that in consequence of the difficulty for Sisters going on leave from Calais whilst the port of Boulogne is closed, he has arranged that all Sisters arriving in Boulogne, as well as those working in the area, should be conveyed by ambulance to Calais to catch the boat, and the ambulance should remain to bring back Sisters returning, so that they could be accommodated at the Louvre, to relieve the pressure.
Leave without pay: Received and forwarded application from Staff Nurse M. Bourdillion, QAIMNSR, 16 General Hospital, for 3 months’ leave without pay. Reason – her mother’s poor health and she has only a young sister at home.
Villa Roquebrune: Sister Whipham, 1 Australian CCS left for 14 days’ leave at Villa Roquebrune.
Senior Chaplain’s visit: Mr. Fox, Senior Chaplain, came to see me and to say that there was a very nice Cinema in the town in connection with the Soldiers’ Home, and would he be permitted to send 6 tickets each week to each hospital as well as to the Nurses’ Home, so that they might have the chance of getting a little change. He also sent me particulars of the National Mission of Repentance and Hope to be held in Abbeville from the 7th to 14th January.
Mrs. Lloyd, VAD: Letter received from Miss Crowdy, reporting that she had seen Mrs. Lloyd, VAD, not dressed in proper uniform, and dining out with another VAD and 2 officers, and behaving in a very unladylike manner. She had a pale pink blouse and collarette of pearls and went out into the street smoking. Her behaviour was such that Colonel Stewart and Colonel Pasteur, who were dining with Miss Crowdy, would not allow her to go and ask the ladies who they were.
27 Ambulance Train: Confidential letter received from Sister i/c, 22 Ambulance Train, saying that she was most anxious to see me at an early date as there were certain things occurring on 27 Ambulance Train which she knew I would not approve of and which did not bear writing about. A similar letter was received from the Sister i/c, 12 Ambulance Train.
Conversion of Ambulance Trains into Leave Trains: Ambulance Trains 2, 4, and 6 are going to be taken off the line temporarily for the convenience of offices and men proceeding on leave, in consequence of the difficulties of transport. As there is no serious fighting place at present, these arrangements are being made as a trial to see how it answers.
Sick Sisters: In consequence of the increased accommodation required for sick Sisters in view of the large numbers of women clerks and motor drivers expected in France shortly, arrangements are being made for increased accommodation in sick Sisters’ hospitals and Isolation Departments in all areas. The small accommodation in Abbeville only opened last month is to be increased to 30 until other arrangements can be made.
Pay of QAIMNS Letter received from Command Paymaster, saying that he is putting the matter up officially with reference to members of the QAIMNS who have done charge duty as Matron or Assistant Matron, asking whether the present regulation is to continue as to reverting to original rank when not employed in work of a higher rank.
Resignation: Application to be allowed to resign her appointment from A/Sister W. B. Dods, QAIMNSR owing to marriage of sister and urgently needed at home to arrange private affairs.
Miss Samsing, AANS: War Office letter received saying that Miss Samsing, AANS, 1 Australian General, has not been promoted to Head Sister and is not therefore entitled to draw any increase of salary as such.
Sick Sisters: Went with DMS to see what best arrangements could be made with regard to increased accommodation for sick Sisters at 5 Stationary Hospital. Arranged to take over the ground floor, the 1st floor and the 2nd floor, leaving only the 3rd floor for men. This is to be tried and if not convenient, arrangements will have to be made to get rid of all the men from this unit.
Miss Eardley, QAIMNS: A/Sister Eardley, QAIMNS arrived from Cap Martin where she had done 2 months’ duty, and is proceeding to 36 CCS as Sister in charge. Interviewed her, telling her what was expected of her, pointing out the importance of being particular that all rules were kept and that her first care should be the comfort of the patients.
Miss Whitten, VAD: Interviewed Miss Whitten, VAD, who is on her way home having resigned. This lady wrote to Miss Crowdy asking for a move as she and all the VADs were unhappy at Dieppe. I asked her why she had not applied through her Matron to this office. She said that the difficulties were very great and she did not know how to proceed and all the VADs were very unhappy and she thought it the best thing to do to apply through her Commandant at Boulogne. She asked if she might withdraw her resignation and apply for a transfer to work nearer home.
Nurses’ Home: Saw Miss Baldrey, Sister i/c, Nurses’ Home, who had just returned from leave. She is making every effort to make the home as comfortable as possible and now has 2 VADs to help and she says everything is most satisfactory.
Sick Sisters, Etaples: Colonel Carr, DDMS, Etaples, came to see me with reference to the increased accommodation for sick Sisters at Etaples. Said he had taken another villa close to the Villa Tino which should be able to accommodate 20 and a hut would be necessary for the increased staff and the administrative offices. He said that if there were urgent necessity for more beds before this could be completed and would arrange to set apart a hut in 24 General where drivers and women clerks could be nursed. He told me also that Mrs. Brice Miller was going to take up her position again in the Petit Chateau, and he spoke again about the necessity of having an A/Principal Matron to do administrative work alone. Miss Denne had arrived from sick leave looking far from well.
Concert: Mr. Macdonald, AHTD, came to ask if he could arrange for the band of the Middlesex to give a concert for the benefit of the Sisters on Monday the 8th. I thanked him and said everyone would be delighted to go.
Resignation: War Office letter received accepting resignation of Special Probationer J. Samuel, TFNS, on completion of contract.
Transfers: War Office letter received approving transfer of VAD Neville to Home Establishment after sick leave. War Office letter received approving transfer to England of Miss M. J. Wesley Smith, VAD. War Office letter received giving postings of 10 QAIMNSR being transferred to England on 15th. Application to transfer to Home Establishment received from Mrs. E. M. Cann, TFNS, 1/1 South Midland CCS. Reason urgent private affairs (approaching marriage).
Resignation: War Office letter received notifying termination of engagement of Miss Bailes, VAD on the 29th instant, in consequence of her approaching marriage.
Leave for CAMC: Application received from DDMS, Boulogne, for the Sisters from 3 Canadian General Hospital to be allowed to spend their leave in France as they had no special reason for going to England and they would derive more benefit from a dry, warm climate. Replied that it was regretted it could not be approved, as leave in France could only be spent in Convalescent Homes and this could always be arranged if desired.
27 Ambulance Train: Replaced all the nurses on 27 Ambulance Train in consequence of unfavourable reports I had received on the work of this unit, and instructed the nurses off the train to join the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville.
Principal Matron, Rouen: Received telephone message from DDMS Rouen, saying that Miss Rannie, A/Principal Matron, Rouen, is really ill with bronchitis. Has refused to go to hospital and with difficulty has consented to be nursed in her quarters and has been put on the sick list against her will – cough very troublesome, she is very thin, and she has been obliged to be poulticed. Telephoned to Miss A. A. Wilson, QAIMNS, to go and visit her and take over her duties until other arrangements could be made. Left for the 4th Army at 9a.m.
Went to Headquarters and saw the DMS Surgeon General O’Keefe. He told me that shortly staffs would be required for 3 more CCS about to open and also a staff for an Officers’ Hospital of 120 beds at Amiens to be run on similar lines to the one at Gezaincourt. As far as he knew, everything was satisfactory and the work in the Clearing Stations good. Very possible one or two would be moving forward soon.
From there I went to Heilly to 36 CCS. Everything going satisfactorily – a large number of sick. A train was in the siding and evacuation was in progress. Miss Bulman, QAIMNS Retired, is waiting for her relief to go on leave after which she will take up other work. The OC spoke most favourably of her work and management during her time there.
Then to 38 CCS where I saw the Acting OC who told me that he was satisfied that everything was going on smoothly and there was nothing to worry about, that the Sister in charge was not a particularly clever woman but a hard worker and she managed well. The weather has been exceedingly bad for months but the health of the nursing staff is excellent. The amount of mud everywhere is beyond description. Had lunch at the Sisters’ Mess – everything extremely comfortable. Their Mess is in a marquee but shortly huts both for the Mess and the nursing staff are to be erected quite close to the unit. At present the nursing staff of both 36 and 38 are accommodated in the same compound in Alwyn huts.
After lunch drove to Edgehill – still quantities of mud everywhere. Both 45 CCS and 1/1 South Midland CCS have improved enormously since my last visit. The nursing staff of both are accommodated in huts also – well arranged, well managed, good water supply and both huts and nurses’ quarters are lighted by electric light. I saw the OC who expressed himself satisfied with everything and both OCs spoke of the good work and quiet behaviour of the whole of the personnel during the recent bombardment. I saw various huts though which pieces of shrapnel had gone from one side to the other leaving holes in the walls and in the screens. Returned to Abbeville
Interviewed Miss G. M. Jones, QAIMNS before she proceeded to Merville as Sister i/c, 2/2 London CCS, gave her various instructions, pointing out things she must look out for, as she had not been in charge of a CCS before.
Reinforcements: War Office letter received showing the number of reinforcements sent out during December – total 104. Sent DGMS particulars of arrivals and wastage during the month. Also sent a detailed statement of all arrivals, referring to each War Office letter containing the official notification, showing the total reinforcements to be 83.
Leave without pay: Application received for 3 months’ leave without pay from Special Probationer M. C. Currie, in consequence of her parents not being well, and her sister away from home and not able to return for at least 3 months.
Transfer: Application received from a Canadian Sister – Mrs. L. Robinson, 7 Canadian General, to be transferred to a hospital in England near her husband, who is a Paymaster on garrison duty at Hastings.
Termination of engagement: War Office letter received requesting that the engagement of Miss B. Graham, VAD, be terminated from the date of her arrival in England.
Miss J. Taylor, VAD: War Office letter received asking for information re the suitability of Miss J. Taylor, VAD in military hospitals.
Transfer: War Office letter received notifying that Miss Lena A. Peacock, QAIMNSR on sick leave, has been transferred to the Royal Hospital, Woolwich, for duty.
Sick leave: War Office letter received notifying the return from sick leave of Mrs. E. D. Mann, Miss E. M. Thomson and Miss M. M. Loughron, QAIMNSR and Miss H. Sturgess, VAD.
Miss K. Flower: Received correspondence from Colonel Hickson, Commandant, Michelham Convalescent Home, reporting that A/Sister K. Flower, QAIMNSR would be unable to travel for at least 5 days – orders having been sent for her to report at the Nurses’ Home.
Exchanges: With reference to the exchanges taking place on the 15th, 2 War Office letters have been received – one asking us to detail by name the Sisters belonging to the Reserve to Fort Pitt, Chatham, and Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich, and then another letter giving us the names of the 20 arriving and also notifying where the 10 Reserves being transferred were to proceed. Referred this matter to the DGMS asking whether the instructions already issued could be complied with, but he replied that we must comply with the present War Office letter and cancel the previous instructions, but that the matter was going to be referred to the War Office for future guidance.
Saw Miss M. H. Smyth, QAIMNS on her arrival from Rouen on her way to take up the duties of Sister i/c, 36 CCS. Gave her various instructions as to her responsibilities.
Bethune shelled: DMS, 1st Army, telephoned to say that a few shells had again been dropped in Bethune, but not over the Casualty Clearing Station and no-one was hurt.
2, 4 and 6 Ambulance Trains: Sent orders for the nursing staffs of 2, 4 and 6 Ambulance Trains to report to 13 General, 6 General and the Nurses’ Home respectively, as these trains were being converted temporarily into leave trains.
30 Ambulance Train: Telephoned to the Matron, New Zealand Stationary Hospital, to instruct the Nursing Staff of 30 Ambulance Train to join her unit while the train was under repairs.
Leave extension: Application for an extra week’s leave received from Miss A. Gray, QAIMNSR Instructed her by wire to apply to the War Office.
Miss Nolan: Sent telegram to Miss Nolan from Paris to come to Abbeville to see the Matron-in-Chief, in consequence of orders from the War Office to this effect – the lady being an applicant for the QAIMNS Reserve.
Harvard Unit: Forwarded application from DDMS Etaples to DGMS asking for the staff of 22 General Hospital to be increased as this hospital now has 1330 beds.
Resignations: War Office letters received accepting the resignations of Staff Nurses E. Radburn, E. L. Crain and M. Harry, all QAIMNSR. WO Telegram received cancelling War Office letter of 28th with regard to Miss E. S. Riddall, QAIMNS, and saying a further letter will be sent in reference to her resignation. War Office letter received accepting resignation of Staff Nurse M. J. Witchell, QAIMNSR, and saying this lady is entitled to a gratuity for 2 years’ service. War Office letter received forwarding 12 copies of Gratuity form for TFNS nurses and saying that these are only to be used in the case of members invalided from the Service.
Miss H. Ellis: Application received from Staff Nurse H. Ellis, QAIMNSR who is proceeding on leave on the 17th inst. and whose contract expires on the 28th February, to be transferred to the Home Establishment for the remainder of her contract. This lady is resigning to be married.
Transfer: Application received from Miss Whitten, VAD, to withdraw her resignation, asking for 6 week’s leave without pay and to be transferred to a hospital near her home.
Detention allowance: Forwarded to AQMG travelling claim for 110 francs for Sister Hadfield, QAIMNSR whilst at the Louvre Hotel – asked for her approval. This was granted as a special case.
Villa Roquebrune: Sent a circular to DDMS, Boulogne, Etaples, Rouen and Havre, and Matron, Villa Roquebrune, saying that complaints had been received from the Matron of the Villa that the Sisters did not always arrive on the day expected and contrary to instructions sometimes stayed a night in Paris. This causes great inconvenience and when, for any unforeseen reason, they are unable to catch the through train, an explanation must be forwarded at once to this office.
Left for Rouen, arriving at midday. Went with the DDMS to inspect 8 General Hospital where extensive alterations are taking place, so as to increase the number of beds for officers. Extra bathrooms, sinks and store rooms are being erected on every floor.
From there I went to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. The new hut is nearly completed and should be occupied this week. It will give accommodation for 25 sick Sisters and is well arranged in every way: 2 wards, bathrooms, annexes, nice Mess, ante-room, kitchen and sculleries. It is quite close to the main building and will make things extremely comfortable in every respect. Went over the grounds with a view to seeing where more huts could be erected to increase the accommodation to 60 to enable us to nurse the women clerks and motor drivers who are arriving. Saw Miss Perkins, QAIMNS, who is now much better.
From there went to 2 British Red Cross Hospital and went round the hospital with the DDMS. The hospital was looking very well – a great many sick officers, but there had been an evacuation so there were a certain number of empty beds. Had tea with the Medical Officers, the Matron and the Assistant Matron.
Went from there to 6 General Hospital with the DDMS and saw the OC, Colonel Archer, with reference to the A/Principal Matron. He said that she had been quite ill for some days but refused to be sent to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. He had with difficulty put her on the sick list and got Colonel Pasteur – the Medical Specialist – to see her in the morning. Went and saw her. Found her fully dressed, sitting in her room. At first she said she was quite fit for duty, but eventually she said she had a considerable pain in her side, could not sleep and had no appetite. Saw the Assistant Matron, Miss Lyle, TFNS, who is carrying on, and apparently everything is going smoothly. Spent the night in Rouen.
Left early for 6 General. Interviewed Mrs. Lloyd, VAD, in consequence of a report which I had received from Miss Crowdy, informing me that she is consequently dining out with officers, making herself remarkable, and not in proper uniform. I advised her to send in her resignation, which she had undertaken to do. Saw all the Matrons of the area at 6 General with reference to the importance of preparing for the spring, that they must use every endeavour to ascertain which are the most capable of their staff, and instruct them in the duties they are most capable of undertaking. I pointed out the importance of finding out what work the VADs are most capable of undertaking and doing their very best to train them in the department for which they are suited, that the senior VADs ought to be given more responsibilities in their own special branch, and that I am anxious to have regular reports on their capabilities, that they should push the most capable – trained and untrained – into posts of responsibility and give those who are capable of doing it, the junior members under them for instruction. Saw Colonel Pasteur after he had examined Miss Rannie. He said that she wanted careful nursing and must be sent to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, where she could have specials, that she had general bronchitis all over the left side, and unless great care was taken, there was every possibility of her having bronchial pneumonia. Afterwards went to see Miss Rannie, and explained to her what arrangements were being made for her to be transferred to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. Asked her if she would particularly like anyone to nurse her but she was still under the impression that she could do everything necessary for herself. Had lunch in the Mess at 6 General and after lunch went round the hospital with Colonel Archer. In every department things are in excellent order and there is evidence of the great interest which is being taken by everyone on the staff.
Left for Havre arriving at 6 p.m. Went to Headquarters and saw the DDMS, Colonel Thurston, and arranged to meet him in the morning and go over the Emigrants Hospital which has just been taken over by our people and is becoming again a section of 2 General Hospital, 3 Canadian Stationary Hospital having moved to Harfleur. Spent the night at 2 General at the Quai D’Escale.
The Quai D’Escale was very full in consequence of no ships having been able to arrive for 2 days on account of the heavy weather, and 2 train loads of patients were also waiting to be evacuated. A Hospital Ship was expected during the day. Went over the Emigrants’ Hospital where I was met by Colonel Thurston and Colonel Babington, OC, 2 General Hospital. This Hospital is getting into order – the staff consisting of Miss Plaskett, Sister i/c, QAIMNS Retired, Miss E. H. Davis and Miss Bradley, QAIMNS, 8 members of the QAIMNS South Africa, and 7 VADs. Miss E. H. Davis asked to see me as she considered she had a grievance in being asked to work under a Reserve. I pointed out to her that Miss Plaskett, the Sister i/c, was a woman of great experience, and was a retired member of the QAIMNS, also that many junior Regulars had worked under QAIMNS Retired, and there had been no difficulties whatever, and that she must not feel herself in any way slighted, as it was not likely that I should not consider the members of my own Service. Visited the quarters, which are getting into order – there is a VAD cook and another to do Home Sister’s duties.
Went with Miss Blakeley to Etretat and visited the Villa Orphee the new Convalescent Home at Etretat for sick Sisters where I met the Lady Superintendent, Lady Victoria de Trafford, for the first time. Everything seemed to be going smoothly and well. She has undertaken to let me have a weekly return of the patients’ names and particulars as to when they will be evacuated. I undertook that the patients arriving by ambulance from Rouen should leave at a proper time and provision should be made for them to have a meal by the way, as she pointed out that they arrived at 3 o’clock in a very tired condition, in consequence of the long journey and no lunch.
Interviewed Miss Bates, QAIMNSR in accordance with instructions received from the AAG asking me to caution her against writing on subjects against the regulations. She had written a letter to her father, asking for it to be published in “The Times” pointing out the difficulties and lack of accommodation for sick Sisters in Rouen. This letter was opened by the Censor, as it had been posted in the general post and not in the usual way at the hospital. She expressed her regret but said at the same time that she made no hesitation in explaining how badly she had been looked after and that she had told her brother who was in the Army the whole facts of the case, that she was sick with Influenza, that she shared a room with someone else, that she met with scant courtesy or consideration from the Matron or staff and except for the kindness of personal friends, would have had no care and attention whatever. She struck me as being a capable woman and informed me that she had worked in Egypt where she had been invalided with slight dysentery, that while there she had charge of a sick Sisters’ hospital, and that Miss Oram, the Matron-in-Chief, had asked that she might return.
Went on to 1 General Hospital to lunch, where I saw Colonel Moore with reference to obtaining more accommodation for sick Sisters in the area. Returned to Abbeville arriving in time for dinner.
During my absence found that:
2 and 4 Ambulance Train Nursing staffs had had to rejoin in consequence of the trains being required.
A/Principal Matrons: Received a letter from Sir Arthur Sloggett, DGMS, recommending that the Senior Matron in each area should be appointed temporarily for Principal Matron’s duties at Boulogne, Rouen and Etaples, until the official authority was received, and that he was writing officially to the War Office asking that the decision might be hastened.
Appointment to QAIMNSR: Received War Office letter approving the appointment of Miss Isabella Patrick, Ulster Volunteer Hospital, to the Reserve, and asking that her date of joining and unit to which attached should be notified.
Sick leave: War Office letters received notifying that Miss M. Edwards, TFNS, Miss E. Hammersley and R. Meggitt, QAIMNSR, and Miss O. Carter, VAD were rejoining from sick leave and that Miss M. A. Young, Special Probationer and Miss M. O. Bois, VAD would not be returning, also that Miss G. P. E. Chatfield, QAIMNSR would not be returning. War Office letter received notifying that Miss L. M. Hearn, QAIMNSR had been instructed to rejoin her unit. This cancelled previous War Office letter striking her off strength of BEF. Received telegraphic message from 49 CCS saying that she had arrived without her luggage which had been sent to England.
Application for transfer: Received official correspondence with reference to the application of Staff Nurse Mrs. M. E. Gordon, QAIMNSR to be transferred to another unit and to be promoted. Returned correspondence to the unit – 13 Stationary, asking whether she was recommended for promotion, and the reply was that she was not considered suitable for Sister’s duties. Received official application from Sister C. MacLean, TFNS, 24 Ambulance Train, to transfer to the United Kingdom for duty in Scotland, in consequence of her father’s health.
Sick Sisters: Received telephone message that Miss Findlater, belonging to the Expeditionary Force Canteens, who was sick at 3 General, had been evacuated to the United Kingdom, by Hospital Ship. Informed Mr. Attwood, manager of the EFC here.
Telephoned to Miss Hordley to send a VAD to help Miss Inglis at the Convalescent Home, Hardelot, during Lady Gifford’s absence on leave, as they were very busy.
Allowances for nurses: War Office letter received saying that in view of the recent concessions (increase by 4/- per week of board and washing allowance) it was not considered necessary to restore the lodging, fuel and light allowance, also saying that a nurse in receipt of allowance may be permitted to obtain stores on repayment, further, if in any special cases nurses necessarily incur heavy expenses for accommodation which the regular allowances do not cover, a full report should be made for consideration.
Harvard Unit: DGMS returned the correspondence with reference to the increase of staff for 22 General Hospital stating that 73 nurses is the present strength and reinforcements will not be wanted till March, when the contracts of some nurses expire. The fact that this unit has been increased from 1040 to 1330 beds was ignored.
Principal Matron, Rouen: Telephone message from DDMS Rouen, saying that Miss Rannie, had been admitted to 8 General Hospital and that the DDMS had taken her there himself in his car.
Promotion: Correspondence returned by Command Paymaster, Eastern Command, stating that Miss Boniface, QAIMNSR had never drawn anything but Staff Nurse’s pay, she having wished to put in for Sister’s pay. There is no record of any previous service as A/Sister.
2 Canadian CCS Telegraphed to DGMS asking if a relief could be supplied to 2 Canadian CCS from one of the units in France. Received his authority and instructed a nurse from 1 Canadian General Hospital to proceed forthwith, as a Sister had been evacuated sick to the Base.
Principal Matron, Rouen: Received a telephone message from Matron, 8 General, saying that Miss Rannie had had a very bad night, had a night special and she would see that she had everything it was possible she might want or like.
Transfer: Telephone message from Assistant Matron, 6 General Hospital, saying that Miss A. A. Francis QAIMNSR was being transferred to England.
Miss Bates: Informed the DDMS of my interview with Miss Bates, and with his approval wrote to Miss A. A. Wilson, Matron, 5 General Hospital, informing her of what Miss Bates had said.
Sick Sister: Received official communication from DDMS Rouen, informing us that Staff Nurse E. M. Spanton was suffering from osteitis, secondary to plating for a fracture of femur 4 years ago. The surgeon recommended that she should be transferred to England for another operation and proposed to evacuate her at an early date. Returned the correspondence saying that she should be evacuated in the usual manner.
Ambulance Trains: Sent a circular to all Sisters in charge of Ambulance Trains, informing them that when trains were delayed or under repairs at Amiens they should immediately report to the Matron, New Zealand Stationary Hospital.
Miss A. Fitzgerald: Received notification that Miss A. Fitzgerald, QAIMNSR, the “Edith Cavell Nurse”, will not be fit to return to France on expiration of leave.
Resignation: War Office letter received accepting the resignation of Staff Nurse G. P. E. Chatfield, QAIMNSR on sick leave in England. Application to resign received from Staff Nurse L. Cureton, QAIMNSR – civil post being kept open and she wishes to be nearer home.
Villa Roquebrune: Application received for 30 days’ leave at Villa Roquebrune from A/Matron B. F. Perkins, QAIMNS. Correspondence saying that it would not be advisable for Miss Perkins to proceed if she still needed medical treatment.
Resignation of Miss I. M. West: Correspondence returned by the DDMS Etaples, with reference to the settlement of the pay and allowances of Miss I. M. West, TFNS with her firm of solicitors. This lady married whilst on leave and refused to give her married name and address. The whole of the correspondence was forwarded to DGMS for information.
Transfer: Application received from A/Sister E. Faning, QAIMNSR to be transferred to Home Establishment and also for 6 weeks’ leave without pay beginning on the 10th, as her father was undergoing an operation and her mother in a nursing home.
Miss D. D. Bates: The official correspondence with reference to this lady was returned to the AAG, L of C, and also to the DDMS Rouen, saying that the instructions had been complied with and the Matron-in-Chief had interviewed her and cautioned her as to future action.
The Hon. Lady Murray came to see me – Lady Superintendent of the Officers’ Hospital, attached to 16 General Hospital. She was very anxious to make some arrangement for extra orderlies. She saw the DMS who was going to arrange the matter if he could. She said the unit was working well and the whole of the nursing staff entirely satisfactory. She was willing if necessary to enlarge her hospital by the addition of extra huts or marquees, whichever would be considered most advisable, if it was likely that extra accommodation would be needed in the spring.
Staff Nurse McLaren: Interviewed Staff Nurse McLaren, QAIMNSR who is to be transferred to England. She is very much aggrieved and informed me that had she known that she was going to be sent home for duty, she would not have renewed her contract. I tried to point out to her that it did not matter where one worked as long as one was still assisting in the great cause. Saw Miss Sandbach, QAIMNS who has just returned from Cap Martin and was joining 28 Ambulance Train as Sister in charge. Also saw Miss Flower, QAIMNSR who had also returned from Cap Martin and was proceeding on leave before taking up new work.
Mrs. Lloyd, VAD: Forwarded the resignation of Mrs. Lloyd, VAD, with the letter from Miss Crowdy attached. Instructed her to report in writing to the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, and Mrs. Furse, on arrival in England, 7 days’ special leave having been granted this lady in anticipation of acceptance of her resignation.
Principal Matron, Rouen: Learnt that Miss Rannie had been put on the dangerously ill list, had had a bad night, but seemed better this morning.
Letter from Mrs. Furse: Received letter from Mrs. Furse with reference to Mrs. Lloyd, VAD, Miss Latham’s report, and the blue uniform of the VAD members.
Letter to Miss Becher: Wrote to Miss Becher fully with reference to Miss Rannie’s illness, also gave her particulars of the nurses being transferred and informed her about Miss Hearn’s arrival without her luggage.
Detention Hospital: Colonel Vesey, the sick officer, is now convalescent and in the course of a few days will be able to be moved to Wimereux.
Departures from Calais: Received letter from Miss Woodford saying that everything is now working smoothly in consequence of the DDMS, Boulogne, having arranged to send an ambulance with the Sisters going on leave and allowing it to wait until the arrival of those returning from leave, so that they could be taken back to Boulogne, where they were able to be accommodated.
Miss A. Maddison, TFNS: Received a letter from Miss Sydney Browne, asking for a report on Miss Alice Maddison, TFNS. Replied saying that we had no record of any nursing Sister of this name.
Sick Sisters: Spoke to the DMS in connection with the necessity of increased accommodation for sick Sisters in all areas. The present arrangements are – Boulogne 40 beds, to be increased by 25. St. Omer 6 to be increased to 16. Etaples 40 to be increased by 25. Rouen 25 to be increased to 55. Havre 5 to be increased to 25. Etretat 8 to be increased to 20. Abbeville 10 to be increased to 30. Also applied to the Commissioner for another Convalescent Home capable of accommodating 20 to 30 nurses, at Paris Plage if possible.
QAIMNSR South Africa and Canada: Sent correspondence to DGMS asking if the South African and Canadian nurses attached to the QAIMNSR who recently arrived in the country had signed Reserve contracts and if so, what was their correct date of joining Army Service.
Resignation: Forwarded complete correspondence to DGMS with reference to Staff Nurse K. M. Cameron, QAIMNSR who left Rouen on completion of contract without any authority. War Office letter received accepting the resignation of Staff Nurse B. V. Hearsum, QAIMNSR.
Miss A. G. Mackay: War Office letter received saying that a passage to South Africa could not be granted to Miss A. G. Mackay, A/Matron 5 Stationary Hospital “B” and it was regretted there was no opportunity of employing her on any hospital ship proceeding to Australia or New Zealand via the Cape.
Sick leave: War Office letter received notifying the return from sick leave of Staff Nurse L. Stubbins, QAIMNSR, M. Tyndale, QAIMNSR, M. Wright, QAIMNSR, F. M. Tailer, TFNS, and C. Haslam, P. C. Jephson and J. M. Palmer, VADs.
Leave extension: War Office letter received notifying that leave in extension from 8th inst. without pay has been granted to Miss Pantridge, VAD Member, 26 General Hospital. War Office letter received saying that 7 days’ leave granted to Miss E. H. Rankin, QAIMNSR If unable to return at the end, she will be replaced.
Nurses’ Hostel: Received correspondence from DDMS Boulogne, with reference to the Nurses’ Hostel, saying that negotiations for the Windsor Hotel are under consideration and if successful, there will probably be sufficient accommodation for the staff asked for under our QN 7/505 of 22.12.16.
Record of Service: Application received from Sister F. L. Sands, ANSR that she may be furnished with a record of her previous service.
Miss Latham, VAD: DGMS sent a copy of the letter which he had sent on 5.1.17 to Mrs. Furse and a copy of her reply, in connection with Miss Latham, VADs statements on the condition of affairs at 35 General Hospital, asking for further remarks from the Matron-in-Chief and the DMS before writing again. The DMS replied, stating that he had conferred with the Matron-in-Chief, and he was very much of the opinion that the whole correspondence should be forwarded to the War Office, Miss Latham being a member of the VAD working in Military Hospitals and therefore directly under the War Office.
Weekly return: Sent Command Paymaster and the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, a list of 41 nurses who had been transferred to England for various reasons during the week ending 13th.
Left for Treport after lunch. Went to Headquarters and called on the SMO and with him went into the question, with the Matron of 16 General, of the advisability of making some arrangement whereby the staff belonging to the infectious hospital might be accommodated and kept apart from the rest of the general staff. The need is felt daily of making some definite arrangement in this respect, in consequence of the increasing number of cerebro-spinal meningitis and diphtheria cases. The suggestion which is going to be forwarded for consideration is that a part of one of the huts should be divided off with a separate door for the members of the staff working in the infectious division. A solid building in the infectious division is now used as an office for the medical officer, an office for the sergeant in charge and a 3rd room set apart for any nurse suffering from an infectious disease, could be converted into a small Mess. It is large enough to make a good Mess, ante-room, sitting-room and office for the Sister-in-charge of the division. It is quite close to the hospital kitchen, and there would be no difficulty about arranging for them to have a good Mess of their own.
Then went to 3 General Hospital where I saw the Matron with reference to the question of increase of accommodation for the sick Sisters, in view of the lady motor drivers and women clerks who are expected to arrive shortly. As she fears there is no suitable house in the neighbourhood which could be converted into a sick Sisters’ hospital, she thinks the only proposal which the SMO can make will be the erection of a hut or the conversion of one already up for the purpose. I interviewed A/Sister Caswell, QAIMNS who asked if she might be permitted to send in her resignation in consequence of her approaching marriage so that she might be released in April. She would then like if possible 2 months’ leave without pay and to be permitted to be again employed, but in the Home Service. I advised her to put the matter up officially and I would forward and recommend it without delay.
Principal Matron, Rouen: Received telegram from Matron-in-Chief, War Office, with enquiries as to Miss Rannie’s condition. Replied saying that the improvement was satisfactory.
Miss D. C. Bates: Received reply from Miss A. A. Wilson, Matron, 5 General, to my letter re Miss Bates. She is anxious that I should see her staff on the subject.
Mrs. Lloyd, VAD Forwarded to DGMS copy of Mrs. Furse’ letter with reference to the resignation of Mrs. Lloyd, VAD, also to the attack made by Miss Latham, VAD on the Matron of 35 General Hospital, and I pointed out that all reports on VADs, whether unfavourable or otherwise, have to be dealt with through the War Office.
South African General Hospital: War Office letter received replying to the application from the OC, South African General Hospital, nominating 3 Sisters and 3 Staff Nurses for the South African Hospital, Richmond to be transferred to France. The reply was that these ladies did not wish to serve abroad.
Reinforcement: War Office letter received notifying the arrival of Miss M. Gordon, TFNS, vice Miss A. H. Brown, TFNS, married whilst on leave.
Transfer: War Office letter received approving the transfer of Miss D. Walker, VAD, 14 General, to Home Establishment, as she was anxious to work near her home.
Accommodation of nurses: Circular letter sent to all A/Principal Matrons, asking them to endeavour to accommodate all nurses arriving or departing in the most economical manner, whilst waiting to join their units or proceed on leave.
Promotion of TFNS: Official letter received from the Matron-in-Chief, TFNS, asking for the names of all Staff Nurses eligible for promotion. We replied that all names recommended were submitted at once, and since mobilisation, 140 had been promoted from the rank of Staff Nurse to that of Sister.
27 Ambulance Train: Saw Miss Paul, QAIMNSR, now Sister in charge of 22 Ambulance Train, who reported unfavourably on the work and behaviour of the nursing staff of 27 Ambulance Train, where she had recently taken the holiday of the Sister i/c, Miss M. Evans, TFNS, during the leave of this lady. She reported certain irregular practices which had come to her notice. I asked her to forward me a written statement on what had happened, and at the same time arranged to see the 3 members of the train who had recently been moved.
5 Stationary “B”: Interviewed Miss F. Holmes, QAIMNS, who had just taken over 5 Stationary “B” Hospital, as A/Matron. This unit is about to be converted into a unit for Sick Sisters.