CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3990
SUMMARY OF INSPECTIONS AND WORK DONE DURING THE MONTH AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
SUMMARY OF INSPECTIONS AND WORK DONE DURING THE MONTH AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS
Went to 3rd Army and visited 19 CCS at Agnes-les-Duisans, with Colonel Hartigan in charge, and Miss Bayley, TFNS, Sister i/c with a nursing staff of 12. This is a big CCS composed of quite a large number of Nissen huts, with an excellent operating theatre and anaesthetising room, provided with every modern convenience, including electric light and hot and cold water supply. The remainder of this unit is under canvas. This is more like a General Hospital, and the patients are admitted and nursed for a considerable time, evacuations taking place only once a week and sometimes even at longer intervals. The nursing staff are well accommodated in Nissen huts, with Mess and ante-room; they are looked after by a French servant and 2 batmen. Of the permanent staff 3 were away on team duty in the 5th Army. Their quarters are exceedingly nice, their Mess good with nice appointments. I inspected the books and found that everything was in order and the Sister in charge has a good balance. This Sister in charge has been a considerable time at a CCS and I prepared her for her move which will be taking place shortly. The OC expressed himself thoroughly satisfied with her work and management and said that the present staff is suitable in every respect. There is a good mortuary at this unit, and all religious services are held at 8 CCS which is next door.
To 8 CCS – OC Colonel Rogers, Sister in charge, Miss Carnegie, TFNS who had recently taken over from Miss Smartt, CHR who had been up a considerable time and who had managed in a most excellent manner, the OC regretting her departure. The present nursing staff here numbers 10, three of whom were away on team duty in the 5th Army. This unit is similar in all respects to 19 CCS and the two units take in on alternate days. I had lunch in the Sisters’ Mess – it was well cooked, well served and the appointments were very nice. While here I received a telephone message saying that there had been a severe bombing raid at St. Omer, when 58 General Hospital has suffered considerably, one Staff Nurse and 2 VADs having been killed as well as 16 patients. One Staff Nurse had been seriously wounded and 2 slightly wounded as well as 67 seriously wounded patients. In consequence, I telephoned to the DMS 3rd Army letting him know that it would not be possible for me to continue my work in the Army for the present.
Left for St. Omer immediately after lunch arriving about 4 p.m. Reported to the ADMS office and then proceeded to 58 General Hospital, where I met the A/Principal Matron and the Matron, and where I found Surgeon-General Macpherson had already arrived. The whole unit seemed shocked and dazed. Everyone spoke of the wonderful courage of the women. The raid lasted for some hours and the casualties occurred in the hospital where everyone was on duty. A tremendous lot of damage had been done, several marquees being blown to atoms and some of the Sisters’ quarters in process of erection simply perforated with shrapnel. A large German camp quite close to this unit with 500 prisoners escaped without any damage whatever. The same night, 4 Stationary Hospital, which is non-Sisters’ unit, was also bombed and the Sergeant Major and 5 men were killed. All the stretcher cases were transferred to the buildings at 10 Stationary Hospital and 59 General Hospitals, only walking cases being left in the hospital, and the nursing staff were divided into two, one lot being accommodated at 10 Stationary Hospital quarters and the other at 59 General Hospital. Both these units have solid cellars.
I stayed the night at 10 Stationary Hospital and most of the night was spent in the cellars, in consequence of air-raids. Two bombs dropped so near the building that a large number of windows were broken. The whole of the staff were particularly quiet and self-contained and there was no evidence of any alarm whatever. During the night the Annex belonging to 59 General Hospital where only a week or two ago the staff of 59 General were accommodated, was absolutely destroyed. Fortunately the patients were all walking cases and had already been accommodated in the cellars. The telephone orderly who was on duty was killed and the building itself entirely destroyed, doors off their hinges, cupboards smashed, windows broken and most of the beds smashed to the ground. This condition I saw when I visited the spot with the ADMS in the morning.
At 10 o’clock, left for Headquarters, 2nd Army, where I saw the DMS and where I received instructions with regard to the new units opening in the area and increase of staff wanted for certain CCS in consequence of the push which was expected to start that day.
Returned to St. Omer – had lunch at 10 Stationary Hospital, and afterwards went to the funeral of the 3 Sisters and 16 men killed in the raid. It was an enormous gathering which lasted over 2 hours – the walks up to the graveside from the gate were lined with walking patients from 58 General Hospital. Overhead aeroplanes were hovering all through the service. Returned to Abbeville in the evening.
Left for Etaples after lunch. Reported at the DDMS office and with the Principal Matron discussed the question of extra accommodation for the nursing staffs, increased establishments needed in consequence of the special nature of the work, and also discussed the question of dancing in the Sisters’ Messes. This the DDMS is strongly in favour of but I pointed out to him that until there was some alteration in the regulations, this could not be permitted, as the instructions in this respect are very definite. I pointed out to him too that I felt it was important that the nurses should have every form of rest and recreation, but at the same time, while we were engaged in the work we were doing at the present time, I considered dancing was out of place in France. I arranged to go into the question at every unit I went to and get the opinion of every Matron and OC. Spent the night at the Villa Tino which is a most luxurious and well managed establishment.
Visited Camiers district with Miss Stronach, A/Principal Matron of the area, beginning with No.11 General Hospital, which was taken over by the Americans in May last, (No.5 Base Hospital, Harvard Unit). CO: Lt. Col. Pattison. Matron: Miss C. M. Hall. No. of beds: 1400. Nursing Staff: 78 Trained, 1 dietician, 3 secretaries, 28 British VADs, with a Reserve Sister in charge, lent temporarily to this unit until their reinforcements arrive. Saw the OC but the Matron was away attending a conference in Paris. Learnt that everything was going satisfactorily, and everyone was very pleased with the English unit and the help and assistance they had received. Three members of the staff were absent in the Armies on team duty. This is a tented hospital, with huts for operating theatre and special wards, all lighted by electricity. The Sisters’ quarters are hutted and well arranged; the Home Sister here is carrying on the same messing arrangements as are in practice in British hospitals.
Visited 22 General Hospital, Harvard Unit (staff supplied from USA for work in British hospitals and established here since June, 1915). CO: Lt. Col. Sir Arthur Perry. Matron: Mrs. K. M. Hagar. No. of beds: 1400. Nursing Staff: 90 Trained, 14 VADs. This is also a tented hospital with a certain number of huts for operating theatre and special wards; solely for men; lighted by electricity. There is one general mortuary for the whole of the Camiers district. The Sisters’ quarters are hutted and similar to all others in this area. There were six Sisters absent on team duty in the Armies. I discussed with the Matron certain questions which are causing some difficulties: (1) The practice of applications being made from the Armies for certain nurses from her unit, direct to Colonel Cabot, 2nd in Command, this being arranged in a private manner. I pointed out that the procedure was most irregular and must be discontinued. All applications should be made through this office and will receive immediate consideration. The Sisters notified will proceed, provided the Matron feels she can carry on without them. (2) Discussed the question of dancing, which has been a practice evidently ever since the unit came to France and has only just come to my knowledge. I asked the Matron to write to me semi-officially on the subject, pointing out her reasons why she thinks it desirable that dancing should be countenanced and even encouraged. The Matron struck me as being an exceedingly capable woman, running her unit well and in close touch and sympathy with her staff. At present the unit is only used for nursing men, but authority has been received from GHQ for expanding this unit by opening up an annexe which would accommodate 200 officers. This matter is looked upon as urgent, as at present there is not sufficient accommodation for the officers who need accommodation in this area. The same arrangements hold good here as in other units with regard to the accommodation and messing arrangements for the nursing staff.
Visited 18 General Hospital (No.12 Base Hospital, Chicago Unit). CO: Lt. Col. R. Collins. Matron: Miss D. Urch. No. of beds: 1400. This unit was established here in June, 1917, and is a tented hospital, nursing men only. At the time of the visit Miss Urch was laid up with a septic leg. I visited her in her quarters, where she was extremely uncomfortable and arranged with the OC for her to be transferred to the Villa Tino, where she could have a room to herself and where she might take one of her own staff with her if she wished. The nursing staff of this unit consists of 94 Trained, 2 dieticians and 2 secretaries.
Visited 4 General Hospital: CO: Lt. Col. Burke. Matron: Miss M. Barton, QAIMNS. No. of beds: 1400. Nursing Staff: 56 Trained, 51 Untrained. This unit nurses men only. It is lighted by electricity. There is a good chapel, and I arranged with Miss Barton that she should be responsible for the mortuary (which is common to the whole area) and should see that it was properly kept and flowers put on the altar. I suggested that she should consult with the other Matrons, and ask them if they would like to subscribe to a fund for keeping flowers in the mortuary chapel. Went round the hospital which looked well managed and well nursed. At the time of the visit it was extremely full of seriously wounded patients and they were evacuating and taking in at the same time. I saw the OC and discussed with him the question of dancing which apparently, without my knowledge, has been customary both in the Sisters’ Mess and elsewhere. I pointed out to him that it was entirely against regulations and could not be permitted until I got some authority on the subject. I also pointed out that with a large Mess such as they were, with over 100 people, it is out of the question to think that entertainments of this kind could be looked upon as a little dance. I considered dancing in peace time quite suitable and a delightful recreation but at the present moment the object for which we were out here would not be overlooked. Either the sick and wounded were going to be nursed or we were going to dance. Had lunch at the Mess with the staff – comfortable, well appointed, well cooked, and the arrangements in every respect excellent. Saw the messing books and impressed upon the Matron, as I do in all units, the importance of keeping careful records of payments in and out, and that great care should be taken with the Mess balance, in consequence of the increasing rise in prices, and the desirability, if it is possible, not to have to call upon the members of the staff to augment their present messing subscriptions by payments from their Field Allowance, which had to be done before the present increase in messing allowance and arrangement for drawing rations on repayment came into force. There are 2 VAD cooks here and 4 VADs in the home, who work there for 2 months at a time. They have 4 batmen and 2 French servants, all paid by Mess funds.
Visited 20 General Hospital, which has a Territorial Nursing Staff. CO: Lt. Col. Shea. Matron: Miss J. Hills, TFNS. No. of beds: 1400. Nursing Staff: 56 Trained, 65 Untrained. There are 250 beds for officers here, and it is a very busy and responsible unit, having special wards for jaw cases, also eye wards and fracture wards. The hospital is a particularly well managed unit; everything is in first rate order and the OC is an extremely keen man who is daily making improvements in his unit. The officers’ accommodation is under canvas, with one ward and operating theatre attached for officers, as well as an operating theatre and special ward for all special cases. The Matron was away on leave and the Assistant Matron, Miss Lang, took us round the hospital. I also inspected the quarters and had tea in the Matron’s sitting-room.
Visited Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses at Camiers, and saw the 2 VADs in charge. It is a small comfortable house and everything is very nice – a sitting room, silence room and tea-room. They are going to begin an Officers’ Day on Wednesday of next week. The Lady superintendent complained sadly at the loss of the nurses who left Camiers when the 2 American Units took over.
Went on to Etaples, Miss Stronach still accompanying me. Visited the Etaples Club, where there are 3 VADs in charge. This Club is just as charming as the others and is well patronised by all the units in the area. I called on Miss Campbell, the Matron of No.1 Canadian General Hospital, who has recently come to the country to take over from Miss Nesbitt, recalled for duty in England. Spent the night at the Villa Tino. Saw Miss Urch, the Matron of 18 General Hospital, who had just been admitted and was comfortably established in a room by herself looking absolutely different. Her leg is in a bad way and she was being prepared for an anaesthetic in the morning.
Rained hard – left early with Miss Stronach to visit the Isolation Hospital, No.46 Stationary Hospital. CO: Lt. Col. Cumming. Matron: Miss M. McCord, QAIMNSR, who has recently arrived from England and had just taken over from Miss Plaskitt QAIMNS Retired. No. of beds: 1000. Nursing Staff: 31 Trained, 40 Untrained. This hospital is composed of huts of all varieties and sizes, as well as marquees. It is lighted with electricity and well supplied with stoves for warming purposes. There is first class lavatory and scullery accommodation and extremely nice sitting-rooms both in the Officers’ and Sisters’ divisions. There is accommodation in this unit for Officers, Nursing Sisters, WAAC and men; at the time of the visit the hospital was very full of all varieties of infectious diseases. The unit has been very much improved since my last visit and has every possible convenience for the comfort of the patients. A large number of Portuguese were in hospital at the time, two of whom were suffering from cerebro-spinal meningitis, and the OC spoke highly of the nursing. The accommodation for the nurses is hutted and extremely good and beside their quarters they have two asphalt tennis courts. The nurses are not kept in this unit for over a year in most instances. The majority of the VADs are first-rate and extremely interested in the infectious work – one makes a point if anyone is expressing any nervousness in working in this unit to move them.
Then to 56 General Hospital, a Territorial unit. CO: Colonel Bush. Matron: Miss K. M. Smith. No. of beds: 1040. Nursing Staff: 43 Trained, 47 Untrained. This is a tented hospital, with a certain number accommodated in marquees but the hutting arrangements are nearly completed; these are on exactly the same lines as all others in the area – lighted with electricity and warmed with stoves. There is one public mortuary for the Etaples area, next to St. John’s Ambulance Brigade hospital and the Matron and staff of that hospital make themselves responsible that everything is in order in the mortuary chapel. This unit has not long opened up and is beginning to be run on the same lines as others in the area. I explained the way our messing arrangements are done and the need of employing 2 French servants. Four of the staff were away in the Armies on team duty.
Had lunch at 24 General Hospital in the Matron’s sitting-room, with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, and the Assistant Matron, Miss Bulman, QAIMNS Retired. Miss Bulman is anxious to have a change from this area as she feels that at this unit she has not enough work. At the time of the visit the unit was crowded, and the Matron, who is also the A/Principal Matron of the area, has a great many other duties which keep her, so that it was rather surprising that Miss Bulman did not find she had enough work to employ her. I also saw Miss St. Leger, QAIMNS, now working at 26 General Hospital, who was very upset at having been transferred from a CCS to the Base in consequence of having written a rather unwise letter to the widow of an officer who had recently died as well as sending his personal belongings, registered herself, direct to the widow, without passing them through the official channels. She apparently thought she had been badly treated and at first was inclined to feel that the only thing for her to do was to resign. She has since written to ask that the resignation which had already been forwarded might be withdrawn, and regretted her hasty decision.
After lunch I inspected 24 General Hospital: OC: Colonel Penton. Matron and A/Principal Matron of the area: Miss C. J. Stronach. Assistant Matron: Miss Bulman, QAIMNS Retired. No. of beds: 1400. Nursing Staff: 60 Trained, 5 Almeric Paget Masseuses, 55 VADs. There are 3 VADs on duty in the Mess, for 2 months at a time, a cook, 5 batmen and 4 French servants. This is a hutted hospital with some marquees; there are 200 beds for officers, and large division for German prisoners, admirably managed by Miss Tait, QAIMNSR. I inspected the Sisters’ quarters, which are excellent, well managed, clean and orderly, good bathing and sleeping accommodation.
Before returning, I inspected both the Villa Tino and the Villa des Pins, Sick Sisters’ units, and found everything in first-rate order. The Villa Tino has accommodation for 40 patients; there is a VAD cook and assistant cook, 2 VADs in the pantry and 2 orderlies. The nursing staff consists of a Matron, 3 Trained Sisters and 4 VADs. At the Villa des Pins, there is accommodation for 50 patients, mainly WAAC. The hospital is in a building with an expansion in huts, and they have a very nice sitting-room. There is a VAD cook, an assistant cook, 2 VADs in the pantry, and 2 orderlies. The nursing staff consists of 3 Trained Sisters and 4 VADs. The staff is most excellently accommodated in huts in the grounds of the Villa des Pins. Returned to Abbeville.
Went to Boulogne after lunch, via Hesdin, to consult the DGMS in connection with the Convalescent Home which the Red Cross are proposing to establish in the South of France for nurses, 100 beds being the number he considered was necessary, this office having recommended 50 only. Lady Gifford had already been to Cannes and had seen and practically taken a Hotel which she considered suitable in every way and the only thing to do was to obtain the sanction of the BRCS to take this hotel, the rent of which seems excessive. I also discussed with him the question of dancing and pointed out that the heads of all the overseas departments were, I thought, in favour of dancing in France. I suggested getting the opinions of all the heads and referring the matter to the War Office, in consequence of there being very rigid regulations in connection with this form of amusement in the British Army. The DGMS was rather in favour of permitting small dances in hospital Messes, but Surgeon-General Sir Anthony Bowlby agreed with me that such a thing should not be permitted. However it was decided that I was to get the opinions of all the Matrons and submit the whole matter for consideration at home. After tea went on to Boulogne and reported myself at the DDMS office, and spent the night at the Hotel Louvre.
In the morning I received a telephone message from Headquarters saying a letter had been received from the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, informing me that a party of lady journalists – Miss Billington of the “Daily Telegraph”, Miss Copy of the Press Association, Mrs. Carnock of the “Morning Post” and Miss Kennedy of the “Daily Graphic”, “Daily News” and “The Times” – would be arriving in France on the 8th and that they were bringing with them a letter of introduction to Sir Arthur Sloggett. She was anxious that I should get in touch with them with as little as delay as possible and give them my views on the work and duties of the nursing services in France. I learnt later in the day that these ladies had arrived on the 8th but had come out really to write up the WAAC organisation and were hoping as well to bring in the work of all women in France, including the Nursing Services.
Went to HQ, BRCS where I saw Sir Arthur Lawley in connection with the opening of the Home in the south of France. He seemed a little doubtful in consequence of the heavy expenses that organisation had been called upon to meet whether it would be possible to open the Home, but he was writing to Sir Arthur Stanley on the subject, emphasising the importance of establishing this unit for the benefit of the nurses who have been working so hard and continuously since the war began. He also told me about the arrival of the lady journalists who had called upon him and he had advised them to get into touch with me. I found that Mrs. Furse had already written asking that the VADs might be reported upon, that these ladies had already been round Boulogne really looking at the WAAC arrangements and were spending the day at Etaples and going on to Abbeville that night. I let Headquarters know, and undertook to get into touch with them with as little delay as possible.
Then visited 14 Stationary Hospital, an Isolation Hospital. CO: Colonel Evans. Matron: Miss M. Williams, QAIMNS. No. of beds: 1000. Nursing Staff: 37 Trained, 52 Untrained.
Went round the hospital and saw the new hut which has been presented by the BRCS for the benefit of the Specialists of the area, and of which Miss Sandbach, QAIMNS, is in charge, and where Miss Glazebrook, VAD, is doing secretarial work for Sir Bertrand Dawson and is being most valuable in connection with coloured photography work relating to the disease and wounds under treatment in this unit. Inspected the new accommodation for WAAC workers suffering from infectious diseases. The position and arrangement is excellent in every respect and in keeping with the rest of this very fine unit. There is an annexe by the sea where a great many infectious diseases are nursed in separate bathing boxes. The whole unit is well equipped, and lighted with electricity. There is a chapel in both compounds, and a fine mortuary, with chapel attached, to which the Matron devotes special care and attention. The nursing staff are accommodated in a large hotel taken by the Government for this purpose and managed entirely by a VAD Home Sister and 2 others to assist her. The messing arrangements are all in order and a certain number of French servants are employed and paid from Mess funds.
Before leaving Boulogne, I interviewed Miss Hayes, QAIMNSR, who is a very capable and highly trained nurse but who is always spoiling herself by causing little difficulties wherever she has been. Her present complaint was that she did not feel at all happy at the unit because the Matron had complained to her about her personal appearance and also about her carelessness in not shutting the shutters or turning out the gas in her room, in consequence of rigid orders which have recently been circulated on account of air-raids. She had neglected to carry out these instructions and the Mayor of the town had complained.
I also saw the Misses Cross, VADs, who have been working at 13 General Hospital. Their reports have been excellent, and I have arranged that they shall be two of the party who will spend the first 2 months on duty at Cap Martin Convalescent Home which will be opening in the south of France on the 1st November.
Returned to Abbeville.
Went to Albert and had lunch with the DMS 3rd Army, who had been anxious to see me in connection with some complaints which had been made through the Consultant, Colonel Grey, from No.20 and 55 CCS, with reference to the constant moves of Sisters on team duty in these units. He had not passed the correspondence through officially as he could quite well have done, for he felt there was some explanation of the matter. I explained to him that it was not considered advisable for nurses to remain more than six months at a time in the Army areas. In addition, Sisters were constantly going sick, requiring leave, or being transferred to Home Establishment, all of which causes constant moves in a unit, reliefs being needed to keep the staff up to strength required. He gave me the correspondence and I undertook to go into the particulars of these two special units and let him know exactly the condition of affairs, so that he would have it in black and white exactly what had been done. I explained to him that no Sister had been moved from a team without an order from the unit, in consequence of sickness, transfer to the Home Establishment or unsuitability, and I emphasised the fact that my great endeavour is always to supply the most suitable staff to a unit and to leave them there as long as was desirable.
After lunch visited 56 CCS: CO: Colonel Hitchins. Sister in charge: Miss Taggart, CHR. Staff of 8 others. Since last I visited this unit, the class of treatment has altered entirely. It has now taken over all the hutted accommodation of 45 CCS as well as their own, and admits surgical, medical, infectious and self-inflicted wounds, as well as shell shock cases. It is well managed, well run and everything seemed most satisfactory. They had just evacuated at the time of the visit. The nursing staff are well accommodated in Nissen huts – they have a first-rate Mess and sitting-room. The table appointments are good and the messing excellent. The Sister in charge, Miss Taggart, is an exceedingly capable woman.
Then I went to 38 CCS. OC: Lt. Col. Lowe. Sister in charge: Miss Caufeild, QAIMNS. Staff of 6 others. This is a big hutted unit situated at Gailly, and is set apart for infectious cases only. The Sisters are accommodated in huts with a small Mess, and everything is quite comfortable, but it did not strike me as well run as 56 CCS. Returned to Abbeville.
Visited No.3 Australian General Hospital. OC: Colonel Newmarsh. Matron: Miss Miles Walker, AANS. No. of beds: 1040. Nursing Staff: 98 Trained, and in addition 2 Red Cross workers, who are not members of the Mess but who live in billets, and who seem to be under no military control whatever. The Matron was most anxious that they might be made members of the Mess and come under the same rules and regulations as the rest of the staff. I said I would put the matter up officially and see what could be done. This hospital, at the time of the visit, was extremely heavy – every available bed was full and they were still taking in. There are a certain number of huts but the rest is still under canvas. The nursing quarters are hutted and all the arrangements seem satisfactory. The Mess and sitting-room are extremely pretty and well managed, and most of the bedrooms are well kept and some very pretty. There is a chapel and a mortuary. No French women servants are employed in the quarters, but it is run by batmen, and the Matron occasionally has two of the convalescent patients to assist in the quarters, a procedure of which I do not approve.
Left early with the lady journalists for St. Omer and stopped at GHQ on the way, where they were presented to Sir Arthur Sloggett, and where he gave them much useful information. He also sent them over to the office so that they might see certain maps in connection with the wounded in the front areas which Surgeon-General Macpherson showed them.
Went on to St. Omer arriving about lunch-time. The whole party had lunch at 10 Stationary Hospital nursing quarters, where Miss Lyde, A/Principal Matron, had prepared a very good lunch for the four lady journalists and the 2 WAAC Controllers. After lunch the party left for Calais. I remained the night at St. Omer and saw Miss Humphries, the Matron of 58 General Hospital and found that she was still very upset with the recent air-raid, so arranged that she should go on leave at once. I also saw Miss Whiffin, the Matron of 59 General Hospital, who informed me that the whole of her staff had settled in comfortably and were no longer suffering from any form of nervousness. Taubes were overhead during the night but no damage was done, the staff all going to the cellars for an hour or so.
Went to 58 General Hospital, where I saw the whole staff and pointed out to them that I was anxious that as many of them who felt unwilling to remain in the area should send in their names so that I could arrange to send them to one of the Bases where there would be an opportunity of them being free from air-raids for a time. In addition, I asked for the names of all those who were due for leave, and as I heard that the question had arisen of whether they should continue to nurse the Germans, I asked also for the names of those who were unwilling to have anything to do with the Germans, both sick and wounded. I had been told in this unit that in England the prisoners are not being nursed by British nurses.
Went to GHQ 1st Echelon at the request of the APM in connection with the day’s extension for the lady journalists, also to select from the official photographs a number which I considered suitable for the lady journalists to obtain for their various articles which they are about to write. The authority had already arrived for these journalists to be given information in connection with the work in our units and also that they might obtain from the Press Bureau in Whitehall any official photographs which they thought might be suitable for illustration. After lunch went on to Boulogne, to meet the lady journalists who did not arrive from Calais till late in the evening, so that I did not see them until the 19th.
Left early with the party to visit 14 Stationary Hospital, where the OC and Matron took infinite trouble in showing these ladies every sort of thing of interest, including the laboratory, special huts and the bathing boxes by the sea.
Then on to 8 Stationary Hospital, where Colonel Simpson and Miss Kaberry, the Matron, took them round the hospital, showed them the hospital kitchen, and went through Major Sinclair’s wards with all his wonderful apparatus for fractures of every description. They also had the opportunity of talking to some of the members of the Almeric Paget Massage Corps.
From there they went to 83 General Hospital, where they were shown Major Valadier’s wonderful jaw wards and the therapeutic department of Major Curtis-Webb. They also visited one of Princess Victoria’s Clubs for Nursing Sisters, and were given all the particulars of the running of these clubs, also of Mrs. Robertson Eustace’s Club for Military Sisters, which was the first one to be established in France for nurses. Had lunch with the party and was introduced to the Medical Adviser to the WAAC, Miss Sandeman, who how has an office at Headquarters, L of C. The lady journalists left by the morning boat, I having undertaken to send them some descriptions of special devotion to duty and courage displayed by members of the nursing staff since their arrival in France. Returned to St. Omer.
Left early for the 2nd Army, and reported at the DMS office. Proceeded to 44 CCS, where I saw the OC Colonel Emson, and Miss Wood, Sister in charge, and discussed the question of Miss Wood being the first of the QAIMNS to be sent to the Villa Roquebrune in charge for the winter months. Colonel Emson was quite willing, but very upset at losing her as she is most helpful and tactful, and he hoped she might return. He undertook to give her 48 hours’ leave if I telegraphed so that she might have the opportunity of meeting Mrs. Warre, before she took up her new duties. The unit was crowded and badly wounded people were still coming in. Driving to the unit, I passed one of the nurses walking with two Tommies. She was on night duty and when I left at 2 o’clock she had not yet returned. I learnt that the staff were satisfactory in every way and the team Sisters were doing excellent work. The unit has only recently opened up and is partly hutted, with a few large Nissen huts. The nursing staff have a good Mess and are well accommodated in Armstrong huts and bell tents, which are sandbagged and well protected by about three feet in thickness so that only a direct hit coming on the top of the tent or hut could harm them.
Went to No.3 Australian CCS which is absolutely next door and is a unit of the same description. OC: Colonel Campbell and Sister in charge: Miss O’Dwyer. This unit is doing very good work, but the OC had a grievance that they cannot nominate every Sister by name whom they wish to have working with them, and he seemed very aggrieved that some of the Australian Sisters should be working in any of our units even as Team Sisters. I pointed out to them that I would meet their wishes as far as possible, but three of the Sisters whom they specially asked for it was impossible to order to their unit, as they had already received definite orders from the Matron-in-Chief in London as to their postings.
Went on to Remy, and visited No.17 CCS. This unit was extremely full and very busy, the Sister in charge, Miss Teevan, QAIMNS, having recently taken over. No.10 CCS was in the same position, with a new Sister in charge, Miss Paynter, QAIMNS. This unit was also extremely full but one was impressed with the amount of good work which was being done and the care and attention that all were receiving.
Went to 3 Canadian CCS – Sister in charge: Miss B. Mattice, who is about to be transferred to the Base and replaced by another Canadian Sister. Here the work also seemed to be exceptionally heavy but there did not seem to be the same order and method in the work of this unit, as in that of our British units, and the Sister in charge did not seem to have the same control.
Spent the night at 17 CCS and was awakened to received a telephone message from Headquarters informing me that Miss Kemp, TFNS had been killed and Miss Devenish Meares had received multiple wounds, at 37 CCS. At 7 the same evening we had heard the bombardment and had been informed that Abeele station had been blown up, instead of which these bombs had fallen on one of our CCS. It was an extremely noisy night – eternal bombardment and Taubes overhead.
Went on to Godwaersvelde to 37 CCS where I saw the OC and learnt the particulars of the very trying incident of the night before. Fortunately they had just evacuated and they had only 30 patients in hospital, or the casualties would have been very great. There had been no warning at all beforehand and the bombs landed close to a marquee where the Sister, 3 orderlies and 3 patients were killed and others were wounded, two of whom lost their arms. In another marquee the Sister in charge, Miss Devenish Meares, received multiple wounds, fortunately of a not very serious nature. She had an anaesthetic during the night and pieces of shell were removed from her thigh, ankle and fore-arm, and arrangements were being made to send her to the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, St. Omer. I visited her and found her wonderfully plucky. Arranged for Miss Luard, QAIMNSR, who was waiting at the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville, to join 37 CCS as Sister in charge as soon as possible. Arranged for 4 of the nurses who were very upset to be sent down to the Base.
Then went on to 41 CCS which is immediately next. OC: Colonel Winslow. Sister in charge: Miss B. J. D. Reid, QAIMNSR. Everything is going satisfactorily, the Mess is well run and all regulations are being observed.
From there I went to 11 CCS, which is on the other side of the road, where I had lunch. This unit did not seem to be as well managed as the other two, but it was working well and the staff seemed quite a good one. The OC, Colonel Humphries, was entirely satisfied with the staff, and with Miss Lyle, the Sister in charge, who had only recently taken over. After lunch went to Bailleul, to 53 CCS. This unit is well established in a wing of the lunatic asylum and is first-rate in every respect. The work here for some time past has been very light and I undertook to reduce the staff from 12 to 8, the Sister in charge, Miss Gardiner, QAIMNS, giving me the names of those she considered not entirely suitable for CCS work.
Then I went to 2 CCS at Outtersteene, in a most lovely position, most beautifully managed and arranged. There is a large artificial stream running through the grounds, bridges, gardens and turf plots. On one side of the stream are the administrative block and walking cases and on the other side the seriously wounded and accommodation for both medical and nursing staff. In addition to Nissen huts and marquees, they have 6 bomb-proof cement wards, one ward being devoted to the operating theatre and the remainder capable of accommodating 6 beds in each, where during severe air-raids seriously wounded patients can be safely accommodated and operations carried on without fear of danger. The nursing quarters here are quite excellent, and the Mess very good – afternoon tea was served as well as any to be had in London.
Returning, I called in at the DMS office and reported what I had done. He was extremely shocked at the death of Miss Kemp and said if possible he would attend the funeral in the morning. They had been trying to get in touch with her brothers, who were Medical Officers, one with the Anzacs. Returned to St. Omer. During the drive saw many Taubes and our aeroplanes overhead and driving into St. Omer the guns were busy and 3 bombs had been dropped just by the road which the car passed over after the bombardment had taken place, in which 3 houses were entirely destroyed and some soldiers killed, as well as a good many of the French population. Rang up the DMS 5th Army, and arranged to visit him tomorrow.
Before leaving for the 5th Army called on the ADMS St. Omer, and asked him to put up the question of whether it was considered advisable for members of the Nursing Services to nurse Germans, as the staff of 58 General Hospital, where it has been decided to take in mainly wounded Germans, are working not too willingly.
Arrived at Headquarters, 5th Army, in time for lunch. Met Colonel Maynard Smith, Surgeon Consultant in this area and discussed with him the question of teams and the advisability of nurses staying over 6 months at the front. He was of my opinion, that six months is quite long enough for any of them to work under the conditions they now have to face with the continual air-raids. Had lunch at Headquarters with the whole of the Headquarters staff, with General Skinner. These Headquarters, at La Louvie, are beautifully situated in wonderful grounds in a huge park. All the branches of Headquarters are established in huts which are sandbagged and painted green. The whole is one network of telephone and telegraph wires. At lunch I met the Hon. Colonel Maurice Drummond, whom I had nursed in South Africa, and several other men of the staff, and afterwards at the Chateau met General Gough, Army Commander, and his personal staff.
I then went with General Skinner to visit 4, 47, and 61 CCS, all grouped together by one railway siding, all being full in consequence of a battle which had begun in the early hours of the morning. Everything appeared to be going well and I got particulars of all the nurses. The respective Messes of the three units were excellent, the Sisters in charge being Miss Greaves, QAIMNSR Australian at No.4, Miss Roy, QAIMNS at No.47 and Miss Baird, QAIMNSR at No.61.
From there we went to 12, 46 and 64 CCS, all very busy also. I got the particulars from each Sister in charge of their staffs, and made a note of any of them it was considered advisable to move. The Messes in these units were equally satisfactory, the Sisters in charge being respectively Miss Mackay, QAIMNS at No.12, Miss Duncan, CHR at No.46 and Miss C. M. Williams, QAIMNS at No.64. Returned to St. Omer, arriving at about 8.30 p.m.
Left early for the 4th Army. Drove to Headquarters and saw Surgeon-General O’Keeffe and his staff officer, Colonel Lloyd. In the town there were signs of the recent raiding, and a good many houses absolutely destroyed. Surgeon-General O’Keeffe was anxious to see me with reference to a certain theatre Sister recently moved who had been working at 36 CCS for more than a year – she had put in for leave and I had arranged for her to join another unit on her return, replacing her at 36 CCS by a Sister who I thought would be equally satisfactory. Captain Lockwood, the Surgical Specialist, when he heard she was not returning, made a tremendous complaint and threatened to leave the Army. The Sister in question has not returned. I explained the situation and said it was not usual to leave Sisters in the army areas for more than six months at a time, and said I would visit 36 CCS and point out to the CO, Colonel Thompson that he had a staff of 27 specially selected nurses and amongst them 7 efficient and well-trained theatre Sisters.
I then went to 36 CCS and saw the OC and the Sister in charge, Miss Smythe, QAIMNS. I explained exactly what happened and learnt that Miss Thompson had returned from leave with a temperature of 102.6 and had said that she was feeling extremely tired a long time before leaving the unit. I saw Colonel Sinclair, the Consultant Surgeon attached to the Army and desired him to let the DMS of the Army know exactly how the matter stands. No.36 CCS is established in a most splendid position. Owing to their situation and the nature of the work they are practically always full of very seriously wounded patients who are kept there at least three weeks or a month. They have a first-rate operating theatre and an electrical department, also officers’ wards, and there is no doubt that everything possible is being done for the patients. The Sisters have an extremely nice Mess with particularly nice table appointments. I had an excellent lunch with them – well cooked, well served and very hot.
After lunch I went to 34 CCS which is just next door and is set apart entirely for infectious cases, shell shock and self-inflicted wounds. This is a very scattered charge composed mainly of Nissen huts, including a Mess and ante-room, all very thoroughly sand-bagged. During the night they are subject to constant and continual air-raids, but so far neither unit has suffered to any extent and the nursing staffs are well and suffering from no sort of nervousness. Returned to St. Omer in time for dinner.
Left early for the New Zealand Stationary Hospital, which is situated about 5 miles from St. Omer, a splendid position on rising heather ground. The camp is about to be completed and will eventually be composed of Nissen huts only, the nursing staff and medical personnel being also hutted.
CO: Colonel O’Neill. Matron: Miss Price. Nursing Staff: 27. Their operating theatre is not yet ready and in consequence they are taking solely medical cases. The Matron is rather distressed at the ruling of the Matron-in-Chief, NZANS, who has transferred several members of the staff to England after 12 months’ service in France. Both she and the medical officers pointed out how trying this is for them. I saw most of the nursing staff and went round their quarters. At present their Mess is in a large marquee which is quite comfortable and warm, but before the week is out they will be in Nissen huts. Their difficulty seems to be in getting proper men to wait on them – it is practically impossible to get French servants to come by the day and they find great difficulty in getting their personal washing done.
To 10 Stationary Hospital – saw the OC Colonel Burke, and then visited the Sick Sisters’ quarters, which are very comfortable and where there were several patients, but none seriously ill. Miss Devenish Meares, who recently received multiple wounds, had been evacuated the day before in consequence of the air-raid making her very anxious and unable to sleep. Had lunch at 10 Stationary Hospital, and after lunch went to Hesdin, where I saw the DGMS and discussed the question of moves in the Armies, and American nurses. Had tea with General Macpherson, Colonel Leishman and DGMS. Got back to Abbeville in time for dinner.
Left for Boulogne. Had lunch with Captain and Mrs. Warre, and discussed the arrangements in connection with Villa Roquebrune, which is opening again as a Convalescent Home for Sisters about November 25th, and for which I have been asked to supply a Matron. I hoped to have arranged for Miss Wood, QAIMNS who I have selected for this duty, to be able to come to Boulogne on Saturday so that she could have met Mrs. Warre, but in consequence of the heavy work in the Armies this was not possible. As Mrs. Warre is now on her way to Roquebrune, it is arranged that Miss Wood should join her on the 20th and the Villa will be opened on the 25th.
After lunch went to HQ, BRCS, where the question of movement orders and the supply of coal and rations to the Villa were discussed with Major Wynch, Sir Arthur Lawley’s secretary. It was decided that the BRCS would put the matter up officially and get authority for the Warres to be supplied with coal and rations on repayment. Saw Sir Arthur Lawley and discussed with him the question of keeping Hardelot Convalescent Home open for the winter months as well as the new Home at Cannes. The arrangement is that Lady Gifford and Mrs. Seymour, her sister, should run the Cannes home and Miss Inglis and an assistant should run Hardelot. Had tea at Mrs. Robertson Eustace’s Club in the hope of meeting Madame Pinto, Head of the Portuguese Red Cross, but unfortunately missed her.
Went to the DDMS office with reference to the move of Miss Jarvis, CHR, who had returned from sick leave after diphtheria, which she had contracted in Major Valadier’s wards, Major Valadier being extremely upset at her move. Met Miss Dillon, Lady Algernon Gordon Lennox’s new secretary for the Clubs, also her sister Mrs. Taylor, who is to be in charge of the new Paris Home for Nurses.
Got back to Abbeville in time for dinner.
SUMMARY FOR OCTOBER 1917
No.13 CCS, on 15.10.17: Staff supplied – 13
No.3 Australian CCS, on 3.10.17: Staff supplied – 21
No.5 London Field Ambulance, on 4.10.17: Staff released – 10
No.6 CCS, on 22.10.17: Staff released – 9
Trained – 9
Untrained – 0
Sent Home sick
Trained – 27
Untrained – 21
Returned from sick leave
Trained – 18
Untrained – 2
Total sick at present in England
Trained – 111
Untrained – 80
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 25 (8 on account of marriage)
Transfers to Home Establishment
Trained – 3
Approximate No. of leaves granted – 197
VADs returned to England
Resigned – 7 (2 on marriage)
Termination of contract – 19 (2 on marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment – 6
Total – 32
Special Probationers returned to England
Termination of contract – 1
Staff Nurse A. Climie, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Sister E. Kemp, TFNS, 37 CCS: 20.10.17
Miss D. Coles, VAD, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Miss E. Thomson, VAD , 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Staff Nurse C. A. Davidson, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Staff Nurse F. McKellar, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Sister E. Devenish-Meares, QAIMNSR, 37 CCS: 20.10.17
Staff Nurse M. S. Stewart, QAIMNSR, 61 CCS: 30.10.17
Died of wounds
Staff Nurse M. L. Milne, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 2.10.17
Military Medals awarded to
A/Sister E. Byrne, QAIMNSR, 47 CCS
Sister W. M. Hawkins, TFNS, 47 CCS
Sister C. M. Roy, QAIMNS, 47 CCS
Sister A. M. Kelly, AANS, 3 Australian CCS
Sister R. Pratt, AANS, 1 Australian CCS
Sister M. Wood, QAIMNS, 44 CCS
Sister J. A. Herbert, TFNS, 35 General Hospital
Sister M. A. C. Blair, QAIMNSR, 20 CCS
Staff Nurse C. McLean, QAIMNSR, 20 CCS
Staff Nurse H. Panton, TFNS, 20 CCS
Staff Nurse H. F. Diesel, SAMNS, attached QAIMNSR – Mrs. Van der Walt.
Total Nursing Staff now in BEF
Trained – 2519
Untrained – 1793
Shortage according to War Establishment
Trained – 276
36 CCS: Night of 1st – 2nd October: No casualties amongst Nursing staff.
11 CCS: Night of 2nd October: No casualties amongst Nursing staff.
St. Omer: Night of 1st – 2nd October and subsequent nights: 1 Sister, 2 VADs killed 3 Sisters wounded, a number of patients killed and wounded, at 58 General Hospital.
Boulogne: Night of 2nd October: No serious damage, no casualties.
33 CCS: Night of 2nd October: No casualties amongst nursing staff.
44 CCS: Night of 1st, 2nd and 3rd October: No casualties amongst nursing staff.
37 CCS: Night of 20th October: 1 Sister killed, 1 wounded, 3 orderlies and 3 patients killed, and others wounded.
61 CCS: Night of 29th October: 1 Sister wounded, 2 patients killed.