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
Etaples: Left for Etaples – visited the DDMS with reference to the approaching move of the American personnel belonging to 11 General Hospital, which was being transferred to 13 General Hospital, and the sudden orders which had been received for 11 General Hospital to pack up and stand by ready to move at short notice. Went with the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach, to 11 General Hospital, where I met the American Matron, Miss Hall, for the first time. Arranged that I would send 4 members of our Nursing Service from 13 General Hospital to arrive at once and beginning packing up the quarters, it having already been arranged that 30 members of the American service, in addition to 12 officers and 50 men, were to join 13 General Hospital in the morning, leaving 58 nurses behind. I undertook to make arrangements with the Matron of 13 General Hospital so that the remainder of her staff would be able to join at once and that I would leave a certain number of trained people in 13 General until the new staff had got accustomed to the new work and surroundings.
I then proceeded to Boulogne to the DDMS office and made the proposed arrangements. Went over the nursing quarters of 13 General Hospital at the Marine Hotel, which were about to be taken over by the Americans. Everything was in first-rate order – the equipment in excellent condition and the Home Sister, Miss Easby, who is a most excellent woman in every respect, had got everything in readiness and the bed-rooms empty and in order to receive the new people.
Went to HQ, BRCS, where I saw Sir Arthur Lawley’s secretary with reference to the opening of the Convalescent Home, Cannes, and the Villa Roquebrune. Made all the final arrangements with reference to transport, supplies, and, when necessary, arranged that they should apply to the Commandant, Cap Martin, when medical assistance was required. Spent the night at the Hotel. During the night there was a heavy bombardment. The hotel was crowded with people and the lights entirely out everywhere but there was no excitement of any kind, and nothing of a serious nature occurred in the vicinity of the hotel.
Left early in the morning for Calais. Visited 38 Stationary Hospital, the other unit which has been ordered to pack up in readiness to proceed at short notice. Saw the OC, who is most anxious that when a nursing staff is asked for he may have his present Matron and those of the staff she may select. He spoke very highly of the Matron, Miss Davidson, ARRC, AANS, and said she was a most efficient nurse and manager and though permitting no nonsense of any kind among the nursing staff, she was able to keep them perfectly happy. Saw the whole of the staff and ascertained from Miss Davidson those members who she considered would be entirely suitable in every way to join the unit no matter where they might be sent. I ascertained that all the staff were willing and anxious to accompany the Matron. Arranged for those who had leave due to proceed and for the others to join other units temporarily. Proceeded to the ADMS office and told him the arrangements I had made.
Afterwards visited 35 General Hospital. Unfortunately the Matron and A/Principal Matron of the area, Miss Mackay, was not on duty. Asked the OC to instruct the Matron to let me have a return (1) of the maximum number of nurses she was able to accommodate in their present quarters (2) the names of those nurses who she was going to appoint for ship duty (3) the names of those of her staff due for leave (4) if she had at present more staff than she really required to supply me with the names of those she could most conveniently spare.
Returned to Boulogne, where Miss Fletcher, Principal Matron, BRCS, met me and had lunch which gave me the opportunity of discussing various questions in connection with the work of our nurses, as well as those of the BRCS. She was anxious to know my views with reference to bicycling, and I informed her that although the matter had been considered in certain areas the objections to it were (1) that a bicycle is not permitted to be part of a nurse’s luggage (2) that they are not allowed to bring them with them from England (3) that members of the nursing service are not permitted to travel from one station to another with a bicycle (4) that in our nurses’ quarters there is not even a box-room allowed, that the nurses have to share a room where all their belongings have to be kept also, and there is absolutely nowhere to store a bicycle (5) that I do not consider the nurses’ uniform is suitable for bicycling.
Later arranged about the distribution of the present staff of 13 General Hospital, that those who were due for leave should apply for it and the remainder of the staff should be distributed in certain units to complete establishment.
Had tea at Mrs. Robertson Eustace’s Club, where I met Madame Pinto, head of the Portuguese Red Cross and the Portuguese DMS. They are busy building a hospital of 400 beds for Portuguese patients at Ambleteuse, and Madame Pinto was expecting a staff of 24 ladies who had had about 6 months’ hospital experience, 5 of whom could speak English fluently. She is desirous of gaining permission if possible for these ladies to be attached to some of our hospitals to gain some experience in our methods and organisation, until their own unit was ready. She also would like if possible to be permitted to be attached to a hospital where she might learn from the Matron much which would be most valuable to her when running her own unit. I undertook to submit her proposals to the DGMS for consideration.
Before leaving Boulogne I saw Miss Hoerner, CAMC who is about to proceed to 3 Canadian CCS as Sister in charge. I impressed upon her the importance of conforming to all regulations, and seeing that her staff did the same. I let her understand that dancing is not permitted. If she wanted help, she had only to write to me if in any difficulty or in need of advice, and if any members of her staff were not entirely suitable, she had only to let me know and I would deal with the matter and let her Matron-in-Chief know.
Spent the night at Princess Louise’s Convalescent Home, where I had the opportunity of talking to Lady Gifford and Miss Inglis, in connection with the final arrangements for the Convalescent Home, Cannes, which they are shortly opening. The present home is to be closed from the 15th November to the beginning of the year, and after that Lady Gifford will be in charge of Cannes and Miss Inglis will be responsible for the Hardelot Home.
Before leaving Hardelot, saw Miss Kellet, AANS Matron of 25 General Hospital, and obtained from her particulars of the whole of her nursing staff. On the whole she appears to have a very capable staff but she gave me the names of those who were undisciplined and resented authority of any kind, and I undertook to inform the Matron-in-Chief, AIF about them. Returned to Abbeville via Etaples where I left final instructions with reference to the complete removal of all American nurses from 11 General Hospital.
Visited the Sick Sisters’ Annexe, 2 Stationary Hospital, with Miss Nunn, A/Matron, before her departure for Havre. Since my last visit there is a new Matron in charge of this unit – Miss Loughron, QAIMNSR – and I found everything in most excellent order. The staff now consists of 6 Trained and 7 VAD Members inclusive of the Matron. There is an excellent RAMC cook, 1 assistant cook, 1 telephone orderly and 2 orderlies who do heavy carrying and a sergeant in charge of the dispensary. The new accommodation which has recently been completed for the WAAC is excellent in every respect and includes not only well furnished wards but as well bathrooms, sitting-room and Mess room. On the top floor there is still the MO’s office and the dispensary which will eventually be done away with, and will give us two more rooms, one as a bathroom for doubtful cases amongst the WAAC and the other for a 2-bedded observation ward, where anything of a contagious nature can be nursed. All infectious and contagious clothing and all linen is taken to 2 Stationary Hospital, where it is fumigated. The nursing staff are well and comfortably accommodated in the Nurses’ Home, which is immediately opposite and which is run by Miss Baldrey, QAIMNSR, who not only arranged for the comfort of this staff but also has accommodation for 15 other nurses who are passing through backwards and forwards from the Armies. This unit is wonderfully well run in every respect and all cooking arrangements are done by 2 very excellent VADs. From January to October this year 1138 Sisters have been accommodated for varying periods at the Home. These ladies are met on arrival and when they receive orders to proceed to any part of France, everything is arranged for them and they are seen off at the railway station..
Went with Dr. Sandeman, Controller of Medical Services attached to the WAAC, to Treport, where I saw the ADMS, with reference to the General Service Section VAD Members who are arriving for duty with 3 and 47 General Hospitals. I learnt that a contingent of 20 of these workers had already arrived. Went to 47 General Hospital, where I saw the Matron and OC and where we inspected the new quarters which have just been opened. They are entirely hutted and are excellent in every respect, being in the form of a quadrangle, so that the staff are entirely under cover directly they arrive at the quarters. They have the usual excellent Mess and sitting-rooms and they are eventually to have 10 bath-rooms. The huts are particularly nice as the walls have been stained and the floors are being done in the same manner which helps to furnish the quarters and is as well a tremendous saving of labour. Dr. Sandeman was extremely interested and very much impressed with the comfortable appearance of the Nursing Sisters’ quarters.
After tea we went to Headquarters of the General Service Section where we met the Commandant, Miss Turner, and went with her to the new quarters which are composed of a series of Nissen huts, and where the 20 new arrivals were just having dinner. The arrangements here are two large Nissen huts – one as a sitting-room and one as a Mess-room, a good kitchen and two rows of Nissen huts to accommodate 180 General Service members who are expected during the week. Returned to Abbeville
Visited the CCS in the 3rd Army. Nos.5 and 55 CCS at Tincourt are both excellent, No.5 I thought especially good. The arrangements both in the wards and operating theatre are excellent, and I was very much impressed with the hot chamber which has been improvised for supplying hot towels, pyjamas and blankets for the recovery ward. I had the opportunity of speaking to Colonel Higgs, the CO of 55 CCS – he is entirely satisfied with the Sister in charge, Miss Potts, and I have arranged to keep him well supplied with good theatre Sisters. The staff here is entirely satisfactory and there will be no need of any changes.
At No.5 CCS the Sister in charge, Miss Todd, is due for leave and I have arranged for Miss Brander, who she tells me is entirely suitable, to carry on her duties during her absence. She gave me the names of 3 of her staff who are not entirely up to the work required in CCSs and as soon as I am able, I will replace them with capable people returning from leave. The accommodation and messing for these two units is quite excellent.
Then went to Ytres to Nos.21 and 48 CCS I spent the night at 48 CCS and was most comfortably accommodated. The cooking is first-rate and their open fire-place is quite a feature of their sitting-room.
I saw Colonel Hartigan, who tells me that the Sister in charge, Miss A. P. Wilson, QAIMNS, is quite excellent. A good theatre Sister is badly needed, and I undertook to supply one with as little delay as possible. Both he and the Sister in charge feel it would be an advantage if their nursing staff were made up to 13, including the Matron, and this matter is being dealt with.
At No.21 CCS I saw Colonel Waters, the CO Everything here seems entirely satisfactory, and both these units struck me as being very well managed and the accommodation and messing arrangements in both are very good, especially in 21 CCS where everything is most comfortable, one might almost say luxurious, in their Mess-room.
To Grevillers to Nos.3 and 29 CCS where I saw both the COs and Sisters in charge. No.29 CCS seemed quite strange without Colonel Brunskill. Their theatre and wards are quite excellent and the CO showed me many alterations and improvements which are in process of completion, with regard to building new huts and arrangements for warming. Their chapel marquee is very nice indeed – so much personal interest seems to have been taken in the arrangements by both the officers and the nursing staff.
No.3 CCS struck me as being unfinished and they seem to be busy arranging the camp and are in the act of building numerous huts. The arrangements in this Mess are not so good as in the previous ones I had visited. There is not the same air of comfort in these two units; this must of course depend a good deal upon the personality of the individual. Both at 3 and 29 CCS there are a large number of people who have been a long time in the front area and I will gradually replace them with suitable people as they return from leave.
To Achiet-le-Grand to Nos.45 and 49 CCS where I saw both the COs and the Sisters in charge, from whom I gathered that the work has been fairly light for some considerable time. In both units apparently they have been taking in mainly sick.
At 49 CCS I was fortunate in seeing Colonel Ellery, before he was transferred by Ambulance Train to the Base. There is no doubt he is feeling very seedy having been compelled to leave his unit, and is hoping that his condition will improve so that he may be able to return. The Matron of this unit, Miss Cardozo, TFNS, strikes one as being extremely capable, and the OC spoke very highly of her and of the nursing staff generally.
At 45 CCS the Sister in charge, Miss Perkins, QAIMNS, is feeling the cold and is anxious to get a transfer as she is already beginning to suffer considerably from chilblains. She had been hoping to stay where she was till Christmas, but I discussed the matter with the CO and he feels that if there is going to be a change, the sooner I can supply a substitute the better. In both of these units the Messes struck me as being well managed and are as well both comfortable and pretty, and the staffs appear to be satisfactory and contented.
To Boisleux to Nos.20 and 43 CCS, where I also saw both the COs and the Sisters in charge. The Sister in charge of 20 CCS, Miss C. Macrae, QAIMNS, does not strike me as being entirely suitable or capable of the work required of her, and as soon as possible I am proposing to replace her by another regular Sister and will arrange for Miss Macrae to have her leave which is over-due. The accommodation for the Nursing Sisters is extremely good and I notice that they are fortunate in possessing a bath-room where hot baths are able to be arranged for all the staff with very little difficulty.
At 43 CCS I saw the OC and Mrs. Dalrymple, the Sister in charge, as well as Miss Laing, TFNS, the new Sister in charge. The OC is more than sorry to lose Mrs. Dalrymple, who has been with the unit for nearly two years and I have arranged that after she has had her leave and allowed the present Sister in charge to do her time in this unit (if she proves entirely satisfactory), Mrs. Dalrymple will return. Everything here seems entirely satisfactory and the accommodation and arrangements for the comfort of the staff are quite excellent.
The following points occurred to me while visiting these units:
1. There are a good many of the Sisters from these units doing team duty in other Armies and I hear from the Sisters in charge that most of them are writing saying they are feeling very tired. I am now writing to the DMS of the Army in which they now are to ascertain whether they can be spared, so that I can let them have their leave.
2. At 20 CCS I found that the Sister in charge was only putting one nurse on night duty, and I pointed out that in all instances there must be at least two members of the nursing staff on night duty.
3. Nos.20, 43, 45 and 49 CCS told me that for the present they could quite well manage with a nursing staff of 10, so with the approval of the DMS, these staffs are being reduced.
4. In future a list will be kept of all the Sisters in the various Armies who have proved themselves to be thoroughly valuable workers in every respect, and when they have done a time at the Base, unless they have been transferred elsewhere, I shall let them return as vacancies occur. This arrangement should prove a satisfactory one and enable me to supply to the Armies people who are thoroughly efficient in this class of work.
5. When at Amiens the other day I learnt that the Matron of 42 Stationary Hospital finds a difficulty in getting in touch with the Armies so as to ascertain which is the way new arrivals should travel to their various units, as she is not permitted to ask for a trunk call on the telephone. I am ascertaining if this matter cannot be arranged with the Signals, and as the hospital is so near the railway station, I feel this ought to be managed without any difficulty whatever. Returned to Abbeville.
To GHQ where I saw the DGMS, Sir Arthur Sloggett, with reference to the changes in the Armies, and also to ascertain whether it was desirable and advisable that I should leave Headquarters at the present time in order to proceed to Paris. He agreed that it was quite convenient in every respect, and that if any difficulties occurred, it would be quite easy either to telegraph or telephone.
Left for Paris, arriving at the Embassy at 5.30 p.m. Was received by the Ambassador, Lord Bertie of Thane, and was given a most beautiful apartment, with a large bed-room, bathroom, dressing room and sitting room. The Embassy is the house which was built by Napoleon Bonaparte for his sister Pauline and was bought by the Iron Duke for the residence of the British Ambassador with everything entirely as it stood in the time of Bonaparte.* It is a palatial residence, most beautifully furnished all in the Empire style and has, of course, recently had many modern improvements added. We dined in the original Dining-room of Pauline, with only the Ambassador and Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox.
* 39 rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré, Paris. Miss McCarthy doesn’t have the details quite correct; the house was built in 1720–23 by Paul-Francois de Béthune, Duc de Charost, and in 1803 it was sold by the widow of the 5th Duke to Pauline LeClerc, favourite sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was purchased by the Duke of Wellington in 1814 on behalf of King George III. Today it is the Ambassador’s residence, with the ‘working’ Embassy elsewhere.
Went with Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox to inspect the residential Club which is to be opened as one of Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria’s Clubs for Nursing Sisters. This one is different from all others in that as well as being a Club with all the conveniences of the other Clubs, it has accommodation for 33 Sisters who are anxious to spend their leave in Paris. It is well furnished and comfortable in every respect, quite near the Gare du Nord, and Lady Algernon had got a Lady Superintendent and 2 VAD members, as well as a staff of servants, which she has been fortunate in securing and who seem entirely suitable. The charge is to be 5 francs for bed and breakfast and she is arranging so that everyone can have their breakfast in bed. The rest of the day they are entirely free to make their own arrangements. An entertainment fund has been inaugurated and the Overseas Dominions have sent subscriptions, so that excursions can be arranged for those wishing to see places of interest in Paris and its vicinity. In addition, some of the leading actresses have given a certain amount of tickets at 10 francs, for 3 francs for the Nursing Services, and Miss Decima Moore, now the wife of a Brigadier, is inviting the Sisters to the entertainments she is getting up for people on leave in Paris, both officers, men and sisters.
After lunch went to the American Red Cross Headquarters where I met Miss Martha Russell, who is the Chief Nurse in connection with the American Red Cross. From her I learnt that Miss Bessie Bell, Chief Military Nurse, had arrived and was attached to the Headquarters, L of C, American Army. Miss Russell invited me to tea so that I might meet her, but as this was not possible I got her address and undertook to call upon her.
Called on Miss Bessie Bell. Found that she belonged to the American Military Nursing Service and had had some years’ experience. She had suddenly been ordered to France and had only been there about a week and up to the present had no knowledge or idea of what units were open or how many members of the American Nursing Service were already in France. She asked me to give her any assistance I could and I undertook to arrange for her to come to Headquarters where I could show her all arrangements we made in connection with all official matters referring to the Nursing Services and I also undertook to let her have nominal rolls of the nurses belonging to the six British units now working in our areas. She had come with a secretary with her but up to the present had no office nor had any arrangements of any kind be made and I could foresee that she was about to face the same fort of difficulties as one had contended with at the commencement of the war.
After lunch went to Headquarters, BRCS at St. James Hotel, where I saw Colonel Needham, the representative, where I discussed the question of the large numbers of nurses passing through to other Bases and the increased number of Sisters who would be proceeding on leave to Paris, as well as to Cannes and Roquebrune. I undertook to keep him regularly informed of the numbers expected to arrive each day. I thanked him for the very great help the BRCS have been and said that I was continually being told how helpful everyone was from the time the nurses arrived in Paris till they left, giving them no trouble of any description.
Left the Embassy at 11 a.m. and returned to Headquarters in the evening.
Miss Perkins, QAIMNS, came to the office to see me on return from a CCS. Realised that she was thoroughly ill, and arranged for her to be admitted at once to No.2 Stationary Annexe, where it was considered advisable to call in Sir John Bradford for an opinion.
Went direct to Headquarters, where a note was waiting for me explaining how everything at present has been done with the greatest secrecy in consequence of so much news filtering through our hospitals, both at the Base and at the front, before the push begins, and getting to the enemy through his secret service. The work is very heavy everywhere and I was advised to visit Nos. 45, 48, 5 and 57 Casualty Clearing Stations.
At 45 and 48 CCS which are side by side I found them very crowded with badly wounded people as well as a large number of Germans. Everything was going smoothly and both the Sister in charge and OC expressed themselves satisfied as to how the work was going and the suitability of the staff. In both units they were asked for more nurses and I undertook to send them 5 each. The weather was very bad and the roads were heavy with mud. I passed thousands of German prisoners marching back in companies accompanied by sentries. Going forward I passed quantities of both English and French troops including French cavalry. The condition of things looked much the same as at the beginning of the war. While here I saw both the DMS of the 3rd Army and the DDG, Surgeon-General Macpherson, who expressed his satisfaction with everything.
I then went to 5 and 55 CCS – these units are first-class in every respect – they were fairly busy but not to the same extent as the two former units, but they were expecting larger convoys now that Ytres was so congested. Had tea at 55 CCS and left for Headquarters, stopping at Amiens on the way to ascertain how 42 Stationary Hospital was situated, as I had been obliged to transfer a good many nurses from that unit to front areas. I was also anxious to see Miss C. W. Jones, QAIMNS who has just taken over. Found the hospital quite full and undertook to send an increase of staff with as little delay as possible. Looked into the question of accommodation for Sisters passing through and asked the Matron to let it be understood that the ward off their Mess in the hospital should be set apart entirely and permanently for Sisters arriving from both north and south on their way to other units. Got back 9.30 p.m.
Went to Boulogne with the Matron-in-Chief, AIF and Miss Bessie Bell, Chief Nurse of the Americans. Had lunch and saw the Australian Matron-in-Chief off, then went with Miss Bell to the DDMS office, where I introduced her to the DADMS as the DDMS was not there. Then took her to 13 General Hospital where I left her to make the acquaintance of the CO, Matron and American nursing staff belonging to the unit. Went back to the DDMS office where the question was discussed as to how it could be arranged for Miss Lyde, who is doing Acting Principal Matron’s duties in the Boulogne area, to draw Matron’s pay, although there is not for the moment any unit to which she can be attached without moving one of the Matrons who have been working in these units for a considerable time. As Miss Lyde is intended to go down to Trouville as soon as this area opens, it is desirable that she should gain some experience of A/Principal Matron’s duties in a large area such as Boulogne. The DADMS undertook to see what could be done but the pay people had already been approached and stated that under the present conditions it would not be possible for her to draw other than Sister’s pay while not in charge of a hospital. This seems very hard lines as at the moment Boulogne is extremely busy, many units are changing and the amount of work needed in supervising and helping these inexperienced Matrons (inexperienced as far as Active Service conditions are concerned) is very great.
Abbeville: Got back at 9.30 p.m. Miss Bell stayed the night at the Nurses’ Home, and left for Paris on the morning of the 25th.
After lunch left with Miss Skinner for 12 Stationary Hospital. The weather was bitterly cold. I was unfortunate in missing the Matron who was out for a walk but on our way to GHQ we met her and found out that everything was going satisfactorily. Arranged with her that I would in future place 3 capable people at 12 Stationary Hospital who should be prepared to proceed to the Armies at very short notice and that as requests were made for these Sisters, I should be informed at once so that I could fill the vacancies without delay. This arrangement, I feel, should help the unit considerably and will prevent any unnecessary disturbances on the smooth working of the hospital, where up to the present large numbers of nurses have been obliged to be taken at short notice to meet urgent demands further forward.
To GHQ where I saw the DGMS and gave him the Supplementary List of Honours and Mentions which had been asked for. He was most complimentary in his remarks about how these Honours and Mentions have always been submitted from this office, and said it was the only department where everything was as it should be, and important people not overlooked. Discussed the question of leave to Paris with him. He was glad to learn that the Club was now ready and said that he would make a point of visiting it the next time he went to Paris. He was of the opinion that Sisters when on leave should be permitted to stay with friends when they wished, instead of always being accommodated at the Nurses’ Club, and he requested that the instructions already circulated should be amended in this respect. I pointed out that the Club was near the Gare du Nord, that the Sisters would be met, that at the Club every comfort and convenience was awaiting them, that the expenses would be considerably less than at a hotel, that they would be able to have their breakfast in bed, and for the remainder of the day they would have the same privileges as when on leave in the United Kingdom, with the additional advantages of being able to go to theatres at small expense and having the opportunity of seeing all the interesting sights of Paris, as excursions were being arranged from the entertainment fund.
To St. Omer via GHQ Saw Colonel Morgan and took him the return of Women Workers in France which had been asked for by them as well as of the 3rd Echelon. Went on to St. Omer arriving in time for lunch. After lunch, went with Miss Tunley, A/Principal Matron, to Headquarters of the 3rd Army, where I found that Surgeon-General Porter and his staff had left for Italy and Surgeon-General O’Keeffe and his staff were in possession. I found that the 2nd Army now included the Casualty Clearing Stations of the 5th Army as well, and the 5th Army were moving further south to a destination at present unknown. These arrangements had made the 2nd Army considerably larger that it had been and their number of Casualty Clearing Stations is now increased to 26. Of these for the winter months six Casualty Clearing Stations were being transformed into Rest Stations where only sick, and people requiring rest and care would be accommodated. In these units to begin with the staff was to be reduced to 5 and later if possible it will be still further reduced during the winter months. As the heavy work in this Army has now subsided to a great extent, it has been found possible to reduce all other units to a staff of 10. Many of these up to the present have had as many as 30 nurses. Returned to St. Omer for the night.
To 7 General Hospital where I inspected the quarters of the General Service Section and met Miss Worthington, the Commandant. Certain difficulties are being faced already: (1) many of the VADs employed have been drawn from those who have worked for the Detachments for a long time and enjoyed the privileges which under their present agreement they are no longer eligible for, in consequence of now being classed as rank and file: i.e. having to travel 3rd Class, and not being considered eligible for admission to Her Royal Highness Princess Victoria’s Clubs: (2) many of them have not done hard work before coming to France and have not been employed in the work which has now been allotted to them; (3) there is a great diversity of uniform for which there is apparently no official sanction; (4) the arrangement of the SJAB General Service Section wearing the same uniform as the nursing members is looked upon with disfavour by our nursing VADs and leads to many difficulties.
From St. Omer I went to the 2nd Army, and had lunch with the DMS at his Mess. After lunch visited 23 CCS where Miss Alexander, the new Sister in charge, had just taken over. Everything was in excellent order and they were very light, but I found that the staff had been reduced to 3 in consequence of many demands in the 3rd Army. I arranged at once to increase it to 7. For some days past only one Sister had been on night duty, and I felt this undesirable. Unfortunately I missed the OC, Colonel Stopford.
To 39 Stationary Hospital – Miss Toller, QAIMNS in charge – Colonel Unwin, CO. This unit has been considerably increased. As well as the prison, they have 6 large Nissen huts.
The work and arrangements seem excellent in every respect and the accommodation and comfort of the nursing staff has enormously improved since Miss Toller took over. There is a thorough atmosphere of happiness and order throughout the whole establishment. In addition to the large number of soldiers and officers, there was a tiny baby of six months only, as a patient, suffering from shell shock, from Armentieres. The COs of the various Departments in the district are inviting a certain number of Nursing Sisters to dinner on Christmas night and the Matron asked me if I approved. I agreed and hoped they would have a nice time. The Matron makes a point of the extreme kindness of the Heads of Departments in the district, both to the nursing staff and their great interest in the welfare of the patients in hospital.
I then went to 22 CCS – Lt. Colonel Goodwin in charge, and Miss Burton, the Sister in charge, who was on leave. The CO regretted the departure of Miss Plimsaul, QAIMNS who had been in the unit for a considerable time, and he spoke in the highest terms of her work and management, her powers of organisation and her ability to keep her staff happy and yet getting the best out of them. He considered her quite capable of managing a General Hospital.
Went with the DMS 1st Army to Headquarters of the Army Commander, where I had tea and where I met various heads – several Generals belonging to Army Corps. It is a most beautiful chateau belonging to a French duke, where the little Countess, a girl of about 17, had tea with us. Although she had never left France and neither her father nor her mother speak English, she speaks it absolutely fluently without any accent and sufficiently fluently to chaff and make jokes with everyone. She is a wonderful horsewoman and had just come in, beautifully turned out in English kit. Everyone was most gracious and kind and I saw one of the rooms, simply covered with maps showing the scene of action of various Army areas now engaged, all over the world. In addition, the tables were covered with wax plans of towns, showing mountains, rivers, etc., as seen from an aeroplane. It was most interesting in every way.
Returned to 10 Stationary Hospital, where the A/Principal Matron, Miss Tunley, had invited all the Matrons of the area to dinner.
Went round the quarters of 10 Stationary Hospital, where I found that there was a lack of accommodation in the kitchen, the stove being quite inadequate for the number of people to cook for; there are no arrangements for hot water, very few cooking utensils and a lack of management throughout the establishment. I also found that although there were two splendid baths, these were useless as there were no arrangements for hot water other than members of the nursing staff carrying large buckets of hot water through the garden, up the stairs and along a huge corridor. I went with the A/Principal Matron to see the CO and pointed out the difficulties so large a staff were faced with and how impossible it would be to keep any cooks unless something were done. He undertook to have a larger stove placed in the kitchen, a boiler to be placed under the water tap so that there would be constant supply of hot water, and a similar arrangement is being carried out with regard to the baths, so that the whole of the staff should now be thoroughly comfortable. Left for Abbeville via GHQ where we had lunch. The question of leave to Paris and the south of France was freely discussed, also the question of extensive expansion at Marseilles, but everything is being held over until Surgeon-General Babtie returns from inspection in Italy and he is expected to return any day. Arrived at Abbeville in time for tea.
SUMMARY FOR NOVEMBER, 1917
No.30 CCS, on 1.11.17: Staff supplied – 3
No.11 General Hospital, on 15.11.17: Staff supplied – 50 trained, 34 untrained
No.37 Ambulance Train, on 25.11.17: Staff supplied – 3
Total – 56 trained, 34 untrained
No.9 CCS, on 1.11.17: Staff released – 5 trained
No.38 CCS, on 1.11.17: Staff released – 8 trained
No.13 General Hospital, on 5.11.17: Staff released – 32 trained, 32 untrained
No.37 CCS, on 22.11.17: Staff released – 14
No.34 CCS, on 29.11.17: Staff released – 12
Total – 71 trained, 32 untrained
Trained – 9
Untrained – 5
Sent Home sick
Trained – 17
Untrained – 20
Returned from sick leave
Trained – 9
Untrained – 2
Total at present sick in England
Trained – 108
Untrained – 84
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 18 (4 for marriage)
Transfers to Home Establishment
Trained – 7
Staff Nurse M. G. Holthouse, QAIMNSR – Mrs. Fletcher
Staff Nurse E. M. Stone, QAIMNSR – Mrs. McNamee
Miss I. March, VAD – Mrs. Bollam
10 QAIMNSR arrived from England
10 QAIMNSR proceeded to England (the first party having been exchanged on October 15th).
Approximate No. of leaves granted
To the United Kingdom – 512
To South of France – 62
Total – 574
VADs returned to England
Resigned – 49 (3 on marriage)
Termination of contract – 11 (3 on marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment – 2
Total – 62
Casualties: Wounded – A/Sister E. King, QAIMNSR at 63 CCS on 29.11.17
Military Medal awarded
Sister E. Devenish-Meares, QAIMNSR, of 37 CCS
Matron E. Humphries, TFNS, of 58 General Hospital
Staff Nurse L. Thompson, of 58 General Hospital
Miss A. Weir, of 58 General Hospital
Matron M. K. Repton, FA Unit*, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk
Sister A. Alexander, FA Unit, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk
Miss G. C. King, VAD, FA Unit, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Dunkirk
* Friends’ Ambulance Unit – an independent organisation not under the control of the British Military.
Nos. 34 and 36 CCS, night of 9th – 10th November
No casualties amongst nursing staff. Several patients killed and wounded. Very severe bombardment.
No.63 CCS, No.62 CCS, afternoon of 29th November
Sister King severely wounded in left calf and right leg. 4 orderlies killed and a number of patients wounded.
Total Nursing Staff now in BEF
Trained – 2246 (exclusive of members of AANS serving in British units).
Untrained – 1696
Grand total in BEF: including Overseas and Americans
Trained – 4239
Untrained – 1869
Shortage according to War Establishment
Trained nurses – 349