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
1st Army, St. Pol, Arras
Left Abbeville with Miss Kathleen Burke, an Irish lady who belongs to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and who has collected for the hospitals in the French lines since the beginning of the war £360,000 in America, in response to her many speeches. She has from time to time visited the French front and is intimately acquainted with many of the French Generals. She has just returned from a visit to the French and Italian fronts and has now been given permission by the AG to visit the English front for the same purpose, and I have been asked to accompany her to the front with a conducting officer from GHQ. A programme has been drawn up and our instructions were that it was to be implicitly followed.
Left Abbeville 8 o’clock and went to 12 Stationary Hospital where we were met by Major Fuller, the conducting officer, and we then drove through Arras to 57 CCS.
No.57 CCS is one of the new Casualty Clearing Stations which has just been established and is very far forward, so far forward that it is a question whether it will be advisable to close it for Nursing Sisters. At present there is a staff of 8 Sisters with Miss Russell Lee, QAIMNSR in charge. The unit is well established, composed mainly of Nissen huts and the arrangements in all respects are quite excellent, and are far superior to any other of our CCS in any of the Armies. The Sisters were accommodated in Nissen huts and they have both a mess and an ante-room, a Nissen hut having been set apart for each.
We had lunch with the Sisters which was most comfortable and first-rate in every respect, and after lunch we left for Vimy Ridge.
Vimy Ridge – It had been snowing heavily and was freezing hard – the roads were not too good but we were able to drive to the bottom of the Ridge where we got out and walked for some hours. We were able with some difficulty to get to the very top of the Ridge and although the light was not too good were able to see a tremendous distance. We stood on the platform where His Majesty the King viewed the whole position recently. It was intensely interesting in every respect and as one crawled slowly to the top of the ascent, it seemed wonderful to think how the Ridge could ever have been taken, because it is really a series of ridges and when you get to the top of one, you find there is still another to ascend. As one walked up, one passed enormous shell holes, the remains of trenches and German dugouts, little lonely graves and occasionally a large cross with the names of certain detachments of the Canadians who had fallen. We picked up one or two Bosche rifles and a divisional flag which we found in one of the dugouts.
We then returned to the 1st Army Headquarters, where we had tea with the Army Commander, General Horne, in a beautiful chateau, where we met Generals Horne, Mercer and Anderson and Surgeon-General Thompson. They were all most friendly and welcoming and told us many interesting things in connection with the war.
From there we went to No.58 CCS, arriving there about dinner time, where we were able to make ourselves a little tidy before proceeding to Headquarters of the DMS where we had dinner. After dinner we returned to St. Omer, where we stayed the night at the Sisters’ quarters, the ADMS having made suitable arrangements for Major Fuller, the conducting officer. The roads were like glass and most of the time there was a heavy fall of snow.
The next morning we left early and visited:
No.10 Stationary Hospital where Miss Burke was very much interested in the chapel ward. We then went to No.53 CCS at Bailleul, where we had lunch and where we inspected the Clearing Station which is one of a block of a large Asylum. Everything is most comfortable and well arranged as far as the patients are concerned. The nursing staff are accommodated in small rooms at the ends of the big wards and their mess and ante-room was in a single-lined marquee in the grounds, badly lighted and with not even suitable or adequate heating conveniences, whereas the Medical Officers had a large hut, with kitchen, scullery, ante-room and mess, with fine big open brick grates in each room. Here we had lunch. I reported this matter to the General later as it is one of the exceptions in all the Armies where the Medical Officers have failed to consider the comfort and actual necessities of the nursing staff.
After lunch the day was rather cloudy and still very cold. We drove to Kemmel Hill, the ascent of which was very difficult, the roads being just one mass of ice, and it being almost impossible to walk. When we got to the top it was so thick it was impossible to see anything so we drove on to Witchet (sic), a very advanced spot, where the bombardment was terrible and where there was nothing but wonderful screens to conceal passers by and conveyances from the enemy. We drove as far as we were permitted by the sentries and got out and were told any further we went, we did so at our own risk. We saw the remains of the enormous tunnelling which had been done by the RE and where the Germans had been taken completely by surprise and the remains of the enormous excavations made by the mining. We walked a considerable distance and went into an advanced Aid Post and from there on to an Observation Post where a Gunner Officer was always on duty observing the movements of the enemy through a telescope. It was established in a recent German observation post and we were shown the enormous dugout which went down a tremendous depth, several storeys with a trap door on each floor which was connected with the floor below by very steep steps. This is the first time any women have been permitted anywhere near the front line and we were certainly objects of curiosity and wonder.
We returned to the Army Headquarters of the Second Army, where we had tea with the Army Commander, Sir Henry Rawlinson, Lord Hamilton, Lord Dalkeith and Lieut. Colonel Maintree, MP. We dined at the Army Headquarters with the DMS 1st Army. While there we received a message from Sir Henry Rawlinson to say we might visit Ypres next day. It was still snowing hard when we returned to St. Omer for the night, arriving there at midnight after a couple of hours’ drive.
Left for Ypres – thawing and fearfully muddy. Arrived at about 11 o’clock and drove and walked all round the town, inspecting the ruins and all the terrible desolation. We were constantly stopped and asked whether we were in possession of steel helmets and gas helmets. We tried to visit the cemeteries and see the graves of some of the officers and men who fell at the First Battle of Ypres, but it was not considered safe to do so as the bombardment was considerable. We returned to the Army Headquarters, where we had lunch with Sir Henry Rawlinson and where we met the same people with whom we had tea, and in addition, Major General Holborn and a Brigadier in the Artillery.
From there we went to the Visitors’ Chateau, GHQ where we had tea with Major Fuller. We saw every sort of shell case and grenade, both English and German, as well as many peculiar kinds of German uniforms, and we were shown a room filled with every sort of publication in connection with propaganda work, which all visitors are permitted to take away with them. The chateau is enormous, quite palatial, wonderfully furnished and situated in most beautiful grounds. The King and Queen of the Belgians have been entertained there and the King and Queen of England had tea there. The chateau is kept entirely for the convenience of visitors who arrive in France to be conducted both on the L of C and Front Areas and there is a large staff of conducting officers kept entirely for this duty. We then called on Major Lee and Colonel Church, Intelligence Department, GHQ, and made arrangements for the arrival and journey of Mrs. August Belmont and Mrs. Harriman, two American ladies I had been asked to take round the L of C. Returned to Abbeville and had dinner at the Nurses’ Home with Miss Kathleen Burke, who stayed the night there.
Miss Kathleen Burke left for Paris.
Miss Wilton Smith, RRC, QAIMNS left Abbeville with Mrs. August Belmont and Mrs. Harriman, arriving at Rouen at 12 noon. She reports to me as follows:
We called at No.8 General Hospital, where we were received by the Matron, Miss Roscoe, and the OC Colonel Butler. We then visited:
Sick Sisters’ Hospital, which was very full both with WAAC and Nursing Sisters, a good many cases seriously ill and one WAAC dangerously ill with concussion. We visited the kitchen where they were preparing the lunch – 2 VADs doing the cooking with 2 French maids to assist. Everything was very nice and clean and in good order. After lunch we visited:
Officers’ Hospital and went through all the wards. The mess and sitting rooms looked very nice and comfortable and there were a large number of convalescent officers sitting about. In the upper wards there were not a large number of patients – a few seriously ill and a fair number convalescent. All the wards looked exceedingly nice. We visited the pantries where the food is served out and where they have a very convenient arrangement of racks – one upon the other – for resting the trays on when being prepared for the patients. From here we went to:
No.9 General Hospital – (No.4 Lakeside, USA), where we met the A/Principal Matron, Miss Tunley, and the DDMS Colonel Russell. We went round a good many of the wards. The patients looked quite comfortable and the wards were well heated, but there was a lack of finish and home comfort about the hospital. We visited the kitchen, which had just been cleaned after tea, and which looked very nice indeed. After this we went over to:
No.6 General Hospital and went into a number of the wards which all looked exceedingly nice. We saw the CO Colonel Moore, and the Matron, Miss Hepple, who took us round. The difference between this hospital and No.9 General was very noticeable, especially in the well-cared for appearance of the patients, the greater number who had nice red flannel jackets on. From there we went on to the:
Headquarters, YMCA in the town and saw the Secretary, who explained to Mrs. Belmont the working of the YMCA in Rouen. We then went to the Hotel for dinner, which we had with Colonel Russell, Colonel Butler and Colonel Ainsworth. Stayed the night there.
Left Rouen at 9 a.m. for Abbeville, where we arrived at midday and lunched at the Matron-in-Chief’s billet. Left for Etaples at 2 p.m. arriving there at 3.15 p.m. Called at the DDMS office and accompanied by him, visited the:
BRCS Motor Ambulance Convoy, where the Commandant took us round the quarters of the staff and showed us the kitchens, drying rooms, etc. and repairs shop, and explained the workings of the Convoy. There are 130 ladies attached to this Convoy and 80 ambulances. From there to:
No.26 General Hospital, where we went round the wards and operating theatre. Had tea with the Matron, Miss Toller, and then went on to the:
Convalescent Camp, being escorted round by the OC, Colonel McPherson. Here we saw some of the sleeping rooms, also dining rooms, Red Cross hut, and YMCA hut attached to this camp, and also the large and excellent Electro-Therapeutic Department, which Captain Iles, the Officer in charge, showed us over. We then went to the:
Sick Sisters’ Hospital, Villa Tino, where we stayed the night. (End of Miss Smith’s report.)
Went to Etaples to meet Mrs. Belmont and Mrs. Harriman, who had already preceded me with Miss Wilton Smith, as I was obliged to wait to see the DGMS who had telephoned to say he would be in the office about 3.30. Stayed the night at the Villa Tino with both these ladies, having dined with the DDMS and his staff at Headquarters.
Left, accompanied by the 2 American ladies, and visited:
Villa Tino and Villa les Pin, both Sick Sisters’ Hospitals, where nursing staff, women workers and WAAC are nursed when sick. We then proceeded to the two Convalescent Homes which have been opened by the BRCS for the accommodation of those branches of women workers, where they are sent for a rest after a period in the Sick Sisters’ Hospital. Then we went round the Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital with the OC Lt. Col. Peake, RAMC and the Matron, Mrs. Giles BRCS. This hospital is entirely for officers – it is a fine building, situated in its own grounds with a very imposing entrance. The hospital gives one the impression of being well managed and every possible modern appliance and convenience has just been obtained for the comfort and benefit of the patients. From there we went to inspect the huge Government Laundry where the whole of the washing of the Etaples and Camiers area, as well as a good deal of Abbeville work, is done. It is well supplied with all modern appliances in the way of machinery and the work is done by French women labour, Sunday being the one day off in the week and the remainder of the week there are both day and night parties so that the work is going on always.
From there we went to the Cemetery, in which the American ladies were extremely interested. They were very touched by the care and attention devoted to all the graves, and especially interested in the grave of an American Medical Officer, who had died a few days before and whose grave was covered with beautiful flowers.
We then visited HRH Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses and the visitors wrote their names in the visitors book. Then we went to the Reinforcements Camp and saw the arrangements made for the feeding and comfort of reinforcements as they arrived.
Then to Boulogne, where we had lunch, and afterwards called at Headquarters, BRCS in the hope of seeing the Commissioner, Sir Arthur Lawley, but he was away until Monday. We called on the DDMS and later inspected Hospital Ship “St. Patrick”, which was at the quay, having taken on patients and being ready to sail next day. I noticed that there were no Sisters on duty and have arranged that in future when patients are taken on board Sisters shall be on duty on the ship from the time of arrival until the ship sails. At present there is a team of Sisters in Boulogne waiting to do night duty when necessary. Then we visited Lady Hadfield’s Officers’ Hospital and while there DGMS rang up to ask us to lunch at GHQ next day, but later he telephoned to postpone the visit in consequence of the heavy fall of snow and the condition of the roads, which he informed us were impassable.
With the DDMS visited:
No.13 General Hospital (5th Harvard Unit, USA). The difference in the organisation and management was remarkable, and the American ladies kept whispering to me why was it that our units were so different to those run by American personnel. I explained that they had all to learn and get into the ways of military and active service conditions, which it had taken us many years to accomplish.
No.14 General Hospital, and inspected the Officers’ Hospital, the Casino where the men are nursed, and the Sick Sisters’ Hospital, Chateau Mauricien, in all of which they were deeply interested and impressed with.
HRH Princess Victoria’s new Club for Nurses, only opened a few days’ before, and which is particularly attractive and charming. The house which has been taken is in many respects vastly superior to the other Clubs. There are two very nice VADs in charge and for the time being the Principal Matron, Miss Blakeley, is being accommodated and is messing there, until suitable rooms can be found. The house is in a beautiful position overlooking the bay, and the rooms are both suitably and tastefully furnished. After lunch the American ladies left by train for Paris at the completion of their visit.
After they had left, I visited the Nurses’ Hostel, where 15 nurses can be accommodated. This unit since my last visit has improved enormously and Miss Williams, the Sister in charge, has worked wonders. The house is not only clean and well managed but extremely comfortable and pretty. She has two VADs to help her and in addition has authority to employ 3 French servants. The house is not by any means big enough for the large number of nurses who are passing through Boulogne continually, and there is a large house immediately next door which the owner is most anxious to let to the British Government as he is moving to Rouen, and which would comfortably accommodate another 50. The DDMS has undertaken to see if some satisfactory arrangement can be made so that this house can be rented with as little delay as possible.
Sir Arthur Lawley rang up to ask if I could see him before he left for England. I found that he wished to discuss with me the question of a Hostel, which the Canadian Red Cross is anxious to establish in Boulogne, not only for the accommodation of Canadian Sisters but for others. They had apparently approached the BRCS on the subject and Sir Arthur Lawley had been in consultation with the DGMS. They were both anxious to know my views on the subject and I told them that Miss Macdonald, Matron-in-Chief, Canadians, had already written to me letting me know that the matter was being forwarded officially and I had let her know that the establishment of this Hostel would be, I thought, a great boon. The Canadian authorities have decided to build if the authority can be obtained so that it seems doubtful when this unit will be available. Sir Arthur Lawley also discussed the question of the new Convalescent Home at Hardelot and deplored the loss of HRH Princess Louise’s Home.
Visited No.7 Stationary Hospital in their new position, the old building having recently been handed over to the BRCS and is to be opened by the Corn and Baltic Unit. No.7 Stationary has moved into the old position of No.57 General Hospital which has just left for Marseilles. I saw both the Matron and the OC who were busy establishing themselves. The hospital is hutted and the accommodation both for the medical officers and nursing staff is adequate in every respect. The Matron reported an instance of a surgeon permitting a trained nurse and a VAD to assist him in a surgical case which is not considered at all advisable for women, certainly not VADs, to be present at, and I undertook to report the matter to the DDMS who will deal with it. Returned to Abbeville.
Left for the 5th Army. Had lunch with Surgeon General Skinner, and learnt where units were opening – No.41 Stationary Hospital and Nos.5 and 55 CCS now belonging to this Army instead of to the 3rd Army – No.34 CCS is opening, and also No.61. Left for No.41 Stationary Hospital, where I spent the night. Here it was evident that the OC was not doing as much as he might for the nursing staff. The hospital is a big one, composed of French huts, well lighted and with every convenience, taking in light cases which are evacuated from CCS and having a large number of self-inflicted wounds and shell shock cases, both officers and men. I pointed out to the Acting Matron that as they were near a village, it would be a great advantage to engage 2 French women to come by the day and as she is in the front area, she could obtain authority for their employment at 2 francs a day.
Visited No.34 Casualty Clearing Station at Marchelpot. This unit was just opening up and the staff with Miss Taggart, CHR as Sister in charge, were busy making beds and getting everything ready for taking in 2 days hence.
Then to Tincourt to Nos.5 and 55 Casualty Clearing Stations, both in the same satisfactory condition – well managed and with ample accommodation for the nursing staff. They had a certain number of patients in but mainly minor medical cases, and one or two pneumonias who were doing well. Went to No.6 Stationary Hospital, where I stayed the night.
Next morning went round the hospital, which as usual was in the most perfect condition – everything going satisfactorily. Since my last visit, a large recreation hut had been established. They have also a cinema and a large vegetable garden and poultry yard. I then went to No.42 Casualty Clearing Station, where they were very busy and very full. The same difficulty exists as always here and that is the long distance the nursing staff have to go to their quarters. I asked the OC to see if it could not be arranged to transfer the huts on the top of the hill to the open space in the compound left vacant by No.30 CCS.
Then to No.30 CCS and No.57 CCS which were visited only a few days before when I was with Miss Kathleen Burke. From there I went to Ruitz, to No.6 Casualty Clearing Station, which is just opening and should be a very fine unit. Like Nos.30 and 57, this unit is very far forward and will have a tremendous amount of work later. Nos.1 and 4 Canadian CCS are being established on either side of this unit. Returned to Abbeville.
Visited 3 General Hospital – OC Lt. Col. Hassard. Matron – Miss Willetts, RRC. The reason of my visit was the result of some correspondence forwarded from the War Office, written by a late officer, and sent to Lady Smith Dorrien, informing her that many of her bags were being misappropriated, that patients were asked to unpick them, and that they were being converted into table covers and various other articles. Lady Smith Dorrien forwarded this letter with a letter explaining the cost of these bags and the requests made for them from the War Office. I had hoped when I inspected the unit to find that there had been some mistake, but I found that the Matron had not only used them as table cloths but had made many pads for doors to prevent them from slamming and had padded them with limb pads! The Matron also reported that there were constant petty thefts amongst the nursing staff, small sums of money were constantly going. I asked if the matter had been reported officially and told her she should encourage her staff to send home any money they were able to spare and that she should open a bank account for the balance of her mess money. The sick officers’ accommodation at this unit is not satisfactory. The division is at the top of the hotel and is not in any way up to the standard of other hospitals in France. There is a lack of interest and a want of knowledge of what is really required for officers. The sick Sisters have a nice sitting room and separate mess, and the WAAC and General Service Section have a mess and sitting room combined. At the time of my visit there were 11 patients in this division.
Left before lunch for Etaples. Had lunch at 24 General Hospital, with Miss C. Mackay, RRC, QAIMNS A/Matron, and the nursing staff, in their mess. We had an excellent lunch, well cooked, well served and well appointed. After lunch went to:
No.46 Stationary Hospital, accompanied by the A/Principal Matron, Miss Stronach. We saw the Matron, Miss McCord, QAIMNSR but the new OC who has just taken over – Lt. Col. Turnbull, was unfortunately out. The hospital has increased tremendously and they have now a non-infectious division of 200 beds on the other side of the road, in Nissen huts, for local cases. The Isolation Hospital is equipped for 1000 beds – with 20 for Officers and 20 for Sisters. The question of extra accommodation is being considered here, in consequence of the large number of WAAC in the area requiring attention. I went over the hospital and the Sisters’ quarters, all of which were very good. We then went to:
No.56 General Hospital, which is now fully equipped and gives one the impression of being a first-class General Hospital. A large number of the nuts are Nissen and there are also a good many French huts. The OC Lt. Col Bush, is tremendously interested in everything, the femur wards being particularly well managed and orderly. The Matron Miss K. M. Smith, TFNS, strikes one as a very capable woman. They have just got into the Sisters’ quarters which are going to be first-rate in every respect – the whole is under cover, even the lavatories. They have accommodation for 100 and are now arranging to take the Almeric Paget Massage staff to 5, as it is very much nearer the Therapeutic Department and the Convalescent Camp. There are a large proportion of Staff Nurses at this unit and are very anxious to have some replaced. Stayed the night at the Villa Tino.
Left early with the A/Principal Matron and went to see a temporary new Laundry for Dressings, which has just been established with a view to seeing what can be done with large quantities of soiled dressings, bandages, etc., which up to now have been thrown away as useless. Miss Hinckley, Harvard Unit, 22 General Hospital, who has been trained in this work, has taken over the management of it, and she, with 4 French women, a Sanitary sergeant, 2 men, and a large number of convalescent men, have established the laundry. In less than 10 days they have calculated that they have saved £120 to the public in the cleansing of dressings, bandages of every kind, triangular, many-tailed, etc, gauze, lint, and making it fit for use. In addition to this, in the large buckets of refuse sent from the Etaples area, such things as pillow cases, towels, etc. have been found, as well as large quantities of safety pins, India-rubber tubing and even instruments. The DDMS was fortunate in having 3 empty huts which he has given Miss Hinckley and this is the result. In consequence of the roads being so bad, it has not been possible to gather the soiled dressings from the Camiers area, but they are now putting forward a scheme with a view to opening a large laundry for cleansing of surgical dressings, and the DMS, L of C has been asked to go and inspect the laundry.
I then went to the Convalescent Camp, where I saw Capt. Iles, Officer i/c, and went through the Therapeutic Department, which is similar, though considerably larger, to the one at 83 General Hospital. He finds the staff most valuable but there are 2 he reported as not being suitable and he would like one other. This request he is going to put up officially. Then we went to:
No.26 General Hospital, where I interviewed all the VADs under instruction from the Matron-in-Chief, War Office, in consequence of a complaint from a VAD, name unknown, who wrote to a relative to approach Miss Becher. The lady in this letter stated that she was feeling over-tired and that it was no use appealing to the Matron as she would receive neither consideration nor sympathy. I saw both the day and night parties at 10 a.m. and explained to them the procedures – that they were not to forget they had a Matron, an Assistant Matron and a Home Sister in addition to the Principal Matron of the area, to whom they could refer if in need of assistance or advice and that in all instances these people should be approached before writing home. It was misleading to say the least of it. Then we went with the DDMS to:
No.4 General Hospital, and saw the OC and Miss Barton, QAIMNS, A/Matron. We discussed the question of the new femur wards, and arranged that a Sister should be appointed in charge of the division and under her in the huts should be placed a Sister and a VAD capable of doing Staff Nurse’s duties, who in her turn should be given capable VADs not of the same seniority. Every arrangement is being made for the reception of these fractured femurs and special huts are being set apart and prepared. There is an Anaesthetic course beginning here under the instruction of Capt. Robinson, and in the short time it has been in progress the pupils are proving themselves satisfactory. They are practically off duty. Had lunch with the DDMS and afterwards visited:
No.24 General Hospital – OC Col. Penton – A/Matron, Miss C. Mackay, RRC, QAIMNS. This lady has only recently taken over from Miss Stronach, who, up to then, had been doing the dual work of Matron and A/Principal Matron. There is a great deal which requires improvement in this unit. The few wards I went into were not up to the mark. I pointed out that the Matron must do more inspections and must look into cupboards, etc. The Officers’ equipment had been certainly neglected and the femur wards were not satisfactory in any way. Then to:
No.26 General Hospital – OC Lt. Col. Rattray and A/Matron, Miss Toller, QAIMNS. This hospital is going well and seems to be first-rate in every respect. They are not so full and this has given the Matron the opportunity of getting some wards spring-cleaned. I inspected the special Carrel-Dakin hut where I saw Miss Murray, the Sister in charge, who is very sorry to feel that she is shortly to be recalled to her own hospital, as the Matron, Miss Gill, finds she needs her services with a view to training probationers.
Had tea in the Sisters’ mess and found everything very nice indeed, one of the VADs assisting in the mess being an excellent cook who had made some very nice bread.
I then went on to Boulogne, where I met Miss Wilson, A/Matron-in-Chief, AIF. Found some correspondence waiting for me, amongst which was a letter from DGMS with a complaint from General Birdwood, with reference to leave in Paris for Australian Sisters. Rang up DGMS and asked whether I might call at Hesdin on the subject, and was informed he was coming to Boulogne next day and made an appointment for 12 o’clock. Saw Colonel Blaycock, head of the Canadian Red Cross in Boulogne, in connection with the Hostel which the Canadian authorities are thinking of opening. I have appointed to see him on Friday, the 1st, with reference to this subject.
Went to the DDMS office where at midday we met the DGMS and discussed the question of leave and got into touch with General Birdwood, who arranged that we should lunch with him on Friday. After lunch I went to:
No.25 General Hospital at Hardelot where we went round with the Colonel, Colonel Copeland, and the Matron, Miss Kellett. This hospital is very full of skin cases of all descriptions and the majority of whom are able to walk about. This is a splendid place for these cases as it is entirely military and the OC and Matron have gone out of their way to have continual entertainments to keep them amused. There are 2 big Red Cross huts and at the time of the visit there was a band from the Army Instruction Camp which is close by. The nursing staff are accommodated in Villas which have been set apart for them ever since this area opened and they are most comfortable in every respect. Returned to Abbeville with Miss Wilson.
After dinner saw Surgeon-General Carr in connection with everything I had done during my absence. He is arranging to go to Etaples and visit the Surgical Laundry tomorrow. He told me that the staff for the new hospital at Abancourt will be required in a few days. As far as he can tell the work will not be very heavy and no battle casualties. He visited the unit today and found everything very nice.
Left with Miss Wilson, Matron-in-Chief, AIF for St. Omer where we stayed the night at the Sisters’ quarters.
Left early for the Headquarters of the DMS 4th Army. The DMS was away but we saw Colonel Potts and we arranged to visit the 3 Australian Casualty Clearing Stations in the area and 2 CCS. We let him know that we were going to lunch at the Australian Headquarters with General Birdwood.
Had lunch at the Australian Headquarters with General Birdwood, General Cochran, General White, Capt. Chirnside and Mr. McGregor. After lunch discussed the question of leave to Paris and the south of France with the General, in consequence of a complaint made by one of the Sisters when he was inspecting 3 Australian General Hospital that they did not get the same consideration as others. General Birdwood wrote to the DGMS on the subject and the letter was passed to me. I was able to get the actual numbers of all members of the Overseas Dominions who had had leave in Paris and the south of France since these units opened, showing that the Australians had had a very much larger proportion that anybody else. The General was extremely charming and realised that everything was being done for the Australian Sisters and that everybody who was due for leave and could be spared was sent, or arrangements were made for them to get a rest as soon as possible. We then visited Nos.1 and 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Stations.
No.1 Australian CCS is now a Rest Camp where large numbers of men only slightly ill and requiring a rest are accommodated and the staff mainly look after the small dressings and see that the men are well cared for and well fed.
No.2 Australian CCS was very busy. This unit is in a very advanced position and the question is under consideration whether it is not advisable to move it further back. In both these units the accommodation is excellent – hutted, lighted with electricity and warmed by stoves. We spent the night at:
No.2 CCS (British) where we were made most comfortable and where the mess is an excellent one, the appointments very nice and the cooking excellent. Much credit is due to the Sisters for the way they have taught their orderlies to wait at table. After dinner the OC came in to see us and brought with him a wonderful gramophone which had recently been presented to him with a very large number of most beautiful records, both vocal and instrumental.
SUMMARY FOR JANUARY 1918
No.34 CCS, on 17.1.18: Staff supplied – 9
No.57 CCS, on 4.1.18: Staff supplied – 7
No.6 CCS, on 21.1.18: Staff supplied – 7
No.39 Ambulance Train, on 29.1.18: Staff supplied – 3
Advanced Operating Centre, Abbecourt, on 31.1.18: Staff supplied – 4
No.1 Canadian CCS, on 29.1.18: Staff supplied – 8
No.10 Canadian Stationary Hospital, on 28.1.18: Staff supplied – 28 (arrived with unit)
No.46 CCS, on 28.1.18: Staff released – 10
Trained – 1*
Untrained – 40
*excluding No.81 General Hospital which arrived with a staff of 31 Trained nurses.
Sent home sick
Trained – 32
Untrained – 20
Returned from sick leave
Trained – 12
Untrained – 7
Total at present sick in England
Trained – 109
Untrained – 82
Resignations sent forward
Trained – 26 (3 on account of marriage)
Transfers to Home Establishment
Trained – 8
Staff Nurse E. Bage, QAIMNSR – Mrs. E. Taylor
Staff Nurse L. Hickman, TFNS – Mrs. Beckett
Approximate No. of leaves granted
To the United Kingdom – 992
To the South of France – 139
To the Nurses’ Club, Paris – 42
VADs returned to England
Resigned – 6 (3 on account of marriage)
Termination of contract – 21 (3 on account of marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment – 3
Total – 30
Special Probationers returned to England
Termination of contract – 1
Military Medal awarded
Sister E. King, QAIMNSR, (No.63 CCS)
Acting Sister F. Broome, CHR, (No.7 CCS)
Sister A. G. Boyd, ARRC, QAIMNSR, (No.7 CCS)
Acting Sister M. A. Abraham, ARRC, CHR, (No.7 CCS)
Reserve Nurse A. Roberts, USANC (No.1 General Hospital) on 17.1.18 from septicaemia
Reserve Nurse H. Fairchild, USANC (No.16 General Hospital) on 19.1.18 from appendicitis
Reserve Nurse F. A. Hinton, USANC (No.18 General Hospital) on 20.1.18 from Cerebro-spinal meningitis.
Sister E. J. French, QAIMNS, suffering from gastric ulcer
Units bombed or shelled
No.7 Casualty Clearing Station: shelled continuously on and off during the month. No casualties to staff – civilians killed.
No.45 Casualty Clearing Station: bombed on night of 28.1.18. No casualties to staff, 1 patient killed and 8 wounded.
Calais area: bombed on several occasions, particularly badly on the night of the 30th. No casualties in hospitals.
Total requirements of Nurses in the BEF according to War Establishments on Lines of Communications, including Stationary Hospitals in Front area:
Trained – 1947
Untrained – 1465
Total requirements in Front area (i.e. Casualty Clearing Stations, Field Ambulances, Trains, Barges)
Trained – 495
Total requirements in BEF
Trained – 2442
Untrained – 1465
Total British Nursing Staff now in BEF
Trained – 2276
Untrained – 1627
Trained 166, plus 19 still required to complete the staff of 81 General Hospital according to War Establishment.
Grand total in BEF including Overseas and Americans
Trained – 5263
Untrained – 2735*
Others – 27
*includes 441 General Service VADs working in British Units.