CROWN COPYRIGHT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES, WO95/3988
Wrote officially re employment of qualified cooks as VADs for duty in Nursing Messes, also re the appointment of an Assistant Principal Matron Etaples area, also re-appointment of Acting Matrons also at Rouen and Etaples, in 6 General and 24 General to give the APMs more time to devote to administrative duties in communication with the nursing arrangements in these areas.
Forwarded the reply from the M-in-C War Office with reference to the waterproofs worn by VADs and enclosing the circular informing them the kind which might be purchased. Wrote to Shoolbreds re the delay in supplying Miss Orchard’s uniform. Telegram from Lady Rodney asking for information about her son Lord Rodney at 14 General Hospital. Telephoned – nothing serious – not wounded – wired and wrote. Resignations for October and November forwarded to DGMS for transmission to the War Office. Orders sent to Miss N. Shore to join 14 General Hospital, taken on from BRC in France.
Left for Calais via Boulogne. Arrived Boulogne midday – called at DDMS office, with reference to Miss O’Dwyer’s resignation, which had been accepted by wire some days before and she had not been sent home. Also with reference to some other arrangement which is needed with reference to the accommodation of the Nursing Staff at the Marine Hotel, where the landlord was making some difficulties. Col. Forest is arranging if possible to rent the Hotel, and I am proposing to appoint a Home Sister who can run the Home and where 11 General, 7 Stationary and part of 13 Stationary Hospital Nursing Staff can be accommodated. Surgeon-General Sawyer was going round with Lady Muriel Paget, who was inspecting Hospitals before taking one to Russia. To 7 Stationary. Saw Miss Mark, with reference to the accommodation of Nursing Sisters in Boulogne. Left for Calais after lunch, arrived 3pm. Went with ADMS to look for a house near where trains are garaged for the convenience of the Sisters of the trains, where they could have a bath and other necessary conveniences. Arranged with a French woman, who had a nice little house quite close, and who was willing to provide the necessary accommodation, and was willing to arrange to give them hot baths at the cost of 50 centimes each, if a bath can be arranged to put in a nice wash house she has in her garden. She was also willing to provide them with meals should they at any time require them. The whole house and premises were beautifully clean and I think the arrangement will work well. From there I went to the little Isolation Hospital, where Miss Raye the Australian Nursing Sister is in charge. 2 other Australians are working here also. Everything in excellent order, as well as the arrangements for their Mess. Returned HQ arriving 8pm.
Telegram from DMS 3rd Army asking me to go there Saturday. Received letter from Assistant Principal Matron Rouen about a house she had seen which she though would prove suitable for the Sisters from trains when garaged at Sotteville. Postings of Nursing Staff arriving on August 31st sent to DGMS, to Matron-in-Chief WO and Command Paymaster, Base. Dehorted wire that Miss Witchell TFNS resignation was not accepted and that she was returning. Leave for Miss I. Smith VAD sanctioned. Telephoned to GHQ re Miss Claridge’s letter which I had learnt had been forwarded – not yet arrived. Application from Miss Ruck TFNS to transfer to QAIMNS. Told to apply to Matron-in-Chief TFNS for permission to apply.
Telephone message from Havre asking for Miss Godsall CHR to have permission to go on Sunday, in consequence of approaching marriage – resignation not yet sanctioned – wired WO for permission. Forwarded signed agreement forms of VADs to DGMS for transmission to WO. Circulated the particulars of Princess Christian’s Home of Rest for Military Nurses which is opened in England to all units. Application for Havre for Isolation Hospital to be classed as a Stationary Hospital to enable the Matron to draw Acting Matron’s pay. Wrote to Miss Furze re question of VADs at 20 General Hospital. Went to tea at the Nurses’ Home, where Miss E. Smythe had invited all the women workers in Abbeville. Excellent tea, everything very nice.
Left early for 3rd Army. To Headquarters. From here with Colonel Fell 1st to Highland Casualty Clearing Station where it was quite evident the Staff was insufficient in consequence of having in the Isolation block 3 acute enterics. This Station with the exception of the officers’ ward (in the Palais de Justice) is under canvas and very scattered. From there to 5 Casualty Clearing Station. Everything much more improved – Major Shea in charge. Then to Amiens which is going to be a big thing, Miss Bulman in charge – wounded French are being admitted and are being nursed with our wounded. From there to 4 CCS – a most splendid unit. Returned to Abbeville 8pm.
Telegram from GHQ. 2 Nurses from London Casualty Clearing Station suspended, report following – substitutes required – ordered 2 nurses at once from GHQ. Miss Godsall’s resignation accepted. Col. Barefoot returned from leave. Circular sent asking for Confidential Reports on those members of Nursing Service who have recently resigned.
Left for Etaples early. After reporting at ADMS office, went with Miss A. B. Smith to American Hospital where I found the Matron in trouble, her Staff being out till all hours with the officers, and her medical officers not supporting. She even writing to Chief in Chicago that under the circumstances could not consent to remain in the country. A certain number of her Staff only who were so undisciplined, the remainder so disgusted that they were making enquiries as to how they could transfer to our Service. Went and saw Col. Harrison the CO on the subject, who had given them permission to spend their off duty with the officers, but was unaware that such late hours had been kept. He undertook to take steps that these matters should not continue. Went through some of the wards with the Matron which were in excellent order, and the best made of everything. She said that her staff were fully trained and that their work and behaviour on duty was excellent.
After lunch to American Hospital at Dannes Camiers. Here discipline on and off duty excellent, but the Hospital did not give one the impression of being in anything like the same good order. From there to Nurses’ Rest Home at Dannes Camiers – a nice little house, well furnished, but the 2 ladies in charge were not pulling together, and did not seem in any way suitable. Did not seem to understand nurses. From there we went to and went over St. John’s Brigade Hospital, now ready for patients, and where the Staff, Nurses and VADs had arrived. Sisters Pearce and McCormac late QAIMNS are among the staff. The Matron Miss Todd and Sir E. Clarke the OC took infinite trouble to show us everything. Their arrangement for the admission of patients is excellent. Saw ADMS before returning, reported the methods of the Chicago Nursing Staff when off duty.
Arrived Abbeville 8pm. Informed DMS of what I had seen. Wire from London Casualty Clearing Station asking me to come Tuesday. Replied to expect me. Application from Matron 4 General for authority to employ servant in quarters. Application from Matron 7 General re maximum rate of pay for Miss M. Kilbride, late ANS. Application from Sister Kundhardt, late QAMNS for India to wear scarlet cape – sanctioned, letter sent to Miss Watt. Confidential reports received on Nursing Sisters who have recently left their stations on transfer to others. Letter from M-in-C’s secretary re Miss Thomson’s agreement forms – a new member taken on from BRC here for Reserve. Forwarded 2 for signature and am enquiring whether we shall attend to this matter, re all members taken on in France in future. Telephoned GHQ re Nurse Jeffreys’ resignation. Found that it had been sent direct to WO without passing through this office, by mistake.
Busy all morning. Sent letter and our rules for Etaples area which had been circulated to all hospitals, to Colonel Harrison, OC in charge 23 General Hospital (Chicago Unit). This had already been sent. Wire from London – M-in-C Canadian Contingent arriving Tuesday. Wrote M-in-C WO re Miss Claridge and Miss Brownrigg’s letters, which I had been informed had been forwarded and had not yet arrived. Letters from Miss Tunley re Mrs. Welch (leave) Miss Broderick (Sisters’ duties) both QAIMNS Reserve. Asked Miss Mark to look into the matter. Letter forwarded to M-in-C WO as to the procedure for VADs on completion of 6 months service.
Left 1pm for GHQ. Arrived 5pm. To office to report. With Col. Burtchaell to 4 Stationary Hospital which has grown and improved enormously. There is now an enormous Dental Department and ophthalmic department now established under canvas. In Chateau in old distillery – 2000 men accommodated. Daily large numbers are able to be sent back to the Front – 10,000 since December. Everything beautiful and working like clockwork, and each man returning has everything absolutely clean and in order. The French as well as our Generals including Lord Kitchener and the Ministers very much impressed with the organization. Stayed at 10 Stationary – another house is being taken for the increased staff now required at GHQ.
Left early for London Casualty Clearing Station. Called first at DMS 1st Army. From there was instructed to meet Col. Pike, DDMS, and after leaving particulars went to Clearing Station that the 2 Nurses had been suspended from duty, in consequence of the Orderly Officer being unable to gain admittance when taking an officer’s wife, who arrived at 1am, to see her dangerously wounded husband. After some delay one of the Nurses came out without her cap on, leaving the other one inside, where voices were heard. Before their arrival 2 orderlies had confessed that they had been there, one a theatre orderly, the other a clerk, as they had a headache and wanted some phenacetin. After seeing Sister Smythe QAIMNS, OC and MO, saw Nurses, who said very different statements. However they had not seen the MOs report, nor had the MO interviewed them before sending report on officially. Returned GHQ saw DDGMS who arranged for an enquiry to be held and was of an opinion that they were not suitable for duty in France. Left for Boulogne arriving 7.30. To DDMS office where I met DMS and reported matters.
To British Red Cross to see Miss Crowdy with reference to a Miss Wright who wished to join VAD Detachment for service in Military Hospitals France. Told her that I thought married ladies with husbands at the Front were not likely to prove satisfactory for service in Military Hospitals in France.
To Lady Algernon Gordon-Lennox re some changes which might prove an improvement in connection with the Nurses Rest Clubs.
1. A monthly subscription from each Hospital Mess so that all the Nursing Staff would be members, instead monthly subscriptions from each.
2. Reduction in price of tea.
3. Not desirable that Nurses should entertain their friends. The object of the Club as a Home of Rest would vanish, which HRH Princess Victoria started it for, and pointed out that now all Hospital Messes were so good, they could be entertained there and that Matrons were only too pleased to welcome all friends of her Staff.
Matron of Australian Hospital came to lunch – is very anxious that all her Staff, herself included, should be recognised as belonging to the Military Nursing Service. Pointed out that this could not be unless all applied to be taken on to our Reserve. After lunch went with Lt. Colonel Butler to see the new building (huts) for 13 Stationary Hospital now that the Hangars are required by the French. It will be most complete, excellent accommodation for everyone including the Nursing Staff, Medical and Company, a special dentist and ophthalmic departments.
Then to 8 Stationary, which is now thoroughly established and excellent in every way. Miss Stewart-Richardson QAIMNSR applied for permission to withdraw her application to transfer to England – sanctioned. Confidential Reports on Miss Baillie Hamilton and Beedie from Sisters Hartigan, Walker, Toller and Matron Blakeley received and forwarded to WO. Received official correspondence re Miss Claridge forwarded ADMS Havre under confidential cover. Recent enquiry from APM, L of C as to why Matron 3 General Hospital had telegraphed to a patient’s friend stating that he might be visited, this being contrary to instructions. Forwarded to SMO Dieppe and Treport.
To office, then 7 Stationary Hospital to see Miss Mark about matters in her area, and to tell her that I had been informed of the untidiness of the Nurses on the Ships, and to ask her to look into this matter whenever she had an opportunity. I am proposing to send circular instructions on this subject to all ships. Then to 13 General, very empty, went round saw some seriously wounded, but numbers very low. Matron Miss Tunley told me of recent difficulty with Mrs. Welch QAIMNSR. Saw the new Mortuary which is about to be completed and will be used by 7 Stationary Hospital as well as 13 General. From there to 11 General. This Hospital is kept busy with local sick and had at time of visit a great many infectious cases. These adapted buildings are nothing like as satisfactory as the hutted Hospitals. After lunch to 14 Stationary Hospital Infectious, but the auxiliary annexe under canvas. Numbers at present at both hospitals very low. Waited till departure of afternoon boat, so that I might see the Nurses off who were being sent Home from London Casualty Clearing Station – they didn’t leave. After visiting DDMS office left for Abbeville arriving 8.30pm – night very dark, road bad.
Dehorted wired for Staff to be supplied to 2 new ships, ‘Stad Antwerpen’ and ‘Jan Breydel,’ Belgian Ships. Arranged a Staff of 3 for each. Received Nominal Roll of particulars of Staff of 22 General Hospital for register – American Unit “Harvard.”
Miss Bowles QAIMNSR resignation forwarded – reasons attached – realized that younger people are more appreciated, although the A/Matron of 5 Stationary also said her sisters wanted her. I wrote privately to her, pointing out that she was taking a step unless she felt absolutely obliged to tender her resignation, which she would regret always, and that everyone of us were needed and we should all do our utmost for our country.
Letter from Mrs. Furze enclosing terms of new scheme for employment of women in Military Hospitals now being begun in England. Letter from WO saying 18 and 19 trains will be ready in a fortnight’s time. Letter from WO sanctioning the withdrawal of Miss E. G. Frazer’s resignation and the renewal of her contract. DDMS sent instructions for Nurses Morrison and Hutchinson to proceed to 24 General Hospital.
Official work all the morning. Communication from ADMS Calais re accommodation of Sisters on Trains, when garaged at Calais. The question of taking a small house in the vicinity for their convenience is under consideration, where baths can be had and other conveniences supplied.
Confidential reports on Miss Beedie and Baillie-Hamilton received and forwarded to WO. Date of Miss O’Dwyer’s resignation – struck off the strength was asked for from WO, also recommendation for gratuity. Left after lunch for Etaples with Miss Barbier owing to things not going satisfactorily at 20 General. Saw Acting MO and Miss Hills the Matron. Am moving some unsatisfactory people, at least considered to be so by the Matron and hope things may now go more satisfactorily. There has been some difficulty for some time in this unit, am hoping things may now be better.
Saw Miss A. B. Smith about the Special Probationer Miss Wyatt’s resignation so that she may be married. Learnt that she became engaged the night before leaving Home – her fiancé now ordered to the front in October and wishes to marry beforehand – resignation sanctioned. To ADMS office to report as well as to say what suggestions I had been making about the Nurses’ Clubs. Returned from Etaples 8.30pm.
Busy all day in office. Letter to M-in-C re Nurses Hutchinson and Morrison, also said that applied officially for 100 VADs and had reported are requirements to complete establishments both in trained and untrained people. Nurses Morrison and Hutchinson ordered to return to England and report in person to WO. Forwarded Nominal Roll of TFNS and where stationed to M-in-C TFNS. Miss Humphreys QR and Miss Peers TFNS resignation accepted, M-in-C TFNS notified of letter.
Forwarded and recommended the application for female servant for Staff 4 General Hospital. Forwarded orders for Miss Witchell TFNS (whose resignation was not accepted) to join 16 General. Receipt for Badge Money received from WO and request that no further application to be forwarded at present. Wrote Miss Drage, Acting Matron, 16 General, with regard to her having neglected to appoint a Matron’s Assistant in her large unit.
Still very busy. Nursing Staff supplied for 22 and 23 Casualty Clearing Station – 7 for each. Forwarded officially application for 100 VADs at an early date to come in detachments of 20 or 25. Also said we were still requiring 312 Trained and 248 VADs in addition to the 100 now asked for to complete our present requirements. As the VADs become more useful it is earnestly hoped I will be able to reduce the number of trained ones required. Memo from Command Paymaster asking for copy of WO letter accepting resignations. These always to be passed to Pay Office.
Received approval of appointments of 9 VADs from WO. These are the first we have received. Miss Harrison VAD who wishes to terminate her appointment in November is not permitted to do so. Members must serve for 6 months or not at all.
Explanation given with reference to the Matron’s mistake in telegraphing herself to a patient’s friend. Regulations sent to 22 and 23 Clearing Stations. Matron-in-Chief and Lady Pirrie came, had lunch with DDMS and self on way to Treport where we also went after lunch. To 3 General where we went round. Sink and lavatory accommodation wanted in some of the large wards where at present the bed-pans have to be carried long distances and through ward sculleries, where food is kept. Had tea with Canadians and returned by 7pm.
Staff supplied for No.21 Casualty Clearing Station. Since beginning of month 40 trained nurses have been supplied for new units and none so far have arrived to fill their places. Regulations sent. Applied officially for a house furnished to be taken at Amiens, to be used as a Nurses’ Home similar to that at Abbeville for nurses stationed there and also for convenience of nurses on Ambulance Flotilla, Trains and those passing through. Telegram from GHQ informing us that Miss Bone TFNS due to return from leave 11th had not yet arrived. Wired asking Matron 10 Stationary to make temporary arrangements.
To Etaples in the afternoon, still matters requiring attention until Sick Sisters’ huts are built. Arrangements made for all Nursing Sisters sick to be accommodated at 24 General, a hut being set apart for them. Here all local sick are admitted. The Matron going to make the hut specially nice and will put a suitable Sister in charge. Returned in time for dinner.
Miss E. Smythe, Nurses Home’ on leave, Miss Strangman in charge during her absence.
Busy all day. Resignation Mrs. Barrett forwarded to DGMS. WO letter re gratuities received. Form of application attached. Letter from Miss Watt with suggestions for posting members of QAMNS I and a letter from Major Wall, IMS re Miss French. Letter asking for authority for Miss Perkins QAIMNS Acting Matron, to draw Matron’s pay at Isolation Hospital.
Letter from Miss Hills Matron 20 General sending an unfavourable report on Miss Barker TFNS, forwarded by her MO with the regard of her failing to carry out an order. Wrote Miss Hill, said this ought to have been dealt with at the Hospital I considered. A letter coming from the nurse herself saying it was a mistake. Wire from 10 Stationary, Miss Bone still absent. Orders sent for Miss Daly to join 12 Stationary Hospital, Acting Matron to release Miss Barber required for a larger Hospital. 2 Stationary now opening at Headquarters, where large numbers of wounded are expected to arrive.
Wrote to Sisters in Charge of Casualty Clearing Stations re members of their Staff who had been moved and of whom I required a report. Applications for badges, replied that at present none were being ordered until further instructions were received from WO.
Letter from Matron 3 General reporting that one of her Staff had a narrow escape while bathing, and that she had now forbidden bathing. Wrote Matron 16 General instructing her to do the same.
Letter from Matron 10 General saying that Miss Tyler QR had been taken on to the QAIMNS, no official notification received here yet. WO letter accepting resignations of Peal, Faith, Parsons, Dixon and Calder QAIMNSR. WO letter re Miss Brownrigg VAD with letter from Miss Brownrigg attached forwarded for enquiry and report. Sent on to ADMS Etaples. Resignation received from Miss M. T. Wilson 14 Stationary on her approaching marriage. Also Miss Mann CHR “Guy’s Hospital” which I have asked Miss A. B. Smith to investigate – stationed at 26 General with all other Guy’s people.
Left for Rouen 9.30 – arrived mid-day. To DDMS office then to meet Assistant Principal Matron. Drove with her to Sotteville to the house she had seen which might have done for Nurses from Trains. Neighbourhood not suitable, also distance too great from where trains are garaged. Drove to Sotteville Station and walked a great distance through a network of lines to the trains. Found one train in, nurses not too tidy. Have arranged when trains are garaged for repairs nurses to be accommodated at 6 General. This can be easily arranged, and be more suitable in every way. Then to 6 General to see VAD Mrs. Thomson reported upon as unsuitable – off duty, couldn’t see her.
Then 12 Stationary to see Miss Daly who is just taking over from Miss Barber as Acting Matron, the latter coming Headquarters, Matron’s duties, 2 Stationary. Then to 10 General to see Miss Bills who also had just taken over from Miss Mark. Pouring all day. Saw DDMS Rouen told him of proposed arrangement re trains, with which he entirely approved – back to Abbeville 9pm.
Notification received from ADMS Etaples that Miss Hodgins Matron 18 General Hospital has resumed charge of 18 General Hospital at its new site, and Miss M. Davies Matron’s Assistant 26 General doing Matron’s duty until return of Matron on 23rd inst. from leave.
Telephone message from 18 General as to whereabouts of Miss Witchell TFNS. Informed him orders were sent to his office when she Miss W. returned from leave and was ordered to 16 General Hospital. Reply from Dehorted re Miss Bone – leave granted by Medical Board till 29th. Informed OC 10 Stationary.
VAD agreement forms and reports from 24 and 26 General sent to DGMS for transmission to WO. Part of Staff of 2 Stationary Hospital instructed to proceed at once, Miss Barber to be Acting Matron. Report on VAD Mrs. Thomson returned to Rouen for DDMS opinion. Circular letter re instructions and rules to be observed sent to Hospital Ships. Went with DDMS to see 2 Stationary Hospital, now quite ready for patients, tents, Administrative Block, serious operation ward and operating theatre and Xray room hutted, rest canvas. Arrangements excellent. The Nursing Staff to be hutted for the winter. 3 Ambulance Flotilla to leave for 3rd Army Sunday, 2 Nursing Sisters on each. Confidential reports on several Sisters who have recently been moved from 2 General have been received.
Left for Front 10am. Phoned GHQ that I would visit office at the end of the day as I was going by Aire to save time. Went to DMS 1st Army to report, and then arranged to visit all Casualty Clearing Stations in his area and report at the completion of the inspection.
1 Casualty Clearing Station. Everything going well. Situation beautiful, patients accommodated partly in a Chateau, partly under canvas. One officer dangerously wounded, his mother and brother with him had come from the North of Scotland. Staff under canvas, everything comfortable and well managed. Major English surgeon, spoke highly of the Nursing Staff and Miss Barrett’s management and kindness to everyone – Lt. Col Crawford in charge.
From there to Lapugnoy, 18 Casualty Clearing Station just establishing. Under canvas, accommodation 400 men, 22 officers. A large number of men just admitted, some very seriously. Major Ryan in charge, Miss White QAMNS for India Sister in Charge. There seems every prospect of this being a very excellent unit, every detail for the comfort and convenience of the patients very well thought out, and the Staff very keen and capable looking. They are accommodated in various billets and all mess together.
Then to 23 Casualty Clearing Station. This was only in the making and under canvas. Will be good I expect. Personnel had only arrived the day before, Lt. Col. Broughton in charge, Miss A. P. Wilson QAIMNS Sister in Charge. Beautiful situation in a park. The Loyal South Lancs were resting in the Chateau and were expecting to return to the trenches the next day, when the Nursing Staff would then be accommodated there.
Then on to Lillers where I saw 6, 9 and the West Riding Casualty Clearing Stations. 6 Casualty Clearing Station in 3 separate buildings, one for officers. Everything appeared to be satisfactory. The patients looked as comfortable as it was possible under the circumstances. Here all were on stretchers with the exception of the officers. Lt. Col. Norman in charge, Mrs. Palin TFNS Sister in Charge. 9 CCS in schools, not as well managed I thought as the others.
West Riding Casualty Clearing Station quite splendid, under canvas in a beautiful park and every possible thing had been well thought out. More like a miniature General Hospital, and an entirely Territorial Unit, with a Territorial Nursing Staff, Miss Todd Sister in Charge. The whole unit reflects great credit upon everyone concerned.
Got back to GHQ after 8pm – everyone of the office at dinner – arranged to call 9am in the morning before starting to the 2nd Army. Received an urgent wire from Miss Jolly, Sister in Charge 2 Casualty Clearing Station asking when and where she could see me. Wired that I was visiting her Casualty Clearing Station in the morning.
Left for Remy siding. After seeing DDG arrived Remy 11am. First visiting 17 Casualty Clearing Station, Lt. Col. Way OC, Miss Wharton TFNS Sister in Charge, remainder Territorial Sisters. Station under canvas, in excellent condition, most comfortable in every detail. Very good work being done, a nice Chapel and Mortuary. Then to 10 CCS, Lt. Col. Marriot OC, Miss Roscoe QAIMNS Sister in Charge, also under canvas. Very good also. These Stations are immediately opposite one another on either side of a railway siding where the patients have actually only to be lifted into the Ambulance Trains.
Then to 3 Casualty Clearing Station, 8 Casualty Clearing Station both going smoothly at the time of the visit, very empty and both practically as they were on my last visit. Saw where 3 Casualty Clearing Station had been shelled. Had left and then returned.
2 Casualty Clearing Station. Miss Jolly had taken over from Miss Matthews – everything in good order. The cause of the trouble for which had been wired was that Miss Matthews had been having goods sent to her from 2 firms in England, for a Monsieur ___ who kept a shop in the town, and where articles of clothing were sent and passed to him. This had continued after Miss M. departure, she asking Miss Jolly to simply pass the parcels on. This had continued until a parcel was discovered open, which led to questions being asked. The matter reported, statements having to be made and the matter officially passed to the DMS 2nd Army who has passed it on to the PM [Provost Marshal]. Miss Jolly was very upset as she didn’t realize that there was anything irregular. Miss Matthews in her statement says that she had the consent of the Postal Authorities. The matter is a serious one, but the impression is, and I feel sure too, that it was done through kindness of heart, and without taking thought of what she was really doing. Returned by Hazebrouck to 15 CCS, Major Taylor in charge, Miss Allen QAIMNS on leave. Situated in 2 Buildings. This unit not too good but will I think improve. To DMS office – no-one in – then to GHQ arriving 8pm.
Letters from HQ by DRLS. Staff asked for, for 19 Casualty Clearing Station. Copy of War Office letter authorising pay at £75 p.a. for Assistant Matrons in Hospitals over 600 beds.
Left 9am Hazebrouck. To 12 Casualty Clearing Station in 2 Buildings, one officers only, capable of accommodating 40 officers. Building nice and comfortable as far as wards went, no lavatory and washing conveniences. Kitchen very small and filthy. Sister in Charge a civilian – said it was no worse than all Military Kitchens!!! Good operating theatre. In the other block found that the dressings were done in receiving ward by an orderly, no Sister superintending anything. Arranged for the Sister in charge of Theatre to look after this area. Then to Northumbrian Casualty Clearing Station, where the Nursing Sisters are looking well but here the OC, a Territorial, didn’t think that a Sister in the operating theatre was a necessity. Saw the OC. There seemed to be some difficulty with the orderlies which I hope will now be put right. The Nursing Staffs in all these Casualty Clearing Stations are comfortably accommodated, chiefly in billets but in all instances the staff mess together.
Then to Merville to 7 CCS and 2nd London CCS both in buildings and both well managed and going smoothly. At 7 CCS Major Lowther* is still there, being too ill to be moved. They hope to be able to move him by Water Ambulance in a day or two, his wife and mother (the wife of the Speaker) both there, and both absolutely satisfied with all the arrangements.
On to Aire to DMS 1st Army. Then to 23 Casualty Clearing Station established in Church Schools, a fine solid building, where Company, MOs and Nursing Staff can also be accommodated. Will be very good – only arrived 2 days before. Lt. Col. ____ recently a German prisoner, in charge, Miss Plimsaul QAIMNS, Sister in Charge. Returned to GHQ 8.30pm
* Major the Hon. Christopher William Lowther, born 18/1/1887, died 7/1/1935. He was the son of James William Lowther, 1st Viscount Ullswater, and Speaker of the House of Commons until 1921, and Mary Frances Beresford-Hope.
Letters from HQ. 2 Stationary opened, Staff supplied, also 28 Casualty Clearing Station supplied also.
To Hazebrouck to see DMS 2nd Army about 2 CCS. Saw Surgeon-General who said the shop-keeper was to be tried by the Military Authorities, and that the matter of the Nursing Sisters was left for the medical people to settle. Then to 12 CCS to see the OC about the kitchen, which I was told he didn’t consider came within my province in a Sick Officers’ Hospital. Matter put right. Learnt there was great difficulty in getting a cook. Have undertaken if the present arrangement is not satisfactory to give him a Nursing Sister with knowledge of cooking – know of several good Australian Sisters. Miss Lyde Matron 10 Stationary accompanied me. Then to 7 General Hospital which has expanded considerably and is now capable of taking 1100 pts. Very few patients – quite ready for the coming attack when enormous casualties are expected. Col. Pollock OC, Miss Hartigan Acting Matron, everything in first rate order. Then to 20 Casualty Clearing Station in buildings originally occupied by 1 and then 9 Casualty Clearing Station, everything going smoothly and satisfactorily.
Tried to see Ambulance Flotilla but was not successful, but I learnt from Matron 10 Stationary who sees all Nursing Sisters when they arrive that all was going smoothly. After seeing DG, DDG and Col. Birrell, left for Headquarters. Heard from Lady Gifford that Her Majesty Queen Amelie wished me to go and stay at Hardelot for a night with her whichever was convenient. This I was unable to arrange. Was invited by DGMS to come to GHQ Friday at noon to meet the Queen Amelie of Portugal, go with her to 7 General Hospital and to remain to lunch afterwards at the GHQ Mess.
Abbeville. Arrived 1pm. Found Miss Barbier in bed with a bad throat, and Col. Barefoot off to GHQ where he had been hurriedly summoned by telephone, as the DMS had gone to Rouen. Large amount of correspondence waiting to be dealt with. No news of when the VADs might be arriving.
Miss Hordley took Miss Barbier to 14 General Hospital. Nurses belonging to 18 General Hospital instructed to return to unit, now ready to receive patients. OC 5 Stationary Hospital, Dieppe asking that Acting Matron and 2 Nurses might be moved, difficulty about the signing of diets which all refused to sign or be responsible for. Replaced Miss Bowles by Miss Barwell (senior). Telegram from WO to supply Acting Matron to Hospital Ship.
Confidential Report on Miss Hordley forwarded to GHQ for transmission to WO. Left for GHQ arrived 11.30.
Received letter from WO reply for request for VADs. None arriving till 28th. In view of Military Situation asked that these ladies arrival might be expedited – this was done by wire.
Saw the Sisters in Charge who were going from 10 Stationary to the Field Ambulances. Returned, unable to accompany party to 7 General Hospital in consequence of official matters keeping me. Had lunch with Queen Amelie and a party of 8 at DGMS Mess – most enjoyable. Immediately after, at 2.30pm, left for Calais with Col. Evans. Saw ADMS Calais with reference to the comforts of Sisters working on Ambulance Trains. Satisfactorily arranged for bath and other conveniences at a house near when the trains are garaged. Arranged in case of need 2 Nurses could be obtained from Lahore British Hospital for Station work if required, and then when informed I will fill their vacancies. Then to Boulogne to 14 General. Miss Barbier better. Everyone complaining of shortage of Nurses. Then to 7 Stationary Hospital to explain to Miss Mark about the VADs and to see the Matrons with regard to their accommodation and management, and what is required of them before their arrival. To DDMS office. Arrangements being made everywhere for the reception of large numbers of wounded.
Abbeville. Got back 9.30. Found everyone busy telephoning and arranging. Attack began 2pm. At office to a late hour.
Arranged about the transfer of Nursing Sister Canadian Contingent who had been admitted to Sisters’ wards 24 General Hospital – was 8 months pregnant. Miss A. B. Smith was most awfully kind – kept everything as quiet as possible and she was transferred without the matter becoming official. Learnt from Miss A. B. Smith that American Nursing Sisters (Chicago) continue to go about with the officers in spite of recent orders. Letter from Matron, Harvard Unit, saying that their time is up Oct. 5th, no more are replacing them. She and 35 of the Nursing Staff would like to remain – passed the letter on to DGMS for transmission to WO.
Letter from M-in-C Canadian Nursing Service asking for the regulations which have been drawn up, governing Sisters on Active Service. Replied and forwarded Rules, with DDMSs approval. Letter from Col. Kirkpatrick (DDMS Rouen) saying Miss Hay QAIMNS Acting Matron, St. Andrew saying she was anxious for a change of work as she had been on the ship for 12 months. Wrote asking him to ask her to apply officially so that the matter could be transmitted to the WO. Wire from GHQ for 3 Sisters for No.6 and No.26 Field Ambulance. Supplied.
Lady Gifford telegraphed saying Her Majesty Queen Amelie was anxious I should stay at Hardelot for at least the night during her visit. Replied that if were possible I would go on Saturday but that it was doubtful whether I would be able to get away. War Office letter saying 50 VADs would arrive 28th and 50 Oct. 5th. No trained nurses could be sent until demands elsewhere had been met. GHQ wired that arrival of VADs might be expedited. Staff supplied for Meerut Casualty Clearing Station. Acting Matron wired for from London to replace Miss Tait on St. George, who had resigned. Vacancy to be filled on arrival in France. Wired Dehorted that this had been done.
Sent instructions to each area selecting 6 Nursing Sisters with a Sister in Charge, to be transferred all Convalescent Depots, should help be required, if wounded had to be admitted in consequence of want of accommodation in Hospitals. Authority given for supply of fuel and light to Nurses’ Home Abbeville. Instructed 3 Nurses from Versailles to join 10 Stationary Hospital to fill vacancies made by demands made from the front. Wire from Dehorted re Mrs. Wake (VAD) resignation not arrived. Left GHQ for WO July 7th. Wire from Medsercan (Canadian Contingent) asking for Nurses Duncan and Collins from 3 Canadian General to be transferred to Cheyne Place, Chelsea.
Wrote Miss Mark re making it quite clear to Matrons as to how VADs must be treated and accommodated. Am arranging in consequence of lack of nurses to send 5 of these who we are anxiously waiting for to 11 and 13 and 14 General, Rawal Pindi and 8 Stationary Hospitals.
Letter returned by M-in-C WO, which nurse of St. George wrote to her, complaining of certain arrangements which had been made on the Ship and which had been sent to me for explanation. I know nothing about the matter – it was returned to me to see the nurse and to let her know she shouldn’t write to Headquarters. As it would be impossible for me to be sure of seeing her myself when next I went to Rouen, I have instructed Miss Reid Assistant Principal Matron to deal with the matter and report to me. Confidential Report on Miss Worthington received and forwarded to GHQ for transmission with previous report from Col. Emerson Hospital Ship St. David to WO.
Left at 10am GHQ arrived noon. Went to 10 Stationary to arrange about 6 more nurses required for the front. Then to lunch at Mess where I had been invited to meet Queen Amelie of Portugal – 8 to lunch. Her Majesty very charming – very impressed with all our Hospitals which she had seen. She again expressed a wish that I might go and stay at Hardelot with her before she left.
Immediately after lunch I left with Colonel Evans for Calais to make further arrangements with reference to the nursing arrangements there in the event of a large number of patients being hung up there unexpectedly. Then on to Boulogne, to DDMS, to Red Cross, to 7 Stationary Hospital arriving Abbeville 9pm to find that arrangements were being made for the reception of wounded, which would be arriving, and the arrangement of trains and ships. A certain amount of anxiety existed in that respect lest the ships we had would be able to meet with the number of wounded which were expected would be arriving for transfer to England. DMS arriving tomorrow. Arranged that I was to leave early tomorrow for the Front.
Left for 1st Army 9.30, drove by St. Pol to Lillers. Visited 6 and 9 Casualty Clearing Station and West Riding, all crowded with wounded. Everyone had been up all night and everyone, everywhere spoke of the splendid work of the Nurses. Met DG and Col. Birrell who were going round also. Left parcel of clothes, illustrated papers, mosquito nets, by the way, also fruit and cakes which I had got for the Nurses.
Noeux les Mines
Then on to 6 London Field Ambulance – difficulty in finding it – roads bad. Passed convoys and thousands of troops moving – incessant booming of guns. Hundreds of minor wounded waiting to go down. Everything orderly and quiet and everyone in wonderful spirits at the successes. Found the Field Ambulance crowded with dreadfully wounded men – only 3 Nurses – arranged to send 6 more. These have been working night and day. Three specialists operating, chest and abdominal wounds being dealt with and nursed.
From there through Bethune. Called at ADMS office to see Colonel Holt – missed him. On to Bac St. Maur to 26 Field Ambulance. Still heavy firing and aeroplanes being attacked. This Ambulance well established. Abdominal cases and chests, many having been operated upon, all on beds, looking wonderfully comfortable. 3 Nurses only here – arranged to send 3 more, all working like true Britons. To DMS 1st Army. Said what I had done. On to GHQ. Arranged about Nurses going by Ambulance and wired for more to come up to 10 Stationary to replace those leaving. Learnt that Miss Hodgins and Miss Osborne were needed for Egypt, which leaves only 5 QAIMNS Matrons over here. Still no news of arrival of more VADs or Nurses.
Arrived at Abbeville 9.30pm. Found more nurses were required 7 General. Demands for Nurses from Etaples and Rouen which cannot be supplied. ADMS Havre wired should some of the Nurses on Asturias be exchanged when she arrived. As this boat is being diverted for one voyage only, felt that this exchange would not now be expected by Matron-in-Chief. Forwarded Miss Poole’s application for transfer to Home Establishment from St. David owing to Home anxieties. Confidential correspondence re Miss Matthews QAIMNS received from GHQ. WO letter re provisional appointment of Miss Tyler CHR on QAIMNS, now serving 10 General – forwarded it. Wrote to areas promising more help as soon as available. Wired for 12 Canadian Nurses from 3 Canadian Hospital Etaples to join at Boulogne for temporary duty, 6 to 11 General and 6 to 8 Stationary.
The news continues to be excellent. French taken 1500 prisoners, over 300 officers. English over 2000 and many officers. Many big gains taken also, and advance everywhere. Many improvised trains coming down full of minor wounds. Arranged for 3 Nurses to be at Abbeville Station to help VADs dressing cases, while men are being fed. Miss Griffen arrived from sick leave, joined 13 General Hospital.
News continuing to be good. Owing to the great movement of troops both French and English as well as wounded and supplies, the trains are not coming down as quickly as one would wish. Miss Bridges' resignation accepted. WO letter from GHQ stating that the appointment of the Nurses of the Australian Voluntary Hospital to the Reserve cannot be accepted.
Visited Station, saw the arrangements for feeding and dressing the wounded. They could do with more help. The arrangements for feeding good. Plenty of hot cocoa, bread, meat and jam taken round in a methodical and businesslike manner. Nobody could be missed. Men very cheerful. Many wearing German helmets!! Understand many of the prisoners belong to the Prussian Guard.
Instructed Miss Osborne and Miss Hodgins to return to England by Wednesday’s boat from Boulogne. Miss Blakely to relieve Miss Osborne, Miss Minns, Miss Hodgins. Miss Jacob to fill one vacancy temporarily and Miss G. M. Smith the other. WO letter forwarded by DGMS. Nurses of Australian Voluntary Hospital cannot be appointed on the Reserve.
Application from Miss Elston QAIMNSR asking for permission to wear 3 French decorations.
Arranged for 4 Sisters, 2 for day and 2 for night duty to be detailed from 12 Stationary Hospital, for duty on the Station and to be put up at the Nurses’ Home. Beset with applications for trained nurses at the Front, to increase the Staff of existing Casualty Clearing Stations, as well as supplying others for Field Ambulances.
Left early for Serqueux and Rouen – arrived 12. Found 3 VADs working at Station dressing and feeding wounded in improvised trains – 7 had been through since Sunday night. The Commandant from Forges les Eaux was there, and explained how matters were arranged. Everyone looking very tired – had been up all night. 1 train arrived 12.40am, the other 5am. Went on to Rouen.
Arriving 8 General where I had lunch. Saw the OC, found that so far they were not too crowded, and had been able to evacuate by Hospital Ship and train. Then on to DDMS office, everyone out inspecting. On to 6 General where I saw Miss Reid. Every Hospital working hard and doing their best, but very short-handed. The loss of a Matron and the necessary changes involved coming at such a time increased the work considerably. Everything in order and Nurses warned in case patients have to be taken into the Convalescent Camp. Saw DDMS, arranged about a trained nurse for Serqueux to be supplied by BRCS. Went to No.2 BRCS Officers’ Hospital. Arranged with Matron to supply Matron in the morning [sic] and that I would telegraph to BRC Headquarters to supply a nurse to fill vacancy. This I did on return at 8.30pm.
Wired for 4 Canadian Nurses to proceed from Treport to 2 Stationary Hospital where they are hard pressed. Many seriously wounded been taken off the trains on their way through, and several deaths have already occurred. Miss Wyatt (Special Probationer’s ) resignation has been accepted. 51 VADs arrived. 26 went to Boulogne area, 25 to Etaples. Orders sent for Miss Hodgins and Miss Osborne to report at WO on arrival in England. Staffs asked for and supplied for 33 Casualty Clearing Station, 6 Field Ambulance. The want of trained nurses is being more and more felt. The DMS called for Miss Barbier and brought her out in his car. She still looks very pale.
Recommendations for Despatches received from 7 General, 10 Stationary, H. Ship St. George, Lahore British General Hospital Calais. Miss Mowat QAIMNS and Miss Jackson Q Reserve arrived from Rouen on their way to Bethune – arrived by Ambulance – too late to go on, which had been intended. Staged at Nurses’ Home. WO letter re appointment of Acting Principal Matrons. The Etaples to be under the same arrangement as the other 3 which were sanctioned in this country.
Application from Miss Hobday TFNS for change of station. Left at 7.30am with Miss Mowat and Jackson for Bethune. Ambulance following with their luggage. Much delay on road, troops, convoys, etc., moving. Arrived 11am. To ADMS office. Col. Holt took us to 33 CCS, in a magnificent building crowded with wounded, everyone working hard. Miss Mowat to be in charge. Comfortable billets had been secured in a very good house, where all can mess together. Within very plain sound of the guns, the work of the town is going on as if nothing was happening except that the place is full of French and English wounded.
Visited 5 and 19 Field Ambulance, also in buildings and also full of patients. From there to Bac St. Maur – 26 Field Ambulance. Great difficulty getting along in consequence of the large amount of artillery moving. This Ambulance quite excellent. Every possible comfort had been obtained for 50 abdominal beds, also 8 for officers – beds, sheets, pillow cases, bed rests, numbers to the beds, temperature chart boards made by a carpenter in the Company. Towels on empty beds at head and shirts and pajamas ready for wounded. Everything quite wonderful, and a first rate operating theatre, all in a bleaching factory. From there to Noeux les Mines – another Field Ambulance in schools of quite a different description. Nothing very satisfactory. An enormous number of wounded had been dealt with and they had only been [able] to carry on, working day and night.
9 Nursing Sisters here – unable to see either the OC or the Surgeon. The French were wanting the buildings so that they were busy evacuating. Here I met thousands of French moving, most of them wearing their new shell proof helmets.
From there to Lozinghem, 23 Casualty Clearing Station, under canvas in beautiful park - a magnificent Chateau; the schools and church also had to be used in the recent rush. Everyone up [night] and day and quite unable satisfactorily to cope with the huge numbers. Still full at time of my visit. Urgent request from OC for more help, which I undertook if possible to supply. Then to DMS office, where I didn’t arrive till 6.30pm. DMS had not returned; undertook to be at the office by 9am tomorrow morning. Then to DGMS 7.30 pm too late to return to Abbeville. Telephoned to give the reason of my delay. Then to 10 Stationary. Everyone overwhelmingly busy – arranged for more help to be sent without delay. I am beginning to wonder how we are going to carry on at this rate – everyone is working willingly and well, but cannot go on continuously at this pressure.
Establishments opened during the month
Trains - 24 and 18
Casualty Clearing Stations - Nos. 19, 21, 22, 23, 28 and 33, Meerut Casualty Clearing Station
Ships - Jan Breydel, Stad Antwerpen: Hospital Ship St. George supplied with Matron
Barges - 1 Barge of No.3 Ambulance Flotilla
Temporarily supplied with Nursing Staff
6 Field Ambulance
6th London Field Ambulance
26 Field Ambulance
Total No. of units opened - 15
Staff supplied - 78
New Members of Nursing Staff joined
From England - Trained Nurses 5, VADs 50
From France - Trained Nurses 5
Sent Home Sick
Trained - 10
VADs - 3
At present sick in England since January
Trained - 44
VADs - 6
To Home Establishment - 1 Reserve
To Egypt - 2 Matrons QAIMNS
Resignations sent forward
Trained - 5
Military Probationer - 1
Leave granted during the month
Approximately - 139
Returned to England unsuitable for foreign service
Trained/Civil Hospital Reserve - 2