Sunday, 26 December 2010

In a London Hospital

August 1916
Impressions of a Canadian

I arrived in England at the end of March, and after a short period in camp I succeeded in obtaining leave for five days in order to visit London. I had intended to stay with friends, but I found myself a guest of the 3rd London in Ward 7.

I am not quite clear as to what happened during the early part of my visit, except that I think the Sister feared that I should not be warm enough - anyhow, they frequently warmed me up some, with hot stuff applied to my chest, and although I begged them to be less good-natured in their attentions they absolutely refused to desist. One other thing I remember is the visit from a Colonel, who used to practise Morse Code on my ribs, and insisted on my repeating 99 in various tones of voice. I repeated this so often that when I was asked my age I automatically answered 99, greatly to the astonishment ofthe tall lady who came round collecting information.

After this business had gone on for some time, I was quite delighted when the Colonel suggested a visit to the theatre. I did not know whether it was pictures or Grand Opera, but I jumped at the chance to go. I was taken to the theatre next day, but I must confess that I lost interest in the performance - in fact I went to sleep before the show commenced, and when I awoke I was back in bed in Ward A4. Later in the day I was taken to reside on the balcony, where I am still staying. From this point of vantage I see many interesting things, such as the Wild Horse of Tartary trying to kick the groom, varied by attempts to kick the donkey, and the donkey doing her best to kick any male person trying for a ride. Then again there is the farm - how dull and uninteresting would be the day were it not for the visits of the Matron and the Colonel officially inspecting the chicken run! Doubtless the hens thoroughly appreciate the honour, and do their best to show it by getting busy with the hen fruit. My sympathy goes out to the lonely goose (or is it a gander?). He or she endeavours to be pally with the hens, but there is "'nothin' doing'".

Altogether I have had a fine time, and although disappointed that a chance of a dig at the Germans is denied me, I shall always look back on the splendid work of the Sisters and surgeons of the 3rd London with the deepest appreciation and gratitude, and feel more than compensated. I would also like to avail myself of the opportunity of expressing my grateful thanks to the Canadian Red Cross Society, from whose visitors I have received the greatest kindness.

53rd Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force
'Northern Saskatchewan Timber Wolves'

Time, please!


Sunday, 19 December 2010


August 1916

We wash our hands of all responsibility for this series of contributions. The writer seems to us to become every month more outrageous. We are not surprised that he continues to preserve a strict anonymity.


It was a corridorderlim whom we encountered at the entrance to X103, and, in the discharge of our high function, we ventured to detain him.
"Where," we enquired, "shall we find Sister?"
He regarded us with something of a truculent air. "Search me," he replied briefly. "I haven't got her."
His air of marked hostility was explained by his further remarks.
"Ticking me off," he exclaimed indignantly, "because she happened to find two of my white mice in the Dressings Box ... I wish to Hades it was winter!"
"... Winter?" we queried, slightly puzzled.
"I'd stop her coke," he said with simple malevolence. "Not a scuttleful should she see - not if it snowed icicles; not a ruddy clinker. As it is, I shall have to think of some other way to slip it across her. Leave it to me; I bet my spectacles I'll make her spit blood before the week's out. Look to it, my Bird of Paradise, look to it!" And the indignant youth departed.

Just inside the ward we perceived an orderlette mopping furtively at her eyes with her handkerchief. Our duty to our journal compelled us to make some enquiry as to the cause.
"It's the Diet Sheets again," she explained wearily. "Sister never can understand the difference between today's Diet and tomorrow's Extras. It makes Sergeant Peacemaker so cross, and I get told off at each end. You'll find her in there, making them out now.

It was with some trepidation that we found ourselves in the presence of Sister herself. A noble figure of a woman, planned on a generous scale, she seemed born to command - and be obeyed. On her table were spread a number of printed sheets, a dictionary, and a Lightning Calculator.
"I'm very busy," she said doubtfully when we stated our errand. "This Diet Sheet has to be in by 10.30, and I'm not half-way through with it yet. I never can get the bl..., the blinking thing right, somehow."
She regarded the result of her labours with a puzzled frown. "I know there's a mistake somewhere - seven and eight are fourteen ... How many 'g's' are there in 'egg'?
We hazard a guess, and quietly lead her back to the subject of our visit. "Tell us something," we begged, "of the personnel of the Ward. Firstly, as to the staff ... ?
"I should hardly call it a staff," Sister corrected us; "a gang of impudent, incompetent ... Well, what would you think if you found your Staff Nurse in the kitchen boiling eggs in the steriliser while the V.A.D. stood smoking a gasper and making glad eyes out of the window at the corporal of the Linen Store?"
With a brief expression of pained astonishment we turned to a subject calculated, as we imagined, to awaken more pleasing thoughts. "Your patients," we suggested, "what of the Boys in Blue - the lads of Loos and Suvla? Surely there you find your recompense?"
A hypercritical observer might have detected a grudging inflection in Sister's reply.
"I've nothing particular to complain of," she admitted. "They run much alike, I suppose, all over the hospital. There was one man," she added indignantly, "a one-legged man with a mouth-organ; I caught him playing it after hours - and he was saucy about it into the bargain. I got him sent to D Ward over that."
"For long?"
Sister's austere countenance assumed a still more grievous aspect. "He refused to come back!" she almost shrieked. "He said it was like a peaceful dream after my ward; said it reminded him of a little home he had in the country where he used to keep chickens. Wait till he does come back! Will I not tick him off ... !

We were distinctly conscious of a feeling of embarrassment, and it was with something like a sigh of relief that we greeted the entrance of the Mainorlawdly.
"Matron wants to see you Sister, at once," he announced with a cheerful grin. I shouldn't keep her, Sister; she's waiting for you now in her office, with her tongue hanging out. I think it's about that dose of Perchloride of Mercury you gave Robinson by mistake instead of the 2oz. Mist. Alb."

The corridor was unaccountably lined by a double row of expectant faces. On each was reflected the same gleam of pleasurable anticipation. Unconsciously the sentence which was formulating in our brain rose to our lips; "Who, I wonder, is going to get ticked off now?"
And, like the distant murmur of the surf where it breaks upon a sun-kissed shore, the answer floated back; "Sister."

Monday, 13 December 2010

Night Duty

August 1916
Impressions of a V.A.D.

It was on a day during the latter end of March that the Sister appeared at dinner-time with the fateful list, and we each awaited with throbbing hearts to hear our names called, and the awful sentence, "Will those nurses whose names have been called go to bed at two o'clock ready for duty tonight?" Our fate was sealed for the next nine weeks! We all went to our rooms and to bed - some to sleep, others to a restless wondering as to which ward would they be sent, which Sister would they be under, and what sort of patients would they have.

At last the hour of 7.30 p.m. arrived, and we assembled for breakfast! At eight o'clock another fateful list was read appointing each nurse to a ward. Having secured our 'stores' we wended our way along the dark corridors, our arms nearly breaking with the weight of our night equipment, and into the darkened wards. Happy were the nurses who were sent to wards where they had been working on day duty, for then they knew their patients, and also the ins and outs of the ward; but, alas for those who were sent to strange wards and strange patients. It was a long night that first night - wild and stormy without, trembling and fearful within; but nothing very dreadful happened, and at last dawn appeared. The dawn and the sunrises one can see while on night duty help to make up for the long, dark hours of watching. When we all met the following morning many were the questions asked and varied the experiences we had to relate.

Then came a night when the telephones started ringing, and the message sped quickly from ward to ward: 'All lights out; Zepps are expected.' Then for several hours we were in the dark save for a small storm lamp, which was lit in case of emergency, but so covered up as to shed none of its light around. There each nurse sat, faithful to her post, in utter darkness and absolute silence, save for the deep breathings and occasional groans from the patients. Never before did we realise what company even the sounds of trains whistling, rumbling along could be, and the striking of clocks. But all these things were silenced, until at last the welcome message came that lights could be turned on, and a feeling of thankfulness came over us that once more our hospital and all its patients had been saved from the hand of the enemy.

There are many things a nurse has to contend with in a ward on night duty, and not least of these is the presence of mice. She goes timidly into the ward kitchen, perhaps at the witching hour of midnight, to have her meal, and she pauses in the doorway to listen. On turning up the light she sees only a little grey mouse running across the floor, or even on the dresser top. She makes a noise in order to hurry it to its home and then, with some amount of heart-beating, she prepares her meal and tries to make herself think she is hungry and ready to enjoy it. With one ear listening for any sound from the patients in the ward, with the other intent on listening for any movement on the part of the mouse (which she knows is watching her from the corner), the nurse takes her frugal repast, and then returns to the 'dug-out' in the ward with a feeling of relief that nothing more dreadful has happened. Perhaps later on she hears another faint scratching. She listens, and all is silent, but a faint odour comes her way. She quickly makes for the bed whence it comes, but lo! the patient appears to be sweetly sleeping until she flashes her torch light in his face, and there she sees a wicked look. "You are smoking!" "No, nurse," comes the naughty answer. Then there is a search for his hands, and behold the cigarette hidden away. She tries to confiscate the offending thing, but the pleading voice, "Just two draws, nurse, and then I will go to sleep" sometimes wins.

Then there are the welcome visits of the Night Sister, with her bright face and cheery word, and her quick glance round to see if the patients are comfortable and asleep, but woe betide the nurse who has made herself too comfortable and is caught napping! There is a certain fascination about night duty. You feel you are doing something which everybody is not doing, and only those who know can realise what a comfort a night nurse can be to a restless patients in helping to lessen his pain and soothe him to sleep. But the weeks slip by, and we find ourselves in sight of the end of our night duty, and most of us (there are exceptions) look forward with eager anticipation to the time when we shall once more take up the routine of day duty. But a true V.A.D. is willing at all times to do the duty set before her, whether it be pleasant or otherwise.

Saturday, 4 December 2010


August 1916

By Pte. Vernon Lorimer (5th Field Ambulance, A.I.F.)

1. Don't smoke after 9 a.m. unless the Sister's back is turned. You will make her envious.

2. Don't forget to stand to your bed when the doctor comes into the ward, or he might think you are a patients.

3. Don't lie on the bed in the daytime if you are not feeling too good; remember, the floor's more comfortable.

4. Don't play the gramophone after 8 p.m. The Night Sister has to get some sleep.

5. Don't shave more than twice a week. Your visitors are more likely to believe your sob-stories if you look the part.

6. Don't throw your cigarette ash or dead matches round the stove. Remember, the pot plants are in the ward for that purpose.

7. Don't get up when you are told. The Night Nurse will enjoy tipping you out.

8. Don't fail to enjoy your dinner. Remember, you will get the same tomorrow.

9. Don't tell your visitors the tale within the Sister's hearing. She has read your case-sheet.

10. Don't wear your boots in the ward. Keeping your slippers on will occupy your mind.

11. Don't keep your locker tidy, or you will do the Matron out of her job.

12. Don't slang-wang the Registrar if you fail to get a pass. Remember, he will know you the next time.

13. Don't swear at the Sister. It's not necessary. She has heard you talk in your sleep.

14. Don't close the windows if you feel it draughty. A cold is a fine opportunity to swing the lead.

15. Don't fail to make the kitchen untidy. The charwoman has never been known to lose her temper.

16. Don't worry about having more than two visitors. The Sister will entertain your overflow meeting in the corridor.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

3rd London General Jottings

August 1916

The Medical Officer enquiring about patients in the wards said to one man:
"Well, what are you, T.B.?"
"No Sir," was the reply, "A.I.F."

A member of the 3rd L.G.H. staff has brought two stories straight from France.
Some of our Tommies, badly gassed, were being taken back from the trenches, and at a canteen where they halted a lady helper offered refreshment and endeavoured to cheer them.
"Oh, we'll soon be better, lady," one responded. "We're going to eat apples."
"But are apples a cure for gassing?" she enquired with interest.
And it was only after bewildered explanations that she realised her faux pas. The party were going to Etaples.

This same canteen had two divisions, one for British, one for French. At the former all new arrivals were given tea, and at the latter they received coffee.
A British Tommy who entered took his place in the compartment prepared for his Gallic comrades, and our lady friend went across and warned him that he would only get French coffee there, not English tea.
"That's all right, miss" quoth he. "No tea, thank you. Since we came over here I'm quite enfranchised."

Which naturally leads on to the true tale of the scrublady in a certain ward of the 3rd L.G.H. She had informed a member of our staff that she had a son in France.
"Which part of France?" he asked.
"Well sir, I don't rightly know what part; but the name of the place is Dug-Out."

Here is a contribution from a 3rd L.G.H. patient who hails from the North of England.
Two Lancashire lads went to the recruiting office together, and one received a card marked 'A,' while the other's card was marked 'B.' They consulted together as to the difference, and one said at last:
"Ah sees wot it is, Bill. 'A' stands for artillery, and they're putting me with t' guns."
"Aye," replied the second, "but wot does 'B' mean?"
His pal was puzzled for a moment, and then an idea struck him. "Why, it means bayonet work, of course."
No.2's face fell. "Here," he said, "give it me back quick. Ah'm tekkin' it back and gettin' it swopped for a 'C.' Happen they'll put me in th' canteens then.

Here is a story from one of our Gallipoli Anzacs:
"One lad was mortally wounded, and he signed for a pencil to write with. It was given him. We supposed that he wished to make his will or send some message home. But he simply wrote, 'Are we downhearted?' Then he feebly shook his head, smiled, and closed his eyes for the last time.

He was in a position none too well protected, and the Germans had got the range of the trench with considerable exactitude. Several casualties had occurred close by, but Tommy, in the middle of it all, was snatching time to start his pipe - under difficulties. He struck a light, then waited, sniffing, for the sulphur to finish fizzing.
"These 'ere French matches," he groused, " 'll be the death of me!"

Monday, 22 November 2010



By the time this number is in print the second year of the war will have ended; and many changes have taken place since the last issue. Two years ago I took over the Building of the Royal Patriotic Schools, and, with the help of a loyal staff and good friends, this hospital has earned a world-wide reputation for being a place where patients are not only cared for as to their health, but are made happy in their minds. As a result of the success of this hospital, I have been honoured by being asked to take out to the East a 1,040-bed hospital officered by Territorial Medical Officers. I have been allowed to take with me thirty to forty N.C.O.'s and men, and amongst these are some who have been here from the earliest days, and who have helped me to make the 3rd London a success. I know I can count on their help in our new task. Sir Alfred Pearce Gould has been appointed to command during my absence, as I hope one day to return to the hospital which has been - and always will be - of greatest interest to me.

I could not say Au Revoir to my comrades of the 3rd as I should have liked, but I do thank them one and all for their devoted work, and ask with confidence that the loyalty given me may be given to Sir Alfred. I shall often think of the 3rd London, and no doubt envy those who are working there amidst such pleasant surroundings. My comrades amongst the patients I wish good luck, and if by chance those who return to the Front should come my way, I hope they will make themselves known to me. The good behaviour of the patients has lightened my task during the two years gone by, and has made me proud to have been still young enough, when Armageddon came, to serve the Army in which I was born, and to minister in some degree the comfort of some of its sons.


By the Matron

Saturday, July 8th, was a very sad day for our hospital. The Unit formed from the 3rd for the East left on their way to Aldershot. Headed by Captain Hope Gosse, the men marched past the front of the hospital looking so smart and well turned out in their new helmets. They called for cheers for us, and we - with big lumps in our throats - tried to cheer them.
We have only lent them to the East, which needs them evidently more than we do, and we hope with all our hearts that it won't be very long before we can welcome them back again to rejoin the hospital - which is a very sad place without them. In the meanwhile, we who are left behind will, I know, carry on as we have always done, and we gladly welcome Sir Alfred Pearce Gould, who is dear to all, as our Chief. And I know that I am voicing the opinion of the whole hospital when I say he shall have our loyal help and support while he is in charge of our hospital.


Thursday, 18 November 2010

A Selection of Drawings

As I seem to have a bit of a back-log of images, here are a few assorted drawings/cartoons from the Gazette (various dates)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Poem

July 1916
A Poem
(Printed as received)

I always wished to see the world, I ad no chanst before,
Nor I dont suppose I should ave if there adnt been no war.
I used to read the tourist books, the shippin news also,
And I ad the chance of goin so I couldnt elp but go.

We ad a spell in Egypt first before we moved along
Acrost the way to Suvla were we got it ot and strong,
We ad no drink when we was dry no rest when we was tired,
But I-ve seen the perramids an Spink which I had oft desired.

I-ve what-'ll last me all my life to talk about and think
I-ve sampled various things to eat an various more to drink -
I-ve strolled amoung them dark bazaars which makes the pay to fly,
And I ad my fortune told as well but that was all my-eye.

I-ve seen them little islands too I couldent say there names,
An towns as white as washin day and mountains spoutin flames -
Ive seen the sun come lonely up on miles an miles o sea,
Why, folks ave paid a undred pound an seen no more than me.

I always wished to see the world, Im fond o life an change -
But a bullet got me in the leg an this is passin strange
That when you see old Englands shore all wrapped in mist an rain
Why, its worth the bloomin bundle to be comming home again.


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Going Sick

July 1916

I began by having the shivers; I had then when I walked down corridors. I had them equally when I sat in the safe seclusion of the post office. I decided gloomily that they were certainly 'ushering in' something - were, in short, as the 'Home Nursing Manual' would express it, the 'invasion of the symptoms.' The only point was, the symptoms of what?
As soon as I got home I took my temperature with the instrument supplied to me at the Home Nursing Class. It comes down if the hand holding it is banged smartly against one's knee, and takes about a quarter of an hour to register. It cost me sevenpence. On this occasion it struggled up to 100.2. I announced this result to the family. Those who had not read the 'Manual' were suitable impressed; those who had, remarked that was only a slight fever. As a matter of fact, when it attained the altitude of 101 the 'Manual continued to maintain that it was still slight. Personally I did not feel that there was anything slight about it, and I wished the doctor summoned. The symptoms were now developing along the correct lines for influenza, but the 'Manual' suggested this cheerful thought: 'In its early stages the symptoms of smallpox are singularly like those of influenza - pains in the back and limbs, headache, etc.

The doctor said it was 'flu,' but as to when I should return to the post office he was less explicit. He suggested that I might require a medical certificate, and produced a book of little forms, one of which he tore out and filled up. I received this document with awe, never having had such a thing before. It made me feel what a very solemn thing it is to be in regular employment. The additional excitement of applying for Sickness Benefit under the Insurance Act was denied me, as after much controversy and a voluminous correspondence, I had obtained exemption. In this I scored greatly over a young friend whom we will call Clarence. Long before the Act was though of he claimed and obtained a lodger's vote on the ground that he paid his father 10s. a week for his room - this 10s., as a matter of fact, his obliging parent promptly returned. Upon the passing of the Act Clarence claimed exemption on the ground that he was dependent upon his father for his board and lodging. The Insurance Commissioners asked various personal questions, and retorted curtly, 'Amount of earnings incompatible with a state of dependence,' which was a polite way of saying that if Clarence was not self-supporting - well, he ought to be. What was even more incompatible were the two statements of Clarence, since one cannot be both a lodger and dependent for lodging. Hence it followed that he dared no longer vote, neither did he escape insurance. I, who have no vote, felt no regrets at so well-deserved disenfranchisement.

Clarence, by the way, once told me the following little story:
One evening he dined in town with a friend, who at the conclusion of the repast suggested that they should repair to a music hall. Clarence demurred, saying that it was now too late; but the friend, who we will call Tompkins, offered to be that they would obtain good seats at any music hall of repute, and they repaired to the Valhalla.
"Seats telephoned for in the name of Smith - advance booking," Tompkins announced to the attendant, and three minutes later they were seated in the stalls.
"It is quite a safe dodge," Tompkins remarked complacently, when he had paid. "You will always find some Smith has 'phoned for seats at any decent-sized house."
"But," gasped the astounded Clarence, "have you never encountered the real Smiths?"
"The real Smiths - what are they? A voice crying on the telephone! Once I was told they had arrived ten minutes before. I said 'But you had no business to give them my seats.'"

However, this story, though it may perhaps furnish an inspiring example of cool courage, has nothing to do with my illness, the outstanding feature of which continued to be a deplorable lack of harmony between it and the Manual - I felt so much worse than the latter said I was. I tumbled and tossed, tried on the left side, on the right side, on my back; had a lot of pillows, had no pillows; accumulated bed-clothes and bottles, and then threw them away again. I did not want to read, nor to write (even for the Gazette), nor to sew anything; neither was I in the least sleepy. I remembered that a night nurse had once told me how men would ask her the time, and how sorry she was to have to tell them it was perhaps only eleven, when she knew how wearily the hours were dragging by to them.
"Heavens," I thought, "if I make all this fuss, and am bored nearly stiff, by a potty little illness like this, what should I do if I were like some of the men in the Pat.!" And I remembered how Florence Nightingale had spoken of that 'long and silent fortitude,' that 'unalterable patience, simplicity, and good strength - the voiceless strength to suffer and be still,' which are as wonderful in our own wounded today as they were in those who filled her monstrous hospital with its four miles of beds.

My convalescence was thrilled by the excitement of the revolt in Ireland, an excitement which took on a personal tinge when we heard that a member of the family had had the misfortune to stop a rebel bullet with his face. We discussed in hushed tones whether the injury to his physiognomy was likely to be of a nature to necessitate his removal to the 3rd, and the ministrations of Derwent Wood. However, we learned shortly that he had had the proverbial miraculous escape, the bullet passing in under his ear and being dug out of his cheek. The injury resulting appeared to be best summed up in the victim's own remark "Hell to eat!" We also discussed whether he would have a special medal for the Irish campaign, or merely a Battle of Dublin bar added to the Great War medal.

At last I was on my feet again, and the date of my return to work fixed. "Now," I said, "we will collect all my medicine bottles, and take them round to Mr. Wood's bottle depot in Barmouth Road, and in due course the donkey transport will fetch them from there and convey them to the hospital."
"But why cannot you take them straight to the hospital yourself?" the family argued.
"No," I said, firmly. "In the Army everything is done decently and in order, and goes through a series of properly marked-out departments. It is now my duty to uphold these glorious traditions, and I will do my bit by sending the bottles via Mr. Wood and donkey transport."


Sunday, 7 November 2010

Miss Emily Northover

Sir James Kingston Fowler

News Notes

It is with very great pleasure that we welcome the announcement of the new honours conferred on members of the nursing staff.
Miss Barton (Principal Matron) and Miss Northover (Assistant Matron) receive the Royal Red Cross (1st Class), Sister W. White and Nurses Frankeiss, Girardet, and Cockran receive the Royal Red Cross (2nd Class). We may mention that a photograph of Miss Barton appeared in our February number, and one of Miss Northover in May.

Six members of the staff have recently left for service elsewhere:
Lt.-Col. Sir James Kingston Fowler, K.C.V.O.(who has gone to France), Capts. Preston and Clarke (to field ambulance work), Capts. Lloyd and Bensted Smith (to Casualty Clearing Station), and Capt. Hardcastle (to a division for regimental duty). All will join in regretting their departure, and in wishing them the very best of good fortune in their new spheres of activity.

On June 6th a noteworthy incident took place at the hospital. Lady Babtie (wife of Surgeon-General Babtie, V.C.) came down to the hospital on a mission to present the D.C.M. conferred by H.M. The King on one of our patients - Pte. James Dear of the 2nd Dorsets. Pte. Dear gained this coveted honour in Mesopotamia by an act of remarkable gallantry. At Kut-el-Amara he twice went back under heavy shell fire to bring up ammunition. He was wounded, and has now been invalided out of the service.

The Organ Fund, on behalf of which we published an appeal in our last number, is growing at a very satisfactory pace. Its object is to provide an organ for the hospital chapel, not only to enhance the beauty of the present services for patients and members of the staff, but also to be left in position as an appropriate thank-offering when the building is returned to its former occupants - the orphan daughters of soldiers, sailors and marines. Subscriptions to the Organ Fund should be addressed to the Rev. J. Thompson Phipps (Senior Chaplain).

Monday, 1 November 2010

The Recreation Room Trio


July 1916

Miss Nellie Frankeiss has been awarded to the R.R.C. (2nd Class). She has been here almost since mobilisation, and has worked splendidly in the wards as a Staff Nurse. More than once I have seen her mothering the officer patients and sewing on their buttons for them. Miss Frankeiss was trained at St. Mary's Islington Infirmary, and has been doing sanatorium work since her training.
Miss Fanny Girardet and Miss Agnes Cockran have also been awarded the R.R.C. (2nd Class). Miss Girardet has been here as a Staff Nurse since October, 1914. She is one of the most capable nurses we have, and is generally loved by all of us for her kindness and goodness to those around her. She was trained at Westminster Hospital and has been District Nursing since.
Miss Agnes Cockran has also been here since the early days. I once scolded her, not in the usual way, but for coming on duty too early in the morning and worrying herself to death over her patients. She wouldn't leave them. Miss Cockran was trained at Hackney Infirmary, and has been doing Private Nursing since.
Sister Winifred White has also been awarded the R.R.C. (2nd Class). Sister White has only now been given her promotion. When we were asked to send Staff Nurses' names forward, she was one of those selected; then, by Sister Ralph resigning her post, Nurse White was promoted. Sister White was trained at the Birmingham General Hospital, and has since been doing private nursing.

It is a very difficult task to pick out a list of nurses when the majority work so well and loyally for the hospital. I said once before that I would willingly share my R.R.C. (precious as it is), if I could, with the whole Nursing Staff. This, however, is impossible. There can only be a few lucky ones, and I trust this is only the beginning of more honours for our hospital. I should like to thank all our Sisters and Nurses for the loyal help they have given to us while they have been here. When we go round the wards it is very easy to see which Nurses take a personal interest in their wards and patients, whether 'Sister' is on duty or not. Whether our work is officially recognised or not, we, at any rate, have the satisfaction of knowing we are doing our 'bit' at a time when we are fighting for our very existence. Whatever hardships or trials we are going through count very little when one takes into consideration what is being done for us by those whom we are privileged to nurse and look after, when they can no longer look after themselves and fight for us.


Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Deathless Spirit

By Malcolm Savage Treacher (Sergt. H.A.C.)
July 1916

I have witnessed many impressive services. Have seen God praised in tinsel and glitter; amid priceless Rembrandts and wondrous statues of gold and silverwork. Under Norman fabrics; beneath lofty Gothic pillars; in abbeys and cathedrals; and in ancient historic piles, the very names of which spell reverence, into whose old stones the essence of our history has permeated. But no service has impressed me as did that in the Chapel of the 3rd London Hospital. Yet it was not the service itself; that was too swift in its action. One endeavoured to cram too many spoken prayers; too much quantity, if I may say so, and not enough quality. For our prayers to God cannot be hurried; they must be spoken with awe - in lowly reverence. No; it was not the service itself that impressed me. Rather it was the men. Those men in rough blue suits; those men who the breath of war had singed; those men whom God had taught how to pray.

I came early. I was almost the first man present. Others followed - halt and lame, torn and bleeding in their country's service. Then a detachment of the hospital staff in khaki, clanking awkwardly with iron-shod boots into their seats, marshalled by a stout N.C.O., whose ribbons showed long and honourable duty. Then groups of sweet-faced nurses. Then more of the men in blue. If you would have a sight to wring your very heart strings come and see these men. Battered by shell fire, maimed with bullets, white and pale with fever and sickness are these. Some carry limp, helpless arms in slings; some hobble on sticks and crutches; some - God have mercy upon them - are led. Their eyes no longer see the light of the sun, the beauty of women's faces, the loveliness of the flowers, and the heavens themselves. They are blind. There are others even more woefully pathetic - their very features they have sacrificed. Yet they all smile. Outwardly they are all cheerful and happy. For a time they are through with the ordeal. They have come to praise their Maker - they are through with their lives.

We all sing a hymn. I do not remember what it was. A few prayers were chanted, and, the organ droning, we all rose from our knees. Two late comers are wheeled into the church. They are on stretchers. We are singing by this time. It is 'O come, let us sing unto the Lord.' Our voices are shy at first; then they grow louder. Those men who sing are earnest. They are here for no vulgar show of ostentation in dress. They are here to praise God. Yet their voices are still thin. One seems, as it were, waiting for something - some culmination - some apotheosis. We sit down again. Some sacred words are read from St. John as the lesson. Then the Benedictus is chanted. Yet in its place would I rather have seen the Te Deum - that anthem of praise which the Spaniards sung kneeling before battle at the time of the great Philip. There are more prayers; and a fine touch of genius then chose a hymn which rolled back the years for us all, which to more than one of that congregation brought the time vividly to the moments when he lisped the hymn on his mother's knee.

Is it manly for surreptitious tears to roll down one's cheek? One might as well ask if it is human to experience human emotion. It was thrilling to see all those battle-scarred men thrown back their heads. It touched one's heart to hear their deep voices uniting in that children's hymn.
'There is a green hill far away' they sang in full throated chorus, each man probably struggling to hide his own emotion. Touching indeed was the effect of all this. But still we all waited for something - for some culmination. It was not the prayers that followed, nor the next hymn - a bloodless, uninspired piece of work telling of intense joy in celestial spheres where 'no toil and care are there,' for the modern adventurous spirit demands no milk and honey setting when God gives even the ant and the bee greater tasks than men achieve on earth. Nor had this moment come when the Priest stood before the Cross, before the candles on the Altar - when he blesses us all in words as old as our civilisation. We pray swiftly and earnestly. The organ is droning meanwhile a tune at first scarcely recognisable. Its volume swells. Each man feels the zest of ripe enthusiasm surging in him. Some mighty wave of emotion sweeps through us all.

The great moment has arrived. Alert, each man rises hurriedly to his feet, standing stiff and upright, his hands at 'Attention' by his side. This is the climax. In that second the spirit of our race is abroad. Those on crutches have scrambled afoot; blind men lift their faces aloft; even does one chalk-faced soldier, lying flat on his stretcher a moment before, crane himself upright on his elbows. All men's voices are uniting together in one great song. Its words are doggerel; its tune blatant and unsympathetic; but this anthem of England's King stands for Victory and Triumph.
'Send him victorious, happy and glorious' we cry aloud in one mighty voice. The spirit of our race is abroad, I say, at that moment.
You who look on wipe away another tear with your coat sleeve. It is over. The priests have walked softly towards the vestry. The men in khaki whisper among themselves. The stretchers and bath chairs are being wheeled away. Divine service in the Chapel is over.

Outside the birds are singing. A golden sun is blazing through the trees in full splendour. None of us think of our comrades scarce a day's journey away, lying in muddy burrows, exposed to danger and peril during every hour of their lives; of our own chances to rejoin them. For at that moment the 'Peace of God which passeth understanding' is in our souls.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

An Urgent Appeal

July 1916

This magazine now enjoys a considerable circulation amongst the general public; we make no apology, therefore, for venturing to print an appeal - quite frankly - for money. The money is required not for The Gazette - which fortunately is self-supporting (and this without, we are glad to say, the aid of advertisements) - but for a fund whose maintenance closely touches the comfort of the gallant fellows to whom everyone in this country is indebted: the hospital's wounded. These men are practically all smokers, and we have yet to meet the anti-tobacco fanatic who carries his views so far as to grudge our soldiers the solace of a cigarette or pipe. But by King's regulations the patients in a military hospital are not, for the time being, allowed to have money in their possession.

Admirable associations have sprung up which supply tobacco, and of these the chief is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Smokes Society,. The 3rd London General Hospital has, however, hitherto refrained from appealing to this Society for help - or at any rate has only done so once, when a sudden shortage occurred. We have preferred to supply our tobacco by means of privately collected subscriptions as long as possible. Nevertheless, the drain on our Cigarette Fund (as it is called) is severe. The 3rd London has 1,600 beds; and when 1,000 are occupied by British troops and 500 by Colonial, an issue of four cigarettes per day per man (or the equivalent in tobacco for pipe smokers) costs about £14 a week.

It should be explained that through the Soldiers' and Sailors' Smokes Society we obtain our stock extremely economically, for though we do not depend, as has been shown, on this society, we buy duty free by its aid. Furthermore, it must be understood that the Australian and Newfoundland patients have a generous allowance of smokes automatically provided for them by the patriotism of their own Homelands. No such arrangement obtains in the case of our good friend Tommy Atkins of Great Britain. During twenty-two months we have managed, in the 3rd L.G.H., to supply cigarettes and tobacco daily to British patients by means of the kindness of our own friends. We ask now that other friends will come forward to carry on this record. Our regular contributors, through either Mr. Berney's fund or the fund collected by Mrs. Bruce Porter, are not numerous; and if any reader would like to assist by regular subscriptions, however small, or a donation, we shall be very grateful - and so, we may add, will our patients.

Cheques or postal orders may be sent either to the Soldiers' and Sailors' Smokes Society (Buckingham Gate, S.W.), marked for credit of the 3rd London General Hospital, or to Mrs. Bruce Porter, 6 Grosvenor Street, W.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Crimea - and Now

July 1916

The C.O. describes some further striking contrasts in War Hospital efficiency

While Miss Florence Nightingale was short of female nurses, think what she had as male.
The ambulance men all died of D.T.s or cholera. The orderlies were raw corporals and untrained men, over-worked, ill-fed, and underpaid; in fact a rabble. The rations were drawn 'uncooked' for each patient, so that by the time the food was drawn it was too late often to cook it, and so it was kept all night in the wards. It remained for this wonderful woman to suggest that diets should be issued in bulk. Her suggestions were practically embodied into the Royal Warrant for the Medical Staff Corps of 1855; and, while she condemned the medical officers severely for failure as administrators, it is a satisfaction that she bore willing testimony to their skill and devotion as doctors. The Records of the hospitals were scanty to a degree, and the only note kept was that a man died on a certain day. In the base hospital at Scutari they died at the rate of a hundred a day. Compare that with the present war. In many thousands of cases which have passed through our hospital and sections since the outbreak of the war we have had an average of deaths from all causes of 1 in 150, though many of the patients admitted were almost dead when they arrived.

The mental distress to a woman like Florence Nightingale, seeing brave men die for want of proper food and nursing, must have been awful. The thousand and one things she did show how she valued the personal touch in dealing with the sick and wounded. This, after all, now as then, is the most valuable faculty that can be possessed by a doctor or a nurse - to let each patient realise he has a personality and is not merely a number. It is, as we all know, the dominant note of the 3rd London, and has done more to make it successful from the patients' point of view than anything else. The bright wards, the flowers, and the skill of the surgeons all count; but, in my opinion, they rank after the 'personal interest' of the staff for the patients. A few cheery words from the Medical Officer, which shows he knows the patient's name and regiment, will give more stimulus to the patient and help him more towards recovery than any amount of physic.

Florence Nightingale took the trouble, amid all her business, to send a line now and then to the relatives of the patients, often conveying their last message. I know many of our nurses here do the same, for I have heard outside of such; but if any of the staff who read this article have spare time, let them use it by sending a line now and then to the near relatives of their serious cases; it will be appreciated more than many realise. This is especially the case when the patient is far from his home. Under Florence Nightingale's influence the class of orderly improved, and we find a tribute from her to her orderlies that they carried out duties which would never have been done for the sake of discipline, and 'there was never a word or look which a gentleman would not have used.'

In the spring of 1855 the mortality had fallen from 42% to 2.2% at Scutari, and so Miss Nightingale went to the Crimea to inspect the hospitals there. Worry and overwork had undermined her health, and she had a severe attack of fever. When convalescent she refused to go to England, but went back to work. The joy of England at her recovery manifested itself in a fund to be hers, and she wished it used for the training of nurses and their sustenance. The amount of drunkenness was awful, and men actually died of drink; and, till Miss Nightingale took the matter in hand, no one appeared to mind. It had been the custom; why interfere or bother? She interfered, and set to improve the men's conditions by giving counter attractions, especially to give them means of being educated, as the soldier of those days was very often unable to read or write. But, in spite of their want of education, when in the reading huts their manner was quiet and well-bred. Their good manners made a lasting impression on Miss Florence Nightingale.

Time has brought a very different class of men to the Colours, and in the present war men of all standards and education are in the ranks; but it is as well for those who may think that their presence in the ranks is adding lustre to the Army that they should remember the soldier of all times has been a gentleman, and, if he possessed vices of the period, they were those met with in gentlemen of the period. I have seen many thousands of men through this hospital, and when a man has forgotten to behave as a gentleman it has been in spite of his uniform and position as a soldier. In civil life, away from the good example of other soldiers, the same man would have been worse. The so-called common soldiers, taken as a class, are always gentlemen in manners and feelings.

Florence Nightingale's task in breaking down vested interests was colossal, and it was only by irregular methods that she succeeded in getting things done. She had to soothe over the medical profession owing to an over-zealous admirer making an attack on the medical officers which was not fair, and in many ways she had to smooth the religious jealousies of the nurses. Her persistence was rewarded, and she did was she set out to do, i.e., she made the experiment of female nursing in military hospitals successful, reduced the death rate, and saved thousands of lives.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Diary of a Zepp. Night

June 1916

By a Girl Orderly
(Passed by the Censor)

9.15. - Night Sister blows in rather hurriedly. "All lights out, and just run round to the other wards." Start off on my travels, beginning by badly barking my shins on radiator. Make a frantic dive for the door and land with a resounding crash into a screen. Start once more, and eventually arrive - falling over every possible object en route. Dash upstairs and drop metal matchbox down well of staircase with a noise like several bombs. Await result in palpitating silence. Nothing happens, so 'carry on.'

9.45. - Suffering from shock and ready for anything. See figure silhouetted against window. Ask what it's doing out of bed, and find it's the statue of ___ that adorns the ward. Retire crushed.

10 p.m. - Frenzied search for respirators and solution by match-light. Wake most of the patients with the striking, and singe hair and eyebrows - but success attends my efforts. All is prepared. Do your worst, O Hun!

10.15. - Obtain electric torch, and, shrouding it in kit handkerchiefs, go forth in search of adventure and, incidentally, of Night Sister. Am asked by a gentleman if I can direct him to L. Offer him the services of my glow-worm, and put him on the broad road that leadeth to L. The same old tale again, I suppose: Cherchez la femme.

10.30. - Fire in side ward insists on blazing. Damp its ardour, but it bursts forth afresh every few minutes. On ordinary occasions to look at it is to put it out. Tonight it needs a pint or so of water every half-hour (more or less) - illustrating the cussedness of things as they are.

11. - Toast feet on radiator and search the heavens for the foe. Nothing doing.

11.30. - Still nothing doing.

12 midnight. - Suspense is wearying. Decide to have supper. Cook something - bacon by the smell thereof - make coffee, and pour three parts down the sink in the endeavour to strain it. Eat and drink in solid darkness; but all is tasteless, dust and ashes as it were. Queer what a difference sight makes to flavour.

12.15. - A tiny light comes down the ward, swaying and dancing through the blackness. Is it a fallen star or a Will o' the Wisp on his nightly travels? Neither - but our 'Lady of the Lamp' on her midnight round. And the news she brings: "Raid in the ___ district; nothing definite." Cheering. Will they blow us up en masse or a ward at a time? Take a gloomy survey of my past, and speculate on the chances of arriving 'there' whole or in portions.

12.45. - Patrol the ward, pitying the unsuspecting patients slumbering regardless of peril!

1 to 3. - A not very lucid interval.

3.15. - Another visit from the Lady of the Lamp. No tidings either way. Why, oh why, did I leave my happy home and come on night duty?

4 a.m. - Dawn begins to lighten our darkness, and the order 'Lights out' coincides with the running of the first train to be released. It dashes through with a whoop of triumph and defiance, and I pull myself together and decide that it's not such a bad life after all.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Pack Store

Scanning doesn't do justice to this image, but worth it to get a glimpse of a department that's often mentioned, but whose inner workings are rarely seen.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Members of the Unit who have left for Service Elsewhere

May 1916

December 31st
, 1915: Pte. T. H. Paget left to take up commissioned rank in R.N.V.R.

February 15th, 1916: Pte. R. A. Scannall transferred to 3rd London Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance, Chelsea.

February 18th: Ptes. de la Bere ('Fatigue') and J. A. Grant transferred to Artists Rifles O.T.C.

March 4th: Cpl. W. Melhuish transferred to Army Service Corps, Winchester.

March 6th: Pte. B. Chapman discharged to re-enlist in Royal Flying Corps, Farnborough.

March 18th: Sgt. F. Derwent Wood promoted Lieutenant in H.M. Regular Forces.

March 18th: Cpl. F. C. Mulock left to take up commissioned rank in R.N.V.R.

March 31st: Pte. P. E. Smith transferred to 58th London Casualty Clearing Station, Ipswich.

April 7th: L-Cpl. M. A. French joined H.M.H.S. Panama, now sailing between Southampton and Havre.

April 14th: Cpl. M. B. Evergood left to take up commissioned rank in the Commonwealth Military Force.

April 14th: Pte. H. R. Harrild joined H.M.H.S. Panama.

April 14th: Pte. F. Wilcoxson left to join Cadet Training Corps with a view to obtaining commissioned rank in R.F.A.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Message from the Principal Matron

May 1916

I thought it might be of interest to many of our staff who are too busy to read the nursing papers, to know that a great effort is at present being made to organise the nursing profession. The need has for long been recognised that something should be done, and it was felt in different quarters that a definite scheme should be brought forward before the war is over, as many problems will then arise in connection with the position and status, etc., of trained nurses. For many years a widely supported agitation has been on foot to obtain State registration for trained nurses, and a Bill for this purpose is now before Parliament.

In the last few months the Hon. Arthur Stanley, with the support of several matrons of the principal training schools, has brought forward a scheme for a College of Nursing. He claims that it will be something in the nature of the Royal Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons, that it should be governed by the nursing profession, and lead up to registration or recognition by the State. Conferences are being held on the subject, and a great effort is being made to bring into line the views of matrons and superintendents who, up till now, have held divergent views. I know that many matrons agree with me in rejoicing that the historic conferences which have lately been taking place - in which representatives from practically all the nurse training schools and organisations of nurses have been present - have resulted in the incorporation of the College of Nursing, which should be not only a very useful but also an interesting departure in the nursing profession. We also hope that before long, as a special war measure, the Bill for the State registration of trained nurses, which will assure them legal status, will be passed through Parliament.

I was glad to invite those of the nursing staff of the 3rd L.G.H., who are interested, to a meeting at Chelsea Infirmary, when speakers who understand the questions explained the different details. It is the duty of every nurse to take a personal interest and pride in her profession. We in the 3rd L.G.H. have been very fortunate; we have had the advantage of the services of some of the most highly-trained members of the nursing profession, not only from our own country but also from our Colonies. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Australia, which has sent us of her best. We also recognise and appreciate the excellent work of the V.A.D.'s, and wonder how we should have been able to carry on without their able assistance.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Some Helpers of the Hospital (2)

May 1916

Lady Arthur has been very kind to us, and brought many things which have added to the comfort of the patients. Her husband, Sir George Arthur, is very busy as private secretary to Lord Kitchener, but when he can get down he comes to see men of his old regiment, the Blues, and to show his interest in the hospital as a whole.

To Mrs. Brandon, of Eastergate (a friend of Lady Arthur), we are indebted for many things of use, such as dressing-gowns and pyjamas.

Eggs are sent by Mrs. George Beaton, Wimbledon Park Road, from time to time. I have never yet met soldiers who did not enjoy fresh eggs.

The Gympic Patriotic Fund sends papers every day, and John Bull is sent by Messrs. Odhams every week.

Mrs. McCorquodale, of Dunstable, has helped by sending wearing apparel on many occasions.

Mr. Tatham and the boys of King's College School, Wandsworth, have collected money and presented a number of wheeled chairs which have been much appreciated by the patients who have injuries to the lower limbs.

Mr. and Mrs. de Paiva, of Nightingale Lane, have sent many pyjamas and shirts and a number of very comfortable crutches and splints.

Mr. and Mrs. Daniels, of Warlingham, Surrey, have given many things to the hospital, but a gift which is most valuable has been the services of two of their daughters. The Misses Daniels have since the earliest days of the hospital worked in connection with the X-ray Departments. So far from being in the limelight, they have toiled in the dark-room, and practically the whole of the thousands of X-ray plates used in this hospital have been developed by them.

Miss Thomas and the girls of the County Secondary School, Broom Road, Clapham, come every week with offerings for the wounded. Their gifts are of various sorts, and the men appreciate the kind thought of the young girls who send their tribute week by week.

Every Saturday, Mr. Pike, of Balham Park Road, has sent or brought fruit for the patients, and, with a hospital of this size, every contribution of fruit is valuable.

Miss Hutton, of Putney Park, has been extremely kind in sending her motor car three days a week for the use of the patients. This is a valuable contribution to the hospital at a time when one notices the reduction of cars on the road, due to the difficulty of getting tyres and petrol.

A printer's error last month spoke of Dion Cane, instead of Dion Lane, reciting 'The Hell Gate of Soissons.' The recitation as given by Mr. Dion Lane is, to my mind, one of the finest things I have ever heard.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

To a V.A.D. from a V.A.D.

May 1916

When you start by oversleeping, and the bath is bagged three deep,
When you stagger to the window 'neath the blind to take a peep,
When you find the snow is snowing, and it's murky overhead,
When your room-mate has a day off, and lies snugly tucked in bed,
When your cap falls in the coal-box and you lose your collar stud,
When it's time to start, and then you find your shoes are thick in mud,
When you scramble in to breakfast, just too late to drink your tea -
Don't grouse, my dear; remember your a 'Wartime V.A.D.'

When you start to scrub the lockers and the bowl falls on the floor,
When you finish them and then you find that they were done before,
When you haven't got a hanky and you want to blow your nose,
When the patients shriek with laughter 'cos a bed drops on your toes,
When you use the last Sapolio and can't get any more,
When you've lost the key belonging to the Linen Cupboard door,
When your head is fairly splitting, and you're feeling up a tree -
Don't grouse, my dear; remember you're a 'Wartime V.A.D.'

When the Doctor comes into the ward, and each stands to his bed,
When he asks you for a probe and you hand him gauze instead,
When the Sister 'strafes' you soundly 'cos Brown's kit is incomplete,
When you take a man some dinner, and upset it on the sheet,
When you make the beds and sweep the ward and rush with all your might,
When you stagger off duty and the wretched fire won't light,
When you think of those at home and long for luxury and ease -
Don't grouse, my dears; remember you're the 'Wartime V.A.D.s'

When your name's read out for night shift and they leave you on your own,
When you're suddenly in darkness and you hear the telephone,
When you crash into a coke-bin as you rush to take the call,
When they tell you there are Zepps, and that you mayn't have lights at all,
When you go into the kitchen and a rat runs through the door,
When it chases you into a chair, and both fall on the floor,
When you try to eat your food, mistaking paraffin for tea -
Don't grouse, my dear; remember you're a 'Wartime V.A.D.'


Monday, 20 September 2010

First Steps in Nursing

May 1916

When one is young and at school one has no option in the matter - one has to do exams. The only escape is to be ill, and then one's fond mother can send an excuse. If one does exams when one is grown up and quite old it is entirely one's own fault, and one only has oneself to thank. These were the reflections which occurred to me, somewhat late in the day I confess, as I sat waiting for my home nursing exams. We sat round an outer room, and a clerk called our numbers at intervals, and we passed through a door to encounter the doctor. One of my fellow sufferers aptly remarked that it reminded her of the dungeon scene in 'The Sign of the Cross.'

In preparation for this fatal day, my own doctor had taken me to the museum at St. Timothy's.
"I am taking my own students," she had said, "and you can come too, if you are sure you can see things."
I informed her that I had beheld without swooning that choice collection of waxworks of which Guy's is so inordinately proud, and she accordingly allowed me to join the excursion. Carefully labelled items of the human body stood in pickle jars behind glass doors, and a curator took down various gems and explained them to us. I endeavoured now to recall his words of wisdom, but the only exhibit I could clearly remember was a veritable cushion of hair which someone had collected in her inside by tidily swallowing her combings each morning.

The clerk called my name and I rose. Moritura te saluto!
"If you have to make a poultice, remember not to make it too wet," was nurse's parting injunction.
The doctor greeted me without emotion, and, pointing to a small boy, told me to imagine that he had burnt all his fingers, and to do them up accordingly. Now if there was one bandage in the world which I hated more than the others it was fingers, especially when they were the thickness of lead pencils, and the tape slipped off the tips the instant I relaxed my grasp. I remembered that the book said begin with the little finger, but I disobediently ignored this, and started with the thumb. I felt there was slightly more to get hold of in that, and I wanted to show that I knew how to do a spica. Also the longer I was over the thumb, the less time I should have for tips, as I felt sure the patience of the doctor would never hold out while I did them all. In the middle of the operation the tape slipped from my unsteady hold, and, undoing itself, rolled merrily away cross the floor. I retrieved it hastily and wound it up, hoping the doctor had not seen. He came, as I expected, while I was struggling with the middle finger, and told me to leave off.
"Now make me a linseed poultice," he said, and I departed to a table on which the horrid ingredients were set forth. Remembering Nurses' parting warning, I did not make it too wet, instead I achieved a solid slab of brick-like appearance and stability. It did not look right even to me, so having laid it out on brown paper I continued to pat it in the hope of improving it, while the doctor hovered around.
"Is that ready for inspection?" he enquired at last.
It wasn't, but I saw no probability that it ever would be. I moved aside, and he picked it up and bent the paper smartly backwards. The poultice instantly shot off and landed with a thud in a pail under the table.
"Rather too dry!" he remarked pleasantly. "Come and sit down."
He arranged four of us in a row, and, standing in front, began to ask us questions in turn. It was like some ghastly game. One half expected him to count, "One, two, three!"
"What is the average pulse rate of an adult?"
"Seventy-two," said my right-hand neighbour.
"And of an infant?"
"One hundred to one hundred and twenty," I gasped.
"Average temperature?"
"98.4," replied my other neighbour.
"And of an infant?"
"One hundred and one," said my sister, promptly walking into the trap.
"What do you think?" asked the doctor of No.1, who replied, firmly, "98.4."
"What a horrid catch!" exclaimed my sister.
"Sorry," purred the doctor - he really was rather a sport.
He asked me various riddles as to what I should do if this or that catastrophe happened, and here another injunction of Nurse's really provided help in time of trouble.
"If the examiner is a man," she had instructed us, "always begin your answer, 'I should send for the doctor!' If it is a woman - well, you needn't be so careful to put it in."
Finally, he gave me a glass to do a sort of proportion sum in; it was something about 1 in 50, and finally reduced me to a state of collapse.

"You could be a nurse," a palmist said to me some time later, looking at my hand.
"So I thought once," I admitted candidly, "before I did that exam. Now I think that nursing is like marriage - there is a lot more in both than meets the eye, and to make a success of either one needs to be very clever - and very good.


Saturday, 18 September 2010

If the Hospital were a Musical Play

1. 'Ronuk!' A duet by Sister and Scrubber Lady
2. Love song by Surgeon
3. Clog dance by Orderlette
4. Guard on Main Gate gives imitation of Charlie Chaplin
5. The Audience listens to a No.9 pill joke
6. The Sergeant-Majors as back-chat comedians
7. Ragtime turn by Kitchen staff
8. Grand stretcher parade

The Hospital by Moonlight

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Saving Stationery

May 1916

An Actual Correspondence

From: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
To: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital.
1st April 1916
Kindly inform me when No.21674 Private Bumbleby was transferred from your unit to the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance.

From: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital
To: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
2nd April 1916
Our records show no trace of this man having joined our this unit.

From: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
To: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital.
8th April 1916
Please note that Private Bumbleby was transferred to your unit on the 4th December, 1914. Kindly inform me of his present whereabouts and when he was transferred from your unit.

From: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital
To: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
9th April 1916
Can you please inform me from what unit this man was transferred here? At present I am unable to trace him by his name or number, and no men have ever been transferred from this unit to the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance.

From: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
To: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital
13th April 1916
Private Bumbleby was transferred to your unit from the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance on the 4th December 1914, and must have been transferred back to the Ambulance before the 15th March 1915, as he then proceeded overseas with the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance.

From: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital
To: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
14th April 1916
Can you please forward me for my perusal the transfer papers respecting this man's transfer to this unit? At present I am totally unable to trace this man being either transferred to this unit or away from it. Transfer papers will be immediately returned.

From: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
To: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital
17th April 1916
I enclose Part 2 Orders of the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance detailing the transfer of Private Bumbleby for your perusal. His number in your unit was 21674. Please return Part 2 Orders at your convenience.

From: Officer Commanding, 500th London General Hospital
To: Officer in Charge, Territorial Force Record Office
19th April1916
Part 2 Orders are returned herewith. This man was not transferred to this unit from the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance, but I find that a man giving identical particulars was admitted to this Hospital on the 4th December 1914, as a patient suffering from ingrowing toe nail. I suggest that an error has been made in Part 2 Orders by the 10th Mudshire Field Ambulance ...

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Problems in the Pay Office

May 1916

By the Staff Sergeant in Charge

The method of arriving at the figure for the monthly distribution of allowances has been a difficult problem to the greater number of the 300 sisters and nurses attached to this hospital. I do not intend to explain the details in this article, because I think that all who participate are perfectly satisfied, provided they receive their pay and allowances regularly. I take this opportunity of thanking those sisters and nurses who have made the pay work easier by signing their monthly forms with the familiar words, 'Certified Correct,' and leaving the rest to me.

There was a certain period, however, when things were not quite so rosy. I allude to the three months (which passed like six) when sisters and nurses did not get any allowances, and they naturally wanted to know the reason. In case there are still some nurses who have not had the matter explained to them, I may say that allowances due to a nurse are deducted for the first three months' service to provide furniture for her house, and to provide the necessary sum to meet the accruing rent, rates, lighting, etc. When the nurse leaves the hospital, the value of the furniture (less depreciation) is returned to her. During those three months I learned how best to escape the dreaded question, "When am I going to receive my allowances?" Here are a few 'don'ts' which I memorised at that period:

1. Do not pass the matron's office between the hours of 8.30 and 9.30 a.m. If forced to do so, proceed at the double.
2. When taking cheques to the matron to sign, place same in a file labelled 'Queries.' It is then quite safe to pass a sister or nurse at a walking pace.
3. Never give a definite date when allowances are to be paid. Nurses have excellent memories, and paymasters are liable to lose claim forms.

The last week of the three months was too much for one poor nurse, so I received the following anonymous effort:

There once was a Sergeant named Tanner,
Possessed of grandiloquent manner.
He promised the nurses
To fill up their purses,
Philanthropic Paymaster Tanner!
For weeks they confidingly waited,
Signing blue Army Forms (ante-dated).
Some signatures, what!
That's as far as he got;
But those purses are still not inflated.

Two words of advice to those about to occupy the perilous post of paymasters to the 'weaker (?) sex.' If a T.F. sister is talking to a T.F. nurse and a probationer is standing near and talking to an orderlette, and you are asked by one of them, "How much am I to receive this month for allowances?" be brave, and answer, "I do not know."
Even woman has been known to be jealous.


The Old Corridor

Monday, 6 September 2010

Our Visit to Buckingham Palace

The Matron gives an Account of a Memorable Afternoon

One morning a registered parcel came for the C.O. It contained 130 invitations to a tea party to be given by His Majesty to his soldiers in hospital. There was also an invitation for the Matron and one Sister. We decided to draw lots for the Sister, and Sister Barrett was the lucky one. Then came a busy time collecting the names of the men. We tried to send those who had been longest in the hospital, and regretted that everyone could not go, but I am sure those who were not fortunate enough to get an invitation did not begrudge the pleasure to those who did.

The great day arrived (March 22nd), and with the dawn the men were up, cleaning their shoes, polishing their buttons, and making themselves look nice. New blue suits were issued to all, and never a smarter crowd turned out than those of the 3rd London. The 'buses to convey us to the Palace arrived at 1 p.m., and long before the time appointed to start the men were all in their places - all except one, who was lost. There was great consternation over the lost one, and the only thing to do was to find another. In less time than it takes to tell, a Sister dashed back to her ward in C corridor to get a man ready; one nurse cleaned his boots while another polished his buttons, yet another found a clean kit, and long before the 'bus started he was seated calmly with the others, and I am sure His Majesty did not know that he had not taken all the morning to dress, like the other 129. At last we were ready, and the 'buses moved off amid great cheers and hand waving from those left behind. Her Majesty Queen Amèlie went with us as our probationer, and Sister Barrett and I had the honour of going with her in her car at the end of the procession.

After a long drive we reached the Palace. The 'buses all went in at the entrance for the Mews, but the men at the gate, seeing Queen Amèlie in the car, wanted the chauffeur to drive round to the Palace entrance. However, Her Majesty eventually persuaded them to let us in, after repeatedly calling out, "I want to go with the men; I am a visitor and a probationer, and I want to go with my patients," and we reached the courtyard to find the men being helped down by the members of the Red Cross, and very splendidly they did it. We were taken into what appeared to be a very large marquee, but was really an awning fixed to a covered way. This was all divided off into blocks; we were A, so had not far to go. In this marquee long tables were laid, laden with good things and decorated with beautiful flowers. It really was a good tea - bread and butter, jam, sandwiches, cakes and buns of all descriptions. By this time most of the guests had arrived, and the word was given to start tea. I looked round my flock to see they were all right, and, judging from appearances, they were distinctly so.

The Band of the Scots Guards was playing outside when the Royal part arrived. The King (in naval uniform) and the Queen came in together. As we were block A, we got Their Majesties' first attention. They went about the men, speaking to many and smiling on all, passing along the different blocks until they were lost to sight. Her Majesty spoke specially to two of our men who had been very badly wounded, and she remembered one of them being slung up in sheets on the occasion of Their Majesties' last visit to us. There were numbers of other Royal ladies, who all went about talking to the men. Princess Mary came in with Prince Albert. The Prince was in naval uniform, and made himself very useful in pouring out tea and handing cakes. Queen Alexandra came, and with her were the Princess Royal and Princess Maud. Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, Princess Christian, Princess Henry of Batterberg, Princess Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Arthur of Connaught (who looked very businesslike in an apron), and the Duchess of Albany were amongst those who came. Many ladies were pouring out tea and seeing that the men were looked after. General Sir Francis Lloyd, Sir Alfred Keogh, Colonel Fludyer, Captain Godfrey-Faussett, Lady Linlithgow, Lady Chesterfield, and Mr. and Mrs. Fisher were among the many there who are visitors to the hospital.

When tea was finished the men began to file out, and were taken to the Riding School, which was turned into a concert room. I saw many of our men who could quite well walk being most carefully wheeled out by members of the Red Cross, and every one on crutches being most carefully looked after. At length we were all seated in our different blocks again, our block being right at the front. There was a large stage at the end of the School, with a most beautiful curtain. It was black, with festoons of flowers; long ropes of flowers fell from the top and against the black curtain, the effect being gorgeous. Banks of flowers were on either side, and two wonderful attendants in white livery put up the number of the turn as each came along.

Then the curtain was raised, and on the stage was a very large choir, men and boys. The conductor, Dr. Walford Davies, stepped forward and said he wanted the men to practise the choruses before Their Majesties arrived. We all practised the National Anthem, 'Here's a Health unto His Majesty,' 'The Maple Leaf for Ever,' 'Australia will be there,' and 'Upidee' until the signal was given that the Royal party was arriving. Then we all stood to attention, and while the Royal party came down the centre of the room we sang 'God Save the King,' and, I am sure, meant every word we sang. His Majesty came first with Queen Alexandra, then Queen Mary with Queen Amèlie, followed by all the other members of the Royal party. when everyone was seated the choir sang all the things we had practised and several other solos, including a very good orderlies' song. Then the curtain dropped, and an excellent variety entertainment began. The following were the performers: Manny and Roberts, Grock and Partner, George Robey (as the Mayor of Mudcumdyke), Miss Evie Greene (who sang 'When Irish Eyes are Smiling' and 'Till the Boys Come Home' - and we all roared out the chorus and felt quite at home), the Two Bobs, Will Evans and his wonderful horse that will not be harnessed (which caused peals of laughter), Miss Ethel Retford (who impersonated Ethel Levey), G. P. Huntley and Co., Harry Weldon, Joe Coyne, and the Empire Chorus (consisting of some very attractive girls in sailor costumes) who seemed to please the men as much as anything, judging from the reception they got as they came up the School when we were waiting. This ended the programme, and we all stood and sang again 'God Save the King,' after which the Royal party came up the room, speaking to many of the men on their way out.

Numbers of the men got their programmes signed by Queen Alexandra and others. We had to wait until last in going out. The arrangements were excellent. The men were taken out in blocks, and that block sent away before the next one started. While we were waiting Queen Amèlie joined us again, and as soon as the men saw her they were round her like a swarm of bees asking for her signature. She signed hundreds, and the men absolutely refused to go when the block was called until the programme was signed. When I had time to look round I saw, to my horror, that our men had raided the stage, and were wearing great bouquets of flowers in their hats and buttonholes, and many of them had captured the 'reserved tickets' put on special seats. I felt that we should at least be sent to the Tower for such behaviour, and was quite thankful to get out without being asked any questions. However, no one seemed to mind. The 'buses were filled with happy singing men, and we brought up the rear again with Her Majesty. We could hear the men singing and cheering all the way home, and we reached Wandsworth about 6.30 having had a most enjoyable afternoon.

A very touching sequel to the day was that a man in the Rifle Brigade unfortunately lost his programme, which had been signed for him. He was greatly upset, and searched everywhere for it. Colonel Fludyer, Scots Guards, was dragged into the search, but to no avail. However, a few days afterwards Colonel Fludyer came down to the hospital with a new programme that he had procured from somewhere, and he and I searched the hospital until we found the man. His joy on having a programme after all was a real reward to Colonel Fludyer for all the trouble he had taken in getting another and the long journey out here to bring it.


More Labour-Saving Devices

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Sculptor and Surgeon

How they Collaborate at the 3rd L.G.H. - a Note by the C.O.

A new department has been formed at the 3rd L.G.H., which for the first time brings the sculptor's art to the assistance of the surgeon. For years artificial limbs have been provided by the Government for men who need them, and now, thanks to the experiment carried out here with such successful results, the Director-General, sir Alfred Keogh, has given orders that men who have suffered such injuries to their faces as to cause deformity, are to be transferred to our new department under Derwent Wood, to fit them with masks to cover the injured part.

The custom of the hospital to use men for the work in which they are most skilled placed Sgt. Derwent Wood in charge of our splint moulding department, and while at that work he felt he could help out men whose faces had been injured. Two very striking cases in hospital at the time were Tpr. E. and Sgt. F. Tpr. E. had a severe injury to his face, which resulted in the loss of his nose and the opening up of the nasal cavity from the side. After the surgeons had done their best for him by plastic operation the patient was still in such a condition that it was not possible for him to follow his former occupation of a cab driver. Derwent Wood has fitted him with an artificial nose and moustache so successfully that he has resumed his old job, and at a very short distance it is impossible to notice the injury. Sgt. F. had a more extensive injury, resulting in the loss of one eye and cheek. The process of repair has been more complicated in this case, and called for the sculptor's art in building up in plasticine the side of the face so as to get the plate to match the other side of the face. An artificial eye is carried in the mask, and this man will be able to walk about the world without calling for comment. The technical process is described in the Royal Army Medical Journal, and, for those interested, photographs are published in the article.

In time no doubt a big department will grow up for dealing with these cases, just as Roehampton now deals with the limbs. When the cases were brought to his notice, the Director-General at once gave orders for this department (which had been financed by the Benevolent Fund) to be put on the proper basis. Derwent Wood has been commissioned and attached here for duty, and the expenses of the department will be borne by the Government. The soldier is by nature independent, and the men who had the pluck to throw up their jobs and go to the help of the country are not the men who will wish to exist on pensions granted by the Government; they will prefer to resume their former tasks when possible. The formation of this new department will, I am sure, make this possible for many. In addition to the practical side is the aesthetic side, and a properly modelled portion of face carrying an artificial eye to match the remaining eye will be a great advance on the old-fashioned vulcanite shield.

In due course there will be developments of this scheme, which will be more fittingly described in professional journals, but the history of the beginning of the department will interest those who live in, and have been in, the 3rd L.G.H.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Some Helpers of the Hospital

April 1916

For a whole year my friend Mr. Willie Walters, of Liverpool, sent me 10,000 cigarettes a week for the use of the wounded. Mr. Walters is providing another hospital, a battleship, and two regiments with tobacco, and so, having had his generous help for a whole year, we could not trespass on his generosity further. Mr. Berney, of Wimbledon, has a fund which has been more than useful in supplementing our supply. Our numbers here are so large that to provide five cigarettes a day for each patient means, with 1,500 beds, 7,500 a day. The Australian Associations and Newfoundlanders now supply their own men. Mrs. Bruce-Porter collects for a fund for the British regiments and others not already provided for.

Drives have been a great joy to the patients, and many chars-a-bancs were sent by Lady Turing, who collected a fund for this purpose at the kind suggestion of H.R.H. Princess Louise Duchess of Argyll. I hope with the longer days this fund may be revised. The Australian War Contingent have done much for the Australian patients, and the chars-a-bancs sent by the Association have been a great help to all the patients, for the chars-a-bancs sent by British friends have been shared by the Australians, and the Australian and Newfoundland chars-a-bancs have given pleasure to many Britishers. In this way the patients go out with their new friends, and the Empire spirit and character of the hospital are thus maintained.

Miss Margaret Boulton has done many things for the hospital. She has sent gramophones for the use of the patients, and also flowers, plants, vegetables, and fruit. This lady was one of the first to start a free buffet for soldiers going north. She personally worked and financed one at Euston for a long time. These buffets are now taken over by various organisations, but to Miss Boulton belongs the honour of being one of the earliest workers in this popular movement.

Mr. Guy Chetwynd has helped with bagatelle tables, having started the fund in Sporting Life, and to this paper's patrons we are indebted for many tables.

Mr. Ellis has brought papers every Sunday since the hospital opened.

Mr. and Mrs. Percy Chubb are American friends showing genuine and practical sympathy with England at the moment by doing many things to help the wounded, one of these being the setting aside of a wing of their house at Wimbledon for six officers, who may continue their treatment there, within motoring distance of the hospital.

Mr. Guthrie-Smith has been a helper to us in many ways, and his and Mrs. Guthrie-Smith's assistance in providing drives for the patients is but one instance of their kindnesses. The most important thing is his duty as hon. gardener; in this post he has taken charge of our extensive grounds, and the paths and flower-beds are his especial care. He must have had many causes for amusement, and on one occasion he was warned, quite seriously, by a newly arrived N.C.O. as to his need for more care in the way he did his work. He has renewed his acquaintance with many New Zealanders, and made friends with all about the place. He has been helped very much by Messrs. Neal and Sons, the well-known gardeners of this neighbourhood, who have been most considerate to us.