Thursday, 29 July 2010

'Our Wounded' from the Front

March 1916

We look to find a Hospital a restful, quiet place,
With wards all hushed and silent - but that is not quite the case
In those which fling wide open doors for men who've borne the brunt,
And welcome them with outstretched arms; 'Our Wounded' from the Front.

You see a boy - he's little more - whose life has but begun,
Skylarking with an older man, whose years are nearly run.
The one mayhap has lost an arm, the other p'raps a leg;
'Are they downhearted?' No, not they, nor for your pity beg.

Some other man, with bandaged head, perhaps is passing by;
They chaff him, and he chaffs them back, and swift the words will fly.
The worst of wounds can't bring a groan, tho' teeth may be clenched tight;
'Our wounded' are the boys who at the Front put up a fight.

And those who cannot walk will each just sit him in a chair,
And race along the corridors to see who'll first be there.
You talk of gloom - not they - although they've freely risked their lives
That you and I may be in peace, with sisters, mothers, wives.

They're boys we're might proud of, but can scarce restrain a tear,
For oh! the wreck war's made of them, and many we hold dear.
They don't like to be pitied now they've done their valiant stunt,
For each and all are heroes, are 'our wounded' from the Front.

P. R. CRAFT, Cpl., R.A.M.C.(T.)

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Labour Saving Devices

March 1916
3rd L.G.H. Labour Saving Devices for the Reception of Wounded

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Hospital Notice Board

March 1916

CABLING TO AUSTRALIA - Members of the Australian Force desirous of sending cablegrams to their relatives and friends in Australia may do so at special cheap rates, which may be ascertained from the memorandum issued by the Australian War Contingent Association, 72, Victoria Street, S.W.

NEW ZEALANDERS will find information with regard to cabling, correspondence, accommodation in London, newspapers, pay, etc., in the N.Z. War Contingent Association's memorandum, which is exhibited in the Recreation Room.

THE ANZAC BUFFET - At the Australian Military Offices, 130, Horseferry Road, Westminster, S.W., there is an excellent little set of rooms known as the Anzac Buffet, where all 'Anzacs' are accorded a hearty welcome and may rest, read, write, and obtain refreshment. The Buffet is conducted by an energetic staff of Australian ladies.

AUSTRALIANS ON FURLOUGH who would like to spend their time, or a portion of their time, in country houses in England are asked to communicate with the Secretary of the Australian War Contingent Association, (72, Victoria Street, S.W.), as many offers of hospitality have been received.

SOUTH AFRICANS - All 3rd L.G.H. patients from South Africa are requested to send their names to the Hon. Treasurer, South African Contingent Comfort Fund, Bath House, Piccadilly, London, W., or to Sergt. Sumner, R.A.M.C. (T.) (a member of the staff of this hospital).


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Our Contributors

March 1916

So many friends outside the hospital now subscribe to The Gazette that we make no apology for printing a few paragraphs concerning our contributors. The majority of these are known throughout the 3rd L.G.H., but the general public is naturally curious to learn who they are and what position they hold in our community at Wandsworth.

Major Humphris (author of the 'Sparks' causerie) is well-known as an X-ray expert. He is temporarily absent from the 3rd L.G.H., his services having been required for the founding of X-ray departments in the Eastern Mediterranean. Capt. Harrison, whose alarming 'Labour-saving Devices' are continued this month, is in charge of our Pathological Laboratory, an article describing the work of which has been written by Pte. H. J. Gilby, one of his assistants.

From our first number onwards an ever-increasing chorus of praise has been showered on the very funny drawings by Pte. de la Bere. This month's series, 'An Orderlim's Day' (an orderlim is a male orderly, as distinguished from an orderlette), will sustain his reputation for a satire the full delicacy of which must sometimes, we are afraid, be missed by those unacquainted with the hospital's actual working. Pte. de la Bere, who was for five months in charge of D Ward (the Detention and Observation ward), and afterwards worked as an orderly in the Receiving Ward - the hall where newcomers and out-patients are attended to - has transferred to the Artists' Rifles. With him has gone Pte. J. A. Grant (illustrator of our Christmas shocker 'The Phantom Bride') but both have promised to continue to contribute.

Amongst other members of the R.A.M.C. (T.) unit who have sent illustrations are L-Cpl. George J. Coates, of the Recreation Room staff; Pte. Paul Kirk, a 'corridorderly'; Cpl. Fullwood of the Officers' Pack Store; Pte. Evans, dentist's orderly; and Pte. Ware, who made the drawing of the Royal Red Cross recently awarded to the Matron.

Aurelio Spaccatrosi, of whom L-Cpl. Coates has done a remarkable likeness, is certainly one of the most interesting patients passed through the 3rd L.G.H. Italian by birth (but long since naturalised), and a chef by profession, Pte. Spaccatrosi has seen many adventures. He was through the S.A. War, when he cooked for Lord Kitchener, Lord Roberts, and General Buller. In this war he has been at the Front in France; he then went to Lemnos, Suvla Bay, Salonika, and Egypt. On the Gallipoli Peninsula he carried on his art under conditions of the greatest danger and difficulty - but contrived to invent twenty different dishes made from bully beef. Pte. Spaccatrosi, who has had the honour of being presented to King George and Queen Mary, has four sons serving in the British Army. One of them, Albert, was in the retreat from Mons.

The bust of the C.O., which is on view in the new Recreation Room, and of which we publish a photograph, is universally pronounced to be a very fine likeness as well as a remarkable work of art. It was done by a member of our own staff, Sgt. Derwent Wood, who is head of the hospital's plaster splint-making department. Sgt. Derwent Wood is a sculptor of international celebrity, and the 3rd L.G.H. claims a unique advantage over the other war hospitals in possessing his services. The measure of his powers can be gauged by an examination of the bust to which we allude above (and we doubt whether the C.O. of any other hospital could find a member of his staff capable of thus immortalising him); but the splint room contains many very different specimens of a craftsmanship which, in a sense, are a still more significant tribute to Sgt. Derwent Wood.

Maj. H. C. Taylor Young, the author of the Kangaroo Story, is an Australian surgeon on the staff of the 3rd L.G.H., and his illustrator, Pte. Vernon Lorimer is also the author of many pictures and headings. Pte. G. F. G. Fisher who drew the exquisitely humorous operating-theatre fantasy which appears as a tailpiece on page 158, was a B.4 patient, but recently left the hospital for a convalescent home at Weybridge.

Two lady members of the hospital's staff send drawings this month - Miss Marjory Collins and Miss V. Down. Both are ward orderlies.


Saturday, 17 July 2010

Doings in the Path. Lab.

Spring 1916
By Pte. H. J. Gilby

It may be of interest to some of the Gazette readers to know a little of what goes on in that mysterious low building near the chapel. This quaint-looking place, known to some as the Pathological Laboratory, to others as the Wizard's Den, and to the vulgar as the Abode of Bugs - bug being the familiar misnomer for bacteria - is indeed a hive of industry. During the last eleven months 3,485 specimens have been examined here for pathogenic organisms. One may marvel how so much work can be crowded into such a small place, but from 6.30 a.m. until 8, 9 or 10 p.m. passers-by can see the B's (the buggists) busy in their hive. It is most interesting to notice how various people enter our abode. One fair orderlette brought a specimen in, dropped it on the table, and rushed out. Another took a good look round before entering, expecting, doubtless, to see bacilli crawling up the walls, or dropping from the ceiling upon intruders. (Don't be alarmed, readers; all our 'bugs' are properly trained, and not one dares to come out uninvited). Then we have the people who 'know something' about the work; they are the very curious and always expect to see streptococci - an old favourite - to order. Mr. Editor, many a poor harmless 'bug' has been designated 'strep' to suit the requirements of the knowing ones.

Let me give you an insight into the method adopted during a day's work. At 6.30 the attendants appear, and make all presentable before the officers arrive. After breakfast specimens begin to arrive; twenty-five typhoid and twenty dysentery patients have probably been warned overnight to report at the Lab. at 9 a.m. They arrive in fear and trepidation, bringing with them their own specimens. "This way please," says a cheery voice, and in rotation they present themselves before human vampires (No! not descendants of Dracula), who take a specimen of blood from each. A saline emulsion is made from the specimen, and plated by spreading three or four drops by means of sterile glass rods upon specially prepared media contained in large glass double plates. These are then incubated for twenty-four hours, at a temperature equivalent to that of the human body. Numerous red and grey spots can then be seen on the surface of the media. The spots are in reality colonies of bacilli, containing millions of micro-organisms, for it must be borne in mind that the rate of reproduction of bacteria is enormous. Under favourable circumstances - e.g., with a suitable food supply, temperature, etc. - certain bacteria divide (their method of reproduction) on an average about once in twenty or thirty minutes, so that, if there were no factors to delay or prevent such a multiplication, a single organism would give rise, in the course of some ten hours, to a progeny of a couple of millions. (Try and work this out for yourselves).

To continue, suspicious-looking colonies are taken from the plates by means of sterile platinum wire and smeared upon agar medium in test tubes. This medium contains Lemco, and is therefore greatly appreciated by the bugs, which rapidly grow. Litmus sugar peptones are then inoculated from the agar cultures, and according to results obtained a report is given. It is evident that at least three days must elapse before a definite report can be made, so my impatient typhoid and dysentery convalescents please note. Again each patient must have four negative reports [vide Army Council Instruction No.48, January 1916], and as there are at present many convalescents from those diseases in the hospital it is obvious that workers in the Lab. will not be idle for some time to come, and weekend passes will be considerably below par.

To resume, specimens of sputum are stained on glass slides and examined microscopically for tuberculosis bacilli. A single sputum takes at least a quarter of an hour to stain, etc. Pus is cultivated by inoculating four different media; in two tubes, known as aerobes, the bugs grow in contact with the air; in two others, nominated anaerobes, the medium is specially closed from the air by pouring melted vaseline upon it (this is to satisfy the requirements of fastidious 'bugs'). The bacteria thus so carefully nurtured are stained and examined microscopically. There will probably be a mixed lot of bugs, and the next stage is to isolate those required. This involves replating and resubbing until at length a pure culture is obtained. The latter is scraped into a saline solution and sterilised for an hour. Its sterility is tested, and the emulsion standardised and used as a vaccine. Thus the disease becomes father to the remedy, strange irony of fate! It may be interesting to know that the mixed vaccine with which willing (?) individuals are now inoculated contains 2,000,000,000 bacilli per cubic centimetre, and he or she receives 1,000,000,000 in the first dose and 2,000,000,000 in the second dose. (Any more applicants please?)

Of course, such huge families require suitable nourishment, and another branch of our work consists of making appetising viands for them. It is with great suspicion we are welcomed at the Steward's Stores when we go for four eggs and a tin of Lemco. I believe they imagine the Lab. department faring off soup and poached eggs occasionally, but I can regretfully assure them that such is not the case. At the time of writing, we have over 1,6000 test tubes in use containing media. Each week approximately five hundred sugar peptones are 'tubed up.' One may wonder whatever becomes of the enormous multitude of 'bugs' which we appear to cultivate so assiduously; ultimately they ignominiously perish, by being placed for over an hour in superheated steam at a temperature of 115 degrees Centigrade.
I have only dealt with a part of our work, but am afraid I have encroached on too much space, so will leave other items for consideration in the future. This article will suffice if it shows that, although not in the limelight, valuable work is being performed in that strange place, the Path. Lab.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Ode to a Lady Awdly

(After Shelley's "Sky Lark")

Hail to thee Sweet Maiden!
Man thou never wert -
That on getting porridge,
Puttest all thy heart
At breakfast time, and makest toast with simple, girlish art.

Heavier still and heavier
Are the loads thou carriest
(Oh! thrice happy feller
Whom some day thou marriest!)
And carrying still doth smile, and smiling ever carriest.

In the golden bright'ning
Of the rising sun,
To the stores, like lightning,
Thou dost quickly run -
Fighting for the porridge isn't half bad fun.

The male nursin' awdlies
Faint around thy flight:
The grim Quartermaster
Melts at thy very sight -
To our own Third General thou bringest life and light.

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
Truly here we know not
Any V.A.D.
Who doth surpass thy value, thy strength and energy!

Teach us half the gladness
That thy feet must know -
Through the huts and building
Trudging to and fro -
Our lips would smile as thou art smiling now!

A V.A.D.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Ladies' Committee of the 3rd L.G.H.

Spring 1916

When the Territorial Force Nursing Service was first started the following ladies served on the committee:
Miss Barton (Principal Matron), the Right Honourable the Countess of Denbigh, Lady Maud Hoare, Lady Hermione Blackwood, Miss Amy Hughes, Miss Sherratt, Miss Alsop, Miss Cockrell. These ladies formed the Standing Committee. On mobilisation a committee of ladies was formed to help with the various matters in connection with the hospital (in addition to the Standing Committee): Miss Barton (Principal Matron), the Right Honourable the Viscountess Gladstone, the Right Honourable Lady Plunket, Lady Pearse Gould, Lady Bradford, Lady Broadbent, Mrs. Bruce Porter, Mrs. Howard Williams, Mrs. Wilfred Harris, Hon. Winifred Douglas-Pennant (Hon. Sec.).

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The C.O. - A Psychological Study

Winter 1915-1916

Oliver Wendell Holmes, in one of his charming books, writes that there are two psychometers by which to gauge the value of a minister of religion; the black broadcloth forming the knees of his pantaloons, and the patch of carpet before his mirror. If the former is well-worn, then he is a man to pray for you, but if the latter is threadbare then he is a man that you should pray for! I am a discoverer of a psychometer which infallibly indicates the mental attitude, benevolent or otherwise, of our C.O., and I will briefly relate the history of my discovery.

After many months of daily toil, seven days a week, in the Wards, and after enduring the sympathetic comments of the Sisters of my wards as to my rapidly emaciating appearance, during which time it had been necessary to make several fresh holes in my Sam Browne, I came to the conclusion that a week-end in the country might restore my drooping and unsoldierlike form. I therefore repaired to the C.O.'s room, and after the dutiful knock at the door, in response to the laconic "Come" I entered, endeavouring to control my agitation. I saluted in my best form, and found the C.O. seated with his cap lying by him on the table. I proffered my request in halting terms, and meekly drew his attention to my retracted abdomen and the condition of my belt. To my consternation a severe look of surprise and reprobation spread over his mobile countenance, so with a muttered remark that I was badly wanted in the wards I was making for the door when a sudden gust of wind from the open casement caused the C.O. to assume his cap.

Now for the psychological discovery! While turning the door-handle the C.O.'s voice arrested me, and wheeling round I found that his cap was on with a good list to port. The expression on his face had undergone a complete change, and with a genial smile he informed me that I certainly ought to have the desired leave, and that he had long noticed my emaciated condition. In tremulous accents I thanked him and withdrew. Since then I have made a profound study of the C.O., both capless and capped. If capless I never venture to proffer a personal request. If the cap is squarely set upon the head I talk only of hospital matters, but if there is a list to either port or starboard, then I know that a request for leave will almost certainly be granted. As the result of my tireless researches and observations, I am convinced that a list of the cap to port is a more favourable sign than a list to starboard. By the former I obtained a week-end; by the latter I got one day! I am living in hopes that at some time in the distant future I may get a whole week's leave, but alas! will the necessary list to port allow of the cap remaining on?


[A quick flip through the book shows that this medical officer was Major A. P. Luff]

Friday, 2 July 2010

Children's Day

Winter 1915-1916

Last year, on New Year's Day, we gave the children of the Royal Victoria Patriotic School a tea-party. I don't quite know whether the children enjoyed it most or we did; however that may be, we decided to give them another this year, so January 1st found us very busy getting the Recreation Room ready for a tea-fight. Tables were arranged all round the room, and we prepared for 300 little ones. Cakes of every description, crackers galore - never have I seen such a collection! Fruit and sweets were literally piled on the tables, where many willing hands were waiting to pour out tea and hand cakes when the time came.

At a quarter to three they arrived; a long crocodile, headed by tiny mites, with the senior girls last, wound in at the gates and marched up the drive to the front door, where the C.O. and Matron were waiting to welcome them. After taking off their coats they went straight to the Receiving Hall, which was ready for their entertainment. The little ones were packed in front, the bigger girls and their matrons behind, and, still further on, visitors of the staff and friends of the hospital. The children were very quiet when they first got in, but gradually they gained confidence, and by the time the curtain went up they were buzzing with excitement. The curtain rose on 'Trial by Jury.' I watched the children's faces all lit up and eager. They followed everything with great interest; even the babes in the front were interested, their eyes growing more round with excitement as time went on. After this the Minuet was danced by six of the nursing staff, and it really was most graceful, taking us back to the time when our great-grandmothers stayed at home and 'thought' things instead of doing them.

Then came tea. Another crocodile was formed, and the kiddies marched along the passage to the Recreation Room. They filed in and up the tables, filling up table after table until the whole place was packed with smiling and expectant faces. A perfect bombardment of crackers then began - food took a back seat, and we all pulled crackers as if our lives depended on it. The big cakes were at last cut into and handed round, and then, when all the crackers had been pulled, suddenly there appeared from space more and more crackers, armsful of them, as if there was no end - and we all started afresh. One could hear, "Oh, Nurse, pull this cracker with me," "Oh, Nurse, she had it last time," and "Ask that soldier to come here and pull my cracker, Nurse" - that soldier being the C.O. We were all Nurse, irrespective of rank, and felt very proud to be called so. Whistles were blown, caps worn, and everything was gay. A beautiful ship was sent down by the A.3 men for the children - it had decorated their ward for Christmas, and they had passed it on afterwards for the children. It was a wonderful thing made with cotton wool and frosted, with crackers for the sails.

The next thing was to get them once again into the Hall, where a conjuror was waiting for them. It seemed hopeless at first, but soon I found out that the magic words 'Get into church line' did the trick, and the little ones tumbled out to the front and took their original places, and once more we all marched back to the Receiving Hall. Then the crowning point was reached - the wounded soldiers came in and sat with the children. The competition was enormous; nothing mattered - tea, entertainment, the world itself vanished, and the call of the blood came out as one seldom sees it. The kiddies shouted and cheered and clapped and almost fought for the possession of these precious things in khaki. The fortunate ones who got a real live soldier to sit next them were the envy of the community, and never have the men felt such heroes as they did when they very shyly came up the room. One heard on all sides, "Oh, Nurse, give me a soldier," and one wished that the Hall had been big enough to give them each a soldier. One very small youngster right in the front wanted a soldier very badly; there wasn't one available, but at that moment in walked a very small Boy Scout, who was promptly seized and put to sit in the front row, to the unutterable joy of the small girl, who, I am sure, thought he was a hero of the future! I saw the C.O. with a small mite on each knee; there was great competition for his knees, and the many changes that took place were very amusing - the two in possession were only allowed to sit there for a very short time, when there were two more candidates clamouring to be nursed.

The conjuror then came on, and the way the children responded was wonderful. He asked them questions which they answered, and then we all sang 'Doh-Ray-Me,' and at last the figure was carried off the stage struggling in the most wonderful manner. After a few minutes the curtain went up again on the 'Pierrots,' who gave a splendid performance. One of the songs, 'Land of Hope and Glory,' was well known by the children, who sang the chorus by themselves beautifully. One small child, with a great future before her, I should say, judging from her remarks, wanted to know if the 'bobs' on the Pierrots' costumes grew there! In one of the songs she also remarked 'I don't think there is much time in that, do you?' The one who honoured me by coming to sit on my knee spotted an officer who was sitting the other side of me. By degrees she shuffled round and put her hand into his, much to his amusement, and eventually deliberately deserted me, and I saw her sitting on his one good leg - and chatting away quite happily. After 'God Save the King,' like a swarm of locusts the children were all over the footlights on the stage, dancing with the performers. It was a wonderful sight. I watched from the other end of the room. The colours dazzled me; the mauve and white of the troupe blended with the many coloured caps on the children's heads will never be forgotten by those who saw it.

After much sorting out, a flash-light photograph was taken, which is reproduced in this month's Gazette. Once more we formed out procession, and as each child left the Hall she was given a Christmas stocking simply packed with good things to take away with her. The 'elders' were also given a copy of the Christmas Gazette. Hats and cloaks were then found, and the kiddies all went home, shaking hands with us and saying 'Good-night, Nurse, give my love to the soldiers!' Our guest of honour that day was Miss Sidney Browne, our Matron-in-Chief. We were all very glad she found time in her very busy life to pay us a visit.