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.