Intercession Day at home. There is a beautiful chapel in the Convent.
There is almost as much censoring about the movement of the French troops in the French papers as there is about ours in the English, and not a great deal about the movements of the Germans.
There are 43 Sisters belonging to No.— General Hospital on the floor below us camping out in the same way—86 altogether in the building, one wing of which is the Sick Officers’ Hospital of No.— G.H.
The No.— people are moving up the line to-night. It will take a few days to get No.— together, and then we shall move on at night. The Colonel knows where to, but he has not told Matron; she thinks it will be farther up than Amiens or Rheims, where two more have already gone, but it is all guess-work. I expect No.— from C—— is in Belgium. (It was at Amiens and had to leave in a hurry.)
The whole system of Field Medical Service has altered since South Africa. The wounded are picked up on the field by the regimental stretcher-bearers, who are generally the band, trained in First Aid and Stretcher Drill. They take them to the Bearer Section of the Field Ambulance (which used to be called Field Hospital), who take them to the Tent Section of the same Field Ambulance, who have been getting the Dressing Station ready with sterilisers, &c., while the Bearer Section are fetching them from the regimental stretcher-bearers. They are all drilled to get this ready in twenty minutes in tents, but it takes longer in farmhouses. The Field Ambulance then takes them in ambulance waggons (with lying down and sitting accommodation) to the Clearing Hospital, with beds, and returns empty to the Dressing Station. From the Clearing Hospital they go on to the Stationary Hospital—200 beds—which is on a railway, and finally in hospital trains to the General Hospital, their last stopping-place before they get shipped off to Netley and all the English hospitals. The General Hospitals are the only ones at present to carry Sisters; 500 beds is the minimum, and they are capable of expanding indefinitely.
There is a large staff of harassed-looking landing officers here, with A.M.L.O. on a white armband for the medical people; a great many troopships are coming from Southampton; you hear them booing their signals in the harbour all night and day.
I’ve had my first letter from England, from a patient at ——. The Field Service post-card is quite good as a means of communication, but frightfully tantalising from our point of view.
We had a very good night on our mattresses, but it was rather cold towards morning with only one rug.
They have a Carter-Paterson motor-van for the Military mail-cart at the M.P.O., and two Tommies sit by a packing-case with a slit in the lid for the letter-box.