It’s always a pleasure to be alerted to interesting websites, and so I’m grateful to Jayne, who in a comment on my Remembrance TV post alerted me to a site with the transcription of Edith Appleton’s diary. Edith was a nurse throughout the war, and documented what happened to her. So far I’ve only looked at July 1916, and have read her account of dealing with the casualties that came to her hospital in that appalling month. Here is a taster – just one day’s entry:
[July] 6th. I give up description – It beats me. In ordinary times we get a telegram from bbeville saying a train with so many – on board – has left – coming to us. Then they stopped giving numbers – just said “full train” Now – not even a telegram comes, but the full trains do. Yesterday in addition to our 1300 beds we took the lounge of a large Restaurant, the Orderlies barracks the Ambulance garage – & the Casino front – & part of the Officers Mess – & used all except the Garage – which is ready for today. We were not able to send any on as the boats were ull. So if full trains continue to pour in today – we shall have to start on private people’s houses. I have 41 German prisoners amongst my lot. How many English I don’t know. I hadn’t time to make lists they just sent in as many as they liked – it is just a case of all houses over full. The Restaurant lounge – & Officers mess belong to me too. Some of the men are terribly wounded – 8 have died & more will. One thing to be grateful for – very few officers came down with the last lot. It is wonderful how sufficient work – makes one not mind certain things . npleasant insect companions are the terror of my life. Many came down with the Tommies – & some have transferred their affections to us. & we hadn’t a quarter of a second to hunt them so just forgot all about them until bed time which came late. It is a mercy to have had dry weather – for the men we have out in the open. My Germans see very little of me or of my V.A.D.s. Some must do without a woman’s care & be left chiefly to Orderlies so with pleasure they may. Some of them are Prussians and very bitter, so they can just get on with their bitterness. Yesterday I had to close the shutters of their room – the French people were treating us like a peep show – Now I must get up – What is before us today I only think – for the moment & dress & go to breakfast – which is not difficult or unpleasant.