HAVRE CLEARING HOSPITAL

Evelyn Gilroy (St. Margaret’s) was mentioned in des­patches, and the following are extracts from a letter from her mother, in last March (1917): – Evelyn has been sister in charge of a ward for fourteen months. She had the “Acute” ward at the Havre Clearing Hospital in regular turn with the other sisters, and last June was moved up to the Somme for the “push,” and after a week there was again given a ward-the second worst “surgical” – and has had it ever since; thirty-six beds, under canvas. For the first two or three months the work was truly appalling. Cases straight off the field, of course, and only the worst “kept”; so it was always a strain and awful responsibility. Then all the winter it has been dreadful. First wind and damp, then bitter cold and no “floors” anywhere, only tar­paulin to stand on; consequently, all the nurses up there have had a sort of “trench feet” – like very bad chil­blains, red and blue and swollen up, and their knees all lame and suffering greatly when they got warm in bed (which was the only time they were ever warm). The whole staff had bad influenza at Christmas, and Evelyn was one of the only four who didn’t “go sick,” but was awfully bad and worked on with a high temperature. Consequently, she is only now beginning to get over it. She has only been home twice in two years, once for seven days and once for ten. She has, of course, the regular hospital hours, six-thirty a.m. to seven-thirty p.m., and when the push is on no hours at all! They all work night and day, and get sleep when and how they can. For three weeks on two occasions she was never in bed for more than three hours at one time, and often no time to undress at all, unless compelled in order to search for trench creatures ! which, unless found, destroy all chance of sleep.

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