Dorothy’s War – first letter from home.

27/4/1915                                                                                                                                            Rouen

My dearest Mother

I was so delighted to get your letter yesterday: it was the first I’d had since I got here and was an absolute oasis.

I have been put in charge of a new departure thay have started now it is getting hot; it is heliotherapy or sun-cure. I manage it almost entirely myself, and my duties consist in collecting certain patients whose names are given me by one of the doctors and then I have séances, through the day in the courtyard and they sit in the sun and expose the injured part of their anatomy to the sun for a certain time. I keep a kind of case book of the whole lot and when I am not doing that , I do my ordinary work in the ward. Of course I get my time off just the same. If one is free after lunch the great thing is to trot down to the Censor’s office to take one’s letters before 3pm. Whoever is going, collects anyone else’s who is on duty, or has a desire to go elsewhere, and so anyone going to the Censor’s office generally  has a sheaf of letters. The posts are put out in the dining room and I was so bucked to see yours yesterday morning. I must dry up now and go to bed I’ll finish this to morrow.

28th I am sitting frizzling in the sun and looking after my sun-bath patients : it is very hot.

I wonder if my overalls have come from Hobson’s yet?  I hope so, as I shall soon want them. Perhaps you can send out my baby flash lamp when you send the overalls as I’m not in any hurry for it. I’m jolly glad Mrs —– isn’t coming here: B may say what she likes, I think she is a most objectionable woman. I’m sorry to hear about poor Captain Hadfield : it is rotten luck for him. I hope he isn’t seriously wounded.

I had a bath at the hotel last night: it really was a most comic affair. They brought me a big can of hot water and a bath which was not a yard across: it was called a bain de siege but I’m hanged if anyone but a baby could have sat in it. I suppose it could have been done if I’d stuck my feet out but I was in mortal terror of upsetting the whole thing as my room is somewhat smaller than Father’s dressing room !! So I stood and scrubbed myself in sections : it was a most complicated performance. The cream of the whole affair was that I was shouting remarks about my struggles to Mrs Garrard whose bedroom window is just above mine, and this morning I discovered that an English officer is sleeping next door to me and his window is next to mine and as he, I and Mrs G all look out the same way he must have heard our conversation and been tremendously tickled! The hotel really is awfully nice and we are very comfortable there.

Three of us took a tram into the country the other day and found some lovely beech-woods with hazel-trees in between. There were not any wild flowers there however, except a few wood anemones, and a darling baby solomon’s seal about 10 inches high, evidently wild. Coming home I saw a lot of stitchwort and yellow horned poppy which grows in some parts of England, but not round home.

It is beginning to be quite hot: I shall be glad when my thin coat arrives. How dreadful about poor Greenwood: I had a long letter from Gladys yesterday and she told me all the details: I suppose he wasn’t a very expert motorist.

I must go out now as I have several things to do. Of course I love having your letters, but be sure and not hurt your poor thumb, as I wouldn’t like you to do that. How is the garden ? Are Clara and the double cherry out yet ? and how are all the things in my garden and rock-garden and all the anemones ?

Thanks awfully for sending me the photos

With the very best love to you and father

Your loving daughter


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Mrs T

Beyond the day job, and the garden, I love to delve into local and family history. While pursuing one project other snippets frequently distract me, resulting in the eclectic mix of tales from the past found here.

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