Dorothy’s War – June 1915

D Higgins 1915 IWM


My Dearest Father

Thank you so much for your long letter which I received this morning. My rheumatism is quite cured now so I am able to write at more length. Before I forget please thank mother very much for her long letter and for the sketch which I sent on, and for the parcel which Mrs Garrard brought over. I am awfully sorry that the servant question is so trying, yet I don’t feel that I could help much if I were home somehow.

Last night I motored out to Grival which is officially known as Annexe No1, to the Hospital Anglo- Belge. It is one of our convalescent and is 38 Kilometres from here and 25 from Dieppe. It is a sweet place just beyond Bellencombe. It is as usual on the edge of a forest (there are so many here that nearly every place is in or near a forest) and has a lovely little stream running through its grounds, where the men catch trout. It is really a river; one of the three that run into the Channel at Dieppe. It is a school, disused of course. I saw a lot of my old patients there and chatted to them. It is so amusing shaking hands here is a positive fetish but it doesn’t matter which hand you use. It seemed so funny having my left hand so vigorously shaken. There are about 230 men there.

You seem to be suffering fearfully from want of rain. We have been very dried up here too: only one or two thunderstorms.

I see there has been another Zep raid on the NE Coast: not near you I hope: they really are devils.

Fancy old Jake getting an army appointment: my Lord what an old ……. I would love to put a spoke in his wheel. However the undesirable party will not clear out I suppose.

I can well understand Ethel Besson liking Cambridge: it is one of the finest, largest and best equipped hospitals in the country. I’m sorry K Simons is not getting on: it sometimes happens that one gets to such a place and there is often friction between VADs and trained nurses, arising from faults on both sides. Have you got your glasses altered to your liking yet?

I have never had an answer to the letter I wrote to Uncle Sid: not that I really expected one just yet !! I know what he is like. Of course he never sent me the photo he promised me- I don’t know how he can keep up his Mark Tapley attitude. I knew that what Dick Rawnsley said was true and more indeed : of course we hear heaps of things here that I don’t write about: it would be quite useless as they would not be passed.

Asquith ought to be hanged drawn and quartered for saying that we have plenty of ammunition, about 6 weeks ago: he must have known he was lying.

I wonder how the new Govt will work: I wish McKenna had been given the push also: why on earth did they make him C of the E [Chancellor of the Exchequer].

I am quite fit again now: no more rheumatism. I see that you have had another Zep raid on the NE coast. Not near Alford I hope. We had 60 new men in last night so it has made things quite busy in the wards.

I don’t know if I told you that I saw an operation last week. I saw a shrapnel bullet (about the size of an ordinary marble) dug out of a man’s neck. It was jolly interesting.

On Sunday a party of us went up the Seine in a motor boat: there is a girl here, a Miss Crane, with whom I am rather friendly and her cousin is Clonel Gough; he is an awfully nice man, a retired soldier who is out doing office work in the record office I think. He is quite oldish. He is a cousin of the celebrated Goughs ( Hubert and John) of the Curragh Affair: John was a VC and was killed recently.

He arranged the party which consisted of Miss Crane, and another girl and myself, the Baron de Villenfagne  (our motor man) Col. Gough and a Captain ( I never heard his name properly) We had a mechanic with us to manage the motor boat and we went up to Giselle and then down again: we had tea at a ripping place called St Adrien: just above Rouen. The river is full of islands and so pretty. I steered nearly all of the way: great fun.

I must dry up now or I’ll miss the post.

Best love to you both

Your loving D.

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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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