I have successfully put the fear of God into all my colleagues….

D Higgins 1915 IWM5.x11.15

My Dearest Mother

I hope you got my wire all right from Le Havre. I sent it off as soon as I could . We got to Southampton about 12.30 and collected out luggage, showed our papers and went on board.We had a nice double cabin and so went to bed at once – it was the same boat that we came over with.

About 6.30am we turned out and breakfasted. Then we put on thick wraps and went on deck to survey the Solent. There was an Australian gunner colonel, who was rather chatty, quite a pleasant old boy who showed us several things of interest. My binoculars were most useful.

When we got out into open channel although one could not call it really rough there was a good old ground swell and the boat rlled and pitched. We still sat on deck reading, and I last I confessed to feeling rather churned up and somewhat cold. We staggered to the cabin ( not because we were so sick but because the boat rolled so) and I lay down and presently slept. I also took some Mothersills and when I woke up about 11.30 or 12 I was as right as rain, and sat talking to Tim till we reached Havre where we showed more papers and no one looked at our luggage, and there was an Army ambulance to take us and our luggage across to the station which is at least a mile away. Just a ripping piece of luck wasn’t it. We abandoned our stuff at the station and the man drove us back to the British Army GHQ where we reported ourselves. It was pouring with rain, all the time we were in Havre and the streets ran with mud and water. Then we sent off telegrams and went to have lunch at the Hotel d’Angleterre where we ate omelette, ham and cheese galore. Then we went down to the station and I got our heavy stuff registered and a nice Belgian genderme came and got a necessary countersigning of my military ticket done for me, and then we went and sat in the train till it started and reached Rouen at 6.45. After showing more papers for about the 50th time, we collected our luggage big and small and took a cab for the hospital where we arrived in time for dinner. After dinner and some chat we fetched another cab and took our private treasures to the flat  “and so to bed” as Pepys says. I am back in my room (electric) with heaps of work but very pleased to be back.

Tim is in her ward again: the little woman who has been doing locum for her ( the flirtatious Canadian widow) has done everything she shouldn’t do as far as we can make out, and poor Tim is finding it awfully difficult: she has relaxed all the discipline, and it is so difficult to pick up again when that has been done –She is the kind of woman who would rather spend her spare time in going and patting the men on the head and calling them “dear boys” than seeing that her ward was spotlessly clean. It is rotten luck on Tim.

Personally I have so successfully put the fear of God into all my colleagues and orderlies that it appears they spent most of the day preceding my arrival in saying “Is it just as Miss Higgins left it”, and the doctors said to one another “Lord what will she say if we don’t get the floor scrubbed before she comes back!!”

I think they were pleased to see me nevertheless. It is fine and mild to-day: yesterday and Friday were muggy and warm, but raining.

I got all of my packages safely here and the pork pies, plum loaf and cake (Mrs Lowe’s) have been a roaring success: you observe that I say “ has been”.

I must dry up now,

Best love to you both

Your loving Dorothy.

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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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