On Thurs I shall become the loan property of the Belgian Govt

D Higgins 1915 IWM 12.x11.15

My Dearest Mother

I have been waiting day after day hoping to have some news. On Thurs I telegraphed to Mrs Macdonald as on Thurs morning we each received a very vague official letter from the London committee, telling of their withdrawal and saying that on the 16th we had to give up our Anglo French certificates in return for which we shall receive papers enabling us to travel to England. On the other hand the British Red Cross Society has now in its possession letters from the Belgian Government, the Belgian General in command at Rouen, and the Belgian medical staff here , imploring to be allowed to retain our services. We are so sick of the suspense. The rest all begged me to telegraph to Mrs M, so we all composed a long wire which we shared among ourselves.

Then on Friday night Sister went to town in Matron’s place (Matron is a very bad sailor) to put our case as hitherto there has been no-one to shed light on the matter except Mr Maples and the London Committee and of course they’ve been putting their side only. Mr Maples is back here and is surprised nad hurt to find he has lost the confidence od all his staff !! What did he expect I wonder? Sister is a very capable person and will put our case very simply and strongly. She took a paper from us begging to be allowed to stay.

While I was on leave the Consul (who is also a Red Cross official) came and saw the hospital and Matron told him the state of affairs and he promised to write a strong letter in our defence.

It would be criminal for us to desert our posts just now. The men are broken hearted at the idea.

Mr Maples is trying to persuade everyone that we [the nurses] have persuaded the Belgians to keep us and they were too discourteous to refuse?

So likely isn’t it !!

He, Mr M, does nothing but grouse about the Belgians ingratitude to him and vow that we shall leave. Perhaps the authorities have been rather inclined to take him as a matter of course but anyone who expects full gratitude in this world is a fool. Of course if he’d been given a medal, like Miss Maunder,  there’d have been none of this.

He was asked to come round the hospital on Friday morning especially to the operation ward and the surgery to show him that skilled work was necessary, and his reply was that he hadn’t slept well and the sight of wounds made him sick!! This from the man who has spent at least the last two months with his wounded son and, and done nearly everything for him. Many here are far worse than his son. It is awful to think that on Thursday or Friday we may have to leave these poor fellows all alone. I hope we shall hear soon: it is so dreadful not knowing.

I haven’t any more news: I’m very full of work: I treat about 60 men, 30 every day !!

Must go to bed now. I’m so sorry you lost your brooch: it is rotten luck.

Best love from Dorothy

Will wire as soon as I know.



Rouen – 14/12/15

Dearest Mother

Just a line to catch the mail. Matron had a wire about 6:30 last night to say

“Have succeeded: Nursing staff remains, letter following”     from Sister.

Isn’t it splendid!! I wired you at once last night. On Thurs I shall become the loan property of the Belgian Govt and receive 3 meals a day and 1Fr pay per diem!

Love 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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