We had our worst raid on Tuesday night: they came and then slipped away


Nurses survey air raid damage inflicted to No. 9 Canadian Stationary Hospital at Étaples on 2 June 1918. The hospital was bombed on 31 May 1918.      © IWM (Q 11539)

15th August 1918 HMB

My dearest Mother

Your letter posted on the 12th came today: quite quick work. I have had a very disappointed letter from Isabel today to say that her doctor wont let her travel: she had a deep seated varicose vein cut out just a month ago and she has got to be very careful with it. So she cant come up and stay with me after all: she asked me to thank you very much for asking her: she is most awfully sick at not being able to come poor kid.


I expect to be coming on leave about the 3rd or 4th of next month: I shall go to her for a couple of days and then come on home.

I don’t know how it is that you haven’t heard much from me: I have written most frequently of late.

I’m glad to hear that Granny is so fit: it will be her 90th birthday next month I think.

We had our worst raid on Tuesday night: they came and then slipped away for an hour when the guns made things too hot to be pleasant and then returned about an hour later. I was on raid duty and cursed heartily when I had got to bed after the first dose and had to turn out again.

I am having very bad luck in the electricity just now: Stephenson my right hand has been off duty for a month with boils: they came one after the other and are only just finished, she is convalescing by the sea. Fraser , my other assistant, who is very quick and useful at the work is in bed with bad septic tonsillitis and so I’m left with two raw hands who require so much shepherding that they are of very little use. Fortunately about 50 of my patients have been evacuated this week as we are expecting new men down from the hospitals nearer the front.

I expect that by the time you get this letter I shall be wearing my four little blue chevrons: the official permission has been given, I am only waiting til’ the certificate stating one’s right to wear them returns from headquarters. I am also going to receive promotion and become a section  leader: I shall probably come home with a little single band of blue braid round my tunic cuff. A section leader is the lowest rank of officer and the area commandant, who is an awfully decent sort, recommended me for promotion as I am the senior VAD here and since we left the Anglo-French, and came under the Joint War Committee, we have many more VADs here.

It is very funny: Fraser has met John and Comyn Alder: John was engaged ( one of his many affairs) to  girl called Knight-Robinson, and Fraser’s brother married her sister(K-R’s sister). So she Fraser stayed with the K-R’s and met John and Comyn, and knows Cecily by name very well, though they didn’t stay in the house together. Isnt the world a funny place! Fraser is a nice kid: her father was a General but has been dead a long time. They are  a regular service family I think and are ( terrible expression but I cant think of another) very well connected. She lives in the opposite room to mine and works with me so we see a lot of each other. There are one or two very jolly new VADs come on the staff lately, one called Bartholomew from Edinburgh (the map people) an awfully good sort: has done 6 months in Italy and jolly well read and all that. She has a pal called Mitford, a huge tall girl, awfully decent too: her father is a General out here somewhere and her Mother is the Hon. Mrs Mitford and lives in Cadogan Square, so we are getting most aristocratic!! I’m looking forward tremendously to my leave: it is jolly lucky my getting it so soon.

Fancy Dorothy Humphreys being married. Our Belgian has just got married and returned from her honeymoon: we had a tamasha for her last night. Her husband is a nice little man, a sergeant in one of the Belgian military offices here. She is staying on to work here as usual. I will see what I can do in regard to your hints on the commissariat. It will be “quite all right Mrs Iggins” as someone once said.

Please may I have Father’s gift out here and yours kept for war bonds.


The guns are just sounding the alarm so I’m sitting clothed more or less on the edge of my bed. They may come in about half an hour. Pouf the light is cut off: this will have to wait.

6:15am Next Morning

From 11 to midnight was decidedly lively. There were certainly some bombs dropped but I don’t quite know where.

I must dry up now

Best love to you all

From your loving Dorothy.

Published by

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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