Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

Sister Anne Donnell circular letters, with diary 25 May 1915 – 31 Jan. 1919.
ML MSS 1022

[Transcriber's note: Anne Donnell, a South Australian, was a nursing sister with the third Australian General Hospital. The letters were written from overseas to friends in Australia, describing the war, her work in military hospitals and her stay in Egypt, England and France]

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With the 3rd Australian General Hospital
Tuesday 25.5.1915
When I said farewell to all my dear friends in South Australia on the 20th I secretly made up my mind that I would set aside each day some time to write a few lines - but oh dear - I soon had to submit to the inevitable and twas not till we left Fremantle yesterday that I felt equal for anything.
On Saturday a crowd of nurses lined up to be vaccinated. I was done under difficulties & that combined with severe seasickness - and to say nothing of loneliness & home sickness I was rather miserable.

Wednesday 26.5.1915
At the word miserable I was called down to be inoculated "against Typhoid" & that makes you feel terribly off colour especially with the vaccinations taking too, but as I am feeling less sluggish tonight I musn’t let the interesting items pass by.
First I must tell you that now we have left dear old free Australia behind all our letters will be censored. So have no idea when these lines will reach their

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destination. It's rather agreeable to feel the air of military discipline all around one but I'll draw the line at my diary being read by others than my friends. You'll understand now why my promise to you all cannot be kept until I feel free to send it. We reached Fremantle at 10 a.m. on Monday morning – a glorious day – I was met by my sister's little Isobel and Jack also Miss Noar & little Esmond Hart. We then hurried to my sister's home at Mt. Lawley where she had invited my W.A. friends to have lunch with me. I enjoyed every minute of the time to the full but it was all too short as we were sailing again at 3 p.m. but how happy I was to feel that the old friends of many years were just the same. There was Mr and Mrs Uren whom I knew in S.A. and had often made their home at my home. There was Millie Butcher – my very oldest girlfriend & her 3 children. Gertie Wren & her 2 children. Miss Butcher, Miss Hicks & her little charges. My sister in law From S.A. Mrs Coombs & dear old Hedgie – who rushed in like a whirlwind of love with the loveliest bunch of roses & Carnations. Mr and Mrs [indecipherable]

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Hurman & Ralph, Mr &Mrs Hart - their twinnies & my little sweetheart Graham. Then Newnie & Ruth, May & her Joybell. How I enjoyed that wholesome yet dainty lunch. Twas the first nourishment I had had since the stewed mushrooms at Mrs Robjohns at Mt. Lofty on Wednesday. A friend of my brother-in-law motored us down to the boat (some went by train). He took us through the King's Park where we had lovely views of the beautiful Swan, but again it was all too short. So soon good bye to them all was to come & that meant goodbye too to dear old Australia, but the W.A.s gave us a send off to be remembered. There were crowds & crowds on the wharf & the ribbons of all colours flying thick. It looked very pretty indeed. When I left Perth I couldn't decide which city I really preferred out of Sydney, Adelaide & Perth. They have so many distinct charms of their own.
When we were out some distance we found we had a little stow-a-way
on board, a little chappie named Reggie – age 12 years from Mt Lawley. He has become quite a pet & our Red Cross boys

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want him to be adopted by the 3rd Aus. Hospital if it were possible – we sisters would like it too for he is a well spoken refined little fellow. His mother is dead. His father & brother are in Egypt. We hear that the Captain is bound to send him back from Colombo.
This morning we had a full parade of the 3rd Aus Hep unit. Twas an outdoor uniform affair – we filled the spacious 1st Class Dining Saloon. After the roll was called Colonel Fiaschi gave a short address to us all. There was the Officers, Sisters, Non-Commissioned officers & men. He strongly impressed on us the mission of our work and now that we had left Aus behind there was no such thing as States between us – just a united Aus. Unit going forth ready to give our best for the Empire. I think we all felt proud to be a mite in the unit. I know I did and especially when I glanced around & saw the familiar faces of Drs Cudmore & de Crespigny.
Enough for tonight. My room mate will be wondering what has become of me. Good night all.

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Friday 28th May 1915
Now that it is not vaccination or inoculation its hot sultry trying weather. We must be nearing the tropics- everyone is appearing in light attire & we have permission to please ourselves from Matron to day of how we dress for dinner. It has been compulsory to wear our grey dresses – red capes & white caps & the effect was very pretty.
We have a lecture every afternoon from 3 to 4 pm. by one of the officers – yesterday Dr Stawell from Melbourne gave us one on Florence Nightingale & a more beautiful & impressive lecture I have never listened to. I think very few of us realised before what a grand woman she was & the good work she accomplished – again I think we all felt proud to be a red cross band going out stimulated to do our little bit.
Last night the red cross boys gave a concert over on the 2nd class deck. The musical part was most enjoyable.
The time seems to pass quickly what with parades – lectures - concerts etc.
This morning we had to practise putting on our life belts & to see they were all in good order. There is an indescribable air

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about. I suppose it is the risk just now. We are told to be prepared for anything. There are 13 hundred lives on board & they seem to think we would be a good haul for the Germans & especially too as we carry a lot of amunition. The name of the "Mooltan" has been crossed out. A platform has been made at the end of the boat so as a gun can be placed on when we reach more dangerous waters..
Another concert is about to take place. So Goodnight again.

Sunday 31.5.1915
We are still going on & on – the weather becoming more trying each day. How I long for one of those cold nights at Mt. Lofty. The electric fans are going day and night – we expect to reach Colombo about 8 pm Tuesday.
Learning French is the rage amongst the nurses & as there are a few French men on board they have agreed to give us lessons. The general thought is that our destination will be the South of France. So we want to be able to understand the wants of the French boys.
Divine Service is held twice a day on Sundays & we escape lectures.

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Tuesday June 1st
Fancy the first of June and red hot. With the expectation of reaching Colombo in the small hours of the morning everyone seems more cheerful than usual & making plans for how they are going to spend the day. We are not allowed off without an Escort. So our party consists of Mr Powell, 3 of his friends & 5 Sisters – so aren't we looking forward to an outing.
Thursday June 3rd.
The day has come and gone but the memory of it will be treasured as one of the most interesting and delightful of days.
The first thing I was conscious of was my cabin mate calling down at 4 am. "Sister wake up I can see lights upon lights". Then followed immediately the search lights on us, with the native boys calling out Money Money Money mixed with a lot of jabber of their own. There was no more sleep. All the natives seemed very excited over something & we soon learned what it was – Riots in the town between the Mohommadons and Buddists over religion - over 300 had been killed & many wounded. We were told it was unsafe to go out of the Town & soon had orders

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from Colonel not to – that was rather a disappointment as several wanted to go to Kandy, Mt Lavinia & other beauty spots – anyway all soon fell to & made the most of things. Everything was so interesting – how those natives beat anything I ever struck for sharpness – There was the many oriental shops to see - the rickshaw rides down to the Cinnamon Gardens, back to the Galle Face Hotel for dinner – another rickshaw ride along by the seaside – afternoon tea - a little more shopping when we found things greatly reduced – then back on board by 6pm.
No one was allowed in the streets after 6pm . We saw several shops that had been battered to pieces. Several were closed & trade generally at a standstill. Our people all suffering in consequence as having an over full ward boat some supplies had run out especially in the soft drink line – Now we have to wait for Bombay.
There were numbers more passengers came on & where they are all stowed is a mystery. Amongst those taken on are a number of Japanese boys going home to study for Doctors. We seem to have every nationality on board "barring Germans". The little stowaway was handed over to the Colombo police.

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Sunday June 6th
I have so much news to tell you that I don’t know where to begin or when I do exactly how to tell it to make it interesting – its far beyond my poor brain power.
We have just said farewell to India. We had about 30 hours at Bombay arriving there at 9 am. yesterday and as we were allowed off without escorts 4 of us set off to make the most of it & to stay on land overnight booking our rooms at the Hotel Majestic "9 rupees a day" After a little rest and lunch we hired from Cooks a Motor & guide & set off to see some of the sights. The magnificent Artistic and Massive buildings are beyond description Malabar Hill was very pretty ferns that we Treasure under glass growing abundantly by the roadside. Next we visited the Zoo - Smelly just like all Zoos & as the weather was terrifically hot we were glad to be off from there to see the Museum there the different histories of the Mohammedans Hindus & all the native Curios interesting and didn’t our hearts leap for joy at sight of our Aus. Kangaroo. From the M. we went to the Native quarters " or part" which included a funeral & a wedding

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At the funeral the Native Men carried the body in a box covered over with a Shroud & then they put it in the Temple of Silence for the birds of the air. The wedding was a small procession of natives & you’ll hardly believe me when I say that the Bride was 18 months old and the Bridegroom 3 years. Next to the market. Such a place, beggars again, beggars everywhere - even the Tiniest mite is taught to fawn and beg. Half the men and women would be lying down sleeping amongst their fruit and vegetables in fact they are to be seen sleeping anywhere and everywhere – dirt wasn’t in it. "I don’t think" We saw a Snake Charmer - but learnt afterwards that the sting is always out.
The most interesting thing to me was the Lady Hardinge War Hospital full of the returned Indian soldiers from the front. The Hospital was really built for a Museum - but since the war has been converted into a Hos. A most beautiful building. The walls are a blend of grey & violet – in fact those shades are blending throughout – violet blanket and white quilts with a border of pale violet. The men are very cheerful & it was to our

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disadvantage that we couldn’t understand them. The sun was unbearably hot outside though everything inside was lovely and cool.
There are a crowd of Officials gathered near & consulting together with thoughtful faces – so I’d better retire.

Tuesday 8th
Please excuse the writing of this. The inoculation I had yesterday of "250 Million Typhoid germs" had made me so ill that I have kept to my bed today. My cabin mate laughs at me for as soon as the doctor gives the injection I make a bee line for the fruits salts - consequence -She is up and enjoying life while I am down to it. How my whole life resents the injections of any "poisons". "I know it is done out of kindness for our protection" yet if I could I would get out of having it & there is one more in store yet.
The weather is becoming more and more trying each day. The Stewardess says she has been on the boat - for 10 years & it is the hottest trip she has known – also it’s never been so overcrowded with passengers. Several more came on at Bombay including the Rajah of Bohum, the Princess & their attendants. I am never tired of looking at the princess. She looks

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a darling and dresses exquisitely. The Prince is a fine looking man.
Another noted man on board is General Legge. He is going to the front to take the place of the late General Bridges.
As yet I have said little of our Hlp-staff but there is plenty of time for that. Our matron is a Miss Wilson from the Brisbane Hlp.
So far she seems to me to be a woman "in a position" & and I am longing to see The woman
We are wondering where our destination is to be – plenty of rumours fly around every day. First is Egypt, then Malta, France & England.
Everyone realises that our boat would be a prize for the Germans & were warned at Colombo of the dangerous waters of the Mediterranean. My room mate is rather funny. She prepares every night in case of a torpedo & as she steps up into her bunk - she looks round and says. Let me see have I got everything, my purse – bangle – watch socks etc. Yes. Goodnight.
I feel so vexed over my correspondence that was to have been posted from Bombay. I took a whole day remembering friends & afterwards learnt because I put one word that I shouldn’t have, they were torn up. I hope you won’t think out of sight - out of mind – though I can plainly hear

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you say I wonder She hasn’t written a line.

You’ll be tired of learning about the weather – we hear comments the live long day & experiencing it too. Yet the worst is to come. We are all looking more or less anaemic & will be so glad to reach our destination. Tomorrow morning we expect to be in Aden – very few if any are going ashore. We are told that the interesting thing there to see are the Roman wells which date back to the time of Moses. They are a few miles out of the town & as our stay is expected to be only 2 hours it would not give us time to go though I should love to visit such an old land mark.
The sea today was beautiful "Arabian Sea" it looked as if we were making a streak through glass – quite different to our sea – There were numbers of flying fish about & we saw 3 whales & 3 boats, quite an event for us.
We still watch the Southern Cross at nights but only 3 more nights to see it. Then I wonder when we shall see it again.
Dr Stawell gave us another lecture this afternoon on "The Story of the Red Cross". I mention

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his lectures because they stand out - above the & we find them uplifting. I wish I could convey the thoughts he gives to us in writing but I know I should spoil them in the attempt & will only mention his concluding words in which he explains the way peace will be brought about " The peace that is to bring peace to the world is the "Peace of humanity"
Another parade of our hospital this a m. when we were inspected by Surgeon General Babtie – another noted man. You may remember he won the V.C. by saving the life of Lord Roberts’ son. Though he afterwards died.
The Egyptian Nurses Officers & men will soon be leaving us now.
Irene Brown is playing – Tis the first time she has deigned to do anything to make the time pass pleasantly. One usually sees her standing about with a suspicious expression & a cigarette in her mouth. The Nurses bore her almost to distraction & she was heard to say. "Bother those d- nurses. One even can’t get rid of them on land. they even come to the best hotels.
There’s a lot of tit-bits that go on on the boat, but enough for to-night.

Friday June 11th
At sunset in the red sea, I feel like nobody

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loves me. Nobody cares – so come to my old friends – don’t think I’m down in the dumps – its only the tremendous heat – one simply has no energy, honestly we haven’t ceased sweating since 3 days out from Australia.
We anchored at Aden at 8am & to my surprise found the scenery very picturesque – so unlike anything we had yet seen. The huge brown barron hills without the sign of vegetation & at their base the buildings of various sizes in white red & grey. I badly wanted to use my camera but in going up found a notice to say – Snapshots strictly forbidden. I suppose on account of it being a garrison Town & the war boats about. A French boat laden with Troops for the Dardanelles was there & we cheered them off at noon – then at 2pm we were cheered off by other boats. It was lovely to hearsee The Allies flags flying from them as we wended our way on. Some passengers went ashore & motored out to the wells but I was afraid of the heat. Fancy it only rains at Aden about every 20 years.
It’s come at last Two notices up. The Egyptian Staff & the R.A.M.C. girls to disembark at Suez on Monday. We will miss them. So far no news of our fate.

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June 12th
Words fail to describe the heat. One of the saddest things on board has happened through it. The death of Sargeant Major Norton which occurred in the small hours of the morning. He was a royal Engineer & on his way to England to join the Military there. He with his wife & 4 children boarded us at Colombo coming from Hong Kong.
He was buried at 10am with Military honours. The boat stopped for ¼ of an hour. The Captain read the burial service. The Last Post was played. And during the singing of The last verse of "Oh for a closer walk with God" the body was lowered. It was draped with the flag of the Empire. There is a subscription being raised for the Widow & Children & so far it has amounted to 170 £.

Monday June 14th
Parade again this am & still sweltering but the torture of being in our heavy uniform soon subsided or our indignation did when we learnt it was to bid farewell to two of our officers who were being sent back on account of their health. Poor follows keen disappointment was written on their faces

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but as colonel said it was the wisest in fact. The only thing to do in the interests of all & especially themselves as both were in the early stages of Tuberculosis.

Tuesday Evening In the Suez Canal
They have gone & we feel lost without them. General Legge & Babtie disembarked too. The boat had no sooner anchored when orders cam for the R.A.M.C.A. to go off at once. We heard later to Alexandria To Nurse an Outbreak of Typhoid fever. The heat of the Canal & the intense glare from the Sandhills & plains is too much for the eyes to look at for long though there are [indecipherable] interesting spots to see.

Wendesday Eve 16th
In the Medittarian going at speed of 18 knots an hour & half light out & especially thankful for a cool change.
We arrived at Pt Said during the m.n. hours & was allowed 2 hrs on shore this am. We were keen on visiting the Military Hospitals & hunted up a few of our brave Australian boys. Those we saw seemed happy

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& contented & well on the way to recovery. Pt Said I liked much better than the other ports. The beggars were kept better in hand. Sailed from there at noon & passed out of the Canal seeing At the entrance to it the Grand Statue of the man "French" who was the means of making it.

In 4 days we expect to be at Marseilles – in England on the e27th.

Still morning on in The Med-Sed doing an average speed of 392 miles a day. Its very dismal at nights – port [indecipherable] closed & dark blinds drawn. No ray of light is allowed to escape anywhere. So I go to sleep peacefully feeling all is safe – quite sure the Germans couldn’t detect us. Though it all tends to make us realise that at any minute our lives might be called – were full of hope, though to be able to accomplish the work we have set out to do.

Marseilles to-morrow 20th
Such rough weather a.m. too rough for a

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service to be held but the beautiful scenery of Marseilles is in sight - & twill be lovely to be on land again.

We landed or anchored at 3pm but the business of getting pass ports took us till 7 & having to be back on board by 9.30pm we saw little – but next morning we were up & away by 7 am having 4 hours. Everything was most interesting – only we found our French diddent help us much. The most notable place to see was the Church of Notre Dame de la Garde – which is built on one of the highest peaks & where you get a beautiful view of Marseilles & the surrounding Country. I am sending most of you a picture of this – you will see at the top a statue of The Virgin & child – which represents them guarding the Sailors of the Sea. Saw also the Cathedral of Marseilles – a grand building.
Marseilles is a busy port – numberless large boats along the wharfs which seemed to me to extend quite 2 Miles in length & boats either side. There were several troops marching in the streets. Many of them Indians

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later they followed us out on their way to the Dardenelles. There were many women in morning - I was very sad – some men had gone to the front & the wives never heard of them again.
Colonel Fiaschi & his wife left us to go overland – also most of the passengers.
We have had orders to have everything ready in case we hear we have to disembark at Gibraltar on Wendesday.

Thursday 24th June
Interesting Gibralta is passed & we are still jogging on – we left at daylight this am. The most important item done there was the placing on of the Gun. How we enjoyed the flowers & fruit. We all came back on board laden with them – baskets of lovely strawberries – cherries plums & figs.
All being well Plymouth will be reached on Sunday Morning. Hip hip hurrah for a country that will be like home.
Au revoir
With loving greetings
Anne Donnell
PS: 20TH 6.1916 Ivanhoe Hotel for a fortnight [indecipherable] we proceed to France. England is lovely.

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1st letter
[whole page indecipherable, as it was copied from the wrong side of the paper.]

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Ivanhoe Hotel
Bloomsbury Str
London West

Here we are in the heart of London, or, rather only a portion of us. We are divided up the Officers going to different places. The boys to various Hospitals to get more experience – whilst we Sisters are deposited here for a fortnight (to see the sights of London as we say) while waiting for the full equipment of the Hospital ere we proceed to our destination in France.
On the last night of our sea journey we were protected by two destroyers & at daylight it was delightful to see them careering around. We also saw two submarines. On arrival at Plymouth the boys were asked to get up to sheer the Destroyers which awakened us. So we up too – such a view of England we saw, or rather a view of Devonshire on one side of the harbour & Cornwell on the other. I had simply been pining to see some green grass & this was a treat & all the way from Plymouth to London. The scenery was beautiful the lovliest green green hills & hedges. We left Pyrmont at 2pm by special express, 1st class, arriving in London 8pm. The flowers here are the finest I have ever seen. How I do wish you all could see the wonders of London, however I might want to. It could never bend your imagination to what things are in reality.

28th A brief outline of the 1st day here Visited the British Museum, saw over chiefly the Egyptian part, it was all so interesting, but one wants weeks to even go into that

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part of it. Lunched & then did the streets, Oxford & Shaftsbury Ave, Bond & Regent Sts. Wandered through St James Park to Buckingham Palace. In the front of it is the magnificent State of Queen Victoria. I couldn’t resist doing some shopping. The things are very tempting, had tea & home again by 8pm, very very tired but firmly of the opinion that London is the leading place of the British Empire – you’ll smile & say, silly everybody knows that. I couldn’t help being amused at breakfast this morning when I asked of the Sisters her impression of London. She replied that she was "awfully disappointed it was so small". I guess she will change her opinion ere the fortnight is up.

Tuesday 29th
Payday today which kept us confined to the Hotel till 3pm, however it suited me to do some writing & Miss Powell (Mr Powell’s daughter who travelled on the Mooltan) came to take me out. It was infinitely nicer having someone to explain things to you. We first went to old Lincolns Inn Courts – those described in Dickens "Bleak House". Next to Temple Court – Inner Temple - & Temple Church where the Knights Templers were buried in the latter end of the 16th Century. For sometime we were winding in and out & round about Temples & Courts. Next we went to St Pauls Cathedral, arriving in time for service. The singing was heavenly. I felt as if it was being carried off with the echo. The Choir is considered the best in London, so I will leave the rest to your imagination. Of the building the ceilings, windows, statuary, tombs too I could not describe their solid grandeur. Just above the Altar were these words,

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"Sic deve delexit mondum". As we were walking around I saw a finger pointing on the wall "To the Crypt" & knowing that dear old Bobs was lately buried there I was anxious to go down & see is grave. You pay -/6 & go down to see his grave are shown over by a Guide – Green laurels are still fresh on it. It is lying side by side with Field Marshall Lord Wolsleys & only a few paces from the Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellingtons & Lord Nelsons’ occupy the two Central & most favoured or important position in the Crypt – also they are the only two who are buried above ground – of course The Grandeur of these are beyond words – On the side of Wellington was a small fresh laurel wreath that had a card attached with the words June 18th 1915 "Not unmindful". A momento of the battle of Waterloo fought just 100 Years ago. At one end of the Crypt was the funeral car which was especially made to take the coffin. This was drawn by 12 black horses & costing £ 20,000 – 500ft long & 250ft wide. In the Cathedral directly above the Duke’s Tomb is a grand memorial to him & on straining your eyes to the Top of it you see him riding his Charger. On coming outside there’s the dearest softest little pigeons hopping all around. They quite make the place their home – the old ladies appear to love feeding them & play with them. In the twilight of the evening we sat in the Victoria Embankment Gardens by the Thames listening to a Military band.

Somehow I feel about powerless to tell you of 20-days outing "From the Time we had our photos taken at 10am in indoor uniform to the ships of the British Museum

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for the British Australian paper "of which I hope to send you a copy" I have simply lived in the past centuries. Three of us planned for the day to do West Minister Abbey & the Tower of London of what that involved those of you can have no conception who have not seen them. At least I know I couldn’t, so I will do my best to tell you a little. Truly we are finding our way about wonderfully well, but never without the aid of our amiable encyclopaedia as we call "The London policemen". Matron told us they were the most delightful people on earth & so they are. The order here is marvellous. Those of us who go about in uniform have a distinct Courtesy shown to us which is lacking if wearing civilian cloths. So I say the wise wear uniform, besides I think we should if only to advertise what the Commonwealth is doing for the Empire. We often meet Canadian Nurses in fact one of them took our photos to send to the Canadian papers. Well, I haven’t started taking you to the back centuries yet & it’s nearing 10pm. On entering the Abbey fortunate favoured us again by being in time for Service & later on was there for the intercession Service which is held daily at noon. The impression conveyed to me from the Two Cathedrals was this – that when St Pauls was solidly grand, the Abbey was spiritually reverent. This may be on account of the age of the buildings, where St Paul’s is practically modern being completed in the early part of the 17th century & the Abbey 1266. Though the oldest part dates back to 1066. In every part of the building your interest is held but time won’t permit. The poets’ corner I lingered in

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the longest. Just fancy standing above the graves of these men, with beautiful statues of them around you. Handel – Sir Henry Irving – David Garrick – Charles Dickens. Lord Macular – Robert Southey – Oliver goldsmith – Robert Burns - Tennyson – Longfellow – Spottiswood. Chaucer & Browning. You Pay -/6 to enter the Royal Chapel, that includes a few small chapels – the most beautiful chapel in the Abbey – namely , The chapel of Henry V11 built in 1502 – It’s a wonderful mass of carvings . Saw the seats and banners of the senior Knights of the Bath . Lord Roberts’ Seat or where he used to sit. The wonderfully beautiful tombs seem everywhere. George 11s, Queen Elizabeth & Mary’s – the two murdered princes – The cradle tomb of Charles , the T two days old daughter – Mary Queen of Scots. King Henry V11. His mother’s too now 400 years old. There is still a poor fund initiated by her & been going on all these years – every Saturday morning bread, meat and -/2 is given out to each poor person that comes for it. In this way her memory is being treasured and likely to be for centuries to come. Edward the Confessor’s tomb was very fine. The top part has now been covered with a rich red drapery by George V at the time of his coronation. Just near stands the Coronation Chair. Passing on we go some steps up to Eye Slip Chapel where the wax models of funeral figures are – that is rather ghastly but wonderfully done – There stands Q Elizabeth. K. William & Q. Mary, Q. Anne – Lord Nelson in clothes that they actually wore - & many others. Time was flying and we just had to tear ourselves away from the Abbey, as the Tower of

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London was to be done that afternoon. So going on we see St Margaret’s Church where the fashionable weddings take place. The Houses of Parliament by the river Thames – Then waiting for the bus we look at Cleopatra’s Needle – Twas so interesting, it’s a huge Obelisk – placed beside the river as a memorial of Nelson and Abercrombie. It was presented to the British Nation by the Viceroy of Egypt in 1819. It had been for centuries lying on the sands of Alexandria – and when being brought over in an iron cylinder- went down during a storm in the Bay of Biscay & lay at the bottom of the sea until recovered by John Dixon in the reign of Q. Victoria 1878. Arriving at the Tower & being in uniform we were allowed in 7 shown over free – others paid 1/6. The Yeomen of the Guards take care of this Tower with its precious contents. They are huge men in bright uniform and retired Soldiers who have done 21 years of Meritorious Service, Twould be impossible to take you to this old historic place. First we visited the Bloody Tower where the dreadful Tragedies were committed. The Murdered Princes room etc. next to see was the room where the State jewels are on view – they are too beyond description – the Crown – Sword – plates etc. We saw what is called the 2 Stars of Africa. One in the Imperial State Crown of K. George V & above it the ruby given to Edward the Black Prince by the King of Castile 1367. The other diamond is in the sword. These two diamonds "originally one" is the largest ever found in the world – in its single state it was valued at ¾ of a

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million. It was presented to King Edward the V11 by the Transvaal Gov. – in 1904. Next the White Tower is visited where the armories are on view of the 15th and 16th Century. From there to St John’s Chapel, built in 1017. Then to St Peter’s Chapel where were buried 21 that had been beheaded, amongst them Ann Boleyn- Thomas Cromwell – Lady J. Grey – Lord Guildford etc. etc. In 1877 the restoration of this floor took place 7 some of these bodies scientifically recognised. I hope this is not too gruesome for you but I’ll soon say goodbye to the tower and only add another item we saw the actual spot where Anne Boleyn & Lady J. Grey were beheaded – Also the prison tower where Sir W. Raleigh was & the walk under the prison where the ladies used to come & talk to him. Doing London is very, very tiring but most interestingly absorbing.

July 1st

To-day we felt we must come back to the present so taking things quietly Sister Daw & I did some shopping in the a.m. & walked to the Zoo through Regents park. I must confess Zoos don’t interest me but there I did enjoy the fine collection of Australian birds. Returning home and having a few minutes to spare ere teatime, we pop into the British Museum which is quite near – we often go in there to fill up gaps of time. This evening we came upon Captain Scott’s diary under cover of course, there were three pages that the public could see to read. I copied down the last sentence. Dated march 29th 1912. " We shall stick it out to the end but we are getting weaker of course and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not

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think I can write more. R. Scott.
Last entry – for God’s sake look after our people.

July 2nd 1918: "Notice" Sisters to meet Matron after Colonel’s visit 9.30 a.m. After which there is a hub bub, our plans are completely changed. We are going to Lennos Island, near the Dardanelles. The majority of us are delighted as we will be with our boys. I do shrink at the idea of the return sea journey, but apart from that it’s great to be with our own. Rum one says we will be nearer the firing line than any hospital has been yet. So we are braving ourselves to do for our brave men who have been so grand in paving the way. Australia will be there as the boys used to sing at every concert we had on the boat and so we’ll all be there now. Wee do feel we should be there now instead of doing London but must cheerfully submit to what comes or goes. The war Contingent Association is very good. Every afternoon. They arrange for a huge motor – seating accommodation for 28 to be at the Hotel at 1.30 p.m. to take us to sight seeing places. This afternoon it was Windsor castle – a distance of 24 miles through the most beautiful country. On arriving there & being in uniform we are again privileged by seeing over parts of it which has been closed to the public since the war. First we were shown over St Georges’ Chapel – we were just too late for service but listened to the organ. In this chapel many of the Royalty are buried – King Edward V11, the Duke of Clarence, Henry V111 and Jane Seymour, side by side. We saw the seats of the late Queen Victoria – King George – the present Queen – the Prince of Wales – also the seats and flags of the Knights of the Garter. Here we

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come upon Lord Roberts’ again – Sir Edward Grey & others. Looking up we see some seats without flags & learn that they belonged to German folk but had now been removed. Ere we left the Dean spoke a few helpful words to us and gave us his blessing, wasn’t it dear of him? Here as in the Abbey we see the most beautiful tombs. I’ll only mention a few. The late Emperor Frederick of Germany – Earl and Countess of Lincoln. Prince Imperial of France who was a young man and died in the Zulu War. The Duke of Kent & Princess Charlotte who was the only child of George 1V here I thought was exceptionally fine it appealed to me so much so that I was lost in raptures before it & awakened to hear the doors being locked. Next we go to the Curfew tower, that old, old historic place. We heard the old clock strike 4. The bells only ring out on Royal days and Saint days etc. Now in brief we are shown the stables. Carriages & the most beautiful grey horses 70 in all of the royal family, then finished up by walking around the Castle, the grounds & the view from there is indescribable. Eton College was pointed out in the near distance. Had tea then back again – encouraging the driver to exceed the speed Limit as we were going to the theatre by invitation of the Garrick Theatre to 6r be careful. Arriving back with 10 mts to tidy ourselves – into taxi & off. All 80 went indoor uniform scarlet capes, white caps etc. Circle seats and first Stalls were reserved for us. The uniform I think is bright and effective, also simple. We enjoyed the play immensely. To the leading star was handed up the lovliest lovliest bouquet of pink roses (?4.0.0) with a kangaroo on top &

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Australian flags flying. On a card was written "from the Sisters of the 3rd Australian General Hospital. The company were delighted & the leading Actor whispered to Yvonne Arnaud to thank us by coo-eeing – She tried 5 times but twas a poor attempt. I immediately was over come & the Sister next me whispered "Are you feeling homesick Sister" then for 10 mts I had to hold my kerchief up. But talk about going the pace – its always the small hours of the morning ere I go off to dreamlands – by the way it hasn’t been dark in England since we arrived. It’s quite light till 9pm then the lovliest dim twilight until 2am. Then daylight comes. The weather seems perfect 75 as, like our fresh cool autumn days & the green fields & parks – yet folk here say they are having a drought because it hasn’t rained for 6 weeks. I never thought that in running about to say nothing of the pigeons & little birds In Hyde Park – Kensington Gardens – in fact they are in all the parks.

July 8, 1910
Oh dear I am getting behind – 6 days to write up such full enjoyable days too but I must go back to Saturday first thing in the morning we are told that probably we would start on the 1st stage of our return journey by going to South Hampton. That upsets our plans again & the question is how to make the most of the remaining time 0 (however you see we are still here Saturday. Afternoon Miss Powell & her Brother had arranged to take me to Hampton Court. "The Majority of the Sisters had

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gone to Harefield Park by Invitation" but as I had not seen a picture gallery it was a toss up between the two. The toss fell to the pictures. On the way we come to Mansion House the Lord Mayors at present Sir Charles Johnsons. This house faces the busiest corner in London where 8 to 10 thousand vehicles pass in an hour – can you imagine it? Mr Powell investigates & finds we can see over the House – everything is beautiful – the picture – tapestry work banners banquet Hall & All the plate most handsome. Going on & being near the Guild Hall, we enter. In this Hall all the famous speeches are given. Here there is another grand memorial to the Duke of Wellington. This building was spoken of in Edward the Confessor’s Time and was one way from there to the National Gallery we pass Bon Church Cheapside – Milton was christened here & twas the peals from these bells that brought Dick Wittington back – when he thought they were calling "Turn again Wittington Lord Mayor of London. The pictures in the Gallery I thoroughly enjoyed & especially the Misty Sunset ones of Turners. The rustic Scenery of Gainsboroughs. Landseer's animal pictures John Constables clouds – Joshua Reynolds & others. We finished up the evening by having a delicious Tea at the Strand. Then on to The Palace Theatre to a good passing show – I must tell you this tit-bit. One man was giving reveries under the Clock. Australia had to have her bit – he says – Yes Australians, you give them an inch – and – they – take the -- Dardanelles.

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Now I am coming to the best day of all. A Sunday in an English home & the first home I have been inside since leaving Aus – so you can imagine how I appreciated it. Twas at Mrs Sydney Robjohns at Bexhill-on-sea about 90 miles South of London – Sister Reid had friends to see down there too so we started from here early in the morning. Such restful scenery – similar to that from Plymouth. On arriving I loved the welcome given – I simply love home life, crave for it sometimes – Yet I toil on! I’m thinking when I return I won’t care whether I wear my welcome out with all of you but I getting away from my story. Dinner I must mention because I haven’t enjoyed anything so much for ages. Fresh salmon, New potatoes – green peas – lettuce reddishes & all home grown. Also home-grown strawberries. After dinner we sat on the lawn and didden’t I drink in the deliciously fresh air with its whiffs of new mown hay. Then came along some friends of Mr Robjohns a Mr & Mrs Cottrell. How I did enjoy the conversation I had with Mr Cottrell a great man I call him with a beautiful mind like Colonel Stawell. He has just lost a nephew in the Dardanelles a [indecipherable] poet only 29 yrs of age – by name – Rupert Brooke. How highly these friends spoke of our Australian and New Zealand men – how generous & brave they are, I was not only in complimentry terms but straight from the heart. Before leaving that delightful spot I had a roll in the common – in the high green grass buttercups & daisies. How perfectly charming the English hedges – padocks & lanes are.

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Monday. Notice Our departure is prospones – we are glad in many ways to see more of L – yet we feel we ought to be of use now & have our pleasure afterwards. Monday will never be forgotten. The Motor as usual being outside the Hotel at 2pm and with it the late Agent General for S.A. The Hon J.G. Jenkins & his wife. They had been asked to accompany us to see that we were looked after as regards nourishment etc. Mrs Jenkins asked if she might sit between two S.A.s & the honour fell to Sister Daw & myself. It was very nice for she pointed out all the spots of interest on the way. This outing was to Burnham Beeches, a beautiful drive 25 miles West of L. On the way we saw the smallest house in L. The coffin placed on Top of a many stories house by Druce – J.M. Barries house – The dogs cemetery in Kensington Gardens Kensington Palace where Q. Victoria was born – The old Duke of Wellingtons house – The Duke of Devonshire & The Duke of Rutlands & last but not least The Zeppelin Guns placed on the Gate of Hyde Park. After 2 hours lovely drive we arrive at Burnham Beeches & there afternoon tea is already on a long table on the grass under a huge cherry tree. The cherries just colouring. We do justice to the meal & have an hour to ramble in the woods. The moss you walk on is like treading soft spring couches & the ferns grow in abundance under the shady trees. But above all we have quite a unique experience. Go for Donkey rides. Me above all who cannot ride at all – to attempt a donkey. I can assure you I felt the biggest donkey. On the first round 9 started off & we couldn’t get them to get a move on more than a trot – then suddenly they

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went as hard as they could & we couldn’t stop them. Oh dear how we laughed – yet I was terrified. I couldn’t possibly hold on much longer, however I did manage to – but you can picture me – bonnet off hair flying & screaming for help. One Sister fell off – but fortunately wasn’t hurt – all this for -/3 a ride. On our way home we passed Queen Alexandra in her carriage – She bowed & smiled at the Uniform but only few saw her.

So ended another enjoyable day.

On Tuesday Miss Mears from N.S.W. escourted Sister Daw Reid & myself to Hampton Court – bus & trains – Now this is a glorious spot first of all it’s the largest Palace in Eng. 1000 rooms in all but 4/5 of them are allotted to Widows whose husbands had rendered Meritorious Service to the State, either by army or navy – Mrs Chamberlain has rooms there also Captain Scott’s Mother. The Terraces & flowers around are the very finest I have seen in Eng. We went into the maze & got lost. I couldn’t possibly describe the things we saw in the Courts. The old tapestry work some of it purchased in Flanders by George 7 – The Kings Gallery built by Sir Christopher Wren for William 111. The carving in oak of this they tell us is the finest in the world – made of pure gold, silver & silk. To go through the rooms and see them to-day as the same as when William 111 & Cardinal Wolsley lived there was interesting, the beds the same, with magnificence drapery – In W-111 room there stood a clock which hasn’t ceased ticking for 200 years. When twilight came we hired a punt for an hour – Sister Daw & I lay back on Soft Cushions in luxurious style whilst

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the other two did the work by punting us up the river – I was trying to compose poetry about the scenery – the occupied pretty house-boats we passed – the flowers that grow on slopes down to the waters edge &c but as I was longing for the presence of Sister Pratt to inspire me & she being quite out in (Australia) poetry vanished & I just got a quiet mood & thought of you all and how I wished you could see all the things that I am seeing – Sweet dreams.

Wednesday & Thursday were tit bit days with nothing worth writing about . Friday afternoon another picnic party to Epsom, Leatherhead & Dorking quite as enjoyable as the previous ones, afternoon tea outside &c.

Saturday notice "Going on Monday for Sure". Again to make the most of the time I very much want to visit Manchester to see Mr & Mrs Bulby & Iris, but as it is 200 miles & travelling would make up 10 hours I could not with comfort do it in one day, so ask permission for the night but am refused. I shall be terribly disappointed to have to return to Australia without seeing them – so near & yet so far. Mr Bulby would have come to London had he known that I was still here but I failed to let him know until to-day – the truth was I didn’t think it warranted the expense & I was still hoping that an opportunity would present itself. However Mon – being off I turned by thoughts to Leicester 99 ½ miles north, to see Mr Smarts’ people whom he had kindly written to & gave me a letter of introduction. Before leaving the Mooltan at Plymouth I had a letter from Mr Smart welcoming me to their place so I went & it was another happy home day. Arrived at dinner time to enjoy more green peas & new potatoes, also

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home grown –You must forgive me mentioning nourishment but if you always went to London Restaurants for meals "baring breakfast" which we have at the Hotel you would feel like writing home about it. In the afternoon we motored around the pretty outskirts of Leicester, then visited Mr H Smart’s home at Western park. This is my ideal English home. The perfect grounds converted into croquet & golf lawns – the flower beds rose garden the arched covered in roses – then you pass through the house garden – where raspberried – gooseberries apples & veg: grow then on opening the gate you find yourself in the most delightful woods. I have an invitation to come & stay here – how I would love to be able to accept it. On returning I find the others had enjoyed the day by visiting the Muse at Buckingham Palace in the Morning & by being shown over Parliament house in the afternoon, all expenses being paid by a Mr Williams. A wealthy Eng. Gentleman who evidently takes a keen interest in Australians, tomorrow he has invited us all to Afternoon Tea at the Zoological Gardens, but I am spending the day otherwise.

Sunday 11.7.1918
This morning I found my way to our Church at Argyle Square loved every minute of the Service. The Sermon from Mr Wilde was most helpful. I had previously made his acquaintance at the Swedenborg Society rooms, which is only a few doors down from Ivanhoe – so being in uniform he recognised me & after Service introduced me to Mrs Wilde – also to the President of the S-Society, the Hon Sir Joseph Compton-Rickett – Lady Rickett & their Son & Daughter. Now immediately I felt I loved these people & twas not because Lady CR said she was trying to recognise the uniform, and not find T for Territorials on it "as is on the English" she wondered

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what it was asked to see the brooch & badge & was keenly interested when hearing it was Australian – for the moment I was made to feel proud, and prouder still when she said with feeling in her voice & moist eyes "How if all the British had been Australians the war would have been over before now" wasn’t that topping as they would say in England. Now I am going to put down here for my own special benefit a few words that were delivered by Sir JC & quoted by Rev. Wilde in his Sermon "The Soldier Beyond" these are they "Pertaining to this State of War there is a question which gathers a pathetic interest as the roll of honour lengthens. The Church must seek to know more about the second life so little removed from the present" In this same sermon Mr Wilde quotes these comforting lines of Whittiers.

I know not where His islands left
Their fronded palms in Air
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond His love & care.

A very pleasant evening was spent at Mrs Powells’ home at Acton Hill. On coming home another notice up – There is a possibility of not going tomorrow.

Saturday July 17th
PS. You see the possibility proved a reality & we have our luggage in the Hall ready to go at 8am in the morning.. You may guess that the real thing has come.

Au-revoir when you will have a bit of my diary again. Time will tell – until then, Loving Greetings to all.
Anne Donnell

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Nurses 2nd letter

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3rd combined letter to my friends

His Majesty’s Troopship "Huntsgreen"
The Captured boat "Derufflinger
Norddeutscher Lloyd SS Breman
July 21st 1915

Dear Friends
On Saturday the 17th on returning "(Sister Reid & I) to the Ivanhoe after having been to Lady Wallace’s collection in the am. A Matinee in the afternoon Potash & Perlmutter a splendid American play – Then watched the women’s procession as it passed Piccadilly Circus" we discovering we are really going in the morning – Twas all too True. 9am found our luggage gone & private buses outside the Hotel waiting to take us to Paddington Station where we leave at 10.30 for Devonport near Plymouth. Arriving there the Sisters & Staff Nurses are separated. Matron with the Sisters go off on a Troopship – colonel Dick in charge of them whilst we have Major Kent-Hughes Sisters Hoadley & de Mestre to look after us, its all so exciting & especially when we discover we are on the above boat. No one o know when we go or where to. There are 2400 souls on board – so the place is well packed. The troops are Middlesex & Welsh chiefly with a small band from Chesshire & 20 R.X. boys 50 Sisters & the remainder The ships crew. On Monday at 4pmm we left – how quietly – not a soul on the wharf to wave a farewell. A destroyer came with us & we needed her too for we were chased by 3 submarines. The boys were on duty all night with their life belts on

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& guns in hand. The boats are all in readiness to be lowered. We have our life belts always at hand & as night comes there is not a light to be seen, they switch them off at the main & all that there is, is one or two shaded lanterns. However with the morning we are in safer waters & the destroyer goes back to lead another Troopship out. We hear that loaded Troopship leaves daily for the Meditteranean. We saw Two others ready & every hour the trains come down laden with khaki. We are having a good trip only a few seasick. I needn’t have dreaded it so far and feeling A1 & everyone seems more at home & happy here, though Major Kent Hughes says we are intruders in a way, but we are not made to feel so & the Cabins are ever so much nicer than the Mooltan.

Thursday 22nd
Enjoying the trip very much. Last night the Welsh boys were singing hymns & Anthems & they do sing beautifully. After Singing the Welsh Anthem & God Save the Kind the Colonel told them that the coal strike was over – loud cheers – that the Italian & Russian doing well – Cheers & he was sure the Welsh boys would do well too – loud cheers – then they call out – Are ye down-hearted & the deafening No: No: No: as they go off to there packed sleeping quarters tells you the brave spirit they have, in spite of their physique which seems to me on the average undermined for this task.

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Friday 23rd
Now for last night it was simply beautiful up on deck gliding along in a smooth sea in the bright moonlight was charming, the boys were singing as usual- we Sisters gathered together & sang "Australia we’ll be there" to them & Major Kent Hughes waved our flag. Every one on the boat appeared happy & why shouldn’t we- on the way to work. When 9.30 came we were settled to our quarters & there was an unusually anxious air about, but being somewhat accustomed to fancy alarms we prepared for the reality if it came & went trustingly to sleep. At 12.30 Alas what had happened- The boat stopped, the bell rang & the foghorn gave one tremendous blow. I wonder if you can imagine the rest. The experiences that were told this morning was very amusing- but at the time the majority thought their last hour had come. I confess I did- so did Sister Daw. We were up like lightening but she called out to the man on duty- what is it-& he said "its all right Miss it’s only the fog. We went back to bed- but no one had any more sleep. The fog horn blew incessently the rest of the night & we were disappointed in the morning to find ourselves in Meditteranean Waters & had passed through Gibralta without seeing it. One of the Officers was telling us what an anxious night they had- the Captain just everted a catastrophe, as we were on the point of colliding with a sailing vessell & immediately after a large boat passed within 20 yards on the Port side so no wonder there was a stir.

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We are getting into hot weather again. We hear we are calling at Malta- aren’t we lucky- we missed that on the last trip.

Wednesday 28th
On Monday morning early found us anchored at in the grand harbour at Malta & at 10 a m we went off in pretty little boats to the shore. Another sight-seeing day. Sister Barron & I went off together we first had a drive around the town- then went to the Military Hsp. to see if there were any Australians there & discovered they had been transferred the day before- but the majority of the large buildings having for the time being been converted into Hospitals & there being 15 in all we coulden’t possibly visit the lot, though we learnt later that there are a lot of our boys there. Then we looked at those enticing shops & how I wished my pocket-money hadden’t been so low so as to have purchased the cheapest & lovliest Maltese lace work. The town Valletta is full of it. This Island of Malta is most interesting. In the beginning itself it was a barren rock 22 miles long & 8 wide- no soil at all. The Venetians brought it all there as toll when they came. The scenery is exactly the reverse of England- the tiny patches of brown soil surrounded by rather high stone walls. Grapes, figs, melons & tomatoes grow in abundance. It’s so funny you see goats everywhere- they meet you at the boat, in the streets, at the shop doors etc. After enjoying a delicious cup of tea- we intended to spend the afternoon at some cultivated gardens.

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but meeting 4 English Nurses who were going to the old capital of Malta & then on to the ruins of Hadjih Kim & kindly inviting us to go with them we changed our minds & gladly went. The ruins were much like "Stonehenge" they date back to 1500 B.C. The caretakers pointed out the Alters where the animals were burnt as sacrifices, gave us a little piece of pottery to keep as a memento. After resting for awhile on a cliff overlooking the lovely blue Meditteranean, we start off back- some 120 miles. The scenery all the way is typically biblical. We saw them threshing corn with mules & oxen & they keep to the old old style of costume. On returning everyone is full of the day, some had gone out to the caves & actually saw the cave in which St Paul sought shelter for 3 months, visited St Johns Chapel & the Chapel of bones- I regret very much to have missed those.

Tuesday 29th
Sometime tonight we arrive at Alexandria. The journey has been a pleasant one. Sister Hoadley Rush- Mitchell Taylor & myself will never forget the happy afternoon we spent in playing 500. The Colonel of & Doctor of the Welsh regiment loved to join in with us- we are hoping sometimes to invite them to our tents to afternoon tea at Lemnos.

Sunday August 9th 1st 1915
I’m sorry for my poor diary to be neglected so- we arrived at A- in the small hours of the 30th (Australia Day)

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I was uncertain whether we would disembark or go on to Lemnos in the same Troopship- however orders came through on Sat afternoon & we go to the Grand Hotel for the time being. The Sisters arrived a day earlier than us & were scattered about in different Hospitals working. The Officers & men have gone on to Lemnos to prepare. How tired under present circumstances we are of travelling. We are being termed the 6/- bob a day tourists. Any way we hope to be ready to receive from the big engagement about to take place in the Dardanelles. Sunday I went to St. Marks in the am a pretty English Church & in the evening to the Presbyterian & there it was a touching sight to see the Church packed with khaki, with the exception of a few ladies. I thought how pleased the Mothers would be to know that their boys attended Church & the majority of them stayed to communion. The more one goes about the more one realises how terrible this war is. over Tomorrow morning we start for Lemnos – a 48 hours journey- we are more than thankful. The 30 Sisters have been recalled in.

August 9th
Now I am wondering how I can best explain the next piece of news- and have decided not to go into the why & wherefore of it- only say that I am being left behind at Alexandria for about 2 months and then rejoin them. Whilst here I will be working at the Deaconesses Hospital otherwise No. 19 [indecipherable] – a beautiful building taken over from the Management of Germans

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After being on Duty a day & a half I was disgusted to find myself down with Enteritis & have since been in the Sick Sisters Hospital- however today I am feeling almost myself again. This climate is very trying for new comers. The majority fall sick. I think it must be due to the dreadful heat, combined with the Egyptian food. Matron only gave me light duties too- the Specialling of two Spinal cases- the sadness attached to them I won’t detail. Captain Wright & Captain Hume. The latter is a friend of Sir Henry Galway & he said he was going to write to him to tell him how he was nursed by a S.A.n nurse. I was indeed sorry for other hands to take them on- jealous I mean. Yesterday Sister Campbell came to see me- how pleased we were to see each other again. She & I became great friends at the Queens Home. Today she came again & Sister Haynes too. They are down for a weeks well earned rest from Cairo.

September 10. 1915

Over a month and not a line in my diary, but I have contrived to send you all a personal remembrance I’m quite learning the art of patience in receiving letters & now watch for those written in August before those of June. It’s lovely getting letters & papers it makes you feel that Australia is not so isolated after all I am still at the Deaconesses Hospital

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and am daily or hourly expecting my special Patient in- then after that I can look forward to soon rejoining them at Lemnos. Happy day. I can’t feel at home here amongst the majority of English there are a few stray Aust’s & N.Z. nurses here- also some of our soldiers- and I think they all feel like I do. The English Military manner or reserve somewhat clashes c the free broad-minded & independant spirit of the Australians-yes I think we are certainly distinctive. When I go to church & look around I take a pride in recognising an Ausn- by the expression of his face. The badge later confirmed it. Then an Eng- soldier will whisper to me "Sister though you are an Australian I’ll say this "You know the Ausn Soldier dosen’t know discipline" dosent know discipline- I maintain they do and not in a mamby pamby way either- certainly it seems they made one mistake, and at what gain and what cost. Now I hear that at the Dardanelles they are putting one Aust- 3 English- one N.Zer & so on in line so as to stimulate the fighting that speaks for itself dosen’t it? Of course there are always exceptions. You could hardly believe what a strong point nationality is- quite akin to religion.
Alexandria’s chief charm I think is the seaside they say it is not so Oriental or Egyptian as Cairo. The population consists of Egyptians-Arabs-Syrians-French-Italians Maltese-Greeks & British soldiers-oh and Indians. The permanent

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residents all seem to speak 6 or 7 languages. I see a good deal of the Red Cross ladies working at this Hsp. & I do admire them- they are most unselfish & do not mind what they do- from cutting all the dressings to washing up. By the way one lady has just come in & said "Send my compliments to Australia" You never see her but she has something Ausn on. She was born & has always lived here but her Mother is Italian & her Mother English. She says there’s no fear of the Arabs rising up- whilst the Australians are here- So rest content. I would be pleased if any of you would send me some Australian views- I could do a lot in the way of advertising our country had I some c me- This is too splendid an opportunity to let pass by- Several English boys have told me already that as soon as the war is over, to Australia they go. Perhaps some of the Xmas numbers will have good views in them. I am with one thing & another asking a lot when you are all doing so much out there but please don’t mind- And if any would like to send along any Australian paper occasionally & enclose a few sheets of note paper & envelopes it would be appreciated by the boys. If you could see them devour the papers as I do you would understand why I ask. The P.O. officials might bless me – but our heroic Tommy Browns are to be thought of first.
I hear our Hospital at Lemnos

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worked under great difficulties the first few weeks owing to the delay of part of the equipment but did splendid work in spite of odds. The Staff had to live on Bulby beef & biscuits & now the Dentist is kept busy mending false teeth- those unfortunate ones who had false teeth them

September 23rd 1915
In many ways I feel somewhat reluctant to put in my diary the event & cause of my stay here, however all sorts of things crop up by the wayside in war time & whatever comes or goes one must try & rise cheerfully to the occasion. Little did I dream when I volunteered to do my part for the boys that an odd bit of midwifery should fall to my lot, my patient being Mrs Fiaschi "Our Colonel’s wife." When we arrived at Alexandria General Babtie stopped her from going on to Lemnos the consequence was a Nurse had to stay behind with her. A beautiful baby girl- (Alexandra Elisa Fiaschi) "Alexa" was born on the 11th Sept. Both she & her Mother are doing well. Of course I love the babe & when I take her out she is much admired amongst the Officers & men. It seems so strange the one wee babe amongst the soldiers here & how they love to see her. The married ones will immediately tell me of theirs that they have left behind & often pull out a photo from his pocket which quite touches me.
In about 3 weeks Mrs Fiaschi is

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taking baby to Italy where the Colonel’s sister is going to take charge of her & Mrs Fiaschi proposes coming back & rejoining the unit at Lemnos to continue her nursing. I will wait & see her safely off from here then go on to Lemnos. Sometimes I wonder if any hitch will crop up to prevent me going, but I do trust not. All being well we leave the Hospital to-morrow week, stay a few days at the Majestic Hotel waiting for the Italian boat which goes on the 7th of October.
To-day am dreadfully home sick for letters. Tomorrow afternoon Sister Burns & I are looking forward to a happy time at Abonkir Bay.
I am so glad that you have had such a good winter. All must be rejoicing at the promising harvest I can picture the spring time out there & with everything so beautiful around you it is difficult to realise all the suffering that this terrible war involves over here & I feel heart sick when I think of Australia being drained of all its best men.
Good bye once again- I’ll just say how very glad I am that I came & when our work is done how very very glad I will be to get back again- there’s no place like home. Hoping all is well c you. With the best of best wishes
Sincerely yours
My future address is- Sister Donnell
3rd Australian General Hospital
West Point

Via Alexandria

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[3rd letter -portion of an official stamp evident otherwise blank page]

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4th letter Alexandria
I am just beginning to receive letters saying that you are enjoying the news I send out & Mrs Cockburn advises to keep going, so it encourages me, thought it takes up nearly all the spare moments I have, but I must say it is a little bit of love to do it, for you are then constantly in my thoughts.
Sister Burns & I had a delightful afternoon at Abonkir Bay- went for a donkey ride along the bay to the Forts there & back again to the home, part of the way along the surf & watched the most glorious sunset over the Meditteranean. I don’t think I told you that I had spent a week at this delightful place The Sisters convalescent home, after being ill. I did love it too. The Home & a house-boat (furnished) which is a ¼ mile out in the bay- with boats & 12 servants has been a gift during the war time to the Sisters from a Mr. Alderson here, it’s grand for a short time here c swimming rowing sailing etc- soon makes one fit for work again. Abonkir as you know has an historic interest, for it was there that the great battles were fought by Nelson- Bonaparte & Abercrombie.

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Tomorrow I have 2 days off & am going to Cairo- how glad I am to have this opportunity before leaving Egypt.

October 2nd 1915- I have had two of the happiest days since leaving Australia. On the 28th caught the 9 a m train from Alexandria to Cairo. The journey for the 1st time to a newcomer is full of interest. Everything is beautifully green. You can see miles & miles of corn in its various stages of growth blowing waving in the gentle wind all the way. Pass some Arab villages c small houses constructed of earth of the most perculiar shapes. We also pass a few large towns & then as we near Cairo we pass twice over the Nile & catch glimpses of the minarets of the numerous Mosques of the Capital (in all 356) and at 12.15 I arrive there. I go to Rossmore House, book a room & have lunch & who above all should be sitting at the next table but 3 Adelaide folk- Mr Mrs & Miss Mayo- Twas nice to meet them if only for a short time. They have been here a fortnight & leave tomorrow for Australia.
Now there is such a lot I want to do & see but foremost comes old friends, so set off by car to the Palace Hotel Heliopolis to see my old chum B Campbell, but found she had sailed for England last week.

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however I take the opportunity to wander through this beautiful building that everyone has heard so much about. After I take an Arabier to find my nephew Ross Donnell who came by the Morea last week, making numerous enquiries & an hours driving in the hot sun & dusty sands I find him through different camps- lucky hit- I find him, but as he is on duty can only spare a ¼ of an hour, never mind I go away happy, to seek Miss Graham & many old nurse friends at Luna Park, arriving in time for afternoon tea & wasn’t it lovely to be in the midst of Australians many I knew & some I loved. Miss Graham invites me to stay to dinner c them & in the meantime wander off to find Leslie Holden, he was out, but he will be able to meet me later, so my luck seems really in.
Next morning 4 English Nurses from No 19 Alex & myself go to see the Monski (the centre of the bazaar quarter) this place seems to be devoted to everything that is oriental in the way of Alleys full of copper ware, brass-ware, gold & silver, precious & ornamental stones, Turkish slippers etc etc etc. Its most fascinating & I take a delight in beating them down for the goods, because the natives are cunning beyond words & they

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to take you down in for everything. If you pay 1/3 of what they ask you arrive at about their value, paying also for the fun you get out of it.
At noon I leave the 4 Sisters & take a car to see the famous pyramids & Sphinx, its an hours ride out there –very nice too, After leaving the outskirts of Cairo we make a tour of the gardens of Ghezirah between the two arms of the Nile then cross the English bridge & we are soon on the road to the pyramids which is bordered for 8 miles with magnificent Sycamore trees 100 years old. This road serves as an embankment for the rising of the Nile, by the way I am lucky to see this rising which only happens once a year & it is now almost at its full & almost up to the pyramids embankment. One gets a glorious panorama view of all this from Mena House. I soon arrive at Mena. Now converted into a Convalescent Home for our boys- I enquire for Sister Burns- but am sorry she is on duty so we wanted to see the sights together however she finds a substitute in a nice soldier boy & we go off on Donkeys. See the pyramids Sphinx- the Temple of granite & a suite of chambers formed of alabaster & granite- take a ride to the outskirts of the native cemetry, then return by Mena Village

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have afternoon tea then Burnie shows me over the hospital & I wind my way back at Sunset to Luna Park rather tired, but one dosen’t think of that when seeing such interesting places. Miss Graham has kindly invited me to stay the night at Gordon House. After dinner Leslie Holden calls with a motor & we go off for the lovliest drive to Mata rich & back & talked of old times etc. etc. This morning the 30th Sisters Davis & Greenaway both on night duty deny themselves their sleep to accompany me to see the Citadel Museum & Shepheards Hotel- Started at 9 a m to enjoy ourselves little guessing what a treat was in store for us. At Cairo we take an Arabier & turn towards the Citadel. Nearing there the streets are packed with people- crowds & crowds everywhere. What is all this we ask & I suddenly exclaimed The Sacred Carpet starting from Mecca- No they said we would never be so lucky, but on reaching the Citadel we find I was right & they commence to go in about ½ an hour. This shortens our sight seeing at the Citadel & instead of seeing the following- the Cannon foundry, Arsenal, Palace, the interior courts & the gigantic wells- called Joseph’s Wells. We only have time to see the Mosque Mehemet Ali and I preferred seeing this to the other

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It’s the greatest Mosque in Cairo, built of white marble. Before entering you pay 1 piastre = 2 ½ & they put you in a pair of slippers. Our guide before going in takes us to a corner of the [indecipherable] Court & from there you get a good view of Cairo & the surrounding country. He points to the spot where Moses was lying in the bulrushes. The interior of the Mosque is beautiful beyond words. The floor is covered c a f magnificent carpet & the Centre Square one was made in Constantinople costing 400 pounds. The Chanticleer was a present from Phillip of Spain France. I think I am correct in saying there are 1000 electric lights which are only lit up 5 times a year on the visits of the Khedive. I wish I could describe the walls & ceilings but must leave that to your imagination- You can magnify it on this. The dull golden Alabaster walls look almost transparent c markings that resemble ripples & waves of all kinds. My friends make me a present of 2 samples of Alabaster & we hurry away to catch a sight of the Carpet. We are not permitted now to go through the streets so our guide takes us in a very round about way to see it in a less crowded quarter & in driving we go through the dead city or City of Tombs in and out & round about sandy roads- tombs & pyramids of broken

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pottery, eventually arriving at a spot where we have a near & uninterrupted view of the splendid procession. First comes the Soldiers & Arab Musicians- police galore & they do look well in white c their red fez & red belt white gloves- then comes decorated camels & a procession of oblong black black & gold mixtures of draperies carried by soldiers then the different couches of the chiefs. After 20 minutes the Mariah Sacred Carpet comes in sight & why didden’t I have my camera with me I could have had such a good snapshot of it & the Notabilities that proceed it for it stopped for quite 5 minutes in front of us. How the crowds cheered c a light-hearted gaiety that acted as a tonic to us in the middle of war & militarism. It was indeed a fine procession this of the Pilgrims setting off to the Holy City of Mecca. Now time has to be thought of. I badly want to enter another Mosque that is near so we step out & take a hasty look around- its all so interesting and the Altar of this one is inlaid c designs in Mother of pearl. We are shown the Koran & then go. The Museum is closed on account of the procession so I miss that, but we go to Shepheards Hotel for a cup of tea & talk about paying for style- 3 small cups & a few Marie biscuits 18 piastres= 3/9. Never mind I have been

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to Shepheards that one reads about in books. We now return to Heliopolis I bid farewell to the girls at the Palace Hotel, & go in search of Dr Griffith who lunches there to congratulate him on his engagement to Miss Hay- My time is limited now & I have a number of officials looking for him- but unfortunately he has been delayed & I finally go without seeing him, but whilst waiting I pass down one of the corridors & who should recognise me but Essington Day- dear old boy. I was pleased to see him. I had made several enquiries about him but not knowing his No. or regiment its most difficult to find anyone- worse than searching a needle in a haystack. He has had typhoid fever badly but is improving & looking forward to returning to Australia for a few months. He was in the 1st landing & one of 28 of his regiment to escape unhurt.
At 4 p.m. I say goodbye to friends & Cairo & have a pleasant journey back to Alex- part of the way conversing c 2 colonels- one Colonel C Longhand- a friend of my brother Johns.

The last few days we have been staying at the Majestic Hotel. Tomorrow I report myself to General Babtie as ready for Lemnos so quite expect he will say to catch the first Hospital boat that is going &

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as they go nearly every day I can see myself almost going now. So while I have a little time I will send this off to you. I know you will be somewhat disappointed at it, for you are eagerly watching for a letter of our work.- the next I trust will be more appropriate- though as far as war news goes you understand that one cannot write freely, Tis not that I am not as keen as anyone for I shall just love to be in the swim of work & do not mind in the least roughing it, but on the other hand I like to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves & as I can write to you of things I see- though others do the same for there must be tons of letters go to Australia about Egypt I hope mine won’t be too stale.
With loving greetings to you all,
Sincerely Yours
Anne Donnell

P.S. Have notice to hold myself in readiness for Lemnos. All things comes to those who wait, I will be so happy to be there.

Love AD

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5th letter
On the sea again
H.M. Hospital Ship SS Galeka

Yesterday I saw the dear little "odd bit" & her Mother safely on the "S.S. Milano" bound for Italy, and on returning to the Majestic Hotel received my official notice to board the above ship for Lemnos. We stayed in the Harbour all night & the morning as we were singing God Save the King after service we felt ourselves moving out . The S.S. Kanouna was waiting along side of us. She is now converted into a Hospital Ship. The Matron here Miss Mills is sweet. The staff of 10 nurses are English c the exception of one N.Z. & one Aus. They seem a very happy family. The Officers are sociable & nice. Colonel Fetherston- three officers [indecipherable] & myself are the guests on board. Colonel F is over from Aus & I rather think on a tour of inspection. He is making for the 3rd now at Mudros- then on to the Peninsula- from there to England & back again to Aus- by the end of the year. From what I could gather in a conversation last night he is not too pleased c the accommodation & the comfort of our Nurses generally out here. "He says that all Sisters should be on an equality with the Officers" he is keen on what he has seen of the Canadians- they appear so smart & up to date & with big hearts like our boys- but they have the most

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terrible twang Colonel P- came out on the "Morea" I mentioned a nephew of mine was on her in the ranks & he remarked what a splendid lot of fellows they all were, so well trained & disciplined & that they receivd many priviledges on that account. Some English officers who boarded the boat at India badly wanted to take them to England to serve their own purpose. I couldn’t quite understand what it was but something in connection c artillery. I guess they thought they wouldn’t get such men at home.
Oct 12th After a pleasant uneventful 2 days here I am in sight of my destination- Another 2 hours & Lemnos. All day yesterday we were passing barren white Islands. I am wondering if ours is like them.
Oct 13th yesterday at 4 pm we anchored in the outer Harbour of Mudros. Everyone thought it a huge joke when I appeared ready for disembarking. I did later, for here we are still, waiting calmly & patiently for orders from the "Arrogan." Truly there seems no hurry where military is concerned. The Harbour itself is beautiful & it’s a fine sight to see all the different kinds of ships & boats about- destroyers-submarines etc. Then up in the inner Harbour there appear to be a few hundred. Last night two crowded troopships passed us in going out & they instead of turning to the Left, as is usual, they turned

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to the right- this makes us wonder if anything fresh has arisen- if Greece has joined in and they are going to Salonika- we get very anxious for news. (You lucky beggars to be able to digest the world’s news for breakfast every morning). The Island from here looks perfectly barren- not a sign of vegetation to be seen. Only nests & rows of tents to the North- East & West & some windmills in the distance on the hills.
14th This morning at 8 am a steam-boat came alongside c the oldies & we immediately started for the inner Harbour- here everyone brought their cameras to light & many snaps were taken of the interesting boats & scenes as we passed in. On anchoring Colonel Fiaschi was soon alongside in our little RX hospital boat to meet C. Fetherston & myself. The fine old man he was pleased to hear the latest news of his wife & delighted with the snaps I had taken of her & his baby girl. Now that I have actually re-joined the Unit any regret that had been lingering inside re on staying behind has quite vanished.
The hospital is situated on a rise of land resembling a peninsula c water on 3 sides of it. The Sisters tents extend to the banks of the waters edge. The view on either side is beautiful

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and will be more so when the undulating, sloping, irregular hills
& mountains all covered in green. Then there are the scattered picturesque Greek villages to be seen. On close view the green is peeping up now. The harbour is very pretty indeed - right before me now as I glance around I can count a 100 boats of different kinds, one is put in mind of Sydney. Only in place of the pretty pleasure loving Ferrys – put Gun boats etc. The Sisters say they have never seen sunrises & sunsets to equal those they see here. Over the Harbour
& the grey distant hills. Just opposite here across the bay is the rest camps for the men coming from the Peninsula. We can see them going on the Peninsula. We can see them going on their marching routes – playing cricket etc. They very often send invitations across for the Sisters to go to their entertainments & we of course just love going – just at present they are the thinnest few left of our 1st, 2nd & 4th Brigades – the dear old brave things we feel we cant do enough for them. We have a number in Hospital suffering chiefly from Dysentery and Jaundice. There are ever so many Hospitals here – extending landwards from ours we come to the 2nd Ausn – Stationery Hsp continuing on to the 1st, 2nd & 3rd Canadian then comes the Convalescent camps. The

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English Hospitals are at Mudros & East Mudros. The first afternoon I was here – Sister Rush, her Brother & I walked over to the village. Portiana 3 miles away – everything was so quaint and primitive – we saw some women weaving cotton, bought a few luxuries in sweets & nuts & also were lucky to strike some tomatoes. Then back again in a windy dusty gale.

21st How interested you would all be in our Hospital could you only pay us a visit. It’s all what you would expect a field Hospital to be – rows of Marquees (as wards) & bell tents. We have beds for 1040 patients – though at present we have 1200 patients. So some still are on Mattresses on the ground, they don’t mind though & seem perfectly contented. I am on duty with Sister McMillan (Sir W McMillan’s) daughter HH;;;;Hiiiojuuh7ygikl
- She is the essence of Sweetness and lacks any red-tape – so I am very happy. We have 30 boys half on beds & half on mattresses. We hope soon to be fully equipped – here we have to have patients. We are really roughing it but the majority of us are as happy as can be. We feel as if we are doing what we came out to do, and as long as we can benefit the boys in making them better comfortable & contented we do not mind. Our chief luxury is exercise & fresh air & we get those in abundance & which gives us a keen

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appetite for our tinned provisions on enamelled plates. We are real wag-backs. I’ll warn you not expect to see dainty maids when we return – rather weather-beaten old – hags excuse me for saying so – but the expression is appropriate. It’s splendid though – the opportunities for inward growth is great, and while we are loving and
all out there – especially by the Red Cross. We just love the R.X. & don’t think we could possibly get on without it. It/s the loving Mother to us and the Army – we couldent exaggerate its value & appreciate it to the full. Yesterday I opened a box from Toowoomba Queensland. There was useful comforts of all kinds – socks – mittens – mufflers etc etc. The cigarettes ties up in the socks delighted the boys immensely. Yes through you we are comfortable – even the Sisters received presents of Sweaters and dressing gowns. They say we’ll need all the warm clothing as soon as the winter sets in. Its as cold as possible now. The beginning of Autumn days. Good-bye.

22nd I left to go on duty but I think I’ll continue about the weather. (It’s such a change for you to hear of anything but best from me). To give you some idea of the next few months in front of us I have abridged the following from a report of

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the average weather conditions for the past 30 years that was put up on our notice board today – Oct 20th to 24th the birds are noticed in large numbers migrating to warmer climates. (I happened to see some going last evening) Quails – woodcocks – stockdoves & quantities of small birds. End of October – Strong North gales, cold weather is expected. Much the same in November – fine cold & dry. December brings heavy South West gales & at Xmas the weather varies. Sometimes its calm & mild real winter weather sets in (As the Natives say the old New Year) about the middle of January when its blizzards & snow. The former lasting for 3 to 7 days at a time & the latter for 6 wees to 2 months when it lies on the ground 2 to 4 feet deep. You’ll be enjoying ice-cream then & keep us company in something. Huts were being prepared for the Hospital about 2 miles away in a more sheltered spot – we may get there – we may not. Somehow I have an inward feeling that we will not be able to weather it here for various reasons – one is that we are put on half rations for bread & firewood & the latter is only used for cooking pur-poses. Then with the gales predicted I wouldn’t be surprised to hear of shipping being suspended. We think of ourselves, but there are the boys just across in the same latitude on the Peninsula who

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won’t have the same shelter & comforts as us. It’s to be hoped that the war will be over by then. My dears talk about giving you war newspapers. When the unit firs came here in the beginning of August, they could hear the firing distinctly whilst the big engagement was on. After that a lot of surgery was done here but since the Hospital is full of chiefly medical cases. It is disappointing to the skilled Surgeons we have with their beautiful outfit for modern Surgery Sir Alexander MacCormac left today. I expect he felt his time waster here. I could tell you such a lot of interesting tit-bits but they would border on the personal & critical so will reserve them for the fireside next winter ???

On the 18th (the Anniversary of the 1st troops which left Sydney) the boys celebrated it by giving a concert over in Sarpi Camp across the bay. The OC Sent a general invitation to the Sisters. I was off duty & joined a party of 4 to go. Three Officers Sailed across to meet us & take us once but what with the high wind & tacking the concert was half over when we arrived, reserved seats were held inside but we couldent wedge our way through the crowd, so instead were taken to the OC’s tent & entertained there. Captain L Lloyd seemed to be allotted 70 me & I enjoyed his conversation immensely. He is only 24 years of [age]

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a keen soldier & has won the Military Cross for bravery. Time passed so quickly & it must have been nearing midnight when we had a delicious cup of cocoa & left. Arriving at the rocky jetty?? We discover the pier master drunk, so a boy was taken A lib to take us across – but to get a start on they couldn’t, at last a motor boat came to the rescue & towed us ¾ way over, then they couldn’t manage her & eventually we were carried ashore one by one reaching home somewhere about 2a.m. having thoroughly enjoyed it all.

Such a number of our Sisters have been sick poor S O’Neill’s life was dispared of for a time but she has recovered, it’s this terrible amoebic dysentery. It has been the means of the life of the Canadian Matron & one of their Sisters. They were buried with full Military honours about a month ago. Dear old Colonel Stawell has been very ill ever Since he has been here & has now been sent to England. Several of the Sisters have gone too but for the change of the [indecipherable] only. Several Drs belonging to the Unit have been drafted to other sphere & today the outlook generally seems anything but bright. The weather is terrible so bitterly cold with a high wind & rain we are nearly frozen even in our balaclavas – mufflers – mitten – Cardigan Jackets – Rain Coats & Wellingtons. It’s a Mercy to have ample warm clothing, else we should

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perish – No even if the Staff could weather it – I don’t think it would be good for the Patients. Last night 5 tents blew down. One ward tent. 3 Sisters & another one (I asked one of the Sisters if she overslept that made her late on Duty. She replied indignantly "No & you needen’t laugh. I coulden’t find my clothes". Its funny all the same. The Canadians are in their huts already & the 2nd Ausn’s are very comfy – whilst we poor old 3rd which set out from Australia splendidly equipped, full of patriotism & high ideals has had a lot to contend with in all sorts of ways. Colonels will was that it would be second to none but the best laid schemes of mice & men etc.

25th Yesterday afternoon Sisters Rush Mitchell & I walked across to the Sports of the 13th 14th 15th & 16th Battalion of the 4th Brigade. It would have done your hearts good to have seen the boys so well & happy. In fact we all seemed like grown up children & though bitterly cold we all enjoyed it very much. Towards sunset someone shouted out "Our reinforcements" & sure enough there they came marching over the hills. Most of the dispersed to meet them & there was great excitement. As we were on our way up to dinner One officer exclaimed that he had orders to claim 3 Sisters & we 3 immediately volunteered & soon found ourselves in he dining tent at

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the Head Quarter Staff of the 4th Brigade and were given a very nice time by Colonel McGlinn Captain’s Cleve & Rose. The Table was set for 6 & such bright polished cutlery (quite a luxury). The Australian flag waved over us & now came another dinner to write home about. After soup came a Steak & Kidney pie – sweet peas potatoes marrow & onions – Asparagas & buttered Sauce – Custard & jellies – followed by Grapes apples walnuts almonds & Chocolates. Fancy that for [indecipherable].
Then came an impromptu concert in the open & they wrapped us up in their coat. After came the 3 mile walk back. The Captains escourted us. The Colonel was busy seeing to the Comfort & Shelter if his new Arrivals by the way C Rose is a fine fellow & has been recommended 5 times for the D.S.O. He is in charge of the Machine Gun Section. We are now looking forward to an afternoon with them when they are going to take us to Lemnos on donkeys.

Every morning now till 10am I go to help in the Officers Ward & one of the patients that I sponge & fix up is our Governer General’s Brother – Major Hector Munro – Ferguson. He really is such a dear & the essence of kindly peacefulness that one loves doing anything for him. He has had dysentery – but is now improving.

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29th This morning when I went on I was so sorry to find that Captain Lloyd has come in as a patient & am afraid its typhoid – poor boy he is finding it hard to submit to the inevitable. He was so very keen on keeping well – He was to be a Major in a short time – fancy & only 24. Three mornings ago we saw the 1st Brigade starting on its way back to Anzac apparently cheerful & brave – though at heart we all knew how they hated the thought of going back to the memories there - it made me feel terribly sad. The reinforcements for the 4th are quarantined on account of mumps & measles. I wonder why this Island is so unhealthy – though I don’t suppose it’s the island so much as the flies & the want of suitable food. It’s truly heart breaking when we have serious cases.

31st I am wishing myself a happy Birthday. A friend is going to post this in England for me – so farewell again you dear old things out there. With loving Greetings for Xmas, I shall think of you all so far away XXXX. A special Xmas X. This is all I can send.
A Donnell
(PS: I sent this [indecipherable] going from Eng – but truly I’m a bit scared of the Arrogan).

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5th letter

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November 1st 1915

Dear Friends
Yesterday proved to be a very happy day. At noon the mail was sorted & I had such a Number of nice letters – the very nicest Birthday present I could have had. In the afternoon Sister Rush came along with some lovely cake the first & only cake I have tasted here. Then I had a message from Colonel to say he wanted to see me. He really wanted to hear all about Mrs Fiaschi & little Elisa. The snaps I had taken of them he has had enlarged & framed & they look well. He himself seems very poorly, but will not give in. It makes one admire his strong personality, yet I feel sure if he insists on duty it will be the means of a serious breakdown. I peeped into his bedroom tent to see if his bed was nice & comfortable, but found that he was roughing it equally with the men, sleeping between coarse blankets & no pillowslips on the hard pillow. I tried to get him to keep to his bed but oh no, in fact ill as he is he still goes down the steep bank at 6.30am for his cold daily dip in the sea.

Nov 3rd This morning on going into the Mess tent at 7am for breakfast the following meets our eye. Nov 3rd 1915. Compelled by sickness I reluctantly leave today for England. I bid you call temporary good-bye & wish to thank all of you for the noble way in which at all

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times you have fulfilled your duties and helped to make our Hospital the Great success it is. I am leaving to take my place Lt Colonel de Crespigny and feel you will extend to him the same loyal obedience as you did towards me.

I went across to bed him farewell. He was very sad & depressed. I thought what a shame. It has all been too much – to see him the man he was & the man he is. Later he was carried away on a stretcher to the "H.S. Maurtania for England. We fear he will not return, and the general opinion is that he will not live to reach England, but somehow I feel that now he is relieved of worry & anxiety & then the anticipation of seeing his Wife & baby in England to meet him, that it will greatly help him. We trust so anyway & can only wait with patience to hear. Our Unit is breaking up fast especially amongst the Officers & men. We Sisters on the whole are standing it much better than they. Out of all the 7 Lt Colonels only 2 are left & those are Colonel Cudmore & de Crespigny. The former now is sick & I expect when he is sufficiently well to travel he will go too. It all makes one reflect. I was so pleased to be able to take a snap of Colonel the day before he went away, he just managed with help to crawl to the door of his tent. I knew how pleased Mrs Fiaschi would be. Truly

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My little camera has given & is giving me more pleasure than I can say. When off duty I have two hobbys – remembering you - & photography I am handicapped with the latter because of film & self toning or printing paper not being obtainable on the Island. Kind friends can you read what is coming, if so, I hope it will be to join me in my pleasure by sending some along for a VP Kodac though tis not only my pleasure but I trust many others. There is nothing I can think of more than would gladden a Mother’s hear than a little snap-shot of her boy. Already I have been able to give our boys in B2 Ward one each to send home for Xmas & they were delighted. I am nearly at a standstill now, but am hoping Mrs Fiaschi will send some from England - She will if it is permitted, but I’m doubtful for when we were in England no cameras were allowed to be used – indeed one of our Sisters was so innocently using one one day & she was all but imprisoned for it poor little thing she was terrified. There is nothing much to tell or can tell – Truly it makes me smile when I say that because unintentionally I tell you all the items that I think you would like to hear. Rumour says that Lord Kitchener is on his way over here.

10th Today in the lines I passed a dear little dog, stopped & made a great fuss

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of him, then it suddenly dawned on me what a changed life we are living, yet are growing accustomed to, no little children to love, no trees, no flowers – no pets – no shops – Nothing dainty or nice, practically no fruit (fresh) or vegetables – butter & eggs once in a month – twice at most. I wonder what else but I think that’s enough. Please don’t infer from this that I am complaining, far from it, & we have much to be thankful for. It’s only when the bad cases are concerned we wish we could get everything that is good for them. Of course it’s only natural that we would like for our health’s sake to have some delicacies. I do have them too in my dreams at night. I visit the most beautiful fruit gardens & pick the sweetest flowers, then little children are never far away – please don’t smile for it’s quite true. It puts me in mind of these words – I slept and dreampt that life was beauty. I woke and found that life was duty. Our duty here though is a work of love – so picture us happy.

Good-night dear old friends just for once I wish I could be transferred to a home for a couple of days. For a week the prevailing sickness here has been troubling me.

Nov 1st Margaret, thanks for the Melba Gift Book. I know I shall enjoy it very very much.

Yesterday morning as things were going on

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in the same even tenure. One of the Patients calmly called out "Sister come and see Lord Kitchener arriving" Sure enough there he was just landing down at the wharf about 500 yards away. There was the guard of honour & half a dozen cars in waiting, presently the Motors start towards our way & o closer view we see Lord Kitchener- General Monro & General Birdwood in the 1st car. The other cars containing other military notabilities Yes up they came slowly entering our Hospital the back way, stopping when they came to C2 ward (Sister Walpoles). L-K. stepped out & entered the 1st Marquee & spoke to each Patient there- to the first one he asked where he came from- New Zealand- To the 2sd the same- Australian & the 3rd- England. In the other two marquees he said a few general words- shook hands c Sister- Then to the multitude of convalescent patients who had gathered outside- "well boys I hope you’ll soon be well" Saluted & was off. The visit took in all about 5 minutes, one had Scarcely time to realise what the sudden commotion was. Indeed Sister W didden’t recognise it was L.K. until he shook hands. I thought- Oh for a snapshot So with all haste went to my tent for the camera arriving just in time to see him shaking hands. I couldn’t focus it quickly enough though & was only able to get the back view of him as he sat

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down in the car - It was all so quick - and as the sun wasen’t shining I’m afraid it will be a failure- Colonel de-Crespigny was busy in the infections ward c his gown on- but on hearing the calls to stop- sent a bat man post haste for his belt & hastened to be on the scene.
We learnt later that L.K. inspected the men in the camp across the bay. He gave them a personal message from the King. How the King was very proud of them. Then afterwards to the Officers told them that our boys were the bravest Soldiers in the World.

Sunday 14th. Hip hip hurrah. My luck was in c the snap. Shot after all- and even though the party are on the point of starting you can tell who they are. L.K. in the back seat on the R. side of the car- Sitting beside him is General Munro & General Birdwood in the front. You will see Colonel de Crespigny & Major Smith standing together after the final salute. I will send you out one as soon as I can print them. One and all are asking for one here & I’m making a charge of -/6 to them- it will add to my hobby for the boys. I am almost well again & so thankful. Yesterday was another mail day. Such a number of nice letters coming now. I think I get almost more than my share of letters & papers. Please don’t bother to send any more note paper. The Red X is liberal with it.

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22sd. How time does go- one scarcely knows the day here. At present the gales are here I won’t describe them though for they don’t improve Lemnos, or us. However, it’s not all unpleasant for when the weather is calm & fine it makes one feel good to be alive- Then we see the most indescribably gorgeous sunrises & sunsets. In the former the colouring is of the softest toning I have ever seen & which reflects in the harbour below, but what I love most are those sunsets where the striking flame throws its flakes over half the sky & is so intensely beautiful one feels they cannot move away until the red disc has sunk beneath the horizon. Then the mysteriously clear eastern nights seem to speak & are very impressive. I am bringing this to a close rather sooner than I intended but I have an opportunity of having it posted in England.
The next I hope will tell you of our Xmas here. On reading this through truly, I haven’t told you anything but you would forgive me for my attempt if you could be transplanted on to Lemnos for a week. You won’t worry about us. How I wish you could see us through in our long Tommy coats & puttees wound around our legs.
With very much love to you all in the Sunny South & wishing you the best of best wishes for the New Year.

Sincerely Yours
Anne Donnell
(Excuse mistakes)

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6th letter

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7th letter
Address Go 3rd
O.9H. A.I.F.
Abbasia - Cairo

On Night Duty in F 2 Ward
Number of Patients 42
Orderly Private Andrews.
December 6th 1915

Fancy this is my 91st page. On looking back it seems to be quite a book- I haven’t written for some days- the truth is I have felt too down hearted and miserable. The foundation of it being the weather- Yes, we are indeed experiencing the grim reality of this awful war. The 26th 27th 28th & 29th of Nov. will never be forgotten. We all suffered with the cold terribly & with all our warm clothing we couldn’t get warm day or night. Personally I shivered for 3 nights without sleep- and the chilblains- agony- my 2 small toes were frost bitten- Then in the day time most of us just hobbled about. I heard one boy say as he saw me "She won’t stick the winter through" He exactly expressed my feelings. It all seems in that weather with wind travelling at the rate of 100 miles an hour- and rain & sleet & snow so pitifully hopeless. The wards inside both night & day are dark. The Patients cold- & I would defy anyone to call the outlook bright. Some of the Sisters was were able to rise past their own feelings & be bright & happy- dear old Rush was one of them- how fond I am growing of her- she saved me from being down right sick. I will send you a snap I took of her outside the tent stirring the dixie.

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During those fearful days our thoughts were constantly with the boys on the peninsula and wondering how they were faring- but little did we realise their sufferings until the wind abated & they began to arrive down with their poor feet and hands frost bitten. Thousands have been taken to Alexandria- hundreds the boys say were drowned because their feet were so paralysed & they coulden’t crawl away to safety in time. Some of the boys are losing both feet- some both hands- Its all too sad for words- hopelessly sad.
Dear old Colonel Stawell has recovered and insisted on coming back to us- 5 of the Sisters have returned too. They look so well after their 6 weeks in England. Colonel S brought me a letter from Mrs Fiaschi. She was very upset at seeing Colonel so ill- He is paralysed but there is hopes of his recovery though it will be slow.

Last night we heard distinctly the bombardment over the Peninsula and on getting up today find that preparations are being made to take in another thousand wounded. We are expecting them in to-morrow. I got up early to-day to go c S. Rush and an escort to Portiana- a Mr Walker – such a fine fellow from No 2 Stat Hsp. Such dirty primitive places these Greek villages are- but we think we have discovered someone who will do laundry a bit decently. The laundry is one of our greatest difficulties here. We are

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allowed a gallon of water a head per day. It dosen’t go far when you do your own washing- so we study economy. Huts are springing up fast & improvements being made in all directions. There is a large English Hospital "3400 beds" now on the site that was to have been ours- They are calling themselves "The Dardanelles Hepital" but we have set up an opposition to that as we claim, and are, the Pioneers here. It was opened the other day- and our d own dear old convalescent boys were sent there- much to their & our indignation & in their place they sent us the frost bitten Tommies.
Sister Mitchell is convalescing from a severe attack of Dysentry. We are faring better now as regards food- several more canteens have opened- and oranges are procurable- small one -/2 each- fresh too- Now we have porridge- more butter "rather marjarine" eggs & occasionally fresh meat. There has been such drastic results from the lack of proper nourishment that we are appreciating being able to get things to suit us- even if they are an exorbitant price.
Dec 11th. Sister Rush Submitted to the inevitable last night, after being on duty c a T. of 104. To-day she went to the Sick Sisters tent. Dr de Crespigny says it’s an acute attack of Influenza. Tomorrow a party of 5 of us have permission & passes to go to Castro the Capital of the Island.
Dec. 14th The Kastro trip was very enjoyable. We

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The Greek with a pair of mules & an old dilapidated arabier was ready for us at 9.30 am, and we started for the 14 miles drive across the Country to the other side of the Island. The Sensation of driving again was delightful. And the scenery became very interesting- more rugged- volcanic & picturesque as we neared Kastro. We pass a few small villages & Thermos, where the hot mineral Springs are. I can imagine what a beautiful Island this must be in the Springtime when it is covered in green & they say the wild flowers & poppies make it like a huge flower garden. The hope of seeing it is the only reason why one would like to stay the winter here. Kastro is larger & cleaner than the other villiages- it is nestleing in a sheltered spot by the sea with the forts on one side & the rugged mountains on the other. We did a little shopping had dinner at the Hotel which consisted of 2 small fish a little meat & potato- oranges & a cup of tea- in all 3/9 each. We reached home in time for me to have an hours sleep before going on duty but even that change refreshes one wonderfully.

Dec 14th Various rumours are floating around & not encouraging ones. There is talk of the evacuation of the Peninsula- The retracting from Salonicka. The Capture of a German spy at Kastro. The Sub Marine base being found off the Island. That two zeppelins were seen over-head. And that where the troops go we follow. I wonder how much of the above is true. Also that they are rising in the Soudan & the Suez Canal is in peril.

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Dec. 16th My 2 nephews & two of their friends came along to see me to-night. They have just arrived from the Peninsula We had a few empty beds so I tucked them up in them for the night. My heart goes up in gratitude to think I have them under my wing for a few hours- instead of the uncertainty of knowing what might be happening to them. I have been down & squared the Cook & he has given me some lovely fresh steak, onions & potatoes for their breakfast which must be at 5 a m, for them to do their 5 mile walk & be back to their unit by roll call.
Dec 17th Such a spirit of unrest everywhere. The troops are arriving here as fast & as crowded as the boats can bring them from Ansac & Suvla Bay. They say the evacuation will be completed by Sunday Night- isn’t it simply terrible? To-night between 9 & 10 pm the bombardment was very distinct- one would think it was only a mile away instead of forty. The Hsp is being kept as empty as possible- to be prepared for any emergency.
We Night Nurses are beautifully comfortable now in E.P. tents, such a treat after the crowded huts- where my dressing & sponging space was 3 ft by 1 ½ . My old Cabin Mate of the Mooltan (Sister Mullins) is one that shares our E.P. She is the same old gag. On going to bed at 10 this a.m. I see her corner in a perfect litter- She is busy sorting unpacking & repacking all her things. I exclaim "Goodness Gracious Mullins what are you doing." Goodness Gracious Child (She said) Can’t you realise that we’re likely to be prisoners of war at any minute. I’m going to be prepared to flit." Tis hard to take that view of things with so many soldiers & battle-ships to protect us. However to be forewarned is to be forewarned & to-morrow morning will see me sorting my treasures. Oh dear- the guns again. I must go & do something It makes one cold all over.

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December 27th 1915. Over a week and no entry, though the place has been full of interest. First was the safe arrival of the final retreating party from the evacuation on Monday morning the 19th, & wasen’t it lovely with only 3 casualties - when we were prepared for a full hospital. The Stories that they tell is very interesting- how when they were far out at sea they could see the Turks bombarding & shelling at the empty trenches. Then in the morning they found one trench empty. Then another & another & so on until they reached the beach. Then the grand finale. Our battleship got to work on them. Ma fisch Turks. (in Arabic) All finish Turks._____
Now to prepare for Xmas & give the boys a good time while we had the opportunity. Xmas Eve came . The carol singers were going around c a piano in a motor lorry. It was a calm starry moonlit night followed by the a glorious sunrise & the most beautiful day we have had at Lemnos (Nature seemed to tell us it was a good omen) Australia was here- the billies- the bags & tins were all waiting to be distributed and I think think every soldier doing his bit at Lemnos got one. It was my pleasure to act as Santa Claus in F2 ward & to see them open their present at 5 a.m. What a joy it was too. You coulden’t possibly have made the day happier for them. I think the reflection of thoughts of gratitude must have been wafted down to our sunny land. Yes- for the time war was forgotten & we were perfectly happy. I heard one English Soldier remark as he opened his parcels "Well- I say, God bless the people of Australia" & the other Englishman echoed "And I say God bless the people of Australia" These two later on in the day went away by the Auqatania but before going said to me "Sister if I am alive and

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you visit my home in England in 20 years time you’ll see this tin on my mantelpiece. I invited 8 Privates for Xmas tea from the camps (Adelaide boys) Among them two Botting boys Frank & Mark & my two nephews. In the evening we went for a long walk & how pretty the Harbour looked c 3 or 4 hundred battleships. Troopships etc & 10 Hospital ships all lit up.
Though we haven’t heard officially- everything points to us moving. All the English patients have gone- The Austs as fast as they can & each day sees less wards & less patients- where to is the ? Our Xmas mails have been held up somewhere.
I must tell you this tit bit. It happened a few nights ago in the small hours of the morning. A Sentry with his gun was put on to guard some goods. A Sister c Tommy Coat pajamas & balaclava cap on had to pass him & he thinking she was a man called out Halt (She) hurrying (he) Halt I say halt you in the pajamas halt (She) running now & he after her Then she turned & indignantly said "What is it to you where I am going?" he absolutely flabbergasted stammered out ‘I be- beg your par- par- pardon Sister I thought you was a man.(exit)
New Years Eve- Such a week of surmising & wondering when we are going & where- Such a washing up of things & packing- We are having days off & nights off & we are seeing as much of the Island as we can & everyone appeared to be taking snap shots. Since Xmas day the enemy Areplanes have been busy but have not heard of them doing any damage.

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January 17th 1916
In the outer harbour of Mudros
H.M. Hospital Ship "Oxfordshire" Bibby Line.

Yes, here we are again on the move. We Sisters (102 in all) with our luggage (No small item) boarded the above in the early morn of the 14th & are now awaiting the loading of the Hospital equipment which has been somewhat delayed on account of the terrible weather that we had on the 15th. When we go or where to no one knows- perhaps you know all about us already. Lying within a stones throw to the Wes East of us until yesterday when she majestically wended her way out of the Harbour was the largest troopship afloat. The White Star liner "Olympia" 45000 tons The enemy have their eye on her & soon after we arrived here 3 bombs came down quite close to us.
I am disappointed to say that until I came on here I have spent the New Year in the Sick Sisters Tent but am quite well again. I managed to keep up & go to the party we had on New Years Eve & to welcome the N Year in it was quite a merry time- & pretty too – just on the stroke the fog horns – bells & whistles from the ships pealed out. Rockets from the camps & all around went up. We clasped hands & heartily sang "Should Old Acquaintance". I had hold of Captain Lloyd’s ( He was then convalescing from his severe illness & Captain Strachans. I’m sure twas the inward wish of all that another year would see the war over & we would all be back in Australia to ring in 1917.
Cape Hellas has been evacuated & we have 110.000 English troops on the Island. Our Aus boys have gone. We wonder where.

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Jan.21st at noon. We have just seen the last of Lemnos. Of course we are glad – yet there are many things we will miss – The unconventional freedom for one & the unique experiences we had there. The glorious colourings of the sky – the watching of the beautiful Star of Bethlehem at night & the harbour & the hills: but when we come to the cold & wind, it’s then we are thankful we are not going to spend the winter there – in fact we couldn’t have for the night after we were safely on the ship (we sisters I mean) a hurricane came & no tent was left standing by the morning. The huts may have been made of brown paper for all the shelter they gave. The only places habitable were the terrace of cubicles especially built for the Officers. It was Providence that the Patients were gone & we out of the way. Goodbye Lemnos – we take away many happy memories of you. I wouldn’t have liked to have missed you yet I have no desire to see you again.
We are having such a good time on the ship – The English Matron & Sisters are sweet to us & are doing all they can to make us happy, & how we appreciate all the nice things. The white tablecloths – the bright cutlery & pretty crockery ware & the exclamation that went on at the first meal on board. I was made to feel a terrible way back when my neat door neighbour nudged me and said, "for goodness sake don’t be such a baby" but the English Matron said it did her heart good to see how happy and appreciative we were & paid us many compliments. It seems that our 3rd. has a rather good name. I must just say

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that during our 5 months on the island 7400 Patients were treated & the death rate percentage was only 21/2 which was considered excellent. Not one of the staff have died – though many have been seriously ill & we are quite proud of that – by the way Colonel’s pet horse died also his kookaburra & our grey bonnets that we disliked so much, died a natural death there. Grey felt hats are on the way out from England for us – also more stylish grey coats. Bridge - quoits & deck tennis are good pastimes on board – but my favourite time comes when sisters Hoadley – Mitchell – Rush & I get into our corner & play the social game of 500. They call it the gambler corner – but I never get tired of it.
23rd. Alexandria again & Arabs. – We arrived yesterday morning & this afternoon are going up to Cairo. A mail has just come on for us & we are trembling with excitement to get our letters.
26th Mena House Cairo. Now we are having another few days holiday. Half of we sisters are being housed here & the other half at the Palace at Heliopolis, just while our hospital is having the final touches put to it. It is to be at Abysiek for the Time being – a short distance from Ciaro - between there & Heliopolis – So we have landed into civilisation. I want to thank you all for the things you have sent papers etc. but please don’t send any more – photography material too of course. Of course when I asked we were given to understand that Lemnos would probably be our home for a year or two – but now I can

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purchase anything I want here.
Yesterday a party of 50 of us went for a ride on camels & donkeys across the desert to the Sakkara pyramids & then to see some old Tombs which date back to 3000 years before Christ. When we started off at 9 a.m. it was fearfully windy & dusty & we experienced a dust storm in the desert. It made us realise what our boys went through on their long marches when they first came over. However it calmed down & we enjoyed the novel outing immensely, but to-day most of us are stiff & sore, but I was glad, it was such a good excuse to stay in and have a quiet time with you all, and I have enjoyed it even better than the outing. The mails must have been very irregular of late & I am anxious to let you know that all is well.
Tomorrow morning we South Australians are going to Miss Graham to get our Xmas parcels that were sent . She has been keeping them for us on account of us not being settled. This is the very last page of my diary – I lingeringly say farewell once again. The sun is sinking behind the pyramids. The girls are flocking back for dinner and I am thinking of bed & hoping my dreams will visit you.
Again thanking you & loving you for all you have done.
Sincerely yours -
Anne Donnell.

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Mrs Cockburns

7th letter

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No 3 A.G.H.A.
Abbasia Barracks
Cairo – Egypt
I must make an effort instead of sitting wondering how I am to begin to tell you of what has happened to us during the last two months. Yes two months since we came to our present home a queer funny old home it is too with barred windows & inside a huge stone wall 20 ft high. Twas originally a harem. The rooms are large & lofty & the old garden at the back when it has had some attention will be a haven of rest when we come off duty in the summer months. There are 3 two storey buildings. The 1st is occupied by the day staff of No. 3. The 2nd is chiefly the night nurses & the 3rd by the Supernummery Staff that came to live with us about a month ago. They are always on the move & go where they are needed, fresh ones coming & others going. I think in all we must accommodate 200 sisters. I can’t say we welcomed them with open arms (narrow minded I confess) but we were quite happy & contented with our own. I think the experiences we all had together at Lemnos helped to form a deep attachment among us all. I have said little, if anything about our Sisters, somehow I feel you all know we did our

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our families have been considerably increased. Now I have 61 Next door Sister James has 110 but she has another Sister with her & all the wards are just the same. 28th About an hour ago & tis now 3am. A message came for the reserve Sisters that were on duty that they had to be ready by 8 to go & rejoin their own units No 1 & 2 preparatory to them going to France – What joy they are so delighted & They deserve to go for they did the work here during the Trying Summer last year & after all its only human to crow of No 3 in the joy of their good luck. Rumour says they are going to a big Hospital there. On March 6th Colonel de Crespigny left us and took over No 1. Colonel Newmarsh has taken his peace here. There are whisperings of Colonel Fiaschi coming back but we know nothing definite.

I have such a lot I want to tell you – especially of our Luxor Trip & I am sorry but I must lay this aside & bide another opportunity for at present the work is strenuous. The weather trying & one can find no privacy for writing then again the craze for inoculation for almost everything is in full Swing. How I do hate it. A fortnight ago we were done for para Typhoid A the 1st dos I felt I nearly died & it has left me quite nervy. Now the 2nd dose is being given. Then we’re to be done for para typhoid B – followed by inoculation dysentery – then a rumour is afloat for Meningitis

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Dear me I felt desperate – so approached Matron but the answer I got was what I had expected "No Sister She Said there is no getting out of it You must be done. Then I ask for permission to see a medical man – to tomorrow am seeing Major Martin & hoping that he’ll be kind & let me off. Poor Anne if you think she is mentally weary – you’ll think right so that is why I am putting you off for another time. I’m sure if it wasn’t for the pleasure of working and doing for the boys & that I may say is the biggest blessing we have we should all be rushing to do transport work to Australia.

April 6th Twas no use I had to submit to the inevitable but I think Sister was kind & gave me a small dose for I scarcely felt the effects.

Now what do you think we are Settling down & are getting into working order. The patients are being sent away. Many are being boarded for [indecipherable] & some to Convalescent homes & 2 or 3 wards are actually closed down. It really looks as if we might expect another move shortly – we wonder where – We would it were that the war was over & it were to Australia. The boys call it God’s own Country & so it is. A little while ago when we went for a drive to see the Holy Tree at Matarich Sister Hoadley remarked "Yes the more one goes about & the more we see all goes to point to the one end & that is to love Australia more.

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No, there is no place like home, and we know we shall be welcomed back again.

Seeing Cairo & the eastern life is interesting. The Natives make excellent Servants. You can’t help admiring Their keen perception, by a look they know what you want. I don’t feel afraid though certainly I can watch & see things now that at first used to make me shrink.

We hear that the 1st A.G.H. have gone to Cyprus and the 2nd to France. Is it there?

Now I must try and tell you about our delightful little trip to Luxor and Assonan. Through our Matron (Miss Conyers the Matron-in-Chief of the Ausn Sisters) has granted 8 of us 4 days leave to visit Luxor. Some reserve Sisters are relieving us on duty. We start off Sisters Young Henson- Slack-Doyle – Soden Redmay – Mullins & myself on Friday evening March 17th. We have been on duty all day and are rather tired. At 8pm we get the train from Cairo to Luxor (Miles 450) What an excitable, happy pleasure loving party we are – prepared to enjoy everything. There was to be no I’m so tiredf about us so we start off with the real Australian Spirit & fortune favoured us every bit of the way. It’s a holiday that will stand out for all time in my memory. I had told you previously a good

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deal about Cairo but nothing about the wonderful ancient temples & the interesting fertile back country of Egypt. Of course if you don’t see these things you don’t realise what is missed – but once seen we think how lucky we are. And as I enjoy them I’m always conscious of the thought. How I wish you could all see them too – hence the attempt to tell you about them. As I said the train left at 8pm we travel everywhere for military fare which is half price. The night was glorious – these eastern nights are – twas bright moonlight and the reflection of them in the water below makes you feel as if you want to sit up and watch, but as we know there will be no hope of rest The next day we settle down & try to sleep. At dawn we are on the alert again watching the interesting life of the natives as they come down the banks of the Nile for water, attending to their morning work etc though that doesn’t seem much for the live The Simple life but it quaint. The land is cultivated the whole way rich in date palm & beautiful Crops and the thousands of donkeys goats & camels look so fat.

We reach Luxor at 8.20am and are met by Ibrahim Ayad (A Guide or dragoman who was on the look out for us) We all liked Ibrahim at first sight & straight away accepted his services for 4 days. Our trust in him wasn’t misplaced & when we said goodbye to him on Tuesday he had won all our hearts.

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If you would like to know more of Ibrahim he is to be found in Robert Hichens Novel Bella Donna only now he is 6 years older more handsome & admirable than you would imagine from the book. We choose to stay at Bella Donna House (once Robert Hichens) & our weary eyes are quite refreshed as soon as we enter the garden. No other garden that I can bring to my memory can quite compare with this one – I think of those at Mt Lofty – those in Sydney by the Harbour – Those in England – some most beautiful and better kept. Yet theres an inexplainable charm about this one that surpasses them all. The flowers are the same though the scent seems sweeter. The creepers climbed & twined in a way that pleased themselves. You glance to the right & theres the loveliest palm trees bordering this from the Dutchmans Castle next door. You walk around to the back & your facing the Nile look across & you see the Sandy desert & the Mountains of rock in the distance where the tombs of the Kings are. The air is perfectly delightful and we feel we are in a heaven on earth. Then it dawns on us that we are actually free for 4 days. The 1st freedom we have had since leaving Australia – No Hospital rules – No Matron to cast a Motherly eye. No Sister to impress one with Seniority. We are simply 8 Staff Nurses out to go our own sweet way. The house is spoken of in Bella Donna as the Villa Androud. The Dutchman’s too is described there. We soon have a cup of tea & sight seeing commences straight away. We go for a walk by the river to see

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Luxor Temple. I wish I could describe these 8 old Temples with their Collanades – Obelisks. The courts & halls the birth chamber – the solid granite Statuary & the writings on the walls etc. Westminster Abbey & St Pauls are babies in comparison to these Ancient places of 2 & 3 thousand years old. My little camera has done its best to give you an idea what they are like. We sail back in a felucca, lunch, then rest till 3pm when Ibrahim has donkeys & an Arabier ready to take us to see Karnak The City of Temples. I choose a donk every time for I love riding. We go along a magnificient Avenue 2 miles long & which was once bordered with Sphinxes. We see the remains of them here & there even now but the Avenue of Sphinxes leading from the river to Karnak is still in a good state of preservation & tis an uncommon sight to see I don’t suppose there is such another in the world. The temple area is surrounded by a brick wall & in some places still 50ft by 329ft, & the roof, single stones of which weigh 100 tones & is supported by 134 Massive columns from 40 to 60 ft high. We have afternoon tea here which is brought with us. We are very interested in Karnak, but the immensity of it all makes you feel bewildered & stupid & tis a relief when we ascend one of the pylons & watch the golden sunset. We think the day has ended now but no Ibrahim says we’re to go on the Nile to a Carnival after dinner. The Carnival proves to be a felucca lit up with candles & Arabs

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amuse us by playing tom toms & dancing. It was amusing too. At the end of every item there was a chorus of Hip hip hurrah – Very good – very nice – then Ibrahim stands up & says "God bless the King of England and all the Sisters". So ends the 1st day. The next is planned for Thebes to see the Tombs of the Kings. So we start at 9am cross the Nile & take donks or drive as we please. The tombs are 6 miles away westwards, the road winds & winds first over desert then by Cultivated fields & tis pretty to see the Natives amongst their goats & donkeys but how they pest you to buy scarabs etc. Very soon all life seems to be shut out; the hills rise higher & higher & we are in the heart of the Mountains where the Kings chose their last resting place. I would ask an apology in attempting to describe them: To do it one would indeed need to be an Archaeologist. I know we go down & down steps & along dark corridors which end in 3 or 4 chambers & in one is the depression in the floor where the sarcophagus was placed. The paintings & carvings on the walls represent the passage of the Kings soul. His obeisance to the Spirits & Gods also the scenes of his daily life on earth. There are 40 Toms in all but as its hot & tiring the 4 most important ones satisfy us. The tomb of Seth T I like best. The carvings & colouring all beautiful & as fresh today as when they were done. In the tomb of Amenlotes II (Rameses the Great Son) is the only one where the Mummy still remains & near to him are the mummies of his wife & servant.

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They are wonderfully preserved ever to the hair on their heads. In the midst of all this we awaken to the fact that Nature Lags its time for lunch, so we say good-bye & wend our way down to the Temple of Seti 1st & in the Shade of its columns we do full justice to Ibrahim’s thoughtfulness. After resting awhile we go to see some other tomb but I was either Too Sleepy or tired for I can’t remember the name of it. Then we make a Start to return, rest a little at the Ramesseum, take a snap of it & then we wend our come to the wonderful Colossi. The two Sitting Statues that stand alone in the green fields. For over 3000 years they have daily watched the dawn breaking over the Karnak Temples. The following is a quotation. "But surely they are sufficiently wonderful in themselves, alone in that great plain that is one vast sheet of water in flood time, & one wide expanse of brilliant green for the rest of the year, they gaze into the eastern distance, battered beyond recognition, grey beyond weariness, isolated & unexpected, in explicable dominating all the surrounds them’.

We are so tired when we read the felucca & just sit down & think how delightful it would be to sail down the Nile & no sooner thought then Ibrahim suggests taking us down a couple of miles to see the Orange Grove. We wander in the garden where there are hundreds of orange Trees & eating fresh oranges ad lib. (This place too is spoken of in

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Bella Donna called Villa Nuit d’or). After dinner Ibrahim has arranged for an Antique dealer to call on us & to me their wares are irresistible. I purchase a few old things of course placing implicit trust in Ibrahim when he says they are genuine. If they are valuable being 2 to 3 thousand years old.

Next morning at 11 we take the train to Aswan 150 Miles further on arrive at 4pm book our room at St James Hotel then drive out to see the world famous ancient granite quarries of Syene, return by 6pm. & then comes a heavenly 2 hours on the Nile. We watch the sunset & the full moon rise as we sail around Elephantine Island & Lord Kitchener’s Island. We get out & ramble around on LK’s & I couldent tell you how beautiful it all is in the moonlight. We wander under the palms & trees, pick a few flowers & think how lucky we are. Fancy him in that ideal Spot Alone. How could he?

To do what we plan next day means rising at 5am & as the Sun appears we are driving out to see one of the 8 Wonders of the world. The Great Aswan dam. Next to the Suez Canal it is considered the greatest engineering work ever undertaken in Egypt in modern times. To give some idea of the grandeur of this the masonry work is a mile & a ¼ in length & has 182 gates. The reservoir holds the water for 140 miles, enough

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to supply every town in Great Britain for 12 Months. The Temples of Philae have been partly submerged by the dam & tis beautiful rowing across to see them. I will send you snaps taken although they will only give you a dim idea of what they are in reality. We are back at the Hotel by 9.30 – freshen up a bit, visit the bazaar buy some picturesque straw baskets & beads galore. I think all my little girl friends in Australia will be receiving Strings of beads made by the Sudanese children. At 11am we start on our long journey o f600 miles to Cairo, reaching home at 8 next morn. I go on duty for the day & the following night on to night duty (but I have asked for it because Sister Rush was on night duty & we wanted to be together) was the rush of the Trip worth it. Yes, indeed it was such a Tonic in every way.

April 10th: Still on N.D. as the inoculation effects have passed off I can feeling happier with everything in general.

I am sorry to say that we have had two cases of smallpox (both boys dies) and there are several nurses & patients quarantined. It seems such a shame as if the poor boys haven’t enough to put up with. There is no doubt about Egypt being unhealthy & another terrifying disease is Billarzioses, which is caused by bathing or paddling in the Nile. Tis almost certain death.

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Yesterday 4 of us obtained 4 hrs leave to go for a drive & though we can scarcely keep our eyes open ‘we are so Sleepy’ we enjoy seeing these spots. The alleged spot where Moses was in the bulrushes – The oldest Coptic Church in Egypt. The ancient City of Babylon. The old Slave Markt & the present cemetery, where our soldiers are buried. Of these again the camera will tell the tale.

This little tit-bit I meant to have mentioned before – that the Arrogan is stranded on its own bottles in Mudros Harbour – glass not brass. Serve them right.

13th The Hospital seems to be emptying fast. Yesterday morning crowds went away by the Runic & more today by the Karoola.

I’m feeling helplessly flat again, for on reading the orders for the day I see we must be inoculated for Cholera. When we come back we’ll be walking bacteriologists for germs, but what will it feel like to have a few will again?

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8th letter

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10th letter

Same place

You seem such a long long way away that you must excuse me for the above.

The Bairam is over. The 4 days feast that follows Ramadan. The boys were all restricted from going into Cairo. I expect they thought they might be mischievous and perhaps interefere with their religious rites.

To-day Sister Rush was taken from E Ward and put in charge of a Surgical Ward. Top [indecipherable] for a Staff Nurse. But I shall miss her.

We are kept on the qui vie of what might be happening at the Canal. We hear all sorts of things, but one never knows quite how much to believe.

Sunday 6th Matron has gone away for 2 days to see about a place at the seaside where she could send the Sisters to for a change – no doubt so many pale faces are worrying her – yet considering the heat some keep remarkably well. I am thankful to say I am one of them but all the same I wouldn’t say no to a few days at the sea-side fancy the waves & a swim again.

There is evidently something on with the Turks for the wounded are arriving. It makes me wish to be in a Surgical Ward. One doesn’t like to be out of the excitement of things but theres rules – (so sorry)

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Tis my afternoon off & 6 of us are felluccering on the Nile – Very soon it will be unsafe for a month before the rising and 2 after they say it is dangerous.

Monday 7th As we were driving near the Kair-el-Nil barracks last eve, a band and crowd attracted our attention & on going to see what it was found it to be the 2500 Turkish prisoners marching through Cairo – I had my little camera & took some snaps. The poor things how tired and weary & thin they looked, such a ragamuffin lot – scarcely one had a decent pair of boots on & Their Torn & patchy semi-uniform was pitiful to see. The British line on either side with their bayonets was quite a contrast, but nothing as far as appearance goes could top our Anzacs. Werent we pleased to have seen them, but I couldn’t get the thought of their woe-be-gone expression out of my mind & sincerely wished they would soon have a feed a bath & a rest. I looked & gazed at them & can quite understand now why our boys bear them no animosity – really they looked so kind hearted (not like fighting men) & I’m sure they were pleased to be our prisoners.

Matron will be disappointed to be away – Tis the first time she has left us, & The wounded coming in.

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8th We are hearing now all about the battles at Romani and Katia & its being published in the papers. We are all so excited about it but as I am writing tis I guess you’ll know more about it all than we do here.

I saw by the paper this morning where the prisoners were seen by a representative of the Egyptian Mail. When they each and all said that they were contented with their lot & were very grateful for the food given them on their arrival. A good many had fought on Gallipoli. They were moved a fortnight ago from El Arish to Katia & said that most of the Commands were in the hands of German Officers who treated them fairly well. Though one Greek who had been conscripted from Constantinople said that he and his fellow Christians in the army suffered worst. If there were any extra fatigues to do he said it was always we Christians who were put on to do it by the Germans & that since he had left Constantinople he had heard that all his family had been murdered. Food they said was scarce among them. They had had nothing to eat for 5 days before the engagement. They were however paid fairly regularly each month. The privates getting 5 piastres (one shilling) for their first year & the N.C.O.s getting 25. Dosen’t that sound poor? No wonder the Australians create a lot of jealousy.

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Tis Compulsory now for we Sisters to wear identification discs like the real soldiers. Some are having pretty little silver ones made with the pyramids & sphinx on one side.

The British have taken over No 4 Auxillary for the wounded Turks & Sister Pierre Humbert has come back "She was Acting Matron There & has been mentioned in despatches:

16th On coming over this morning for my 2 hrs off matron made the remark that if any Sister off Duty were to go into the Cairo Station they would see something interesting. The Sultanich was dead & they were bringing her body from Alex to Cairo by the 11.30 train. I’m keen on not missing anything so losing no time I donned my hat & taking my little camera with me set off alone. On arriving at the Station there were crowds & crowds of folk lining the Streets – but were not allowed through the Station gates. I simply walked in and the police & guards diddent stop me – so I got in a good position to see & take a snap a of the Sultan as he was about to slip into the motor. The loveliest red carpet was laid down the whole length of the platform & out & down the steps to where the Motors were in readiness. You see the Sultanich was an old lady of 90 & they have been expecting her death & have had plenty of time to prepare for her funeral.

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Unfortunately my time was pressing and I could only wait to see the one train arrive which brought the Sultan & the notable men folk. The next train an hour later was to bring the ladies and the body.

During the afternoon the unexpected but secretly wished for came the Telephone. A message from Matron to say I was to leave E Ward and go to DT "Sister Pigeons" Of course in many ways I was sorry I had been in # - 4 months & was quite at home there doing eyes ears noses & throats & it meant leaving Sr McMillan, but to go to a Ward that was full of our wounded from the battles was what I wanted – it meant much harder work, but what a pleasure it is to do for them. They are such dinkums & the best of the best. There are 56 in this ward. The majority have more or less slight wounds but there are some with very bad arms & I think about 16 will be boarded for Australia. We seem to be doing dressings the whole day long & are so busy that we don’t notice how the time goes or realise we are tired until we are off & someone mentions it. The boys are awfully interested in their bullets. After they are operated on to have them out we pin them in a little Muslin on to their pillow. It’s the first thin they think of as they come out of the anaesthetic:

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I hoped never to mention inoculation again but Cholera has broken out & there is a notice up for us all to be done again. Experience has taught me that its easier to take it & beat it than it is to try and get out of it but how I do hate it. It seems a funny thing it breaking out with out boys. The Turks diddent get it & Theresa strong suspicion that cholera germs were put in the drinking water. Isnt that a wicked thing to do? Then sad news has just arrived to say that at the "Taj" Mahar in Bombay one OC – his orderley & 3 Mos & 2 of our Sisters all died suddenly of it. It gave us quite a shock. The 2 Sisters O’Grady & Power were with us here & such bonnie girls. Now the question arises was it Cholera they died of or were they poisoned. What a History Australia will have to tell when the war is over.

Sept 1st Our wattle day but I diddent realise it until this evening. Our Hospital was all astir early this morning in getting away over 300 of our boys & sending them back to you. I can imagine the reception you’ll be giving these for what they have done. To see them off & the good byes just made me wish for awhile that I could go back with them.

In all the letters every one tells of the rain rain rain you are having. Its beautiful isn’t it to have the promise of such a good season?

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Do you know I haven’t seen rain in Egypt. It did come down one Sunday morning for about an hour which flooded the pathway from the Home to the Hospital. (They have no drainage for rain here) but that was when I was in Tuscany. The sun never fails to shine from early morn till night & with the lovliest of blue skies and the weather is becoming perfectly delightful. With the exception of the cold 4 months at Lemnos we have had 2 1/1 long hot summers & if we stayed here we would just revel in a Cairo winter but I don’t think that is for No 3 from what one can hear I think ere this month will is out we will be on another journey.

3rd This afternoon Sister Berriman and I went out to see Miss Graham. She is very well. It’s a British Infections Hospital & all English except the Sisters – who are Australian. I’m going to tell you a bit of Gossip now of how a lot of English Sisters at Alex and here refused to stay and do duty in Egypt "said that the term they signed on for was 12 months. And they would not stay longer" Consequently the English Hospitals ha to advertise for VADs. Bonuses were promised the Sisters to stay but no they won’t change their minds. I heard on good Authority that the reason was that after they had been in Egypt 12 months they would

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be a Home Service – Not Active Service & in that case would not receive medals. Medals or no medals I’m perfectly sure that such a thought would not have entered our heads. No we are only too pleased & consider ourselves priviledged to be here to be able to nurse our boys. You may think we petty to mention comparisons. It’s not good taste I know but on Active Services this point is so evident. The mutual dislike a tommy has for an Aust & visa-verse (I’m not speaking of Sisters now.) It seems such a pity. I have great sympathy for the Tommies but there’s no doubt our boys have such open winning ways & make themselves general favourites where ever they so. Sister to this – told me by one of our boys. At one of the Tommy Camps in the desert the Quarter master Sergeant was simply hated by them & they wondered how they could dispose of him. To this consternation it killed him. Never found out. I asked what was done to them & would you believe it the Tommy Officers blamed the Australians. Said that such a think they would never have thought of unless put there by the Australians.

6th Sister Rush & I took 6 of one boys for

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a long drive this afternoon to Matrich to see the Virgin’s Tree & Joseph’s well – we all had a drink from the Wells & its beautiful water so clear & cool. Then we lingered about the pretty Catholic Church there. I think it’s the sweetest & daintiest little church that I have seen. The delicate colourings of the biblical stories depicted on the walls and the Statue of Joseph & May with the baby Jesus in the central recess of the Altar & which always has a light thrown on it makes it very pretty indeed. I forget whether I mentioned before but the Virgins Tree is the Spot (if not the original Tree) where Joseph & Mary rested during their flight into Egypt and the water from the well is the water they drank & also the Babe was bathed with it. The Guides tell you that the Water was brackish until then but had been beautiful water drink every since.)

From there we drive past acres of Cotton fields & Corn fields & then by the Canal. (The one that leads from Cairo to Ishmallia.) We chose a spot for tea – watch the Sunset & drive back. My two boys seem to have lost their shyness or reserve & open out & speak of their experiences. Tis seldom they do. Some are so sad & pathetic that they do their best to try & forget them. I won’t repeat all they tell me but it would help a Mothers

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heart to know that if she has lost her boy that tis she or his dearest to him who are his last thoughts. Tpr Sweeney said that once he came upon the body of an Englishman who had died about 3 days before. He had evidently been alone. There where photos around him as if he had looked at them one by one until the end. Tpr S gathered them up & sent them to his people. We just love the way they do things for one another. The Ausn’s Mate or the English chum whichever it might be.

Then they started to tell of their long long dreary waiting in the desert. Then for 3 weeks before the Action how they all slept at night fully dressed – even to having their leggings & spurs on & the rifles by their side and how at 12.30 am on the 4th of August as they were asleep the order came to Stand To and at dawn the Charge came "He said "he or they" & their horses absolutely went mad. A few hours later & in the thick of things his rifle went oblong – what should he do was a quick thought & as he was about to go & get a fallen man’s – this Mate who was near said "that’d hard luck here you had better have mine" and as he spoke a bullet dame & the poor fellow was gone. Tpr S had his rifle & after 16 hours he was wounded – but not seriously. How one wishes it were all over.

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10th The boys are all improving and as they are better they are sent to Montazah at Alex – for a fortnight before rejoining their regiment.

11th Tis the little Elisenas’ birthday.

12th Our Ward closed down this am & the boys that were left were sent to Sister Rush’s ward. It wasn’t a bit nice Saying good bye to them.

13th I am off duty for a week unless something unforeseen happens. So am getting my things in readiness in case of a hurred departure & so as any spare time can be given to saying farewell to the places we have learnt to love in Egypt.

Last night a small party of us took our tea & went out to the pyramids. I’ve never see the Sphinx & pyramids (the largest covers 13 acres of ground & the stones that comprise it would build a wall of 4ft high & one wide all around France) that give you an idea of its size, & its height is 451 feet. The next to it is 447 feet high. Then theres the Sphinx very mutilated now but it impresses you with its great strength & has a wonderful power of mystery. How they all stood out in the light of the setting sun – soon we look behind & theres the full moon peeping up & its rays over the Nile & the citadel & the grey hills behind are very beautiful. I feel as if it was a good bye visit but it couldn’t

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have been a nicer one.

14th Mrs Newmarch gave us an afternoon tea at the recreation room to-day. Twas very nice. The Welsh band was there, so what could one wish more – I loved their rendering of the Rosary.

15th Miss McConachy called to take me for a motor drive to visit the Flying Corps & the Remount Unit, after the first visit we had 3 punctures so had to come back in a gharry.

16th I have enjoyed many donkey rides but last night’s was absolutely perfect. 9 of us went including Matron out on the lovely road to Matarich. The moon was up & the donks good & we just jogged on or cantered as the mood took us. Such a night for dreaming and reminiscing.

18th I went over to Service this a.m. & Major Makeham preached from the text "God loveth a cheerful giver" A beautiful sermon really. The rifle brigade "A band of great old warriors who live in the barracks at the back of our place march in every Sunday morning & 3 parts fill the church. In the afternoon another Sister & I had afternoon tea at Shepheards with two E- Officers – then took a tram to Heliopolis – walked around a bit admiring the fine buildings there & finished up by calling at the Luna Park, having a ride on the Scenic railway & down the water shoot etc. Its converted into a pretty & attractive Gaiety Show.

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When we come in we see a list up of all our names & of how we are to appear in England. Matron adds that if anyone can’t appear in proper uniform that they’ll be put in a party of their own.

Yes, our stay in Egypt is drawing to a close. The date for leaving fixed for the 22nd & we go by the "Karoola". No 14th A.G.H. are taking our place here. We have got it all so nice for them to step in to.

A party of 10 of us rose at 4.30 this a.m. & went on donks to the Mokattam hills to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful.

Matron wanted us all to be photographed this afternoon & I have just come in from that trying ordeal. A few weeks back I was keen on having a proper photo taken of myself in the uniform. Thought of sending some of you one for Xmas. I got as far as making an appointment paying a deposit & putting my cap on. I gave a final look in the mirror & the photographer was all ready & came away. Twas an off day I looked what I felt – old – and have never had the courage to go again. Ma [indecipherable] photo.

Now I want to introduce Miss McConachy to you and a few of many that words could never tell what they have done for the Australian Mothers & their Soldier Sons. Some day I may be able to tell of some of their goodness – these are their names, Rev & Mrs Gillan, Lady Rogers & Chetham – Mr & Mrs & Miss Gentles, Miss Ghryoeb & Miss McConachy –

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But Miss Mc I know best & she is well known amongst our boys. She is Irish by birth. For 25 years she has lived in Palastine & was one of the last to escape from Syria when war broke out – probably all her things have been confiscated by the Turks. Since coming to Egypt she had devoted all her time to the Red Cross. The British Soldiers Café in the Esbikier Gardens & the Australian Comforts Fund. I first met her at No 19 c/- Alex last year & have kept in touch with her ever since. However I might try I could never convey to you her worth & she is always so bright & cheerful & witty about things, besides having the biggest heart possible. She used to interest me first with stories of her life in Palestine & the thrilling escapes the Syrians had from there but what particularly attracted me to her was when I found out how fond she was of the Australians. One morning when she came, she told us of how she and her friend when they arrived home that they helped themselves & then left a little note of apology on the Table, but how much they had enjoyed everything. My first thought was weren’t you angry and asked her – Angry No "she said" What for – I was only sorry there wasen’t more for them there.

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After that she always left extras & things she thought they would like. The following is a tit bit from one of her letters to me at Lemnos "I am going to give a dinner to the whole Ambulance camps (Ausn) There are 100 men belonging to the 1st 2nd & 3rd Transport Section & the L.H. Stretcher bearers. We are getting quite excited about it. I have 9 turkeys in my back yard trying to fatten them up for Xmas day & all the material in my kitchen ready for plum puddings & several ladies are coming out to help lay the Table with nice white cloths & plenty of fruit & flowers & little present on each man’s plate. I want them to have a real Xmas treat. I feel that one cannot do enough to bring a little pleasure into the lives of our brave boys".)

I remarked to her the other day. " see you’re still spoiling the boys I don’t believe you would deny them anything" She laughed & said "No not if I could possibly get it for them" & her motto is "Never to say no if its at all possible to say yes. Some time ago there was an Article published in an Ausn-paper. Called "The Pioneers" British Soldiers’ Café". Twas written by Miss Ghryoeb & the Lady Superintendent mentioned is Miss McConachy. Some of you may

As for the L-S She said very little, only the night before the first 3 brigades left, as we were walking home from the "Shrine" she suddenly was unable to stand & leant against me a few seconds for support. "they are

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giving their lives" I know it was in her mind at that moment.

The last night, Sunday at about 10 o’clock we stood on a bridge & watched them all pass to the station – some were singing – others whistling, a great many waved to us and called out "Good night. Good-bye" "And so they gave their lives"

Its after lights out. Sweet dreams.

21st Twas the procession of the Sacred Carpet. This morning I saw it again – Lucky aren’t I? The Hospital has been given over to No 14 & we are practically read to march on. I can’t say more – because that little word Censor comes before me. So I must come to a full stop & with very much love to you all.

* Istowdak no-kum. Ullah yik-faz – kum games – au

Sincerely yours
A Donnell

PS: Over 40 more Sisters are expected to arrive in the middle of the Night. AD

* Good-bye. God be with you all) (Arabic)

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11th letter

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Abbasia, Cairo


Since we have known definitely that we are really leaving Egypt I have had quite a little ache – Yes. I’m truly sorry to say good-bye to all the interesting things here. On the whole it has been a happy free time. We’ll miss the beautiful Nile. For some weeks now the water has been flowing down from Abbysian hills somewhere away in Africa & it is in full flood and such a sight to see from the Pyramid. There is quite another river up there with feluccas & boats sailing on it. It seems strange to think all this water has come here after a long (M record) hot summer & without a sprinkle of rain. Then we’ll miss the Niggers too with their fascinating ways & picturesque dress & colours. The veiled women – The fine Egyptian Menfolk in their red Tarbouches & their charming courteous manner – The persistent street sellers. The gay funerals & weddings which one never fails to see if you go into Cairo. The domes & Minarets & Tombs & to say nothing of the pleasure the donks gave us. Then there’s my little garden coming on so nicely with sweet peas – mignonette and pansies &c and the seeds coming from Aus just made me love it. But its farewell

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to all this tomorrow. I remember now I have never mentioned one of the wonders of Cairo and that is its Museum with all its antiquities. It seems to me it would take years of study to know it well enough to thoroughly appreciate it, or be able to describe it. I visited it several times and was chiefly interested in the carving of a cow (the best carving of its kind in the world and goodness knows its age, some thousands of years – and dits as perfect today as at the time it was done). The ancient jewels and the Mummies especially those of Rameses ? you know lived in the time of Moses (The Pharoah of the Oppression) and twas his daughter that found Moses in the bulrushes off Roda Island.

We waved our good-bye to Egypt. The land of perpetual sunshine – Just 8 months we were there. Yesterday morning at 6a.m. the train was at our front door ready for loading & at 10p.m. the whistle blew & we were off. We travelled all night and at 5a.m. we arrived at the Wharf at Alexandria just opposite the Karoola. All we had to do was to step off the train, go up the gangway & your on board. The neatest piece of military work. We noticed a

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vast difference in the shipping at Alexandria in comparison with last year at the time everything seemed so quiet. The sea is very rough. Several have already gone down & I fear I shall have to do the same.

27th Everyone is calling it a mush kowayyas (not good) ship & we are feeling much kowayyas too, though the sea is calmer. Today & we are beginning to perk up again. Dr T.G. Wilson is the O.C. & we diddn’t like it when he made a distinction between the Sisters & Staff Nurses quarters. We have never been made to feel it before & I’m sure matron doesn’t approve of it. It’s only a matter of a few days. 28th We passed Malta this A.M. & this afternoon are in sight of the most northern coast of Africa.

October 1st Such a glorious sunset last night & tonight too. I wish I could describe it but I could not do it justice and I have mentioned sunsets so often but every one as they came up from dinner just leant over the deck side & watched it until all the glorious colours had disappeared. Then the sweet half moon sent its glitter over the water to us and we and seemed to say this is the way, as we passed on into it. The sea has been calm for 2 days & we are seeing the peaked hills of Spain on one side & the

October 1st Such a glorious sunset last night & tonight too. I wish I could describe it but I could not do it justice and I have mentioned sunsets so often but every one as they came up from dinner just leant over the deck side & watched it until all the glorious colours had disappeared. Then the sweet half moon sent its glitter over the water to us and we and seemed to say this is the way, as we passed on into it. The sea has been calm for 2 days & we are seeing the peaked hills of Spain on one side & the

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coast of Africa on the other. We passed the rock of Gibraltar at 3.30 this a.m. and soon after anchored opposite the [indecipherable]. There are some very fine buildings there. We saw Trafalgar Bay where the Battle was fought. The ship only waited to receive her orders & "they say" to know the course to dodge the submarine. Won’t it be great to be able to travel without the fear of mines or torpoedos and no life belts always by your side. One comfort a Hospital Ship gives & that is we don’t travel in darkness.

October 4th Professor Adam from the Melbourne University, akd at present the Padre of the ship and a man who seems to have won the admiration of all on board, held a Thanksgiving Service at 7.30 this evening. He chose for his text The Lord hath been mindful of us. He will bless us. It was a beautiful & trustful parting message. A few minutes later the Anchor dropped & our journey is near the end. We now lie between the Isle of Wight & the south of England.

At that moment I was sought for a game of Auction bridge. I begin to flatter myself that I play rather well. I ought to improve anyway, for apart from these few lines I have absolutely done noting else but play bridge or teach it the whole way – of course after the sea sickness passed off.

5th at 2pm this morning at 7 we started

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on again and we were soon on deck watching the beautiful scenery on both sides of us. The Anchor drops again at 9 & just opposite Netley Hospital. The Great Military Hospital where the corridors are a mile & a quarter in length. It is very much like the Walker Hsp on the Parramatta only on a larger scale.

The ship soon receives her orders & we soon find ourselves beside a wharf at Southampton.

At noon we lunch & on coming up on deck after everyone is all smiles & we are so excited "Were going to Brighton – were not going to be split up. And were going to look after our own boys – Could anything be more beautiful. I must away and don my things. We are to be on the Wharf in double file at 2.30. I don’t think there’ll be a party landing on their own.

6th We just slipped from the Karoola over to the Train opposite & it was nice & comfortable. Leaving at 4pm the first thing we pass is a Train full of Canadians & the din that they & our boys make together is deafening. Every man woman or child cheers & waves to us & we feel its just lovely of them to give us such a welcome. Green-green England. After all its nice to be here again. The clusters of mushrooms that we pass on the railway banks just

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makes Rush & I itch to go and gather some. It’s soon dark though then all blinds are drawn so as no light appears from outside. We arrive at Brighton at 6.30 and truly we have never seen anything so gloomy & dismal. After waiting an hour on the station, we pick up our suit cases & rugs and then march out into the pitch darkness & are packed into a dark tramcar. When the car starts a faint light appears through dark navy blue electric globes & these are again shaded from above with dark shades.

You could not tell who was sitting next to you & twas so funny to hear every now & again someone calling to know if her pal had managed to get in in the crush. But twas chiefly May’s voice calling for Dora. Otherwise Sister May Hall & Dora Smith [indecipherable} chums. May has a distinct personality & in all good comradeship we call her Our Agitator & Dora is a sweet fair thing that May mothers. However we go on in the darkness for 15 minutes then the car stops & we step out opposite a large gate & over the dimly lit Archway in big letters we see "Kitchener War Hospital". The same here its all so horribly dark & cold but inside we see rays of light & every now & again someone will pass & flash a torch on us. Its only a matter of a few minutes & we learn we were

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not expected & not prepared for. They only had word of one coming 12 an hour before & fancy 300 of us ‘including Orderlies’ walked in. You can imagine it being rather a surprise. I believe they had heard so many times of the Australians coming that they took it for granted we were myths. Twas an unpleasant awakening and at 8pm too. Soon our Matron’s voice is calling "I want the Sisters. Matron has room for the Sisters at the Home". So off they go. Presently a flash is thrown on us & an English Sister says "Come this way Staff Nurses I am taking you to an empty Ward. Percisely what happened its hard to tell but the 70 of us tried to follow upstairs along corridors down stairs – outside – then the flash would be ever so far away & soon it disappeared entirely. I was clinging close to Mitch with Rush a step behind but we had taken a wrong turning & found ourselves with a few more standing in a garden in the misty rain ne’er a light, & pitch dark. We were puzzled which way to go – then in the distance somewhere we hear May’s pitiful voice calling Dora Dora, are you there? Dora where are you. We start on the direction the voice cam from & are soon on to a road. Then we hear the welcome voice of one of our own Sergeants saying "This way girls" We go

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that way until we come to a corner & then listen to an argument between two Tommies as to where we have to go. Eventually we find ourselves going up flights & flights of dark steps. Then we are in the top story of a block of buildings with light & bright fires burning. Mitch & I are there but where ever in Rush – she doesn’t come – I secure a bed for her & all we can do is to wait. At ten we are given nourishment. After that Matron comes along and calls a roll. There are 5 S Nurses missing. Paul is one! Dora another’ Later on in the night Paul appears. The five of them after a lot of difficulty were directed to the Sisters Home. They found it after going down a lane – over a large cabbage patch & down a hill – and were about to snuggle in with some of the Sisters when Matron finds them & makes them all get up & follow a guide back again.

Twas laughable this morning the tales the different ones had to tell – Groups had been getting lost in all directions. One Sister twice went to knock at what she thought in the darkness was a house & when the got up close felt it was a haystack. Later she found a cottage & coeed – but no response.

Evening – As soon as daylight came I jumped

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up to see what our new place was like. The scenery all around is simply magnificient. We are situated on top of a high hill & we command a view of all around. To the north & the back is the Brighton race course – Grand Stand & Golf links. In season Royalty visit here! To the South we see the whole city of Brighton as it extends down Seawards and the long terraced houses that principally line the streets on the slopes & hills – especially the suburbs. In the distance is the sea & they tell us that on fine days the Isle of Wight can be seen. And its only 4 hrs journey to Deippe in France. To the east are the down. Some have Shacks & vegetable gardens on them. Then comes the sea again. Then the West and I believe I like the West best. First thing you notice is the valley of graveyards which extend part of the way up the hills & in the midst stands two of the quaintest churchs with Steeples. Looking past this is a range of open hilly country. Now I’m a bit puzzled if I have the North-South-East & West quite right. I believe the sun tried to rise where I said the North was. Never mind those are the 4 views.

How I am rambling on – but there is nothing else to do to-day. We S Nurses are shut in – only allowed out to get some lunch.

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For the present we can’t be accommodated here, so Colonel Smith and Miss Keys are out seeking places for us to be billeted out – how interesting.

Later – we are all divided out in batches - & just as the last 20 were moving off Miss Keys called for 7 volunteers to go on duty in the morning. I stepped forward for one though I would have loved a few free hours to go up to London Headquarters to find out about my nephews & some friends.

8th Its somewhat trying to be billeted out & on duty too, especially when we lot had the exceptionally bad luck to strike a landlady whose chief aim seems to be to make us uncomfortable – She won’t give us nearly enough to eat – not ever a match to light the gas. Matron is calling us in first & as soon as she can because we are so perfectly miserable. I can’t understand their attitude when all the other girls just love where they are and are made quite a fuss of.

11the To-day I took Major Chapple in some tea! He is the R.A.M.C. surgeon of our Ward. He greets me with "Well Sister how are you going to like being here? Just going to love it I said – then he said "because we are not going to forgive you for coming & turning us out of this beautiful place. The English are

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saying they don’t see why the Australians should come and have the best of everything. But soon he added that that wasn’t his view & thinks that our boys should have the best for they deserve it all & are grand fellows. He led me to believe this Hospital was the best in England – And if the boys have a chance at all they will surely have it here. The building was originally an Infirmary – built in 1866. The Indians took it over in the beginning of the war for their wounded soldiers & spent £38,000 in equipping it up as a Hospital. Six months ago the English took it and now its to be ours but I think the upkeep of it will be a heavy expense on the Aust Government.

21st Up till now it has been real dinkum active service – 3 convoys have come in – chiefly English with an odd Canadian or Australian. The E. Sisters & V.A.D.s are all gone – They are going to Salonicka. The pretty V.A.D. They were treasures in the ward. I wish we could have them instead of so many Orderleys.

We 3rd have climbed upwards haven’t we? Twas tents first – then barracks & now this – wherever they put us we are like old barn Chucks – immediately settle down & become part & parcel of the place. Work is easing off a Little & any spare time I have I go for walks. It’s just lovely walking in the fresh Air here. We are begging to lose our

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parchment looks already & thoroughly enjoying the wholesome food. So different from Madame Mealy dishes.

The morning we voted – for conscription or against it. And do you know we are the first women in England who have voted on a National question.

25th Two months to Xmas. The girls are saying that the Xmas Mail closes next week. I must stop. This gossipy chatter though I don’t like leaving you and wish you all the best that Xmas can give you. If I should miss a mail sometimes – through pressure of work – please don’t forget me.

Ever lovingly yours

A Donnell

PS. There is a Sisters Mess Meeting to be held to-night & the funniest thing I have struck on A Service is a Sisters Mess Meeting – but serious business is to be discussed to-night – or protested against. We find we can’t manage – especially the S Nurses. The upkeep of this Home (St Lukes School) however nice & comfy it is because apart from the 17/6 a week allowed us by the Gov that barely buys our food we have to keep a Staff of Servants – pay their salary – laundry & insurance & everything is so expensive/ It means that each one of us has to pay 10/- at the least out of our own salary & we don’t feel it [indecipherable] too that we should be asked expected to do it.

Bye Bye

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PPS We’re not going to be a bit happy in England. That’s how we feel today and I want you all to know the reason why. At the close of the Mess Meeting last night (by the way we decided for the present to live on ration to see how we get on) that relieves us of the Servants wages difficulty but I think all the same the portions allowed us will be insufficient for we hungry Australians. The cook says we 92 eat more than the 140 English Sisters. Are you ashamed of us? But you see we haven’t had real wholesome food like this since we left Australia & that is 18 months ago so you must excuse us this time) Matron gave us the biggest thunderbolt we have ever had. She said "I have an order to give to you all from General Howle – Twas given to me from Miss Congers "The Matron-in-Chief" and she has asked me to give it to you. I give it to you this once and once only. I shall never tell it again. It is this "Now that you Sisters have been given the rank of Officers and wear Stars you are not go out with N.C.O.s or Privates O Speak to them excepting on duty. And if you do so you will be immediately sent away into a British Hospital). We were silent with surprise for awhile then one Sister asked "Could we dress in Mufti & go out with them – no certainly not. Another little Sister got up & said. Matron I have a little Brother fighting in France that

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I haven’t seen for 6 years. Does it mean that if he gets his furlough & comes over here to see me that I musen’t go our or speak to him. The reply is "That’s the order".

We never asked for Stars – in fact we dislike them. We have never received a Commission from the King. We left Australia as Nursing Sisters and as such we wish to be. Why inflict our freedom so, and with a threat that would cast a slur, if acted upon – on us & the whole of the Australian Nursing Service abroad. Our boys have left home & country to give their lives – if need be – in a strange land. Could we slight them so – and for an unwritten order – No – we simply couldn’t. In this instance our hearts rise above such unreasonableness. What will the consequence be We dearly love our Unit – and pieces that have appeared in the papers from time to time will tell you we have done good service.

If a friend or relative from the ranks came to see me, in fact, any of us & the threat acted upon – well I think we might just as well be recalled to Australia. We want you all to know out there & wonder if something could be done for us. We don’t like disobeying but words fail to express our indignation.

Some will go on in the same old way & simply ignore it & await results. Some are writing letters to Aus papers for publication. The Agent Generals for Tasmania & SA are

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being approached & I know one Sister is making inquires re approaching the King.

The British Australians is being asked to say something about it so we surely in time may hope that something will be done. To take down the Stars would remove it all. I have lately read "Pollyanna". The glad book – but I fail to find anything in this to be glad about.

Fancy your Father-Brother or lover coming to say good-bye on their way to the firing line – perhaps never to see them again. And we not able to speak to them without the fear of punishment. As I am writing I feel that you may think I am enlarging on imagination. No I have repeated the order word for word. Matron says she will feel it as keenly as any having a brother a Sergeant, but she intends to stand by Miss Congers. One Sister remarked "Matron of course we don’t want to leave the 3rd but I can see us all in British Hospitals soon & Matron said "And I’ll be left Sitting."

I’m sorry to add these lines to a Xmas letter but this is worse even than inoculation.

Ever so much love

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11th letter

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Kitchener Hospital, Brighton, England

P.S.S. There has been a lot of accidents in the Town today and when the Convoy Came Mattingbal to be put down on the roads so as the Ambulances could come up the hill. Poor wounded Soldiers – that was Blighty for them

Dear old friends
I would feel very much lighter in heart if I had a nice pile of letters ready to go by the mail – but there ne’er a line written yet, or any effort made and now my conscience won’t be at rest until I reply to the numerous letters tat I owe to you all. I have never had so many correspondences in my life and to write a decent letter to each individually would be a task so may I ask those who read this circular letter to kindly accept it as an answer to their own.

We are into our 4th month in England and tis now the middle of winter I must say it is not unbearably cold though most mornings now the ground is covered with frost. I am on Night Duty this month and before going to bed in the mornings I go for a walk. Sometimes over the Downs but usually in the Park. This park is a few minutes walk down from St Luke’s (our home It’s a lovely little park with a lake in the centre and 4 beautiful swans on it but what I think is really great there is the Children’s playground with its Swings

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sea-saws and Gemnastic rails etc. The children come early and have a great time before school goes in and with the exercise in the fresh air get up such rosy colours. It does them a world of good and they love it. Sometimes I feel like a kid myself and have a swing too. I think I am right in saying that these grounds are supported by the Borough of Brighton. What we could call our District councils. Perhaps in the near future we will have similar places for our children. A wounded soldier who cannot now follow his old occupation takes care of it for them and he seems very contented in doing it.

In looking over my last letter how very indignant I was when I penned those last few lines to you about the order re not being allowed to speak to the boys. Its all over and things are going on in the same old way. Twas simply ignored by the majority but some were too heated to do that and made a fuss – The British Aus took it up and there were letters written and published but it was Sir John McCall that got satisfaction for us. On investigation it was

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found that the Order had never been issued from Headquarters. So evidently it was a case of the working of wheels within wheels for some reason and the commotion all ended in a mull.

In brief I’ll try and remember a few interesting items that have happened. We are all in turn going to have a fortnight’s furlough – Isn’t that lovely?

Six of our Sisters have been mentioned in despatches and are going to get the Royal Red Cross – Lucky beggars I wish I could get it. Rush is one of them.

The Duke of Connaught paid the Hospital a visit one afternoon, which was an inconvenience to everybody. All leave was stopped for the Patients and the Sisters who had days off had to come back & stand to. And after all he only visited 2 or 3 of the Wards.

Of Course there was Xmas & New Year and nothing out of the way happened. The boys appeared to have a happy day – we had our ward prettily decreated with paper almond blossoms. The New Year passed in ever so quietly – not even the tinkle of a bell. So different to how we heralded in 1916 at Lemnos.

I have been to London 3 times but I’m not keen on it unless it is to go to a matinee or do something definite. However fascinating

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it is to find your way about in the tubes and buses its bewildering and it always come back with a head ache – I can’t bear the Taxis because the drivers are usually so rude unless you give them a big tip. Now that is one thing I do dislike in England. The custom of Tipping – and it is so largely done and its expected and really you practically get no attention unless you do. Although you pay full value and there is no 2d or 6d in sight – incivility will probably follow. I didden’t mind it in Egypt among the niggers they were so open and among the niggers they were so open and funny in asking for [indecipherable] but here in the centre of civilization the effect to me is demoralising to the one that gives and the one that takes.

Westminister Abbey & St Pauls are just the same – the dear little pigeons too. I think they are fed more now by the soldiers than the old folk. And Libertys shops in Regent Street are simply dreams of beauty. I have seen two plays Daddy Long Legs and Chu-Chin-Chow. The former is very good.

On my time off duty I have done a good deal of sight seeing in seeing Brighton and the interesting places around.

Historical England does not appeal to me now so much as it did before living

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in Egypt. There is such a vast contract between the two that you can’t compare them so whilst I am telling you of England and the places I see here it must put the Nile and the graceful palm trees out of my mind.

First of all you would love the Downs the smooth soft green sloping hills that rise to a height of between 100 & 800 feet and extends for miles along the country of Sussex by the Sea. They are so still and soothing to the eye and restful for the mind I often wander over them and a favourite walk is to a little old fashioned village 4 miles away over them called Rottingdean. It nestles quietly between the hills by the Sea – apart from the quaintness of fit its chief attraction is the old red church of St Margarets with the most beautiful windows I have ever seen designed by Sir E Burne Jones. He is buried in the church yard there and his widow Lady Jones still lives in the house opposite the Church. Sir Edward Carsons first wife is buried there too also William black (the Authur).

Another item of interest to the place is that Rudyard Kipling lived there for sometime and was a next door neighbour of the Jones. He must have loved the little spot for of it he wrote these lines –

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God gave all men all earth to love,
But since man’s heart is small,
Ordains for each one spot – shall prove
Beloved over all.

Each to his choice and I rejoice
The lot has fallen to me
In a fair ground – in a fair ground
Yea Sussex by the Sea!

Another older and picturesque village amongst the high green downs is Lewes. Its half an hours main journey. Twas first possessed by Ina in 772. Theres the ruin of an old castle there now which dates back to the time of William the Conqueror. His daughter Gundraka who married Earl de Warenne lived there. From the keep there a beautiful view of all around and the guide shows us Anne of Cleves house – The place where the battle of Hastings was fought and where the old Priory of 800 years old was but where now the railway runs. Just a stones throw away is the home of Sir Frankfort Moore (the novelist). We can look down into the room where he does his writing and I was glad to see that unlike most Englishmen he likes fresh air. The little river once flows quietly along by the meadows beneath.

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Next comes an afternoon at the Devil’s Dyke and on the hill a few minutes walk from the station you get a grand and extensive view of the country and the patchwork weald below. From the steep hill we walked and slid down to the little village of Poynings saw the fine Grey Cruciform there and had afternoon tea in the tiniest and quaintest room – it was wonderful what that room held in the way of nick nacks but spotlessly clean.

Theres a legend attached to the Dyke – its very weird. I must try and tell it you – what puzzles me is on the top of the hill you see an immense skeleton (the reading telling its history is washed off) but the bones I am sure are larger than any animal in the world perhaps it belongs to pre historic man, but I don’t know – there it is.

The legend goes like this – Once upon a time when the Devil of Sussex lived there also lived a good man ‘Saint Cuthman who was known far and wide for his piety and extraordinary supernatural power. He loved purity and goodness and it rejoiced his heart to see the fair weald of Sussex prosperous and fertile but above all to see the growth of the Churches being built. Now the old Devil disliked all this and twas his purpose to submerge the irritating churches of the

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Weald, by digging a ditch that would let in the Sea. So one night he commenced his task the holy man knowing what was going to happen. Tried his power to stop it and succeeded. He went to Sister Ursula a saintly woman & a poor recluse who lived on the side of a hill and ask her to turn the hour glass 6 times. Once every hour and at the 7th hour to light a taper – this she did – now as the Devil was doing the evil work each time the hour glass turned it gave him sudden cramps which made him weak and handicapped his work than as the taper was lit he took it down threw his pick-axe down and fled and never resumed his labour so was he vanished by the Saint and the people ever after prayed in peace. But the Devils work – the unfinished Dyke exists to the day.

Now there is Arundel and Arundel Castle. The home of the Duke of Norfolk 23 ½ miles away. I simply loved the afternoon there and its when you go to such places and especially to talk through the Park that you are impressed with the rich beauty in England. Yet we see it in its bareness.

The Cathedral and Castle are the two prominent marks there – There is a moat

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around the huge castle. The river Arun gently flows down the Arun Valley near I think, we would call the rivers here ‘baring the Thames’ levelled creeks in Australia’ – Well I only hope I shall be able to see this place again in the springtime’ – lucky Anne Say you Yes and I realise it.

Of the War and our work I feel I cannot write. We have our busy and our slack times and I have been fortunate to be left in the one ward and we are a happy trio Sister Linklater Yeaman & myself. Have been so happy that I am delaying applying for my leave and I’m Afraid when I come off night duty that I’ll be moved to fresh faces. Its hard always being tossed around and adapting oneself to strange people and especially does it hurt when they wear the two stars and yet you know in your heart that if experience counts you are more entitled to them than they. I’m afraid this distinction will cause dissention – its not a fair go as the boys say. For the majority of the work. They do the night duty which is always trying in – in Social thought the two stars are more than one – In accommodation they have the preference – and perhaps we could forget the preference – and perhaps we could forget all that only that is not for us either.

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The beautiful beautiful snow – we have had a lot lately – and better than anything in all England I love the Snow – its [indecipherable] cold before it snows but we have to face it in going backwards and forwards over the cabbage patch to our home ‘a walk of 15 mts’. Then the pure soft white snow comes floating and twirling gently downwards through the air until it finally settles bringing warmth with it. The roads ad paths are white and even the cabbages pretty to look upon the white snow covering their big green leaves – I washed my face with snow – this morning and the glow was delightful.

I have been able to go to Bexhill to see those dear people again Mrs Robjohn & family. And had a lovely day but I had to pull myself together to be at home and at ease. Such a silly strange feeling possessed me. I think in our travels we have grown very independent and then suddenly to meet with attention and loving thought. It came as a shock and I nearly cried to find I was so weaned away from home and social ways – but they were such perfect dears and I came away feeling how good it was to know people like this – for it makes you realise how very charming the English can be.

I must tell you the4 bit of news that I heard there ‘it will set you wondering’. Mrs S Robjohns [indecipherable] friend’s Husband was on Lord

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Kitcheners staff and on the Hampshire when the she went down. This friend had been wearing Widow’s weeds for 6 months/her Husband being reported drowned! When she received a few lines from him saying "I am well don’t worry There are 14 of us here I can say no more good-bye". There always had seemed to be some mystery attached to LK death.

23rd The rumours have started again and the latest one is that we are going to France. If we are needed there well that is all – that is what we came out for but the effects of it all here satisfy me without getting any nearer – Naturally its one long long for it to be all over and no one more so than you in Aus who are so far away.

You’ll be I am off letter writing – please forgive this – the secret of it must be that there is depression in England but things look brighter since Mr Lloyd George came into office.

With ever so much love
Sincerely Yours
Anne Donnell.

PS Whenever I picture the coming on of the day staff & the going off of the night/morning I cannot help laughing. Fancy women not being able to walk without falling down – Such was the fact and some fell down several times - We weren’t prepared to walk on glassy ice – but twas another experience & tonight they are walking with socks over their boots. The boys went to parade as usual but fell down in the attempt – so it was Ma feast parade.

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12th letter

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Kitchener Hospital

My dear Friends
Yesterday was a great day for 5 of our Sisters. Twas an Investiture at Buckingham Palace and they were decorated by the King. It was just beautiful for them all but I here want to introduce Sister Ball to you for She is so universally beloved amongst us and was just an Angel to the Sick Sisters on Lemnos that we are especially pleased that she has the Royal Red Cross. I asked her if she would describe yesterdays ceremony because I thought it would be interesting to you and I am giving her version of it. She says "London looked beautiful with all the sombre buildings outlined with snow, the streets the parks and the trees covered with it. Six of us left the Strand Palace Hotel at 9.45am in a Taxi. When we reached the Palace gates we were stopped by a huge guard who inquired our business and when satisfied haughtily motioned us to pass through. We then pass through an inner Archway into a court and stopped at the steps of one of the entrances where there were about 80 soldiers in Khaki waiting for admittance and several footmen were there to show us in. The men took off their top coats and the Sisters theirs too and they were each given a number (mine being 36) and shown into a room where to chairs were numbered correspondingly. There were 38 Sisters in all so I was 3rd last. A man in Civilian clothes and whom we deigned to be ‘Master of Ceremonies’ came and instructed us what to do – also fastening a little hook onto our Capes ready for the King to hang the Cross on. We sat in that room for 2 hours until hem men were through. Then at last after being instructed about 30 times what we are to do the M.C. conducts us single file and as we

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are numbered to the Throne room. Miss Gould goes first following by our Matron ‘Miss Urlion then there are some English and Canadian Matrons and G.A. Sisters. A few VADS and we staff nurses of No 3 – myself. Bata and Williams brought up the rear – we looked rather nice in our dress uniform – Grey Serge dress, scarlet capes, Soft Muslim Caps and white Kid Gloves. Before reaching the Throne room we pass through 4 other rooms on the way – the first being in Crème and Gold, and on the walls hung all kinds of beautiful old China and There was a glorious fire there for which we were thankful. The procession moved very very slowly. The next 3 rooms were probably state rooms overlooking the piazza. They were much alike, red velvet pile carpets, read and gold upholsteries. Tall palms, massive chandeliers. The pictures and family portraits in these rooms were beautiful. As the numbers got less and [indecipherable] got nearer the Throne Room w could see what was going on. I had a good view of Sister Rees receiving her decoration and curtesying before the King. She did it sweetly and so gracefully and I think she was the only one of our party, who, when the King shook hands with her had the presence of mind to look up and meet his smile. When my turn came I rallied my forces – walked up the room to the chandelier in the Centre where stood the Lord High Chamberlain who stood a few paces to the right of the King – then I turned towards the King, curtsied, took 2 paces forward as if walking in a dream. I had a vague sort of consciences that the King stepped forward to meet me – attached the Cross to my Cape clasped my hand for a brief moment saying some pleasant word which I neither heard nor answered. Then still in a dream I moved backwards 2 paces curtsied again. The turned walked out into a huge hall when I was suddenly awakened

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from my dream by some person wanting to take my Cross off. I felt like clasping my hand over it and saying leave it there – but I meekly let him take it – he kept the look put my Cross in a case & handed it back to me.

On rejoining the others we proceed to Marlborough House. We were very excited at the thought of seeing Queen Alexandra and when we were shown into the room where the Queen Mother received us I just feasted my eyes on her until my turn came. It was all so informal and she was so sweet. It might have been the Queen’s private sitting room, it was so warm and cosy. The Queen stood there looking so sweet and frail and graceful dressed in a soft black material with sequins. She was supported on either side by – and the British principal Matron. Lord Knowles who looked like Father Xmas stood with his back to the fire Taking in the scene. The – explained in a loud voice ‘The Queen is very deaf" and that we were Australians’. She smiled and said some nice things about us coming so far and how glad she was that we had been given the R.R.C. She presents each one with a picture and a book called ‘The way of the Red Cross’. One funny thing I noticed when we were back in the Hall putting on our coats we were all so full of Adoration for the beautiful Queen Mother, one of the Sisters exclaimed "Oh; Matron, isn’t she the Sweetest old Thing? A tall personage in a Georgeous red Coat who was helping me into my coat looked aghast at Sister – his expression said What will those Australians say next. I was immensely amused. Once again we cram into our Taxi & make for Horsferry Road to report to Miss Conyers. It was a terrible come down as anyone who has been there will know, to be put down in that mean

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little muddy street. During the afternoon Sister L & G we paddled about in the mud & snow, and we all caught the evening train for Brighton after a perfect day. And so ended the day of the Royal Red Cross."

10th I am afraid of what we all dreaded most is going to happen. The breaking up of our family. We are told there are no units now & which means that we will be placed here and there by the wills of the power that be placed here and there by the wills of the power that be. Such faces seem to appear daily & some of our Moretanti gone. I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky to have been a unit band for so long.

13th Feb You don’t know how much I am looking forward to my holiday. And the things I want to do and see. At first I thought I would divide it and stay with friends at Belfast, Manchester & the Isle of Man – but when the others return from theirs & tell of all they have seen in Scotland and Ireland I feel I can’t resist some sight-seeing, especially as I may never have another opportunity so now I am hoping to be able to combine the two. There is a party of 6 leaving tomorrow to go to Ireland & Scotland that I would like to join. I have left the asking for mine rather late – but nothing venture – nothing win so I ask but am told that I can’t possibly have them before March so is disappointment I resign myself to my fate.

Ross – my nephew has been down for a few days – He has been in the Bristol Hsp suffering with trench feet & is now having leave, I am still on night D & have risked smuggling him into an empty bed at night. So to have his company in the evenings. He tells some thrilling tales of his experiences in France.

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15th The unexpected has happened. As I am about to return the Night Super comes in – hands me a warrant for London and tells me that Matron has given me my holidays from tomorrow but I may, if I like, travel today & try & catch up the party. Truly I feel my star is in the ascendant. I am sorry to leave my friend Sister Davis – who is experiencing the very trying stage of patiently waiting. She is to be married as soon as her lover gets his leave but that uncertainty combined with the irregularity of the mails is very trying.

On reaching the Ivanhoe in London I learn that the girls had left by the early train for Dublin. The next goes at 8.45pm and means all night travelling but I decide to go by it & in the meantime go to Miss Conyers for a free pass (return) to Belfast. Being tired for want of sleep I feel somewhat timid about travelling alone but make up my mind that good fortune will be with me – so it was – for on entering the 1st class carriage theres the nicest Irish Sister in uniform who is familiar with the journey. She is going home on short notice to be married ere her lover leaves for France. I put myself in her trust and sleep soundly until awakened at Holyhead at 2am to Change for the Sea journey – then mines & sub-marines are soon forgotten in Sleep until daylight when we are at the Emerald Isle. As we are waiting in the train to take us up to Dublin Sister is anxious that I should see Davy Stephens – the famous newspaper seller ad the best known man in all Ireland "She says I purchase a book on the life & times of Davy and really it is most interesting. He is 78 years old now – And for over 60 years has attended the arrival & departures of the Mail Steamer to & from Kingstown

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and supplied all comers from the Greatest to the poorest". He seems quite the King of [indecipherable] wit two only a word I had with him but he says "all power to yr Maam and good luck to ye I’m Davy Stephens and my son is Eddie Stephens and his fighting wit the Australian Light Horse – And he goes off calling Irish Times " etc.

16th March I just dotted down a few notes during that delightful fortnight & as I am now convalescing from an attack of Bronchitis am telling it to you as my leisure. At Dublin I bid farewell to my kind fellow passenger & proceed in a jaunting car to the Shelbourne Hotel. Tis now of & his hip hurrah. My friends are there. I have caught them just in time for they are leaving by the 9 train for Killarney.

The journey down is in the way interesting – a thatched cottage here & there. The land for the most part appears uncultivated but it becomes prettier as we near Marlow with little rushing streams that are tributaries to that great river the Blackwater. We reach Killarney at 3.30pm secure rooms at the Great Southern Hotel ‘which is excellent’ have Afternoon tea and Straight away Sight Seeing commences. Michael Cullinan is ready with a brake that holds us all. And we go off to see Ross Castle and part orf the lake. The drive is beautiful and Michael – anxious to entertain us makes it interesting with the Stories he tells. Killarney is owned by two people Lord Kenmore and a Mr Vincent who married an American heiress & this property was a present from her father when she married. Yes, Says Michael – "they own it all and if they could bottle the air and sell it they would". We enjoy driving through L.K.s property anyway & Michael

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showes us the "ruined Shrine" then very near theres the tiniest little Island where 7 white mice live. Is that dinkum? Asks one Sister. "Yes" says M and six come out at night while the other one plays. Arriving at the castle a smiling Irish boy ‘Phillip G Ronki’ opens the gate with the welcome "Its free to Australians: On top of the Castle is the lovliest view you could imagine – rising up out of the opposite side of the lake is the Mangerton Devils punch bowl which supplies all Killarney with water. The bottom of the lake has never been fathomed & M tells the following story of how an Australian once tried to test it. Leaving his clothes on the bank he jumps in & after swimming about for sometime – disappeared & they never heard tell of him for a week when he cabled from Aus for his clothes. Another one M tells is that once he persuaded an American to climb to the Top to see what a fine view there was and says I to him afterwards. Shure Sir twas a foine view ye saw now. Yes [indecipherable] the A. It was a very fine view and in the distance I saw the Statue of Liberty in New York. We look in another direction and see the sweet little Island of Innisfallen & one driver quotes to us this verse of Thoma Moores.

Sweet Innisfallen long shall swell
In memory dream They sunny Smile
Which o’er the land that evening fell
When first I saw the fairy Tale.

The whole place is entrancing. The Irish people pleasing and we all feel like this (from the Kerry Ballads.

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No stranger ever breathed her air
But found in her a home
And travellers from distant lands
Have loved her as their own

We all say how we would stay here for water & rest but like the American tourist must go on.
Tomorrow we have planned a very big day. The beautiful dells from the church near by awaken the early and in disappointment I hear it raining heavily but really what care we. The elements are not allowed to damp our spirit though we would rather that the sun were Shining on this beautiful Spot of God’s world as we see it. At 8 a. we alight our [indecipherable] jaunting cars. It is still showery but surely never has any air been so delightfully fresh and still and then the novelty of riding in these cars behind the bonniest of horses. It is all so full of beauty that I could never give you a picture of it in words. WEE are driving now to see the middle & Cower takes ’15 miles! The scenery in all directions is soft & charming. The old stone walls by the roadside mostly covered with ivy and moss and ferns of different kinds spraying out. The huge forests of trees with furry moss creeping over them, the rocky mossy rounds, the untrained hedges of holly trees & rhododendrons which must be gorgeous in the Summer and foliage growing in profusion everywhere. The mists are rising & the mountains are tipped in snow and we catch glimpses of the rippling lakes here and trees all the way. Our first stopping place is to wander around

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the ruins of Mickeross Abbey built for the Franciscan Monks 500 years ago. There’s a great old Yew Tree there growing up out of one of the cloisters, so large that it shades out the light. Continuing on through Mr. Vincent’s park we see his house in the distance – we pass into the deer park where there are pheasants, squirrels & hares & deer up & down the rises under overhanging trees we soon come to a mountain that in parts rise almost perpendicular out of the lake. Daniel shows us a gap which looks like a bite taken out of the mountain & tells us that when the Devil visited there he wanted to take away a souvenir so took this bite & held it in his mouth but St Patrick seeing him hit him in the mouth with a shilleigh so that the Devil spat it out into the lake below and as you look down there is a large rock jutting up and looks exactly as if it would fit into the space above. So it’s called the Devil’s bite & the only bit of the D. that is left in Kitterny says Daniel. He says he did hear Tell of the D. at the Chicago Exhibition & he must be kept busy there still for they haven’t seen him since. We drive on the Bucking Bridge – the meeting of the waters where they start the rapids & Dines Cottage & home again. It’s Market morning & so quaint seeing the donkeys bringing in the low backed cars and the women wrapped in Shawls.
We are sad at leaving K. but at noon we are in the train for our way to Cork & Blarney – We [indecipherable] at Cork & and motor out the pretty drive to Blarney and now my dears in future you must forgive me if I am Blarney for I have kissed the Stone.

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Now the difficult part is to explain to you how we did it. On reaching the Top of the old Castle almost breathless with slipping up the musty circular stairway and my heart going fast with the exertion. The sisters who had reached there before immediately greeted me with "Well Are you going to kiss the Blarney Stone?" Oh yes surely if others could, I could and without hesitation or realising how perilous the task was took off my coat tied my scarfs around my waist for one to hold then lie flat down. My ankles are held like grim death by the others, in fact, I thought they would never let me reach down far enough and kept appealing to them to let me go. I did just manage it & was quickly hauled back. On glancing around there is one sister in a corner as white as a ghost and another kneeling down, leaning her hand on a rail & almost fainting. The feat as far as I can explain it is this. The part to kiss is at the lower edge of a long slab of stone looking 10ft, by 3ft the kissing part being 3ft lower down than the level on which you lie & extends out towards & over an open space on the green lawn 120ft below. There are two iron bars running down the face of the rock onto which you hold. This stone one Father says is the most valuable of Irelands Ancient Glory – and to those who kiss it is supposed to convey suavity of speech. Its origin is of the remotest Antiquity & was supposed to have been brought over by the Tyrians in 883B.C.
Our uniform attracts a good deal of attention in these parts – and as we sit in a carriage on the return journey & at one of the station a young urchin peers in at us for the

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moment then in a loud voice calls out "Suffragettes" and runs for his life.
We reach Dublin at midnight so tired- and I rise early to take the 1st train for Belfast & discover there is not one until evening – perforce have to wait. It’s the custom in Dublin that the first thing a visitor should do is to drive through Dublin and [indecipherable] pack in a jaunting car. So to be in the fashion we do it. Our driver as usual points out the places of interest on the way. The Rotunda Hospital – Cathedrals etc. Then some distance ahead towering in white is the memorial to Daniel O’Connell & presently stopping at a gate almost opposite we are asked to get out. I ask what place it is & why. "Oh" says the driver "This is the cemetery and I have orders to leave you here for ¼ of and hour." I wasn’t sorry for it’s the most beautiful cemetery I have seen and with truth it can well be the people’s pride – One could spend a day there – the magnificent statuary – the lovely lawn & walks and cypress trees. However Daniel O’Connell M is the chief attraction – a man standing near asks if we would like to go down and see the Coffin. To the left of the entrance is buried D G’C’s faithful friend and fellow prisoner ‘Thomas Steele" & the words inscribed ‘Love is stronger than death’. We go down some steps into the vault – are asked to touch the Coffin & shown the Coffin of DO’C family. On the Wall is written ‘My heart to Rome My body to Ireland, My soul to Heaven. The liberator of his country.
Phoenix Park is beautiful (7 miles) the bud trees & herds of red deer. We see the Lord Lieutenant’s Lodge. Guinesses Brewery- the Royal Chapel – and are soon in Sackville St. ‘Once Dublin’s pride’ but now in a deplorable state owing to the rebellion. I asked our driver what had become of the Sinn Feiners. He said of course some were in prison

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but with a twinkle in his eye said that "Since the rebellion there was a stronger body of them than ever" and I do believe he was one the way he seemed to enjoy pointing out the ruins. In Sackville St theres a grand statue of D. O’Connell with his Compatriots untouched of course, a little way further down is a Memorial to Nelson. A charge of dynamite was put under this – but discovered before any damage was done & although they tried hard to destroy it. Only the nose was blown off – Further down again is the fine memorial to Charles Stewart Parnell & on the side his Statue and his finger as if pointing to the people these words are written below - No man has nay right to fix the boundary to the March of a Nation – No man has any right to say to his country. Thus far shalt thou go and no further. We have never attempted to fix the ne-plus ultra – To the progress if Irelands Nationhood – And we never shall; In the afternoon we go for an hour’s tram drive by the Sea to here the Inland of Irelands Eye.

At 9pm we are in Belfast. And on the Station to meet me Mr Thompson & my nephew – I try and not think of tiredness and sit up until 2am talking – I feel so sorry to curtain my stay with three kind friends when they invited me for the fortnight – but I feel I must See Scotland and Can’t be persuaded. Mr T takes a holiday from business next day & Takes Rose & I around first to the City Hall – and beautiful it is too with its sunset marble Halls. Next to the Museum & Art Gallery & thence to Robinson & Cleavers – the great Manufacturers of Irish linen – We are shown over the works – The other Sisters are there too – Some of the things are esquisite – the daintiest of handkerchiefs ranging up to ?10 each. We are shown a sample pattern of the Royal train that the ladys of Belfast presented to Queen Victoria.

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Belfast gives one the impression of being a flourishing city – all business and Industry & quite a contrast to the south of Ireland. The good-bye at 8pm – We take the night boat across to Glasgow – Arriving there in the morning – Such a horrid trip it was but tis soon forgotten for in the afternoon we are on our way to the Western Highlands of Scotland and Lock Lomond. The scenery is just as nice as Killarney though distinctly different. The rugged mountains to the right rise higher & higher as we go & tipped with snow and the burns that cone trickling down first then pushing & rushing on under the rustic bridges and then with a beautiful waterfall empty themselves into the lakes to the left of the railway line. There is the Firth of Clyde – Lock Goil & Lock Long. Tis very interesting watching Lock Long to see if there was any ? ;being ?. For all are ? there for the ? ? At various ? we see the ? all the ? are made at ? And the boy at the Hotel tells me that they ? them at a distance of 1000 Yards & a depth of ? feet. Forgive the marks but on principal I couldn’t till disclose the ?s just now. Our distinction is the Tarbit Hotel A delightful spot on the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. There is big Ben 3192 feet high riding up on the opposite side of the lake. A delicious afternoon tea is brought in and we lounge back in comfortable Chairs before a bright fire and just purr. Truly nobody ever appreciated comforts like we Sisters do. Then there is William Murie – our waiter. A most graceful personage & looks after our little wants like a Father. Yes I do like the Scotch folk – They are charming – and not always on the alert for a tip. I hope I am not wearying you over the length of this letter – It would be a shame to leave out Scotland. The Manageress has planned the next days outing for us – and

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being quite refreshed we start off at 10am in a motor boat with the man who takes the mails about 4 miles up to Lake to Inversnaid – from there we hire a comfortable conveyance which holds us all – Our driver Duncan Macgregor – speaks such broad Scotch that we scarcely understand him – never the less he is entertaining. He draws our attention first to the path that leads to Rob Roys Cave & further on points out the ruins of the Cottage where RR wooed his bride. The drive is to Stronachlacher ‘about 7 miles on’ the banks of Lock Katrine and up hill all the way. We try in our minds eye to picture all the scenery in to Summer dress with the blue sky and the sun shining & smiling. The trees Green ‘the birch – oak – hazel & Scottish furs and with their shades & shadows. The ferns & the running burns – the wild flowers – The purple heather & the sweet scent of it all. Still though it is the dull grey of the winter we enjoy it & there is the faintest purple haze over the many snow speckled mountains – the black faced winter Highland Sheep with their long grey coats lends to the rocky scenery. In the valleys and by the roadside there are forests of old trees leafless now, but the hedges and shrubs have the silvery drops on their delicate sprigs from the recent shows & they are pretty. We only see 3 highland Cattle. We drive back & dine at the Inversnaid Hotel and enjoy Scotland Scenes. And then walk the mile & a half by the lake to see Rob Roys Cave. Nearing evening we return by the same motor boat. The beautiful L Lomond is 21 miles long – 5 broad at its broadest point & 640 ft deep. It is possessed on one side by the Earl or Duke of Montrose & on the other by Sir Ian Coloquhoun. Hundreds of red deer are on the mountains & by looking up we could see some on the skyline.

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The next days event is too much to write about so I must condense it really – Very early a lovely motor is ready And the lady of the H. has gathered together all the warm coats & wraps us well up. Tis a drive to Stirling – To see the wonderful Stirling Castle – the old bridge – and Wallace Memorial. It’s the most historical spot in Scotland. The view from the Castle one of the most wonderful in the world – we see where the battles of Salkirk Bannockburn & others were fought as all so interesting – And the drive indescribably beautiful the whole way – when darkness comes & our bright light from the motor lights up the road under overhanding trees for miles – we think we are in fairyland – and we have been 110 miles.

23rd Sister Rush and I leave the others and the home of restfulness but. We want to see Edinburgh ere Rush returns to duty & I to see friends in Manchester. We arrive at 3pm book a room at the Caledonian & one that commands a beautiful over of Edinburgh Castle – two Churches & Princes St. Then we drive out in a [indecipherable] 8 miles to see the Firth of Forth bridge I wasn’t particularly impressed with that – but the city of Edinburgh impressed me as being of the finest & dignified of Cities & my one regret is that I couldn’t stay & see more of it.

In the evening in a Resturant we meet 5 of our Sisters & they all exclaim "have you heard the latest news? The Canadians are taking over the Hospital – What News – but we ought to be prepared for these sort of shocks & somehow I did wis we would stay in B for the spring – another packing up a fresh relay of things to buy – Still we never Settle again. This party visited Stirling Yesterday too & went to stay at

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The same Hotel for the night that we had previously lunch at – And the Proprietor before admitting them asks them so stand aside and within hearing rang up the Police & asked if Australians were Aliens.

24th We leave bonnie Scotland at 10am & at 5.30 Mr Bulby meets me at Manchester. It is so nice during Mr & Mrs Bulby again. Sunday was an awfully nice day. I go to Church twice. I love going to Church, but this has been the first time for 5 Months and then to [indecipherable] to Mr B was a treat indeed. In the afternoon he & I sat before the fire and talked of S.A. & the friends there of 20 years ago.

Next morning Mrs B & I go for a walk to see an old Elizabethan farmhouse ‘Hough End Hall’ and a we approach it the lady of the house is showing a visitor out & Mrs B immediately introduces us both & as I am an Aus – Sister wonders if she would be kind enough to let me see inside. She does & it’s very quaint with its massive oak doors – its tiny diamond window panes & the [indecipherable] old side board in the dining room. Mr Bulby is anxious that I should something of Manchester, so in the afternoon we set off together – first to his Club. The Art Gallery & we seem to just puddle in and out of those streets with their small uneven stones that makes a new comer’s feet very tired. I am shown a building built in the time of Queen Anne & Ye olde Fyshing Shoppe 300 years old. We sit in the Cathedral for a few minutes – visit a beautiful Library built in Gothic Style by the widow of John Ryland the Manchester Millionaire. Pass by some Old Merchants buildings of Mr Bulby’s there is a mile square of them all stores with Cotton.

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I was especially invited to stay in Manchester for Monday evening to go to a Coffee Meeting at the residence of Mr & Mrs Cowell. These coffee meetings were instituted 110 years ago by a Rev John Clewes – for 60 years a church of England minister at St Johns is M - & although he was publicly known as such he was at least profoundly a Swedenborgian for he translated the greater party of his most important works & instituted these meetings ‘Theological’ for the study of the works. I felt it a priviledge & rare opportunity to be in the midst of this circle of advanced thinkers. The Host & Hostess were charming elderly folk - first came on hand around delicious tea then the meeting began. A paper was read by a Rev Ball on the Non-resistance of evils. A discussion followed which was very interesting. Yes, I loved being with these folk. People with letters to their names and gifted people in different Arts are common amongst Mr B’s Congregation. Then there Mr Morriss – a Master of Chemistry who is making and supplying the dyes that were once imported from Germany. My evening uniform is much admired – Sweet Grey Crepe-de Cheyne – Scarlet Satin Cape & Soft white collar & Cap.

27th Twas good-bye to Mr & Mrs Bulby the morning. It seemed just a glimpse of renewed friendship and I was gone again. Only 2 more days & They are spent with My curious David Gray & he pretty & charming daughter Millie at Waterloo – A Seaside Suburb of Liverpool I very much wanted to go to their home in the Isle-of-Man but time won’t permit. The first afternoon Millie & I go into see the Art Gallery at L. I love the A-Gallerys & as L is the 2nd City in the Kingdom. There are some fine pictures there.

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Dante’s Dream is there by Dante G Rossetti – And Holman’s Hunts Biblical picture. The Triumph of the [Indecipherable]. Done beautiful Nature Scenes by Peter Glint. Cousin David meets us in the evening & takes us to the Grand Opera – Faust. I did enjoy it though when I listen to beautiful music like that such a flood of memories of Australia comes over me. And I long to be with old friends again. The best afternoon is spent on the beach watching a seaplane getting reading to go a journey.

1st I felt quite lucky this morning for I managed to break my journey home to have an hour at Chuter. Twas only a peep really at this picturesque place with all its many Roman treasures. I am alone – but – in that short space of time I see the Cathedral that was built in the 14th Century & wander around it. Above the Choir there are two old tattered flags of the old 22nd Cheshire regiment which were brought through Quebec at the time when General Wolfe was slain. It’s a lovely Sunshiney morning & as I walk along the old roman wall to Charles 1st Tower – where he stood and looked across to see his army defeated on Rowton More in 1645, I was able to take a snap of it. I go to the Ancient Cathedral & the ruins of St John’s Priory which are near the river Dee. The Suspension bridge & the scenery there is very pretty but I have to Tear myself away. My lady Companion in the train is just as well as she can be. On learning that I was an Aus Nurse Sister she said she was for ever grateful to two of our Sisters who did something to her only son’s grave in France. I think twas on that account that I received so much kindness from her. At Victoria Station we part. She to her

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home at Eastbourne and I to Brighton.

March 3rd Really it is wonderful what can happen in a fortnight. As soon as I enter my room I am greeted with volumes of news – Some good – some disappointing – those of us who are going to France are delighted of course – but 4 of the original unit are being left behind – Sisters Bell Rush & McMillan are three of them. Then two weddings to-morrow Sister Walsh & my friend S Davis. I am pleased to be back for her. Matron & I went to the wedding & She looked perfectly sweet & pretty in a nut brown Costume. Capt Hogan had on his Top Service Coat – stained with mud & looking as if it had done good Service on The Somme. I fancy Stills must have asked him to keep it on for when I whispered how unique it was she smiled proudly & said "Yes, isn’t it nice Anne?

7th I’m feeling off colour with a cold & a persistent cough that makes me feel like an old woman. And these terrible northerly March winds pierce through one at every corner & the ward I am in is like a vault. We have 108 boys in J – mostly Australian such dear things, & how they do appreciate Blighty after the trenches.

March 14th Twas inevitable I could cry at getting Sick at this Stage – for the fear of being left behind – but I have been in the Sick Sisters 4 days and it’s a perfect haven of rest & with the Sweetest of Sisters looking after us. I have a companion in distress Sister Mary McIlroy & its laughable the efforts we make to get well. I take anything even Cod liver oil & [indecipherable] & pray for the blue sky & the blurred sunshine & Mary pathetically says "Oh Anne for a bottle of Condensed Australia".

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15th The hospital was taken over by the Canadians yesterday. And all our Sisters have gone to stay in London to await orders. Colonel advises us we will be able to join them in a few days, so we are feeling happen about things.

The Canadian Sisters are very breezy & entertaining. So one thing I wish we would follow their example & place all our Sisters on an equal footing with 2 Stare & so do away with the unfairness that we staff nurses feel.

Hotel York, Berness St, London 22.3.1917. It’s the first of Spring and its been Snowing at intervals all day.

26th We are still waiting and I am taking things quietly. So quite true if you get a cold in England in the winter it’s the hardest thing to get it better. I have only been out one & that was to revisit St Pauls the crypt & the wonderful whispering Gallery there. Then on to see The old Curiosity Shop & afterwards & I do think we do uncommon things. An amiable policeman advised us to go through Lincoln Inns law courts which was close by & very soon we are seated comfortably, listening to a case in the (Lord Ridding) we enjoyed it all thoroughly.

This is a long letter – longer than I realised & I will say good-bye ‘ere I be tempted to tell you of the spirit of unrest due to many things. I do so want to leave the cold country. Yet I wouldn’t return until it is all over – unless I were sent back for my Healths sake & I trust that won’t be.

With ever so much love to you all.

Sincerely Yours
Anne Donnell

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13th letter

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Still Hotel [indecipherable]
Berners Street, London
April 12 .19th

Please address 3rd A 9th own abroad

My dear Friends
Yes, we are still here. It does seem very dreadful – 92 Sisters in idleness for a whole month but we can only wait in patience. We believe the shipping is the great difficulty. You will know how dangerous the seas are at present – when even Hospital Ships are being torpedoed. I wish we could wait in the country – and to stay away a night is not permitted. London is very fascinating & there is always plenty to do & see – but the weather is cold and disagreeable & snows every day. Every one says what an exceptionally severe winter it has been. I go out very little, but always take advantage of the sunshine when it does appear and then usually go for walks in Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens. I know them rather well now & its interesting watching the riding in Rotten Row. I don’t think the majority ride well and the horses are poor. I love best to watch the lovely children one always sees in the parks with their nurses & by the river where the children go to play is the sweetest statue in bronze of Peter Pan. The dog’s Cemetery is near there too, with the little Tombstones – and when I read the inscriptions on them & look at the fresh flowers that are on the little graves of these bygone pets.

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I can’t tell whether its pathetic or amusing. The inscription reads ‘In sorrowing memory of our sweet little Jack – Most loving and most fondly loved. Could love have saved. Thou hast not died. Good Friday afternoon was too beautiful for words sitting in a comfortable seat in the Royal Albert Hall listening to ‘The Messiah’ given by the Royal Choral Society. Madam Kirkby Lunn & miss Agnew Nicholls were the soloists. The Hall is immense, circular in design & with seating accommodation for 13,000. It was a great sight to see the mass of people rise and stand when the Hallelujah Chorus was sung, counting the arena there are 7 Tiers. The organ is the best in London & the Organist the same as at Westminster Abbey.

Tuesday the 10th will be remembered too-twas a Second visit to Windsor Castle. The State rooms there have been closed since the war to the public, but now they are open by invitation of the King to the Soldier. A Miss Nicholson whom we met there said that the Overseas Contingents chiefly take advantage of it. The invitation cards can be obtained at Headquarters. I joined in with a party of our Sisters & at Windsor we joined up with another party of about 40 Made up of Canadians; New Zealanders, & a few Australians with 5 NZ Sisters. First of all we are taken to St George’s Chapel. I do admire that Chapel & like it even better than the Abbey or St Pauls. Straight away I slip across & gaze again at Queen Charlotte’s Memorial & see more beauty in it than ever.

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On coming out I heard this message given to our guide "The King wants to see them so you’ll have to hurry a bit" Twas most unexpected & such a thrill of pleasure and excited anticipation came over me, for I did want to actually see some of the Royal family before leaving England. We are now piloted up to the Castle and the first State room we enter is the guard room where there is a quantity of trophies of arms arranged around, and most beautiful tiger skins on the floor that Kind Edward brought back from India when he paid a visit there. We are admiring these when someone says "The King and Queen and Princess Mary are now ready to receive you, and will the ladies please let the boys go first." So we go two by two into St George’s Hall where I see the 3 of them standing about 3 parts of the way down. As we go on I watch them smiling & bowing & they were charming in their smiles. I am now up to them & see the Sister in front of me gracefully curtseying. I suddenly think I must do the same but ere my knees responded the Queen looks me fully in the face & smiles that I just nodded with the bow. We pass on into the Grand Reception room & I look back & watch the King talking to some of the Patients in such a happy genial way. The Queen’s presence in comparison was Stately & Princess Mary looked perfectly sweet. She had on a soft-black frock with plain white cuffs & peter pan collar. She has pretty light brown hair, blue eyes & con lovely complexion.

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From the Grand Reception room we go into the Throne Room which is used for Investitures of the Order of the Garter. At one end under a canopy of State is a Silver Gilt Throne set with Crystals and amethysts. It is used by the King at the ceremonies. He was originally the Throne of the King of Candy. We follow on through the Ante Throne room – The Waterloo Chamber & the Grand Vestibule – All full of interest; The head pilot in black civilian dress & kid gloves appears & says "the King will be pleased if you will now take of some light refreshment, and he has commissioned princess Christian and Princess Alexandra of Teck as her representatives. Will you please step this way"? A few steps and we are in the Serving room. There is Armour all around the walls. Princess Christian was very charming and in speaking said how much she admired our uniform – In what way I asked one Sister. She replied "for the quietness and unobtrusiveness" Then Sister Said how good it was of them to do so much for us. Oh No She replied It is you who have come so far leaving home & friends to do so much for us. She Said She did not care for nursing herself, but admired those who did it. Princess Alexandra spoke in much the same way remarking how tidy & neat we all were. Her little boy was there handing around cakes. He was such a dear little fellow. (Prince Rupert)

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The Princess Mary came in, took the Teapot and poured out tea. She blushed so prettily when one of the boys made some remark to her. After tea we go back to see St Georges’ Hall where we had been received. It’s a beautiful long hall and the largest room at Windsor. The ceiling, walls and window recesses are decorated with the arms of all the Knights of the Garter from the earliest time to the present while their names are written on the panels of the dads. Prince Alberts name is the last but one. Lord Kitcheners is there too. From there we are escourted out, after walking around the terrace garden, and then walk over to See Eton College, return home and each one feeling they had had quite an eventful day.

April 23rd I don’t like telling you yet it’s a fact. We’re still at the Hotel York. You can imagine how we are feeling about it when we know how very busy the Hospitals are in France. More Hospitals are being sent to France now because there is no assured safety for the wounded to bring them over the sea Crossing. It will be a great disappointment to the boys, for they think its worth a wound to get to Blighty & then they are near home & friends. Many of our Sisters are finding work to do, Some to where they pack & send parcels to the prisoners of war. And others to other places. On Saturday morning Sister McIlroy & I joined 3other Sisters who had been going for some days. There had been a huge order in for moss pads & more help was needed & so we went. This place is a huge building in Cavendish Square & is given over for War

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It rather upset Mary to see old ladies so cantankerous to each other, she could only see the pathos in the pettiness and she’ll never to again, thought the good work was spoils’ but I could only see the funny part, and for instance, Ms M was rather late & when "Now we’re under Martial law" you may wonder what the Moss picking process is. Its first picked from the bogs, mores, & mountain sides and sent in sack to these places, then its dried and the pickers take out the prickles & little sticks. Its then ready for making into pads, and these pads are used for dressings, and to a great extent take the place of cotton wool, Mrs Bent says the moss besides being a deoderant is a natural disinfectant and contains a quantity of Iodine. I can quite beleive it she is right for you recognise at once that she is a clever old lady. The wife of an Explorer & went with him in his travels. I would think that she had passed the allotted span some years ago. Yet here she has been for 6 months constantly picking moss. Yes, I have a genuine admiration for these old ladies who work so, and if they do snap p I don’t think even a shadow would be cast besides the work. And everywhere in England you realise how the women & girls have turned up trumps.

Last Friday Sister Mitchell & I went out to see Sister Rush at St Alban’s Convalescent Home for Australian Sisters. Poor old Rush is having difficulty

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in throwing off her cold but I think she ought to now in this delightful spot. There are two large houses in beautiful grounds. The homes of Mr McIlwraith and he has lent them paying all expenses too for our Sisters, everything is magnificent, and the conservation. It’s a long time since I have seen anything so beautiful as the flowers there, and several Aus wild flowers growing in the hot houses. Also a dear little gum tree. The peach trees were out in blossom in the glass houses & the vines had on their green leaves, but not so in the open orchard. They were still bare. They leave a way of training the apple & peach trees along Trellises and walls like we do our vines. In the afternoon we walked across to the old Abbey of St Albans. A wonderful old Abbey full of interest. I will mention a few of the old treasures they have there ‘The Shrine of St Albans’ ‘The Watching place’. The trellised Grille made of cast iron. The unique and magnificent Altar Screen. And 3 old bread cupboards. One Jacobean & 2 Elizabethan. Since 1620 these Cupboards have 20 loaves of bread put in them every Saturday & in the district On our way back I take a snap of the oldest inhabited house in England.

April 21st Backing in the warm sunshine at Hampstead Heath and under the lovliest blue sky I have yet seen in England, there is a true feeling of Spring in the air at last its so so beautiful.

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My conscience ought to be pricking me for not doing War Work or picking moss, and selfishly coming out here to enjoy this and write to you. Yet I do want to throw off this wretched cold that still lingers on so feel somewhat justified to bathe in the Sun. Yesterday I did too only at Kew Gardens. The display of orchids there are too beautiful for words. Before me now as I write, The ground is pegged out in small squares & There are women old men & children digging the soil where ever you go out of London you see the ground, being tilled & planted by them I suppose chiefly with potatoes. The food Controller is doing his best to prevent a bread famine ere the next harvest is ready & I think almost everyone is conscientiously doing their bit to help. It hasn’t involved any great sacrifice from us. Though Sometimes I could eat more than my portion of bread and Sugar & I do enjoy the little potato allowed us twice a week. It seems strange to have all you eat weighted out before its given to you. We are allowed six Os of bread a day, 2 ozs of Sugar, 5 ozs of Meat for 5 days in the week. Beans rice, fish and eggs are being used a great deal and are very good substitutes. Fruit I miss most of all, it is so frightfully dear, though I do indulge sometimes. I don’t enjoy it as much as I might for thinking of the money it costs. To give you an idea – Strawberries at 8/6 a lb.

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Grapes 7/6 (by the way I can only look at those) Peach 1/- each – Nectarines 5 for 8/6 – plums -/4 to -/6 each – Apples & Oranges -/3 20 -/6 each & pears -/8. I have just come back from having my lunch – a pot of tea & my 2ozs of flour. While there a well dressed & well nourished Englishman came in sat down near me. He became fearfully indignant and abused the Government well wen he discovered it was a meatless day & he diddn’t like fish, finally he has 2 eggs. He vows this food question is absurd and uneccessary & says it just like the English to follow blindly the leaders of the Government without question. Then he wanted another cup of tea & felt like a naughty child when he humbly asked couldn’t he have a little lump of sugar for it. Then he grumbled again & said that the fault with England. It treats you like babies and expects you to fight like lions. With amusement at his size I asked him if he found his portion of food stuff sufficient? Twas a needless question – his reply was "That what he couldn’t get at one shop he got at another.

One afternoon Sister Reid & I went to Harrow on the Hill & to the pretty village f Eastcote. At Harrow we went over the speech house and St Mary’s Church. There are glorious views all around and we sat for awhile on the sot that Byron used to sit for hours and hours looking towards Windsor.

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This was his favourite spot and there he composed the poetry about it which begins with "Spot of my Youth – Whose hoary branches sigh: etc. Its Anzac day to-morrow. Good-bye dears I’m going to roam around now and go back hoping there’ll be some news of our going when I return.

April 26th Here I am again at Hampstead Heath but I am going to do some print and just say good-bye to you for awhile. I called in at Headquarters for a warrant before coming out and Miss Conyers told me that we were going to France in the morning – Hip hurrah.

Yesterday was Anzac day. There was a Service in the morning at the AI F War Chest. A concert in the evening – And in the afternoon Mr Seymour Hicks reserved his Theatre for the Anzacs. It was very very enjoyable.
Love to everybody

PS: May 10th 1917 At No 16 British Hospital, somewhere in France

Out Hospital is not quite ready for us at A------------ And so we are divided up into 5 Sections. And for the time being in different Hospitals. There are 15 of us here – And it’s the lovliest spot on top of a ------------ I’ll tell you all about it in my nest. Au revoir – I am quite well.

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38 Stationery Hospital
B.E.F. France

Here I am again when I sent the last letter I thought it would be the last for a long time to come, because of being cooped up in this uninteresting place – however, some things come along that I think might interest you – And this time I am giving you copies of entries made in my diary during the last fortnight you may find them boring after seeing so much in the papers about air raids, bombs etc, but these are actually my own experiences and as you have had them up to date I will give these to you – asking pardon if they are nasty.

August 28th there is a terrific storm on and we are not in the huts yet. If you could only see us this morning, you would understand us pouring out blessings on the Army. I believe they think Australian women can stand anything and smile on – just as I put down Smile one Sister comes puddling along in the mud with her arms laden and saying "OK dear we haven’t had such fun since the old cow died". I am being pampered – having had a touch of neuralgia – and as we are not busy Matron says I am to stay in out of the cold. Her intentions are good, but the weather will have its way – and there is no shelter unless we take possession of the huts. The storm sprang up in

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the middle of the night. Our Tent is on the point of coming down on top of us. Mary goes out [indecipherable] and secure the ropes – Sisters Wakley & Dora next door are trying to do the same – poor Dora it had got her down and she crawls out from underneath. She is so little and light that the wind nearly blows her over into the vegetable garden. Whilst Wak has lost her slippers. And she squelches about in the mud with bare feet tugging away at the ropes – She works hard but all in vain – soon the Tent is lying flat. Imagine all their things underneath. Matron is about and she gathers together a fatigue party of men so that was a comfort.

Later The Tents blew down fast and as I was sheltering in the Mess Marquee the Colonel comes along and says we are to go into the huts – Twas the only thing to be done – but moving in weather like this was a tragedy. Things are flying in all directions theres crash crash crashes and soon all the outhouses are lying flat on the ground. Sheets of iron are peeling off our new Nissen huts and blowing about like paper in the wind. The Orderleys new tent is down. The Sergeants discovered there floating in the canal when carrying over 14 dinners for the Patients, meets a Sudden Gust and over he goes with the dinners into the mud then a sheet of iron comes and loosens his front teeth for him.

Word has come through that we are to take in the

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convoy that was going to No 30 – but they say they are in a worse plight then we – Its madness of course with the huts unfinished and leaking like they are – but one never says die – My Two theatre Tents are blowing into rags and tatters, so we must move into the new theatre – Are we winning the war?

29th Twas so restfull in bed last night – no flapping Tent against your bed – The convoy went straight to Blighty.

Sept 2nd Mary and I have the day off – The wind is still whistling around the corners so we decide to spend it indoors. Go to Church parade in the a.m. A nice Service Four Americans are present. They are patients of ours – find fellows keen and alert – with a charming spontaneous manner and a quiet self assurance that puts one in mind of our boys – splendid easy physique too. I feel sure the Sammys will be favourites with the Aussies. In the Afternoon Miss Davidson leads me two observers and I devour them. Towards evening the wind dies down. Then Myra Dora – Mary & I go for a walk to visit The Soldiers Graves in the Cemetry. They are in a portion of the French Cemetry and well cared for.

The French idea of decorating graves are quite different from ours. They go in chiefly for Artificial Wreaths and sprays made of fine beads – purple white and green. Over the grave a little room is built – with these hanging around inside, I

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imagine this kind belongs more to the poorer class, for there are others with marble vaults and statuary – but they all have the beaded flowers. The children’s are quaint – little shelves are put in the room – covered with lace and all sorts of vases and nick nacks about – and always one ornament of Our Saviour and the Virgin Mary.

Tis a glorious evening we walk slowly back and enjoy watching the full harvest moon rise. How the old man in it stands out, and he looks quite handsome. There is such a beautiful air of peace and calmness now the wind has ceased.

Sept 3rd It was too beautiful – At 10pm the Syren gave warning that Fritz was here – Then for two hours he carries on with his frightfulness up in the sky. The barrage from our own Anti-Air-Craft is tremendous and ours the one I spoke about in my last letter we have christened Australia. It’s the most powerful one around – being a 60lb high explosive. It thunders out louder than the rest and twice Sums 70 frighted Fritz away. Mary is very excited and thrilled at the Sight and sound of things, but I feel so indignant that men can from a place of comparative safety murder the lives below. The sky and all around is certainly a sight to see – for apart from the numerous searchlights – it is ablaze of flashing lights with the

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bursting shrapnel – which immediately after the flashes look like puffs of smoke. It eventually comes pattering down like heavy raindrops on the roof. Then the sharp and sudden flashes as the guns go off almost blinds me. Once when Matron and I were standing at the window, down comes an awful whiz and thus "That’s a dud or still case" says Matron. In the morning I find a hole a few yards from our room. A patient digs down 4 feet and brings up a heavy shell case. I will bring it back as a souvenir. Souvenirs are plentiful this morning.

Sept 4th I am feeling so white, limp & helpless this morning – don’t think too seriously of that remark. Its due to another Air raid last night. And 18 Aeroplanes up above gave us five solid hours of it. It began at 9pm. And it was terrific until 2am. It’s the most beautiful day to-day. Its warm. The sun is shining and theres the bluest of blue skies, to me it seems a satire on the memory of the night or what I can remember of it. I know I took to my bed and stayed there, only getting up once to see the flames of a great fire a short distance away. That ceaseless drone of the enemy – how I hate it. And our barrage too – and the deafening noise and our helplessness. In - the folk sought shelter in cellars, but we had absolutely no shelter. The patients say this morning that they would rather be up in the front lines under Artillery barage than

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here, and where they would have some protection in their dug-outs.

Poor little Dora, I can see her crouching down by the side of Myra’s bed – inwardly praying. Says she’ll never never miss going to church again – Another Sister prays on in a loud whisper – goodness me if I go on writing like this you may think us an hysterical crowd, when truly we are not. Once Matron came in with an unexploded shell case that had come through the roof of the board room, piercing through the floor as well then into the ground.

Mary and I have the afternoon off – We are too restless to rest, so don our best and go into the club and then into a beautiful hand-worked lace shop where a charming French lady and her daughter go to endless trouble to show us their pretty things. We revel in it, and it helps us forget. I am buying you all some little thing there, wish I could send them as Xmas remembrances, but parcels are not allowed from France – then there are the tin fishes – so I’ll pack them in a corner until I g come back myself.

We see where several shops have been burnt down. A barge has been blown to pieces. And The streets are lines with piles of glass swept up into heaps from the broken windows. Casualties must be heavy, but its hard to get anything authentic. Six Sisters were wounded at No 35 (not seriously) Eighty British Soldiers were admitted there due to the

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raid. The Matron of the Anglo-Belge Hospital told me that 20 French Soldiers (starting on their leave from the trenches) were standing near the Hospital when a bomb came and smashed them up, only one was alive – he was wounded - She had him in her Hosp: At another place 4 British officers were playing bridge at a little table. The G whose hand was dummy for that game, left the table for a few minutes – when he went back – what a shock – another bomb had done its worst. In a French home a Mother was in bed with her 11 days old baby. The Mother and Father were taken – the wee little orphan remained unhurt. I say with Ginger Mick. Blast the flaming war.

Sept 5th Have you ever slept under the bed? The Majority of ;us did last night – we thought it a brilliant idea – Mary and I drew our beds together (in case) and if the warning came we were going to pile all one truck and luggage on top and doss down with a rug and cushion underneath. Being very tired we were in bed by 8 with our window thrown open. The moon (that blinky moon) was rising and the night was clear and bright. We felt we couldn’t bear another night of it – Only a few minutes and listen yes there was the warning – Mary’s thrill of excitement had quite vanished and she was suffering a reaction and was much more nervous than I. We

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decided to get into our dug-outs at the sound of the first gun, and in the meantime waited. The suspense was dreadful, but what a quiet comfort human sympathy is. We held each others hands, and after a silence, when I had been keenly listening Mary said "Ane say the 23rd Psalm. Its so nice." I though Psalms could only be appreciated when in a quiet frame of mind, but I said it and found a little comfort in these two verses. "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and, thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – then Yes. I’m certain I hear the drone of the enemy again, and I’m sure he is high up and directly above us. We are waiting breathlessly for him to pass on from over our heads – when bang went the first gun, and immediately followed the most Terrific Crashes and explosions – The earth shook so – the things rattled down from the walls. We were [indecipherable] to Sister under the bed – I thought our numbers were up – that a few seconds more and we would be facing Eternity. Poor Mary she is trembling so and saying "Oh God – dear God "isn’t this awful Anne" It was awful. Short sharpe and loud, then quietness. The guns had stopped firing. And we hear our own Aeroplanes going up – New tactics to-night though we – so they were – for they fight in the air – but we kept in our dug-outs. Matron is very plucky – she goes around to see that

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everything is all right – fortunately we only have a few patients in And those convalescent. Twas horrid under the bed – but we stayed there until the first peep of daylight – when our fears began to vanish, and the funny side of things dawned on us. Once Matron came along with some Whisky that one of the Captains had kindly sent over – I popped my head gingerly out from under the side of the bed and refused – but the more I refused the more she insisted, but I said "Truly I am not frightened Matron" Well she replied "What are you under the bed for then?

Those bombs – Aerial Torpreds bombs – Its Providence that we are alive this morning To see where the four of them plunged into the Earth – and at the side of our Hospital only missing their aim by 40 yards ‘ that was the nearest’. Fortunately too they fell in soft boggy ground so went deep down before exploding & so lessening the flying shrapnel – Then there were 4 more dropped by another plane to try and get "Australia". They are close enough too – but the other side of the Canal. This is the new deliberate barbarism of the Hun to bomb our helpless wounded in Hospitals, however a greater power was with us – And the Pilot who Aimed for us, was aimed at 10 minutes late by

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one of our A.A.C. at D It aimed so straight that he can do his duty work no more. He was one of Germany’s best airmen – some called him a gallant for and buried him with military honours. Several Chinamen were killed and wounded at their Camp – Next morning when they were going to work – they met some German prisoners – And would have done for them if the Guards hadden’t prevented it with fixed bayonets. Strange to say the worst casualties were inflicted on the G. prisoners. They were being marched to along a road when down swooped a plane (Taking them to be Allies of course) dropped bombs and turned their machine Guns on as well. It makes me nearly sick to write about it.

The wind can blow – It can rain in torrents – We can stick in the mud – anything if it will only keep Fritz away.

What Joy – Five beautiful battle planes came sailing across the sky this afternoon to be here for our protection. They are larger than the Gotha type. Also the famous French Airmen is here. And a French 75. And an Australian Gunner – A Mr Long from N.S.W. has been sent to assist with Australia – So we are feeling much happier.

Sept 7th We are kept on the qui vie I can assure you for Fritz has promised us 9 nights of it during this moon – As soon as the Sun Sets I begin to feel anyhow, but signs of a thunderstorm are showing

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We pray it will come.

The warning comes again at 9.30. The Colonel thinking the Nissen huts the safest place – Sends us over there – Its great to think our planes are up there to meet Fritz. He was discovered at midnight in a streak of moonlight, but a few shots soon scares him away – and soon after our machines come humming home. A terrific thunderstorm breakes – And so we have a better night.

M- and I go again to the Club – It is a boon to us this ‘H.R.H. Princess Victoria’s Rest Club for Nurses". Lady Algernoon Gordon-Lenox is the head of them. She is there to-day. It gave us much pleasure to see her. She is very beautiful and charming. Shook hands and said how sorry she was to hear we had had such a dreadful time.

How I hate the nights – If I go to sleep its only to dream of guns and bombs and Aeroplanes. It is so silly to have this feeling of fear. Yet, I don’t know I wouldn’t believe anyone who said that they were not afraid. If one could only get to and retaliate but you are, at their Mercy )No we’re not for they haven’t any’ and utterley powerless. This is exactly how I feel under shell fire. As soon as I realise that F is here and the guns start 1 by the way, each shot that is fired costs (4.15-0-) I seem to lose nearly all my strength. A band tightens around my head – my senses are nulled, whether

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whether from the noise or fear, I cannot say may be I an not brave – I would like to have been on Duty to see if I could have gone on with my work – I fancy I could have – but I keep in bed and in a half hearted way think of you all out there and await my chance under this tumultuous noise of bombs and shells.

Sept 7th Warned again, but the blessed rain came down which and welcomed.

The English papers today are full of air raid. The following is a copy of what Beach Thomas writes. The enemy for example attacked our Hospitals with bombs holding more than 250lbs of explosive apiece and a few were heavier still. The enemy is the apostle of night bombing, which is semi-blind even during the harvest moon now gibbons – but the general activity has increased and he attempts to secure observation of gun fire by Sending out a little fleet of machines to report for a Single Gun. I don’t know what to think of the Belgiums if they are with us, or them. When we first came to England I was surprised that they were not enthused over by the E people. And no doubt they had been good to them. Then one soldiers never have a good word to say about them – but – I diddent take much notice until we came here – and we hadden’t been here 5 minutes before we were warned by an official who said "Do be careful what you say here – for the place is reeking with

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spies. I musen’t say much, but some were caught around us after the raids. When you read Phillip Gibbs took on "The Soul of the war it’s difficult to put two and two together.

This is a very horrid letter for you this time. Please blame the horrid things that have been happening. Then think of the planes we have now. And rest assured like I do that we’ll not have such a bad time again.

This is a nice bit of news – Miss Wilson has been made Matron-in-Chief for 6 months during Miss Conyers absence to Australia. We [indecipherable] are delighted about it.

Sept 18th There is no more news so I’ll close again with very much love to you all.

Sincerely yours
Anne Donnell

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St Albans

My dear Friends

Just to let you see that I had at least made the attempt to send you a long letter I am sending the following which was written during the first few days at Cannes but has never been re-written for you. I think you will all know why – so I need not apologise – and I am hoping to make amends by sending another within a month which will include the G.G.S. for on second thoughts I am sure that any little [indecipherable] will be as nothing to what you are reading to-day or since the great offensive started.

Go Lady Gifford
Hotel de le Esterel
Feb 1st 1918


Where do you think I am – And what doing, convalescing from over-tiredness in the Riviera and sitting on a high bank of green grass in the warm sunshine – and facing the lovely blue

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waters of the Meditterranean – And theres the sweetest scent of Mimosa in the air.

This is my first day and I feel that I have been lifted up out of the depths of hell to the Garden of Paradise. I think you will think so too if you have the patience to ponder through the pages of my doings for the last four months.

Since I last wrote I have had no leisure time to write a long letter though at odd moments have dotted down a few things that I thought might be of interest. Where shall I begin? I think from where I left off though I can almost hear you say. Yes but please not any more air raids – Sorry but I’ll promise to be as kind as I can. We did have some more terrible times especially the nights of Sept 27th and Oct 29th – the thought is enough. The following was dotted down on Sept 26th. Last night a few of us went to the Opera ‘Mignon’. It is the only thing that has come our way in the shape of an theatres in France so we were looking forward to a treat. It began at the early hour of 6pm. Somehow we felt that Fritz would come and spoil things and he did. It’s a lovely large Music Hall – six tiers and every space packed. Not understanding the lingo was disappointing but the acting-singing dresses etc were beautiful, and we were just in the midst of enjoyment when suddenly out goes all the lights and we are

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in darkness. We instinctively knew what was the Matter and almost immediately the Atmosphere of Suppressed excitement became intense for a few Minutes. The performers went bravely on with the singing, but judging by myself twas to deaf ears. I shall never forget it, that dark theatre with just streakes of light flashing through as the searchlights played around outside, and the thundering noise from the guns – presently the majority were on the verge of a panic when the orchestra struck up a Marseillaise that saved the situation – all stood up – the performers came forward and I have never heard anything quite so wonderful as the singing of that when all those hundreds of people relieved their pent up feelings with soul, heart and voice. Surely I thought the Boche would hear and drop bombs in our midst. The actors then in their pretty dresses removed the stage scenery with the aid of a Torch then out pealed – God Save the King. I was glad when they continued on with it so as we could ring out confound their politics frustrate their knavish tricks. Next followed the Belgium Anthem and soon after the ‘All Clear’ signal was given. We were all glad to reach home and to find that all was well there.

It is a pitiful sight to see towards evening

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The old men and Women and the Mothers with their little children flocking out and Carrying their bits of bedding to spend these cold nights in the forts out here – Tis a place of comparative safety. Whilst others wander out to the fields and creep underneath the haystacks. The poorer class have no cellars and all the underground places in Calais are simply packed. The charming girl in the lace shop says they go down to their cellar, but its horrid and damp and alive with creeping snails.

Oct 31st Such excitement we are going to evacuate we pack ;up and will be prepared to quit at 24 hours notice. You can imagine that there is not a single regret unless it is to leave the beautiful dugout that is now almost finished. Whilst waiting some of the girls are going to Rouen some to a C.C.S. whilst others due for leave are to have it as special leave and that was my fate. I am glad though and I hate to confess it but Calais did take it out of me a bit, and for that reason I have an acute presentiment that I will be classed not strong enough for Italy.

Nov 5th The last day – the dugout is completed is a beauty too with a stove in it and seats. May others reap the benefit.

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In the afternoon Mrs Long shows us over the Anti Air craft Guns etc.

7th Twas my intention to go straight to Killarney and spend the fortnight there – I craved for rest in some beautiful and quiet country spot away from any reminders of war. My friend Sister McIlroy intended to go to relatives in the North of Ireland for the first week and then join me but alas the best laid schemes etc. On reaching London we learn that Ireland is in a state of grave unrest, and for anyone to appear in uniform there was like putting a red rag to a bull. My thoughts then turn to Devon – Wales – Cornwall or the Isle of Wight – but the others Matron – Sisters Barry – Wakley & [indecipherable] were all in favour of Scotland. I was disappointed in a way for having been there in the winter before I wanted to reserve it for the summer. However we all booked our tickets to Inverness. Stayed two nights in Edinburgh and one at Pitlochry on the way where we went for a lovely drive to the pass of Killicrankie. We walked over the pass for 1 ½ miles. It was so fresh and beautiful too. There was a Scotch mist the whole of the time but as I said before – what care we for the weather. The autumn tints in Scotland are absolutely gorgeous from the palest golden to the deepest red brown and intermingled here and there are the trees with sprays and clusters of

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bright red berries. We see the famous Soldiers leap, drive past the house that is situated in the centre of Scotland and drive back to the Commercial Travellers hotel on the hillside and set and purr by the fire as we Australians know how to do so well. Next morning we start on breaking the journey for 2 hours at Blair Atholl, go for a lovely refreshing walk along by the river Garry. Then from there on the scenery is picturesque the whole way with rippling and rushing burns coming down from the brown rugged mountains now topped with snow. I was a bit disappointed in Inverness. The hotel was in a noisy bustling place near the Station so spoilt Anne started at once to agitate that our stay be as short as possible. The walk by the river the next morning was very nice also the view from the castle. And the Cemetry town – no [indecipherable] one could not fail to be interested – and of which we had an excellent view later on in the afternoon. It is a natural hill – exactly the shape of a grave, covered chiefly with Scotch fur ? trees, now Autumn tinted. In the afternoon the party divides – Matron & Sister Barry going back via Aberdeen – while we 3 others at 3pm took the boat and sailed down Loch Ness, a 5 hrs journey to Fort Augustus – The Scotch people thought me a bit Magnoon (mad) I am sure "Oh" they said "but theres

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nothing down there but scenery" – little realising that that was the best inducement they could give us – at lease Mary and I – In travelling like this we are never sure of even a shelter overnight but we don[‘t anticipate trouble and never have any – again the Scotch people are dears. And each place we stay at seems better than the last and the Lovat Arms are just it. Just fancy going to bed and listening to the rippling water and breathing in the pure fresh air from the Mountains. We are scarcely there when an invitation comes for us to have afternoon tea with a Miss Burns from the Abbey Lodge the next day. Next day being Sunday we go to chapel. I asked Maggie the quaint little maid if the Minister was good – she replied "Oh he’s no great but I think he’ll do".

Now Miss Burns is one of the most charming people it has been my pleasure to meet. She made us feel so at home. Certainly she is very good to the Sisters that pass this way and usually keeps the Motor and takes them out driving but its put away for the winter. She and her friend are now contemplating keeping a house in London for the Sisters – chiefly for the Colonials. She has just the Motherly touch and seems to know exactly what it is like to be 16,000 miles away from home. She thinks I am the little one that

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wants to be taken care of. If she only knew the [eff]ort I have to pull myself together. And how [indecipherable] I am with those efforts . I sleep and eat badly and generally what you would call miserable. Its [indecipherable] unsettled feeling I have of pending separation [indecipherable] it marring my holiday.

Looking up from the Abbey Miss Burns points to a large white house up on the side of a mountain [indecipherable] Astors the American Millionaires". She says too that [indecipherable] is giving it as a summer residence to the Australian Sisters. We walk up to see it the next day and the view from it is charming. It [indecipherable] the loch and Fort Augustus. The old old monastry particularly stands out. Miss Burns is ‘a Catholic’ and invites us to the opening ceremony of the New Church there on Tuesday Morning. We go but first of all are shown over a part of the place that is being used as a Convalescent Hosp. for the boys – we had met a number of these boys in blue [indecipherable] but they diddent look happy and when Mary said to them how nice it was for them and how lucky they were to be here – instead of a smile they looked positively bored but we say "look at the lovely scenery" "Scenery" says one boy. "The scenery will drive me mad, give me a picture show". We leave this lovely spot for Glasgow in the afternoon", spend a night there ten make for the English lakes – planning to arrive there in the late evening – That would

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then give us one day there for the other two are anxious to return to London for two days shopping. Now it so happened that on the branch line we missed a change and went sailing blissfully on for miles out of our course, and was at Bowners or Furness before we discovered our mistake – result the last train had gone so we stayed the night in a crowded cramped up Musty Temperance Hotel for the night. I thought twas good bye to the lakes but after some nourishment Mary the dear knowing my disappointment looked up the time table and found that we could still manage it by having tours there & then catch the evening express to London So at 10.30am we arrive at the Lakeside Hotel – I decide to stay on so book a room that overlooks the lake and the hills opposite – order lunch and then we go for a lovely walk. The scenery is somewhat like Western Scotland only not so rugged. At 12.30 I wave Wak & Mary farewell with a rather sad heart – I felt it was the breaking away from Mary – my beloved companion and say so – but she says how silly of me to spoil my holiday with such foolish thoughts – why nothing could happen – so feeling a bit lighter hearted about meeting again at the Ivanhoe on Sat night I made up my mind to enjoy 2 days 2 days with Nature & how I loved dit. The days were something I roamed

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the hills, and went for long long walks by the lake, drank 2 pints of milk a day as extra so that when Saturday came I congratulated myself that I was quite my old self – quite brave and ready to meet any fray.

They say "To be forewarned is to be forearmed. I assure I felt anything but armed when I reached the Ivanhoe and was told that they had all gone to Italy. It was the keenest disappointment and I lay awake all night with a big heartache. Could find no comfort anyway until on reporting at Headquarters in the morning I was told that about half the staff had missed the unit. It went so hurridly at the last and that we not being on the spot Miss McCarthy had replaced them from No 3’s staff. And the other left behinds were now at No 3 at Abbeville. Was I selfish in my relief but there was a chance of rejoining them and Mary was there.

It was a horrid feeling to be alone in London I went to Church in the Morning at Argyle Square with the secret hope that some kind person would invite me to their home – but no luck – but on returning to the Hotel I received a phone message from my friend Mrs Hogan asking me to go & see her at a private Hsp. After a great deal of difficulty in finding the place the nurse that opened the door with the Stiffest of manners said "Mrs Hogan and her baby girl are doing

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well but no visitors allowed." And by no persuasive powers of mine could see either Stella or the baby, though the nurse put forth my pleas to the Matron but no "only Husbands and Mothers could come in" Stella being an orphan and her husband in France, surely I, one of her dearest friends could see her – And who would have nursed her had we been in Australia and especially as I was returning to France in the morning but with all my fight I had to finally go tearfully away. I was
so indignant and utterly fed up as I retraced my steps – walked until it was dark, then wandered into Flemings for Tea or to wile away an hour until church time. Now for instance My encountered with the Matron was so typical and will you some idea of why there is at times clashes between the England and Australians. A rule is a rule with them to which moderation or reason does not apply – while we will I trust at least would put a would put a little thought and heart into the everyday things of life. And under certain circumstances you may not agree with me but tis said now – and I am going to give an instance of how different others can be. Sitting opposite me at Flemings was a Mother & daughter & seeing they were nice and feeling I must talk to somebody I opened up a conversation by inquiring if they tell me what time

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the service commenced at the City Temple. It ended with me going with them to the C of E off Oxford St to hear the Rev R.J. Campbell. One had heard so much about him that I was glad to go. The Church was packed and we had to take our turn in the queue to get in. The Sermon or the man that delivered it what shall I say of him. I know I felt it a priviledge to see and hear him to look at him I felt strengthened And I am sure the Sermon applied to all there though I took it as especially for me. It was so simple yet great in its simplicity. The voice was quiet and somewhat weak but everyone listened for every word but the man he has such a strong or [indecipherable] personality. I walked out by the side of Mrs Asquith so my newly made friend told me. She talked and talked so to the person that was with her that I wondered who she was. The two friends saw me back to the Ivanhoe and hoped to see me off to France in the morning. My heard went out in warmth to them but I diddn’t see them again probably because Victoria Station was packed from end to end with soldiers returning from leave. At Boulogne I waited for 2 days then received my orders to report at Abbeville. Yes thought I, No 3 – but no I seemed doomed to disappointment – on arrival

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there I get fresh orders to proceed to 49 C.C.S. /British casualty Clearing Station and alone – Twas almost too much but I thought of the Sermon and would not be downhearted. There was 4 hours before the train started – so received permission to go up to No 3. It was just lovely too seeing the old original and the left behinds from 38. Most of them envied me the C.C.S. but I never was enthusiastic over a C.C.S. & especially since the raids at C_. Now as the Train drew in at Abbeville Sister Yeaman popped her head out of the window. "Come along Anne" deal old Yeam ‘An O No 3’ there were 4 others Aus – Sisters there too all going to 49 – Yeam & I were delighted at the meeting – arranged to share and chatted away at full tilt. Till we reached Amiens there an Ambulance was meeting us and Taking us to our destination. Now why – oh why did the following happen. Truly I must need some schooling still. Anxious to know if the luggage had come on I was delayed a few minutes behind the others – then in crossing the road to join them two brilliant lights from a motor car flashed on to me just as the car stopped And a voice called out "Sister Sister where are you going and who are you?" Surely I thought can that be Miss McCarthy (The Matron-in-Chief in France. I glanced at the red and ribbons and her bright keen brown eyes & knew it was. On learning who I was etc she then looked up her book by the light of the car and asked me if I was very

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disappointed at missing Italy and would I like to be sent later. The next thing I had to do was to follow into no 2 Stat Hsp where she again looked up her books and decided to change my destination to 48 C.C.S. I felt flat once more but summed up enough courage to ask if I might go with my friend. She had been nice and approachable up till then but her manner froze at the question. As if to be with friends meant nothing I thought of what one of our girls said once "Truly everything is thrown at you in the Military truly they have no manners at all".

As soon as I could I went to see about my luggage but it had all gone to 49 which meant I was without it for a fortnight and I lived in borrowed clothes that the English Sisters kindly lent me – Another wretched night I couldn’t take kindly to this separation from all Australians. In the morning my final orders came for 48 C.C.S. It meant waiting all day in Amiens for 3 other Sisters were joining up in the evening and coming too – I wandered down the street. And saw over the beautiful Cathedral the one that we French have paid such an enormous sum for to the Germans to leave untouched – saw the sweetly pathetic little status of ‘The Weeping Angel’ On coming out I hear a paper boy calling "The joy bells are ringing in London’ I bought the paper and felt wonderfully cheered up.

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After Russia’s Anarchy and Italys’ reverses this was the best news we had had for something ‘Sir Julian Byng’s big Success ‘The Cambrai Victory. And I was on my way up to help and with some shame put away my selfishness and said. Whatever is is best.

22nd November The drive out from Amiens I could never forget Twas my first introduction to the real waste devastation And desolation and which one needs to see to know the full meaning of war. To see the empty shattered ruined homes of the villages we pass through. I saw beside the driver – he has been driving over the roads of France Since 1914 so pointed out everything. We left Amiens at 7.30 pm (by a faint moonlight) and for miles and miles drove under a long avenue of trees until we reached Albert, passed slowly by the Cathedral And looked up and saw the bending Lady – from there the ruins begin becoming worse & worse as we go on – the true havoc of war – not a tree left from the once beautiful Avenues – only the torn ragged stumps remain – and they are touched with whitewash to guide the traffic on dark nights for the nearer one gets to the war gone the lights are put out, every now and then a torchlight suddenly flashes out on us from the middle of the road & a sentry with a big voice calls out "Who goes there" We stop a moment for in inspection then the Signal "Carry on is given.

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But those little roadside to the right and left as far as you could see, then for 15 miles we pass on through the sacred ground. I became silent My heart ached, for this is part of the vast valley of the Somme, where lie so many of our own heros who have fought and fallen – some things are too sacred for words.

The driver points out where the tanks first went into action. A few ruined ones are still about ruined from Aeroplanes too And the Craters from the explosions of the first mines. The ruins of Bapaume come next and about another 10 miles brings as to our destination. It is situated between two ruined villages – Etres & Etricourt and 5 miles behind The firing line. We have come 50 miles & tis midnight – Matron receives us with "We are frantically busy and I want one at least for duty straight away. Twice I volunteered but wasn’t accepted. And the others were very tired for they had been 2 days on the journey – finally we all dossed into somebody elses bed & rested till morning. Now I am hesitating – shall I or shall I not tell you about the C.C.S. My experiences there –I shall write them up and let ;you decide – You see I know and you can only imagine – but the 2 months spent there I will write separately and any who would care to see them please say so, but a word of warning I would not make you sad or depressed ‘voluntarily’ but there was no brightness there – there was unself-

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ishness and goodness, and braveness that was sadness and suffering and death – when only to work was to live. There was Fritz – to say nothing of the bitter cold ice & snow. After 2 months my bodily strength gave out and I was sent away to the Sick Sisters at Abbeville then on to tis bit of heaven to convalesce.

Feb 8th I have only a week more – I did hope to remember you all first but the surroundings are so charming & there is so much to see. There was Mentone & The Italian frontier – where a Frenchman sits on one side of the soil & an Italian on the other – its separated by a huge gorge between mountains. After some persuasion the I let us cross – write some P.C. & see an I town in the distance. There was Nice – Monoca Palace – Monte Carlo. The Casino & the shops are most fascinating – especially those at Nice- theres the olive wood – daum & Galle – beads – lace & precious stones – And the flowers but best of all I love the scenery all along the coast – the blue sky – the warmth & sunshine & the Sweet Scent of the Mimosa. The hillsides are now a mass of gold. Then the congeniality of the inmates here & the comfort & VAD’s in all kinds of uniform – English regulars – Terrins – 9 aimnsr’s Canadians South Africans Americans etc etc.

I am very much stronger physically & mentally for which I am truly thankful – And now I am going to leave you – but I ask you not cast too critical an eye on this letter.

Yours with love
Anne Donnell

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Mrs Cockburn

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"Campbellfield" St Albans
England 17.4.1918

My dear Friends
Just to let you see that I had at least made an attempt to send you a long letter I am sending the following which was written during the first few days at Cannes, but has not been re-written for you – I think you will know why so I need not apologise and I am hoping to make amends by sending along another within a month which will include the C.C.S. For on second thoughts I am sure that my little say will be a mite to what you must be reading in the papers to-day or since the great offensive started.

C/- Lady Gifford
Hotel de l’Esterel
Cannes France
Feb 1st 1918

Where do you think I am and what doing – Convalescing from tiredness in the Riviera and facing the lovely blue waters of the Meditteranean with the Sweet scent of the mimosa in the Air.

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explains everything. And its most interesting .

7th Twas my intention to go straight to Killarney and spend the fortnight there. I craved for rest in some beautiful country place, away from any reminders of war, my friend Sister McIlroy intended to go to relatives in the north of Ireland for the first week, and then join me, but alas. "The best laid schemes etc> On reaching London we learn that Ireland is in a state of grave unrest and for anyone to appear in Uniform there was like putting a red rag to a bull. My thoughts then turn to Devon – Wales – Cornwell or the Isle of Wight – but the others Matron, Sister Wakley Barry & Milroy were all in favour of Scotland, so I joined in but was disappointed in a way for having seen Scotland in the Winter before I wanted to reserve it for the summer. However we all took tickets to Inverness, stayed two nights in Edinburgh and one at Pitlochry on the way. Where we went for a lovely drive to the pass of Killicrankie. We walked over the pass for 1 ½ miles. It was beautiful too, there was a Scotch mist the whole of the time, but we never mind what the weather is like. The Autumn tints in Scotland are absolutely gorgeous, from the palest golden to the deepest red brown, and intermingled here ad there are the trees with sprays and clusters of

St Albans, ENGLAND
1st May 1918

My dear friends,
I wonder will it be a pleasant surprise to you to receive another long letter so soon after the other. You see I was so far in arrears that I feel I must now I have the time make hay while the sun shines, and even though the letter was the longest sent, there is yet a lot I haven’t told you.

You know I really do enjoy telling you everything for you seem very appreciative and interested, and I hope overlook mistakes in spelling and punctuation.

I think I’ll begin with the C.C.S. and get it off my chest but please don’t conclude that all C.C.S.’s are alike – I can only speak of my own experiences and some of those are fading now with the lapse of time so that it will mean taking some bare extracts from my dairy while other things will stand out most vividly as long as my memory lasts.

You will all know that C.C.S.s hospitals are the nearest to the front lines. The wounded first pass through the field dressing stations and then usually come by ambulance to the C.C.S., and then close to the C.C.S. is a rail head and from there the hospital trains take the patients down to the various bases. It is usual for two C.C.S. to be close together and work in conjunction with each other. Our next door neighbour was 21 C.C.S and we received the patients alternately, perhaps 2 hrly, or 4, or 12 just according to how fast we were admitting or how many. For some days after the so-called Cambrai victory the majority of patients from here pass through these 2 C.C.S.’s.22 To say we were busy would be too mild an expression. I know for myself I was intensely lost in the work. I was put in charge of the evacuating section which consisted of 9 large marquees (3 ordinary marquees which consisted of a 9 large marquees being one), that including chiefly the walking cases, gas and post anaesthetics. It was to the latter I gave most of my attention. They were called the less serious cases (surgical) that had had operations, but they were mostly big and varies, but were considered fit to take the train journey, and we were always glad to get them away for the sooner they could be made warm and comfortable in a bed at the base so much the better for them, for until

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they went they were lying on stretchers in these cold dim marquees where the daylight didn’t penetrate and it was difficult to give them warmth. Haemorrhage was a thing we had to keep a sharp look out for, so the first thing my head nursing orderly and I did was to start each morning and see to the dressings, make them as comfy as we could, and prepare them for evac., and for that we had full and plenty of Red Cross woollens, beautiful things, socks, caps, mufflers and pyjama suits. One thing, I was free to use my own discretion in giving morphia or stimulants, and you may be sure I was ever ready with either when I thought it the least bit necessary. I soon found there was no stint in anything that the patients might benefit by having and the Sisters could order ad. Lib. Every morning the Padre came in with a pillow-case over his shoulder and would have a plentiful supply of cigarettes and matches for the day and night.

I can scarcely remember those first days there, only that they were bending day, unsatisfactory too for I always went off duty with the feeling that was "it seemed to me necessary" had been left undone – to do it all one needed several pairs of hands.

Do you remember the 30th of November? The day the Germans broke through in their counter attack. It’s horrid of me to recall the memories of it, yet you are persuasive in asking for my experience, but that day to me will forever stand out. It is rather hard to describe it, to depict that anxious day of cruel war as I saw and hear it. I remember thinking as I was dressing at 7.1.m. that a fiercer barrage than usual was going on, but I was too busy and absorbed later with my work inside the tents to make enquiries, only I kept thinking "Isn’t this killing ever going to stop", then at 10a.m. Matron hurries in and asks if I have my gas respirator and helmet (no I had forgotten both, so was sent tante-te-suite to the quarter for them). On going outside I notice that there is great excitement going on, men are standing about in groups, and a voice calls out "lock sister". Two of our observation balloons were up and Fritz has just sent the 2nd one into a streak of smoke, the observers

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coming down in parachutes. On reaching the Quarters I see the night staff are wandering around in an agitated way and on my enquiring what was the matter they indignantly reply "Goodness don’t you know that the Germans have broken through and are only 3 miles away and we’ll have to evacuate." The noise from the guns by this time is in full fury, it’s tremendous, and the continuous humming of it seems like scores of aeroplanes above. I feel this is war indeed, and I fancy all at once that I can see the Germans coming in swarms over the ridge. I hasten back to the boys on the stretchers to get them ready and almost lose consciousness of the excitement that is going on outside, but soon Matron hurries in again and sends me off to put a few things together into a suit case to take with me. It’s come I thought and they won’t let us stay to see the boys away first, but just as fast as the trains can be loaded, just as fast are the patients coming in - no faster – and now there is a query if they can all be got away, and the irony of it all for the wounded boys and the gassed boys are just making their way in streams towards the C.C.S. I could never forget it, the expressions on those dear boys’ faces as they come pouring in with their frightened anxious hunted look combined with the suffering of fear, pain, and shock. Boys who could see would be leaders of queues of blind bandaged boys each placing their hands on the others’ shoulders and so feeling their way.

Very soon every available space under cover is packed and not only inside but outside as well. I leave my wounded men and go over to the gas side where Matron soon joins in to help, also another Sister and as many Orderlies as can. They are great too and can work with the best when work is to be done, and there we go on hour after hour putting cocaine in these poor smarting eyes, then sodi-bicarb pads and a bandage.
The M.O. as busy in other ways in relieving blood pressure and giving oxygen to the more serious ones, really this goes on in a more or less degree for two days and nights – but I have gone ahead. Well about midday of the 30th the D.D.M.S. OR A.D.M.S. comes along and says the sisters can stay on as long as the place itself is not being

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shelled, but off we go as soon as the first shell comes, but very soon after the joyful news comes that the Guards are in and are holding the Germans. With that the tension relaxes somewhat. The poor Colonel he has had an anxious day, and he told my tent mate at night that we had no idea how close we were to being prisoner of war (they said the position we were in for a time was something like being inside a horseshoe). All night the staff car remained in readiness in case and we were not allowed to undress. For days the sights of war are everywhere, the roads present a constant stream of troops, artillery, ammunition, provisions etc. etc., and we are surrounded with fresh troops which of course endanger the position of the C.C.S.

I hear that the 4th Division of aussies familiar turned up hate. Of course after a battle the inevitable follows and we truly see the havoc the war plays on these precious human lives of cure and those brave big splendid fellows – the Guards, the Grenadier, the Irish, Scotch, Shropshires, and many others. They were on their way to rest awhile after the Cambrai affair, but it’s very terrible to see them coming in like they are and it’s a blessing that one cannot stop to think or analyse things. I only know that I am not only nurse but represent to them for the time being their dearest ones, and many a time I find myself going to the marquee flap to hid the tears that will gather and ask for strength to control a distorted face and go back. Then a once bonnie boy with many wounds has just realised what his affliction is for the rest of his life, but with a smile will put out his only hand and say "Sister but you’re worth fighting for." Every hour of every day one touched tragedy and the only bright spot that I could see or may be it was the saddest, was the braveness of the boys in their sufferings. As I said before, to work was to live, and I felt the life was like the waves of a rough and stormy sea with a strong deep undercurrent. I do hope I haven’t made your hearts ache with telling you these things.

I think it was the 2nd December when in the morning the Night sister greeted me with "Sister I’ve got an Australian here for you." Then as I was talking

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to him a voice from a stretcher opposite calls out "Sister that Australian saved my life and if he hadn’t he wouldn’t have got wounded." I soon discover that the Aus. Is a South Australian and attached to the 1st King Edwards’ Horse. As his regiment were marching somewhere near this helpless wounded boy he stepped out and assisted him to a place of safety, and twas when he was on his way to join up with his reg. that Fritz shot him in the foot. "Tis a severe wound (I have just recently heard from him, and although he has had 4 operations, the Dr. is not sure of being able to save his foot). He suffered very much from pain and shock and I kept him all day and made myself snatch a minute now and then for a little chat. He seemed delighted and proud of Australian.

Now I am chatting on, but the next item on the list came on the 6th December when matron insisted that I go off duty for 2 hours. I wonder what I shall do with that precious 2 hrs. I decide to go for a walk and fortunately meet a Canadian Sister with a Padre, and they invite me to go with them to see some old German dugouts, so with our helmets and gas respirators off we go. The air, though cold, was delightfully fresh. It was very interesting wandering over this shell broken ground that the Germans evacuated over this shell broken ground that the Germans evacuated on March 18th 1917 with its barbed wire entanglements and dugouts and old trenches. Here and there we came upon little white crosses – French, British and German. We looked at one German one with this inscription underneath the iron cross –

Den Hildentod
FurSein Vaterland Starbder
(The hero for his Fatherland has died)

apart from these wonderful dugouts of theirs that penetrate deep into the earth and then extend ever so far, I was interested in the old trenches and particularly the spaces that you would come upon every 50 yards or so that were used by the snipers. They commented such a clear range for miles and miles – no wonder our troops had such difficulty in advancing, I picked up a German shell case, as did Sister. The ground is very hard to walk upon, so uneven because of the shell holes (the children could have a great game of hide and seek in them). We see too the fresh holes made by the last two nights’ bombing. On the

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way back we stop for a few minutes at our cemetery, and although the Padre said the C.S.S. had been therefore 6 months previous to this affair, there were only 35 graves where now within a fortnight lay 700 more previous lives beside them.

I confess that that little relaxation made me tire and as soon as I am off duty make a "beeline for bed, but ne’er a wink of sleep for Fritz’s big guns soon get busy and the shells come screaming over us each one seeming to get nearer and nearer until at 1.30a.m. we listen intently and hear the order given to Matron that we must all get up and go down to the dugout and be prepared to walk for five miles to Bus and possibly we might have to evacuate the Hospital. We daren’t show a light and how my mater put her things on so quickly and be prepared to meet daylight perhaps in Amiens or Abbeville I don’t know. Was it the shells or was I thiickheaded, but I couldn’t seem to get ready. First of all I put on my dressing gown and big coat and gum boots and with a rug and eiderdown thought I was ready. Then Sister leaves me with "but Sister you must have a dress and you can’t "walk in gum boots." It’s very tiresome. Yes, I must have a dress, my purse, a few handkerchiefs, a comb and hairpins (and I hate leaving to fate all the precious things I have gathered together). I am frightfull6y slow but am soon aroused with Matron’s voice at the tent flap impatiently calling "Sister, Sister, do hurry you are very slow aren’t you? The others are all down there." She is really a dear and I love her, but I was so indignant for the night was bitingly cold, the dugout muddy and damp, and as I thought offered no protection for it is only an open cutting in a bank and faced the Germans, and if a shell did come in our midst it would get the whole 40 of us, whereas if we could have remained in our beds and the night staff on duty, it would only be a matter of a few.

However, an order was an order. We all crouched close together in the dark, a good deal of grumbling patients, others hummed or sang (between the crashing shells) "Keep the Home fires Burning." Of course we laughed and joked too and saw the funny side as I think all girls do and it helps to balance things. The M.C. the Sergeant – brings along hot tea and coffee and it is weird pouring it out and handing it around in the dark. After 3 hours the shelling gradually ceases and at 4.30 we

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have the order to disperse. It’s my sister’s birthday, she little dreams of the early wishes wafted to her from a dugout in France. The nearest shell came within 3 yards of the resuscitation ward, but providentially the flying shrapnel burst away from the ward. We only had one casualty – an orderly received a broken leg – but oh we never have these shellings without someone suffers, and we could hear the cryings from the poor Labout Batt. Who had caught it whilst working at the railhead – enough.

Miss McCarthy hurried up to us having heard of course about the night dud, we thoroughly appreciated the message she left – that during a raid we could please ourselves, stay in bed, go to the dug out or remain on duty. It was very sensible for we had at that time no place of safe shelter.

Truly I must start and curtail this letter or it will never be finished, so I’ll skip on to Xmas and just say that that night in the dugout was a bit severe for some of us. For myself I developed a cough which helped to add to disturbed nights, and the results of which I have just now fully recovered.

On the whole I was as happy as I could be under such circumstances. The Matron and sisters and I must add Orderlies, were especially good I thought to the odd but from Australia. And I loved the work if it wasn’t for the constant unsatisfied feeling that you could not individually special. One only had time to give the treatment and dit seemed crude to have to pass by the little extras that makes nursing a pleasure, though everything was done that could be done. It’s really great the work at a C.C.S. and to be one of the band of those unselfish workers I felt it a privilege indeed. For instance, Matron rarely if ever went to bed before midnight and more often 2 and 3 a.m. would find her in her office writing letters to all who were on the dangerously ill list, and to those who had passed away. Another instance of goodness I thought was the healthier boys giving up their blood for their almost dying comrade (the transfusion of blood to one person from another). In this way I believe many a life has been saved. For this the boys were given [indecipherable] and kept longer than the rest, and needless to say they liked that part though they did not look for compensation.

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Xmas found us much less busy, but for all that the work for each did not lessen for accordingly the Staff was less and I think we were down to 17 Sisters. I then had the Acute Medical Ward and the surgical chest wounds, but the majority of severe cases were pneumonia and trench nephritis cases. Pardon, I don’t mean to go into detail.

For days before Xmas the boys that could were busy making paper decorations, they made the place gay and it looked like Xmas, but I think very few had the real Xmas spirit. We did hope for a quiet peaceful day though, but towards midnight on Xmas Eve I was listening to the Carol Singers singing "Oh Come all Ye Faithful" and others when Fritz’s guns and our guns commenced. In the morning two Xmas cards were picked up in our quarters, then others were found in the Hospital, they were greetings dropped down from the sky by our neighbourly friends at the Aerodrome. It snowed the whole day long, beautiful to look at bur so so cold.

I will now copy a few items from my diary and then change the subject.

29th: Two A/planes were brought down within view this a.m. by a Scotchman named ------- He has brought down 37. You see the Fritzs come over say at a height of 20,000ft to take photos, and he goes up to watch at say 18,000 ft, and when he sees them he goes up to meet them and open fire.

30th: Terrific barrage this a.m. The Huns had attacked again, came over in the snow swathed in white. The Naval Division caught it and the poor labour men later with shelling.

Dec.31st: Good-bye 1917, I was awakened suddenly at the early hour of 2.30a.m. with the sound of close shelling and quickly detected a faint sweetish scent like pineapple, then immediately followed a loud knock at the door and Owen calling out "Sister Donnell they’re sending over gas shells, have you your respirator ready?" I jumped up as did most of us and got dressed, shivered and shook and coughed and I though I never should manipulate that mask. 10p.m. Will this restless life never cease, as

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I write the shelling is going on again – heavies too. I am not undressing. Ma tresch 1917!!

Jan 1st 1918: Time says the beginning of a new year, as you may expect it was heralded in for us by big guns – theirs and ours. All the Sisters but myself stayed up to welcome the year in (Matron being Scotch the Jocks had a great time). She said as all the other Nations were represented at a party, Australia should have been there, but I was tired and went to bed, got out some old letters and re-read them, and then couldn’t sleep for the guns, at lease I couldn’t though some get so used to them and take very little notice. Then I got those fatal blues when you cry a bit. Then I got those fatal blues when you cry a bit – not taking Mrs. Higgs’ advice – sit on the lid and smile, so I predicted the omen was not a promising one

Jan 3rd: such a terrific noise from the Archies this morning that we were attracted outside to see what was happening, and what a sight it was. There were the enemy planes and ours having a great fight above us. They scattered and dodged and chased so swiftly after such white clouds, and always escaping those black and white balls of shrapnel – it was most exciting.

I am going on night duty, so before retiring take the opportunity of going for an hour’s walk. To my surprise I discover we are by the side of a beautiful canal and the ruins of two large bridges that the Germans have blown up – or down. Lower down the canal I pass over a bridge to the other side and wander on – it’s all sights of war up this way for miles and miles around us, being isolated entirely from civil life; indeed
Amiens – 50 miles away is our nearest place for shopping. Our laundry is one of our minor trials, but the Padre is awfully good for he takes on occasional trip in and I’m sure burdens himself with numerous commissions. I’m ahead again, but on a railway line 235 of those huge monsters of tanks pass by on trucks, it’s the first time I have seen them, and then I keep my eye on two of our observation balloons that seem to repose so calmly and comfortably up in the sky. Then Fritz’s Archies start peppering at one and evidently the Observers gate scared for they come down in parachutes, and it’s so

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pretty to see them. Rumour says that Fritz has brought 50 more divisions from the Russian frost to this. I can picture us yet going away with a rush or being prisoners of war (pessimistic still).

Jan 6th: Those wretched visits from Fritz when he knocks overhead with his zzzz and then leaves his cards or iron rations as the boys say. At 4 a.m. my trained ear detected the z, I get so limp, but went and stood by a very sick laddie who was awake and waited – only a few seconds and those terrific crashes. The patients awake with "What was that Sister". The very ill ones were too ill to take much notice for which I am truly thankful, and I, well I never did profess braveness when bombs are above, and I didn’t tremble this time but literally shook. How I went around to see that my 54 boys were all right I don’t know. The blighters returned again 2 hours later. It really is a nerve test – a terrible test. I had a letter from Mary to-day, she and most of the others have rejoined the 38th and are in Italy. To My surprise Matron had asked Capt. Chandler to keep a professional eye on me, the cough is obvious and I’ll admit to feeling tired, but who wouldn’t be leading a life like this, and as long as I feel I can justly do my part for the boys I shall endeavour to stay. It seems beyond human nature to be able to live in this bitterly cold and hard biting frost and snow, even tipping the snow, pretty to look at.

I certainly must start abridging and truth to tell I haven’t kept strictly to the terse notes of the diary. I don’t know but each day here brings some fresh new interest and I haven’t told you quarter yet, and I feel sure that long ‘ere you read this page you have called me the brook.

Jan 11th: Unpleasant rumours afloat that G is massing for a tremendous effort on the front. Our men are confident of our powers to meet it, but one cannot comfortably settle down. I keep my things in readiness to flit at any time. Work doesn’t slacken one bit, the poor boys with trench

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feet are coming in by the hundred. This weather is terribly severe, we were told by an Officer when in doing his outpost round he passed one man on duty, and in passing said "All right here", reply "All right sir", then he passed on to the next, but instinct told him to retrace his steps and have another look at the man. By then the man was standing, silent and frozen – he had given his life. We are told that the Germans have warned us to remove all these C.C.S. from the front by a certain date.

18th. The inevitable, I must submit and give my place up for some stronger. It’s hard luck, but I am tired and Matron insists. In a way I am glad. Capt. C. says I need a thorough rest and recommends a warmer climate, and it’s all I need – warmth and sunshine. Matron fixes me up in an ambulance, hot water bags, rugs, and tucks a small bottle of whisky in when she says good-bye. I might add that the driver will find that later. And on my field card is marked "Debility" and I do dislike being labelled thus – a nice little Sister is sent with me. Then from 21 a Sammy M>O. joins us and I keep him well employed with managing the slipping rugs. I’ll repeat again that there is something very attractive and lovable about the Americans. I make for the Sick sisters at Abbeville via Peronne and Amiens.

Good-bye I did hope to mention Paris, tell a little more of Cannes and this present lovely place St Albans, but if you are not already tired of the scribble I will continue in my next.

A Donnell.

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No I Australian Auxiliary Hospital
Harefield Park
Middlesex, England

My dearest Friends

Tis my day off to-day. I got up early with the intention of spending it in writing to you and really it is one of England’s perfect days. I had no idea that there could be such glorious days here. And they have been much the same for 6 weeks. The spring began just before I left St Albans – and its so beautiful. One does appreciate it so after the bare cold winter. I am sitting on a garden seat on the golf lawn. It is so pretty. The roses are out in bloom. Some are help up by poles right around and trailing on chains. To meet each other and just Swinging in the gentle wind and the little brown birds are twittering and swinging with them, but the flowers are beautiful everywhere. Scarcely a day passes but you see some Medical Officers enjoying a game of golf here. This is at one side of the house. Just around the corner and opposite. My room (which is on the 3rd Story) is just a scene of pleasure and peace from sunrise to sunset. First comes the Tennis court then the Croquet lawn just beyond is the swimming pond. A large belt of water with trees and reeds around it which cast the softest shows into the water. And on it lives a lonely but lovely white swan every now & then I hear a great

[note at top of page – I have sent a copy of the Time to Ada and she will send it on to Poll]

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splash and you can just imagine how the boys enjoy the swimming, then beyond again is a fishing pond. And now as I write the boys in blue look very picturesque sitting on the side of the green bank trying their luck. To the right are the woods where very often the Sisters will make up a small party & Take a few of the boys, boil a billy and have a picnic tea there. The buttercups and daisies are a delight – the cattle, the sheep and their wee lambs are calmly grazing in the near meadows, the birds are wonderful. The [indecipherable} notes never cease day or night – every few minutes the wandering cuckoo calls. The grass and trees are green with a greenness that one seldom sees in Australia. There is warmth from the sun, sweet scent from the hawthorn and above all is a sky of heavenly blue – such is to-day. It all lends to make one forget. Yet there is that restless ache still, that I suppose one cannot lose until this strife is over – and this Terrible offensive – but this letter is not going to be a war letter – for I want to take you with me to St Ives Devonshire and Bexhill – where I spent my last leave but first of all I will answer the question that I feel sure you are framing to ask "Yes, but what happened to the C.C.S. I , am hoping in

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time to hear all the details myself. At present I only know what Sister Dorson ‘My Canadian friend’ told me when she came to visit me at Southwell Gardens.

It’s a marvel to me that they weren’t all swallowed up when the push began on March 21st. You know I cannot help saving a feeling of respect for our world enemy when I think a sense of fairness has been exercised in their methods, and twice it came to us that the Germans had warned these two C.C.S. to move or else they would finish them – and the latter, warning was like calmly giving one a months notice – Leed was taken in Flat 21 moved back 9 miles to -----. And 48 was preparing to do the same but ere it was done, and to within 3 days of their promise over they advanced. My friend was still there on the morning when the battle commenced at 4.30a.m. But she was lucky in that her leave being previously through she left at 7.30a.m. So getting away with her luggage when two hours later the other Sisters just escaped with their lives. Her description of what the tumult was like ever as she left was like going through fires of hell. The noise was terrific, the air black and thick with dust whilst the earth never ceased quivering from the shells that were coming thick and fast from behind. She will never forget the sad sight of the refugees as they hurried along the bye roads. I did hear "but I cannot vouch for the truth of it that all the C.C.c’s belonging to the 3rd Army (Sir Julian Byngl) were lost. And the booty the Germans have captured must be enormous. Poor Sister I could see she had gone through such a lot since I had see her. She had not long been out from Canada – was one of he bonniest girls you could wish to see. She did confess to me of having a Touch of Shell shock – and its sad to say a girls hearth go so much below par on

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so short a time – though I took some consolation to myself and thought perhaps I wasn’t such a baby seeing that the raids at Calais had left a mark! You will be glad to know that when I left St Albans the Medical Officer game me a 1st Class certificate of health, and I was overjoyed to report to Miss Conyers, the next day ready for work. She really was very nice – asked me wouldn’t I like a trip back to Australia to see my people and friends and where I could have plenty of good nourishing food then she added "You know Sister you have been off duty 3 months and if you get sick again you’ll be sent back for good – whereas now you could have the trip and come out again – And see what it has done for me". Yes, certainly Miss C. looked a new made woman when she came back. Yet something within whispered – stick it to it Anne – And I replied that I felt so well that I had no fear of getting sick again You And I would rather not go then. You know I want ever so much to see you all and Australia too – but I diddent want to leave Ross. And this big struggle going on in France I thought might be the end of things And I wanted to be in at the finish – however I was told then to take a fortnight’s leave then and report again. Now I could have gone to friends the whole time but I felt it would be imposing too much with the present difficulty of food and rations. So I decided to go off on a tour or my own. Am issued with two concession tickets, no sugar ticket, then I proceed to the Food Controller’s office and get a travellers meat and butter ticket. This was Wendesday and I go to see my friend Stella and baby Geraldine – who is such a sweet winning little pet but not very well so I stay

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with her until Saturday morning, when I catch the 10.10a.m. train from Paddington to St Ives. Twas a pleasant journey but I inwardly kept on wishing that I had a congenial companion to enjoy things with me as that couldn’t be I made up my mind to be as nice and sociable to all I came in contact with. And really I had a very nice time indeed, with no one to please but myself yet I was never lonely, perhaps I could thank the uniform for the kindness I received from people and partly too for being alone but must tell you. I just took the bare necessaries that I could manage myself in a small suit case, and so be quite independent of Porters and I can assure you it pays these days when they are so scarce. At St Ives I went up to the Treganus Castle Hotel on the hill being advertised in Bradshaws Guide I felt it was quite safe. It was an ideal spot too, and I was almost tempted to spend all my time there but I soon found that the air was very enervating so decided to seek one of Devonshire beauty spots, but I think I must give you my Sunday at St Ives in detail. Most of our Sisters when going to Cornwall close Penzance, but I remember a Padre telling me once that St Ives was a place for Artists, so that was my reason for wanting to see it and really I wouldn’t have missed it for anything – to wander around the old fishing village alone that is unique in its quaintness is worth a visit on its own. And that little calm blue bay with its shores lined with fishing Smacks, that lies to the left and within the larger bay of -------. In the background – or rather at the foot of the rolling waves, nestles the fishing village, I wish I could make you see it but its full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises. The streets of alleys and houses are huddled up so close together – threes something angular – triangular oblong – and crookedness everywhere.

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The streets in places are not more than 2 or 3 yards wide and the footpaths stretch from 2 to 3 feet where there are any at all. Then the quaint and narrow stone steps that lead up to the doors – some going straight – some sideways & some curved, while others lead down! The Sunday morning and the church bells are ringing – and cant you imagine the little children coming out of these cubby holes theirs dressed in an old fashioned Sunday but the little girls still wearing white embroidered nickers below the knees, but all is spotlessly clean. I don’t think the sun could ever shine down on to these footpaths. And I began to wonder why in years gone by the fisherfolk built their houses like this – was it because they led such an open life on the sea that they wanted to be sheltered in their homes from the Sun, air and wind. The more modern town is built on the hillside where there are some lovely residences, where too you get an extensive view of the Sea and coast for miles. The whole life here seemed such a complete change from the rest of England that I had seen. The nice old fisherman as I passed them greeted me with a "Good marnin to ee". I would loved to have stayed longer amongst them.

Somehow with the War raging so I thought I might be the visitor at the Hotel, but to my surprise there were a good many, chiefly. I think people who were accustomed to spending the winters in Egypt – Italy or the South of France and not being permitted there in these Times have come here as the next best thing. I heard one lady remark to another "You know this war is very hard on us when we have to spend these cold winters in

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England and I do adore France and Italy!

I’m sure you would be most amused to watch the present custom of things in a first class Hotel dining room – stay for dinner – The doors are held open with girls in waiting and in walk the ladies in evening dress carrying a small sugar Tin and any other luxury might fancy. Then follow the men folk in full evening dress with shining shirt fronts and with as much dignity as they can, in their hands steadies a precious piece of butter on a plate. The waiters or waitresses then come out and ask you for your meat ticket – bother – I had forgotten mine – and it took me some minutes to go and get it – I would rather have gone without the meat, only I did want to show them that I had the intelligence to keep up with these complicated times.

Sunday Afternoon was quite nice. I was a bit tired of wandering and admiring – it with paper & pencil I was wending me way to the woods to tell you all about it when I passed an Englishman sitting on a seat alone. We passed the Compliments of the day – he remarked on my being an Australian. Yes, I am an Australian Sister." And that led to my sitting down beside him and we chatted all the afternoon. He ordered tea outside – the view we had was delightful – and the Scent from the borders of golden brown wallflowers was very sweet. I wished I knew his name but am sure he was one of Englands gentleman – and at present having a compelled rest from war work. He had been to Australia in his youth with his tutor and had travelled around the world 7 times. When he was in N.Z. he arranged for a Maorie football team to come to England, then how anxious

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he felt for awhile in case they were not invited to play with the best. At first the Rugby! Held off but when they discovered what a fine clean game they played. They asked them on to their field – that mad him quite happy and proud of his venture. A few days ago he was talking of it to some Maories at a camp at Bornemouth – and they knew all about it though they could not have been born at the time. Such a well informed Travelled man I thought could advice me of a nice place to go to in Devonshire and he did too – but first of all he said while here not to miss seeing another little fishing village called Newlyn and Lands End. I started off next morning with the best intentions of following his advise – and actually bought my ticket – then as I sat on the platform waiting for the train I had a warning to be wise and take things quietly. I was vexed to think (though only slight) that I had a return of the old tiredness, so that’s when an up bound train for Exeter steamed in first I got into that instead – I am sure when I gave my ticket to the Porter to use that he thought me a bit magroon – and occasionally came to the window on the way to see that things were all right but I had the carriage to myself & so was able to lie down.

By the way on Sunday evening I wandered up to a prominent looking monument on top of the hill partly to get the view & partly to learn what the land mark was – but there was nothing to indicate what it was, so seeing a man who looked like a real Cornishman asked him."Oh (he said) that be the place where our great Lord Nelson was buried I felt puzzled for a moment until I remembered

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that his remains lie in State in St Pauls, but I diddent say so. And he went on to say what a lot of money he had left to Cornish Charities – but one thing was stipulated that so much was to be spent on fiddling so that the fiddlers should fiddle and dance around the platform of the monument one night in every five years "that be our great day" he added. I told him I came from Australia, and asked him if he knew where that was "Oh Yes, Yes, our boys be fighting over there, "No, No" I said "Australia" "Yes, Yes" he went on and a blessed day it will be when it is all over. I looked at his think little boys and asked him if he could get enough food for them. "Yes Yes praise be to God I can. If I can’t get it all in one shop I go to another.

On Monday evening I found myself in a small Inn at bideford, bound for Clovelly in the morning 12 Miles away and going by the Mail Motor – Ordered an early breakfast and as I was having it in walked an Aussie for an early breakfast and to my delight bound for Clovelly also – so we spend the day together – trust the Aussies – one meets their turned up hats everywhere. I just loved Clovelly – sweet Clovelly full of charm and sweetness – I will not attempt to describe it myself but instead give it you in Charles Kinsley’s words in case you have not read his "Westward Ho" "Take the steepest hillside with which you are acquainted. Let the Atlantic roll at its base, cover it with ancient trees and tangled undergrowth to the summit, suppose a brawling stream to fall in a deep and narrow channel from the heights to the shore; In your minds eye people

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its banks with a straggling village of irregularly shaped lichen-covered cottages on so sharp a decline that the base of the one is on a level with the root of its neighbour pave the street with miniature boulders from the shore arranged in a series of terraces, and terminate the descent by an antique pier of wave worn stones from which the only approach to the sea at low water is by ladders who perpendicular depths might well startle something which would resemble Clovelly, it were not indeed, unique in its singular construction and beauty, and did not surpass all descriptive powers, whether of pen or pencil". (From my diary May 6th)

This morning was foggy and we saw nothing of the scenery on our way out – indeed my Aussie boy couldn’t have in any case – because he was tucked away in among the mail bags at the back, for we were one too many for the mail being licensed to take only so many but the driver, only a boy was sport and you know, perhaps we rather rejoice in keeping up our military reputation of breaking the rules. Anyway it was very nice of the boy, and he enjoyed the joke as well as anyone. After about an hour and a half the mail stopped, and the boys said. "This is Clovelly but all we could see was a man and a donkey. Then he told us if we followed he donkey it would take us to the New Inn about 15 minutes walk. The fog was lifting, and we were full of expectant anticipation for we knew not what – for by this time we had heard so much of Clovelly. Walking down hill along the high-ledged narrow paths we suddenly turn a sharp corner, and are at the Top of High Street. I will never forget it. As we chattered down the pebbly walk we thoroughly enjoyed the novelty of everything, pointed and laughed at the old fashioned quaint

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houses quite regardless that the quiet residents may be peering at us from the tiny window panes above, but its absolutely calming and I don’t think anywhere in the world you would see anything like it. They say that in peace times Artists swarm in Clovelly – to such an extent that one portion, "The Ladder" has been called the promenade of Artists" and the complaint that "Artists and dustbins are in every corner" is not uncommon. I make enquiries as to how old it is, but no one seems to know, but it really finds a place in Domesday as one of the Manors that passed from Brictric to Matilda with a population of 37. In the reign of Richard II it came to the Cary’s – At present it belongs to Mrs Hamlyn – And I believe at her death it will come to Mrs Asquith ‘nee the Hon Betty Manners who lately married the Brigadier General. Thy are at present spending there honeymoon at Clovelly Court. Diary May 8th. Yesterday I went for a walk along the beautiful Hobby Drive which winds in and out on the hill side, it was lovely walking under the graceful spraying branches of the beech trees that are now unfolding their new tender green leaves - underneath them and on the banks are carpets of bells in colour from blue to varying purple with here and their clusters of the sweet scented yellow primrose. The violets are there too but being scentless one is not drawn to them – the ferns and thick foliage help to make up the whole. And I loved looking downwards through these tall shadowy trees and get glimpses of the calm blue sea below. I payed the Gatekeeper -/6 this morning. And after a chat with him which was worth 2/- wended my way through to pretty park of Clovelly Court it rises sheer from the sea at a height of 38 feet.

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Here again everything spells of rest and peace, except of course for the ever rolling waves of the restless sea. I sat down to rest awhile and this is what I looked at. Those refreshing trees ferny hollows and soft green rolling downs. As far as the eye can see, with deer and cattle quietly grazing in the near fields.

On coming back the old Gatekeeper was ready for another chat. I called him the oldest inhabitant . He was fond of a bit of gossip – told me about the newly-married couple – how the Hamlyn family was not in favour of the marriage – because Mr Asquith carried no title – but she was true to him for 8 years and then in Spite of him being a cripple now she married him and he was delighted with that. He then directed me to see the church where Charles Kinsleys’ father was rector and then I saw the house too where Charles spent several years of his life. I came back to the New Inn for lunch And had a meal that was satisfying to a good appetite – a fresh caught flat-head – flounder or place.

Later. Its just the most heavenly evening and since tea I have wandered down steps & up steps and out and round about corners. And the dear old people are giving me a smiling "good evening". I have such a longing to tread inside some of these cottages, where you see tiny winding steps leading here or there, but I just get peeps of the shining Devonshire ware on the dresser, And purring pussies on the door mats, so that I think the sweet-scented creepers and flowers that adorn. The outside view must be an index to the life that is lived within. I could wander up and down the whole day, and only wished I was one of those swarms of artists so as I could make this little haven more real to you. At the came time I could sit and drink in the

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scent of the flowers, but as I am not I go into a picture shop and buy PC. (Three you will have received ere now) and then I bought two pictures for myself, done by two well known Devonshire Artists ‘Clovelly at eventide’ by Sweet – Also ‘The Castle Rock’ at Lynton by Chaplin.

Lone jolly sailor boys passed up this afternoon from their little camouflaged boat. They had sunk an enemy submarine – and a few days back saved the crew off a torpedoed Norwegian boat that sank in 3 minutes.

Spied two Anzac’s coming up the walk, so waited for them. Then we went into Mrs Pengillys and had tea Together – She had an interesting autograph book that people from all parts of the world had written in. I was a bit puzzled over. This one from three Anzac’s – And its taken me till now to grasp the meaning of it – This is it

Only Anzac’s we may be
Yet we enjoyed Mrs Pengilly Tea
High Street was an awful climb
But the scenery was sublime.

So they trust that as they who run may read – will never die until a dead horse kicks them and the hairs from their tail turn into candles to light them to glory.

I do love meeting our boys. They all so ready to see the bright side of things.

Diary May 9th Awakened at 4am And watched the colouring of the Sky, reflecting itself in the Sea from the rising sun, so got up and went down to the beach to get a snap of Crazy Kates Cottage & Clovelly before leaving at 9 am. On arriving

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…………corner to meet the mail I meet 3 ladies going for a ……………to Bucks Mills. I receive an impromptu invitation ……the day with them. It was such a nice day too …………on the beach. The next day I go on to Lynton ………and see the magnificient Scenery around ……………. The waters meet in Lyn Valley – the Valley of rocks & …..rock. Now glancing up I see I have come to the 14th page & must think of signing my name to all this. And is it all worth the reading? Do tell me my friends if I bore you. It’s my chief delight to write to you, & I have lots to tell you yet, Time lately has been so precious – we have been ever so busy here. During our busiest time too the Influenza swept over us which involved extra work on those who kept well. When the worst was over – help came – but I shall always think that they were sent too late & at the price of death – for Sister Sakinton – one of our dear comrades who was with us in Lemnoss & who felt she couldn’t give in – one might say died at the post – for she was on duty the day previous & died the next day at Southwell Gardens of Pneumonia. It was a sad shock to us all. The was buried in our peaceful corner with our own [indecipherable] boys.

I did not finish telling of my holiday then & the last two days was the best that crowned all the others for they were lived & loved with those dear friends who have been so good to me – The Robjohns at Bexhill, Mrs Robjohns is the dearest old lady it has been my priviledge to know – And her two daughter-in-law are just as charming as their lovely Mother – and equally as good are they to some of our Australian boys.

Good-bye dears. I must stop now with ever so much love

Sincerely Yours
Anne Donnell

PS: From all accounts the Sammys and Aussies like each other well. I thought they would.

[Transcribed by Margaret Swinton, Margaret Broadfoot, Lynne Palmer for the State Library of New South Wales]