Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales
Florence Holloway diary, 1 September 1917-31 October 1918
MLMSS 8046/Item 1
[Transcriber’s note: A 1917 diary has been used for the year 1918, but the dates have been corrected. When using the word "with" in this diary, Miss Holloway has used the medical shortcut for the Latin word "cum" which is a bar on top of the letter "c".]
[Pages 1-6 not transcribed.]
Florence E. Holloway
[Pages 8-24 not transcribed]
Monday 1 January 1917 
The New Year! Went H.C. [holy communion] 6.30 a.m. & church room full of brave wounded men waiting patiently to be healed & sent back to the front again. Such a bright sharp morning & pretty clouds. Hymn 73 & I wonder how many of us are to tread that awful road in this coming year!
At lunch 3 sisters & 9 V.A.D’s from the "Arragon" [Aragon] sat with us & their accts. are most depressing. 1200 men gone & some sisters. 3.30 p.m. we went to the Residency, shook hands with L. & L. Wingate rec’d gift & walked in lovely grounds & watched the old Nile flowing by as peacefully as ever. Concert in Connaught 7 p.m. A R.F.C. [Royal Flying Corps] man (N.Z.) flew over at 10 a.m. & dropped greetings for 1918, then when over "Aotea" a wing broke & he was killed & the other man injured. Altogether a full & sad day in some ways.
Wednesday 3 January 1917 
½ day & went town & to the Museum & saw Queen’s jewels then shopped & home 7 p.m. Wards very quiet – only 34 pts. in and all very light duty in the Hosp.
Left silver watch for repairs (Pt. 30).
Thursday 4 January 1917 
Day off, rose 10 a.m. town & lunch at Club with 2 sisters - torpedoed ones – then bought shoes Pt. 148 ½ (30/-) then Helouan for 4 p.m. tea & had 1st real glimpse of the desert and saw the Nile like a ribbon flowing beside us most of the way – tea at Grand Hotel outside & very nicely done for Pt. 6. P.C. from Edith & she already loves the little Kathleen – written 15th Nov. ’17 so she will bring happiness to Stafford I hope.
Back at 27th for 1st dinner 7.15 p.m. & very tired, cold will cling to the bitter end & antrum is troublesome as usual.
Friday 5 January 1917 
Off duty 10-15. Went town & drew from H’d’qtrs. £6-0-0, drove home on Ambulance & Aust. soldiers, wounded boys, hoping for final discharge back to our own land. Changes in our wards, S. Wormald goes theatre, Miss Peile taken "Connaught", S. Hughes comes as 2nd staff Nurse. Now we have 3 ward orderlies, 2 staff sisters, 1 V.A.D. [Voluntary Aid Detachment]. Oh for our days of Elizabeth Brown & myself & not a helping hand!
Letters from Ida & lots of Bulletins at last.
I hear 1200 men drowned & 20 sisters in the "Alex" tradegy on Sunday & Monday last but one never hears facts only rumours here.
Saturday 6 January 1917 
On duty evening & Miss Hughes & I fearing she is no gain to our wards. Matron says I must make her from a 2nd to a 1st class sister but I say no hope, now stuff is not there. A bad amp. sent in from Kantara – pus pouring away & very "smelly". Off duty 2-5 & did sewing etc.
Sunday 7 January 1917 
Day set apart for prayers for peace & thanksgiving for mercies already received. ½ day & went to 14 A.G.H. first then to 70th G.H. & Heliopolis for 4 p.m. tea – then Cairo & tried shopping but no decent places open. Club for letter writing then "All Saints" & a crowded church with a good sermon & hymns.
Monday 8 January 1917 
Life as usual. S. Hughes in on duty in Connaught likewise, S. Peile both coming to stay so the old conditions have gone.
No letters from N.S.W. yet but Ida writes.
Tuesday 9 January 1917 
S. Wormald off finally 2 p.m. & now peace will reign (of sorts) for the future. All the wards are quiet and 2 days per month are to be granted.
Wednesday 10 January 1917 
Such bright sunny days & so lovely to be alive.
S. Peile is now in charge of Connaught & although brusque in manner will I think be interested in her pts. and be just.
Off 5-8 p.m. & went town & got silver watch for which I paid Pt. 30. N. Cobcroft visited me 8 p.m., the same old Cobbie as of yore only not so bright – how life changes us all.
Thursday 11 January 1917 
½ day & a glorious day to have for it – went to town – in Ambulance, then on the old Nile for 2 hours, pay Pt. 4 any town trip for 20 minutes, pay Pt. 5 per hour for boat & like "Solomon with the one eye" (reliable) give backsheesh Pt. 1 or 2.
Friday 12 January 1917 
Off duty 2-5, went town & 4 p.m. tea Shepheards & a fine place it is.
Tan silk stockings Pt. 50 pr. pr., seems all one can find in this little place.
Saturday 13 January 1917 
Cold days again & a fine mist & dust in the air. Ward still very slack only 42 pts. & all convalescent. No home letters yet for me. So far 2 from Mother, a p.c. Edith & letter card from Eva comprise all.
Went 14th A.G.H. 8 p.m.
Sunday 14 January 1917 
No church but went to dinner 8.30 p.m. at Continental & had a gay time.
12 of us & filled a round table. All bright & gay & pretty roses & colored liquer glasses made a note of color & our 6 red capes & the karki of the men must have made a bright spot.
Monday 15 January 1917 
Once again we begin Monday & now Reid (orderly) has gone thank heaven! - rude & no conscience.
½ day & went Pyramids, saw Sphinx for 1st time at sunset – there that mystic face is looking out towards the sunrise as it has looked for 6000 B.C. (so guide says). Palm read & after sitting down all of us in the sand & putting 5 piastres in the line drawn he says, long & happy life – life gets better from now on.
A gentleman (2) love you, etc. – marry in about 7 months, go home in six.
All the same old take but while he tells it, I adore the sunset sky.
Tuesday 16 January 1917 
Off 2-5 & went town 4 p.m. tea & S. Cambridge.
Now letters are arriving, got 7 in 2 days, some written 11th Dec. ’17, reached me 14th 1.’18. Edith writes from Blue Mts.
Spence thanks me for sox & says have been good sending them always.
S. Cambridge is interesting – was a German prisoner for some months & worked under Miss Cavell before her execution. She, Miss C., was shot 6 a.m. & Miss Cambridge had been visiting her in an unobtrusive way, for some time previously. Miss Cavell had really saved hundreds of the boys & to see them begging in the streets for bread, was she says, a most pathetic sight. We garry home through a glorious afternoon & hear this sad story of a good woman.
Wednesday 17 January 1917 
½ day & went with S. Steel to Mosque & Dead City. Both places very impressive. Mahomid [Muhammad or Mohammad] Ali was 2nd Khedive & was the one who gave a dinner to the … & then slew all save one who sprang on his horse & jumped a great height to the open space below. All this was 120 years ago in 1811. Mahomid Ali then built for £25,000-0-0 this beautiful mosque – 2000 electric lights put by Kitchener, splendid carpets, & lovely alabaster pillars & concave nitche in wall.
Thursday 18 January 1917 
Filled in Army Aust. paper.
Friday 19 January 1917 
Off 5-8 & went Cairo to shop for Hewitt, an English boy off to England with 5 other pts. from one ward.
Had a sad note in one Indian shop, remarked to a man who showed a very old coin given by Aust. soldier & secured by him from Turk at Gallipoli. "Lots of our Aust. boys are lying there dead". He said in a
very voice tone not to be forgotten. Only Australians madam, only Australians? The tradegy in his face & voice made me question – he has lost 7 sons, & there are 13 orphan children already in his family.
Saturday 20 January 1917 
Quiet day, went town 2-5, ordered gold identification disc £4-0-0 – at Kramer’s. Had shoes ½ soled at R. Hughes, cost Pt. 25.
Sunday 21 January 1917 
½ day and went town with S. Richardson & bought cakes etc. for Sakhara side – then 4 p.m. tea with the Maddens very nice home & 4 white children present.
Church 6 p.m., All Saints & filled as usual with soldiers. Mr. Holan did not preach but good sermon from someone else on dangers to these boys in Cairo.
At 9 a.m. had camera in ward & took snaps of our departing boys for Blighty & C. Grant as well.
Monday 22 January 1917 
Tuesday 23 January 1917 
All hospital very quiet & most wards being turned out in turn. Last lot of V.A.D’s are in swarms & some a mass of powder, how can they send these sort of women out to look after these brave boys?
Saw Col. Onslow. 40 sisters leaving tomorrow for P. Said. Went town, drew £4-0-0 at pay office & lent £1-0-0 to S. Steele. Rec’d letter E.G. Palethorpe lately & reports all well at "Wilga". Pts. are scarce but one cannot have everything.
Wednesday 24 January 1917 
Sister Peile’s day off so I on the ward myself & then ½ day. Went 14 A.G.H., met Dick & went Barrage & had happy afternoon, then dinner St. James Restaurant (very good) full of soldiers & maybe Sisters are not supposed to be there but all best hotels are "out of bounds" for troopers.
black & red & blue [see image for drawing of colour patch] for 2nd light horse.
Thursday 25 January 1917 
Went town 5.30 p.m. & sent cable to Mother for birthday.
Bought "guide to Cairo", Pt. 45. Had rubbed heel on tan shoes (Pt. 10).
Went 14 A.G.H. 8 p.m. English sisters changing from 31st G.H.
Am going to ask for trip to Luxor.
Friday, 27 January 1917 
An eventful day as regards this quiet life. Asked Matron at 9.30 a.m. for leave & rec’d it. Confirmed at 11 a.m. when Matron & Col. Young – it being inspection morning – came round & I was called up to be told leave was granted, then a hurried trip to town with Marge from whom I rec’d my first bunch of Cairo violets. Bought blouse Pt. 45, no riding skirt obtainable.
4 p.m. tea at Groppi’s & then evening duty & warnings from C. Grant not to build too much on my holiday & I shall be disappointed but I am not expecting too much. Visit from Cobbie 8 p.m. Why has she changed so from the days of G.H. & dear Kath?
Saturday, 27 January 1917 
No pass allowed to me as only here 4 months. Fare £3-16-0. However I go, come what may. Off for ½ day & the last of the ward for a week.
Town 2.30 p.m. shopped, bought camera case 12/6, back 27th 6.30 p.m., waited till 7.40 p.m. for 14th people then picked up by Matron & S. Murphy & officer & flew to R. [Railway] Station in 27 minutes & caught train & so away out of old Cairo once more & free again.
Slept fairly well, 3 in carriage. Dining car on train – very elaborate, food good & well servcd., Pt. 28 or thereabouts.
Such lovely moonlight & flat fields with palms showing straight & clear. My companions are tired out but one cannot wonder, they have packed all day.
Sunday, 28 January 1917 
Arrived Luxor about 8.20 a.m. (I fancy), tea & B. & butter for breakfast then on again to Assouan [Aswan] where we arrive 4.30 p.m. & stay at Grand Hotel situated on bank of the Nile & Oh, such a glorious view & sunset.
Tea at once then S. Hills & I hire a boat & out on the river for a row & sail. Dinner & the room is pretty & beautiful roses out. Mess dress makes a bright spot & with the khaki of the men of the party (about 5 or6) we are a big crowd of warriers. After dinner out in the boat & so peaceful & lovely away behind Elephantine Island & so home to my room 3 floors up & such a view & fresh breeze blowing all night.
Monday 28th January 1917 
Breakfast 8.30 a.m. then mounted donkeys and away to the granite quarries along the riverside for a space then out through the camp where such funny mud huts, tiny streets, & dirty dark hovels and human beings do abound, then on over desert plains until we come to the famous outcrop of red granite & one sees where all the statues were cut from. Method of cutting, holes made
green wood put in & water poured in the holes until rock split – then on to Phylae [also spelt Philae] of wonderful beauty, then Assouan dam, where we got lunch baskets & took boat to the lock, through, & sailed home – then Cobs & I went to bazaars, a dance in evening & bed 11.30 p.m.
Breakfast hurried affair – then donkeys & away to Alabaster quarries & how wonderful to see the pure white stone – some amber – rising out of the sandy desert & just the one field of it – in Egypt took 6 months for an oblisk to be got from here to Luxor (presumably). Returning my donkey fell 2ce & I over his head, result, cut finger, strained elbow joint, skinned face & black eye. Aust. soldier insists on my riding his "donk" back, hurried flight for train & so to Luxor the party of 18 Sisters & various followers go. Major Mills & Milligan in our carriage (for lunch). Luxor 5 p.m. Arm seen by M.O., Bateson, put in sling, after dinner boat to Karnak & in the moonlight how grand it is.
Wednesday 30th January 1918
Rose (as usual on this trip) early & saw morning coming over Egypt & the grand old Nile. Seeing Karnak in the moonlight I ask myself how often has she shone down just so for centuries & where are the thousands of beings gone who worshipped there in the long past ages? Karnak 2 p.m. in garry, & photos taken, watched sunset from top of Pylon & bought scarab ring (£1-14-0) just for association’s sake. 9 a.m. went to Luxor temple & all dry caked earth on the ground where in the flood the Nile rises, grand carving & columns. At night we, S. Hills, Corporal Richards & myself go again to Karnak & sit & think in the age long silence of the place. Am now a pt. & have food etc. cut up, arm put in sling by C. Richards & all kindly help possible is given.
Thursday 1 February 1917 [31 January 1918]
Big day, went across to Vally of the Kings by boat, party of 9 & about 11 attendants all told, with the donkey boys rode through Valley of death (so I rechristen it) & went into tomb of …. where he lies in state as he has been lying these hundreds of years. When found he had a wreath of mimosa flowers on his head & in one hand lotus flowers, in the other papyrus. How stern & set looks the face & yet how very little changed from the other faces I have seen where Death has laid his hand. Visited more tombs then lunch & a peep at … & so rode again home past the Collossi standing now in green fields. Luxor Hotel at 9 p.m. & dance & song "A perfect day" sung with feeling, supper in "Savoy" garden & then ends Jan. ’18. Bed 12.30 a.m.
Friday, 1st February 1918
Rose 7 a.m., breakfast & then Palace Gardens & beautiful La France roses gathered – walked to Bella Donna’s house, shopped, then sailed away on the Nile till time to pack & so ends one wonderful week in the "land of long ago". We watch the sunset from the garden steps & say farewell perhaps forever to one friend who must off to the war again so soon. Train 7 p.m. dining car meal Pt. 30, sleeper Pt. 75 (i.e. 15/-), all comfortably fitted up & very smooth travelling. In my purse I have Pt. 46 when leaving Luxor, arriving Cairo Pt. 14, but it is enough & the coin well spent in learning so much. Assouan is never fading for its beauty & Luxor with its wonderful temples.
Saturday 3 February 1917 [2 February 1918]
Arrived Cairo 8 a.m. & breakfast Nurses’ Club (Pt. 7) then shopped, visited Headquarters & drew all money owing, only Pt. 200 (paid Pt. 105 for grey shoes at once). Saw last of the 14th A.G.H. off from Station at 11 a.m. & so back to 27th G.H. for lunch. After dinner went Museum & heard lecture by Mr. Quibell on Coptic churches (relics of), interesting & crisp stories, one on finding head of eagle (gold) in ground 1908, paid £20 to finders £14 to man £6 to boy, man a great presence of mind, offered daughter to boy, boy equal presence of mind preferred to buy a bulbolo!! [buffalo ?] 4.30 p.m. went to tea given by Mrs. Horan & Miss MacInnes. Met Lady Brunning, knew Eva & Mrs. Teton Brown, home with C of E padre of 27th G.H. & very nice to talk to broadminded.
Sunday 4 February 1917 [3 February 1918]
Breakfast in bed, rose 9 a.m., interviewed C. Collins re arm, very pleasant, then Church All Saints, 11 a.m.
Letters from Mother & Nell, very full of our trouble, life is indeed sad for us with this coming in & how difficult it all might have been. Spence is back again after 3 years of A. [active ?] service, very sad home coming in many ways.
Letters from dear Dr. F. & T.A.P., how I should love to see the "Lord" again.
Monday 5 February 1917 [4 February 1918]
One day to the good & am free to spent it as I like, so breakfast in bed (not supplied by 27th) ½ roll (1/2 piastre) jam & cup of tea & oranges make an excellent repast, then town in afternoon & bought printing frame, 3 rolls films (at Pt. 14 each). Cold bitter day. Arm massaged by S. Wilson 6 p.m. Hospital quiet very little work. A big offensive is fortold by the Germans in France & they will be in Paris by April 1st they say.
Tuesday 6 February 1917 [5 February 1918]
On duty on again & Connaught the same as ever. S. Piele[Peile] has a day off. C. Grant comes at 9 a.m. to see me & laughs about my black eye but is very sympathetic nevertheless. Quiet day & peaceful, only 38 [?] pts. in & none very ill.
Wednesday 7 February 1917 [6 February 1918]
Duty 7.30 a.m. as usual & oh for a little less bustling by Sister Peile. A type of often meets in nursing, not of any polish or kindly sympathy – never a word as to how any little ailment may be & apparently never has any illness herself. The boys I love as usual they come to me for all their little wants and I do my best for them as regards gramophones etc. but the grams require much attention to get a tune from them.
Thursday 8 February 1917 [7 February 1918]
Amenophis II, 18th Dynasty
Thursday 8 February 1917 [7 February 1918]
Saw Capt. Collins 9.30 a.m. & arm examined, ex-rayed by Capt. McCullock 11 a.m. By the way a strange sensation it is to see one’s arm bones appearing on the screen. Both Captains very kind. Went town 2 p.m. with S. Saunderson & saw mosques three in number & one with pretty windows, others not impressive – then took 2 street photos then visited Arabic museum, very fine old glass & ancient work, carvings & brass utensils.
Groppi’s for 4 p.m. tea & so back to 27th. 8 p.m. went to thank Mr. Belcher for drive to station when going to Luxor & gave my photos to see.
Friday 9 February 1917 [8 February 1918]
A "blue" day though I now not why. Cheered by Capt. Grant as much as possible but oh why is it so hard to be a lonely woman! One should get used to it in all this time.
Saturday 10 February 1917 [9 February 1918]
Saw Capt. Collins during morning in Connaught & result – no fracture of arm, just what one thought & "patience" is recommended by C. Collins – may I have plenty of it is my cry.
Town 5 p.m. & secured methy. for our lamp Pt. 5 per big bottle. 1 doz. photos for boys of the Connaught group & posted to them at Helouan Convalescent home.
So little of interest to put down & yet every day is full of interest and we learn so much of other times & lives.
About 95 of us including V.A.D’s so one only knows a few of the sisters really well.
Sunday 10 February 1917 
Quiet day very few dressings in Connaught. ½ day & went Pyramids for blow in the tram & how pretty it is along the roadside, bright green fields, black soil where newly ploughed & away in the distance yellow sand hills or palm trees rising out of the plain.
Posted photos to Mother & Ida.
Printed various scenes & took notes re photography from Cook (Orderly).
S. Watson going back to Australia & at her own wish, but I feel very sorry for her with all the bright hopes of 6 months ago dashed, & a wreck as far as a bad cough can make her. 4.30 p.m. tea at Mrs. Horan’s & very nice people, then church 6 p.m. & sermon on the Beatitudes.
Monday 12 February 1917 [11 February 1918]
No letters from Wilga this mail & I trust all is well.
Tuesday 13 February 1917 [12 February 1918]
Life rather flat but making the best of it. Never do I get to bed before 10.30 p.m. but "one lives once only" is my motto.
Wednesday 13 February 1917 
½ day & went Muski with Sister Watson at 2 p.m. till 4 p.m. & bought brass & various table cloths, runners (colored all) for sending home as brass is so heavy to send then joined Y.W.C.A. Suliman Pasha, Connaught House.
Afternoon tea Groppi’s very full. Sister inclined to be tearful but does not complain of her hard luck. Garry back to 27th for 7.15 dinner. All electric light disappears 7.10 p.m. but candles are stuck in plant pots & the meal progresses as usual.
Thursday 15 February 1917 [14 February 1918]
Life goes on as usual. 9 pts. adm. to ward though all convalescent more or less. Contacts most of them from up the line & red tape saith they must pass through a "general" not from a stationary hosp. to a convalescent home.
We are a staff of 95.
Friday 15th February 1917 
S. Watson left for Australia 6.30 a.m. & a sad little girl she was at giving up so soon. Went Pay Office 6 p.m. re fare to Luxor £3-16-0 but not allowed until 6 months in the country.
Saturday 17 February 1917 [16 February 1918]
½ day & very instructive one seeing Coptic churches. Left Y.W.C.A. 2.30 p.m., took tram to Old Cairo & met Canon Garland with 4 Australians in tram & oh what a hard clasp he gave to an old T’mba [Toowoomba ?] woman. We last saw him in "Wilga" when Mrs. Fairfax was there with measles.
Note for the Copts –
Saw oldest Copt Church & supposed place where Mary hid the infant Christ.
Sunday 18 February 1917 [17 February 1918]
Long peaceful day "off", rose 9 a.m., printed photos (craze is bad just now, then Pyramids with S. Steele for the day & Church 6 p.m., All Saint’s – Canon Garland the preacher & very good sermon for Lent – text, "Is it nothing to you who pass by?" Church crowded as usual.
Monday 19 February 1917 [18 February 1918]
Day the same as all others. Pts. vary from 37 to 40 odd. All wards quiet.
My "black eye" has faded but arm is still massaged & very stiff on waking.
A tit bit from Alex [Alexandria] – 2 V.A.D’s sitting on beach with 2 officers refused to retire 9 p.m. as desired & finally swore at policeman, consequence, all dinner leave stopped for Sisters & V.A.D’s.
Tuesday 20 February 1917 [19 February 1918]
Went town 2.50 p.m. & ordered silk frock, Pt. 400 at Chemla Freres.
Wednesday 20th February 1917 
½ day & went zoological gardens for 1st time and very pretty it was with the pond covered with duck, pelicans fishing, shadows & reflections everywhere.
Dull day (3rd of its kind) with showers at intervals. S. Steele with me ‘till 6 p.m. then tea at Y.W.C.A. at Pt. 3½, then Aust. soldiers club, Boulac Street where I superintended tea & coffee & biscuits, such nice boys all – one Wright from Hamilton, Vic., having his boots cleaned in the street "because the poor beggar had both legs off". Mr. Gerard Nutting brought me home 11.30 p.m. (T’mba boy). Major Hammond & Capt. very friendly – Canon Garland most grateful for help etc. Brave Anzac boys there & all so simple & quiet about it all.
Thursday 22 February 1917 [21 February 1918]
Things more peaceful in Connaught – Sister Peile less excited generally.
Went concert in Continental Hotel 2.30 p.m. to 3 p.m., very good.
Friday 23 February 1917 [22 February 1918]
Once more I have a severe cold & feel miserable, still go out & on duty same as ever. Silk frock fitted 6 p.m. at Chemla freres & will be nice (one hopes). Pt. 400 should make it so but alas, not always. Printed photos 23 before going to bed 10.30 p.m.
Saturday 24 February 1917 [23 February 1918]
A very interesting letter from Mr. Richards re Luxor & a tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
Sunday 25 February 1917 [24 February 1918]
Day of mixed feelings. All A.A.N.S. [Australian Army Nursing Service] up to Matron 10 a.m. to be lectured re red capes. Matron Quelly sarcastic & Lamb equally so in some instances. Andrews long-winded of course & determined to be in the scene in some way. – and we are here "for all time" & no moving on as we used to think. I apologise for Lamb afterwards & find she & Doonar are the only offenders among us – others will pass.
Monday 25 February 1917 
Here is the last week of Feb. ’18 & 6 months since I left Wilga. Except for all our home trouble it has been a very interesting & instructive time especially the "oldness" of things in Egypt.
To decend to mundane things –
Have a silk frock made at Chemla Freres Pt. 400 but is nice.
Took 4 pts. out for the afternoon. Garry to Mohammed Ali’s mosque then to Anzac Hospital for 4 p.m. tea, they had tickets which entitled them to – 2 fried eggs, tea in a large mug, & large plates of B. & B. milk pudding.
Called at Aust. H.Qrs. & drew Pt. 500 then paid dress at Chemla’s & home 5.30 p.m., paid Pt. 40 & came on duty.
Had game whist on ev. duty, did well. Ops. 2 for day, pts. 40. In ch. of ward, sister’s day off.
Tuesday 27 February 1917 [26 February 1918]
½ day & called to see Col. Dawson re red capes & seniority here. He & his assistant tell me am 10 years the senior of these Aust. but no hope of taking my proper position for ages as there are crowds ahead of me & as I did not come when should have done can only agree to this.
Wednesday 28 February 1917 [27 February 1918]
Mrs. Devonshire’s lecture 6 p.m. She is not interesting to listen to though knows her subject well.
Afterwards a whist drive at Aust. Club.
Very late back & found letters from T’mba waiting. All well but business quiet I gather.
Thursday 28th March 1917 [28th February 1918]
Bright sunny day after all the wind & storms of the last week. Lovely tinted sunrises & sunsets. Storms today among the English sisters re a S. Reid who quarrels wherever she goes – I am only glad have not yet met her.
Sisters come "on the strength" for a week or so & then drift away up the line or exchange places with others at different hospitals.
Friday 2 March 1917 [1 March 1918]
½ day & went Pyramids with S. Saunderson & "Boy", tea provided for us by Miss Farly [Farley] Matron of N.Z. Home "Aotea", then saw Sphinx & rode back to Mena on a large & unwieldy camel. Sphinx gazing with that inscrutable face far away over the desert.
Saturday 3 March 1917 [2 March 1918]
A case of thypus in 27th G.H. Removed to infectious hosp. on 2nd & today 4 sisters are isolated in a tent & no pts., friends allowed to visit 27th. Off duty 2-5, went & shopped for Marge & met Mrs. Davies & tea with her at Groppi’s – friendly woman. Spent Pt. 75 for M. Woods, Pt. 25 remaining.
Sunday 3rd March 1917 
A day off once more and a long quiet morning in bed with reading & letter writing. Wrote Nell, Ida, & Mag.
After lunch went with S. Talon & Capt. Chiel in garry to Citadel then walked to the top & took snaps, then back to Shepheards for tea 5 p.m. & after that All Saints & home in a garry. A very enjoyable afternoon with two nice English people & no one could wish for anything more.
For the first time since coming away I wished to be back when reading about surfing at Manly – not yet however.
Monday 4th March 1917 
A sad day. Sister Lee from G.H. has become neutral & is signed up as "may become dangerous" so one more young life is maybe ruined by the war.
Now one realizes what was peculiar in her manner & the funny abrupt little ways she had.
"Citidal" hosp. refuses to take her so she has 3 nurses doing 8 hrs. each. Melancholia is the trouble with religion. Was persuaded to see her but the result terrifying to me & a sleepless night followed.
At 11 a.m. D. of Connaught inspected the hosp., presented medals & expressed satisfaction etc. Called Mrs. Beasley 6.7 p.m. Bridge is coming to me by the friendly aid of my boys in the ward.
Tuesday 6 March 1917 [5 March 1918]
Further news of S. Lee is no better. We have been an unfortunate little party from our arrival. S. Watson chest, I T. 104.4 etc. & very suggestive of pneumonia or malaria, McDonald Diphtheria & sent Shubrah, [also spelt Shubra] Lamb always in trouble & now this to crown all.
A Reception given by Lady Wright was not for us yesterday as we are in isolation. I am the senior A.A.N.S. here so was to go to represent us.
Photography & a grey silk frock – Pt. 400 – have disposed of all my cash but one lives once only & it is worthwhile as my photos show.
Off 2-5 & went town, played bridge with my dear pts. 7-8 p.m. 6 go to "Blighty" tomorrow.
Wednesday 7 March 1917 [6 March 1918]
With 15 empty beds our ward is hopelessly quiet & consequently Sister Peile fusses more & more. We nearly came to blows as regards "words" today but I remained outwardly quiet & calm & she cools off. Bridge 3 to 4 p.m. & tea provided by S. Major Blair. Town 5 p.m. & happy evening at A.S. [Australian Soldiers] Club whist drive, took S. Reid & she won "booby", home 11.30 p.m. with Mr. Andrews & Mr. C., nice boys all of them.
Thursday 8 March 1917 [7 March 1918]
½ day & went town, met Sisters Henry & O’B., tea Liptons & we air our little woes.
At 9 a.m. went to Cairo cemetery with S. Witherington & took a photo of "F. Green" grave, also Norman Mowbray. Capts. Grant & Collins came in with us to Cairo.
Took snap of our lettuce being washed in the old Nile on the way home & very picturesque & dirty it was.
Friday 9 March 1917 [8 March 1918]
No record kept of this day evidently it simply slipped away in the usual routine of this busy life. When I wonder shall I waken in the morning to a sound other than the bugles or go to bed a night without the "come home" call of lights out?
One grows so accustomed to these little episodes of daily life that they slip by unheeded.
93 Sisters & V.A.D’s or V.A.D. virgins & doubtfuls the men call them with reason in some instances, none in others.
Saturday 9th March 1917 
Saw Matron re photo of grave she asked for & very delighted she is with it. They recused late pass 2nd this week. Went whist drive at Railway Institute & very weird was the drive down only with Mr. Shaw I felt safe, played 20 games with "all sorts & conditions of men" and found them well behaved & quiet – do not understand me I think playing with them as one sister, Hughes, refused to play cards in the ward, infradig.
Home through curious back lanes & streets, places not to be through if alone but came with 2 nice people – 27th G.H. 11.45 p.m.
Sunday 11 March 1917 [10 March 1918]
S. Peile ill so I take Connaught on for the day. C. Grant claps his hands softly when he finds we are running it together. Church 11 a.m. & very good address "respect our Mothers".
½ day & went Zoo with 7 Aust. in C. Garland’s charge.
"Frank" Blundell of the party – this man interests me slightly being older than the average soldier, & has travelled a lot having left home, England, at 16 years & has lived in Aust. (S) a good deal since.
Monday 12 March 1917 [11 March 1918]
Feeling very anxious re home affairs these days & no work to help cloak the anxiety & worry.
Life is a sad thing with poor Eva’s affairs in such chaos & to think that she could be treated so by the very two people one thought would have been best to her.
Truly one feels glad that our dear Father was spared this last most awful blow that has ever fallen on our family – disgrace never attacked us before though fire, flood, drought, rabbits, & long years of toiling under a burden of debt robbed our parents &, in a way, ourselves, of much of the pleasure of life. Still this is a cruel blow & one that our little mother little deserved in the last lonely years of her life.
Tuesday 13 March 1917 [12 March 1918]
Morning pass & took voting papers to H.Q., voted for Tohine [?] of course (no alternative). Met C. Garland & he gave bunch of carnations "for the boys". Whist drive 6-8 p.m. enjoyed by us all, tea etc. 4 p.m., about 34 pts. & 9 whist tables. To play with our pts. in a friendly way is so easy for me and so difficult – I imagine – for the British sisters. Thank heavens I am first – a Nurse, 2nd, a machine for tidying beds, etc.
Wednesday 14 March 1917 [13 March 1918]
Letters at last, 9 of them, Mother 1, Nell 2, Eva 1, Rob 1, Ida 2, Mag. 1, S. Hills 1.
How can one say the feelings these letters bring – sometimes it seems impossible to bear the awfulness of it – alone & yet there is of course no one in Egypt or this side of the globe in fact to whom I can utter one word.
Spence still at home in Aust. & if only he will come through Cairo what will it be to see one of my own again.
½ day & went Cairo, shopped then Church 6 p.m. & gained a little comfort in its quiet peace.
Whist drive 8.30 p.m. very enjoyable, A.S. Club, home in garry with Mr. Dowling & Jack Andrew, nice boys both.
Thursday 14 March 1917 
Letter from Marge, veils received & ink not Kodak paste.
Cobs is now a "sister".
Miss Conyers is in Egypt, came on last boat.
Life is very trying these days, worry from home, no work in the wards & except for C. Grant not a congenial soul to work through the long day with.
Friday 15th March 1917 
S. Piele’s day of Inspection morning & Matron & Colonel Young are around 11 a.m. sharp before we are really ready in fact but – marleesh [maleesh – never mind] – Matron looks at me with reproach but I have got tired of "bed worship" of this place so say nothing of feeling that to spend our days worrying over beds is so trifling compared to the strain under which my dear people are living & yet there is nothing to be done.
Saturday 17 March 1917 [16 March 1918]
½ day and went town, shopped, cakes, etc. for tomorrow’s picnic then back to 27th & whist drive following concert 6-8 p.m. Very enjoyable and nice men to play with.
With these pts. I am quite at my ease & to know one is liked is a great help & relief from the strain of S. Piele who I fancy is almost beside herself with nerves.
Raining today & of late have had a few showers & big soft clouds like our own land in rainy times.
The willows are coming into leaf & all fruit trees in blossom.
Spring is coming once again & in France they prepare for the big offensive – maybe the last.
Sunday 17th March 1917 
A day to be remembered long. One of those pretty soft blue sunny days, large white clouds lying in big masses overhead & the reflection of the palms in the water just perfect.
Mr. Blundell & I rode back - & there too – together & had long talk, he is nice I fancy but no opinion yet until I know him better. A merry party we made with the familiar "coo-ee" waking the echoes of the ancient tombs of the dead bulls of 3,000 years ago. Such gay laughter & singing as we ride through the ruins of Memphis & stand on the statue of Ramses II to be photographed. Back to A.S.C. 6 p.m., dinner, church 7.30 p.m., room packed, sermon - "forgetfulness of God by us all". Back to Cairo in car 9 p.m.
Monday 19 March 1917 [18 March 1918]
Back to the same old round of no work & yet no chance of enjoying the rest as we "bed pat" all day long & the sister in charge is at the same mental strain all through.
Concerts in the wards keep us from being too depressed & to see these long wards full of brave boys all in their blue coats unbleached calico shirts & red ties is very interesting to me & to study their faces a great pleasure.
Tuesday 20 March 1917 [19 March 1918]
Fifteen of our pts. go out today & wards at stagnation point. One’s patience & hope are sorely tried with a sister in charge who is both rude & incompetent though with one good trait, very good as to time of returning to ward, never late but the three of them so deadly uninteresting and cold.
Wednesday 21 March 1917 [20 March 1918]
Anzac pts. come to us while ward is cleaned (12 in all).
½ day & we, Mr. Blundell & I, meet at Shepheards & go to the Muski for a very pleasant tour of inspection, then Groppi’s for 5 p.m. tea, church 6 p.m., whist drive 8.30 p.m., back to 27th G.H. 11.20 p.m. in a car with Mr. Dowling & Jack Andrews, find an air raid is expected & all lights shaded & shutters closed.
Cairo looks dark as we fly through but the reason does not occur to us.
Thursday 22 March 1917 [21 March 1918]
Again an air raid is thought likely so here I sit 7 p.m. in Connaught ward with all shutters closed & only ½ ward lights on. No fear assails us evidently as it appears to be regarded as a joke all round.
S. Lamb receives marching orders for Pt. Said on Saturday next & how glad she is! When will ours come I wonder?
Went S. Club 3 p.m. & arranged for motor trip to Pyramids tomorrow 6 p.m.
Sister Hanly returns to Alex today.
Friday 23 March 1917 [22 March 1918]
Nothing worthy of note to report. Life is as regards work, very monotonous but certainly not otherwise. We are all going out enjoying life.
At 6 p.m. S. Reed & I meet Mr. Dowling & J. Andrews & go Pyramids for motor spin & supper, very enjoyable it all was & two dear boys & what matters if we behave as children once more, eat our chicken like infants, have our fortunes told & heads lean on shoulders & arms are round one another in the car driving home? We are men & women but it is good to play sometimes & they are two dear boys.
Mr. Dowling goes up the line tomorrow, 9 a.m.
Rockets are seen on our return journey reminding us that there really is a war on after all.
Saturday 24 March 1917 [23 March 1918]
½ day and a very enjoyable one. Went Barrage 1.30 train with "Frank", took snaps, 4 p.m. tea then strolled round in the pretty gardens and met Sister & Mr. Jim Parkins 6 p.m. tea then long and thoughtful conversation on many things in life, on the bridge, finally home to Cairo 9.30 p.m. train & at 27th G.H. (with Miss Dent) 10.40 p.m. A pretty & peaceful day.
All the willows are coming into leaf and katkins hanging their soft green tassels along the swaying branches – very pretty the gardens look by moonlight.
Returned by 9.30 p.m. train & home with Miss Dent, 10.45 p.m.
A hint as to a "squeeze & a kiss" is very promptly squashed but am not a bit sure what am really dealing with. Not a St. Anthony though of that am sure.
Sunday 24th March 1918
Off 5 p.m. & went to A.S. Club to inquire for Cpl. Shaw, there am attacked by Canon G. & my "giddy young ways" questioned before a roomful of men. If only the old man even knew the meaning of the word tact, & could exercise it how much better life would be there for us all, the boys rebel & leave the place on this acct.
Church, All Saints, with Sgt. Neat & Sgt. Lane, both boys sing well & are very nice, bring me back to 27th G.H. in a very happy way.
Across the church I see my friend of yesterday after telling him it would be impossible to get away but one never knows one’s luck in Connaught ward.
Monday 25th March 1918
Off Monday evening 8 p.m. Went first to town to ask for Cpl. Shaw, then Heliopolis in "brown" car & exchanged stockings.
A gloomy day for all who hear a report that we are driven back 17 miles on the Western front & though contradicted yet one feels very anxious. All lights shaded in trams etc. & Cairo more or less dark as regards lights but so pretty in the moonlight.
Tuesday 27 March 1917 [26 March 1918]
Miss Wright V.A.D. & I give a whist drive to the pts. 16 in ward & some outsiders to make up the sets, 9 tables altogether. Town 11 a.m. & cakes bought. For the 1st time I notice an act of rudeness on the part of a well dressed "Gyppo" youth in Groppi’s. While taking our coffee I glanced round & he immediately lifted his glass & drank to me, the action was nothing to the impertinent smile which accompanied it. Now I wonder if there is anything in the rumor that these people would love to rise & are just waiting to see the result on the Western front where the biggest battle of the war is raging. If they did rise, heaven help the women in Cairo!!
Whist drive a decided success, only in the middle an order comes for "all lights to be shaded", finish in semi-darkness.
Wednesday 28 March 1917 [27 March 1918]
Off duty 5 p.m. went church 6 p.m. Mr. Horan preaching, very good lessons – "A Christian is always known by his behaviour to fellow men", was one very true saying. I think of dear Dr. F. & of his treatment of people all the years I’ve known him.
Whist drive 8.45 p.m. at A.S.C., room crowded & very gay evening spent.
S. Reed & I return together in garry escorted by Mr. J. Andrews and arrive 11.50 p.m.
Thursday 29 March 1917 [28 March 1918]
1/2 day and met F. Blundell. 2.45 p.m. went Helouan by train, drove to tea gardens then walked by the Nile & watched the sunset, very grand, then walked (a mile & a half) back to Helouan with the full moon rising over the desert & shining down upon us as we talked of many things. Talk of self knowledge, one touch of an arm & my long quiet is gone & fear, not of anyone but myself comes. I who am always so sure of things and of one’s control of sensations seem to be just ordinary woman after all.
Coffee at Sault’s 8.45 a.m., [p.m.] then back to 27th after a very enjoyable but also very astonishing afternoon. It is time I think that we had more nursing to do else love might take hold of even "me" & that is not to be thought of.
Friday 30 March 1917 [29 March 1918]
After a night of terrific wind one rises to face a khamsein [also spelt khamsin or khamaseen] & swallow sand all day long. Church 6.30 a.m., then at 11 a.m. we go to the Recreation room & again have a service.
Our Colonel Young is to leave us in a few days. Whom shall we get in his stead? Matron away up the line after a week at Alex with hubby. I hear that the latest scandal of 27th is 1st some dreadful thing done or found in the garden therefore all visitors stopped after 7 p.m. (2) A sister (?) returns about 12 m.n. & is hardly able to walk as she comes through the gatehouse – truly this Egypt seems to let all passions loose & one wonders what would happen if we were all kept shut up here with no work for any length of time.
Saturday 30th March 1917 
8.45 a.m. went Company’s Office & Capt. Grant initialled my pay book for the sum of 1/3 to be stopped for the thermometer, what trash and red tape it all is. After the khamsein of yesterday peace reigns today and the wind quite cool.
Wrote Dr. Falkner yesterday and told him that something in the air of old Egypt or meeting these men in a different way has wakened me a little from my long coldness as regards the opposite sex & though did not tell him so, made me afraid for the first time.
Off duty 5 p.m., go town meet Frank & get negatives from Kodak, arrange for church 5.30 p.m. tomorrow.
Feeling very "off" these last few days, no appetite & headache – T. 101.
Sunday 1 April [31 March] 1917 
Breakfast 8.40 a.m., Easter Sunday so must go "All Saints" though feel very ill. T. 99.2 & great effort to get up. However start for town & outside gatehouse meet ambulance & get up in front – fatal move as freeze all the way to town, go to church with Sgt. Neate, nice boy that he is & stay H.C. feeling very ill, then back to 27th & bed. 5 p.m. seen by C. Collins & swab taken. Kind attention from S. Leed & Miss Learch (V.A.D.). Once again history repeats itself & am in an M.O.’s hands on Sunday like unto Oct. 27th last. Such is against me again.
Monday 1st April 1917 
April 1st and how do I celebrate it! 11 a.m. comes. Home sister today, prepare for Shoubra as I have diph.!!! Feeling to sick to care I throw a few things together & after a kindly visit from C. Collins who endeavours to cheer me up, am borne off on a stretcher to the albulance [ambulance] in company with the everlasting Miss Moreton. When I wonder will I shake her off finally!
Arrive Shoubra 12.45 p.m. & after a hasty survey of me the M.O. departs only to return 2 p.m. with an inj. of anti diph. 4000 units. Result of this is an awful night & terrible thirst.
Matron visits me but too miserable to be polite.
Tuesday 3  April 1917 
A day of sorrow & not to be dwelt upon. Principal items – large dose of castor oil given in pure brandy, the latter burns my throat so badly that a vomiting episode results, finally a No. 13 pill & Cal. [Calomel] gr. iii are swallowed with endless trouble with B.P. [bed pan ?] & bell-ringing etc., results no notice is taken of a bell until ring 5 or 6 times & I feel so miserable that the night is one long nightmare.
Thirst! where shall I secure enough of the old Nile to be satisfied, I wonder?
Visited 10 a.m. by O.C. & very businesslike he is. Throat & tongue inspection take place.
Wednesday 4  April 1917 
Kind letters from S’s Leed & Peile & flowers from Miss Devonshire. Lovely red roses that last for days & give one hope of some day seeing one’s own garden again.
Visited by our C of E Padre from the 27th & very kind he is.
Thursday 5  April 1917 
Visited by the O.C. 10 a.m., he asks if quite comfortable etc. and neither of us betray the fact that I know all about his remarks re bells & subsequent wordy war with our quick tempered night sister who flies at me on one occasion when another pt. is ringing but she believes it is I. How many things one learns when ill & how good it would be for all sisters & particularly M.O’s if they could be patients for a few weeks!
Have permission to rise so no more trouble with B.P’s and am more content.
Friday 6  April 1917 
Sisters Leed & Peile come & bring flowers, roses & kind note from former telling of "Frank" & his distress. Am relieved though to find no visitors allowed though on enquiry from the M.O. get notices of "21 days C.B." [confined to barracks] & heaven alone knows how long when allowed up.
Saturday 7  April 1917 
All days are alike in this corner. I read, write and think.
The C.O. visits me again & enquires perhaps kindly if am recovering but I distrust all visits knowing a fresh inj. of some "anti" will probably follow. A day of wrath is this as the brainless creature known to the pts. as "Pat" refuses to do anything to relieve the irritable rash caused by "anti diph." but placing a hand on each fat hip she gazes vacantly at my smarting abd. and says "perhaps it is the bite of an insect". Query! how is a woman of this type helping to win the war? beyond wasting time with the male pts., she is evidently only an ornament (?) at Shoubra.
Sunday 7th April 1917 
Wrote Dr. Falkner re Marg. being unhappy, he will perhaps improve matters.
The C.O. comes in & questions me & see abd. rash but only result is that at 4 p.m. the M.O. arrives & in spite of protests from F.E.H. gives an inj. of cholera remarking that it is a good thing to have all these things over while I am lying here in bed. At the end of my "21 days C.B." I promise to look like a returned soldier with scars.
Letters 2 from "Mick", J.F.H., Ida, 1 N. Bell, Mrs. Rutledge, Nell Barbour.
All well Q’land. A.T.B. gone to his long rest, poor old man & never again will I quiver at his stern voice or feel his kindly hand clasp.
Monday 8th April 1917 
Again Monday is round and a whole have I lain in this little bed. I feel much better & except for the cough very little trace of diph. With a swollen arm Cholera inj. & a recurring rash on abd. (anti diph. serum 4000 units) am a sorry sight.
My M.O. comes daily 10 a.m. & is made of wood, nothing human in his makeup. One wonders where these so called men came from & where they will get to "after the war".
Crowds of Bulletins & "Couriers" come to cheer me up & books in plenty of sorts.
Note at end of 3 wks. re M.O. He is a gentleman & perhaps were I less reserved & nervous he would be less cool. He has been very considerate.
Tuesday 9th April 1917 
How shall I fill in this quiet day? Still I feel like a piece of busy timber on life’s ocean that a quiet firm hand has pulled gently to one side for a few weeks in the still water & here I lie letting all the rush & toil of life go by & obliged, for once, to think & see whether am tending on the stream.
S. Moore, true Scot that she is, points the way today by bringing a bible for me to study & I realize again part of the purpose for which this little quiet space came into my life. 10.30 a.m. comes the C.O. & tells me I look better, do they know we are really human beings these pts. of theirs I wonder?
Wednesday 11  April 1917 
Ones own woes are so trivial when this awful war is raging – how many brave men lay dead these last few weeks & still they call for more.
Thursday 12  April1917 
The C of E Padre from the 27th visits me & is kindness itself, he goes up the line Sunday next & a new one, Foster by name, takes his place.
No trace of the M.O. today but he is no loss. He was evidently taken down off some shelf, dusted, & sent to the front when M.O’s became scarce & has no more real man in him than these bed posts. If only our "dear old man" could come & sit on the bed & take charge of me I should be well at once.
Reports come in of Australians being surrounded & taken prisoners by Turks
near in Palestine so some of our boys are in the enemy’s hands.
Friday 13  April 1917 
A letter today from Miss Hunt. Kind & reports all going well & Wilga overfull. How homesick do I feel hearing of my little garden & all the details of life there when am laid aside in a lonely land with not one human being to whom I can speak.
O.C. visits me & am gazed upon as so much wood or machinery that has to be repaired & sent on duty again. Wonder where these "men"? came from & how can there be such a gap between our live dear Australians & these creatures in men’s clothes with no feeling or mind inside them.
Saturday 13th April 1917 
A "down in the depth of despair" day & yet suppose it is only weakness, however it gradually passes as all days do. Wrote yesterday to Aunt Min re Uncle Alex’s death, Mrs. Richardson, & Mother.
Rec’d letter from Sister Hughes & the little thing rises higher than before in my regard for her thought was a kindly one.
M.O. (Dr. Spencer) wanders in, discusses fly papers, glances at me, feels pulse, wanders out again. Order sodii bicarb for cough.
Pt. put on ordinary diet! Had leg of fowl for 4 days previously.
Sunday 15  April 1917 
No trace of Sunday breaks this prison time save that during the long lonely afternoon I indulge in old hymns, some not sung since childhood’s days of long ago. Evidently the Padre (C of E) has no time for a sick sister within his gates. Matron does not visit me either & I miss her sweet quiet talk.
A menu for the day –
Breakfast 7.15 a.m. Porridge, tea, 2 hard poached eggs of doubtful age, 1 strip rancid bacon, 3 slices brown B & B.
Lunch 12.15 p.m. Mince, boiled onions, mashed potatoes.
Rice with curdled milk & no sugar.
Dinner, 6 p.m., rather greasy soup, piece fried fish, mince & veg. same as lunch with addition of crowds of pepper making my throat burn.
Boiled pudding hard & cold!!
Monday 16  April 1917 
After pills No. 13 & Cal. gr. i, a depressing day follows. Pain in cardiac region all day, no notice taken when mentioned. Sister More not in the room except with M.O. never again.
I ask how much longer? In response – "Now Sister cheer up you are going on nicely" puts me on a tonic & gets out quickly.
My chart which for the 2nd time reposes in the fly paper for a time, is taken out & recopied by the young man next door. Sister "Pats" time waster. On my remonstrating with V.A.D. with pts. marking Apr’o B.O.s etc. she expresses surprise "never thought of it" etc.
11 a.m. Miss Oram, Matron & S. Hodges stand & gaze at me what time I feel most depressed & weary so was a long day. Dinner impossible to eat.
Tuesday 16th April 1917 
Better news from the Western Front, we are still holding on though things desperate. In view of this all petty troubles in Choubra vanish pro tem but it is a lonely time, not the being alone but not feeling strong enough to battle & not a kind word as all too busy? & I feel too depressed to be gay.
A very kind letter again from J.M. Andrews at H.Q., nice boy.
No trace of the M.O. today but as am only a sister not an officer this is not strange.
S. Leed comes very kindly – brings sewing & flowers.
Pulse is now 60 & is a fair indication (in one sense) of my depressed feelings but am learning & I hope going to remember some of the little things read & seen while at "Choubra Military Infectious".
Wednesday 17th April 1917 
Nothing of interest to put in my little book. A long quiet day, no trace of the M.O. but as have no hope of getting permission to arise it matters not at all as he never has a friendly word beyond bothering how many flies are stuck to the wretched fly paper.
From my window I watch the Alex. trains fly by all day long.
"Zep" scare last night, trustworthy resident reported "hostile aircraft" but nothing doing.
All our shutters go down 7 p.m. & one almost smothers until 9 p.m. when "lights out" & shutters up once more.
Thursday 19  April 1917 
Sewing grey silk underskirt, writing letters & reading passes the long day. Pts. watch me from roof, grounds, windows opposite & run up & down ladder outside window what time I bathe, get out etc., while all day orderlies fly in at any old moment to answer bells so any modesty I entered Choubra with is long since flown.
N. Warrell visits me and the soft & gentle Matron, Miss McLean, not long from Khartoum comes for a friendly chat. New night nurse, 3 yrs. service in Egypt, pleasant woman & quiet.
10 a.m. comes M.O. & after feeling pulse as usual remarks "Oh, yes a much better pulse today, doing well, pulse from 64 to 80 very good, soon take a swab, good morning sister" & so leaves me.
For such a tiresome pt. consider I have not been as bad as I expected, that is all I can say.
Friday 19th April 1917 
Visited by the C.O. & M.O. 10.30 a.m. Usual greeting, "well Nurse how are you", etc., feels pulse, says shall be allowed up soon by Capt. Spencer (shrieks of silence from the aforesaid Capt. in the rear) then on my remarking "never been in bed so long before" says "no, hope you don’t have to stay so long again", he departs. Wonderful human beings compared to our own doctor in T’ba [Toowoomba].
On the advice of my new night Sister, I ask to be moved to a less public room & by 3 p.m. find myself in "No. 6", 3 beds, nice outlook & quiet.
N. Warrell visits me again. I do not know why.
A nice letter from "Frank" at Monastier [?] & photo of F.E.H. enclosed.
From my window the view of flat Egyptian scenery is fine, green fields & stately figures move therein & palms in the background.
Saturday 20 April 1917 
At last a swab is taken of my throat and soon I may be allowed up. More papers from Q’land & Mother. A very quiet peaceful Saturday as the days all are when I take enough thought & keep from worrying. At 6 p.m. Miss Warrall brings a friend, Miss Berry, (B’bane) 31 G.H. to see me, a pleasant girl & nice expression.
From my window I watch the daily toil of the Egyptians in the fields lying just in front of Choubra & very picturesque it all is, waving barley or rice just coming into ear, patches of Lucerne now being cut, then a patch of the chocolate brown earth already showing a tinge of green. Here the family works early & late, driving a mule or donkey, weeding or digging.
Sunday 21st April 1917 
3 weeks of April gone & not once out in the sunshine of Egypt or enjoying the sunrises or sunsets!
A day of quiet reading, sewing, patience playing. No trace of Sunday here. A khamsein blowing all day but very little dust at Choubra.
At 12 m.d. comes little Scotch Sister Moore to tell me I have a negative and lucky to secure one first go as sometimes many "positives" occur.
No trace of the M.O. at all. Allowed up for 1 hour & strange it feels to have tea at a little table instead on [of] sitting up in bed.
Monday 22nd April 1917 
Busy day as regards silk underskirt &, for me, it really is not too badly done.
10 a.m. C.O. visits me & "well Sister how do you like your new room, nice & quiet isn’t it", are his comments, remarks as all do about my "negative" & vanishes. M.O. does not appear at all.
Up for 3 hrs. & very glad to be back in bed once more.
6 p.m. brings Sisters Leed, Peile & Moreton with lovely flowers, & my frock and kind enquiries from Matron (Mrs. Belcher), Miss Witherington, Home Sister & Capt. Grant.
Tuesday 23rd April 1917 
A khamsein blowing again & during the lovely moonlight night some thunder & a few raindrops.
10.30 a.m. M.O. comes but the result is surprising. "Really better where you are Sister for the present, one never knows where this diph. poison gets too or the results etc." I agree as evidently he knows what he is talking about & really the wish to get up is not great even yet, always a little pain in the cardiac region worries me & I think my dear Father’s failing is or will be mine also.
11 a.m. brings C.O. & troupe for "inspection". C.O. more abrupt than usual, remarks that I’ve been in 20 days (not true), says it is a long time & hurries away. Thank God I can never be a Matron in the British Hosp.
Wednesday 24 April 1917 
A long quiet day. Sewing, reading, writing (letters to S. Peile, Frank Blundell, Eva for 14th June).
Grey silk underskirt finished & looks really well for me. Calico Pt. 9 per metre for white one. M.O. 10.30 a.m. takes swab, explains effect diph. has on eyesight & orders large print (rather late). Is kinder than usual as asks if am "worrying over anything Sister"? I say "have given it up" but he evidently knows that this little pain in cardiac may be a worry & it is.
Diph. swabbings may be Positive, positive plus, Negative, Hoffmann’s, latter, Miss McLean explains, is a sort of either one or the other & not sure what it is.
Thursday 25th April 1917 
Anzac day! A glorious morning & pretty, soft day following. Such a day as perhaps we are having "down under" on this 25th April.
If only could have gone to the old Cairo Cemetery for the service or All Saints but no hope. No visits from the medical staff & no trace of Miss More so cannot ask to go out.
Hear that my swab is negative again but note from M.O., Capt. Rankin, on paper asking for another to be sent so a wait of 4 days, i.e., Sunday, follows.
Friday 27  April 1917 
Visit 4 p.m. from Canon Garland, says how well I look etc., prayers, very earnest, long talk with all ouside [outside] doings of Australians. At Alex. a party landed bound for Aust., 81 with only 1 leg apiece disobeyed all orders, went into wine shop, broke bottles etc. Arrested on return, next day marched to another camp but over 100 men with fixed bayonets & 130 rounds of ammunition!! Our reputation grows.
Crowded Church for Anzac day & great success in every way. 130 boys at Aust. Club for lunch afterwards.
A submarine reported in the Indian Ocean.
Very nice visit from O.C. & smiles when I say "hope so" to his remarks "leaving us soon Sister". He is very thorough in his work I imagine (Scotch).
Saturday 28  April 1917 
Still no letters from Aust. Up & dressed 2 p.m. after almost 4 weeks in n. gowns, weak too & the old heart pain still to the fore if any extra exertion.
No M.O. today but Sisters visit frequently. Yesterday all too busy, nothing done to room & lonely day.
Sister Lackie (night) very kind & generally has a yarn.
Out in grounds ½ hr. & very enjoyable.
Notes on diphtheria from Sisters –
Usual inj. for mild adult cases 4000 units, severe adult cases 8000 or even 16000.
In my case effect produced was Inj. 2 p.m. T. 99.02, 4 p.m. Rigor, 7 p.m. T. 102.6, P. 96. Headache severe, nausea, (feeling of) cough troublesome, very little sleep. 2nd T. 99.2, P. 86, oil given, vomited. Cal. grs. iv, in alba. 6 p.m., T. 102.2, P. 96-130 freq., (bell ringing) v. little sleep. 3rd T. 99-99.2, P. 92, normal after. Bed 3 weeks.
Sunday 28th April 1917 
A beautiful day, wind cold when sitting in grounds. Really up and walking, a bit shakily it is true, around the premises. 2 S.A’s to talk to Officer Gibbs newly married and Pte. Howard.
Not up in time for church as new M.O., C. Rankin, visits.
10.45 a.m. cold & stiff, now I learn to appreciate the true gentleman C. Spencer is & the thorough doctor Col. Trout is. One always finds out these things by comparison, it would seem. This one merely shrugs re the swab & Sister takes it later on.
N. Sister tells me she has R. Main, 10 officers including myself, 42 in Annex & 24 at other end Left Main, so not so bad for n. duty, most all convalescent.
We hear all late leave stopped for 31 & Nasalie [?] Hosp’l’s. one fair lady or two, coming home intoxicated!!! Ah Sisters!!
Monday 30  April 1917 
Miss Oram visits me again 11 a.m. & comments upon my airy costume, it certainly is but as I don’t feel cold & am out of all wind it is safe. She is an alarming mass of humanity for a sick sister to gaze upon. Nothing passes on either side & murmering, "Col. said 2 negatives & she must be lonely", she leaves.
Afternoon spent in grounds where I find a deal kurrajong, big sunflowers, snapdragons, etc. Feeling much better these days. Swab negative so shall parade before the Colonel tomorrow. No M.O. today, but alas I cut the Col. in the hall not recognizing him without coat & cap & later ignore C. Spencer in the grounds with Matron but all nerve has left me & I feel frightened of the Col. & "heads" now.
Tuesday 30th April 1918
10.30 a.m. comes the Colonel, Sister McCulloch & a new M.O., Capt. Murphy. I rise, Col. jerks out "getting out a little these last few days & that is better isn’t it?", looks at chart, "quite satisfactory" & they all troop off leaving me in doubt as to my going tomorrow or not, however I never worry about that knowing it is useless in a military hosp.
Put on my silk frock & enjoy a quiet evening in the grounds & talking a little to Miss McLean, nice woman.
During afternoon I borrow from 2 "scarlet" boys in next room book on Patience – it is swung in on belt of dressing gown & all germs mingle freely.
Wednesday 2  May 1917 
11 a.m. comes C. Murphy & takes yet another swab of my luckless throat & if neg. I may go.
Miss Warrel visits me & talks as usual of her age which worries her evidently.
Choubra holds a reception 1st Wed. in every month & Miss Oram graced the building today.
My kites fly down for chicken bones every lunch hour & my pet sparrows come at 5.15 a.m. for crumbs.
Met the O.C. on the entrance & had a friendly talk, am glad as fear my behaviour thus far has been churlish in the extreme but it is two nervous people meeting.
Met C. Spencer also & redeemed my behaviour too I hope.
F.E.H. is not a success as a pt. – that I now know.
Thursday 2 May 1917 
And yet another M.O. comes, this one C. Hilary is quiet, cool & just ordinary doctor, comes back a 2nd time & takes pulse, sounds heart & passes it as correct! I rejoice as had feared otherwise. Now result of swab is returned negative – suppose I really shall go out.
Friday 4  May 1917 ]1918]
Beautiful morning & all things unite to return, thanks to the one who gives the glorious world for us to live in.
O.C. 11 a.m., "you would like to go to a Con. Home? Make arrangements in a day or so" & goes.
Inventory once again so another is here for me to see mugs, chairs, etc. carried out, lined up in the hall & all inspected.
Saturday 5  May 1917 
10.30 a.m. comes Capt. Spencer, looks at throat & says all well then examines gums, "too white" he says & does not seem quite satisfied, however orders tonic, finds I’ve been on it weeks, goes.
5.45 p.m., Sar. Major comes to my quiet corner of the square & tells me am to go to No. 9 Conval. 8.30 a.m. O.C. out till 7 p.m. then too late for visit to 27th for money or clothes so am to be packed off like a parcel, or a soldier, without any choice or word.
Am able to thank both M.O’s but not Matron.
Last peaceful day at Choubra & really it has been a quiet little rest on life’s busy way.
Sunday 5 May 1917 
Last day at Choubra. Bath 5.40 a.m., away in Amb. 8.15 a.m. feeling weak when waiting at Station & diarr. bad on journey. Such a lovely Sunday too & no camera.
Arrived at … 1 p.m. A.A.M.C. man met me with Amb. & drove to Bulkeley "No. 9 Convalescent". Stately reception, wash hands, hang up your coat & come to lunch etc., battery of 15 pts. eyes there, just managed to hold out then to bed, miserable afternoon & freezing. Inmates found me on their return 6 p.m. T. 107.6, P. ? & took fright & packed me to No. 19 G.H., long Amb. ride (3rd for the day). In ward with 9 beds, 5 pts. Seen by old Officer (a woman!!), no orders, very sweet & my opinion of the lady doctor is the same as usual. Very little sleep. So ends "one crowded day" for poor Betsy.
Monday 7  May 1917 
Yesterday I got a peep of the blue Mediterranean & lovely it was to see the sea again. Matron arrives 9 a.m. "Regular" sits on bed, asks age, father’s name, etc., pats me & departs.
10.30 a.m. M.O. businesslike. Well sister what have you been doing with yourself? Examines abd., tongue, feels pulse, orders mist (mag. sulph. I find afterwards to my horror) & departs. 12 m.d. Miss Oram once again stands at my bedside 4th time since I came to Egy. & 3rd hospital. Not so uncomfortable a visit as usual as M.O. says cooly, "she will not be in long I think" & to my joy she goes. No. B.O’s, mag. sulph. 7 p.m.
M.O. visits, wastes no time on any of us yet is just the correct man for this I imagine as is absolutely businesslike.
Tuesday 7 May 1917 
One of life’s most awful days thus far. After a night of pain, washed by V.A.D., had rigor, T. 102, P. 108, severe pain in abd. worst ever, seen by M.O. As all spots are painful he re-bandages, eyes me through to the backbone, asks what I usually take for headache, "nothing" & I murmer the truth "too much noise", no answer but offers Phen. & Caff. cit. 2 tabs taken B.T. allowed. Peaceful afternoon, sisters go out, piano ceases. C/Sister gives dose Sod. sulph. 6 p.m. so no escape but it is not the awful mag. sulph. of 6 a.m. M.O. 7.40 p.m. asks a question or two & departs quietly.
An Aust. sister visits me very kindly & one is in the ward.
S. Cambridge writes Matron as to my whereabouts so the 27th knows of this new plight.
Wednesday 8 May 1917 
Awoke 4.30 a.m. & oh so good to have had a long sleep & no pain. Ward companions 4 in number talk without ceasing of course but as no "head" - not so annoying. Mist sodii sulph., 2 cc. as usual (B.D.), toast & custard allowed. M.O. very carefully refrains from any reference to yesterday’s dose but says T. 98.4 & mind I keep it so, etc. Head better ? pain ? etc. & goes quietly away & I sleep most of day. One hears such funny little bits of talk behind this screen. One furious at being pushed out & "he spoke as though I were shamming". All are quite well as far as I can see. A new expression, "Were you out here in the very early days?" serves to remind all present that we are with "R.I.P." people as the "Bully" has it.
Thursday 9th May 1917 
Feeling myself after 2 p.m. "Niobe-fied" name & passing breeze with Miss McAlpine re pan or rather permission to go W.C. (which I obtain), pity we just don’t understand one another yet. Other Aust. visits me & 1 lends L.E. Wrote Capt. Stillman A.I.F. H.Q. re pay, also Mother, Miss McLean, Choubra & S. Leeds. Temp. etc. now normal & once again I am over 3rd attack since coming to Egypt.
Particulars as to 19th G.H.
Sisters – 17 or more can be adm., quite separate from other wards, own mess room, only 10 in at present. Medical & Surgical Officers
on in this hosp., 2 rooms for mids (civilians) tommies Hosp. in 2 divisions under same O.C.
Pts. 1000 in each division. Belonged to Germans in pre-war days. Gypos on gr. floor.
Friday 11  May 1917 
Very hot day. Pts. in ward reduced to 3 thank Heaven, less noise. M.O. stands at foot of bed, reads chart – "You are only swinging it now", he remarks with a smile but also my throat now plays up in its way since childhood & is ulcerated.
"Patience", letters, sewing etc. as at Choubra fill in the day. A very kind note from Matron 27th G.H.
Saturday 12  May 1917 
Yet another swab taken of this luckless throat.
Wrote Eddie Palethorpe re F.R.H. to go through papers if nec.
Wrote N. Hitchener, Eva, Mother, Matron, Miss McCulloch, since coming in.
These English people are positively the coldest ever met. Dr. & 8 Sisters freezing & Aust. one on her dignity so I’m worse off than at Choubra where they were all friendly. Here we are absolutely patients & nothing more, there I was one of themselves.
In fact I’ve got "the blues" badly & want a touch of "home" somehow.
M.O. comes 7.40 p.m. & standing beside me says, "You are being a good girl now", immediately I ask & obtain permission to get up tomorrow & am promised a drive on Monday!!
Sunday 13  May 1917 
Quiet day sewing & reading. Rec’d letters dated Feb. 12 (must have been lost somewhere) from Mother, Hilda, Lucy, one from M. Woods telling of Dick Rutledge’s death – cannot think the dear boy is really gone. Hilda’s letter was another shock yet not a word of all the trouble only just letter, now how can I answer that?
Up 3 p.m. after a long week in bed & feel weak too – this has been the worst of all, Tuesday’s episode not to be forgotten.
8 p.m. M.O. gives permission again for drive, says what a lot better I am looking & may go out soon.
Monday 13th May 1917 
At 6 a.m. hot bath, sew, read, etc. 7 a.m. breakfast, 9 a.m. cocoa, 11.30 a.m. M.O. cool & calm. What is causing diarrhoea Miss Holloway? Taking any Aper.? I suggest 2ce daily, I swallow salts, "leave it off". 12.30 p.m. lunch.
3 come my 2 Aust. friends, Jones & Furnifull & at last am free & a happy 2 hours spent shopping etc. in Alex. make me feel myself once more.
No M.O. tonight (first time the poor man fails to visit us). Borrowed £1-0-0 from Miss Jones.
Tuesday 15  May 1917 
Quiet day. Sat out on roof most of afternoon & the sight of the sea is good indeed.
Down in our harbour here is lying a boat, within their cabins drowned while asleep, an M.O. & some men, hatches were opened by spies & the boat sank.
A balloon up evidently on guard looks so pretty a picture in the clear blue sky & the soft sea air & fleecy clouds are so different to our dry & dusy [dusty] old Cairo.
Surprise for me re H.F. is still worrying as do not know how or what to reply.
Wednesday 16  May 1917 
Town with Sisters Soar & Furnifull. Tea at Club then shopping. Drew pay Pt. 300.
Wrote Nell long letter.
Wrote Mrs. Simpson.
Wrote S. Leed.
Questioned M.O. re this last attack. No dysentery germ but a lot of colitis going around, probably that, no fear of recurrence. Going out to Bulkeley in a day or two.
Thursday 16th May 1917 
The Anniversary of our poor little Enid’s death, does not seem as long ago as that & yet how easily I too might have been lying today quiet as she is after my recent illness, how many of us will be above the sod this date next year?
Went town with S. Cambridge, ordered 2 white frocks at Salons, Pt. 450 for two.
Shopped – shoes tan R. Hughes, Pt. 135. Paid 1 week’s subscription at Club & had tea (Pt. 3½).
Dinner in mess room (1st time). Concert in Y.M.C.A. Hut, very questionable jokes!
An Aust. sister adm. to Balcony. All Aust. are going to Salonika from Alex. Are we?
May go to Bulkeley on Monday.
Friday 18  May 19017 
S. Cambridge discharged. A beautiful exhibition of flying 9 a.m. seen from roof. Plane revolves slowly down as though coming on top of us then flies just over our heads & skims away seawards.
Later anti-aircraft guns are heard practising only.
Today the "Omrah" late P & O to Aust. is torpedoed only a few miles out. All hands saved but everything lost. Took 4 hrs. to go down.
7.50 p.m. asked M.O.’s permission to go out [indecipherable]. Absolutely refused, "Colonel will not allow it sister, must wait".
Anger on part of Aust. but of course only smiled – (outwardly).
Saturday 19  May 1917 
Day of "blues" very badly. M.O. very kindly arranges motor drive with 2 sisters & tea at 21st G.H. but decide not to accept, instead go to tram terminus (17th G.H.) & then Bulkeley & the ocean. 2 good things for the day.
1st, walk up a quiet street with softly sighing pines making music on either side, then over a little sand hill, at the top the sea, sparkling & fresh as ever.
Town 5.30 p.m. tea at Empire Nurses’ Club then dress fitted at Shalons, 2 white ones, £2-5-0 each, bed 7.30 p.m. & very "blue". M.O. says Bulkeley Tuesday.
Sunday 19th May 1917 
Quiet peaceful day. Rose 12 m.d. Lunch 12.30, slept & read 4 p.m. tea out on roof then church with matron (Miss Potter) 5.30 p.m., good sermon & earnestly asked to come H.C. during next 3 days.
Monday 20th May 1917 
Rose 5.15 a.m. Went H.C. in chapel 6.15 a.m., only sister present & 5 Tommies – quiet & peaceful service.
No further information re Salonica save that Capt. Walker on being asked if will pass me says, Oh yes, you will be fit to go in 3 wks.
Last day at 19th G.H. & we are well cared for.
Hosp. over 2000 beds run in 2 sections, this German building surgical & officers & sisters, "schools" medical.
Tuesday 22  May 1917 
Rose 10 a.m. packed once again for Bulkeley, tipped Gyppos (Pt. 5 each), to report to M.O. Monday next. Ambulance to No. 9 Conval. 2.30 p.m., waited ¾ hr. for Miss Alderson to allow me go soom, tea 4 p.m., rules to be again read, town 4.30 p.m. Glorious sunset.
Wednesday 22nd May 1917 
1st day at Bulkeley. Breakfast 8 a.m. (in bed), out of room 10 a.m. to 12 m.d. Went Alex. ½ hr. ride in double-decker tram, drew pay £10-0-0 at Pay office, lunch & 2 hrs. rest at Nurses’ Club, paid 2 frocks Chalons £4-10-0. Khedival Hotel (Sisters quarters) & 4 p.m. tea S. Roberts. No. 9 Conval. 6 p.m. Lovely flowers in gardens here & days fine & not too warm.
Thursday 24  May 1917 
Town 3 p.m. & Kheidivial [Khedivial] hotel & met S. Roberts, drove through Noosah gardens & lovely it all is, masses of flowers & pretty drives.
Tea at Groppi’s 4 p.m., shopping then drive as aforesaid.
Big fuss at 9 p.m. with poor little Sister Haggis & Miss H.
Friday 24 May 1917 
Went town 4 p.m. & found all shops shut – Empire day. Bought tan stockings, Pt. 12, black (poor) stockings Pt. 16. Streets decorated for arrival of Sultan – his first – visit to Alex. since his accession last year. Has a palace at Rasl il Tin [also spelt Ras el-Tin] & one at Ramleh [also spelt Ramlah and Ramla]. Decoration – red arches, tawdry effect on the whole. Xmas tree balls hanging over arches.
No. 9 convalescent home has been in existence 3 years next month, 1700 names on books (some same sisters of course occasionally). Place is well run, food good, lovely old garden, good beds, cold hard woman running it, but capable manager. Rules – not to enter rooms tween 10-12, late leave 11 p.m., give notice if not coming to meals.
Saturday 26  May 1917 
Rose 8.15 a.m. & went town morning for bathing suit, Pt. 75, cap Pt. 12 at Hannaux. 1 hr. trip then surfed with Dudgeon crowd, happy day. Walk 4 p.m. with S. Craney. S. Soar gone back to 14th & hope don’t run across her ever again.
Short address on … Composer not known, believed to have been written 6th century, 1200 years ago, sung in our churches since. Most beautiful hymn written. Divided into 6 parts. Suggests 2 things,
(2) Begins with lofty flight into praise of Almighty, comes down to humble petition for help.
Sunday 26th May 1917 
Lovely peaceful Sunday, Church 10 a.m., All Saints, Ramleh & looking across the Church I see the Horans & Mrs. Dudgeon in a pew opposite & reflect that it is just 2 months since was in Church last in Cairo, Easter Sunday, & Mr. Horan preaching. Swim & diving with Dorothy Horan 12 p.m., lunch 1 p.m., slept 3.30, 4 p.m. tea with Dudgeon & crowd on beach. All cleared off by police 6.30 p.m. then tram to 17th G.H. & arranged meet G. Hanly Tuesday 3 p.m.
Saw a convoy of boats, counted 15, leaving Alex., learned afterwards that one over-crowded of course, 3000 Tommies packed in holds, was torpedoed 140 miles out 12.45 a.m., bright moonlight, sank in 1 hour, survivors in town next day but some in pyjamas, tieless etc., buying in Canteens.
Monday 27 May 1917 
Sultan paid his first to Alex. & great & gaudy decorations are in the streets, crowds of people, very cosmopolitan of course.
Went 19th G.H. 11.30 a.m., saw C.O. & discharged & to return 27th G.H. on Friday, 31st. Shock is too much for me to speak so say, "yes Capt." & retire. Walked down Rue Rosette then gharry to Red X home, lunch, then Khedivial Hotel, met S. Roberts, bathe Stanley Bay & lovely sunset. News of transport torpedoed 12 m.n. yesterday, & although over 1 hr. sinking men drowned.
Letters from Mith, Nell, 3 boys, Eva, E. Brown, Kantara. Home news still tragic as regards H.F. otherwise well. Bathed in S. Bay 9 a.m., lovely fresh days.
Tuesday 29  May 1917 
Q’land letters arrive today, 7 in all, 4 from Ida. All well. Bathe & b. & butter with the Dudgeons 11. 1 p.m. diving not a success, no nerve. 3 p.m. met G. Hanley, Ramleh station, tea at … Girty very gay. Bulkeley 7 p.m., watched sunset from beach, lovely golden ball sinking into the sea. Dinner party at No. 9. About 8 men, 20 odd women! Afterwards games, singing etc., nice officers, bed 11.40.
Wednesday 30  May 1917 
Usual enjoyable swim then tea with Mrs. Dudgeon, lunch No. 9 1 p.m. Gharry drive with Sisters Walsh & Haggis along sea wall to 21 G.H. Saw Sultan’s palace, 4 p.m. tea Empire Club, shopped, linen hat Pt. 30 at Hanneaux.
Wrote 2 letters to Ida, Mith 1, Frank 1.
Thursday 31  May 1917 
Went Ordinance Stores 11. 12 m.d. bought large towel for 7/6, 4/2 only 3 days ago! No soap etc. to be got. Bought bucket 3/-.
Friday 31st May 1918
Last swim in Stanley Bay 10, 11 a.m. visited Mrs. Dudgeon & rec’d £5-0-0 for treats for boys in No. 27th G.H.
Very hot day & dusty.
Took train at Sidi Gaber 3.45 p.m. (got warrent at station from R.T.O.) & travelled to Cairo with 3 very nice doctors, 2 Irish, 1 English, 3 fresh men & keen on life, very different from the alas often drinkers, lazy M.O’s one meets. 10 women dr’s out on last convoy & they are on the staff of most hospitals here now.
Saturday 1st June 1918
Once again on duty 7.30 a.m., 40 pts. In "Mary" medical, malaria relapsing fever, Jaundice, hearts, etc.
Sunday 2nd June 1917 
2nd day of duty & feel less shakey & tired. Mary ward again. Church 11 a.m. Wrote letters Nell & Ida, on pass 5-8. Ward is less military than last one but jogs on comfortably & pts. are less worried by rules. On top floor we overlook through back windows the 31st G.H., formerly 14th A.G.H.
Am still saying, "better thank you" to the staff & as I pass Dr. McCulloch, although he is talking to someone, he says "delighted" which I know is meant for me, funny men these English.
A memo in passing –
A submarine is reported captured ater [after ?] boat was torpedoed Sunday last and in the Capt’s pocket was found a receipt of a dinner at Continental the previous day. Thus do we live among spies & how I wonder does a man like that feel when looking at the poor boys to be torpedoed?
Monday 4  June 1917 
Tuesday 4 June 1917 
Sister Leed’s "day off" so I run the ward & only difficulty is my not being used to the military papers, transfers, etc. & the M.O. (a lady) is a sad muddler. Comes 9 a.m., does a little bit, returns 11 a.m., goes, returns 12.40 p.m., leaves 1 p.m., returns 7 p.m. to ? & does 2 atropine tests for ty. Atropine 1/300 given, pts. reacted slowly (stuff given very old). One pt., Sheward, result of blood culture positive so transferred to Choubra, other, Beatty, negative.
Off 2-5 p.m., rested. Oh how good to have pro tem a room to one’s self. Letter with N. Crookey, may sit Sept. ’18.
Wednesday 6  June 1917 
Inspection day but less fuss than in Connaught.
Am still thought to be in Connaught & one sister says am on the equipment as, "One long Australian sister".
Am now aware of the 47 pts. names, medicines, etc. & find the ward easy. 2 good orderlies & 1 V.A.D., rough but good. Sister not a nagger.
Off 5-8, went Cairo & bought Jacope’s "Evening Calm", I call it, picture for pt. 65. Garter purse repaired, pt. 12.
All sisters out over 2 yrs. may go up to Jerusalem, Miss Oram.
Thursday 7  June 1917 
½ day & went Heliopolis 5 p.m. Ch. Stockings for tapestry (Pt. 30) work. Bought for Miss Hunt 1 piece tapestry Pt. 45, got it for 8/-.
Flame trees (?) are glorious, long rows of them lining the streets.
Friday 8  June 1917 
Off 2-5 p.m., rested & wrote letters.
Mr. Palethorpe writes of £500-0-0 put into C’wealth Bank in his name as "trustee" & matters going satisfactorily. Wrote him to send Mother £25-0-0.
Saturday 9  June 1917 
4 pts. adm. hearts from 70th G.H. as that hosp. is being closed. Very little nursing in these wards, mainly administrative work, plenty of clerk work for M.O. & S/C.
Sunday 10  June 1917 
Weather continues cool o’nights, hottish days. 11 a.m. church & Col. reproves N.Z. Sister for sitting with pt. & chatting to him (& well he may). C of E Padre a large man & not convincing in any way but means well I believe. F.E. gets shakes in church but struggles on & sits it through. ½ day & met S. Haggis at Club. Zoo for tea & took 3 snaps. Flame trees out in all their glory & plane trees looking beautiful.
S. Haggis acc’t of her reception by C. Walker 19th G.H. very amusing (to me), horrible to her. Ordered on duty after 2 minutes inspection.
2 Wilga parcels – 3 prs. Stockings, 2 singlets, 1 doz. hdkfs., tape, pens etc. – good girls they are to me.
Monday 11  June 1917 
27th G.H. goes on as usual. After S. Tait’s wedding comes Miss Moreton & Miss … off to Aust. again.
All "old" sisters go up to Jerusalem for 72 hrs. leave. 6 N.Z. sisters on the staff new since I was here.
A trifle told by Anti-aircraft boy Sheward (gone M.I.H.). A friend, in flying, came to grief, was patched up, the day discharged from hosp. was sent up again, machine put through all nose dives, etc., then they came down to earth & an M.O. was waiting, took friend’s pulse 140!, "finish" for him.
Field punishment No. 1, arms tied to cannon wheel & stand in sun for so many hrs. or other hard things ordered. Took 2 blood films malaria – 1 not a success (Taylor).
Tuesday 12  June 1917 
Only pts. 36 in ward, malaria most of them, others dysentery, relapsing fevers, debility, etc.
Ward routine – on duty 7.30 a.m. Read report, take T & Ps, mark charts, serve medicines, tidy 48 beds, tea in Home 10 a.m. Attend to any treatments ordered. 1st lunch 12.30 p.m., sister "off" 2-5, serves dinner for pts., medicines, etc. Sister on 2-5 does sponging, temps., etc. Evening duty – serve medicines, report temps. for Matron, gives report to Night Sister 8 p.m., 2nd dinner 8.15 p.m.
Off duty 5-8 – rested, sent parcel, 3 aprons white, 1 grey to Eva.
Wednesday 13  June 1917 
½ day once again & nothing very much to do but it is blowing a khamsien & loads of Egypt in the gale.
Tuesday 14  June 1917 
Friday 15  June 1917 
Convoy in 4.30 p.m., 8 pts., 7 beds, confusion reigns for a few minutes then peace as one is transferred to lines. A case of typhus in one ward has closed that one pro tem & another, Victoria, is being fumigated & all cockies taken to pieces (bugs) so we never have an empty bed for one day.
Saturday 16  June 1917 
S. Leed’s day off, 40 pts. in ward & all or most in bed, day goes off quietly. Matron very nice as usual, asks me why windows not closed, "it is an order", raised eyebrows. "Yes Matron & very sorry but too hot", laughs & goes on. Cairo 5-8, hear from C. Garland the awful news that we are to be sent to 31st!!, fly home & interview Matron 7.45 p.m. "Yes you people are all to go very sorry". I appeal, no use, Miss Oram can do nothing, try Col. Dawson. Evidently we were all to come to 27th but Matron says she is too tired to take us on. In this remark & many others, I learn how we are regarded in Egypt & some of us have been trying, I am afraid. Go to be sorryful but no use fussing in the Army. Am gradually hearing that, and lots of other things.
Sunday 17  June 1917 
Day off & very enjoyable one. Visited during a.m. by Matron. S. Talon sitting on bed springs up, Matron says this is how Home Sister wastes her time, Oh no, says F.E.H., not wasting it, talking of "spiritulism". Are aren’t you, aren’t you? delicate sarcasm, invites me to room it being cooler.
3 p.m. gardens zoo studies, 4 p.m. tea, 6 p.m. church. C. Garland who has previously threatened me "preaches" at me as threatened – quotes, a sister who has her own P.H. in Aust. when ill with a dangerous complaint tells him, "She understands her pts. better now".
Monday 18  June 1917 
Another & my last week at 27th begins.
1 white frock is lengthened for Pt. 25 & they cost Pt. 2 to do up. All badly done too. Heat is fairly great but nights cool. Crows cawing in the gums at my window sound very homelike & the withering flowers in the garden.
Tuesday 18th June 1917 
½ day. Went Club 2.45 p.m., no trace of S. Laskey so went A.S. Club 4 p.m. tea then sailing on old Nile till 6 p.m. then gardens ‘till sunset & so home.
Cpl. Shaw very understanding to talk to & am grieved at C. Garland’s blundering ways with the boys (& sisters).
Everyone so nice about our leaving. Miss Witherington says Matron & self so sorry & so say others but am not going to appeal to Col. Dawson just try it & if not a success apply for transfer.
Wednesday 19th June 1917 
Matron moves into my cubicle & all her pretty frocks hang along beside my modest white dresses with ward gray ones (her room being painted).
Concert at Zeitoun 8 p.m. 8 V.A.D’s, 4 sisters attend & I meet Eric Chauncey & years roll away & again I see their tiny cottages & hear of their poverty & how they must have "made good" now! Very nice evening driving in the moonlight & the simple pleasure of these boys in their pet officer’s appearance on the stage does one good to see.
Thursday 21  June 1917 
Off 2-5 p.m. packing & tyding up goes on. Concert in Mary ward 7-8 p.m. Songs by V.A.D;’s, C of E Padre, pts., etc. 2 recitations by Dr. Crowe, "If" & Prodigal (2) son which makes we "down under" people rather wroth (No. 2 item) & to represent "something low" as a N.Z. boy put it he borrowed a
ret’d N.Z. hat & gave the impression that Aust. is merely a very rough country & composed chiefly of pigs or pig growers, am not sure which.
Friday 21st June 1917 
½ day & go out to Pyramids with Cpl. Shaw, poor old man he coughs & is very bent & weak after his illness, photos, then tea at Mena House, then long enjoyable evening lying on the hot sands & watching the colors in the sky & the Sphinx in the moonlight & dreaming & all it has seen in the long past ages. Home by last tram 11.10 p.m. & find everyone has been looking for me to say may stay in bed more, so no more shall I go on duty in the 27th G.H. & what a lot I have learned here, not in nursing but other things. (Saturday 22nd), cont. from overleaf. Moonlight donkey stunt to [indecipherable]. 24 of us & how we enjoyed it all, playing 2 & 3’s round the old obelisk in the warm evening air & flying in a car along the fine roads with lebbek [also spelt lebbeck] trees on either side.
Saturday 22nd June, 1917 
Last day at 27th and with what regrets do I leave and so many kind expressions of regret from the staff make me know they are really sorry too. Breakfast in bed then packing. Matron comes in 11 a.m., will you soon be out? "Yes am trying Matron". "Could you try a little harder" tone causes much mirth on my part, she is very sweet to me & says to come & see them often but experience tells me the visits back are very few in one’s life. 2.30 p.m. we depart in an ambulance and arrive 31st G.H., report ourselves and not being wanted go to town, buy 2 pictures (Jacope’s) & dinner at 7.15 p.m., such a crowd of women at long tables & food badly served & very indifferent mess. Joys to mention. Have a bed beside large window overlooking the old garden, 4 beds in room.
Sunday 23rd June 1917 
1st day on duty. H.C. 6.20 a.m. & very nice service, then breakfast 7 a.m. & orders to take over a ward G.T. x & G. x medical, 75 beds, 45 pts. at present, day spent in taking equipment seeing pts., doing rounds with lady Dr. Wilson, Canadian, very sweet, married, hubby France, only child dead, endless cigarettes, gentle melancholy, are her main characteristics. Off 2-5, 4.30 p.m. "At home" in garden. I attend & entertain C. Leach, Registrar for 31st & 2 other men – Officers – one asks if we have any hospitals in Aust. (Military)? & is astonished to find we do. Evening duty, medicines, Matron’s note, aperients, more counting & now everything is handed over & I sign 2 boards only praying that the things will be there when I leave. Much walking & feel tired.
Monday 24 June 1917 
Bath 6 a.m., breakfast 7.30 a.m., then duty 8 a.m. with S. Jackson (her last day in ward). In taking equipment over 1 fire bucket is missing but is ret’d on pressure & now practically everything is right save 10 basins & no one knows how those can be counted as pts. have the same. Pts. 45 in number mostly malaria, debility, quinsy, abscesses on neck or arms & in general run down. Food only fair & eggs bad, out of 38, 21 either badly cooked or bad.
Wards are untidy but light & airy, boys good but very careless of any etiquette, i.e., standing up, etc.
Matron 9 a.m. where Red X things are dragged out one at a time. Off 5-8. Room large & lovely window. Andrews & V.A.D. share it.
Tuesday 26  June 1917 
S. Jackson gone Alex. & I am in ch. with V.A.D. Dalzell, 3 orderlies – 2 good, 1 a blank & ward master also poor, but does book work. Pts. 51. Endeavour to bring some order to ward, pts. forbidden to talk loudly all the dr’s visit, also curtail long smoking "bee" in "bunk", sisters weird in next ward & brush a mass of matches, cigarettes ends etc., which I clear up 3 p.m., not again though. Off 5-8 town for photos, results disappointing in some respects.
Hear of 10 deaths at air school in one week & from a 27th pt. of spies being at work at airdrome one time & many ‘planes crashing to earth & men killed.
Wednesday 26th June 1917 
Pts. in ward 51. ½ day & go Muski with Cpl. Shaw, spent £4 & got – 2 large brass bowls
1 large brass tray
2 boxes with lids, hair pins (?)
1 vase, 1 gong, good bargain in some ways.
6 p.m., tea Liptons with G. Hanly & C. Shaw then houseboat on Nile, A.S. Club opening & enjoyable evening, crowds of our boys. One poor thing anxious for me to go rose picking by moonlight in Geriziah [possibly Gezira] gardens 10 p.m. (not this child) back to 31st 11 p.m. G. Hanly & S. Kinnaine sharing room.
C. Garland asks me take position of Matron at the Hut Rest Camp, P. Said, [Port Said] but no, prefer the wards & nursing but know it is an honor.
Met Col. Maitland Woods at A.S.C., he is finder of wonderful mosaic.
Thursday 27th June 1917 
Off duty 2-5, tidy up a bit then Cpl. Shaw comes & brings brass for me. Girty joins us at tea & Miss Gemmell comes & talks to him, what time we remain standing. Good kindly man he is.
Friday 28th June 1917 
Am very happy in my work & giving every possible energy to it. Men appreciate my efforts as to clean shirts, ties, etc. Dr. Wilson a very charming woman & a pleasure to talk to her. Miss Low, home sister, has a hard expressionless face & our harem is simply filthy, bad food & dirty quarters. Both Matrons evidently regard us as immoral women & try to suppress us in every possible way as to late passes etc.
Saturday 29th June 1917 
½ day & Cpl. Shaw & I go to Embabah & take snaps and the village is most interesting with its tiny doorways with crowds of children, sheep or donkeys standing around, filth on every side and the canal from the Nile flowing quietly by with boats with sails set on their way down or up, to Luxor.
Sunday 1 July [30 June] 1917 
H.C. 6.20 a.m. Off morning pass 11-1 p.m. My window on to the garden is a great joy to me & the aeroplanes sailing over at 3 a.m. are fine, 7 & 8 sometimes fly over in a long string. Our boys are hungry & food question is bad, they talk of smashing the "bull ring" one day & to prevent that we must fight for food & fight hard.
Monday 1st July 1917 
All Beila nurses on duty & once again "Willow". S. Moore & I are working in same hospital. Jealousy will soon be rife if any promotions come up.
Miss Cheetham promises my V.A.D. may stay but S. Allardice is poor style to help, sits around etc., these women are more friendly than the British but wish they would not burst into our bedroom, etc., & would be a little more stiff sometimes.
Tuesday 3  July 1917 
½ day & spend it with Cpl. Shaw & my camera, go Kodak Island & take street hawkers, women in the Nile etc.
Have 70 pts. in 2 wards, mostly malarias, debitory, [debility ?] throats etc., and we do not feed them properly & practically no outings. Dr. Wilson is good & does her best but some lady M.O’s are no good for the welfare of the pts. Tales of Spies – one well disguised was followed from Cairo to Alex., then retired to beach hut, surrounded & hut found to contain 4 or 5 men, germans, waiting for a boat out to a submarine with plans of Cairo, every
Wednesday 4  July 1917 
Busy day as 6 pts. go out & we straighten up the ward gradually. Fights go on always as regards food & it is very poor. Bread & dripping L.A.S. sour puddings, "high" meat sometimes is making our boys desperate & I fear an attack on the "bull ring" as the D. Hall is called.
Thursday 4 July 1917 
Off 2-8 p.m. & went to Helouan with G. Hanly, A. Dowling & his friend Sam, glorious day & the sunset over the old Nile is very fine. A day of mixed feelings. Never had such a snub from anyone as is dealt by Miss Gemmell as to "who told you to go to 2nd breakfast? No staff nurse goes to that!" & yet I was a "Sister" before she ever was in the Army. Well it is good that there are women like Mrs. Belcher in the world. Miss Gemmell talks of improvements but I want only one, better food for these boys & am going to fight & fight until we get it.
Friday 6  July 1917 
½ day. Went San Govanni [Giovanni] with A. Dowling & Miss Dalzell, glorious view of the old Nile coming into flood & such loads of melons coming on the felucca from Upper Egypt Warf.
Town again 5 p.m., another tea at A.S. Club, then iced lemonade with G. Hanly & Cpl. Shaw at Salts, ordered coat & skirt (Pt. 300). Harangue by Miss Cheetham re shaking hands with privates, indignation on part of all Aust. present. Garry home with Girty, Pt. 15. Life is very full these days & I live every minute & not very tired considering. Miss Allardice retired sick & Miss Nichol reigns in her stead, she also appears very weary.
Saturday 6 July 1917 
Sister Nichol with us again and improves with time, off hand but genuine. Off 2-5, rest & sleep a trifle. 7.30 p.m. Miss Gemmell does rounds – in a rash moment I ask permission to wear white, long list of wrongs poured out "at" me & am found fault with in strong force. Great surprise on my part & evidently mischief is being made & listened to.
Letter with May Witrels, son wounded & in Citadel. Fight in the "Bull Ring" results in an Aust. being jailed.
Sunday 7th July 1917 
No H.C. at 6.20 a.m. so go at 6 p.m., good address. Text, "Thou art the man" apply both to sins committed by us & also sins forgiven us. Psalm xxxvii. Lesson to be heard – "Condem not. Judge not". A rather "blue" day after Miss Gemmell’s wrong attack on me yesterday. A woman without a sense of humor is hard to understand. Ward the same, malarias, etc., 50 pts. in Convoy 8, 2 cots, 6 walking. Letter from Mag., Wilga only 6 pts. News of Dick’s death has reached them. Hot day & rather a busy one. Cpl. Shaw visits me & cheers with kindly advice.
Monday 9  July 1917 
½ day & Girty & I after 4 p.m. tea at A.S.C. with Frank Blundell now secretary there - Cpl. Shaw & Frank Cullen, go on the Nile with last named two & lovely afternoon & laughter & fun, the old Nile is flooding again & I take the tiller & steer across & across, what tune, the old Solomon of the one eye as sunset comes on, plays & falls on his face with his back to the sunset & facing Mecca. Evening light is very good & we drive to 31st 8.30 p.m. & dodge dinner. Long lecture with both lunches on our evil deeds, immorality, etc. "If we only knew what things are said about us", etc. What do the things matter when the glorious evening light floods the sky & the soft fresh breeze blows softly in our windows every morning.
Tuesday 9th July 1917 
Last day (I fancy) of Ramadan. At sunrise a royal salute of 21 guns is fired then again on different occasions during the day & after 2 days of feasting the affair will be over for 12 months.
Bits added. Yesterday 24th, got my 1st Pt. note for 5/- or 5 piastres, rather pretty. Sovereign is now worth 14 pt. All paper money now, difficult to get change. Ordered 2 white overalls, Pt. 80 each. Splendid news from Western Front bucks everyone up & we really wonder if this old war could end soon?
Wednesday 11  July 1917 
Long busy days full of nursing our boys. About 60 and generally in a fine mess as a rule. One prints photos for me, another writes up & papers to help me, and one & all always have a ready smile & word.
Every moment is lived when in the wards, & out of them. Well the Aust. sisters are friendly even if Miss G. is always taking me up wrongly & speaking as though I were a terrible offender. Very interesting is it to note change of heat – now moist – as the Nile floods, & morning fogs occur.
Capt. Leach gives the pts. Dovers pdr. [powder] grs. x in preference to Asp. [Aspro ?] (which is very expensive). Most pts. on Mist strych.
Qir. [?] grs. x 1 a.s.
Mist – Alba 1 a.s.
[Note in margin] Officers ward.
Thursday 12  July 1917 
½ day, stayed in until 4.30 p.m., then Cairo – bought white shoes, Pt. 53 – 2nd dinner. Life has been so full these times & the joy of nursing our own people is great.
Jarroed, Dalby, looks tired of it all but the younger men can go on yet. Groppi’s known as the "Powder & paint show" (to these officer boys) is a fine sight these 5 p.m. afternoons. Officers of every description & Sisters, V.A.D’s & civilians throng in & out. One takes one’s plate & fork, selects the cakes, pays Pt. 3 (or Pt. 1 each) & walks through rows of tiny tables & gazes to the fancied spot, garcon brings Icecream sodas, etc. & one becomes one of the lookers on.
Friday 13  July 1917 
Scott, "Hornet Banks" one, goes out. Mawbey, Jimmy Governer’s escaped victim still in the ward. Frank Cullen brings loads of paper (writing) out for us again.
Days are hotter but quite cool enough for a blanket o’night. Grapes, figs, melons, bananas all served in turn also strawberries.
Saturday 14  July 1917 
Wrote Nell & sent Muscio’s letter. Wrote Edith, Ida, Mrs. Luke. All goes very nicely in the wards. S. Nicol & V.A.D. Dalzeel both good & the boys all that one could wish for. "Off"? well Miss Gemmell never loses an opportunity of being rude to me. Miss Cheetham continues to post notices up from day to day, re our badness. 5-8 pass, went 27th G.H., everyone so kind there & had long talk with S. Leed. Arranged flowers in church 8.30 p.m.
Sunday 14 July 1917 
Church 9.30 a.m. A fair no. of our boys came too.
½ day & went on Nile. Gyppo refused to go out longer than 1 hr. (charge Pt. 10 per hour). Sisters Leed & Peile with me. At 6 p.m. drove to Geiza gardens then over English bridge & tram back to 31st. Food is much improved & room cleaned up a little. Nothing but discontent on all sides in the hosp., never have I lived in such an atmosphere of trouble & immoral behaviour imagined on the part of the Sisters.
Monday 15 July 1917 
My last day of GT x & x & 60 odd pts. 9.30 a.m. sent for & told night duty tomorrow. 4.30 p.m. told night duty tonight, good management? No sleep & very little rest as had to pack etc. Attacked by Miss G. & to leaving V.A.D. Dalzeel on 5-8 duty though Miss Cheetham gives permission, hopeless muddle with 2 women ruling & Miss G. speaks to me as though I were something in utter disgrace. After all the different women I’ve been in hosp. with to meet one like this is to say the least trying & she has no sense of humor, so we shall never understand one another. On duty officer’s ward 8 p.m., 26 pts. all nice & none ill beyond malaria, dysentery, fractures, etc. 6 am. brings 2 "flying men", one dead on adm. the other fractured arm & cut face, one Cowen dead, 22 yrs. other, Lt. Taylor, 23. Very tired & depressed & sleep the sleep of the very weary.
Tuesday 16 July 1917 
Mother’s jottings become mixed as night takes the place of day. Life is dull, share room with S. Henry, 2 V.A.D’s, no attempt at privacy & oh the supper at 11.30 p.m.! & the style of one of the Sisters! All are friendly though S. Moore took over my equipment in G x & so my dear boys & I have parted.
To walk along these big balconies & see long wards of soldiers sleeping, rows of beds on the balconies & even drawn out into the barrack square makes one think a lot. How many of them dream of home & families I wonder & will they ever leave this hot land, the fearful Jordan Valley? "The king’s soldiers". I would that big wigs sitting at home in their easy chairs could only see these sights we do in hospital & they would learn what the men put up with.
Wednesday 17 July 1917 
Rob’s birthday! & never have I been so far away from the dear old boy. Last night a distinct earth tremor shook the floor & pts. felt their beds quake too. A strange sensation truly.
Have written Mother, Mrs. Luke, Ida, N. Bell, Muscio, Lucy Holloway since night duty began. Very hot days & sit perspiring all night. 2 orderlies are both good & pts. stay in the ward, some are escaping from other wards I hear.
Moonlight comes round again & such a still calm broods over everything now (3 a.m.).
Thursday 18 July 1917 
Sat in garden & enjoyed glorious green trees & bright sunshine. Slept 10 a.m. 3.30 p.m. then town & fitted coat & skirt Chemla’s, very good. 5 p.m. ices at Groppi’s and back to 31st per garry.
Have Lt. O’Leary in ward as pt. He is a V.C. & has done wonderful things, now alas malaria & whisky have him in their grip & one feels sorry for so much fine stuff being wasted.
Lt. Crosby Browne, T’ba, in ward. Lt. Austin, 4th A.L.H. is another nice boy.
Believe we really did some good in trying for more & better food for these boys of ours so perhaps my trip here has been of use after all.
Friday 19th July 1917 
Very friendly from Mrs. T.A. Price, also one from M. Crookey.
Cairo 5 p.m. with S. Kinnaine. Groppi’s & home in garry, lovely sunset & "child" sings. End of a perfect day on the picturesque road back. Duty 8 p.m., these pts. are very nice and I find Major Mullens, an R.C. Padre, is nephew to old O’Shaughnessy & on 21st April ’18 buried poor Dick Rutledge.
Saturday 20th July 1917 
Town 5 p.m. with Gerty. Paid Pt. 4, garry to Mauchet then Groppi for Ice cream soda, coat & skirt fits & looks well. Paid by ch. £3-10-0, Pt. 350. Back at 31st 7 p.m. Long quiet nights on duty, letter writing principal occupation. Letters from Mith, Eva, Ida, N. Bell, Mrs. Price, Mag.
Replied to all & sent photos to some. Miss Gemmell on leave Pt. Said. Interesting talk with Capt. Davies (R.A.M.C.) [Royal Army Medical Corps] re treatment up the line. In his own words – about 2 medicines, 2 ointments. Quickness & commonsense main items needed. For malaria – gives cal. [Calomel] grs. ii statem with Sullph. [indecipherable] Quin. grs. 60 per day. (Intravenous if really pushed would give) otherwise give in buttock, [indecipherable]? In shoulder it interferes with packs. If temp. 105 or 6 & persistent, carry pt. outside, take 2 buckets water & wash him down until T. falls.
Sunday 21st July 1917 
Pt. on duty in a few days, never send to Base Hosp. if possible to avoid it. Many pts. have carbunkles & boils, etc. If the former cut deep swab with carbolic or perch, let pus out, same treatment to abscess if occurs after quin. inject.
Many cases of thorns (prickly pear) occur, cut deep & app. foments 4 times a day.
Sunday – Remonstrated with 2 V.A.D’s keeping me awake, their sole object in life is Groppi’s, at 5 p.m. never cease talking. Not much sleep to be had. Church 6 p.m., good address.
Monday 22 July 1917 
Hilda’s birthday! What a sad day for us all & I doubt not for her too. Poor little girl I would rather she were lying peacefully with Kath by the ocean at Little Bay than living as things are.
Interesting talk with Lt. Taylor, R.F.C. "flying man". Describes the fall. Going out 4.30 a.m. or thereabouts & up about 160 ft. got into thick fog, tried to stall the machine, fly straight up & get through it, instead machine must have turned sideways & begun to nose dive, not able to see an inch ahead & not knowing they were descending, first thing that happened the wings would strike the earth breaking the fall (for the one boy at least) perhaps the other was killed outright – this one Lt. Taylor W.C. broken arm etc. The O.C. insists on so many hrs. flying per day & too hot midday & now with the Nile rising, usually a fog 6 a.m.
Tuesday 24  July 1917 
Pts. 33 all told. Save for occasional rise of temp. in a malaria case there is nothing doing all night. Routine – 8 p.m., read report, see all pts., serve medicines, lights out 9.30 p.m., then glass of milk & soda is brought me foll. by cup tea 10 p.m. M.O. 11 p.m. Ord. Officer acc. by Sgt. comes nightly to ask "all well?" Supper 11.30 p.m., 2 orderlies have theirs 12-1 a.m. N. sister visits ward, then letters, read, etc. 5 a.m. serves aperient, Temps, etc., off duty 7.30 a.m., breakfast 7.45 a.m., bed 9 a.m.
Lt. Matheson wounded in Turkish engagement. His story – we, 16 of us, sneaked out to look at & surprise Jacko, this night he surprised us. About 200 of them met our 16. Hand grenades thrown, 3 Aust. killed, remainder got back under barrage of shell fire, this the boy tells looking guilty, other details I gather from Capt. Evans.
Wednesday 24th July 1917 
The Officers invitation for all Sisters to Luna Park now being allowed to all, we go 5 p.m., leave 7.15 p.m., enjoyable time & pretty scenes. A ride on scenic railway makes my cardiac organ quell. Must not repeat it. Water shute, I leave alone. Pts. are interesting now. Have Lt. Col. Williams, Vic., Capt. Evans, Ipswich, Lt. Matheson, Cowler, [?] Lt. Macauch, Longreach, McIntyre, Goondiwindi & many others back & forth. Good boys all, very thin & "Jordan Valley fired", tired out. Major Dudley, Lt. McDonald, Capt. Jamison go today for Blighty.
Letter from Angus Bell sent to 19th opened by my namesake, sent on to Eng. & finally back to me. Find that my predecessor in this ward turned lights off & could then be heard being kissed behind screens. No wonder I was dragged off from G.x. Visit from Dr. Wilson, fine woman. Mrs. Belcher asks me to tea.
Thursday 25 July 1917 
5 p.m. went 27th G.H. Paid £5-0-0 to Sister Talon for Mrs. Dudgeon. Doings at 27th. Pts. getting tetanus, 2 died, one boy, Walker, very ill in "Mary", night sister rept’d "spasms", pt. taken to theatre for inj., ret’d ward, M.O. Richie stands at bedside, says, let him help himself to drinks sister, is only "swinging it". Pt. then unable to open jaws, by 4 p.m. pt. unconscious, 6 p.m. dead. Query, will Dr. R. get the D.C.M. or some old thing?
Another case, Pt. Langridge very ill in "Mary" in my day, asks to be allowed return own unit, "go where you are sent" is the reply, which is to Details, pt. unable to do a route march on acc’t Quin. inj. in buttocks.
M.O. shooting when war is over!
Capt. Leach appr. of my blood films!
Letters to Mag., Ida, Jean & Miss Suchall (Choubra).
Friday 27  July 1917 
Finish moving my goods into single room & very enjoyable is the fact of being alone once again although room is noisy being just next kitchens of main house.
Went town 5 p.m. & bought picture, Pt. 65, one of Jacope’s.
Coins given by shop girl (opposite Shepheards).
Have now arranged to have all linen washed including sheet & p. slip & towl for Pt. 14 per wk.
Our boys play many tricks to break hosp. One A.W.L. quietly asked Cpl. on guard at 5.45 p.m. if too late to see visitors? & so got safely in.
Others make up figures & lay out on couches to trap women doctors if possible. All pts. to be in bed 9 p.m,.
Saturday 28  July 1917 
Am doing better in the sleeping line these days, have about 4½ to 5 hrs. daily. Heat is intense & one perspires profusely.
One pt., Laing, has rash ‘tween loins, known as "Doby rash" & said to be contracted from camels, very irritable, calomile lotion eases somewhat.
Pt. Martin, A.A.S.C. [Australian Army Service Corps] supposed mal. of stomach is on olive oil [indecipherable] hrly. South Aust. man going on 1st boat possible.
Wrote letters to Ina Palmer, Mrs. Dudgeon & May Witrels re her son.
Sunday 28 July 1917 
Pts. 29. All convalescent except one, Matheson with fracture.
Treatment of stomach cases –
Tannic washout, stomach, 1ce daily, on Iod. mist – 4 hrly. [indecipherable].
Malaria. If B.T. quin. is given as soon as blood film indicates B.T., Quin. grs. x 4 hrly. for 24 hrs., then 6 hrly. for 24 hours, then 8 hrly. for 24 hrs., then 1 d.s. for 3 months (3 weeks in ward). Apl. daily to remove accumulated quin. & so prevent headaches.
One pt. asks for phenacetin to cure headache, told to wait for M.O.’s permission, replies, "Oh but I might be asleep then".
Church 6 p.m. Met C. Garland. Posted 3 pkts. photos (regt. Pt. 6). No silver in Egypt now Gyppos having buried it all thinking Turks coming to take possession. Pt. 5 notes issued.
Monday 29 July 1917 
Yesterday was anniversary of Kath’s birthday 16 years ago & yet it is all so vivid it might have been yesterday.
Went 27th 5 p.m., all pleased to see me. Miss Gemmel on duty after 8 days at P. Said.
How I love my own room again all to myself! even if the kitchen noises are deafening, gum leaves rustle out through the window & stray falling leaves drift onto my bed.
Tuesday 30 July 1917 
Went 27th 5 p.m. tea with Miss Witherington, very nice greeting.
Major Leach comes to yarn of her uncle. Boat leaving for Aust. [indecipherable]. Pts. Martin, W.A. supposed stricture stomach, Ferguson stricture stomach? (Gx) N.Z. officer, Capt. Colbeck bullet in spine, all going. Posted 3 parcels photos (Aunt). Daily fights occur re Matron & staff – how will it end?
Sleeping fairly well in my room & it is the joy of my life to be there alone.
Lt. Richardson (Emobic [amoebic] dysentery). Treatment – no milk? or solids [indecipherable] Emetine gr. I daily for doses then noche morph. [morphine] gr. 1/8 by mouth, foll. by pdr. Bismuth Emetine & Iodide, ½ hr. after morph. – Pt. vomits ½ hr. after.
Wednesday 31 August [July] 1917 
Last day of July & nearly 1 year since I decided to leave "Wilga" & how glad I am of that decision, though life is rough just now as regards quarters & messing.
Daily breakfast – Porridge, tea, bread – butter hopeless – everlasting marmalade & ditto eggs – mostly bad – cut tops of 2 both "runny".
At supper 11.40 p.m., tried 3 more B.W.I’s all to judge by black color inside.
Walsh is quiet, "Babe" otherwise. Lt. Youll is a fine Irish boy, O’Leary, V.C., drinker & has very bad malaria at times. Lt. Mathison brave as possible (fractured femur).
Capt. Davies, R.A.M.C., pear thorn in arm, off duty for months. Pain acute at times, Bettadonna [belladonna ?] & chlor. lin. eases generally, if not N.I. morph. gr. ¼ or Dovers pdr. grs. x.
Thursday 1st August 1917 
Morning star is the most beautiful thing these nights, no moon now.
Miss Creal sends introductory note with Gen. Cox to me. Miss Cheetham takes him on, I discover later & shows him round.
Treatment for malarias differs slightly. Capt. Hyrons – Intra-muscular inj. Quin. grs. xii daily, Quin. orally Dixon. Other pts., Quin. 4 hrly then ch. to 6 hrs., then 8 hrs.
Friday 3  August 1917 
Town 4 p.m., shopped for N. Woods. Pt. 200 sent.
All goods high prices just now viz., 1 pr. satin bedroom slippers, Pt. 30 (6/-). Tea Liptons with Kinnaine & Manning, garry drive home (Pt. 15). Lovely evening light & days already growing less hot. House we live in is one of the oldest about. These barracks were built in 1801 or thereabouts by Napoleon & are over 120 years (perhaps 1790 odd) & ours they say before then. No wonder it seems to be crumbling away to ruin & is full of fine dust.
Hear Gen. Cox has gone up the line, another stunt coming on.
Saturday 3rd August 1917 
Went 27th 4.40 p.m., tea with Mrs. Belcher. Very enjoyable & what a grasp she has of hosp. management & a good nurse or a good idea of one under all the military stuff.
Some nice pts. out today.
Lt. Reid, N.Z.
Sunday 4 August 1917 
4 anniversary of the war! Special church services held everywhere. Whether many attend I know not, only 4 of us at 7.50 a.m. H.C. service (I the only one when the service began). Very little sleep, too much heat & noise - Gyppos in the kitchen. Went church 6 p.m. Hymn 595 & verse of "God Save" as usual in this war time.
On the 31st staff now 102 sisters & V.A.D’s, only 60 odd at 27th. Supper is improved thanks to Major Leach. Cold chicken salad, syrup, grapes & figs, B. & Butter, etc. Busy night – Capt. Thresher R.A.M.C. a pt. Lt. Boyce, R.A.F., crashed 9.30 a.m., result fracture tibia & facial wound. 8 new pts. all told, total 39, other new ones malaria, etc.
Monday 5 August 1917 
4 p.m. S. Musgrave & I grab a gharry & drive to A.H.Q., draw £5-0-0, remaining £11 odd. Then tea at Liptons with Musgrave & her friend, Mr. Broughton.
Shopping & so back to 31st G.H.
Ematine being given intra muscularly for doses. By mouth in B.G.I. pdrs., i.e., Bismuth Emetine & Iodide.
Tuesday 7  August 1917 
Cairo 4 p.m. & took McDonald to 5 p.m. tea, or ice.
Dissatisfaction in Off. ward. Sister Rail making herself very cheap with R.A.M.C. pt. Davies, all pts. remarking upon it. Orderlies grumbling & yet she is Miss Gemmell’s pet & reported spy. Miss Wylie reported, S. Kennedy for (?) rudeness & sitting on pts. beds. She also is up for honors, it is believed.
The whole tone of the hosp. is unsatisfactory at present. Food is less bad since I reported it to Maj. Leach but quarrels or fault finding occur daily. Miss Gemmell being particularly hard on some sisters, S. I. Moors usually.
Wednesday 7th August 1917 
Mr. Pugh n. pt. adm. 10.30 p.m., R.A.F., broken nose, bruised knee. His story –
"I left Alex. where had been weekending, at 4.30 a.m., 5.15 a.m. when 5000 ft. up decided to get out of cloud when discovered sparks flying & on looking over side saw one wing burning. When 100 ft. down came into more cloud. Did not see earth until thrown violently against side when strap broke & I was thrown out on to face, 2 hrs. unconscious then walked until 9 p.m., by sun, thinking was 30 miles from Cairo, instead was 100.
At 9 p.m. arrived caretaker’s [indecipherable], sent on next day by train. 2 machines came first, crashed, 2nd engine wrong so both waiting repairs, mine burnt completely" Very sleep when
Thursday 8th August 1917 
4 p.m. pts. Capt. Evans, Lt. Macauch, Lt. Drummond & Lt. Jones took 3 of us in cabs to Maadi then Groppi’s for tea then joy ride to Pyramids, glorious afternoon.
Friday 9th August 1917 
No. of pts. 44. Most of them Aust., dear boys all. 9 p.m., one nice boy lays a box of chocolates (such a sweet box) in my lap from the wild section. How I like the hour 8 to 9 p.m. when they crowd round for medicines & daily laughing hide the quinine bottle, hold the glass so high that I can scarcely reach it, etc.
Lt. Drummond known as "Insommnia", Lt. Macauch known as "Burly" evidently because he is so thin, Lt. Jones, Capt. Evans & Lt. W.D. Jarrett are all up & assemble on the balcony to yarn & call me out to join in. Capt. Bigg, J.T., is another nice man. Today 2 Williams went, one is a 1st Lieu. & not 21 until 17/8/18 – a sweet boy truly.
Town 5.30 p.m., Girty unable to come. Bought pr. white shoes, Pt. 110. Cairo & did tiny bit of shopping then back & late for 7 p.m. dinner.
Saturday 10 August 1917 
All Sisters up on the mat 8 p.m. for lecture. (1) Pts. very noisy in wards, i.e., one bed fell, legs tucked up, when pt. got in, another pt. not in bed. Oh! I’ve been talking to him, says the sister. (2) Sisters must report to me if late for dinner. The scene – Miss Cheetham stout, fat & undignified sitting in front & standing some 16 or 18 sisters Aust. What time she harangues the crowd. We feel like 2 year olds once more.
Arrive on duty find pts. 48, 4 new – 1 dysentery amoebic, 3 malaria – all wild. 10.40 comes Maj. Leach, "I like the Aust. no matter what people say". Treat them as human beings & they will be alright but try to bully them! How do I laugh quietly at these English.
Sunday 11th August 1917 
Took 5 of my Aust. Officers, 3 Sisters, 1 V.A.D. to Empire Club & had 4 p.m. tea, then photos taken. A merry scene, then 3 motors & flew to Pyramids, our car won, then a grand run back to 31st G.H.
Monday 13  August 1917 
My pts. I find are very fond of me (S. Walker’s statement). Well I love the dear boys myself & if a word or smile can help them let us give it surely. Brave Aust. boys. One tells of a duel he had with a German officer, both met suddenly.
Tuesday 13 August 1917 
A day to be remembered! soft colors of the Pyramids & above all a quiet friend to enjoy it all with. Capt. Bigg called at the "Bierts [?] Retreat", 4.15 p.m. motored Groppi’s, there we talked to Lt. Goss, Lt. Jarrett, Lt. McLean, Lt. Sullivan, nice boys all, then away to the Pyramids & if I could only describe the soft blue light in the distance, green fields, & yellow sand, above all Capt. Bigg telling me in his quiet voice of Gallipoli days. First casualty he saw was a man, both legs, 1 arm blown off, then carried a dead one out, after that nothing hurt so much ever again. In that awful valley full of death one could hardly build a "dugout" without coming upon the body of some brave man fallen. At Suvla bay 500 men (wounded) burnt, scrub caught fire.
Wednesday 15  August 1917 
No. of pts. 42. Convoy 6 pts. all practically convalescent. Capt. Thresher, R.A.M.C. op. gallstones, about 1 doz found, doing well. In Fowler’s position 2nd day. Ice given to suck. No bile drawing 1st 24 hrs., some since. Atrop. gr. 1/00 given with Morph. gr. ¼ to help peristative action. I give to the dysentery pts. – Morph. gr. ¼ by mouth ½ hr. before Emetine Bismuth & Iodide pdr. Grs. iii – this for 1 night with intramuscular inj. of Emetine daily for 12 days – (gr. i).
With 40 Pt. rec’d mess surplus – bought 2 finger bowls 3/- each, 1 leather bag Pt. 12. Camera bellows repaired Pt. 5.
Thursday 16  August 1917 
Cairo 4.30 p.m., car ride given by S. Musgrave & Mr. Taylor. Met Lt. Jarrett, 4.45 tea Groppi’s, a dear boy he is & so wise too for his young looking face.
Muski with S. Hanly & Hediman, bought with 40 Pt. (mess money) 2 finger bowls, Pt. 15 each.
(1st mess money ever refunded.)
Lt. Jarrett, "I’ve never felt afraid yet Sister when going into action, worst is when crossing in the open to take a position under gas fire, can do nothing, just walk on with bullets flying all around", so simply said & such a dear lovable man, some girl will be in luck one day.
Friday 16 August 1917 
Ordered 2 more overalls at Pt. 60 each. Ordered 2 night gowns.
Very grateful letter from Pt. Angus Bell of Connaught, does one good to read the nice things he thinks of me.
M. Woods writes – very busy at P. Said, hosp. full, 30 sisters gone to France lately, hosp. is short staffed. We are losing all English sisters & V.A.D’s, 15 sisters instead of 22 on n. duty, 75 staff instead of 106.
Went Cairo 8.30 a.m. A.I.F. H.Q. & drew Pt. 500. 9 a.m. tram to Old Cairo, snap of Roman wall 2 sakeel (?) 1 Cont. Hotel, 1 Opera Square, back 12 m.d. & slept well. room shared by S. Gill, nice girl. S. Gill stayed 2 days only, too noisy.
Saturday 17 August 1917 
Took tram to Heliopolis 6.30 p.m. & enjoyed sunset. 2 days of soft wind & big snowy clouds make one think of home again, & now my thoughts are beginning to turn for the 1st time to thoughts of some day getting back across the old ocean & to see dear Mith again.
Sunday 18 August 1918
Church 9.30 a.m., very sleepy. Miss Cheetham gone on leave & will go to Gaza shortly. I hope Miss G. continues to alter all arrangements as to time with off duty, etc. & ½ days only occur once weekly.
No home letters for 3 weeks & then 2 only for me.
Orderlies continue to report sick & the personnel of British & nursing staff of Aust. sisters does not seem a happy combination.
Laurie Rutledge is in G.9 (unknown to me). Sand fly fever, looks well.
Mr. William Ronia in D.3, speaks to me in passing to duty 8 p.m.
Monday 20  August 1917 
Life goes on as ever. Good news from the western front. Nothing much from this save malaria, etc., still pouring in.
Tuesday 21 August 1917
Aug. 20th 1918
Town 4.30 p.m. in Heliopolis tram met Mr. Laing & his American friend & I hurt her I fear by referring to the Yanks in the war!
Head washed & 1st treatment.
Hole in bellows of camera, spoil 6 photos.
Wednesday 22  August 1917 
Ida left for Sydney 12.30 p.m., holidays.
2.30 p.m. Rec’d wire from Garrison Hosp. nominated for service abroad rep’t Monday 27th inst.!! At last I may get away, but the shock and wonder of it all.
Wired Ida, ret’d 10 p.m. train from Warwick.
Saw Dr. Freshiney re leaving "Wilga" – rang S. Roberts, latter promises to write Dr. Falkiner re rent.
Aug. 21st 1817
1 year later & it is my 1st birthday out of Aust. & no one to wish me "many happy returns"! Went town 3.30 p.m. pay office, drew £5 then tea Groppi’s & lovely motor spin to Pyramids with Garry & S. Henry.
One year gone of my service with the A.I.F.
Thursday 22nd August 1918
Find £1 to my credit in pay book, mistake made in Alex. B.H.Q. in May ’18. About the A.I.F. there are 2600 ill out of 18000 on this front principally caused by diseases of Jordan Valley. Two of our R.A.F. boys burnt to death while flying lately up the line, one Craig from Q’land the other I know not. 9 sick sisters with Spanish ‘flu. Most of Sisters are new & some have ward of 100 & over. Mine 23 pts. only & practically convalescent.
Went Cairo for camera which has a hole in bellows, cost Pt. 5 to mend.
Had hair shampooed for 2nd time, 1st on 20/8/18. Paid for course £2 or 4.
One orderly removed from night duty – remaining one is fairly good.
Friday 24  August 1917 
Went Cairo 4.30 p.m. tram, met Mrs. C. Harris. She does not look very happy but evidently is on honeymoon but is over & hubby up the line one should not wonder.
27 pts. in Officers ward & very light.
Saturday 25  August 1917 
23 pts. only in ward.
Hosp. quiet but convoys come most days.
9.30 a.m. I & S. White (night nurse) are taken to Citadel Square and witness first move of holy carpet on the journey to Mecca, very interesting ceremony & crowds of Gyppos line the Citadel walls & streets. An aeroplane watches from overhead. Guard of honor - white horse is drawn up on our side, salute fired & carpet is carried 4 times round then camels are led away & show is over (to be rept’d 31-8-18). Motored through dead city, saw show, then Groppi’s for tea. 31st, 12 m.d. took 12 snaps, hope all are good.
Wrote Mother, Nell, Lucy, Edith, mail boat leaves 29th. Miss Moreton, S. Dart & Whylie who is threatened "mental" all going.
Sunday 25th August 1918
M. Woods staying at "Rossmore House", tea together 5 p.m. Col. M. Onslow in town. Marge 10 days sick leave. Col. Jack Storey ret. Aust. boat Thursday next, said to have saved many lives, nurses the boys as well & medical & surgical attentions.
P. Corkhill gains medal (?) for bravery under bombing of hosp. – 4 sisters from 14 A.G.H. go Jerusalem at a time, 72 hrs. leave.
Dysentery cases – not allowed any milk – diet – barley water, rice water, lemon juice, alb. water etc.
Sod. sulph. [indecipherable] 4 hrly to begin with then [indecipherable] or B.D. If spec. faeces not abt. by 11 a.m. give simple en..
Monday 26th August 1917 
Col. Onslow & Marge £1 Holland motor for me 4 p.m., lovely drive to Mena House, tea & home 7 p.m., fine people & very nice to hear all Aust. news again.
Reported pts. food to Col. Onslow, watch result.
Officers’ ward – convoy 7 pts., mostly convalescent.
3 malaria, 2 dysentery, 1 diarr., 1 sand fly.
Names – Lt. Kildea, Lt. Lane, Lt. Bancroft, Lt. Robinson, Capt. Cramb, Capt. Drury & Capt. Chitty.
Tuesday 28  August 1917 
Town & saw Canon Garland. Has had malaria. Professor with him from Melb., very prosy.
Wednesday 29  August 1917 
Town 4 p.m. with S. Andrews. Hair treated then tea Groppi’s, drove home, bought hat – Davis Brian, [Davies Bryan] Pt. 100 (hat Pt. 90, band Pt. 10).
There are 10 to 14 sisters off duty daily T.103 etc. Report says 42 male staff off.
Thursday 30  August 1917 
Col. Fetherston [Featherstone] visits 31st & inspects Sisters in their quarters – promises perhaps 3 wks. leave in England! I, while waiting for Brid. Gen. Onslow, encounter Miss Gemmell in hall. Soundly attacked on my attire. "Must not wear white frocks" etc. On returning from lovely drive to Mardi she practically takes it all back & grants permission to wear them! Never have I been addressed in such a manner as this lady uses. Marliesh!
4 p.m. tea Shepheard’s & am asked to become mascot for B. Gen. Onslow’s new brigade.
Friday 31  August 1917 
Met Mr. Wanden 4.30 p.m. & tea Groppi’s. As usual Groppi’s is full, mostly Australians & the "kangaroo feathers" wave as gaily there as maybe on the battle field. One certainly finds out the best in each one of us over here & we meet in such a friendly spirit. Walk round Cairo a little & then photos at Nubry’s [?] & so back per Mauchette [?] tram & on duty once more.
Stories one hears –
Hundreds of our boys up the line, 2 up in ‘plane which catches fire, when 1500 ft. up, one boy jumps – seen shot to pieces – other burnt to death before their eyes & all unable to help, the hardest sight of all these men say.
Saturday 30th  September [August] 1918
Laurie R. & Laddie Lawton called 3.30 p.m. for me, 4 p.m. Mardi first then Helouan, then San Govanni’s for 4 p.m. tea, took snaps for these boys (Mothers). Nile looks very fine with the water spreading & boats floating far up as far as one can see both ways.
The glorious old Nile! One can well believe the saying, He who once drinks of the Nile waters will always come back again to Egypt!. It is a year today since I entered T’mba for the last time! When again will I return!
Sunday 1st September 1918
Paid for 2 wks washing Pt. 28. H.C. 7.50 a.m., only Miss Molineux & myself present. Bed & slept till 4.10 p.m. Lt. Walden my guest for 4.30 tea. No b. & butter obtainable, 2 sticky cakes, then bread & jam! Holy carpet put on truck & stands opp. Bierts [?] retreat for night. We inspect. Armed guard on duty. Cheering & excited crowds round it & men playing, faces turned towards Mecca standing on top of truck.
Letters at last.
1 Moth., 1 Nell, 1 Ida, 1 Mag., 2 E.E. Palethorpe (1/2 year report), 1 Mr. Boyd, N.Z., 1 Marge H., 1 Phyllis Luke, 1 Frank.
Very depressing news with H. & D. Eva sees them choosing or about to do so – a home!
I cannot realize the condition somehow & it haunts me.
Lt. Walden to tea.
Monday 2 September 1917 
Cairo 4.30 p.m. & took Laury & Laddie Lawton to tea at Empire Club, bout Pt. 30 for cakes, sandwiches, etc., Groppis – very enjoyable little tea party under the old trees, then Laury & I shop, brush for Mr. Lane, "the improved Englishman" as he says (brush Pt. 44) then back to 31st & Heliopolis per motor – lovely evening light & if only the hosp. were at peace, but never while this woman reigns I fear. Pt. Lane after haem. from bowel (about [indecipherable]) is going on well & malarias haem. from liver, bowel etc., it would seem, but too much like enteric stool for my fancy.
Tuesday 3rd September 1917 
Taken to Cairo by Lt. Morrice (1st A.L.H.) met Capt. Chitty at Groppis, Capt. John son (A.H.Q.) 5 p.m. tea with Lt. Wanden (goes up the line tomorrow) very nice boy & enjoyable afternoon.
Hair treated (4th occasion) then bought bread, Pt. 2½ Groppi’s & home with Lt. Morrice & S. Nichol.
[This is actually the beginning of the diary, on Wednesday 4 September 1917, when Florence Holloway is in Australia and, on some pages, her experiences in 1918 are also recorded at the end of the page.]
Wednesday 4  September 1917
Arrived Sydney 12 m.d. after a very tiring journey. Mag. good help & anxious to do anything to help me.
Great chaos at Central, 3 recievers behind counter & about 100 of us all struggling to put luggage in cloak room.
Got away 12.20 p.m. & reported Barracks 12.35 p.m. to report.
2 p.m., Thursday
Did a little shopping then home & very tired & with bad cold.
Wednesday 4 September 1918
A little lecture by Capt. Bryce A.G.H.Q. – ask if leave can be stopped. He says Matron can if she likes – follows a lecturette. "She is a very [indecipherable] woman, we all grumble & talk outside! This latter should not be however we dislike her not in the Army".
Thursday 5  September 1917
All day in town and fitting at B. & Welsh’s. Reported Barracks 2 p.m. Randwick No. 4 A.G.H. on Friday 6 p.m.
Cairo 31st G.H., 5/9/18
And what a changed place from the hosp. where I began my military nursing, very little work on n. duty but long tedious night & noisy days with Gippos shouting all day long at their work in the kitchens.
Paid Pt. 90 each for 2 night gowns – pretty but not very good material – still, what would you have in a country where one pays Pt. 10 or more for unbleached calico!
Friday 7 September 1917
Reported Miss Innes 2 p.m. to go to No. 4 A.G.H., Randwick 6 p.m. Had a quiet 2 hours in gardens and Art Gallery.
Friday 6th [September] 1918
How much has happened since this day last year.
Go Cairo with Nichol & Walker (Sisters), tea Groppis then 5th hair massage at Weinrecks [?] (7 more hair massages), drove back to 31st.
Interviewed M. Leach re his friend coming tomorrow to tea.
English sister Rowe sent to ward for sake of British Officers! Very thin that.
R.A.F. Taylor takes late pass, kisses sister & murmurs about a gift.
Saturday 8 September 1917
Duty 7 a.m., ward S. in charge of S. & R. both after 9 a.m. Very little doing. Orderlies attend b.p’s if any & wards maids wash up etc.
Saturday 7th [September] 1918
The great day for France comes yet once again & this all news from the front is good. Germans on the run & our people winning everywhere. No outing of any sort this day. Interviewed Miss Gemmell 9 a.m. re 3 days leave, granted from 15th-18th inclusive & with her opening remarks am simply "tongue banged" as usual, do I imagine she has nothing else to do but plan out our days off duty, etc.? Verily a strange world this & a very excitable woman at the head of affairs. Some sisters from Salonika on their way home join us temporaly. Wrote Miss Alderson re staying at Bulkeley. 24 pts. only in ward.
Sunday 9 September 1917
Duty 7 a.m., Ward 13 for day with S. Drainey. Feeling effects of inj. in arm, head splitting and arm very painful. Went Coogee 2.30 p.m. & sat on sands as in childhood days.
Evening duty B & D. wards.
Sunday 8th [September] ‘18
Cairo 8.45 a.m. & bought cake, back 9.40 – 2½ hrs. sleep then up & entertained Miss Witherington, visited Officer’s ward. 10 more beds to be got in evidently it is going to be a big stunt up the line soon.
Church 5.45 p.m.
How nice these Officers are to me & if only I could run the ward on day duty I would try to make things nice for them. Nearly all British now, 8 Aust.
Monday 10 September 1917
Duty 7 a.m. E Wards
Monday 9th [September] 1918
One year ago & yet how things have changed. A year in Egypt has taught me much & what we as a family have suffered through the fault of one. Often I feel that it must all be a dream & that the little girl could never behave as she has done.
Tuesday 11 September 1917
Duty 7 a.m. E Wards
Tuesday 10th [September] ‘18
Went Cairo with S. Nicol, Groppis met Mr. Maurice who paid for 4 p.m. mango ices & lemonade, then hair massaged (5th occasion) bought bread (Pt. 2½) & home in a car with Sister & Lt. Mc ? her friend.
Already the evenings are dark at 7 p.m. & at 5 a.m. darkness reigns. Hosp. being increased to 1600 beds (now 1000). All pts. cleared out if up the line hosp. is passed on to us.
Still the sisters get ill, S. Walker off with dysentery, S. Rayson going home on next boat. Only 2 days leave allowed me hosp. short-staffed. Dysentry coming in freely.
Troops in 31st have violent diarrhea all night, food bad? Bread is again black & I cannot face it. Buy my own or pts. bring for me.
Names & Rank
Unit & service
Date & port of embarcation
Name of ship
Taken on strength
Date of joining Army service
Date & place of promotion
Date & port of disembarkation
Where trained & any special training
Innoculation & vaccination
Wednesday 12 September 1917
On duty in Wards. Officers till 2 p.m., went into town for fitting 10a.m., uniform promised 11 a.m. [indecipherable]. Saw Uncle Arthur re affairs – paid £2-17-0 for macintosh at D. Jones – had 11 a.m. tea there, on duty 12.30 a.m. [p.m.] Dinner 1 p.m. then sent from "Officers" to J. 2.30 p.m., 40 beds and some sick pts., bad bed sores, too bad for my liking. 1st interview with S. McDonald, 2 of us to do the lot.
Wednesday 11th September ‘18
Quiet nights, pts. all convalescent, 12 adm. total 39. Jaundice is more frequent (after malaria).
Thursday 12th September ‘18
Town 4.30 p.m., tea Groppi’s with Mr. Waddell, Lt. Fraser talks to us & is full of our ex pts., all very friendly.
Friday 12th [13th] (End of this book)
Convoy 16 pts. in E. ii (Officers) all more or less convalescent – fire in kitchen dealt with sand and put out safely. Letters from Spencer re H. & D.
Thursday 13 September 1917
On duty in B Ward 7 a.m., left for Ball & Welsh’s 10.15 a.m., no hope of uniform until 3 p.m. Met Mag. had lunch, saw Uncle A. & [indecipherable]. Shopped hard as usual. Out in uniform for 1st time 3.30 p.m. Barracks 4 p.m. Got ch. £21-0-0 refund for uniform. Back at No. 4 4.45 p.m., on duty in B., tea 6 p.m. then sent off finally by S. Reynolds 7 p.m. Dressed & returned articles borrowed to Boltons. Said good-bye to A.T.B. & I shall not see him again.
Home 8.40 p.m. & found Mith alone. Eva’s Rob at Freemantle. Nell over with lovely flowers and all the family pleased with my uniform.
No wearing mufti again I fear me for many a long day. Leaving £9-0-0 to be paid into C’wealth by Edith, total there £220-0-0 before paying £9 in.
Friday 14 September 1917
Last day at home! Rose 6.30 a.m., went across the line and left "black" box and 3 certificates of nursing at N.S.W. Bank, no receipt given. Town 10.50 a.m. train & drew all money £120 out of B.T. Ltd. & put in B.T. Ltd. George St., Sydney at fixed deposit (2 years). Odd money I drew out (£s.d.). Gave mother £20-0-0 gift. Barracks 2.30, got away 3.30 p.m. & at Farmers 3.45 p.m., all guests waiting but excuse my delay. Lovely flowers & bright faces and little gifts for me who cannot realize that I am really going away from all these friends of my childhood & nursing days. When will it be my turn to give them a "return" tea? Fearful rush round town then home 7.30 p.m. 8 p.m. 4 Fitzies, Jean & 2 girls, Enid, Nell & a happy evening. Then packing ‘till 2 a.m., bed, very tired & sad to leave but glad too.
Saturday 15 September 1917
The day has come! Left home 8.45 a.m. & when shall I see them all again.
Boarded the Ayrshire 10 a.m., parade in saloon, roll called & payment made where asked for. Mine not taken. Sisters 27 in all, happy looking & bright. Dr. Barry & Mr. Rev. Birch, Sister Ralston in charge.
Draw lots for births [berths], mine 16 port hole. Took snaps of both Heads as we left & a final view of "our beautiful". Under weigh 11.30 a.m.
By 1 p.m. dear Sydney’s shores had faded and except for a dimming coast line all day nothing but sparkling blue sea with scarcely a roll round us. No trace of seasickness for Florence. So ends first day.
Sunday 16 September 1917
A peaceful Sunday, boat steady, no roll.
Speed about 10 knots – 12 miles per hour. By afternoon about 280 miles from Sydney. Still traveling due south, coast line of Australia in sight since midday.
Ship’s gun fired (to try) 2ce. Red X gifts distributed among 27 sisters.
Articles – scissors, all sewing necessities, Vaseline, powder, warm under wear., A separate bundle for each contained the foll. – 4 towels, 3 sheets, 3 p. slips, 1 hot water bag, 1 bag, print.
Wrote letters & had long thoughts.
Still we hear we are bound for Culumbo [Colombo]! Bed 8.30 p.m.
Monday 17 September 1917
Rather dull morning and some showers. Close in to coast 9 a.m. till 11 a.m. Wilson’s Promitary & lighthouse very clear. Took snaps of the latter but afraid light not good enough. Rev. Birch describes this part of Victoria as "The Garden of Australia", does he know anything of the North & East coasts I wonder?
Wrote letters, did little sewing and reading.
Miss Ralston is cousin to Bob Ralston of Wellcamp & we had a lengthy talk about past patients.
At 8 p.m. saw flash lights of Port Melbourne showing across the water 60 miles away.
Bed 9.30 p.m., all clocks put back about 20 minutes. Motion of boat becoming more marked, so far can stand it but not much more!!
Tuesday 18 September 1917
Bad, bad day. Woke during night to feel decided roll & pitch of our trustworthy "Ayrshire". No attendance at any meals, stayed on deck ‘till 12 m.d. then retired to berth & stayed there, feelings not worth describing, read & finished "Lost Prince" & very enjoyable it is.
Miss Roach otherwise known as "Cook’s tourist" visited me with offers of foods, & stewardess very attentive.
Padre enquired for me l.d.s. Still the young fry stands along the deck shriek with laughter over nothing in particular and strum at the poor piano. Still it pleases them and does little harm. Hear from the Chief Officer that he went home on the boat with Spence 1915 and that Argyleshire is not a wreck but will be out again. Goodbye day.
Wednesday 19 September 1917
Quite well & fit for breakfast 8.30 a.m. We are now entering the G. Aust. bight and report says will not be
out across it until Saturday.
Quiet sleepy day. Dull and raining at intervals and too much fear of seasickness for us to stay long at meals.
Chaplain Birch very interested in all meals and an authority on our different dishes.
Trying to educate me in various Indian terms, viz., Butter Mucken Water Parnee.
Thursday 20 September 1917
Cold wet day with strong gale blowing towards night. No unpleasant effects felt. Learned "Patience", demon & "4 cards in separate packs" game. Finished book Lost Prince. All sisters more or less paired off in groups.
None appeal to me as a friend in the future but no matter, must "carry on" by oneself as per usual. Must be getting nearer the western side of Australia now. Sun rises directly behind boat, sets straight in front as though we were going right into the heart of the sunset.
Wireless rec’d states that Russia contemplates separate peace with Germany. If so our outlook for end of war is dim. So the days go by. Our cabin reported tidiest of the crowd!
Friday 21 September 1917
The same quiet rounds: the cold could be left behind. As we are leaving our native land and sailing westwards it would be a comfort, but showery cold days and no congenial companionship make the time drag somewhat. Our sisters now branch out in their true colors, some are on intimate terms with the stewards, some race round the ship like wild horses too long shut in a paddock, others sew, gossip, knit, etc.
My daily round – bath 6.30 a.m., walk on deck, breakfast 8.30 a.m., make bed, etc., read, 11 a.m. tea minus milk, knit, lunch 1 p.m., 4 p.m. tea, dinner 6 p.m. Patience is the usual safety valve.
Saturday 22 September 1917
One week gone & very slowly. Boat drill 9.30 a.m. then cabin trunk rifled & all the "wanteds" brought to light.
Played cribbage with Chap. Birch & did well.
Patience is my prayer and the game my unfailing resolver [?].
For one hour with someone to talk to whom I know & like, what would I not give.
Sunday 23 September 1917
A typical Sunday, sparkling water as far as the eye can reach and birds gracefully skimming over the surface all round the boat.
H.C. 7.45 a.m. in Smoke room, only 4 communicants. Matins 10 a.m., 14 worshippers. Where are the others?
Monday 24 September 1917
Fair gale glowing from 12 m.n. Boy closing ports announced "going round the Lewin" therefore ship’s course changed. Books are fairly plentiful of sorts. Finch’s Breath of the Dragon, His Mexican Wife & Lost Prince, "Richard Chatterton V.C." are my collection so far. By now all sisters are more or less subdued & various cliques are formed.
Very empty are the minds of some & tongues never cease chattering all day long. Rev. Birch is bored but tries to be affible all round. Dr. P. neither here nor there.
Tuesday 25 September 1917
Still a good gale blowing & as our boat had when leaving Sydney a fair list to starboard, we pitch & toss quietly all the time. Still I cannot feel any effects now. Brush & comb stolen during night – why oh why can people not keep the 8th commandment!
The Southern Cross still shines bright in the sky & I say goodnight to it & to Australia leaning over the rail watching the waves chasing one another in endless procession.
Wednesday 26 September 1917
The Indian Ocean is determined to treat us badly, still we pitch and roll & showers chase one another across the sky.
Putting pockets in my dresses is chief occupation.
Thursday 27 September 1917
Seas still fairly rough & boat pitching. Fiddles in use on tables.
Saw our gun at stern of boat only small (submarine), 2 engineers in charge, capable of damaging enemy at 1 mile distant.
Distance eye can reach at sea about 12 miles.
One member of crew afraid for last few days to go up nose of boat for fear of being washed overboard.
Capture of Jerusalem
The British Proclamation
London, Dec. 12
On his entry into Jerusalem the commander of the British forces, Sir Edmund Allenby, caused the following proclamation in various languages to be read to the populace from the steps of the citadel and posted on the walls.
"To the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the blessed, and the people dwelling in its vicinity. I have placed the city under martial law, which will remain in operation as long as military considerations make it necessary. However, lest any of you should be alarmed by reason of your experience at the hands of the enemy, I inform you that it is my desire that every person should pursue his lawful business without fear of interruption. Furthermore, since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three great religions and its soil consecrated by the prayers and pilgrimages of multitudes of devout people of these religions during many centuries, therefore do I make known to you that every sacred building, monument, holy spot, shrine, traditional site, endowment, pious bequest, or customary place of prayer, of whatsoever form of the three religions, will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those to whose faith they are sacred."
The populace received the British with favour.
Friday 28 September 1917
Long rollers and still our boat pitches and rolls sufficiently to send all patience cards off the table just as one has a game almost won.
Bright moon and the sea weird and uncanny with the sky & ocean a misty gray and the sea like oil and soundless. Another visit paid to our cabin trunks and more treasures brought to light. We get practically no news per wireless. Always the British are gaining ground in France but what about Russia concluding a separate peace with Germany as we heard a week ago?
One longs for some home news and when will be that?
Saturday 29 September 1917
Head washed. Weather hot & moist. Ocean perfect, millions of tiny sparkling diamonds & long rollers.
Fancy dress ball for Monday next.
Our little band –
Miss E. Ralston ret’d sister (charge), R.C. Q.
Miss Rowe, Meth., Q.
Miss Dowie, Meth., Q.
Miss Lamb, Doonar, McLoughlin, R.C’s, Q.
Miss Henry, O’Brien, Gill, Finn, R.C’s, Q.
Miss Dean, Ramsay, Homewood, C of E, Q.
Miss McDonald, Presby., Q.
Miss Dart, Wylie, Roach, Whitfield, Rogerson
Miss Holloway, Moreton, Macdonald, Lancer, Lee, Musgrave, Watson.
Sunday 30 September 1917
Sunday once more, our 3rd on board and such a "thinking" sort of day. H.C. 7.45 a.m., 5 sisters, then matins 10.30 a.m., very good address, "How shall we sing our songs in a strange land?" Suggestions – never neglect opportunities of H.C., go to church services to enable us to do our work faithfully and help others as we are going over to do. Always get Padre if pt. is dying, never neglect opportunity of saying a word to help if possible. Hymns, Eternal Father, Peace perfect peace.
2 p.m. visited gunnels & took snaps.
Monday 1 October 1917
1st Oct. Daily routine the same. We become more & more limp, all who can manage it are out in mufti – any sort – soft collars etc. One more visit to Hold for blue bloomers, etc. Then "Johnny Walker" in all his fancy attire. (Wallace’s coat & eye glass & stick, tall hat & swinging bottle.) Rec’d "highly recommended".
Waltzed a little, sang, talked & then to sleep. 9 sisters sleeping up on deck, myself not yet. We gradually become acquainted & little friendships form which may last who knows for ages.
Tuesday 2 October 1917
Very hot days now and the sea like glass, lovely sunsets and full moon.
Sisters sleeping on deck. "Ayrshire" paper contains full acct. of fancy dress dinner.
Evening given to Book evening. F.E.H. went as I.O.U., guessed at once. Nothing very original and most told to particular friends without any guessing. I, being on the straight, got 10 only. Read "The Snare", Breath of the Dragon, both good.
Plenty of snaps taken of fancy attire.
Wednesday 3 October 1917
A quoits tournament began, every player plays everyone else. H.M. scores & refuses to reveal any scores, therefore all interest in the game vanishes.
Have now written 18 letters.
This boat heavily laden with mutton & great quantity metal. Cargo worth about 1¼ millions not to mention members A.A.N.S. [Australian Army Nursing Service]
Thursday 4 October 1917
Much cooler day. Q. tournament still on. "Patience" in both senses continues. Methinks one needs to well observe the Chinese proverb. God gave us one tongue & 2 ears, therefore we should hear twice as much as we speak. Apply this on board ship & it worketh well. The Padre continues to act the silly with N. Watson – why oh why was she ever allowed come out to disgrace her upbringing & the A.A.N.S. Again we visit the hold & see our dear cabin trunks.
Friday 5 October 1917
Columbo [Colombo] is about 4 days now so we trust. Our boat goes so slowly one wonders how long it will be before we get "there" finally.
A musical romance held 8 p.m. was only good for the ones well up in all latest "Gags" & comic operas.
Smelling competition 8.45 p.m. resulted in 15 out of 23 for F.E.H., chief faults being sage & kitchen smells.
Crowds of flying fish are to be seen and pretty sunsets but no lights on deck render the evenings long & make "Patience" necessary.
Saturday 6 October 1917
Rain & gusty day.
Our boat begins to roll once more but no swell. Still we sail N.W., sun now sets well to port side & up towards nose of boat.
Drawing animal competition held 8 p.m. Animals wonderful & awful. As usual most of competitors told each other before guessing time thus rendering "we’s" out of the running.
Today we crossed the equator, moderately cool with showers & strong head wind blowing.
Having a sense of humor helps one immensely as for instance – one sister tells me she is cousin to Lady Warwick or thereabouts & is holder of letter from F. Nightingale. 2 others (just trained) lay down the law about private nursing, tact, etc., & are "bored stiff" by diagnosing their friends diseases. One listens & wonders.
Sunday 7 October 1917
Our 4th Sunday on Ayrshire.
Slept on deck & how good the fresh air was, then H.C. 7.45 a.m., 5 communicants, 10-30 matins. Solomons request for wisdom commented upon for our guidance, refrain from gossip etc.
Can we ever hope to apply this to our daily lives? We are shut up here, 27 women all different religions, training, etc.
At 1 p.m. said (by the Padre) to be about 450 miles from Columbo.
Indian Ocean –
And sometimes too upon the midnight air,
The veil is lifted in answer to my prayer
Then shall I rest content to do His will,
Knowing you love me, knowing you love me still.
Monday 8 October 1917
Lovely breeze and quiet uneventful day. All prizes distributed 8 p.m. in saloon. Capt. gave £1-0-0, sisters 2/- each. Amt. £3-14-0 devided into prizes, 1st 7/6, 2nd 4/6, 3rd 2/6.
Padre won Noah’s Ark competition.
Sleeping on deck very beautiful. Capt. presented me with crib board inscribed "Johnnie Walker 1820", very good of him.
Sister Henry gave last verse of Absent (opp. page).
Sang "For he’s a jolly good fellow" & Capt. made very nice little speech wishing every good luck for the Padre in his future. Padre’s response poor. Goodbye Mesopotamia.
Tuesday 9 October 1917
Excitement great when nearing port. Land sighted 12.30 p.m. Our boat A.33 at last flying English flag, also flies yellow all time in port. Left ship 3.40 p.m., took car to Galle Face H., gorgeous place, had 4 p.m. tea on lovely verandah facing ocean, Room 44 2nd floor. Took rickshaw to town, shopped till 7 p.m., dinner 7.30 to 8.30., shopped hard, bed 12 m.n. Oh the wonder of it all, soft voices, olive skins on well made shoulders, poor shaped limbs (legs) as a rule. Such pretty green trees & beautiful residences of the English. When in the rickshaws boys run along the beach parade saluting, handing the glorious frangipani in & singing snatches of "Tipparary" [Tipperary]. Bought 13 moonstones for 3½ rupees (= 4/8 english), 6 good ones. Posted kimono to Nell, cloth Hild., collars I. & Mag. Dining saloon huge, Indian waiters & enjoyable food. Gentle lace sellers begging us to buy most lovely lace. The street scenes please one most, so many strange sights & different dresses.
Wednesday 10 October 1917
Rose 6 a.m., bath, tea & motor trip to Mt. Lavinia 7.15 to 8.30 a.m., best of all our doings. Long tree shaded street with every description of cottages & fine buildings on either side. Many people hastening to the temple to lay an offering of a bright flower on the altar (?) before Buddah. Mt. Lavinia large hotel facing ocean. 5000 Boer prisoners kept in enclosure nearby after Boer War. Inspected lace making & bought hdkfs. 1/8. Then went into Temple & listened to life of Buddaha before & during, most interesting. 10 a.m. took rickshaw to town, shopped, then photos on way back. Visited Christ Church – as usual – took group of native children just out of school, then lunch 1 p.m., paid 9/3 photos & films, boat again 3 p.m. & our glorious 24 hrs. over but never to be forgotten. 4 Jap war boats in harbour & one of ours which I snapped as she glided by. We are once more at sea again & Colombo like a gem of the ocean fades away astern.
Thursday 11 October 1917
Once more we are heading due west or rather N.W. and things are as before only it is harder to settle back again. S. Watson on the sick list, 103 etc. Looks ill but very bright.
We carry 2 Servian prisoners – deserters – in charge of the gunner.
Sun rose 6 a.m. & hung like a huge golden ball on the horizon for some few minutes before beginning the day’s long climb.
"All war news is good news" was our greeting on reaching Colombo. I spent £5-8-0 and have to show – 13 moonstones (6 large), brass bowl, sandelwood fan, w. elephant & lace. Posted kimono to Nell.
Petty thieving continues. One girl lost "one scorpion moonstone brooch" first thing. How can they?
Capt. has given quantity of lace for sisters, would that I had one piece for memento.
War news continues good. Germans fighting among themselves at last.
Friday 12 October 1917
Once more we may go down the Hold but not for me today.
We carry 2 prisoners Servian – rate of pay in own country 1/6 pr. day, in Aust. 6/- therefore they prefer ours. S. Watson has pleurisy (?) & temp. 103, etc., cough troublesome.
Life of Buddha heard in temple 8 a.m., 10.10.’17.
Saturday 13 October 1917
Life as usual. We are sailing due west or practically so. All lights shut off and no music on acct. of Sister Watson this latter.
Knitting balaclava cap – grey. Fit of the "blues" and feeling very down. Must fight it of course. Reading nursing book & gaining fair am’t knowledge therein. Sister Gill Warwick helping me by printing my photos but heat - or not sufficient washing - causing them to peel off.
How is it diary that I can always go through life without chasing men? Very lonely I admit & must miss a lot of fun but still it never seems necessary.
Sunday 14 October 1917
Parotyphoid [paratyphoid] inj. 10.30 a.m., only one more & horrid business is over. No church today & no music.
I hear from the C.H. nurses Lee & Musgrave that they & the other nurses often put flowers on my sister’s grave at the C.H. Blessings on their heads for that.
Today the ocean is like glass and not a "white horse" to be seen.
We hope to be at our destination about 23rd inst.
Funny how the "Ayrshire Blather" ship’s weekly paper, shows up little episodes of daily life. All Platonic friendships, etc., commented upon & S. Finn’s Colombo affair with the "Chief" made into a parody on Excelsior & great is the annoyance thereat. Petty affairs all of them but none the less real at the time.
Monday 15 October 1917
Black Monday in very truth. Parotyphoid hath me in its grip & at 11 a.m. I retire to my berth & stay there missing meals ‘till 6 a.m. next day. Bursting head, swollen glands of neck T. 100.8 (more probably), P. 90, furred tongue, weakness of legs, aching back etc. What must the original thing be like? Never forget how they must suffer.
7.30 p.m. Miss Ralston visited cabin. 9.30 p.m. she & Dr. L. Parry came. Treatment old good apr. [indecipherable] aspirin if nec. Felt pulse & glands in axilla, likewise inflamed arm.
Own treatment – Pills aloin ii. 8 p.m. rest – diet, cold water, aspirin grs. xv in 15 hrs. Perspired freely during night. Recovery next day. No more inj. necessary. We were one day overdue at Colombo we hear.
Tuesday 16 October 1917
Recovered from paroty. inj. (mx) I think was the dose. Still [indecipherable] & perspiring freely. S. Macdonald very trying to live with in our little cabin, however taking things altogether we pull along fairly well.
S. Watson objecting to sponging for temp. – says never saw it done for bronchitis etc. 2 sisters by day 2 by night for her nurses. What does she think of us all I wonder?
Long rays of light across the water said to be phosphorus and lights seen at intervals by [indecipherable] sisters. O for a friend to relate all the funny incidents of this trip & to talk things over with.
Wednesday 17 October 1917
Slept on deck or tried to but in vain did I try & yet it is beautiful there, fresh air & the stars overhead, rose 5.40 a.m. & a glorious morning.
Attacked by S. Macdonald & strained relations exist. Why cannot she leave us both alone as we do her?
Day’s routine same as ever. Read "Nursing" 7 to 8.30 a.m., knit balaclava, read, play patience & quoits. We are nearing the end of our journey & little frictions occur daily which once we are at work will I trust be less frequent – baths are daily source with some of them. Daily the loss of someone to whom one could really talk & learn from grows more acute. Moral – one should devote all one’s life – if needful – to finding either man or woman with whom there is some understanding!
Thursday 18 October 1917
A day to remember of long quiet – on a moveless ocean. A "sea of glass" with most wonderful jelly fish, pink, sea weed, funny [see image for drawing] sort of live things floating by, shaped at times like a + others O so – fish enclosed as it were in an outer glass frame with phosphorus lights playing around & through them. Now swallows are coming to light in the rigging & tell us land is near, then a stray seagull floats overhead with its plaintive cry and our cats (4 legged) spring up, and nature brings the hunting instinct to eyes used only to watch rat holes. Large shoals of porpuses (?) break the glass-like appearance of the Arabian sea. A new moon vies with Venus in making the evening sky more beautiful after the sun has sunk a ball of fire right in our path.
Friday 19 October 1917
And for the last time we go down the hold & do a final packing at our boxes.
Very hot & thousands of tiny waves sparkle in the sun like so many gum leaving [leaves ?] dancing in the wind when the sun shines after a shower in our own dear Australia. Ships appear on the horizon now &
tiny fishing boats – dhows – stand like tiny fairy things on the edge of the world (as we have seen it for 5 weeks now).
S. Watson improves slightly. T. down 99 degrees.
Sleeping on deck tonight & oh, how stifling is the cabin. Today a large yellow butterfly fluttered by the Ayrshire’s side, and dolphins (?) great blue green fish spring in the air after our tiny flying fish.
Saturday 20 October 1917
Very hot weather but we manage to play quoits, knit and generally get through the day very successfully. Of the travelling companions I have none has appealed to me as a future friend save S. Henry, Longreach, Q. She stands along as a fine character.
Principal trials on board mentally –
Loss of a well informed man such as have been used to – to impart necessary information on everything. Loss of just one real friend to whom one could confide the hundred and one little things of daily life. A great feel of future loneliness in a strange land but it may be less fearsome than it looks.
Sunday 21 October 1917
Awakened at 3.30 a.m. by excited sisters hanging over boat’s side & sight of land at last. On left Africa looms darkly through the gloom – our future life lies there! On the right the Perim lighthouse shows a revolving light (3 revolutions every 15 seconds). We glide through straits of Bab el Mandeb and the sun rises out of the ocean with Perim island lying a little astern of us. Passed 6 boats, 1 French man o war, during day 2 boats – we imagine – transport for Australia.
Small barren islands are passed during morning. Islands (12 Apostles) appear we imagine but are not told about 10 p.m. with lighthouse.
Very hot night and the "blues" to the fore. So ends our last Sunday on board. A quiet day but lonely as I fear my future must now be.
Monday 22 October 1917
Very hot, sea like glass & scarcely a ripple. 6 swallows sit & gaze at me as I "do my mile" (S. Roach) 7 a.m. & read Maxwell & Pope.
As usual when a crowd of persons are penned up every trifle is huge & an anonimous letter falling into Miss Ralston’s hands has been made into a huge crime. Dr. Parry 10 a.m. (23-10-’17) shut us all in Smoke room and after reading an ad. for private detective, supposed to be written by a "sister" threatened us with being put under open arrest & handed over to the authorities at Suez. How would our friends at home regard such news? Had we been informed at first coming on board what were the rules for us much trouble would have been averted & quarrels avoided.
Sun sets on our left hand at 6 p.m. & already the twilight is longer with such peaceful soft skies.
Tuesday 23 October 1917
A day of turmoil – 10 a.m. Dr. Parry assembles 25 sisters in smoke room & addresses us on anonymous letter! greatest disgrace for all. If letter taken to C. Wallace in first place we would probably have all been put under open arrest until Suez reached! Old proverb, "Put a beggar etc."
S. Wylie challanges Dr. & brings charges on other side.
Result of depression all go early to bed on deck. As punishment, we are awakened 5.30 a.m. by clapping, singing, etc. How can a mind become so small as to punish nurses in this way?
Thus our voyage draws to an end! A little tact & good management at the beginning & it might have been so different. On reflection my sorrow is for Dr. Parry in such an awkward position & not of his making.
Wednesday 24 October 1917
After yesterday’s storms a peace prevails. Quoits favour me again & I beat Miss Ralston! Two competitions 3 p.m., "Floral wedding" at which I guessed 3 & "Observation" contest – 28 out of a possible 40 fell to me. Attestation papers re-written (not mine). Now at 5 p.m. ship’s time, Q’land time shows 1 a.m. 25-10-’17, thus we have altered.
Set watch right today as alteration – daily – has ceased.
Saw 12 boats during day, some outward bound, one presumably English war boat lying motionless on the ocean like a huge bull dog on guard. Sun sets 5.45 p.m. & not a cloud from sun rise to sunset, cooler weather & glorious moonlight nights. Preparations for departure continue. Tips for stewards 5/- each. No mess allowance charged on board. Washing done as required for small sum.
Thursday 25 October 1917
6 a.m. passed lighthouse "coral rock" on which a B.I. mail boat was wrecked some years ago. Coral may be distinctly seen few ft. below water. 4.30 p.m. Passed lighthouse "twin brothers", 2 flat rocks not much above water. Light a 5 second one, i.e., flash for ½ second then 4½ sec. before it shows again. 1 troop ship,1 gun boat, 2 ordinary passed. Glorious breeze & blue ocean. 2 competitions – "Word" I got 53. Eye in pig – S. Gill won. 2 sisters ill, Doonar & Dowie, latter T. 101.2, pain in chest, etc.
Packing for last time on A.33. Clocks are normal now, no moving forward daily.
All sisters agree that boat trip has been peaceful taking it all round. None are angels but all things considered we have managed well.
Passed lighthouse on rock (?) 2.45 a.m. Red & white lights.
Friday 26 October 1917
Rose 5.30 a.m. Land on both sides. Gulf of Suez entered 2.40 a.m. How grim look the shores of both Africa & Arabia to us. A rugged line of hills standing close to the shore & not a trace of grass or trees.
Here where Moses of old led his followers across the Red Sea to safety we go to do our "bit" in a strange land.
Trunks are up & finally packed & everyone struggling to fit lids on boxes that have somehow grown smaller since starting.
Saturday 27 October 1917
Sunday 28 October 1917
Woke early & feeling very ill & coughing up large quantity thick phlegm. Breakfast 7.45 a.m. then reported Matron 9 a.m. No uniform so unable go on duty. Matron observed my cough but lacked courage to tell her how ill I felt. Shown over hosp. 11 a.m. Lay down & felt too ill for dinner but went down. 2 p.m. set out to send cable "Well & address 27th G.H.", what a lie. Unable to do more so took gharry (2/6) & retired to bed after wandering aimlessly through gardens which seen later on will I think be a joy to me. 5 p.m. S. Daniells flew to ask my condition then arrived in company with Dr. Ritson (?) who took temp. & sounded me thoroughly. I fancy pleumonia [pneumonia ?] is their present suspicion, T. 103.4 P & R? Dr. is very English, kind as everyone is. Matron looks in & is charming, orders chest rubbed with oil & covered with wool. S. Moreton to come if I call, this I do not do but get very little sleep & cough worrying. Now I am admitted on the sick list, have a chart & under doctor’s orders for how long! First day in Egypt!
Monday 29 October 1917
A sad day for Betsy. Capt. Collins appeared about 9.30 a.m., kind & cool seats himself on bed arm across pt. & eyes that look through to one’s innermost thought, laughs quietly when I assure him it is only a bad cold, says 103 rather too strong for that, etc. Takes history then thorough overhauling begins, then takes blood test 2nd finger (L), smiles, goes. T. 102, P. 100, R. 30 6 a.m.
2 p.m. 10 a.m. T. 101. Had rigor 1 p.m., T. 104.
Seen by Dr. Major Tarrant & Capt. C. 3 p.m. Thorough exam of luckless spleen, once more more questions re malaria ever had it, ever seen anyone with it, etc., more pressure of spleen until Betsy says not sore yet but, with a smile, feel sure it soon will be. Capt. C. smiles quietly & desists, blood test now taken from 1st finger (L) & doctors vanish. 5 p.m., another rigor, T. 104, P. 100, R. 28. Horrid feeling. S. Peile (English) on night duty, firm & kind. No sleep & cough troublesome. Pills given, T. 203.2 2 a.m., T. 104 10 p.m. Perspired freely.
Tuesday 30 October 1917
S. Moreton on day duty & my cup of humiliation is complete. Why oh why did I not leave her business alone! Now I am justly punished, she is kind but oh, so cold & when I weep for a sight of Dr. F. says, "you will will get well quite as well without seeing him". I weep most of morning & feel relieved – T. 102, 102.4, etc., P. 84, R. 26.
Thorough exam of chest again by Capt. C., now they incline to Ty.
Lady Super. Miss Oram comes to see me, is kind & cool. Miss German most sympathetic & sub Matron. Miss … also kind. Capt. C. says they must again trouble me with a blood spec. this time Lieu. Crowe appears, questions me closely & to Aust. & I find knows T’mba. Ligature is now placed on R upper arm & hypo syringe of blood taken from vein at elbow & poured into bottle with thick fluid.
A glorious thing happens – Cobbie bursts in 8 p.m. & just her old self. Oh the joy of seeing a home face.
Wednesday 31 October 1917
Very little sleep T. 101, 102, P. 84, R. 24 during day & night.
Feeling less ill.
Again am thoroughly examined in chest & now they search for spots on abd. & back & Capt. again tries the luckless spleen! Nothing to be found. After having Cal. gr. I my condition evidently intends to improve. On asking if I may see Cobbie, home sister says, "must ask Capt.", therefore feeling a little sarcastic Betsy composes a few little sick room queries.
Thursday 1 November 1917
Matron determined I must say "rabbits" first thing on Nov. 1st but fear I forgot. Feeling much improved. N. Superintendent is a charming woman, pretty grey hair & more friendly towards these "awful Australians" than some are.
Once more my chest and back are examined but as temp. is improving this is the last time & I now am recognized as being on the mend. T. 100, P. 84 all day.
Horror of horrors. Miss Ralston & her friend Miss Dean come to visit me! I state what I think of them sending me here in this condition so trust she will tell her dear L.P. as they were both to blame. Now I read & Cobbie brings me the loveliest roses & buys sweet n. gowns. Marge Woods & her friend F. Best visit me & former implores me to get to No. 14 A.G.H. Wisdom says, leave things in better hands than yours?
Friday 2 November 1917
T. 99.8, P. 76, T. 99.6
To have gr. I cal., no sleep but drowsy.
Had P. of brom & chloral. hydrate 10 p.m. & got about 4 hrs. sleep but oh, for a natural one again.
Day like all other days now. Everyone kind but I feel more than ever the "thin cold wall" which I believe will forever separate us from the English & visitors are forbidden me so except for Sisters Lancer & Rogerson the day is a lonely one.
Marge is sending a cable for me in case the Military have sent one to my dear little Mith & she might be worried.
Saturday 3 November 1917
A week since we landed & not one moment on duty for me. Still things are more hopeful & temp. normal all day and no more rises.
Feel very "done" if attempt any movements. Cobbie comes & takes away my gown dressing to wash, how a kindly little act stands out here. My n. nurse goes & is replaced by Miss Reid (Scotch) & gets into trouble all night with the others.
Sunday 4 November 1917
Quiet day. Cannot hear any singing though know it must be going on all day.
Ask Capt. for something to give me some energy, at which he appears amused & reads me a little lecture on the wise arrangement of nature in giving us that want of energy so that we may properly recover. I reply that never having been ill like this I do not know the feeling but nothing daunts the English out to educate the "A.A." so he
asks if says "but of course you have nursed lots of pts. who felt like this". Betsy utterly crushed makes no more remarks. Reads & tries to make the best of a bad business.
Monday 5 November 1917
Feeling much better at last. Up for most of day. Wrote 3 letters, had ordinary meals & in fact life seems to be resuming its normal round.
Visits from N. McDonald, Andrews & Watson. Convoys continue to arrive all day and S. Moreton is ordered to bed in case of being wanted for n. duty.
Am now on a tonic (iron) [indecipherable]. Chart normal. Capt. Collins evidently amused at having no requests made by the "A.A."
Latest test for typhoid by atrophine – Take pts.
temp pulse carefully 5 mins before, then give H.I. inj. atrop. gr. 1/33, then take pulse every minute for next 30 mins & keep careful record, if rises much shows pt. is ty: (?). Pupils dilate a good deal for this amt. atrop.
Tuesday 6 November 1917
Still under Capt.’s orders.
Very weak as regards legs. Sat on balcony & patronised by sweet V.A.D. who promises that if I look out over balcony tomorrow may perhaps see Lady Allenbury?? [Allenby ?] How these English amuse one. Cobbie arrives 6 p.m. with washed dressing gown & Bystander, then M. Woods with lovely bunch roses, how a word of home changes the whole outlook & after a long chat with each I feel life may one day be worth while again.
Wednesday 7 November 1917
Bugle call for staff (I think) wakes me 6 a.m. Feeling better but very weak for duty yet. Meat for 8 a.m. breakfast. Capt. C. arrives 9.30 a.m. & says may go down to meals.
Lunch 12.30 p.m. an ordeal, all strangers & oh how out of things I feel. 4 p.m. tea in sitting room the same. All talk is of past experiences Mudros, Gallipoli, Salonica, etc. – shall I ever I wonder have any experiences to relate? Weighed 133 lbs = 9 stone 7 lbs, feel about 2 stone as regards strength.
My room is a little bit of home with its sweet smelling roses. Gave most to Home sister for our sitting room.
Thursday 8 November 1917
Seen by Capt. C. 10 a.m. & finally handed over by him to home sister.
May go for drive "after seeing only these 4 walls since arriving".
4 p.m. Marge & Mr. Humphreys came in a car & a lovely evening followed, all through Cairo wich is varied & (to me) marvellous population. 5 p.m. tea at Groppi’s then out over the bridge and across the old Nile to the Pyramids standing so wonderful looking with the evening star shining down in the water (for the Nile is in flood). Back through the soft evening air more shopping & back by a different route to No. 27.
Made in Australia
Barnes Linseed Oil
The Happy Exile
(For The Bulletin)
Some trees were hidden by hedges tall, and some leaned over the winding track.
The sea-wind muttered till evenfall, and the shivering tree-tops answered back.
The tapering Cyprus-stems were bent, and feathery palms swayed to and fro,
But portly and tall and well content a gum-tree sang in the afterglow:
"I felt forlorn in my sapling days, when a dense and motley company
Of strange trees fashioned a selfish maze to banish the light of day from me.
But soon I learned I was born to rise and bustle my branches wide and high,
And trees were shrubs in my laughing eyes when I gazed with glee on the open sky.
"Then war swooped down on a startled earth, and men marched out of the North and East.
The big guns shattered the voice of mirth and death sat down to a lengthy feast.
I waited long, while the men crawled back, all haggard and worn and battle-spent,
And shells crashed down on the tree-fringed track, till the sky was dark with discontent.
"And out of the South and West there rose the clash and clamor of men that fought.
I saw the glimmering steel flash close, and the glint of blood in their eyes I caught.
And under my leafy limbs they swayed, then hurtled by in a cursing flood,
But ere they’d vanished saw the blade that spattered my bole with Turkish blood.
"The fight rolled north, and after a while tall men strolled over and peered at me,
And one man gave me a friendly smile and said
‘Ole man, you’re a bluegum-tree!’
Then around about my roots they sat: their laughter severed my heart from gloom,
While out of the band of each man’s hat there blossomed a trailing emu plume.
"They pillowed their heads on weary arms, and they made my sap within me leap –
They spoke of bluegum forests and farms, and yarned of corn and cattle and sheep.
They kindled a blaze with leaves I’d shed, and boiled their billies within my shade –
I listened intent to all they said till the falling sun began to fade.
"I listened until I’d surely learned of boundless forests beyond the sea.
From men who’d travelled and toiled and burned the leaves of many a bluegum-tree.
The wind made moan through my limbs at length, and my green leaves lisped ‘Remain, remain!’
But each man rose in his goodly strength and said, ‘Farewell till we meet again!’
"They rode away through the languid night and left me alone to muse and sigh,
But the sea-breeze brought me keen delight till my branches sang to the starry sky.
Oh, never before such men I’d seen behind a blade or a loaded gun,
And I shall ever be glad to screen their weary heads from the burning sun.
"Whenever they pass my way again I’ll shake my leaves in the fragrant breeze,
And under my welcome arms they’ll fain forget their troubles, and sit at ease.
Their yarns shall riddle my heart with glee, for they are true to the land afar
That sent them over the Indian sea to win their spurs at the game of war."
Notice scrawled on the wall of his hut by a Bananaland timber-getter:-
You all take this notice. I have gone to fight the Germans, and I don’t know when I’m coming back, somebody chip round my humpy against grass fire. All my bullocks is sold except Sambo, him with the cockhorn. Anyone finding him can sell him to the – butcher and mind the money till I come back.
Sambo has been collected and his price (£11 16s.) banked against the boss’s return. The humpy is regularly chipped round, and anyone who interfered with the old waggon rusting outside, or the gear piled against the wall, would have to fight the whole district.
[See image for drawing by Oswald Frybridge, with the following remarks.]
"Is the lady of the house in?"
"Yes; what do you want?"
"Tell ‘er a gentleman ‘as called ter see ‘er."
Friday 9 November 1917
Rose 10 a.m., sewed, read of the fall of Gaza & how well our Australians have done. Home sister gives me a cup of tea 6.30 a.m. so suppose am very favored, they are kindness itself but I should like to be on duty as soon as these legs feel strong enough.
2.30 p.m. went to Cairo with S. Watson & shopped till 5 p.m., then Groppi’s for tea. Managed well though our French being nil & no knowledge of current coins the same, shopping is difficult. Bought 1 pr. shoes £1.5.0, cap – top – P. cards & envelopes, latter 10 d. pkt. Everything very dear & poor quality shoes. Photos piastres 7 for a roll of 10 to be developed.
Home by tram (1/2 piastre for 2 A.A.N.S.). The women cover their faces but expose their breasts at times. Quantities of jewellery worn & thick anklets of silver.
Saturday 10 November 1917
6.30 a.m. home sister brings cup of tea. 7.45 a.m. breakfast. Morning spent sewing and went to Heliopolis with S. Piele to dressmaker. Fine buildings and one finds it hard to realize that one is in Egypt. A fortnight here today & 1 week very ill, next one convalescing. Not a good beginning but must not be downhearted over it.
3.30 p.m. went to No. 14 & saw Miss Creal, very friendly, then spent afternoon with Marge & home 6.30 p.m.
"Must not spend my gold" so says Miss Creal, so borrowed Pt. 200 & Pt. 5 for gharry, paid back 13/11/17.
During night more convoys arrive and sisters wash pts. all over, take temps etc. & give nourishment. At No. 14 there are 1700 beds.
5 A.A.N.S. off to Australia 12/11/’17, 4 of them ill, Sisters Lamb & L. McDonald off duty some days since arriving.
Sunday 11 November 1917
Went to church 11 a.m. and rejoiced to find the service and hymns just as at home in a land where all else is strange.
Gradually some particulars of the 27th G.H. come to one ears as follows –
Staff entirely English – 2080 beds in all of which fully 1000 are in the tents.
Night Sister Peel made with help 119 beds before 1 a.m. on 9/11/’17 to accomodate men being brought in on convoys.
Now that Gaza has fallen & we are 23 miles further beyond it, a hopeful tone prevails in the papers, but every convoys arrive bearing wounded. Here we get English & N. Zealanders, at No. 14 the Australians.
At 9 a.m. visited No. 14 with letters for home. "Wiltshire" sailing 12th inst. At 10 a.m. got cable "all well", very happy news.
Monday 12 November 1917
Now 15 days off duty but tomorrow I go on in office.
Sewed all morning – 2 p.m. went to Cairo with S. Watson, did quantity of shopping & visited Headquarters & paid in £10-0-0 instead of banking it, then drew Pt. 6000 leaving balance.
5 p.m. tea at Groppi’s, 3 p.m. took a garry to Ordinance stores & drove over the beautiful Kasurel nil [Kasr El nil] bridge & saw the old Nile rolling along & gardens green & lovely. Took a snap of the bridge.
Very tired & so lonely, this latter feeling is the worst part of my life just now. Sitting at table with V.A.D’s who talk shop & no friend to exchange a few gay words with. Never mind, things will change some day I know & meanwhile patience.
Tuesday 13 November 1917
On duty at last! but oh for wards & pts. Reported 8.30 a.m. to Matron & then dusted, tidied, then wrote D. Ill. List, did errands, etc., off duty 2.15 p.m. Went No. 14 & saw Cobbie, Marge, Miss Creal. Paid Marge Pt. 218, only owe for cable now. Paid S. Daniels Pt. 2. 5.15 p.m. filled in Sister’s book (headings) as foll:
Name & Rank
Still suffering from "gippi tummi" that is the local name & very weak & depressed it makes one feel.
C. Collins came to Office, & smiling as usual, asked if I would like to be off the sick list & how he laughed at my decided "oh yes please Matron" so a notice goes up to that effect on board, S/N F.E. Holloway off sick list as from 13/11/17.
Wednesday 14 November 1917
Reported Matron’s office 8.30 a.m. Dusted, did th. dressings for sterilizing, washed fly traps. C. Collins came in & smiling as usual, asked what I was doing & Matron told him I had taken to beer.
Marton [Matron] speaks to me in the nicest way possible. "What did you say child," & are you feeling really better, & means it too. Sent me off duty 3.30 p.m. & need not go back unless convoy comes in. No convoy so creep to bed feeling very weak after "gippi" & take a dose of oil & pray for strength again. When will it come back I wonder?
Thursday 15 November 1917
Reported Matron’s office 8.30 a.m., dusted table, etc., then 9.30 a.m., oh joy! Matron sent me to "Kitchener" for day – off 5 p.m. At the end of it feel better than since landing yet the ward is very heavy. 2.10 p.m. came a convoy of which we got 5 pts. – 1 jaw, 1 fractured leg, not sure of others. Two Aust. sisters in ward. Had two ops. from "Cromer" one a lip, one eye & very bad he looks. Life one continual rush all day. Helped with dressings, gave drinks.
1 p.m. After lunch temps of about 10 pts. then spongings, they convoy spongings, drinks, temps etc., and at the end hot bath & concert 8 to 9 p.m. & very good it is to see all these poor boys enjoy themselves.
Aust. mail in & no letters!
One pt. stated that it is a week ago that he was wounded & lay 4 hrs. bleeding before picked up.
Friday 16 November 1917
On duty "Conaught" 8.30 a.m.!! S. in charge a fault finder & non-worker, waded on at tidying beds, 10 a.m. tea then dressings till 1.30 p.m., 5 to 8 p.m. tidied, etc.
Feel tired but getting stronger. Matron tells S. in C. "not to work me too hard". Was there ever such a considerate woman in a position like this I wonder?
Dressings are a sadness & such good quiet boys, not a murmur & not an untidy bed yet several are I fear maimed for life & for what? In a counter attack by Turks we have lost badly in men & our Australians too.
8 p.m. went with S. Lee to concert in Surtees Hall, fair & crowded with English soldiers.
Saturday 17 November 1917
Reported to Home sister 7.45 a.m. & sent to "Maxwell" for day?
Took temps., did dressings till 1 p.m., off 2-5. Went to 14 A.G.H., 4 p.m. tea with Cobbie, then D.3 & found Dick Rutledge, a pt. with injury to leg, looking so gay & well.
Evening duty, dressings etc. Major Farrant operates for this ward & interviews us re dressing of wounds, etc. Capt. Mitchell is M.O. for ward. Capt. Grant called & accused me of running away from "Connaught". Can one wonder?
Gradually we settle down to our new life but to me it is very lonely & always a longing for a real friend worries me (spoilt I fancy). Weather cooler already. Three weeks here today & I am the last on duty. 30 English sisters on after the A.A.N.S. & now F.E.H.
Sunday 18 November 1917
Another Sunday & I am in "Maxwell". All day our old familiar hymns sound along the corridors & the Tommies troop in to church like the good boys they are.
Matron enquired very kindly how I was & seemed pleased to get "quite well" at last.
Monday 19 November 1917
An Australian letter at last, one of Ida’s written 16/9/17. So strange to read of all the old familiar home interests & now I am so far removed from them all.
A busy day in "Maxwell". A convoy arrived 4.30 p.m. of which we got 3 cot cases, 2 walking & as one pt. remarked, "there are plenty of men waiting up the line to come in" so our rush will continue. 6 pts. out of wards, 5 in so one empty bed.
All wounds are septic operations and all but gradually heal. Usol. saline peroxide are the lotions & foments on about a doz. out of the 39 pts. (of old lot). All such quiet little Tommies & so uncomplaining.
Tuesday 20 November 1917
Maxwell ward 7.30 a.m. Same round of work, beds & dressings. One pt. had bullet removed from chest (local anaes.) & lying on surface. Told me casually that in dressing another pt. the bullet passed through pt’s head & entering the unimpired man’s chest took a downwards course for about 4 inches where it lay just under the skin.
3 p.m. went to No. 14 A.G.H. & saw Marge & Cobbie then Dick. Latter says 2 years since he heard a woman’s voice!! Evening duty Matron did rounds with me & told her friend I was the naughty girl who ran a high temp. for some days, etc.
Wrote report 1st & sent note to Matron. Off 8.10 p.m. Now that I know them I like the sisters here & tone of the hosp. generally. Raining at intervals & cool.
Wednesday 21 November 1917
Quite a cold snap in the air & splendid for working. Life as usual. Went town & bought an Egyptian spoon, lucky charm, base & pin tray. The charm of the city grows on one with time & the dirt is less noticeable.
About a doz. dressings for morning work in Maxwell & most on foments as well.
Capt. Mitchell in charge & Major Farrant the Surgeon. Col. Wade is to see a knee partly shot away but main artery not severed.
How strange it is to hear a well bred Englishman address one as if in ordinary circumstances, in these wards where most of the tommies have a very marked dialect.
Thursday 22 November 1917
Miss Germain’s wedding day & such a beautiful one. Clear & just a touch of winter in the air – wedding 4 p.m., honeymoon spent at ... 17 miles away. Married in Garrison Church at No. 14 A.G.H. Her letter to us was fine. My dear "Children" & signed Mollie Germain, her last signature on our noticeboard under that name.
Went No. 14 5.30 p.m. all friends out. Now this place is my home as it were & I feel it so and have settled down into it all. The bugle calls, weird voices of the natives, long lines of tents & everywhere men, men are becoming part of my daily life & it is hard to imagine myself back at "Wilga". Such lovely nights if only one had someone to go out with.
Friday 23 November 1917
In Maxwell till 9.30 a.m. then Kitchener till 2 p.m., off 2-5, then Maxwell 5-8. Nothing but wounds & dressings all day & such patient men. One case practically whole of lower jaw & part mouth shot away – man so quiet & cheerful. 1 pt. told me how a wounded Turk had a few days previously implored the men, our soldiers, to lend him a razor to cut his throat, he had fallen off a lorry & lying by the roadside. Our fellows gave the razor & watched him cut his throat!! & the man told me as though it were the most ordinary occurrence.
Saturday 24 November 1917
In Connaught & very busy day. Off 2-5. One pt. died after op. 24 hrs. previously, bullet through abd. & deep seated foul pus coming away before op., some haem. after op. Saline P.P. given 6 a.m. not retained. 11.30 a.m. sub cut. saline attempted, H.I. strych. with digatilis [digitalis ?] gr. 1/100 given., oxygen, hot foments over cardiac region. Many secondary haem. occur within last few days.
Sunday 25 November 1917
Rather sad day "blues" to the fore. Off 10 to 1 p.m. pass read & wrote. Busy day all round. Some interesting cases in Connaught. One man (N.Z.) with great gash across foot (R) on continuous saline, slung on iron cradle with 2 trays underneath has been on treatment for 1 week.
Monday 26 November 1917
Connaught again & in charge 2-5. All peace during that time then over to 14 A.G.H. for a bit of "home" & life. Saw Dick & had a laugh again.
Matron on duty after 4 days honeymoon but going away for longer leave. Happy & gay as possible.
6 empty beds but convoys always come daily & hosp. must be up to its full capacity. 1800 pts. in one night lately & most of the new arrivals lying about for several days before sent in here.
Tuesday 27 November 1917
Up 6 a.m. & hot bath as usual, then Connaught as usual. Off 2-5 & went Cairo & opened banking acct. Anglo Egyptian bank, paid in £37-0-0 & recd. receipt for same & ch. book for 25 cheques. Drew from Aust. Headquarters all pay to date & £10-0-0 paid in (private money). Paid Home sister mess
allowance acct. for 4 days, Oct. 30 days, Nov. T.P. 337
Went 14 A.G.H. 4 p.m., saw Dick & had a laugh as usual.
Marge too engaged to come out ½ day & Cobbie too ill. Moral never rely on anyone & always be prepared to go alone through life – very lonely though for this poor child.
Wednesday 28 November 1917
Connaught (settled) evidently 39 pts. & all dressings. Must have septic or desert soles, some foments, many splints both arm & leg, 4 baths, 2 arms, 2 legs, 2ce. daily.
Eusol & peroxide most used.
Off for ½ day, went 14 A.G.H., no one to go out with so went alone.
Thursday 29 November 1917
Off 10 to 1 pass. Wrote letters, sewed etc., then on 1-10 p.m. till 3 p.m. Pts. are English, Scotch, Irish & N.Z., last named well educated as a rule & fine-looking.
Friday 30 November 1917
Still convoys come in from the front, one does dressings 10 to 1 & most of 7 to 8 p.m. Off duty 2-5, went town & am getting quite at home now. Duty 5 p.m., 5 admin. all to be sponged etc., life one long rush & finally off 8.20 p.m. 3 of us on & then only just finished.
Wrote Mother & Mrs. Russell (of Red X fame).
All dressings being done with Eusol or saline syringed with peroxide.
Capt. Grant in ch. of Connaught, Major Farrant in ch. of entire block.
Matron on duty as usual although husband has 3 wks. leave we hear though she is taking the weekends off. One orderly Reed very good, others a blank. Egyptian servants do all pans, etc., & kitchen orderlies the meals.
Saturday 1 December 1917
Dec. 1st & Xmas only 3 wks. off. Am beginning to wonder if ever I lived in a time when bugles were not being sounded constantly, men marching past to meals, and all the hundred & one rounds of a military hospital.
A pt. adm. 2 p.m. (fractured femur) from Aerdrome near here, he went to help start a machine with this result, good as gold of course. Put up in Thomas’ splint, leg shaved (by C. Grant), strapping & bandages, sand bag, cradle, high blocks for foot of bed.
All beds now full.
Wrote Ida for films, M. Hogg about Dick.
S. Foughton diphtheria & sent to Shubra – contacts throats seen, swabbings taken & off duty for 6 hrs.! Kept quiet re mine. Little S. Roberts very friendly also Elizabeth Brown.
Sunday 2 December 1917
Beautiful day and when off duty 5-8 went to 14 A.G.H. & with Dick went to church, 1st time since St. James, T’ba (about 20th Aug.). Pretty little church and so nice to hear the service & hymns & to know that one was among Australians again for love of country is very strong when one finds oneself among a strange people in a foreign land. Poor Dick, I found his places in the prayer book and he was obliged to sit of course all the time.
No. 27 is very busy these days & we hear that the powers that be are very pleased with the work of the staff in general.
One N.Z. boy, Robson, for op. [indecipherable] amputation after continuous saline for about 8 days.
Monday 3 December 1917
Lovely days now & Miss Moreton & I fly to town & shop 2-5 then home & duty again.
Robson (N.Z.) leg ampn. ½ way to knee, condition not good for operation & veins for some distance above amp. full of clotted blood. Why oh why do not more doctors come out & these pts. get more attention. Many cases of secondary haem. occur of late & deaths are numerous.
No war news save more fighting up in Palestine. A notice is up calling for volunteers for Palestine, sisters are applying quickly. We are debarred not having been here 6 months.
I find Miss Womald asked Matron to let me stay in Connaught & Matron spoke very highly of me to her etc., so now I must put up with all the "nagging".
Tuesday 4 December 1917
Miss Coffy off duty with great rash over body due to very large dose of anti tetanus serum, she having handled the pt. who just died of the awful disease. 4 ops. from Connaught today – minor.
5 p.m. Miss Taten & I got to town, garry (pt. 15) & shop then home & walk across from 14 A.G.H. way.
Wrote M. Crookey.
Dressings - for dirty wound to clean up -
Use peroxide pure, gauze wet, then foment until slough comes away.
Healing wounds -
Dress with saline & vary with red lotion occasionally.
Wednesday 5 December 1917
Off duty 2-5 with E. Brown so went Cairo & enjoyed life. Tea Groppi’s, bought spirit lamp Pt. 35, 2 Australias Pt. 8.
Busy evening in Connaught. Capt. Grant aspirated Adams chest, drew off fluid, blood stained N.Z. pt. much relieved.
Ward full, pts. 44.
Thursday 6 December 1917
Rec’d note from S. Cuthbert, Citadel Hosp. only arrived Monday after 3 months on the trip from Australia. Left 2 wks before me, arrived Durban safely, lay 5 wks there then across to Bombay in a new boat, then refused landing at B’bay so transferred to another boat & finally landed Port Tewfik & sent P. Said, Alex. & to Nazereah.
Citadel impresses me strongly. Am reading "Curse of the Nile" and one feels a shiver down one’s back when driving through those old gloomy buildings.
Friday 7 December 1917
Busy day, 2 officers from Aerdrome adm. 8 p.m., accident. Faces very much injured, one West, injuries to ankle & more. Other, ... blood pouring from eye (R), nose & several cuts on face. Removed to Nazereah (?) 4 p.m. Pt. Gardner foot amputated, condition good. Went to A. H.qrs 6.10 p.m. Recd. £4-0-0 pay to date, shopped & ret’d to 27 in garry after tram broke down. Went in with S. Murphy & found her pleasant. Now I am living again as of old. Life is a very good thing when one is fully employed in congenial work and when off duty time comes I know the women with whom I am living & when in their company can laugh & be gay as the old R.P.A.H. days.
Saturday 8 December 1917
Patients 40, wards very busy with dressings. Robson, pt. with amp. of foot
for (continuous irrigation for 10 days before amp.) is progressing favorably. Riddell (brain hernia) operated upon, small counter incision near wound – satisfactory thus far, wound swabbed with absolute alch.
Now for social life –
3 invitations for going out by "27" sisters, but refused as invited to "14". Went for 4.30 tea with our own boys, showed my photos & much admired especially Q’land views. Such nice boys including D. Rutledge.
We hear of air raid over London, big one – and the war does not progress I fear in spite of all the headlines in the papers.
Sunday 9 December 1917
Off duty 2-5 p.m., went to Mouski with S. Brown (E) & loved it – shopped on Sunday for 1st time – 2 napkin rings, Pt. 5 each, drove home & duty alone 5 to 8. This I like as peace reigns even if Matron does extensive & interviews every pt. & asks temp. etc. C. Grant very helpful & nice answering questions about pts. & telling of his woe at losing cases with secondary haem. as has been the case so often. No church for poor me today but hymns of the nicest & most soothing at 11 & 7 p.m., so must be content.
My acquaintance grows with these sisters. Yesterday had 3 invitations out with them & am so glad as it is human life one enjoys & not this cold stiffness that have had ever since leaving Australia.
Monday 10 December 1917
Busy as usual, ½ day 2-7 p.m. Went A.G.H. then town with Marge, Cicurels for silk dress, cost to be £2-0-0 for same, fitting (Wed. 3.30 p.m.).
Ord. collars at Esthers (call Friday) & 1 cap.
Went to mosque & loved it all, heard the call to prayer & very quaint it sounded, then climed the minaret & viewed Cairo by "after sunset" light, very fine and wonderful old building, one built 1356 A.D. 6 hundred years old impresses one with awe. We encased our feet in huge slippers & walked on "holy ground" & saw the tombs of the father & son who built the mosque. Wonderful inlaid wood & one part of ceiling shown where Kitchener had it cleaned. Cannon ball still in hole in outer wall from Napoleon’s time.
Tuesday 11 December 1917
Joined Nurses’ Club (for month).
Wednesday 12 December 1917
Off duty 2-5, went town & met S. Cuthbert,
shopped fitted at Cicurel’s, met Cobs Groppi’s but no time for tea. Went Anglo Egyptian Bank & cashed ch. for £5-0-0, i.e., Pt. 500.
On duty with S. Wormald 5-8. We hear of fall of Jerusalem on 8th inst. and many prisoners taken, but we retreat in France & Roumania concludes an armistace so one ally has left us.
Thursday 13 December 1917
Wrote Rob & I. Hunt & from the latter recd. a long & "homey" letter which was very enjoyable. All goes on well, dated 10/10/17 (day we were in Colombo).
Off duty 10-1 so went town with S. Allen. Kursaal first for tickets then coffee & cakes at Groppi’s, home 12 noon & duty 8.30 p.m. as on alone & pt. adm. with badly injured leg, compound fracture of tibia (R), very offensive quantity of bone removed & pus pouring away.
S. Brown leaving us & going to Cantara!! [also spelt Kantara]
Friday 14 December 1917
Another ½ day and very enjoyable too. Went Mouski with S. Leed, bought brass bowl 7/-, 2 runners at 3/6 each, busy scenes and oh such a medly of human beings & donkey carts & vehicles of all descriptions through narrow streets & doubtful looking quarters.
Paid Pt. 4 for garry to Liptons, had 4 p.m. tea then – alone – went shopping, etc., back 6.50 p.m. & no convoy duty!!
This has been neglected lately but one day is so like another that one never knows how they slip by.
Another anniversary of Kath’s leaving us has come & gone – 15 years ago - & yet it hurts as much as ever only, thank God! one does not think of it so much or so often as in bygone days.
Saturday 15 December 1917
Now what can one say of a day of sorrow? Home letters rec’d and I can hardly grasp the facts yet that two people should be so evil. No use writing these things it hurts too deeply.
11.30 a.m. went A.G.H. No. 14 & voted yes for conscription, saw Dick.
Off duty 2-5 went town with S. Heathcote (nice girl).
One pt. in Connaught tells a story of pt. adm. who had "cut his throat with bully beef tin and made a bad job of it". Very unromantic that is.
Sunday 16 December 1917
A quiet day and ward light. Went to All Saints 6 p.m. with S. Heathcote. A good sermon, text, Pray that your flight be not in the winter. We are never to cease to pray and pray that our last flight be not in the winter of old age when all the
bloo joys of life are gone & leaves stripped as it were but rather be taken in our bloom. How sad to look round on the packed church of soldiers & think how many have fallen in their bloom & how many more must fall & how nurses like Kath fell in their bloom just as surely for others as these do. Strange that in all that crowd I should share my book with a Q’lander. Carols are being sung & very sad I feel thinking of happy past days for our family now alas! divided cruelly.
Monday 17 December 1917
E. Brown off for day & VA.D. (Mrs. Madden) helping. Off duty 5-8. Went 14 A.G.H., Dick unable secure pass so I must hunt for a partner for "day off" at 27 G.H. Feeling very depressed over home news about new niece’s parents, surely it cannot be true as I fear that 3 lives are to be wrecked after the friendship of childhood days.
"Ah well is thee; thou are asleep!" might truly be said of our dear Father and Kath, to be spared this sadness & our little Mother in her old age to be burdened & worried so! Truly marriage is a mistake after all.
Pt. in ward has photo of rows of English dead lying for 6 months unburied (left by Turks) until the Australians came & took the position & made the Turks bury the dead in long rows.
Tuesday 18 December 1917
Day off, breakfast in bed 9 a.m., bath & town 11 a.m., bought rug at Club (Pt. 115).
Abandoned by Miss Hughes 1.15 p.m. so went Barrage (alone) as alas am generally forced to do at length. Pretty misty day, heavy rain at intervals – ½ hour brings one to Barrage station after a quick trip through flat green fields all I imagine watered by canals from the old Nile. Very interesting & pictures truly biblical all the way. Men driving oxen in the plough, a shepherd walking in front of his flock & calling them on to follow, etc.
Rode on trolly to tea, gardens after tea, roamed through lovely gardens, admired old Nile (not any English person to speak to). Back in Cairo 6.30, 27th 6.30 p.m.
Wednesday 19 December 1917
Lovely day outside – in Connaught confusion reigns as usual.
Town 2-5 & bought bible & French books. Had farewell tea for E. Brown 9 p.m. (& S. Leid of course).
Now can find my way around in Cairo quite easily & have one or two humble friends already.
Yesterday bought bedside mat £1-3-0, very pretty.
M.O. sympathises with me over loss of "Elizabeth" from ward.
Wrote Mother, Eva, P.C. to Edith.
Kathleen born 22nd Sept. 1917.
Thursday 20 December 1917
Off 2-5. Town with 3 English sisters, shopping & tea Groppi’s.
Referendum day in Australia, how is it going I wonder? Hardly dare think of home these days and what a blessing work is.
Friday 21 December 1917
H. Communion 6.30 a.m. & such a nice service, sisters Brown (E.M.), Crane, Heathcote & self. In charge of Connaught for day. All is peace & quiet, dressings, etc., finished 12 m.d. C. Grant & I exchange opinions re line of hymn to fit "Connaught". I think, O day of rest & gladness. He, "Peace Perfect peace" – both are appropriate.
Saturday 22 December 1917
½ day & went to Cairo & did shopping for Xmas – only tiny gifts as alas very few to give them to here. Tea at Liptons with S. Lee.
Very wet day & cold (which is bad) not improved thereby.
C.G. asked if Sister does any dressings & if not what does she do? etc., but "mum" is the word for this child. Leave things alone say I but his kindness to me is very accectable [acceptable] just now.
Sunday 23 December 1917
Off 10 to 1, sewed apron & talked S. Watson (on duty once again poor girl).
Very cold day & fine dust or mist in the air giveing a gray hazy appearance even as short a distance as the tents.
Regret not having sent a cable home but what could one say?, for 1918 shall send one.
Quiet in Connaught, 38 pts. All well save Adams, N.Z., shot in chest & lung. R. Op. 30.32, T.103 etc., P.120 & cond. not improving.
No fighting up the line for some days so convoys are less heavy.
No home letters since the first batch.
Monday 24 December1917
Busy for Xmas day – "Connaught" scheme is red shades, plants & flowers, very effective though & strangely enough, the pts. in their blue suits & the white ward & quilts carry out the "Red, White & Blue" well. Off duty 2-5, town & shopped, without doing much, then duty & shook hands with L.
Allenby Wingate & rec’d gracious word & a card from them both. C.G. very nice & very scotch.
I find only 12 men to cook for 1500 pts.
C of E Padre is coldly friendly like the rest.
Absence of home & love & weighing very heavily these days.
Tuesday 25 December 1917
Such a bright sunny day & soft pink clouds at sunset.
H.C. 6.30 a.m. in Recreation room & a fair amt. of pts. present, then long busy day feeding pts., etc. Menu – turkey, veg., plum pudding, mince pies, etc., 12.30 p.m. then 4 p.m. cakes, tinned fruit & so forth. Whist drives & singing in some wards.
6.40 p.m. visited No. 14 A.G.H. Bright & gay.
Australian flags everywhere, aeroplanes, models of boats, mottos, even a gunyah with Aboriginal sitting before his billy & little electric bulb hidden in old sticks.
Pt. kiss sisters under miseltoe, etc. & general air of comradeship prevails throughout. How different to our cold & sedate wards.
Wednesday 26 December 1917
Had ½ day and went to Pyramids & sat in the tram enjoying all lights & views.
Xmas dinner 8 p.m. & very pretty it looked to see the long tables.
Thursday 27 December 1917
Day full of changes of atmosphere, pt. duty & poor Adams (N.Z. pt.) gradually sinking, then off duty 2-5 & dressed in new frock went to "at home" in Sisters’ quarters & enjoyed it immensely, talked to 2 Aust. & 1 N.Z. man & they were very nice, then ward 5 to 8 & pt. Adams died after a hard struggle for life, and 8 of his countrymen leave tomorrow for N.Z. where he will never return again.
Rouse, Pilmer, Burnet, Cooper, Foster, Riddell, Hall & Curtis are our 8 off at 6.45 a.m. [indecipherable].
Friday 28 December 1917
"Connaught" gave its pts. a good & pretty 4 p.m. tea (all paid for by C. Grant) (£5-0-0) then cigars & cigarettes & all pts. moved to Anzac & a concert given. Such a sight of wonder. Rows of beds, then pts. sitting or lying on pts. beds with legs, arms, heads, etc., all in bandages.
Saturday 29 December 1917
½ day & went Cairo then Pyramids & had 4 p.m. tea at Mena House, very enjoyable save that "Cobbie" failed to behave properly to S. Leid & was strange generally.
Sunday 30 December 1917
Feeling very sick but "keeping on" hard, T.101.4, P.100. 8 p.m. Bed & head aching severely. Went Church Garrison (A.G.H.) 6 p.m., very nice.
Wished D. Rutledge happy 1918.
31st Gen. Hospital (last wk. of n. duty).
It seems but yesterday since I wrote about dear D. Rutledge yet he has been 6 months buried. Laurie & his friend Laddie Lawson are at Moascar on sick leave.
All these Officers have been very good to me & I have enjoyed my n. duty & all the well educated men to laugh & talk with. Long quiet nights & busy mornings. On duty 8 p.m. supper 1st 10.45, 2nd 11.30 p.m. Off duty 7.30 a.m.
Monday 31 December 1917
The last day of this so far most adventurous year of my quiet life. May the next see peace in this sad old world is my prayer!
On duty ‘till 5 p.m. & had some good talks to interesting pts. – one, Ward, described the river Amazon, fastest current of any river, 5 knots per hour, narrow as "Connaught" ward in places yet a 12,000 ton boat may get up, has seen a cargo of 5000 tons Brazilian nuts shipped away from the port. Chief exports are coffee, rubber, & nuts.
At 5.18 p.m. motored to Mena House with S. Watson & McCain, then under the shadow of the old Pyramids with a lovely little wind blowing had our palms read, then dinner & so home. Fortune in my face & very good, wherever I go, good, marry in 7 months, going further on in 9 days, 4 days trip, etc. Back at 27th G.H. 8 p.m. & so closes 1917. May ’18 bring Peace.
And now the last night of the 63 is here & tomorrow I saw goodbye to E. i & E.ii. Cairo 9 a.m. & drew money for Alex. Have drawn up to end of Aug. all except a few shillings, 4/- or so.
Said farewell all round (to my very nicest pts. only) & such good & kindly things were said & keen regrets at my leaving. Some of the nicest boys – Lt. Lane, the "improved Englishman", Lt. Jarrett, Capt. Drury, Lt. Waddell, Capt. Stevenson, R.A.M.C., [Royal Army Medical Corps] Capt. Thresher, R.A.M.C., Lt. Stevensen (formerly a chemist), Capt. Austin, Lt. Ross.
Off duty 7.30 a.m., bath, 5 mins. porridge & cup tea, interview Miss Gemmell, held up an ambulance & take me to Cairo, found it contained 2 stately M.O’s, deposited me at Manchiet station 8.50 a.m., train 9.15, travelled up with R.A.F. man, Lt. Sharrod (?), quite a boy & been over most of Africa, photos of lakes, etc., source of Nile. 12 m.day tea & cake. A real Sunday, blue sky, green fields of cotton & maize & the old muddy Nile to be crossed 2ce.
Bulkeley 1.10 p.m. lunch. About 20 sisters & V.A.D’s assembled. 2 p.m. beach & a swim.
1½ hrs. sleep then church of All Saints, Ramleh & hymns Fight the Good Fight, "Christian dost thou see them". Church full mostly soldiers & sisters.
Swim 10 a.m. then Alex with Sister Craig – lunch Nurses’ Club, Nougha Gardens, took snaps, had purse stolen con’t. piastres ? about 30 p.t. probably, all the silver I had out with me! Marleesh! Drove around to Ras el Tin, 21st G.H. then back through native bazaar, paid driver Pt. 15 (1 hour). 5 p.m. tea at "Milanese" then back to 9th Convalescent home. Miss Alderson taken to 19th G.H. with Influ.?
Lovely swim 9-10 a.m. then town, shopped until 12.30 then Bulkeley, lunch 1 p.m.& train 3.41 for old Cairo once more. Crowded train but 2 flying boys, Morrison (Scotch) & Mr Griffiths took care of me & got gharry, etc., at Cairo, 31st 8 p.m.
Record of letters written.
16th Mrs. Palmer
16th Mrs. Clifford Hood
16th Mary Anderson
17th I. Hunt
17th Rob Holloway
17th Hilda Holloway
19th Mrs. White
19th Mrs. Luke
15th (day of sailing)
Mother & Hilda (supposed posted)
23rd Annie Officer
23rd Maggie Hogg
29th Elsie Johns, Mrs. Rutledge
30th Con. Bolton
2.10.’17 E.G. Palethorpe, M. Crookey
7th Mother (Posted)
10.1-’17 P.cards, Eva, J. Morgan, Kathleen, Mrs. Langmore, G. Beck, Florence, J.F.H., Nell.
Since leaving Colombo –
Mother, Hild., Rob, Jean, Ida, Mag., Mrs. Connolly, Secretary Red X, Eva, Miss Newell, Mrs. Crombie, Edith, Ida (2nd time).
10-11-’17 – Spence, Rob – forget who else.
Have written Mother, Ida, Hild., Eva.
P.Cs Mrs. Connolly, Mrs. Windsor, Mrs. Langmore, Page, Del., B. Palmer, Father O’Connell, Rev. Davies, Dr. Lane, Edith, Nell, Hild.
15th Mother, 17th Mrs. Rutledge
Wrote Mith, Nell, Mrs. Langmore, Enid.
Prescripion for sod. sulph.
31st G.H., Mjr. Bellingham Smith
Sod. sulph. [indecipherable]
[indecipherable] Ammon. [indecipherable]
[indecipherable] Chloroform [indecipherable]
31st – 18/9/18
Orders to take over D i surgical – 56 beds – pts. mostly toe nails removed & Influ. Latter runs a course of 3-5 days pyrexia, then gradually normal. Treatment – Asp. grs. xv I. d.s. Mist. Expect I.d.s. [indecipherable].
Ward is dirty & untidy. S. Goode unresponsive, refuses to help in any way.
Expences for Active Service, continued from opposite page.
3 pr. pyjamas – 16/-, 6
1 silk blouse - £1.5.0
I.M. Hunt paid £1, F.E.H. £1.5.0
Wilga, Mort Street, T’ba
Fares & meals to Sydney - £3.8.0
24/8/17 - Drew ch. for £22-0-0, ex’s
4th 9/17 – Drew ch. for £22-0-0 ex’s
3 w. aprons – 7.6
Trunks, kit bag, etc. – 7.11.0
Macintosh – 2.17.0
Costume – 16.5.-
Hat – 1.10.0
& veil – 14.6
Veil – 5.11
Boots (paid extra for exch.) – 6.-
Shoes – 19.6
3 dresses making etc. – 1.8.0
2 aprons, 1 u. skirt – 18/-
1 underskirt – D. Jones – 4.1
Material for dresses at 1/6 – 1.16.0
Material for gray aprons – 8.6
Gloves – 7.11
Red cape G.E.D. – 10/-, buttons, etc. 4/- - 14.-
15th 9/’17 – In purse, gold – 22.0.0
In purse, Notes – 15.-.-
16th – Have in bag hand (silver) – 1.1.9½
Added to purse £2 rec’d 15th/9/17 – 2.0.0
Total - £40.1.9½
15/9/’17 – Owing by Gov’t & not taken - £10.0.0
13/9/’17 – Paid at No. 4 A.G.H. (Mess acc’t) – 12.6
10.10.’17 – Spent in Colombo - £5.10.0
Spent on board ship to date – 9.-
26.10.’17 – tips Stewards 3 Std’ers 1 - £’1.0.0
27th – Port Suez
Drive 1/6, meals 5/- ?
Dinner on train 5/4
12th Sept. – Rec’d from Red X Fund - £10 - -
13th Sept. - Rec’d from Barracks - £21 - -
(for uniform expences)
14th – Rec’d Military pay (leave) - £1.7.6
15th – Rec’d Military pay No. 4 A.G.H. (6 days) – 2.5.10
27th G.H. Cairo
8/2/18 – Drew ch. for self - £E. 4-0-0
remaining in bank - £E. 17.10.0
Cairo 28th 10.’17
28th – Tram fare, 1 piastre, gharry 2/6
28th – Cable to Mother
2nd Nov. – 2 nightgowns - £1.11.0
8th – Washing (4 pieces) piastres – 3.-
9th – Cairo -
shoes - £1-5-0
Cap – 3.6
D. i – 7.30 a.m.
Began diet sheet – a difficult task. 9-30 came the O.C. Colonel ?, did extensive rounds. What is the matter with you? "toe nail off Sir", "Sister, why do they all have toe nails off just as a stunt is coming off!" Off duty 2-5. Laurie & L. Lawton visit me 5 p.m. & arrange an outing for next day.
A great success of the Palestine front & some of our boys recalled. Pt. Woodhouse very ill meningitis symptoms showing tonight, eye L has slight squint. Pain very severe.
8th Nov. ‘17
Have in purse in gold - £20.0.0
Have in purse in notes – 10.0.0
Have in purse in cash, piastres 31½
Matron 9 a.m. My ½ day, obtain it but the boys fail to appear so probably have been conscripted as they thought possible. Town & 7th hair treatment done. Very difficult days these & am tired. No mental help to be got from Miss Goode, just goes on her own way & is quietly against me as far as ward reform goes.
Pt. Woodhouse – Address, Ashton Rd., near Manchester (Mother).
Capt. Jobson syringes ear with Eusol warm & foments app., quantity discharge. He explains what very sheet of paper thinness lies bet. middle ear & brain & anyone with m. ear trouble is practically sitting on a pdr. box. A fall from bycycle has set up meningitis, boy is only 24 & so good & patient.
Sunday again but too busy to go Church or enjoy things much. Busy with diets which are muddled a bit. 27th 9 p.m. & got 7 letters, 1 pkt. of photos F.R.H.
Monday brings the daily round once more. Pt. Woodhouse very ill. Lumbar puncture done, pt. unable to bend his back therefore the operation is difficult, very little fluid withdrawn, that is found to contain pus cells.
Ward still heavy & S/N Goode unresponsive. Pt. Woodhouse dying gradually. All R side of body paralyzed though curiously enough it is that R side where the poison is. C. Jobson describes how one with his discharging ear is practically sitting on a mine of gunpowder.
24th, Wednesday, Sept. ‘18
My half day & go Pyramids & take snap. Talk to Aust. boys & hear how we trapped a German Capt. or General (?) on this front. He did not know we held a position & rode into our quarters!!
Very busy still though Pt. Woodhouse died 7.30 p.m. Letters (7) came yesterday from Sydney. All well.
Busy day. Pt. Parker G.S.W. of mouth, put on D.I. list, mouth very offensive. Matron kind & has so far been good & considerate. Pts. 45 in ward.
Off duty 2-5, wrote Eva & Ida.
3 R.A.F. boys burnt to death today brings list to 8 this wk. I believe? Rec’d 18 letters & 1 of snaps last mail, very enjoyable.
Re R.A.Force, a Greek collided with a ‘plane (2 English)
all both fired & crashed. Greek burnt to pieces on back, all nearly unrecognizable.
Latest rumor – Major Purvis ret’d from surgical work up the line says 1000 casualties only among British troops, this stunt is over & we, 31st, probably going to Haifa!
Went Cairo for 8 hair shampoo, 4 owing.
Bought bread 2½ Pt., pr. white shoes ½ soled Pt. 18, beautifully done. M’ Seille makes me a camisole Pt. 50, night gown Pt. 80, overalls Pt. 60.
Every day brings a more settled feeling into the ward & it gradually becomes shipshape. G.S.W. of Jaw Parker gradually improving. My daily tasks include, keeping a list for the M.O. of all G.S.W. cases to have A.P. Serum, reminding Capt. Jobson of slips for X Ray, Dentist specialist, etc. He is nice through it all however.
29th 9.’18, Sunday
My ½ day. 2 p.m. catch train at Manchiet, arrive Marg. 2.30, native villages, date cutting, filth & everything interesting to be found here. One imp lost in admiration of the gold cap on my tooth tries to touch it with her dirty little finger. A boy astride a donk. asks Sister Shaw to buy it for L.E. 20, "too dear", "no sister not, as she is pregnant – another one inside".
4 p.m. tea under date palms with the afternoon sun shining palely through high waving corn leaves, most beautiful green shade. Train 5 p.m. to Cairo, All Saints 6 p.m., thanksgiving service for our victories on this front, Hymn, Pilgrims of the night, Lesson, Judge not, condemn not.
Following on our little talk under the palms one feels very guilty. S. Shaw tells me Miss G. has a high opinion of me, "good nurse & a good organiser" & say how hard her life was a first with us all against her. Baket [basket ?] falls at church door, bots. & cups scatter in every direction, great laughter.
Monday 30th 9.’18
Off duty 5-8.
Go Cairo, hair treatment, 9th occasion, 3 more only. Conditions improving in the ward. I have a grip of diets & ward is looking clean & in apple pie order.
Oct. 1st 1918
Tuesday. Off duty 2-5, wrote a letter but letters are neglected now in these fairly busy days – 6 sisters off to Salonika. All ones who have on some occasion had "words" with Miss G.?
Sisters Frost, Wall (R.P.A.H’s) Mears, Miller, Bentley & Allardyce.
Only 30 pts. in ward.
Letter from Mrs. Rutledge opened at 19 G.H. Capt. Jobson talks war & is very interesting, shows children’s photos.
Off duty 5-8. Cairo & secured photos, very good in most cases.
½ day. Pyramids 2.30 p.m. tram, hired camel & rode to Sphinx then round the 1st Pyramid, Pt. 5 & the usual begging follows but I know & dislike these people & refuse firmly. Tea Mena House & very pretty it is & the sunset grand. Tea Pt. 8 & tip ½ Pt., tram fare Pt. 2. Back 8 p.m. dinner, 27th G.H. 7 p.m. & got letters. Hosp. full 2600 pts. in.
S. Goode removed from ward D. i – very [indecipherable], S. Harnett takes her place, also good move. Off 10-1, Cairo & hair massages, 10th occasion. Bought bread Pt. 2 & back 11.50 a.m. (Manchiet tram & walked both ways.)
Concert party of Aust. from P. Said 7.30 p.m., I attend 8 p.m. minus dinner (very good). Capt. Jobson asks if I have left D. i & is quietly pleased when he finds am still there – he is a nice man. Only 100 Aust. to 700 odd British in hosp.
Saturday 5th Oct. ‘18
Ward only cont. 30 pts., all doing well. Parker ear dis. very freely but cond. good plus B. removed from neck.
Off duty 5-8, tram ride all through Heliopolis very nice buildings. Miss G. Compliments me daily on clean tidy ward!
French dressmaker – 1 night gown for Pt. 30, making only, 1 pique overall Pt. 120, Camisole making only Pt. 10.
Letter from M. Jacobsen.
Wrote I. Hunt to give M. Crookey £1/5/0 per wk. from 1st July ’18.
Sunday 6th ‘18
Church 9.30 a.m. Thanksgiving service for victory on Palestine Front. The Garrison life appeals to one very much, 4 soldiers take round collection bags, meet at foot of first steps, march swiftly up the aisle, hand over, stand to attention then swiftly back.
Off 2-5, wrote Eva Mother’s cake very good also Eva’s Xmas box.
Monday 7th [October 1918]
½ day. Ward light but convoys pour in 400 today regardless of the fact that we are supposed to be closing this Hosp., we get 12 in, 1 bad leg, others debility & sore feet – marched 100 miles some – most are Spanish Influ., temp. 103, cough, sore throat, etc. Capt. Jobson gives Aspirin grs. xv I.d.s. when temp. falls to 100 or thereabouts.
One S. African has his wound bipped, i.e., opened F.B. (?) removed &. B.I.P. put in then sewn up & left until 9 days when I remove stitches, wound looking well.
Yesterday I went Matareih in 2.30 p.m. train, walked to church took snap counted 6 times very good photo, then Virgin’s tree, Cairo & left roll of films then back 7 p.m. Ward busy, Sister loses ½ day F.E.H. off 2-5, did washing, rested etc. 45 pts. in.
Wednesday 9th [October 1918]
S. Harnett again loses ½ day, no hope, convoys pour in all influ. or P.U.O., some sent out next day to Convalescent Depot, others to Details Camp. Days still very hot & we work hard.
S/Harnett’s ½ day. I have 11-2 pass, rest & read! Pt. 56 in ward, discharge 4, 52 at 8 p.m. All G.S.W. pts. have A.T.B. 4 inj. of this serum of 300 units at a time with a week’s interval. Inj. usually given in outer part of upper arm, sometimes causes great swelling but not much pain.
Dressings – one pt. Williams with scalded leg dressed with picric then changed to Red lotion for an astringent.
Pt. with diarrhoea has 1st dose oil then [indecipherable] for Spanish "flu" Asp. grs. xv I.d.s. while temp. very high then grs. x I.d.s.
Thursday 10.10.’18 (continued)
The Holy carpet returns! 3 p.m. wild excitement & great band playing. Sister Carroll & self jump through Op. Th. window & take snaps.
All pts. are practically suffering now from Influ. & I myself have it (mildly so far).
½ day & went to Zietoun sports, very enjoyable. Afternoon L. Allenby presented the prises & the General shook hands with the wonderful old Indian leader of the Indian "Musical Ride", one of the finest & most stirring sights I’ve ever seen. Crowds of officers present & a very gay scene in the large markee. Met Eric Chauncy & Mr. Walker from near Newcastle – came to Cairo per plane with the latter & back for 7.15 p.m. dinner. Flying men added their wonderful feats to the rest.
Saturday 12th ’18 [October]
Off duty 2-5. "Floo" has me in its grip & I am only struggling on to try to dodge the Sick room if possible. Pts. are very ill with it & sisters going down daily – 56 pts., 2 sisters & 1 orderly in this stuffy ward & with another heat spasm when it seemed almost gone, is proving too much for us in D. i. One pt. "Welsh Band" boy died suddenly 4 a.m. with pleurisy & heart.
Ward very heavy.
Matron presented me with a "day off" so I lie & suffer by myself all day. T. 101.6, head splitting, breakfast brought but V.A.D. omits to report me to Home sister so I lie until 4 p.m. then get cup tea, then alas! 9 p.m. transferred to "Sick Sisters", 4 women already there!!!
Monday 14th ’18 [October]
6 a.m. tea is brought, 8 a.m. breakfast, we wash (minus screens the others but not I). Dr. Astley Meir 10 a.m. Hasty glimpse at me. What’s the matter with you "Mrs. Sad"? examines chest. "All clear", "may get up 1 hr. today, garden tomorrow, duty Wednesday".
Letters arrive, Mith 1, Nell 1, Edith 1, Ida 2, Mag. 2, G.E.P. 1, Capt. Halloran, "Prisoner’s of War Camp", Abbassia.
All well at home.
Wild rumor of "Peace declared" spreads but is soon crushed. Mrs. Belcher brings S. Hayes over from 27th with Malaria.
Discharged 2 p.m.! temper bad, legs weak.
Wrote Nell, bed 9 p.m. S. Cuthbert refused for Sal. [Salonika ?] others going.
Quotation from Princess Puck by U.L. Silberrad
Mr. Dare’s definition of a lady – one … who considers others whomever by words or deed causes unnecessary pain, who listens sympathetically, talks pleasantly, never says a great deal even when she feels much or knows more.
One who does her mental & moral washing in private, but is not afraid to do her duty in public; who respects the secrets of others, the honour of her family, & her own self more than all.
One who speaks with tact, acts with discretion, & places God before fashion without needlessly advertising the fact to the annoyance of the rest of the world.
"Bill" … never to leave the world. It is so beautiful, so-so dear, I can’t, I can’t bear to think I shall have to die & lose sight of it all; that the thrushes will sing & I shall not hear them, the leaves come & go, the suns rise & set, & I never see them."
Wednesday 16th [October] ‘18
Reported for duty 7.45 a.m. given "day off" to recover. Went Cairo in gharry with V.A.D. Barber Mena House for light lunch & took jug "souvenir" 31st, 2 p.m. rested. Met Matron 7 p.m. D. i [indecipherable] if better! Yes thank you.
D. i & same wild rush all pts. down with "Flu" & dying fast in Cairo & up the line, ward very heavy, 1 death only this far.
Patients in Officer’s ward (night duty)
Ret’d to – Name – Regiment – Disease
Ret’d N.Z. – Lt. Colbeck – Auckland M.A.G.S.W. –(Chest)
Ret’d Eng. – Major Dudley – R.A.M.C. (27th) – Renal Colic
Duty – Capt. Ridgeway – A.S.C. 478 Corps – Sandfly fever
Duty – Lt. Armstrong – E.L.C. 110 Coy – Orchitis
Eng. – Capt. Jamieson – E. Lanceshire [Lancashire] – D.A.V. (?)
Duty – Lt. Hemmons – 4th L.H. – Relapsing fever
Duty – Lt. Crosby Brown – Anzac Div. H.Q. – Dysentry
Eng. – Capt. Davies – R.A.M.C. – I.C.T. L. arm
- Major Mullins – 5th L.H. – Malaria [?]
- Lt. Moore – 3rd Aust. M.G., Syd. – Dysentry
- Lt. Tolley – M.G.- Tonsillitis
Aust. – Lt. Martin – A.A.S.C. – Duodenal ulcer
Aust. – Lt. Matheson, R.R. – 1st L.H. – Frac. L. thigh
Duty – Lt. Owens – B/172 Brig. R.F.A. – Dysentry
Eng – Capt. Robinson – 1st Cape Corps – Malaria
Aust. – Capt. Hardy – 6th L.H. – Pyrexia
Duty – Capt. Bossence – L.H. – Inflam. of stom.
Duty – Capt. Barelley – Sp. abd. muscles
Duty – Lt Cole – R.W.K. [Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment] – Tonsillitis
S. Harnett off duty ill, busy day wild rush, 56 pts. all ill, 5 on D.I. list. Malaria malignant – T. Others debility, P.U.O. etc. which is really Influ. T. high for some days, coughs bad, then great weakness & depression. 7 p.m. news comes through 20 sisters to leave Salonika 6.30 a.m. Sorry am not going in some ways. They pack all night practically. N. sisters off duty 3 a.m. & gone by 6.45 a.m. & we go in to breakfast with a big break in our circle & the 20 from India do not fill the gap at all – 4 sent to 27th G.H.
Off 3-8, drove Cairo more dead than alive, very weak & health cond. not good – anaemic looking.
Sanitary tl’s Pt. 15 a doz.!!
Clothes pegs for papers for Capt. Jobson.
Letter from Coles asking about H.F., wrote Mother. Off 2-5, rested & did washing.
Capt. Loddiges doing our ward, very smart man. All pts. put on Diaphoretic 4 hrly. May get up when temp. 98.4 for 48 hrs. then iron & arsenic tonic. Convoys still roll in & no abatement in the death toll here or up the line.
Busy day as usual. I ask for S. Dowie’s day, crushed at once. Obtain tonic, cough clings hard after "flu" – very white-faced for me. 4 out of its 20 Indian sisters still at 27th, they don’t like it, spoiled as our 16 are by India.
List of articles taken to Egypt 15/9/17.
1 Eiderdown quilt
1 heavy top coat
1 travelling rug
1 macintosh, 1 gray jacket, 1 ditto blue
3 prs. warm bloomers
6 prs. silk bloomers
8 prs. drawers, white
6 prs. combinations, white
4 nightgowns (2 bought Cairo) = 6
1 silk underskirt
2 grey underskirts, 1 green alpaca
3 grey frocks
2 grey frocks, old (F.E.H.)
1 white overall, Retd. to Wilga 2-8-18
1 pr. gloves gray
1 pr. gloves tan
2 prs. gloves white
4 2 grey aprons
17 14 white aprons
4 combinations (warm)
prs. 13 stockings
8 prs. cuffs
7 collars (round), 5 upright
4 prs. shoes, 1 pr. boots, 2 prs. slippers
2 rtd. [grey aprons] to Eva
3 rtd. [white aprons] to Eva
Florence Elizabeth Holloway
Wilga, Mort St., Toowoomba, Q,land, Australia
Telephone Number – Toowoomba 301
Telephone Number of Friends – U. 1580
Pay book – 503207, Unit A.M.C., A.I.F.
[Pages 426 to 428 not transcribed.]
Wed. 23rd 10/’18
H.C. 6.20 a.m.
½ day & though feeling very tired go town. 3.40 p.m. tea with C. Garland, very friendly, asks how is Miss Gemmell & I laugh & quote S. Lovell, here for better or worse. Hear Cp’l Shaw arrived in Aust. safely. Letters Eva & I. Hunt all parcels arrived safely & appreciated. Finish course hair massage & have it shampooed for Pt. 12. Visit A.I.F. H’d Qt’rs, draw £E.5.0.0, have before drawing £E.15.11.5, back to 31st by Manchiet train, walk across married qtrs. with English Officer, a pt. had 4 bullets in neck on adm. Sending Xmas wishes on P.Cards. Rec’d lovely cake – Mrs. Luke (?).
Off 10-1. Pt. Hoyt "Influ" sent Choubra by Col. Hinde (O.C.), scarlet (?). R.C. Chapel taken for R.C. pts. Recreation Room has 130 pts. sleeping on floors, balconies, etc. Medicine taken round in jugs, etc.
Men & women M.O.s do not agree, latter are making themselves talked of in some instances.
Off 5-8. Cairo & getting extra lock on trunk. Concert in Abbassia 8 p.m. 13 sisters drove over in motor lorry. Pts. 56 in D. i about – Aust. mostly Malarias & "flus".
Just 1 year since our arrival here (by calendar date), a w’k over really. C. Loddiges gives good cough mist 10 a.m. Friday & examines wrist, orders bandage. Saturday 9 a.m. has both wrists x-rayed by Capt. Reid – result, slight thickening – strapped if no better. Very smart M.O. in ward, said to be the best in 31st.
Off 2-5, print photos. Convoys fewer today but every bed full in D. i.
Off 5 p.m. Major Birch came, took me Shepheard’s tea – very pretty scene & enjoyable talk & motor ride back to 31st. Convoys are beginning again. Sent all Xmas greetings across the water. Did duty in home ‘till 10 p.m.
Very busy day, had ward thoroughly cleaned. No M.O., C. Loddiges ill. Major Gaffney did a "round" 7 p.m. F.E.H. not at all impressed. Off duty 2-5. Photo printing, writing, etc. Lovely day only still rather hot.
C. Loddiges on duty again. Pts. still continue to have influ. & Capt. threatens to have no pts. sent in surgical unless ward cleaned. 2 convoys 88, 2 p.m. 99 4 p.m. ½ day & "Willow" & I go Pyramids (1½ hrs. getting there) slow tram service – 4 p.m. tea Mena House then lovely long evening looking at Sphinx & the beautiful evening coloring.
2 Convoys 1.1 p.m. & 4 p.m. 99 pts., cot & walking.
Long busy day. My patience with these bad orderlies goes & am daily becoming more disgusted with the Australians. Am I seeing their worst side? They grumble at the food, & 31st generally, call it Darlinghurst gaol, etc. I tell them what I think of them. One boy, Lyons, Balmain. B. films return probable M.T. on quin. 4 hrly for 4 hrs., pulse soft, delirious at times. 2 convoys, 1 m. day, 1 6 p.m. about 60 in last. Austria now talks of throwing in, may she do so is our prayer.
And now this little book is "finish". Some tradegy, some nonsense, but good read some day. Ward quieter, 10-1 pass Cairo, back 12 m.d., very hot day. Good news Turkey has "thrown in", our prayer is answered.
[Page 432 to 434 not transcribed.]
[Transcribed by Judy Gimbert for the State Library of New South Wales]