With the arrival of many of the staff and male personnel, the weekly report of the 30th July 1915, sees progress at the Hospital happening rapidly. Most of the buildings on site have been erected, although delays have occurred with the plumbing, and there is still the drawback of the uncompleted mortuary. However, there are hopes that the Hospital will open within two weeks. Chief Commissioner Clark also writes of the excellent position of the Hospital within Étaples, with its views of the sea and sheltered position from ‘prevailing winds’. He notes that ‘all who see the Hospital express their approval and say that it is the best they have seen in France’.
To The Director
The Ambulance Department
The Order of St. John of Jerusalem
In compliance with the arrangement made I here send you
my first weekly letter since my arrival.
I arrived on the evening of the 22nd and took up my
quarters in an Hotel near the Hospital. The Hospital not being
sufficiently advanced to receive me.
The Staff and male personnel arrived on Saturday evening
and I was able by then to accommodate them in their barrack rooms
and Officers quarters.
The work on the Hospital is progressing as rapidly as the
receipt of the material and equipment will allow. There is still
a very considerable amount on the way.
The buildings are all up with the exception of the Fuel
Store and the Shed for the Disinfector, which will be finished by
the end of the week. After which there will be a certain amount
of interior fittings to be finished.
We have been considerably delayed as regards plumbing.
Messrs. Humphreys, who undertook the work, not having begun the
work soon enough or sent sufficient hands to carry it through.
More men for the purpose are however here now, and I hope it may
be completed by the end of the week. Without Messrs. Humphrys
assistance in carrying it out matters would have been very much
worse, as labour, particularly skilled labour, is very hard to get,
and the local workmen or a very indifferent type.
The delay in receiving our equipment is due to conditions
beyond our control, but restrictions in forwarding of Stores
etc. will I think in a few days be removed.
I have received Mr. Morgan’s letter and enclosure re. Ship-
ment of goods and names of steamers.
With regard to the female staff, their quarters will be ready
for them in about a week, but whether it will be any use their coming
out then will depend on how we receive our equipment. Ward equipment
chiefly being delayed. The Matron and half a dozen Nurses can come
on ahead but will receive a clear three days notice of when they are
The site of the Hospital is exceptionally good, within a mile
of the open sea which is in full view. It is sheltered from prevailing
winds on the sloping ground down to the Boulogne Road. The Nurses
quarters being on the high ground.
The mens and Officers quarters are on the opposite side of the
road equally sheltered and open to the sea, in fact it is by far the
best site for a Hospital here.
All who see the Hospital express their approval and say that
it is the best they have seen in France.
The one drawback is the Common Mortuary, which, notwithstanding
the promise given that it should not be used as such is still so used.
The new Public Mortuary opposite the Cemetery is not yet commenced
and is under contract to be finished by a French firm in six weeks
from the 16th of July.
Under these circumstances I represented the matter to the
authorities, a copy of my letter enclosed, I trust that the proposal
that I have made in it will be approved by the Order, though I doubt if
it will be accepted.
Fortunately there is a lull in the war at present so far as
we are concerned, and there are many thousands of vacant beds immed-
iately around us. For if we had to fill up our beds suddenly
three of our wards would be unable to be occupied owing to the
proximity of the present Common Mortuary between the walls of which
and our wards it is impossible for me to stretch out my arms at full
We hope to be in a position to open the Hospital in a fortnight
from now but as I stated previously it depends on the time of arrival
Mr. Gordon has received the draft for £1,000 and paid it into
the account of the Hospital at the Banque Adam. The previous drafts
that he received will be accounted for in the accounts and the balance
paid into the Banque Adam.
I enclose a copy of a letter from Messrs Humphreys regarding
The weather is very variable, rain, wind and bright sunshine,
and cold enough towards sunset to lead one to imagine a frost.
We were all much grieved to hear of Mr. Edmund Owen’s death
and offer our very sincere sympathy to those connected with him.
He did long and good service for the Brigade in a quiet way with
remarkable promptness for a busy professional man, and his advice
was always sound and was much appreciated. A pleasanter and a more
capable colleague in the work of the Brigade it would be hard to find.
I have the honour to be,