30th July, 1915

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’.

Page One

First page of report

First page of report

Received 30/7/1915

To The Director

The Ambulance Department

The Order of St. John of Jerusalem

In England.

My Lord,

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.

Page Two

Second page of report

Second page of report

Continuation 2.

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

to come.

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.

Page Three

Third page of report

Third page of report

Continuation 3.

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

of equipment.

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,

Your Lordships

Obedient servant,

James Clark


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