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War Diary of Maud McCarthy, Matron-in-Chief, BEF - A great resource for Nursing Services

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alf mcm

  I am posting this to make newer members aware of this valuable resource.

 The late Sue Light transcribed the War Diary of Maud McCarthy, Matron-in-Chief, British Expeditionary Forces, France & Flanders a few years ago. This transcription is still available for public use on Sue’s website at http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/110.html

  This is a massive diary of over 600,000 words and I have found the best way to read it is to copy and paste the contents into a Word document. This will take time, since it comes out at about 1,050 pages! It is, however, then easy to search the document for names of people, places etc. The diary covers the period from 12th August 1914 until 5th August 1919.

  Maud McCarthy was eventually responsible for all British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, South African and American nursing services. This was not just Military nursing services but also Red Cross. She was also responsible for nurses on Hospital Ships and Ambulance Trains and Barges, and was also responsible for nurses of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service India, whilst they were in France.

  There are numerous reports of visits to various units from Hospitals to Casualty Clearing Stations, Hospital Ships Ambulance Trains and Barges. These visits indicate which units are efficient and which are not. Also mentioned are meetings with RAMC Officers, promotions and dismissals, allocation of Matrons and Nurses to units, awards for bravery, Nurses being married and Nurses who died, sometimes through enemy action.

  The Diary is full of names, not just of senior Nursing staff but also junior Nurses and VAD’s. This includes names for all the nationalities for whom Maud was responsible.

  Some examples of what is included;-

 

03/05/16 - Nurse Botting who suffers from train sickness from 4 Ambulance Train, to 24 General Hospital, replaced by Staff Nurse Surtees.

06/10/16 - Received official communication from OC Troops, Hospital Ship “Cambria” asking that Miss Smartt, A/Matron, who had recently joined, should be replaced in consequence of her being a bad sailor. Telephoned to SMO, Treport, instructing Miss Hook, QAIMNSR to replace her, - Miss Smartt to proceed to the Nurses’ Home, Abbeville, for further orders.

20/10/17 - 37 CCS bombed: Received telephone message from OC 37 CCS, saying that Sister E. M. Kemp,* TFNS (on team duty from 58 CCS) had been killed by an aerial torpedo, and Sister in charge E. Devenish-Meares, QAIMNSR had been wounded, multiple wounds of face, arm and thigh. Informed Matron-in-Chief, War Office, and Matron-in-Chief, TFNS by wire, and sent copy to DGMS Arranged for Sister Luard, QAIMNSR to proceed to 37 CCS for duty as Sister in charge.

11/11/17 - Uniform: Replied to letter from Matron-in-Chief, War Office, with regard to fur collars, saying that this addition to uniform is not considered necessary, but a solid and suitable uniform macintosh would be a great boon. Enclosed a copy of instructions recently circulated with reference to the wearing of velour hats and furs.


10/01/18 - Matron F. Price, NZANS: Informed the Matron-in-Chief, NZEF that Miss F. Price, RRC, Matron 1 New Zealand Stationary Hospital, had been evacuated sick to the United Kingdom on 10.1.18.

19/01/18 - Marriage: Forwarded to DGMS letter from Staff Nurse D. M. Drewett, QAIMNSR 72 General Hospital, stating that she had been married to Pte. K. Bryant, AIF on November 23rd and she did not realise that it was necessary to get permission before being married. Instructed DDMS Trouville to cause Mrs. Bryant to submit an application to be retained in the service if she so desired, and also it should be stated whether her retention was recommended.

 

 

SUMMARY FOR OCTOBER 1917

Establishments opened
No.13 CCS, on 15.10.17: Staff supplied – 13
No.3 Australian CCS, on 3.10.17: Staff supplied – 21

Establishments closed
No.5 London Field Ambulance, on 4.10.17: Staff released – 10
No.6 CCS, on 22.10.17: Staff released – 9

Arrivals
Trained – 9
Untrained – 0

Sent Home sick
Trained – 27
Untrained – 21

Returned from sick leave
Trained – 18
Untrained – 2

Total sick at present in England
Trained – 111
Untrained – 80

Resignations sent forward
Trained – 25 (8 on account of marriage)

Transfers to Home Establishment
Trained – 3

Approximate No. of leaves granted – 197

VADs returned to England
Resigned – 7 (2 on marriage)
Termination of contract – 19 (2 on marriage)
Transferred to Home Establishment – 6
Total – 32

Special Probationers returned to England
Termination of contract – 1

Casualties
Killed
Staff Nurse A. Climie, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Sister E. Kemp, TFNS, 37 CCS: 20.10.17
Miss D. Coles, VAD, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Miss E. Thomson, VAD , 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17

Wounded
Staff Nurse C. A. Davidson, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Staff Nurse F. McKellar, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 1.10.17
Sister E. Devenish-Meares, QAIMNSR, 37 CCS: 20.10.17
Staff Nurse M. S. Stewart, QAIMNSR, 61 CCS: 30.10.17

Died of wounds
Staff Nurse M. L. Milne, TFNS, 58 General Hospital: 2.10.17

Military Medals awarded to
A/Sister E. Byrne, QAIMNSR, 47 CCS
Sister W. M. Hawkins, TFNS, 47 CCS
Sister C. M. Roy, QAIMNS, 47 CCS
Sister A. M. Kelly, AANS, 3 Australian CCS
Sister R. Pratt, AANS, 1 Australian CCS
Sister M. Wood, QAIMNS, 44 CCS
Sister J. A. Herbert, TFNS, 35 General Hospital
Sister M. A. C. Blair, QAIMNSR, 20 CCS
Staff Nurse C. McLean, QAIMNSR, 20 CCS
Staff Nurse H. Panton, TFNS, 20 CCS

Marriage
Staff Nurse H. F. Diesel, SAMNS, attached QAIMNSR – Mrs. Van der Walt.

Total Nursing Staff now in BEF
Trained – 2519
Untrained – 1793

Shortage according to War Establishment
Trained – 276

Units bombed
36 CCS:  Night of 1st – 2nd October: No casualties amongst Nursing staff.
11 CCS:  Night of 2nd October: No casualties amongst Nursing staff.
St. Omer:  Night of 1st – 2nd October and subsequent nights: 1 Sister, 2 VADs killed 3 Sisters wounded, a number of patients killed and wounded, at 58 General Hospital.
Boulogne:  Night of 2nd October: No serious damage, no casualties.
33 CCS:  Night of 2nd October: No casualties amongst nursing staff.
44 CCS:  Night of 1st, 2nd and 3rd October: No casualties amongst nursing staff.
37 CCS:  Night of 20th October: 1 Sister killed, 1 wounded, 3 orderlies and 3 patients killed, and others wounded.
61 CCS:  Night of 29th October: 1 Sister wounded, 2 patients killed.

Regards,

Alf McM

 

Edited by alf mcm
Surname revised to McCarthy

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seaJane

Alf,

Was she also responsible for QARNNS nurses who staffed the RN hospitals and HM hospital ships commissioned into the RN? I think I am right in believing that they had their own Matron in Chief. 

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alf mcm

SeaJane,

  There is no mention of Naval Nurses or Hospitals in the Diary.

  According to 'Tracing ypur Servicewomen Ancestors' by Mary Ingham {2012} the QARNNS only had 2 grades at the start of the war;- Head Sister and Nursing Sister. An intermediate grade of Superintending Sister was introduced during the war. The title of Matron in Naval hospitals was used for the person in charge of the Laundry!

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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DavidOwen

Thanks for posting Alf, looks like a great resource.

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petestarling

Her personal papers are held in the Museum of Military Medicine near Aldershot and well worth looking at to tie up with her War Diary. She did have some responsibility for American Nurses I have found.

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DavidOwen

The lady in question (courtesy IWM)

large_000000.jpg?_ga=2.263417156.9569848

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alf mcm
45 minutes ago, petestarling said:

Her personal papers are held in the Museum of Military Medicine near Aldershot and well worth looking at to tie up with her War Diary. She did have some responsibility for American Nurses I have found.

 Thanks Pete,

  You're right about the Americans. A search for 'America' in the word document gives 630 entries, with the first being for 17th September 1914, and referring to the American Ambulance in Paris.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

41 minutes ago, DavidOwen said:

Her service file is here http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C10805866

239 pages for £3.50.

 

Thanks David,

Should be interesting, and good value!

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Harper

Yes it is truly a valuable resource, and from the example above I already learnt something new: 

19 hours ago, alf mcm said:

No.3 Australian CCS, on 3.10.17: Staff supplied – 21

My wife's grandfather must have been one of the first casualties at the 3rd ACCS as he was wounded on 4.10.17 at Broodseinde Ridge. He was there for 3 days before being transferred to 14th GH.

 

Here is her Life Story in Lives of The First World War with 6 good portraits:

https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/5387426#timeline

Please note that in the Life Story her surname is spelt McCarthy.

Thank you

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alf mcm

Harper,

  Glad it's been of help.

  Thanks for pointing out the correct spelling of Maud's surname. I have somehow got it wrong, and it should be McCarthy. I will change the title to this thread.

  She must have been one of the most influential Australian women during the Great War.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

I rather like this portrait of that20569811.jpg.bd21aba22e7ea983dcc4c642c4847133.jpg notable and distinguished Australian.

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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frev

 

Alf – thank you for highlighting Sue’s wonderful work of her transcription of Maud McCarthy’s Diary – and for pointing out the idea of copying it in to a word document – although a huge document as you say, I can see how it would save hours of reading (although in doing so, I always find interesting things I wasn’t looking for!!)  I’ll have to give it a go….

 

Something of interest I hadn’t come across before in my readings was the Marriage you pointed out from the 19/1/18 entry of Staff Nurse D.M. Drewett (QA) to Pte K. Bryant (AIF).

This actually turned out to be Reuben William Bryant (3rd Bn) – he and Daisy Mary settled back in Australia after the war and raised 2 children – though sadly Daisy passed away in 1945, aged only 58 – Reuben living on until 1973, aged 82.

 

Thanks again (and to our forever missed Sue)

Cheers, Frev

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alf mcm

Frev,

  Thanks for the extra information. This was Daisy Drewett's only entry in Maud's diary. There are 699 for 'Australia{n}', and another 361 for 'AANS' {usually after Nurses names}. Good reasons for downloading the diary as a Word document!

  It must have taken Sue an awful long time to transcribe this diary.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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Terry_Reeves

Sue typed up around a million words for the diary alone. She would work around 4 hours a day before going for a 3 or 4 mile walk and then returning to answer umpteen questions from those around the world with an interest in the subject. She was a cool and calm character but would get "quite cross" as she put it with one particular "expert" who lifted some of her work for his website without acknowledgment.

 

TR

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alf mcm

Thanks for that Terry, very interesting. Sue was always very helpful to me.

 

Regards,

 

Alf

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petestarling

Some years ago I was contacted in the AMS Museum by a lady in Australia who was writing a book on Maude. Never heard anymore. There is a nice photograph in the museum collection of her when she visited America and stood next to Julia Stimson, her American counterpart. during the First World War. They both look a formidable pair!

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alf mcm

Thanks Pete,

   There's certainly enough information available to write a book on Maud.

 

Regards,

 

Alf

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frev
On 04/01/2019 at 05:53, alf mcm said:

 

Good reasons for downloading the diary as a Word document!

 

 

Yep, many good reasons already discovered thankyou!!  It's now become an even more valuable source.

 

A book on Maud would be most welcome (and long overdue really when you think about it) - here's hoping the Aussie author is still plugging away at it, and hasn't given up...

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TraceyL

Alf MCM

How do you download  Maud McCarthy’s Diary in Word form? 

My grandmother served as an American Army Nurse assigned to the British forces and I'm having difficulty locating her service record. Perhap Maud's diary will mention her although it's doubtful.

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alf mcm

Hello Tracey,

 

Welcome to the forum.

 

There is a chance your grandmother is mentioned in Maud's diary. Also, if you start a topic, giving your grandmother's name and what you know, then the members of the forum may be able to help you.

 

To copy Maud's diary into a Word document;-

 

Open a blank Word document.

Go to http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/26.html  This will show you the first pages of the diary, from August 1914.

Arrange the screen of your monitor/laptop so the you can see both the Scarletfinders page and your blank document.

Go the the Scarletfinders page, click at August 1914 and then drag the mouse down to the bottom of the page, keeping your finger pressed down.

Then right click, select 'copy' and paste the text onto your blank document.

Go to the bottom of the Scarletfinders page and click on 'NEXT - OCTOBER 1914'.

This will take you to the next section.

Repeat the process as above until you get to the last page.

 

This will take you a while, but once done you will find the diary very easy to search.

Cleverer members of the forum may have an easier method.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

 

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kjharris

Pete, this might be as far as the Australian researchers have got:

 

https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/27762/17/27762 Shields and Shields_accepted version.pdf

 

Although she was born in Australia, and lived here til c1890, all her nursing life occurred in Britain and in the service of Britain.

 

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mccarthy-dame-emma-maud-7306

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alf mcm
On 06/04/2020 at 14:55, kjharris said:

Pete, this might be as far as the Australian researchers have got:

 

https://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/27762/17/27762 Shields and Shields_accepted version.pdf

 

Although she was born in Australia, and lived here til c1890, all her nursing life occurred in Britain and in the service of Britain.

 

http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/mccarthy-dame-emma-maud-7306

 

Thanks for the links. Both articles are very interesting.

 

Regards,

 

Alf McM

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petestarling

Thanks for the links, useful.

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