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adrianjohn

Any information on Helen Peterson, Matron, 13 General Hospital, BEF, Boulogne, France, April 1918? I know that the Americans had taken over the general running of this hospital which was, for a time, situated in the casino at Boulogne. British staff continued to serve there.

All suggestion gratefully received!

 

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adrianjohn

Thanks for this, Tew. I'm pretty sure that this will be her service record - for some reason I'm having a problem signing into the NA site.

I was wondering if there was any pre and post war history for her. I think that she went on to Egypt. I had a look on Scarlet Finders too.

I did have a lot of material on a search, that included HP, but a crash wiped practically everything!

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The nurses' files I've seen include post war information, usually up until they marry or leave for other reasons. Information up to to 1930s is not uncommon so that may help. It will only have her details from joining QAIMNS although it may show her earlier training and certification as a nurse.

 

Other than that, possibly the British Nursing Journal could be of use.

 

There is or was a dedicated BNJ archive website but it was 'under re-construction' last time I tried it and found it very difficult to find an archive search function.

 

 

Archive.org have many of the journals online which can be searched or downloaded and searched. Not every journal available though.

 

Best bet is wait for TNA to sort out whatever log in problems they're having and start from her file.

TEW

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alf mcm

The National Archives record her as Helen Peterson, but her service record actually records her as Helen Coull Paterson. She is also recorded as such in the UK & Ireland Nursing Registers and the Midwives Rolls. She is also recorded under her married name of Cutler {from 1930}. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/categories/dir_society/?name=helen+coull_pAterson&name_x=1_1&priority=united-kingdom

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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alf mcm

The TNA file does not appear to be for Helen Peterson, since Helen Coull Paterson dous not seem, from her records, to have been a Matron or served at 13 General Hospital.

The war diary for 13 G.H. is available here;-   http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/results/r?_q=wo 95%2F13 general hospital&_hb=tna&_col=200

It could be that Matron Peterson was an American nurse.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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alf mcm

Adriabnjohn,

  The Matron-in-Chief, Maud McArthy recorded on 14/05/1918 that the Matron of 13 G.H., Miss M. Carrie Hall, had proceeded to U.K. on 13/05/1918 to become Chief Nurse, American Red Cross in London, and was temporarily relieved by Head Nurse R.S. Butler.

  What makes you think Helen Peterson was Matron in April 1918?

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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adrianjohn

Thanks for this really comprehensive info, Alf. I have a letter from Helen Paterson, addressed to my great aunt, telling her of her brother’s death from wounds sustained
Her details are as I wrote in the info request.

 

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adrianjohn

Frank sustained a ‘penetrating wound’ to the chest during the battle of the Lys on April 18th 1918 and died on the 22nd. 
He was being embarked for England on the 22nd, had a major relapse and was taken straight into theatre. To no avail. 
Regards

Adrianjohn

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Apologies for the wrong steer on the name. Just checked and there's no likely Patersons. At least it was free!

TEW

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alf mcm

Adrianjohn,

  This is Helen Paterson's signature, taken from her service record. Do you know if it looks like the signature on your great aunt's letter?

 

  image.png.950f57c58770be0bce79d74c6ff2b3e8.png

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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adrianjohn

 

Hello again Alf

Here's Helen's signature. I think that there are definite similarities - so perhaps she is Helen Coull Peterson after all.

Obviously the image is very, very faded which is hardly surprising given that the letter I have is 103 years old!

Thanks for your suggestions and interest.

Regards

Adrianjohn

 

 

 

 

 

 

image.png.8d558de35f46d493605b5f1dad851f8f.png

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adrianjohn

I'm looking at this again - and I'm just not so sure now! The indecipherable squiggle below the signature is, on the original, where it is quite a bit clearer, definitely 'Matron'.

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alf mcm

Adrianjohn,

  I don't think the signature on your letter is that of Helen Coull Peterson/Paterson. The letters 'P' and 't' in the surname look different from her service record signature.

  If you are sure about 'Matron' then we have a bit of a problem, since American hospitals did not have Matrons, they had Chief Nurses. By April 1918 it's likely that all the senior hospital staff were all American.

  This article may be of interest;-  http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/14.html

  How sure are you that the hospital was 13 G.H. at Boulogne?

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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adrianjohn
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The capital H of her forename doesn't look like the other capital Hs in the letter EG. Hoping, 2nd line.

 

The rest of the forename doesn't look like Helen to me.

TEW

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alf mcm

This is certainly a puzzle. 13 General Hospital is clearly correct.

Perhaps the term  'Matron' was used in this hospital. Maud McArthy certainly used the term.

On the assumption that miss Peterson is American it may be worthwhile starting another thread asking if anyone has a list of American nurses who may have served at 13 G.H. {5th Harvard Unit}.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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15 hours ago, adrianjohn said:

I'm looking at this again - and I'm just not so sure now! The indecipherable squiggle below the signature is, on the original, where it is quite a bit clearer, definitely 'Matron'.

 

Is it? I can make out a t in the middle but that's about it.

TEW

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adrianjohn

Next step: Contact the archives at Harvard.  Very comprehensive and will hopefully have the info.

Article on Scarlet Finders states that Sisters were sometimes designated Matron. I would hazard a guess that some of these posts were temporary, to cover leave, sickness and relieve in times of great pressure.

adrianjohn

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FYI: From Red Cross Archives in Washington.

The term “Matron” was used by the British Nursing Service to describe the head nurse or chief nurse, or Matron-in Chief for a director or superintendent. My guess is Helen Peterson was with the British Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. The grades were Staff Nurse, Sister, Matrons, Principal Matron and Matron-in-Chief

When America entered the war in 1917, the first six base hospitals were sent to relieve the British in France. Some British staff, although exhausted, stayed on to work with the Americans because there were not enough nurses. Base Hospital # 5 was sent to British No.13 General Hospital in the Casino at Boulogne in the fall of 1917. This unit was from Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston. The Chief Nurse was Carrie Hall and later Rose Butler.  Miss Hall would have been in charge when your great uncle arrived at the hospital. Matron Peterson would have worked along side with Miss Hall.

IMG-0687.Jpeg

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1 hour ago, adrianjohn said:

FYI: From Red Cross Archives in Washington.


The term “Matron” was used by the British Nursing Service to describe the head nurse or chief nurse, or Matron-in Chief for a director or superintendent. My guess is Helen Peterson was with the British Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. The grades were Staff Nurse, Sister, Matrons, Principal Matron and Matron-in-Chief

When America entered the war in 1917, the first six base hospitals were sent to relieve the British in France. Some British staff, although exhausted, stayed on to work with the Americans because there were not enough nurses. Base Hospital # 5 was sent to British No.13 General Hospital in the Casino at Boulogne in the fall of 1917. This unit was from Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, Boston. The Chief Nurse was Carrie Hall and later Rose Butler.  Miss Hall would have been in charge when your great uncle arrived at the hospital. Matron Peterson would have worked along side with Miss Hall.

IMG-0687.Jpeg

 

This all sound feasible. However there are 2 errors in the Red Cross Archives assumptions.

1. Helen Peterson/Paterson was never a Matron with QAIMNS, she was a Staff Nurse.

2. At the time your great aunt's letter was written Helen Paterson was working at Herne Bay Hospital, in England. She had been there since March 1916, and would remain there until about March 1919. This is recorded in her service records.

This is what makes the letter such a puzzle.

 

Regards,

Alf McM

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It is a puzzle, and I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever be resolved. Here's a quote about Herne Bay: 'Herne Bay received wounded soldiers, including Belgian troops, to the Herne Bay Military Hospital and to other private hospitals including Herne Bay Court. Volunteers attended work parties in the town to make dressings, nightwear and bandages as part of a national scheme co-ordinated by the Red Cross and the Order of St John'.

Could Helen Peterson have been involved in the transit of wounded troops from Boulogne to Herne Bay? Still doesn't explain 'Matron'.

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I suppose the original letter has not lost a "pp", i.e. signed on behalf of the matron?

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Thanks for the suggestion seaJane..............but no, there’s no ‘pp’. 
it’s proved a real problem getting a really legible scan of the original letter. Given its age, that’s not surprising!
regards

adrianjohn
 

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