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Linda Bourne

Sister Mary Harfield's diary, 1st London General Hospital

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Linda Bourne

I am lucky enough to possess Sister Mary Harfield's (my grandmother's) diary where she lists ward patients (name, no. and regiment) during March, July, October and November 1915, and March 1916. There is also a page of signatures of patients dated Christmas 1916 offering her seasons greetings. There are also some photos of men and staff on the wards, and personal letters to her from discharged soldiers. During Oct/Nov 1915 the diary shows whereabouts the soldiers were when they were wounded. See attachment. Contact me for further info.

Mary_Harfield_diary.txt

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bigronhartley

Hello coomkeenlass,

Welcome to the Forum and thankyou for your first post. You are indeed lucky to possess Sister Mary Harfield's diary, I (and I'm sure many others) found the lists of ward patients during March, July, October and November 1915, and March 1916 very interesting. There are lots of people on the GWF who are interested in the Medical Services in the Great War. I hope you enjoy being part of the 'family'.

Regards

Ron

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Sue Light

Hallo

I expect you're aware (hopefully so!) that your grandmother has a service file at The National Archives (WO399/11817) as do most of the other nursing sisters mentioned. The hospital was formed in 1909 from the staff of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, and on mobilisation all the trained staff were current or past members of the staff. Miss Appleyard, who gets a mention in your diary started as a Sister, but later became Matron - she was Mary Louisa Appleyard, and she had a sister called Laura Appleyard, also working with the Territorial Force Nursing Service. There's a lot of material at the St. Bartholomew's Hospital Archives, and I spent quite a lot of time there when I was researching an article on the TFNS. Below is an extract from the 'League News' - the newsletter of the hospital league of nurses (just from my notes), written by Rachel Cox-Davies, who was Principal Matron at that time, and a picture of the outside of No.1 London General Hospital.

Page 543

No. 1 General Hospital, Camberwell [Territorial]

The hospital is located in St. Gabriel's Training College for Missionary Students in Camberwell, opposite Myles Park. It is divided into 2 parts - part in the College, and part in the Board Schools. The College is ill adapted for a hospital and for nursing the sick. All the sanitary arrangements are at the top of the house, and there are only two bathrooms for fifty patients; still, it is quite possible to manage. The Board School, of course, had no bathrooms or any kind of convenience, and these had to be built on. The two buildings are connected by a long covered passage - the coldest place imaginable. The alterations were very extensive, and the cost of them is not yet known. I was told by the architect that under ordinary circumstances they would have taken 8 or 9 months to complete and it was all finished under 3 months.

544

The furnishing of the building is very sketchy. In some wards the beds are quite presentable, but in others they are a miscellaneous collection. All was ordered according to the Army Schedule and the result is quite extraordinary. The proper sort of lockers were not specified, and bedside tables were sent. The bottom shelf of the table has to hold all the ordinary kit; no matter how you try, the things fall off. Therefore the wards do not present as beautiful appearance as we are used to at St. Bartholomew's. The building has a nice Chapel, which has been used every Sunday for Church Parade, and also a beautiful little Mortuary Chapel.

In the schools there are three stories and on each floor one hundred beds. On the arrival of the first convoy, there was great confusion, but now it all works automatically, and is done quickly and quietly. A convoy of Belgians arrived about midnight once in a very miserable condition. We have always found them such nice, kindly men, and most grateful. The nurses are not so well housed as one might like; but then it is 'active service' in Camberwell. They sleep in cubicles and the sitting rooms are not luxurious, but quite comfortable. The orderlies do all the work under the nurses, but they are quite untrained, and have to be taught everything. They are men of all classes - medical students, clerks and even a porter from the Royal Free. The kitchens and patients' food does not lie in our hands; it is done entirely by the men, and is very indifferent. I only wish we could manage it ourselves.

No words can express my admiration of the way in which the members of the League have responded to the call, and are working in the Territorial Hospital. Many of the ladies were holding important civil posts, many were doing private work, but one and all responded quickly and cheerfully. The moment may never occur again in the history of the League that this work, started by Miss Stewart, should be brought into life. Were she with the nurses now she would be proud of them, and to see her hospital mobilized and carried on it the spirit she put into it; carried on, not only by the old school, but by the new school who did not know her. It must be a great joy to Miss McIntosh to feel that her nurses have responded so well, and are working together with the older nurses in the Hospital at Camberwell.

MISS COX-DAVIES

Sue

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Linda Bourne

Thanks so much for the interesting information re. 1st London General Hospital. What a depressing place it must have been for the soldiers and the staff.

I was in touch with St. Barts Archives in 1999 who gave me lots of info on Mary Harfield nee Angus. It was good to see the photo of 1st LGH and I have a similar one on file. My brother lives in Camberwell and was able to photograph the building in 1999, which has been converted into private flats.

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kjharris

Hi Sue

Don't know if you have their files, but were Mary Louisa Appleyard and Laura Frances Appleyard born in Longford, Tasmania? I have a nurse of the first name in my databases.

cheers

Kirsty

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Sue Light

Kirsty

I haven't got full details to hand, but:

a. I believe they were sisters

b. Mary, at least, was born in Tasmania.

Sue

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frev

Hi Kirsty & Sue

Mary & Laura were both born in Tasmania - they were twins!

Cheers, Frev

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Sue Light

Hello Frev

Yes, once I got home I had a proper look and got back to Kirsty. All the many children were born in Tasmania, and their mother was from Leeds, Yorkshire. It seems she must have come back to the UK around the mid 1880s and was widowed at the time of the 1891 census. The family also included a set of twin boys as well.

Sue

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welshdoc

Just spotted this during a google search I have one of the medals belonging to William Moss of the Worcestershire regiment

- 4 - Patients in Ward XV, March 1916

13659 Wm Moss 9th Worcester, Dardanelles

MARY HARFIELD'S DIARY, ST.GABRIELS COLLEGE*, LONDON
MARCH 1915 to DECEMBER 1916 *(1st London General Hospital, SE5)

no service record on Ancestry so its nice to get a snippet of information about his servcice

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camberwellbeauty

Just spotted this during a google search I have one of the medals belonging to William Moss of the Worcestershire regiment

- 4 - Patients in Ward XV, March 1916

13659 Wm Moss 9th Worcester, Dardanelles

MARY HARFIELD'S DIARY, ST.GABRIELS COLLEGE*, LONDON

MARCH 1915 to DECEMBER 1916 *(1st London General Hospital, SE5)

no service record on Ancestry so its nice to get a snippet of information about his servcice

I am pleased that her diary has gone to help in some way, welshdoc.

I am pleased that her diary has gone to help in some way, welshdoc.

I see that I posted under coomkeenlass, but have replied under camberwellbeauty! We are one and the same person, lol.

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Ghazala

coomkeenlass to camberwellbeauty! Good one.

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Vanessa

 I am very interested to read these posts about the First London General Hospital and Mary Hardfield's diary - what a wonderful thing to have.  

 

I'm wondering if any of you, during your research, have come across my Great Grandfather Herbert Morley Fletcher RAMC (T) who was based at this hospital for the duration of WWI.  He had come from Barts Hospital and was a surgeon.   

 

I am writing up about the family's involvement in WWI and would appreciate any information you may have.  

 

Thanks,

Vanessa 

Herbert Morley Fletcher.jpg

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