Describes the process of handling the wounded at No. 2 Stationary Hospital
Sarnia Weekly Observer published Friday, April 16, 1915
Sunday, March 28, 1915
Transcribed by: Bev Walkling
Mr. & Mrs. A.E. MacDonald of South Brock Street have received the following letter from their son, John MacDonald, who is with the Army Medical Corps in France.
No. 2 Stationary Hospital, First Canadian Expeditionary Force, Le Touquet, France, March 28, 1915.
Dear Father and Mother, I received your letter of February 24 a day or so ago and was more than delighted to get it and know that all are well. We receive our mail quite regularly, a noncommissioned officer being to go to Bontogne daily for that purpose. Our Canadian mail comes in about two weeks, although I have known some mail to come in thirteen days. We have now been in France almost five months. About the first of December, we came here and converted a large hotel into one of the finest Field hospitals in France, and have been busy constantly ever since. In your letter you ask how we handle the wounded etc. Well, I will endeavour to give you a brief outline of the way we do it.
When a train load of wounded arrive, the ambulance drivers are immediately warned for duty, also the squad for duty at the train and when ready leave for the station, some distance away. Meanwhile the hospital is got in readiness for the reception of the wounded. Hot cocoa and oxo are prepared in the kitchen and by the time the first ambulance arrives the sisters have the wards prepared. The patients are transferred from the ambulance to the reception room where the registrar gets all particulars concerning the patient, such as name, rank, age, regiment, length of service, religion etc. They are then removed to the wards; by the way, we have ten wards, , each bearing the name of a Canadian province. Ontario being the officer’s ward. On arriving in the ward, the orderly removes all the patients clothing which is often torn and covered with mud and blood, and gives him a bath, then the patient receives medical attention. Often the wounded present a pitiful appearance, men with frightful wounds, covered with mud, but full of pluck and very seldom, even a murmer comes from them although they are suffering terrible pain in many cases, We have had very few deaths among the patients, thanks to the constant attention and good nursing care of the sisters, and the skillful surgery and treatment by the physicians. Often bullets and splinters are located by means of the x-ray. When I see a man all smashed up I wonder that he is alive at all, so bad are some of his wounds.
Capt. Bentley is kept busy looking after "Tommy’s" teeth, and has a beautiful dental office fitted up with field dental instruments. Staff Sergeant C. Luscombe , Sergt. Jack Smuck and Corp. S. Battley are all well and kept busy. I may add that the rumor of Jack Ward ’s death was unfounded and Jack is very much alive. Corp. Battley is now in the wards and is acquiring a great deal of valuable information in surgery.
I heard indirectly from Maj. D.B. Bentley a short time ago and the major was quite well. I was in Bologne a short time ago and saw a London man, Sergt. Murray , who is attached to the post office department. Last night a large bundle of Observer’s arrived for me per kindness of Mrd. McGibbon who sends a bundle about every two weeks. I can assure you they looked good to me; after reading them I pass them on to the rest of the boys.
Hoping to hear from you soon, believe me. Yours lovingly,
P.S. No doubt Alex Wanless would be glad to see this letter as he has been good enough to send us parcels. J.A.MacD.