The Project Gutenberg EBook of My Diary in Serbia: April 1, 1915-Nov. 1,
MY DIARY IN
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL,
this book is
1915, by Monica M. Stanley This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: My Diary in Serbia: April 1, 1915-Nov. 1, 1915 Author: Monica M. Stanley Release Date: June 27, 2010 [EBook #33001] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MY DIARY IN SERBIA *** Produced by The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive/American Libraries.)
MY DIARY IN SERBIA
April 1, 1915—Nov. 1, 1915
MY DIARY IN
April 1, 1915—Nov. 1, 1915
MONICA M. STANLEY
Attached to the "Stobart Field Hospital" in Serbia
ILLUSTRATED WITH PHOTOS
LONDON: SIMPKIN, MARSHALL,
HAMILTON, KENT & CO., LIMITED
First issued, Feb., 1916.
My very dear Aunt
this book is
Brave Serbia has not been forgotten in her hour of need by the women of England. For the Women's Imperial Service League, with Mrs. St. Clair Stobart as directress, went out to Serbia under the ægis of the Serbian Relief Fund, after arduous work out in Antwerp and after at Cherbourg. Mrs. Stobart decided that ours should be a Field Hospital owing to typhus and other fever raging in the country.
We left on April 1, 1915, on the Admiralty transport Saidieh for Salonica. The staff consisted of Mrs. St. Clair Stobart as directress, Mr. J.H. Greenhalgh as treasurer, a secretary, seven women doctors, eighteen trained nurses, four trained cooks, one dispenser, one sanitary inspector, an English chaplain and fourteen orderlies, of which some were chauffeurs.
The Field Hospital was perfectly equipped; everything we took with us. We had over sixty tents, 300 beds, with every necessary for them; bales of clothes for wounded and the civil population; the kitchen requisites, with four excellent cooking stoves with ovens; several portable boilers for hot water; large tanks for cold water; laundry equipments; medical stores; over £300 of food-stuffs; X-ray; all sanitary necessaries; motor ambulances. Our Field Hospital was to be at Kragujevatz; the tents were soon pitched and well arranged.
We had the following tents: one for X-ray, operating theatre; one to receive the patients; a large mess tent for patients and one for staff; one for linen—laundry; two kitchens—one for patients and one for staff; dispensary; food stores; a recreation tent for the staff, and one for the doctors; then there were lavatory and bath tents; the rest were wards and for the staff to sleep in. Our Hospital was soon full. I was the head of the kitchen departments, and I looked after the catering and food stores. I was very happy with my staff, in spite of the work being hard and the hours long, but we knew that we were doing good to our fellow-countrymen.
Mrs. Stobart and the doctors found that the civil population was suffering terribly owing to the war, as there was a scarcity of doctors and no proper hospitals to send them to; and as we were trying to stamp out all disease before fighting started again, it was decided that we should have some roadside dispensaries and a civil hospital for all the worst cases. Arrangements were made that Dr. May should return to England to raise funds for more equipments. We also wanted more doctors, nurses and cooks. It did not take long before everything was forthcoming. Seven dispensaries were started and excellent work was accomplished in quite a short time. Over one hundred people attended the dispensaries most days, and over eleven thousand of the poor suffering population were soon relieved from their pain and suffering.
MONICA M. STANLEY.
SERBIA'S GREAT NEED
Mrs. St. Clair Stobart with Mr. Greenhalgh, doctors, nurses, and orderlies, were to have left for Serbia on Saturday, March 27. On Friday the unit met at 39, St. James' Street to have their photos taken, then at 4.30 a service at St. Martin's-in-the-Field, conducted by the Rev. Percy Dearmer. We had two hymns, a nice address; a collection was taken of just over £12 for our unit. After the service we went to a farewell tea at Lady Cowdray's, 16, Carlton Terrace. Lady Muir Mackenzie and several others from the Women's Imperial Service League were there. Sir T. Lipton, who had just arrived home, told us of his experiences in Serbia, with all the horrors and hardships. Lady Cowdray presented the unit with a Thermos flask each, as a parting gift. Lady Muir Mackenzie gave each a Tommy's cooker, which I found most useful. We heard that the Admiralty had again put off our unit, and that half of us only could leave on the following Wednesday or Thursday. The following Monday we had orders from Mrs. Stobart that nineteen of us would leave on April 1 with her (the heads of the departments, with one or two other members). We also heard that Dr. and Mrs. Dearmer were going with us, the former as Chaplain to visit the sick and wounded, and his wife as an orderly to our unit.
MY DIARY IN SERBIA
Thursday, April 1, 1915.
Nineteen of the unit left for Serbia. We met at Euston station at 9.30. The train left at 10.30 a.m. for Liverpool. We had crowds of friends to see us off. All the equipments for our Field Hospital had gone the previous Saturday by the Torcello from the East Indian Docks by the Admiralty transport. We are taking out sixty-three tents; the large ones hold fifteen to twenty patients. We have 300 beds and all other equipments to fit up a Hospital, with over £300 worth of food-stuffs.
All the unit are in a dark grey uniform with large pockets, making it most useful, and nice hats to match.
We arrived in Liverpool at 2.30 p.m. on Thursday; then collected our luggage. We were each allowed to take one cabin trunk and a hold-all.
On reaching the docks we got on the boat Saidieh for Salonika. We left the docks at 10 o'clock, and lay in the harbour till Good Friday, starting at 8.30 p.m. We could not leave before, we heard, owing to messages sent to the captain. It was nice and calm Friday night, but I did not take offmy clothes and could not sleep, thinking and wondering if any danger might come to us. The Saidieh is a horrid boat, not at all clean, and the sanitary arrangements are terrible. It is a Greek boat of about 3,000 tons; in the usual way it carries mails and cargo to and from Greece and Constantinople. The weather was good as far as St. George's Channel; we could see Ireland when in the Irish Sea; but it became rather misty, a sea fog came on, and the horn was continually sounded.
Saturday, April 3, 1915.
The weather continues to get stormy, the boat rolls terribly; most of the passengers are getting ill, so we get fewer and fewer to meals. At midday the captain gave out that no passenger must take off any clothes at night, and that boat station would be held on the upper deck at 3 o'clock; this did not sound at all nice. At 3 o'clock we all went on deck and had tickets given us for the lifeboats in case of danger. Fourteen of us had tickets for No. 1 boat, two for No. 3 and three for No. 6. We were nearly all separated at first, but I managed to get our tickets changed. Mrs. Stobart was delighted, as of course it was nicer for all to be together. It seems we were in great danger till we passed the Scilly Isles. Saturday evening we were a very tiny party for dinner. There are about 150 passengers on board, all units going to different parts of Serbia. We have some of Dr. Berry's unit; Mr. Wynch's unit, called the British Farmers, owing to the farmers collecting the money for it.
I forgot to say that on Good Friday we had a short service conducted by Mr. Wynch; we had the hymn for those at sea. There is Dr. Bevis' unit, a Russian one, and the other units are the wounded Allies and Admiral Trowbridge's unit.
Saturday evening some of us played bridge, two doctors, a nurse and myself.
Sunday, Easter Day, April 4, 1915.
Nearly every passenger dreadfully ill; only about ten people for breakfast. The boat rolls most dreadfully. We could have no service. A terrible Easter Sunday. I shall never forget it. I was kept busy all the day. In the afternoon the only one of our unit left was overcome with sleep, so she had to rest. The captain said that if any one was not ill, they could consider themselves good sailors. I am more than pleased that I have not been ill. We are having a very bad crossing; every minute I think our end is coming. I have never been in such a horrid boat. We have no stewardesses, only stewards, and they are Africans—all black. The captain is English, and the first and second mates Greeks.
The other thirty of our unit left to-day; they go from Folkestone to Boulogne and thence by train to Marseilles, where they catch another boat for Salonica. Owing to our leaving a day later they may arrive at Salonica before we do.
Monday, April 5, 1915.
We are still having a terrible tossing. I have given up my berth and am sleeping on deck. The noises at night are something terrible, all kinds of things falling and smashing. On Saturday night I jumped up at 2.30; I thought our end had come. I went round to see what had happened; the luggage was pitched all over the place. I have slept in the dining saloon the last two nights. The captain told us to-day that we could undress at night, we were out of danger of submarines, but I shall not until we are out of the Bay of Biscay. Most of us have been on deck to-day. I am hoping by to-morrow they will all be well again. To-night about 12 o'clock we hope to be at Cape Finisterre. I shall be thankful, for I have not slept since I left home; the noise on this boat has been so terrific.
We passed Villan's lighthouse at 10 p.m. It was a lovely night and the water lit up with phosphorus. The captain appeared at dinner this evening, so things are getting better for us.
Tuesday, April 6, 1915.
All the sick are sitting on deck to-day, so we have not much to do. This morning I played deck quoits with several of the passengers. I learnt a little Serbian. We are a happy party; every one is so friendly. We have sheep, ducks and fowls on board—all have been sick; also two dogs. I slept on deck last night, a perfectly lovely night.
Wednesday, April 7, 1915.
The weather has quite changed; it is perfectly glorious to-day. This morning we learnt Serbian for a little and wrote letters. This afternoon I have been sitting in a lifeboat, with the sun streaming on me; it was heavenly. We have just passed Portugal. I took several photos. We passed Cape St. Vincent at 2.30 p.m. We could never have been saved if anything had gone wrong with this boat; it is a terrible old tub. We get to Gibraltar to-morrow, I hear, about 10 o'clock, so this will be posted.
We have just been having Swedish drill on deck, as the doctors wish to keep us in good health for the hard work we expect later.
Thursday, April 8, 1915.
Slept on deck last night, but always have to be up at 6 o'clock for deck to be cleaned. A glorious morning. Up at six, went down and dressed, then came on deck; it was a little misty. We could see Tangier quite well and all along the coast of Africa. Later on in the morning, and on the opposite side was Gibraltar. It was quite interesting. We were inspected, and the captain got our letters taken back for us. I took a great many photographs. We saw shoals of porpoises, which followed the boat for some distance. I took a snapshot of them. The day got hotter and hotter, so we sat in the lifeboat and enjoyed the view. We had to get out our shady hats, and we had no coats on. At 12 o'clock we had drill. This afternoon I have been playing bridge with the doctors, a perfect day. At 4.30 we passed the most gorgeous snow-capped mountains, Sierra Nevada. This evening the captain is having dinner with us, and after we are to have a dance. It is getting very rough again this evening, and all the portholes have had to be closed.
Friday, April 9, 1915.
A nice morning. We had drill on deck, then had our Serbian lesson. After lunch it began to get rough, and a great many of the passengers are ill again. We passed Algiers to-day, and we have a very bad swell on to-night, owing to being near the Gulf of Lyons. We have been playing bridge this afternoon. We had a dance last evening. To-night we were to have had games, but it has been too rough. We have to learn two pages of Serbian every day; it is very dry.
Saturday, April 10, 1915.
A dreadful night. We slept on deck, and at 1 o'clock it began to thunder, lightning and hail. We got simply drenched. We are having it quite as rough as in the Bay of Biscay.
It is blowing a gale to-day. We are to have a bridge party to-night. We had an amusing dinner; we had to hold on to everything. A dish of chicken was thrown all over the saloon, glasses, plates, knives, forks, oranges and apples. We could none of us sit in our places. Great trunks were thrown all over the passages. It will be a wonderful thing if we get to Salonika. It makes me feel happy to think that I have so many kind friends at home remembering us in their prayers. I wish the Admiralty could be sent out on this boat. The food is nearly all bad; we can scarcely eat anything, and I hear we are getting short of water. We are not allowed to stop until we get to Salonika.
Our bridge party went off well, but it was a bit slow. Mrs. Claude Askew got the first prize.
The African niggers are very amusing; they call us all Misses. They told us if we did go into the sea and drown we should get plenty of fresh air, as we are so fond of having our portholes open in our berths. They will come and tuck us up at night.
Sunday, April 11, 1915.
It still continues to be rough. We are to have our service this evening. We passed Tunis at 8 o'clock this morning. We had a very bad thunderstorm last night again; the lightning was very vivid. A good many of us had to sleep in the saloon.
I am learning Serbian with Mrs. Stobart; she has just heard my lesson and given me twenty more words to learn. It is a most uninteresting language.
Monday, April 12, 1915.
Had drill at 10 o'clock, then "follow my leader" all over the ship. At 10.30 we passed Sicily; we could see the olive groves. An Italian destroyer has been following us. We erected the English flag, so they soon left us. I am taking part in some tableaux, so we rehearsed this afternoon. Since I have been playing bridge. It is dreadfully rough again, and we have another bad thunderstorm. It will be the greatest wonder if we land at Salonika safely in this wretched boat. I thought that our end was near many times last night. I did not get a bit of sleep.
Tuesday, April 13, 1915.
It is still stormy and pouring with rain, not at all a nice crossing. We did not see Malta; we were too far away, but we were only about two miles from Sicily. We have been playing bridge nearly all day.
Wednesday, April 14, 1915.
A fine day and the wind has gone down. Four of our unit have been ill, owing to the bad food (two of them fainted and were in great pain), and several in the other units. We expect to get to Salonika on Thursday, midday. We have just passed Belopulo; we shall be passing Andros and Tinos. To-night we are all to appear in fancy dress. I am going as a mattress, a pillow arranged on my head, pillows stuffed inside a mattress ticking, and my feet coming through at the bottom with bed-socks on. The time has altered; we are 1-½ hours in advance of England. It is light at 4.30 in the morning, but dark soon after 6 o'clock. We had a swallow following our boat most of yesterday.
The fancy dress was a great success; it was really splendid, as none of us had many things with us, as we are all in uniform. Mr. Claude Askew was very amusing, introducing us as Mrs. Jarley's waxworks.
Thursday, April 15, 1915.
It was a rough and very cold night again. I slept in the lifeboat part of the night, but had to get on deck at 2 o'clock as it was so cold and rough. We get to Salonika about 1 o'clock. We have just passed Mount Olympus; it looks glorious with the sun on it and snow-capped. I heard the guns in the night—from Smyrna, I suppose. The engineer took me down to see the engines last night. It is a good thing for us that we have had a rough crossing. We should have been caught by submarines if we had not, owing to the cargo we are carrying; it is supposed to be coal.
We are only forty miles from Salonika; we expect to arrive at 1 o'clock. We telegraphed for rooms at the hotel from Gibraltar. We expect to stay in Salonika a week, as we have to wait for the stores. We are all such a happy party, and all the units on board have been so friendly.
A Greek boat told us that there had been a big battle at the Dardanelles yesterday, but the result was not known. We have no wireless on this boat. The sunrise was gorgeous this morning; it is much finer to-day. I shall post this directly I arrive at Salonika. It is dreadful not having any news from home. I cannot hear anything for a month. We shall not be able to send our permanent address for some time yet.
The most dangerous part of our journey was the forty-eight hours through the Irish Sea. It is interesting to know that the boat has gone 1,000,000 revolutions to Salonika from Liverpool, and a revolution is 25 feet. As we got into the harbour at Salonika there was a vessel called theAthena; it belongs to the Germans. We arrived at Salonika at 2 o'clock; we had to anchor outside. The doctor, the English Consul, and the head of the police came on board. Twenty-three little boats arrived to take us across; the men simply fought, and we had quite a difficulty. We found we could not get accommodation at the hotel sufficient for our unit, so the captain told us to sleep on board. We had our tea and dinner at the Hotel Olympus. The latter meal the captain of the Saidieh had with us. We returned to the boat at 10 o'clock.
Friday, April 16, 1915.
The Torcello arrived with all our equipments at the same time our boat arrived. Salonika is the most picturesque place; it is so hot, just like midsummer in England. The yachts sailing about in the harbour are lovely. There is a wreckage just near. It is April 7 there, and in England it is the 15th.
After breakfast we took a carriage and went to St. Demetrius, the Greek Church. It is perfectly gorgeous. Large marble pillars and granite supposed to be extinct. The arches are wonderful and all inlaid with mosaic. Then we saw sarcophagus or some of the remains dating back to 136. The pictures all round are gorgeous, very bright colours. Many people came to pray. One little family went into a corner where there was a picture of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the serpent was up a tree. They prayed at this picture, then kissed each figure; they crossed the altar, and kissed each figure in the other pictures. Then we went to the Church Sophia, another Greek one. We saw many more people praying and kissing the figures in the pictures and crossing themselves. The Baptistery in St. Demetrius was wonderful; there was a wonderful shell-like font under a massive stone canopy. A little distance away there was a huge bell under an arch. We then went into another church which was being restored. On approaching we could smell nothing but disinfectant; we thought this strange. The interior of the church was beautifully arched. We had not been in the church long when we found that the floor was a mass of fleas and that all of us were covered. We went into a courtyard and caught hundreds; women and children helped. We were in a most uncomfortable condition. Most of the houses are full of them, and also other livestock. One can see the fleas jumping in the sand in the streets.
Some of the churches are full of Greek refugees from Asia Minor.
Saturday, April 17, 1915.
We went to see the French Hospital. An English nun took us over. We also went to see the soup kitchens, and at 12 o'clock one hundred of the refugees came with tickets for soup. We helped to serve it out to them; it was most interesting. All of them wanted more than their share. After we met the remainder of our unit, which had just arrived by the Lotos; they came overland to Marseilles, then by steamer. They had all had the most delightful time, stopping at most of the ports. We envied them after our ghastly journey. Dr. Dearmer and several others of the party and I went into the town, then to St. Nicholas, a church full of refugees—a sight I shall never forget; each family had been allotted a corner, and they just sit on a mat. One family was busy at lunch; they had one large bowl of soup in the centre of the mat, and they all sat round; father, mother and three children each had a spoon, and they all ate out of the same bowl. This seems to be the custom in the poorer quarters in Greece and Serbia. There were several little babies only a day or two old done up like brown-paper parcels.
In the afternoon we went to see where Abdul Hamid was imprisoned. He was allowed eighteen wives. He abdicated. The Germans threatened to rescue him, so high walls were built all round so that aircraft could not get near. After eighteen months he was told he might leave the country, otherwise be shot, so he went to Asia Minor, and now the house is used for military purposes.
Sunday, April 18, 1915.
We had Communion Service, which Dr. Dearmer conducted at 8.30. Then went to Turkish town, which is most interesting. We then went to the Greek military prison. Then to the Turkish Church. Before entering the church we had to remove our shoes; the floor was covered with squares of carpet. In the afternoon we went to St. Demetrius and saw a christening—most interesting. The priest first covered the baby, which was naked, with oil—head, eyes, cheeks, ears, body, legs, feet, back; then the mother poured a handful of oil over the baby's head. Then the priest took the babe and put it into a font of oil and water which completely covered it; then the baby was again crossed with oil, using a brush this time and taking the oil out of a bottle; then the babe was put into a piece of flannel into the mother's arms. She held two candles, one in each hand, and the priest took incense, which he swung backwards and forwards, and then went twice round the font. Then he read and kissed the book, and the woman kissed it twice, and the ceremony was finished.
We then went to the Greek cemetery, and saw where all the soldiers were buried in the last war. The Turkish cemetery was near by. We saw another large barracks and the Greek Military Hospital.
Monday, April 19, 1915.
We were shopping all morning, getting ready for our departure for Kragujevatz to-morrow, Tuesday. We leave soon after 7 o'clock. This afternoon we went with Mrs. Stobart as far as the tram went, then we walked to the beach. We were a party of twenty-four; we all had tea and then paddled and came home. I have just finished packing for Serbia.
Tuesday, April 20, 1915.
Got up at 6 o'clock, went to Hotel Splendide for breakfast; then we all marched behind a funny old cart, which had our luggage, to the station. I had a tin of honey, fifty-six pounds, which I bought at Salonika; the tin cracked and it began to run out; a cork came out of a paraffin bottle, and this began to run; then the luggage kept taking flying leaps off the cart: we had to keep running after it, to put it back: the man went on, never stopping for any catastrophe. When we landed at the station we had the time of our life, such a scuffle and rush to get into the train. Only twelve of us left to-day, and the other thirty-six follow us on Thursday. All the unit saw us off. The train left at 9.15; it was to have left at 8.
The smell of formalin in the train was very strong, and all of us were covered with paraffin, so the two smells together were not very delightful! Besides this, some of us had carbon balls and camphor in our pockets.
It took us about half an hour to get out of Greece. The country all along is simply wonderful; the most glorious scenery, hills, rocks and valleys, with the most gorgeous colourings. All along we saw herons, storks and eagles, vultures, magpies and jackdaws. All these birds are most plentiful and very tame. All the carts are pulled by buffalo oxen and donkeys. Most of the sheep are black; also the pigs and goats.
The train first stopped at Topsin, then at Amatovar and then Karasuli; these are all the Greek stations we passed. The first Serbian station we stopped at one and a half hours. It was at Ghevgheli. There were many Austrian prisoners and Serbian soldiers on the platform. The Serbians looked very tired, and their clothes were very shabby. They are very badly shod, only a kind of moccasin on their feet. A good many of the Serbians have khaki clothes, but it seems that they have been given by the English. On lots of the house-tops and chimney-tops the herons have built their nests; this was most interesting to see. A great many of the soldiers have lambs following them about like dogs. They are so pretty.
Eight lovely peacocks were on the platform, and they kept walking under the train; also one or two white guinea-fowls. We saw no end of tortoises all along the line, and we got one and brought it into the carriage, but we had to put it out again as we had no green stuff to feed it on. All the lakes and reservoirs are full of bull frogs; these make a tremendous noise just like a lot of ducks quacking. The trees in this part of the country are quite small ones, and there are no hedges; the blossom on the trees is perfectly lovely. We watched the butter being made from goat's milk, and very good it is. Most of the work in the fields is done by women and oxen, and the women look very picturesque in their different coloured garments. We had lovely flowers all the way, especially poppies. We kept passing swamps, full of different grasses. The mountains are wonderful, covered with snow, and we hear that when some of the snow melts dead bodies are found underneath. We crossed over the bridges which were blown up three weeks ago by the Bulgarians; we came through a wonderful tunnel cut in the rocks, and we passed no end of churchyards, where the men are buried in the different battles—Turks, Serbians, and Bulgarians—it is really pitiful to see them. We are guarded by soldiers all along the lines and on the trains. We passed lots of rows of little crosses where all the women, children and men were buried after the Bulgarian raid a week ago. A rope was put round their necks and they were hung up on trees to die. All the soldiers come and salute us at each station and along the line. They all look so sad. Uskub we stopped at 7 o'clock, and we were met by Sir Ralph Paget. We had dinner at the station: soup floating with grease and omelet as tough as leather; the bread was almost black and very sour. The room was very dirty, and many men were sprinkling disinfectants about. This amused me very much. We slept in the train.
Thursday, April 22, 1915.
We got up before 6 o'clock; had breakfast. It is much colder, and we are very near snow-clad mountains. We got to Nish at 8 and had two hours to wait. We were met by the Serbian Minister and doctor, and taken in a funny little carriage to the Reserve Hospital, where we washed.
This was the Hospital which contained 1,500 Serbian wounded when it fell into the hands of the Bulgarians. We then had breakfast—bread, raw bacon and eggs; not good; but we must be thankful for anything in these bad times. The beds in the wards are several planks of wood, with straw mattress and pillows—quite clean. The women are not a bad-looking race. The minister showed us a terrible photograph he had taken of women and children hanging from trees, where the Bulgarians had strung them up. Two units we left at Nish; one is coming in a few days to Kragujevatz, the other to Belgrade. We drove back to the station; impossible to walk; the mud is eight or ten inches deep.
We slept in the train, three in a compartment, and none of us got bitten. We first cleaned all the carriages out with paraffin. We passed through vineyards and maize-fields. The women do the ploughing with the oxen. There are hundreds of wounded Austrians everywhere to be seen. On arriving at Kragujevatz we were met by doctors and officers, and were taken out to dinner. Four carriages, two horses to each carriage, a most quaint turn-out. The horses seem to fly along, and the roads are in the most awful condition; it was all we could do to prevent ourselves being pitched out.
We first went to the sanitary department and were introduced round, and then we all washed our hands in disinfectants, and were taken on to the Prince's Palace; it is now turned into a dining club for officers. We had a big dinner, starting with very fine Russian caviare. The dinner lasted until 10 o'clock. We then returned to the station and stayed the night in the train. One vanload of luggage had not then arrived, and it was too late to pitch tents. The bull-frogs were singing all night. When a Serbian introduces his wife, he says, "Excuse me, but may I introduce my wife?" When a party is given, the wife never appears at table. They must think it strange that our women are treated so differently.
Friday, April 23, 1915.
Mrs. Stobart has been with some of the officers to find a site for the Hospital; it is right at the top of the hill, and before the war started it was a race-course, and it was also used for sports. We spent the afternoon putting up the tents. The custom in Serbia is, when a death occurs, they put out a black flag for six days or more, and it was sad to see two or three dozen flags all along the town. We have been hard at work all day putting away stores.
The officers are most kind; they invited us to dinner, but we were all too busy to go, so they sent us a lovely dinner to the tents—some fried fish,a stew of beef, and a small lamb roasted whole, and a salad. One of the Government officials joined us.
Sunday, April 25, 1915.
We had a service at 8.30 a.m., which Dr. Dearmer conducted, and he conducted another service at 2.30 and 5.30. Several of the nurses and officers came from other hospitals. The weather is very hot, but the nights cold. We hear the owls, nightingales and cuckoo all night. Several of our staff are ill. I have delightful people to work with, and we are very comfortable. Four of us in a big tent. They call me the "Little Mother," but my general name is Cookie. The Government officials all call me Miss Cookie.
We have now started getting up at 4.30, breakfast at 5. We have had to put on our summer clothes as it is very hot. I bought five lambs to-day, 15 dinas each. They eat the meat the same day it is killed. The small lambs and pigs are cooked whole. Forty wounded arrived to day; they all had a bath with disinfectant in, and then put on clean clothes, their own baked and tied up and put away with their names on. Some of the wounded look very ill, but this place will soon do them good. It makes us very happy to see them improving.
Tuesday, April 27, 1915.
More wounded are to arrive to-day. We are to have surgical cases. When the fighting starts our Field Hospital is to move on with the army. We get quite used to getting up early. We are up at 4.30 and to bed at 9 o'clock; it saves lights. I sleep outside the tent, and many of the others do likewise. It is perfectly lovely. I shall never want to sleep in again.
The sun is glorious, rising above the mountain-tops. We are getting quite used to the noises at night. We have the nightingales, one singing against the other; the owls calling out; big black crickets, which live in holes in the ground all over our camp and fields, making their funny noise. Then there are fireflies, which at first I thought were searchlights, as they were so very bright; cocks are crowing all round at the various farms; stray dogs, which seem almost wild, visit the camp at night and try to get into the kitchens to the stores, and occasionally they will start barking and howling; in ponds near are frogs croaking.
My staff are so nice, it makes work so much easier. I went into Kragujevatz to-day to do some shopping. None of us are allowed to go on account of typhus, but there is not much fear when one takes precautions. The shops are quite nice and the shoes and clothes quaint. Singer's sewing machines are seen everywhere; also Sunlight soap, Colman's mustard, Peak Frean's biscuits, Peter's milk chocolate. These things remind us of home. Rice, haricot beans and prunes are very plentiful, and they form some of the chief articles of diet.
Wednesday, April 28, 1915.
The wagons are drawn by oxen; they only do twenty miles a day. They are magnificent beasts and are well cared for. We have bought two of them and have called them Derry & Toms, as Derry & Toms gave us two or three of their carts to bring out here.
We have had six officers dining with us to-day. The heat is terrific. I can't imagine what it will be in June. The Serbian food is very funny, but good. For breakfast they have a kind of bread-pudding; they call it our "English" bread-pudding, but the Serbian name is "Popiri." You put bread cut into dice into boiling water, with salt and fat; they beat it all together and serve. They like it so much and do not care for anything else; for a change they have stewed prunes and bread. They drink tea or coffee and the ones on special diet have eggs.
Sunday, May 2, 1915.
We have so much work here we seldom know the day or the date. We have just had tent drill, as we may move on soon, then we shall have to pull down our tents ourselves. We have lost several of our stores coming out: all the bacon and lots of other things. Some of the men look dreadful and half starved; they seem to like our food. I have five Austrian prisoners working for me. It is difficult to get much work out of them, as they say, "No pay, no work"; but I said then there will be no food, and now they cannot do enough for us; they are not bad on the whole. I have a funny man who buys for me in the market. He is too fat to fight, and he is always telling me, with his arms in the air, that he works only for me. We slept outside on our camp beds last night; it began to rain and the night nurses had to carry us in. It is lovely to see how the wounded enjoy this camp life; they are so happy. When they arrive they have a paraffin bath and their clothes baked. We brought a lot of clothes with us from England. Four officers came to see us this morning, and they lent us their horses for half an hour for us to ride. I am to go next time.
One of the doctors and I went for a lovely evening walk; the frogs were singing to each other, quite a different noise to what we heard before. This morning I took all my kitchen orderlies to have a bath, five of them.
Mrs. Stobart took our photos and I gave the men their new clothes. I managed to get them each a blanket and they were all very happy. They built themselves a hut to sleep in. They are all Austrian prisoners.
Monday, May 3, 1915.
A Dispensary has been started on the road side near our Field Hospital, and people are coming for miles to get medicine and advice. There are many cases of diphtheria, typhoid, typhus, scarlet fever, consumption and other diseases. The civil population are suffering terribly on account of the war; they have been so neglected. One girl walked twenty miles to get medicine for her father, mother, sister and brother who were all down with typhus. A number of the patients come in ox carts and they travel all right; it is wonderful how quickly they have got to hear of the Dispensary. Mrs. Stobart has decided to open many more.
Thursday, May 6, 1915.
This has been a great festival for the Serbians—St. George's Day—they keep it as a holiday. We had two of the officers to dinner, and a bonfire at 8 o'clock, and we all danced and sang; quite a good evening. The wounded quite enjoyed themselves.
Friday, May 7, 1915.
I went for a walk with two of the doctors to a cemetery near here. There are thousands of little wooden crosses where the Serbians fell in the last battle, also for those who died from typhus. The Austrian prisoners are digging rows and rows of new graves. The dead are not buried in coffins; there are several empty coffins lying about.
Many of the crosses have several numbers, so many are buried in the same grave, four and six. Our Dispensaries are getting on splendidly; some of the patients walked forty miles; one can scarcely believe it. We feed all those that come a long distance. We had over 100 patients to-day. I bought in the market to-day ten sheep, six turkeys, five geese and nine ducks. We eat two and three lambs just for the staff at one meal; they are very small.
Sunday, May 9, 1915.
I was up just after 4 this morning. Mrs. Stobart and three Serbian officials went off to find another site for a Dispensary. Colonel Harrison, our English Military Attaché, has been to dinner. I gave them boiled turkey and white sauce and macaroni. Turkeys are cheap; I got six for 57 dinas, and you get 36 dinas for a sovereign. After dinner Colonel Harrison gave us some very good records on his gramaphone. Our gramaphone has been lost.
The Austrians are still shelling Belgrade. One of my five Austrian orderlies gives me a lot of trouble. He goes off sometimes for three or four hours to get drink, so I had to report him; he has had his ears well boxed in front of me by the sergeant. If he had struck the sergeant back he would have been shot.
We have several wounded Austrians and one German. When the German is spoken to he always stands at attention; he is really a nice man!
The camp is quite a swamp. I got up at 4.30 and went to market with Mr. Greenhalgh. The market did not open till late, so we went into a café which was not at all nice; beetles were running about on the tables and floor. I sat with my feet tucked under me.
A lot of young wounded soldiers sat drinking whisky; it is only a penny for a little decanter out of which they drink. Other people had Russian coffee with a glass of cold water.
I am very troubled with dogs and cats; they get into the kitchen and steal the food. I have stopped the dogs getting in, but the cats I cannot keep out.
The wild flowers are very beautiful; we have different kinds gathered for the wards and for the tables; they are much finer than ours. I cannot get out much, I am so tired when off duty.
Monday, May 17, 1915.
One of my cooks has a revolver, and early this morning she was unloading it when it went off and hit me on the arm; fortunately it was not serious. The shot went through her box, then a thick pocket book, and thence into a tea caddy, where it remained. It was really very terrifying. A Russian and French Military Attaché came in this afternoon.
We have ten hospital tents and each one holds ten patients, and as they are all full more tents have to be put up. At 9 o'clock this evening a very bad case of typhus arrived in an ox cart—a poor soldier who was just on leave. His old mother and father came with him; they were to sleep under the cart, and as the ground was inches thick with mud, we got them bundles of straw; we also gave them hot coffee and bread. One sees some sad sights.
I went again to the market; it is very picturesque. Some of the gipsy women are very handsome and their costumes charming. Most of the materials for their dresses and aprons are homespun. The different shades of reds, blues, yellow and green are lovely, they all tone so well. We are just on 200 at the camp now, but the numbers never worry me. We bought cheese and great rolls of sausages in the market. My store tent is almost under water. I have had to put down bricks and planks and have a trench dug through the centre. We are told we shall have it wet for three weeks. The rain comes down in torrents, much heavier than in England. The patients are all looking so much better and much fatter. I have bought two large copper boilers for soup; one cost 123 dinas and the other 77 dinas, but I should think they would last for ever. I have had a brick wall set round them and a flue at the back and a grate underneath. We only cook with wood; it is really very excellent as it retains the heat so long, and really I like it better than coal. But at first the smoke made us all cry until I got the stoves properly set.
Tuesday, May 18, 1915.
We have had an exciting day as the Prince Alexandra of Serbia was expected to see our Field Hospital. He and his suite arrived on horseback. The Prince is the most delightful man, so very friendly and easy to get on with. Mrs. Stobart presented me. He was much interested in the kitchen departments, and shook hands with me three times. He seemed delighted and interested in all the hospitals. A Field Hospital seems quite a novelty out here. I talked to his horse, a charming creature called "Sugar."
Dr. May returns to London to-morrow to bring out new equipments, as we are to have six more Dispensaries and a Civil Hospital. I have been doing out lists for new stores all morning.
I am having a lovely Serbian dress given me. I made some good Serbian cheese to-day; it is quite easy to make and it is really nice. I wish friends would send me newspapers; they would be very welcome. I picked up a cannon ball and horseshoe to add to my treasures. We had another bad storm; the rain drops are as large as a 2s. piece. It is really amusing when it gets windy as every one rushes to their tent to tighten their guy ropes, and when it has been raining some little time they have to be loosened. In the night it is not so pleasant turning out of a nice comfortable bed. But for all this camp life is very delightful.
The Serbians have been at war for the last four years. They fought first against Turkey, then against Bulgaria, and twice against Austria-Hungary.
Valievo was in the hands of the Austrians at the beginning of December, 1914. Then the Austrians captured Belgrade where they remained for thirteen days. On December 15 Belgrade was recaptured by the Serbians. Of the army of 300,000 who crossed the Save River, nearly half was put out of action. More than 41,500 prisoners were taken together with 133 guns, 71 maxims, 386 ammunition wagons, 3,350 transport wagons, and more than 3,250 horses and oxen. The dead and wounded Austro-Hungarians left on the battlefield exceeded 60,000.
Thursday, May 20, 1915.
The cannon ball that I told you about that I picked up was used 100 years ago against the Turks; there are no end lying about the fields.
Dr. May returned to England this evening; she will be away about six weeks. She will bring out more stores and will collect fresh funds for the upkeep of our Hospital and Dispensary.
Transport wagons are passing along the road near our camp all night, so perhaps we shall move on shortly. Oxen are used and they only travel about twenty English miles a day.
We have no fresh cases in hospital because there is no fighting at present. There are over one hundred patients at the road-side dispensary; each day some of the cases are terrible—typhus, scarlet fever, diphtheria, and a very bad case of small-pox, but there are no hospitals to send these sort of cases to. To-day a poor girl arrived with one foot black, all the flesh eaten off her leg with gangrene; she had a tubercular foot which she had had a year and it had never been attended to. Women arrive with dreadful diseases, some with cancer.
People in dear old England cannot imagine the state of this part of the world; thousands and thousands are suffering and cannot get attention.
We are now trying to stop some of the dreadful diseases spreading, and are starting another Hospital called the Civil, and this Hospital will take in some of these bad cases. We are also hoping to have the six dispensaries along the line. Our Field Hospital is only for surgical cases.
Another wet day; we had a terrible thunderstorm which returned two nights running; the lightning is much more vivid than in England; in fact it lights up the hills all round and the sky seems to almost open.
To-day is only May 9 with the Serbians; thirteen days difference; it seems so strange.
To-day a man was seen buying Serbian whisky; he gave it to two of the patients and made them drunk. One of my orderlies did the same and was sent away last week. Owing to this one man the whole lot of Austrian orderlies were called into line, twenty-seven in all, and they were marched to the office tent, where Major Partridge talked to them all, boxed the man's ears who bought the whisky and sent him to prison for ten days.
There are three kinds of punishment for prisoners: first, boxing their ears; second, sending to prison for ten days on bread and water and solitary confinement; and third, to shoot them. It makes me quite ill to see the men have their ears boxed. The Serbians seem really good to their prisoners; I hope ours in Germany are being treated as well.
I had a lovely dish of wild strawberries brought me to-day as a present; the strawberries were strung on grasses and they are sold for 1d. a string. I also had a bunch of cherries and some sweets, and this evening two of the Austrian prisoners gave me their prison badges, so I was in luck's way.
All around our camp we have funny round holes. I discovered that black-looking beetles lived down them, but to-night I found they are crickets; they sing all night and are such dears. I dug one out of its hole and put it in the kitchen. We also found some of these funny holes where great large spiders live with hairy legs, and they spin such a nice strong web over their holes. I suppose this is their front door. We have been up to our knees in mud the last few days, and little streams run through our camp, but one gets used to these things; the ground is of hard clay and the water does not disperse quickly unless the sun comes out, then it dries up in quite a short time. This makes us think of our poor soldiers in the trenches.
Sunday, May 23, 1915.
This morning one of the doctors came for me to go and see an operation. It was a poor man who had recovered from typhus, then got frost-bitten toes, and they had fallen off; new skin had to be grafted over the stumps, and it was taken from the thigh. It will be interesting to see how it grows on the foot.
In the afternoon two of the doctors and I went for a long walk. We went about twelve miles right on the top of the highest hill, and from there, a few months back, one could see the battle raging from Belgrade. At the top of these hills we could see great holes where the shells had burst. Wild flowers are gorgeous. The acacia trees are wonderful, much finer than ours. Most of the hedges are acacias. The fields are covered with wild strawberries.
Mrs. Stobart and one of the doctors have gone to Nish till Wednesday morning.
The girl I told you of, who had the gangrene on her leg, had the leg off to-day. We put a little tent up for her; we could not let her go on suffering.
Another terrible day. I have never seen such rain; we are simply flooded; the storm lasted five or six hours.
Mrs. Stobart and the doctor arrived home at 6 o'clock this morning. We shall soon hear when our camp moves on. I cannot continue writing as we have another bad storm. The hailstones were like small marbles. We have now streams running through our camp.
This evening we had several of the officers to dinner, and Colonel Harrison's gramaphone after.
We hear that the Italian Military Attaché arrived here to-day, and that fighting round about here will start in ten days. This morning it was interesting to see the transport wagons pass on their way to Belgrade.
This evening, while I was waiting for the last whistle to blow for lights out, I went a little walk to see the frogs in some ponds near by; in one pond they were singing in a high key—I suppose they must have had soprano voices—and in another pond they were croaking as if they had bass voices, and as they made this quaint noise their jaws swelled out to a tremendous size. They came to the edge of the pond to see who I was and seemed to say, What are you doing here! The light from the hurricane lamp must have attracted them. The crickets are also singing everywhere; we can see their holes all over the hills. They work their wings together to make their quaint noise. And the cuckoo was also singing. With all these different noises it was quite an entertainment.
Friday, May 28, 1915.
Got up at 4.15 a.m. and went to market. I bought one sheep, some beef, five ducks, six kilos of sausages, 200 eggs, some carrots and peas. The sheep I gave 20 dinas for, and as 35 dinas go to the £1 it is not much. Ducks vary from 1-½ to 3 dinas. Eggs were 9 dinas a hundred and very good.
Wild strawberries and cherries are plentiful, but too expensive to buy at present. Market is over at 12. I got back by 9 o'clock. I have a man that looks after all the live stock we buy in the market, and he kills them as they are required for table.
There are three different markets—one for oxen, hay and wood; another for sheep, goats and pigs; and another for eggs, vegetables, cheese and fruits.
The pigs are all different colours, yellow, black, white, elephant colour. They are very tame, as they are made into pets and many of the little ones live in the houses.
On the way to the sheep market we saw a lot of guns, officers and transport going to Bosnia. The officers' horses had wreaths of roses round their necks; it is the usual custom, and the officers are presented with a bouquet.
There has been a scarcity of sugar in Kragujevatz for about two weeks; the other day they managed to get about 20,000 kilos, and at the shop it was being sold there was quite a raid. It was sold for 1s. 6d. per lb. There is no butter to be got; it cannot be made with the milk on account of typhus; the milk has to be boiled directly it comes in; it never tastes or smells nice. It costs 5d. per litre.
Mrs. Stobart has had a lovely bell given her by the Serbian Government. It has Mrs. Stobart's Hospital on it in English, and the Serbian crest. We only had a little goat's bell to ring to bring people to meals.
To-day I had one of the Army Medical Corps Field Trenches dug, and it was most successful. We do not require it for cooking, but Mrs. Stobart wanted one made as they may be required at the Dispensaries. I have already four lovely stoves with fine ovens and two large stewpans with wood fire under them. The pans are of copper. We have portable boilers for the hot water, which are most excellent; and Serbians have been to take the measurements of the boilers and stoves so that they can have some made like them.
Just been to help one of the doctors by holding a patient's arm while it was lanced for an abscess. I constantly regret that I was not trained to be a doctor. I am most interested in seeing operations, as one always has the satisfaction in knowing that the patients will soon be relieved from their sufferings.
Tuesday, June 1, 1915.
Sir Thomas Lipton arrived for 8 o'clock breakfast this morning. He had with him the Daily Chronicle, Times, and one or two other reporters. Two or three Serbian officers also came with him. Mrs. Stobart had been down to meet the train from Uskab at 5 a.m.
We had a very big party in the evening. Sir Thomas Lipton and many of the officers came to dinner, and afterwards a concert of forty musicians. The convalescent patients thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
We were all overjoyed after our guests had left to hear that our letters, which were a month overdue from England, had arrived.
I had nineteen letters, three papers and a book. I stayed up nearly all night reading them.
The sheep I bought the other day for 20 dinas is a great pet, just like a dog and follows us everywhere. We call it our mascot. It has a great blue ribbon bow round its neck which one of the nurses gave it.
To-day our sergeant, who helps with secretarial work, has typhus. He has been sent to the Scottish Fever Hospital. He is such a nice man and has been with us ever since we arrived at the camp.
We had another terrible storm. I never saw such rain; if one is out you are soaked through in a minute.
Several of our members have high temperatures to-day; they have been isolated.
I have been to an operation this afternoon. It was to see a toe removed and two web fingers cut. I am really proud of our women surgeons. They are really excellent and so quick.
Friday, June 4, 1915.
We are still paddling about, up to our ankles. Two more members of our staff are in bed with high temperatures. We hope it is only malaria. Two of the Serbian Army Medical Corps came to see our camp.
Mrs. Stobart is still in bed with high temperature. I have to take all my staff's temperatures every morning and report to the doctors.
Two of Dr. Berry's unit have come to stay in this camp for a few days. Our six staff invalids are going on well, but they all ask for different kinds of food which is somewhat trying.
Lady Lethbridge is posting this for me.
We do not know what this fever is. Some of our staff and the doctors are beginning to think it is typhoid, but the temperature charts are most curious, not a bit like the ordinary typhoid.
I have felt unhappy to-day for our sanitary inspector has put disinfectants in all the ponds on the camp as the water was getting stagnant, and all the happy little frogs are suffering. Thirteen ducks from the farm near by have been to drink the poisoned water, and they have just run down to the kitchen gasping and their eyes nearly out of their heads. They have been given bowls of water and it seems as though they would never stop drinking. It has taken quite six hours for them to recover from the chloride of lime and water.
Sunday, June 6, 1915.
We had service at 5.30 a.m. in the mess tent. Two ducks walked in during the service. They made a great noise, and after the service we found that they had laid an egg just outside the tent. We had another service at 10 and another at 4 o'clock, but the ducks this time did not visit us.
My pet sheep had to be sent away, as it loved having its afternoon nap in the other tents. I did not mind it as I had disinfected it, and it was beautifully white and so clean; it was a great pet. I call it Sir Thomas. It was killed for dinner, and I went without meat for several days. It had grown so fat, and it was the best piece of meat we had in the camp. It was most painful doing the carving.
Tuesday, June 8, 1915.
We had five visitors to-day, four doctors and Lady Lethbridge. We again had turkey. This is quite a common dish in Serbia, and they are so cheap, only 7 dinas each; some are 5 dinas. Many of our units are down with fever; it makes us very busy.
Wednesday, June 9, 1915.
To-day Dr. Dearmer and two of my kitchen staff and I went for a lovely motor ride as we have been too tired to go for walks, and Mr. Black took us in his car. We started at 2 o'clock and got back at 6. The weather is very hot, and in some of the tents the temperature is 110°.
Thursday, June 10, 1915.
At 3.30 this morning I was awakened by a gun being fired; I did not think anything of this, as one gets so used to the noise of guns. At 4.30 I dressed and went to inquire what the patients were going to have for breakfast, and when one of the nurses and I were standing talking we heard a great explosion. I knew at once that it was a bomb, as I had experienced the same thing in Antwerp. We then heard, as we thought, the Marconi working, and we looked above us and saw it was a German aeroplane. Then we saw another German aeroplane, and then two Austrian ones. We knew at once they were attacking Kragujevatz. They began dropping bombs first near the arsenal, which did not, fortunately, do any damage; then one near the King's Palace, which did no harm but battered several shops and made holes in the walls of the cathedral. The bomb fell in the middle of the road. Many windows were broken in the cathedral. Another bomb fell in a cottage and killed a girl of fourteen who had only been in Kragujevatz three days; her parents had sent her from Belgrade as she was so afraid of the raids there. Sixteen people were injured and five killed. Then they came over our camp, a splendid target for them as the Marconi is only 150 yards away. The next bomb dropped was about 150 yards from our camp. The smoke was terrible; I felt sure some of us would be the next victims. Most of our unit turned out in their night attire. I was glad that I was presentable. The next bomb dropped was about 110 yards and the pieces were scattered all round the mess tent and the kitchen. One of the doctors came hurrying along and called for me to pick up some pieces of shrapnel, but as we got to the spot we found a poor woman had been struck. Her arm was quite a pulp; I do not think she will recover.
I got about fourteen pieces of shrapnel, a piece of the hanger-propeller and the fuse. Lots of trees were struck and I got a piece of shrapnel out of the bark. A wireless was sent from here and one of the aeroplanes was brought down.
There has never been a raid on Kragujevatz before. All the guards round our camp fired their rifles, but there were no air-craft guns fired. We have not got large guns round us as there had never been a raid on Kragujevatz before.
Another poor woman was brought in wounded about 11 o'clock. She had a little baby which was not hurt; she was struck on the leg. The baby is exactly like a little old man, and it only weighs 6-½ lbs. and is a year old; its bones are coming nearly out of its flesh.
Some of our staff who have fever are very ill, and some delirious. Mrs. Stobart is much better.
Dr. Dearmer is going to Salonika. He is meeting some fresh members for our unit, they are due on June 18. A Civil Hospital and some Dispensaries are to be started. They will be branches of this one. The pontoon bridges and the regiments pass our camp every day. The weather is terribly hot.
We have started to use our mosquito nets. I had an arrow given me yesterday by a French aviator, one of the kind they throw out of the aeroplanes; and I have had a very nice Turkish dress given me.
Letters come from England very well now; they take about thirteen days.
Our convalescents sing and play at nights; some of them have very good voices. Their songs were generally battle songs, and relate to their friends who had fallen in the war. They are very clever in making their instruments—flutes, violins—which are excellent.
Just heard that some more aeroplanes have been seen but they have been stopped coming over here. The Serbian Government think that they tried to drop the bombs on our camp; we can be sighted miles away.
Friday, June 11, 1915.
Eleven of our staff are down with fever; it is getting quite serious. The strange part of it is the doctors cannot yet discover what the fever is.
We have 125 patients in the hospital, thirty-seven soldiers as orderlies, Austrians and Serbs, and fifty-nine of our own staff.
It was very funny the other day. Two large eagles were seen flying very high. They were taken for aeroplanes, and were immediately fired upon.The Serbians are quite ready for air raids, as we have some splendid air-craft guns placed in excellent positions.
Sunday, June 13, 1915.
The weather is very hot. I have never experienced anything like it, quite tropical. One of our doctors has been taken ill to-day; that makes twelve of our staff down with fever.
Mrs. Dearmer has been taken ill. Mrs. Stobart, a doctor and I had a conference about the disease. It was pronounced by the doctor to be typhoid. One doctor stated that it was due to flies; but this point was condemned, as the flies have only become plentiful the last week. It was suggested that it might be raw salad; but this was again knocked on the head, as no raw salad has been eaten for about three weeks, and then it was washed in distilled water and vinegar, and several of the fever patients never ate salad. The last suggestion was the camp itself. This is the most probable, as before we arrived this camp was covered with refugees from all parts; and with the very dry weather, and then the heavy rains, most of the doctors think it is due to this. Some of the cases have been pretty bad in spite of the inoculation. Temperatures are 104.8 and several are delirious. Fortunately none of the wounded have it.
We have had a terrible hurricane to-day, and a bad thunderstorm. Two tents were blown down. The hailstones were as big as large marbles.
Tuesday, June 15, 1915.
I was taken bad to-day with gastritis. Dr. Atkinson is attending me. I hope to be up in a few days. It is due to overstrain of the nerves. We have sent for five more nurses to come and help us. I have a lot to be thankful for that I have not got typhoid.
Wednesday, June 16, 1915.
Mrs. Stobart is about again.
Prince Alexis came to see our camp this evening. I feel a little better.
This has been a funny day, one that we shall never forget. At 6.30 a telephone message came up from the Government Office that we were going to have an aerial raid, and that we had better clear our camp. Twenty aeroplanes were expected, six were to throw bombs on Kragujevatz, and the others were going on to the Danube. All the patients had to be taken by one road and the staff by another, and they had to go about half a mile from the camp. Two oxen were put into one of Derry & Tom's carts, and patients who could not walk were put in, and these were the first to leave. Then the motors came round for the staff that could not walk. Dr. May Atkinson did not want me to go; however, Mrs. Stobart insisted, and I was the last of the poor victims to be carted away. I was put on a stretcher and jolted down the road for half a mile with the other members of the unit, and we were plumped down on the roadside while others were fetched, and this went on until the camp was actually cleared. This was at 6.30 and the aeroplanes were expected at 8.
No aeroplanes came after all this excitement. Some kind member of the unit managed to get me some bovril, as I was not allowed solid food. At about 10.30 breakfast was sent up, boiled eggs and some cheese. I expect this was thought a suitable diet for a patient suffering from a high temperature.
The army camp near was also cleared of its soldiers and oxen. At 11.30 a message came that we could return to our camp as the flight had been stopped, and that one of the aeroplanes had been brought down by the French and Italians.
I have five Austrian orderlies; their names are—Mike, Mick, Peet, Steve and Milko; they are really splendid, and so willing. They are all so sorry I am ill, and they all come round to see me and wanted to know if I was "too much sick." Mike works harder than ever, and says "Missis ill, Mike work hard, Mike good boy."
Friday, June 18, 1915.
I have been in bed all day but am feeling better. It is very hot again. Four nurses from the Farmer's unit at Belgrade arrived to help us; two from the Scotch Hospital came on Wednesday, and four have come from another unit, so we shall no longer be single-handed.
All the staff who have typhoid are getting on nicely.
Saturday, June 19, 1915.
I am allowed up for a little this afternoon, so to-morrow I hope to be about again.
Two great guns have been brought up near this camp. Two of the patients are about again. Dr. Atkinson will not let me go back to work again until my temperature has been normal for forty-eight hours. The work is very hard and there is no end to it. I hear we are to be sent for a few days' rest to another unit. We constantly have members of other units coming over for two or three days' rest here; it is so nice being friendly with all the other different units out here.
Dr. Dearmer has gone to Salonika to fetch the members of the new unit; they arrive to-morrow.
We have heard that the Saidieh has been torpedoed, and seven of the crew are lost. The Germans have been after this boat for a long time. We should have been torpedoed coming out if it had not been for the rough weather and the sea-fog on Easter Sunday.
The Saidieh had just returned to England under sealed orders by the Government. I am thankful that our nice captain was saved—John Reginald Ryall. We are anxious to hear about the chief officer and chief engineer.
I have a Serbian to take my place while I am away from work in the patients' kitchen; he is a splendid cook. He amuses us with his moustache; he keeps it pressed in a frame in the early morning. I think if it got burnt with his cooking it would be the death of him.
We started working this camp two months ago this Friday. We hear that Dr. May left England on the 18th with a fresh unit.
The baby belonging to the poor woman who was wounded by shrapnel died this morning; it is a blessing as the poor little thing had been so neglected. But the dear nurse that was looking after the baby was heartbroken. We called her Copper Nob, because she had such lovely red hair.
Most of the wounded soldiers have quite lost their nerve. When they hear that aeroplanes are coming they are quite panic-struck. We were to have had practice this morning with balloons; one man fled.
We have such a number of hooded crows here, and some birds called golden oriole.
Monday, June 21, 1915.
Nothing of interest has happened this evening. We still have crowds of visitors every day to see the camp.
Tuesday, June 22, 1915.
I am still not allowed out of my tent. I just feel like a naughty child who has been sent to her room. My temperature will not be obedient and go to its normal condition. To-day three of our unit who have been ill have gone for a few days to Vrynatchka Banja to Dr. Berry's unit. When they return the doctors want me to go. We are just in the midst of another bad storm.
Wednesday, June 23, 1915.
Two of the second Farmer's unit have come to see our Field Hospital to-day; they are from Pojeropatz. We have the most ghastly thunderstorm every evening; the lightning scarcely ever ceases now; the thunder generally lasts about two hours; the rain comes down in pailfuls.
Thursday, June 24, 1915.
We have The Times Correspondent, a Mr. Robinson, staying here. It is interesting in the evening to see the little fireflies flying about all round the camps; they seem to be more and more each night.
Friday, June 25, 1915.
I am still in the doctor's hands, and am not allowed to work owing to my having a temperature. I have been in my tent nearly two weeks but am almost better. I am to be sent for four or five days' change to Dr. Berry's unit at Vrynatchka Banja. It is almost thirty miles from here, and a glorious place I hear. We shall motor over. No more of our patients have typhoid. Twenty-six of our unit have been ill all together; some have been very serious cases. I have had a greater power of resistance owing to my inoculation; most of those who have had typhoid were inoculated just before coming out here.
Saturday, June 26, 1915.
I have been allowed out to-day. Dr. Dearmer arrived from Salonika yesterday, with two cooks, five nurses and a chauffeur; he went to meet them from England. They are for the roadside dispensaries, so they are staying here for a little time to give us some help. Mrs. Dearmer has been very ill with typhoid.
Sunday, June 27, 1915.
Sir Ralph Paget has been over to see us to-day, also a Mr. Petrovitch. Five of the doctors and my two cooks came over to have tea with me. To-morrow I am going away.
Monday, June 28, 1915.
Three of the doctors have been ill, so we did not get off to Dr. Berry's to-day. We had the most ghastly thunderstorm this evening, lasting two hours, such big hailstones. Dr. Payne, Nurse Berry and Nurse Newhall, Mr. Black and myself had breakfast at 6.15. We took plenty of refreshments with us and left the camp in the motor ambulance for Vrynatchka Banja. It is sixty miles from Kragujevatz. We came through the most gorgeous scenery, and it was so picturesque to see the women and the boys working in the maize fields. The women never wear hats, only coloured handkerchiefs over their heads, and if in mourning the handkerchiefs are black. We had lunch when we got about half way; then another bad storm came on and in a few minutes we could scarcely see in front of us for thick mist. We soon drove through it and came into quite dry ground again. The fields are perfectly wonderful with wild flowers, the most beautiful colours.
The hedges are all acacia trees, and the most lovely wild flowers. Butterflies and beetles are very plentiful. We had only one puncture, and changed the wheel and went on merrily again. We arrived at Vrynatchka Banja at about 2.30. We had a lovely welcome from the members of Dr. Berry's unit; six of them had come out on the Saidieh with us; several of them have been over to see us at our camp. We had tea at 4 o'clock and at 6 we went to a lecture given by Dr. Berry. In the evening we had some music. The other members of our unit which were here when we arrived left at 9 o'clock for Kragujevatz the following morning, leaving us three here for a rest. We saw them off; then Nurse Berry and I went to see the town, leaving Nurse Newhall in bed. This place is simply charming; it is far more beautiful than Kragujevatz, and is one of the fashionable watering places in Serbia. This hospital is very large and we have hot and cold water and electric light. Dr. Berry has several other hospitals besides; they have only 130 patients. This afternoon I went into the large ward for some music with the wounded. We sang and played to them. The wounded are most grateful for all that is done. They call us all "Sistra" and often "Dobra Sistra," which means good sister. The Serbian men look so fragile, with the exception of the higher class, who are mostly fine, strong-looking men. The women are splendid, so handsome and strong looking; they do most of the manual labour. The magnificent courage of the Serbian women will never be forgotten. Some have lost father, brothers, husbands and sons. These women have one simple answer: "Sistra, they died for their country!" Before such patriotism we can but kneel and pray for the simple faith which shall teach each one of us to be brave enough to do the same. Their country, beautiful and fertile like our own, is ravaged; disease, war and famine, yet they still go on. The Austrian prisoners do most of the work; they are such a nice race of men, and so willing, and never mind what they do. They hate warfare. We are all impressed with them. It seems hard that they have to fight against the Serbs. We went for a pretty walk after tea; we all went to bed early.
Thursday, July 1, 1915.
It is just three months to-day since we left home. This morning I went into the kitchen and learnt several Serbian dishes. My two companions were not well, so stayed in bed. I went to see them at 10.30 and found Nurse Berry very flushed. I took her temperature and found it 103°, and her pulse 116°, so I fetched the doctor and she has to stay in bed. I spent this afternoon with Nurse Berry, and this evening we were taken to see the town. We went over two hospitals, then through the park, and to the post to get stamps. The Post Office was closed, but the girl was outside, so she served us; she had not change and trusted us with 2 dinas' worth of stamps, which shows how the Serbs trust the English. The town is very picturesque, such lovely trees everywhere; the shops are very small. I bought some lovely coloured stockings. A man in the hospital has to be operated on for glands and is not allowed food. When it was time for his operation he refused to be done; however, the doctors persuaded him. After the chloroform he was violently sick, and he brought up nothing but red matter. The doctors thought at first it was blood and they thought they had cut a vein. However, it appears the man had gone off and gorged himself with mulberries as he did not like being starved. White and red mulberry trees grow wild over here. I went to see a doctor at Dr. Banks' unit at the Red Cross Hospital for Dr. Dearmer; they told us the story that Dr. Dearmer had written in the English papers about the man who was thought to be dead and was put into his coffin. After the coffin was put into the mortuary the man managed to get out and was found by the nurse back in his bed.
Friday, July 2, 1915.
I have had a most interesting day; I spent part of the morning in the wards, helping with dressings. It is really terrible to see these poor men; most of them have lost their legs and feet; hundreds and hundreds of the men have lost their toes and feet through frost-bite; one poor fellow of only twenty-two has lost both his feet, and often calls me to show me the two stumps. It would be a blessing if some of these poor men had been killed right out, instead of all the suffering they go through. Most of them seem happy, and it is because they won't be able to go and fight again. Nurse Berry and Nurse Newhall have been in bed nearly all day; they are in my care. After lunch I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, learning Serbian cooking; their method of pastry making is perfectly wonderful. They make the flour into a paste with water and fat. Then it is stretched over tables and it is pulled out until it is as thin as paper. This evening I was to have gone into the town, but we made a call on a French lady and a big storm came on and we did not get any further.
Saturday, July 3, 1915.
Dr. and Mrs. Berry went to Kragujevatz in the morning for a conference. We went into the town, did some shopping and had some raspberry drink and cakes at a café; we had a glorious walk back. This afternoon we heard that there was a funeral; then we heard a lot of wailing in the distance, so we put on our things and went to the cemetery. We met the procession of about twenty women with a lot of banners and baskets of food. It seems that the corpse they were mourning for had been dead some time, forty days, so it was just an anniversary. When we arrived at the cemetery the women put the flags against a tree, then knelt down round the grave and began to wail and cry bitterly. Then they lighted candles and put them on the grave. They unpacked the baskets and put plates of food all over the grave—bread, rice, cucumber cut in slices, cherries, little bowls of jam, onions, little glasses of wine and decanters of water. We watched this ceremony for about half an hour. Some of the mourners ate the food and kept kissing the grave. There were no end of mourners at other graves doing the same thing. It was the most pathetic sight I have ever seen, so sad to see the poor things.
Sunday, July 4, 1915.
A very wet day; nothing but rain and thunder. After tea we went down for a sulphur bath. Such a quaint place; it was a round deep hole with running water only about six yards wide; the water was warm. After breakfast we went another walk up to the cemetery. All the food that had been left on the graves on Saturday had been eaten by the women who had been wailing round the graves, with the exception of a few apples and cherries that had been left on the ledges of some of the crosses. We had a lovely walk back through some woods. There are crowds of wild cherry trees laden with cherries, wild mulberries and walnuts. The vine trees are also plentiful and so well trained. The land is fairly well cultivated, considering that all the men are fighting. The women are splendid workers. This afternoon I went again to learn some Serbian dishes. There is such a nice woman here as cook. As soon as she heard I was interested she said she would show me some of their dishes, and Dr. Berry's sister is so good in letting me go down into the kitchen to learn. We have been over most of the hospitals here; really very good, and they are so clean. The park is glorious, but it amused me to see spittoons all along the pathways.
Tuesday, July 6, 1915.
We went shopping this morning and came home through the park. After lunch we rested till 2.30, then went for a picnic as it was one of the nurses' birthdays. We did not go far, only to the top of the hill, but the view round was magnificent, the lights and shades so perfect. Just before we started for our picnic, Mrs. Berry, who had been spending the week-end at our camp, arrived back with one nurse to take me back to the camp. They came by train; Dr. Berry and another of our nurses came by car. We heard some very sad news, and this was that one of the nurses was dead, Nurse Ferris, a strong healthy girl of twenty-five years of age. She was to be married in September. She was taken ill just about a week before me with typhoid. It does not say much for inoculation. Nurse Ferris was a good nurse; she had a bright cheerful manner and was always the same. She knew Serbian better than any one in the camp, and could sing the Serbian anthem. It seems strange that she should have picked up Serbian in this manner and then be put to rest in the country. It seems she died on Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock. She was taken to the mortuary in the town and then laid to rest on Monday. She had a large military funeral. All the staff from our camp went, all the Government officials and the units from the other hospitals, and all the doctors from these parts who had come over to Kragujevatz for the doctors' conference. They had a band and she was buried near the other nurses who had died from the Scotch Hospital at Kragujevatz. She was only put into a temporary grave as, when the war is over, the Government will erect a monument to all who have died. Dr. Dearmer conducted the service. The last I saw of Nurse Ferris was the night before I came here. I went to have a peep at all our poor invalids. When the poor girl saw me she looked up and smiled and waved to me. I little thought it was the last time I should see her. Nurse Ferris and I always had little jokes together when she came to meals; she was beloved by all in her ward. It seems this is the first English service that has been conducted in a Greek cathedral; the prince gave his consent and sent his secretary.
Lady Cook and Austrian prisoner orderlies at Mrs. Stobart's camp Hospital, Kragujevatz.
Face page 64
Wednesday, July 7, 1915.
We leave this afternoon at 3 o'clock. This morning I went shopping, bought a lot of handkerchiefs and some Serbian pots. At 2.30 the carriage came to take the two nurses, who had come over to fetch me, and myself to the station. Nurse Newhall came with us, and Mrs. Berry's sister, Miss Dickinson. We had three miles' drive to the station; we arrived at 3.20 and the train was expected at 4.15 but it never arrived till 5.10. This is the usual thing in Serbia; we only have sixty miles to go. We arrived at 9; the train stopped at every station from 15 to 20 minutes, so the people get out of the train and sit by the side of the railways. It makes the journey quite enjoyable when one is not pressed for time. Our train was going on to Belgrade. We had two French people, and all the rest were Serbians in our carriage. The train was full of soldiers going to Belgrade. The soldiers all travel in trucks, the officers in the ordinary way. I wonder how our Tommies would like this. We were to spend the night at a little cottage rented by Dr. Banks for the Red Cross at Stellatch. A boy at the station insisted on saying there was no such place; the railway officials wanted us to remain at the station, but we insisted on our little cottage and we soon found it in the dark. A very nice woman lived at this cottage, and her two children, a girl and a boy. We were put into this room with two stretchers. A nice Serbian who could talk French at the station said there were only two stretchers, so he sent up a third. We had a few sandwiches which we brought with us, then tucked ourselves up for the night on the stretchers, but it was impossible to sleep for fleas and mosquitoes. We heard that the train for Kragujevatz left at 7 o'clock, so we got up soon after 5. It was very quaint on the way seeing little boys and girls driving along the roads flocks of sheep, pigs and chickens. All the children here seem quite grown up; the schools are all closed and they have to help in the fields with their mothers. The girls are very neat looking; they all part their hair at the side and have a neat plait at the back or wound round their head, and they have a handkerchief tied on their head. The middle-aged women part their hair in the middle and the hair always covers the ears. It is dreadfully hot. On arriving at the station we were told that the train would not leave till 1.30. We have been trying to shade ourselves under a tree all day as it is too hot to walk. It is now 12.45 and our train is appearing in the station; our porter had just rushed up the hill to fetch us; it is not often one gets a train leaving fifty minutes before the time. We got to Kragujevatz at 7 o'clock, after a most tedious journey. It was so funny. Half an hour before getting to Kragujevatz I discovered that Miss Vera Holmes and Mrs. Haverfield were in the same train. It was so nice to see them; they were going to the Scotch Hospital, so they have asked me to go to tea with them to-morrow. On arriving at Kragujevatz we could not get a cab, so we had to telephone for one of the motors to fetch us.
Friday, July 9, 1915.
We had such a welcome back. One of the cooks is not well, so I had to do her work. I went to tea to the Scottish Women's Hospital to meet Miss Vera Holmes and Mrs. Haverfield. I did not stay long as I had a lot to do, so many of our unit are ill. Mrs. Dearmer is seriously ill. This is the most anxious night; she has five doctors with her; she has typhoid and double pneumonia. Every twenty minutes she has oxygen given her; it would be terrible if anything happened to her; she is so nice and we are all so fond of her.
Saturday, July 10, 1915.
Mrs. Dearmer just a little easier to-day. The stores arrived to-day for the wayside dispensaries.
Sunday, July 11, 1915.
This has been a very sad day. Dear Mrs. Dearmer passed away at 7.30; she was buried this afternoon at 5 o'clock owing to the hot weather, and it being a general holiday it had to take place at once. At 7 o'clock four of Dr. Berry's unit from Vrynatchka Banja came to stay at our camp for two days. I have been looking after the invalid dishes for the typhoid fever patients. I made Mrs. Dearmer a large cross of some gorgeous white wild flowers with acacia and clematis. The Serbian Government sent up some lovely wreaths; the coffin was of silver and gilt, very handsome; it had the Union Jack over and was covered with wreaths. At 4.30 the remains were brought from her own tent to a tent we had turned into a little chapel; it really looked sweet. At 5 o'clock the hearse arrived, a ghastly looking thing, with a statue of a man in armour seated on the top. It gave me a dreadful shock when I saw it; it reminded me of a circus; then all the Government officials arrived, officers—the French, English and Serbian, and the prince sent a representative. Crowds of people arrived from other units. We had a military band; then the priests arrived, two in pale blue oriental satin robes decorated with gold, and one a peacock oriental satin edged with gold, one a rich velvet decorated with gold, one a red oriental satin edged with gold, and the sixth a black gown edged with silver. Each priest carried a candle, then two other men came carrying incense. We all followed the hearse in twos as far as the Greek cathedral; all the streets were lined with people to the cathedral, and the cathedral was packed. The coffin was put near the altar and we all stood round. A large lighted candle was put facing the coffin and the six priests stood in front. They all took part in the service. I forgot to say one cross was in silver, with Mabel Dearmer written on it, and it had a large ribbon bow. The band played until we got to the cathedral, and when it stopped the people sang. The Serbs have lovely voices. They remind me of the Welsh. It was terribly sad; the singing in the cathedral was glorious; the service lasted about an hour and a half. One of the French officers read a little address from the cathedral steps, then we walked on to the cemetery, about a mile; the band led, then the hearse and the mourners. Dr. Dearmer, Dr. Marsden and Dr. Atkinson met us at the cemetery gates; the priests continued their prayers in Serbian; then Rev. Mr. Little, who has come to join our unit, read our English service. The grave was lined with white and decorated with clematis. Mrs. Dearmer was buried next to Nurse Ferris. The coffin was lowered into a box, then the lid was put on. After the service Dr. Dearmer, Dr. Marsden, Dr. Atkinson went off in the motor for a few days. We all got into motors and carriages and returned to the camp.
Monday, July 12, 1915.
We have been busy all day packing and getting ready the roadside dispensary; this will be the chief depôt; the first dispensary will be twenty-five miles from here. The units for the dispensary go on Wednesday. I had the most lovely caterpillar given me to-day; it is three inches long, and is a most lovely green with lovely pale blue spots on it, and little tufts of hair come round the blue spots. What it is I do not know, and a man who is very well up in these kind of things could not tell me. I went to see two members of our unit off to Nish this evening. To-day a Frenchman has been practising in a Serbian aeroplane over our camp; it is most exciting.
Dr. Dearmer has decided to return to England to-morrow.
Tuesday, July 13, 1915.
We finished getting ready the stores for the dispensary to-day. Dr. Dearmer and Dr. Marsden left for Malta; Dr. Dearmer has his son there.
Wednesday, July 14, 1915.
This morning we were up at 4.15 as ten of the new unit were leaving to start the dispensary, twenty-five miles away; they left with all their equipments. Just as they were ready to start the Rev. Mr. Sewell arrived, and Mrs. Sewell from Belgrade. Dr. Hanson and Mr. and Mrs. Sewell and I had tea together in Dr. Atkinson's tent. This morning Major Potridge took me to the arsenal to choose a transport kitchen which the Serbians captured from the Austrians. I was taken all over the arsenal, which was most interesting. It is most wonderful the amount of guns which the Serbs have taken from the Austrians. Mr. Paulhan, the French aviator, is here. He won the Daily Mail prize; he flies over the camp very often going to Belgrade. Six of our unit go to Belgrade this evening for a few days. I hope to go before returning to England.
Friday, July 16, 1915.
Mrs. Stobart and three of the Government officials went to choose a site for another dispensary. I was up at 3.30 and we had breakfast at 4.30. I went to the market to order things for the week. Sunday is the great day for the market. It is so picturesque to see all the Serbs in their quaint costumes. The gipsies are lovely. They have gorgeous striped skirts, homespun, lovely coloured belts with large buckles, home-made stockings wonderfully embroidered, fancy zouave, and fancy coloured scarves on their heads. One of the doctors and I were invited out to an engagement ceremony. It was really most interesting. One of our interpreters who was single was told that there was a girl who would make him a suitable wife, so he went to see her early last week, liked her, so proposed. She is nineteen and he is about thirty-five years of age. The girl possesses a maize field, a wheat field and a walnut tree. This is considered a very good dowry. At 3.30 the interpreter called for us; the cottage where the girl and her people live is about ten minutes walk from the camp. On our way we met several of the man's relations. On arriving at the house we were met by her relations, who were standing all along the pathway to the front door. The men shook hands with us and the women kissed our hands. We were taken into the front room, a good sized one with a table in the middle; there was tapestry all round the walls which had been done by the girl. The Serbs do the most beautiful work with the handlooms, and it is all done with the pure wool from the sheep, which one sees the women spinning as they walk along the streets. We sat round the table and talked till all the guests had arrived. The girl went round kissing all the women relations on the hands and face, the men and the guests on the hands, the fiancé did likewise; then the engaged couple stood in the centre of the room and had the ring presented, a gold ring with a diamond and ruby. The ring was put on the little finger of the right hand. The engaged couple kissed all the people again; we then started with refreshments. The girl did everything. A tray was handed round first with a dish of cakes and glasses of wine; this was to drink the health of the guests. We only took a sip of wine and the glasses were put back on the tray; then the girl went out and brought in another tray, the same wine and cakes; this was to drink the bride's health; then a third lot was brought in to drink the bridegroom's health. Then a tray came in with two dishes of jam and glasses of cold water and spoons. We all eat a spoonful of jam and drank a little water; the last tray had little cups of Turkish coffee. After this we sat and talked; the ceremony was over. Fortunately we were not far from the camp as a blizzard came up with a terrible sand storm. We rushed round to help with the tents and patients. This was a difficult task. We got our patients taken away in the motors to our new building near. The hospital ward tents stood well; as they are all double, only three came down, and the poles were not broken, so were soon put up. Fifteen came down in all, the staff mess tent, the men's mess tent, the kitchen tent and some of the sleeping tents. We had several of the military authorities helping us. The storm lasted for two hours and then all was quite calm again. We had a lovely picnic supper under a large shelter the Government officials had put up for us. The next day we were busy putting things straight after the storm. I was not well again, so was sent to bed. I had to get up in the afternoon to pack, as Dr. Atkinson had arranged for me to go to Belgrade to the British Fever Hospital. Four of our unit are returning to England, so they have come with us to Belgrade. Eight of us left for Belgrade by the 12 train. We had a through carriage, most comfortable. Dr. Curcin had arranged it for us. The English military attaché, Col. Harrison, came to see us off. A motor took us from the camp; we had a lovely journey and arrived at Belgrade at 10 a.m. It is sad to see how Belgrade is destroyed. Our driver was too funny. The roads were terribly bad; we had quite a young boy to drive us. He jumped off the box part way to shake hands with some of his friends in a cart; he got a cigar from them, lighted it and then ran after his carriage again. We had gone on quite a long distance with our two horses. When we got a little further our driver jumped down again, this time for a drink of water on the roadside, and to buy a cake. We arrived at the British Fever Hospital at 11 o'clock; we were given a very nice ward, and the two nurses and I were sent to bed, and we had to go on light diet for forty-eight hours. I have been put on milk only, so I am very cross; it is very dull in bed, but I know many of the Farmers' unit as so many came out in theSaidieh with us.
Tuesday, July 20, 1915.
We have had a dull day in bed. Belgrade has been terribly shattered with bombs. This hospital faces the Danube; it is most interesting. The snipers have been firing a good deal to-day, and we hear the guns at night. It seems a shame that so many of these lovely buildings are in ruins.
Wednesday, July 21, 1915.
Still in bed on milk diet; it is dull work. This afternoon an Austrian aeroplane has been flying over us, and the Serbs have been firing at it.
Thursday, July 22, 1915.
At 3.40 this morning heavy firing started, and it continued for half an hour; soon after we heard aeroplanes; there were two Austrian ones which came over dropping bombs. They flew over this hospital many times. The Serbs started firing at them, and the shrapnel fell on the road below, quite a lot of it. If I had been all right I should have got some. The aeroplanes now have dropped a lot of sealed packets with long silvery ribbon which floated along for many miles in the air; it was quite nice to see them in the sun. We have just heard that the long silver ribbon contained a sealed packet addressed to the governor of Belgrade, saying that unless the Serbians surrender they will start bombarding the town. It is the anniversary of the declaration of war on Serbia to-day. I have just had three more months' extension of leave from the Governors of the Institute, saying they have appreciated all the valuable work I have been doing, and have granted me another three months' leave, from the commencement of next session.
The British Fever Hospital,
Friday, July 23, 1915.
Friday, July 23, 1915.
Six of our unit arrived over from the camp to say good-bye to us; they were returning to England; they wanted to see Belgrade before returning. A few guns were fired at Semlin by the Serbs. It is splendid to see the way the Serbian women work. Some of the work-rooms at the arsenal were full of them, and even little boys and girls of fourteen and fifteen years of age. When the bullets and cartridges are finished they are tested in another machine, and if they have any defects they are shot out again. The Austrian kitchens are considered wonderful, they are so well fitted up.
Saturday, July 24, 1915.
I was awakened this morning at 5 o'clock by more guns being fired, but it only lasted a short time. Sir Ralph and Lady Paget called to see one of their nurses who is at this hospital with typhus (so they came in to see us). One of the doctors is here with an orderly to look after her. Lady Paget still looks very ill after her illness of typhus. I had a long talk with her; she is a charming woman, and Sir Ralph is very nice. There has been an interesting fête given to-day by the gipsies; they sent invitations to all the hospitals here. It was held in a large building. Several trays of refreshments were handed round; after that they played violins and some other funny instruments; they play and sing very well, but it is so weird. The French have sent round to the gipsy villages as their huts were condemned as not being fit to live in; but the funny part is that the gipsy quarter has had no cases of disease like other parts of Serbia. It is pouring with rain and the streets are simply flooded several inches deep; the children take off their shoes and stockings and paddle, but most of the children do not wear shoes and stockings. This is the only place in Serbia where there are wood and asphalt roads, all the other roads are in a terribly cobbly state, and in a most deplorable condition. The shops are nearly all closed. Some of the people just open in the evening. The air raid we had the other day: a French aviator went up and there was a battle in the air; Monsieur Paulhan fired on the Austrian aeroplane and brought it down in Austrian territory; the aviator was killed; a photograph was taken after shooting. This is the third Austrian aeroplane that has been brought down by the French aviator since he came here. We hear the guns each day; the French aeroplane goes over the Austrian territory, and then we hear the Austrians firing on it. We have some of our Marines five miles from here with large guns, also French and Russian. The doctor allowed one of the nurses and me to go for an hour's drive to-day. We drove all round the town past the King's Palace. Some of the buildings are very fine but so many are in ruins. No trams or trains are allowed to run, otherwise the Austrians begin firing. If any of the nurses are seen near with their caps and aprons the Austrians begin at once firing; they think they must be Serbian officers.
Wednesday, July 28, 1915.
The French aeroplane has been flying round again to-day. One of the nurses and I went for another drive in a ramshackle carriage with two horses. When we got a little way the wheel came off; it was soon mended and we started off again, and the poor old carriage came to grief a second time, but fortunately we were near a blacksmith's place.
Thursday, July 29, 1915.
This has been a dull day. The doctor would not allow me to go out as my temperature is inclined to go up and I have a bad pulse. The Austrians are splendid men, and it seems so terrible to see these nice refined men doing all kinds of dirty work; it makes me think of our poor English prisoners in Germany.
I am much better to-day and the doctor allowed the nurse to take me across to the hotel where we had tea; it was such a nice change. Another of our unit came over from the camp to stay a few days. I had a letter from Dr. Atkinson telling me that Dr. May had arrived from England, and that Mrs. Stobart had gone to Lapovo to start another dispensary. Two Serbian regiments passed last evening, the best drilled Serbs we have seen since we arrived; there were eighty in each regiment; then a lot of horses and donkeys passed, laden with wood. I am proud to say that I have not seen any soldiers march better than our men in England since I left.
Sunday, August 1, 1915.
I have not been allowed out the last two days, as the doctor was not pleased with me. This is a lovely hospital, it will hold over 500 beds; it was an university before the war; the art rooms on the top floor are splendid.
Monday, August 2, 1915.
I have been allowed out for a little to-day. I went round to the hotel to tea with our nurses who were returning to England with eight of this unit.
In the morning our French aeroplane flew over to spy on the Austrians, so the Austrians fired on it. It was so curious to see clouds of grey and red smoke when the shells burst; it was quite different from the ordinary shot that had been fired at the aeroplanes before. A lot of the people here had a near shave of being blown up with the bombs. One fell just near a man I met yesterday and he was blown up four feet and not hurt at all.
Tuesday, August 3, 1915.
To-day I had a walk round Belgrade to see the shops; some of them are very fine, but things are most expensive and the shop-people are very quaint, they do not care if they sell their goods or not. The sister who looks after me took me for a little walk this afternoon. We went down near the Save to look across at Semlin; we are not allowed to go too near, otherwise the snipers fire upon us. We saw the bridge that crosses the Save, which the Serbians blew up to prevent the Austrians crossing. We also went into several houses that have been ruined with bombs. We could see the cathedral at Semlin quite plainly. The sister and I went after to see the cathedral; the paintings are very fine. It is fortunate that—up to the present—it has not been damaged inside. Malaria is starting here; we had four cases in yesterday. The doctor is afraid of our getting it, so we are to return to the camp to-morrow. I am not to go on duty for another two weeks. There has been much discussion in Serbia about our camp, and it seems that the site chosen was not a suitable one. First of all a camp should be on a slope, as I have always learnt from my V.A.D. lectures. Secondly, the kind of soil should have been taken into consideration; I should have thought that a porous soil would have been best, but our camp is on clay. Thirdly, I think inquiries should have been made as to what the land had been used for before pitching our tents. Another camp had been on our site before, and we heard that refugees had been living on the land for some time. When we arrived the land was covered with bullocks, sheep, goats, pigs, fowls, ducks, which, of course, produced flies, and as flies carry disease, I should think it was very unsuitable.
Friday, August 6, 1915.
I was taken bad in the night, so the doctor would not let me return to the camp with the other members of our unit. The nurses are giving us a tea-party, as they have had all kinds of lovely things sent from England. I had Sister Barnes looking after me, such a nice girl, who has travelled a great deal; a nurse who was at the Battersea A.V.S.H. for four years, also a doctor's wife, who is married to one of the doctors here; she is a Yorkshire girl, very charming. The three members in our unit return to the camp this evening at Vrynatchka Banja. One of the patients produced an egg every morning for his breakfast; it was discovered that he had encouraged a hen to come into his bed, and then it took to laying its eggs. We have sixteen more patients brought in to-night with malaria; it seems to be spreading rapidly, so it is a good thing that our people have returned to Kragujevatz. All the doctors out here think that mistakes were made at the first when typhus broke out, by sending the cases all over Serbia to different hospitals, instead of keeping them in hospitals at Nish, where it first started, and finding out the cause. It seems that Serbia still requires more sanitary inspectors, though a great deal has been done and is being done at the present time.
Saturday, August 7, 1915.
I was taken bad again in the night, so I am again in bed. The doctor has given me something to make me sleep, so I feel a little better. They say I went on duty too soon after enteric. It does seem a shame that the Austrian prisoners from the hospital have been sent elsewhere to-day, they were such nice men and they do their work splendidly. The one that looked after my ward brought me a large bowl of flowers this morning, and he was always so pleased when the nurse allowed him to bring me my medicine. I have had forty-five letters in less than three weeks, people are so good in writing to me. I hear that I have more letters than any one in the camp. Mrs. Askew is staying in Belgrade, and she heard I was ill, so came in to see me. They have no work to do in their unit just now. Mrs. Askew has had a horse given her, so she goes out riding every morning from 4.30 to 5.30. The chaplain, Mr. Sewell, comes to see me very often; his wife helps in the kitchen; they are a delightful couple. They come from Bristol; a good many people here come from the North of England. A little boy of thirteen years of age was brought in here yesterday; he has fever, was in the Serbian uniform, and is a sergeant-major, such a curious little fellow.
Monday, August 9, 1915.
This morning Mr. Sewell had a little service for one of the nurses who has had typhus and me; it is very nice having a chaplain with us. Still in bed, so feel rather dull. Mr. Winch, the head of this unit, paid me a visit this morning; then Mr. Sewell, the chaplain, came. Miss Trendle, the matron, brought me books and papers. A nurse was telling me a story that had been told her: the doctors heard a great scream, went out to seewhat had happened; an old woman had fallen and dislocated her patella; she would not allow any one to touch her, and they sent off for a funny old woman whom they looked upon as a witch. She came, and first put some sugar over the fractured part, then a poached egg; then a bandage was put on; then the old witch got people to hold the injured woman while she took the bad foot and pulled and pulled as hard as she could.
We hear that a lot of Austrians swam across the Danube the other day to join the Serbian Army; the Austrians were drowned; the Serbs sent a boat to rescue them, but it was too late. A few weeks ago one of the Serbs swam across and joined the Austrians.
Thursday, August 12, 1915.
This afternoon at 2 o'clock the Austrians started shelling this town. The first shell dropped two doors from this hospital, setting the place in flames; two shells struck two of the hotels. The shelling lasted about three-quarters of an hour, but our firing soon stopped them. It was from Semlin the Austrians were firing, and the guns must have been very big as the shells were a very large size; I have a piece of one. This is indeed a wicked war, so many people absolutely ruined and their homes smashed to pieces. The matron from this hospital returns to England in about ten days' time; she is having a picnic this afternoon in the Botanical Gardens. One of our naval men has just come up here. It seems that the Austrians fired two shells on to Milanovatz; we replied by firing back four shells into one of their towns. The Austrians replied by firing back eleven shells on Belgrade; we sent back twenty-two shells into Semlin; then the house was set on fire two doors from this hospital. A man blew a big whistle for the fire alarm in the middle of the road. The doctor had me moved into one of the back wards, as this ward is in the range for firing; all the patients were removed to the back.
Friday, August 13, 1915.
We hear that twenty-two bombs fired from here destroyed a lot of houses and a lot of people in Semlin. Fires were seen blazing all round; only one man was killed here and very little damage done. The shells fired by the Austrians were from their 6-inch guns. The ward I am in is a mass of flowers to-day; a lot of the nurses brought them for me last night; they are all so kind to me.
Saturday, August 14, 1915.
This evening about 10 o'clock a fire broke out at the back of this hospital, about 150 yards away. It was a large brewery and was burnt to the ground. We watched it until 12 o'clock; the sparks were a sight floating along in the air. It was a chance for the Austrians to attack, as Belgrade was lighted up all round. The searchlights look lovely all along the Danube. We have Serbs, English and French here.
Sunday, August 15, 1915.
This morning the Serbians have been shelling some of the islands along the Danube.
Monday, August 16, 1915.
The Serbians and Austrians have been busy firing all the afternoon and evening. We hear that the Austrians have found out where the English guns are. They have smashed one of our English cannons; several Serbians have been wounded. The Austrians have been trying for some time to move their camp, as they want to go and help the Turks. The Serbs, as soon as any attempt is made, fire on them. The sky was lighted up with searchlights last night; this has never occurred before, and probably Zeppelins were expected. The searchlights are generally on the Danube and Save. My doctor here returned from our camp this evening, so I have had another doctor looking after me.
Wednesday, August 18, 1915.
Several of our unit came over from the camp to-day; they have two days' leave, so they have come over to see Belgrade. Two are staying on for a few days, as one is still feeling ill. I hear Dr. Atkinson is over at Vrynatchka Banja with one of the orderlies who has had an operation; they thought she was going to have cancer in the chest, but it is a cist. I am much better this evening.
Thursday, August 19, 1915.
We have had no more of the Austrian fireworks over here the last two days; I expect the Serbs, English and French quieted them down the other evening; we have plenty of large guns here. King Peter has a lovely palace, but it has been very much damaged. This afternoon I was allowed to go for a short walk, then I went to tea with one of the nurses who has had typhus. Nineteen of us went to her tea-party.
Friday, August 20, 1915.
Sister Barnes goes to Uskub to-morrow, so it has been arranged that she takes me with her to stay a few days before returning to Kragujevatz. We have had a nice wire from Lady Paget this afternoon, saying that she was sending to meet us. Every one is so kind to me; the doctors will not allow me to return to the camp until I have had another change. This morning I went to the fort, as I had not been anywhere; the commandant took us all over and showed us everything. We looked through glasses from the trenches and saw the Austrians on the other side; we could see the damage done by our shells on Semlin. We could see two monitors on the Danube; they are only allowed to move a few miles, otherwise we fire on them. We went into the trenches, but had to be careful not to be seen. We saw a large unexploded bomb; it was fortunate it had not burst; we also saw a small one which had gone right into a tree. The buildings round the forts are quite in ruins. At 4.30 the matron had a carriage for me and let me go to see the hospital they have got for babies; so many babies had died through neglect, so they have got this "Baby Farm," as they call it. It looks on the Danube, and you can see the railway bridge that went over to Austria, which was blown up by the Serbs. We had tea with a friend of mine, Miss Bankhart, and the doctor who has been attending me; we could not stay long as the carriage was waiting for us. I forgot to say at the forts we went under a dark tunnel, which goes under the Danube and lands one in Austria; it is blocked up part-way now. I hear the other three nurses from Kragujevatz returned this evening; they came to say good-bye to me but I was up at the Baby Farm. I leave for Lady Paget's this evening.
Saturday, August 21, 1915.
Sister Barnes and I left Belgrade at 6 o'clock; our coachman was a boy of thirteen. He took us along a forbidden road to Topschaite; we had to drive furiously on account of the snipers in the hedges on the river Save which we were skirting, and only fifty miles away. The horses went at such a speed that Miss Barnes' box took a flying leap off the carriage; the Jehu turned round and gazed as if we were to get out and pick it up. We left Topschaite station at 8. We had some interesting Americans who have a camp at Nish; their camp is called "Columbia" owing to the unit being chiefly made up from the university of that name. One specially interested us as he told us that an American Jew had inoculated him for typhus, a thing that we heard in London was quite impossible. He was a Dr. Plot from New York; he is only twenty-five years of age. We are told typhus is due to dirt, lice, and sanitary conditions, and it was introduced into Serbia by the Austrian prisoners. Among the other travellers who interested us was a man with a blue-grey hat, a khaki coat, red knickers and black top boots. He was very sorry for himself; his bull-dog had taken a slice out of his trousers. He carried a beautiful embossed sword. We arrived at Nish, which is a place that seems to be suffering from the seven plagues of Egypt, from flies, dust, dirt, smells, etc. We were told that the Serbs have brains like scrambled eggs, as they scatter their diseases all over their country. We arrived at Nish at 11 o'clock. We were taken to the rest house by the Americans. We visited the American camp, then went to the Serbian Red Cross office to get Miss Barnes' typhus medal. We left by the 8 o'clock train for Uskub, or Scoplie.
Monday, August 23, 1915.
We had a comfortable night in the train, arriving at Scoplie at 6 a.m. We saw a lot of buffalo and storks in the fields on the way. Lady Paget sent to meet us. We had breakfast and then went to bed. Lady Paget has Lord and Lady Templemore; they are the father and mother of Mr. Chichester who died a few days ago from typhoid. I shall be here about a week.
The change is doing me a lot of good here, and I am feeling quite better again and ready for work. I hope to return to the camp on Sunday evening, arriving at Kragujevatz early Tuesday morning. I have thoroughly enjoyed being here, and am quite in love with this place, it is so Eastern.
After breakfast Sister Barnes and I went to rest, had lunch and then went to the village in a carriage which was driven by Turks. We bought a lot of lovely things. This is the most ideal place in Serbia; it is like an Eastern village, and it is full of Turks, and the costumes are most picturesque. This has been a wet day; there is a large market held here every Tuesday. The train for Salonika left at 6 o'clock. I went down to the station with some of the doctors and Lady Paget; the latter was seeing Lord and Lady Templemore off. We met some of the Farmers' unit from Belgrade, who were passing through. We got home about 8 o'clock and I was sent to rest until luncheon. After lunch I went into the village to do some shopping with two of the nurses. Scoplie belonged to the Turks only two years ago; it is more Turkish than Serbian.
Wednesday, August 25, 1915.
This morning the four night nurses and I drove down to the market to do some shopping; I also went to see the park. The market here is very picturesque. To ring the church bells a man has to sit on the roof. Some of the roofs of the houses are made of biscuit tins; as long as the rain does not come in it does not matter what they use.
Thursday, August 26, 1915.
Have been to the Turkish villages again to-day. We went to see a chapel which is full of coffins. There was a white cloth over them and a Turkish hat, and also a stone at the top, and a lighted candle. These coffins have to be kept for 100 years; they contain the bodies of priests and Turkish kings. To advertise tailors here, one sees a large placard of an Englishman in a frock coat and a top hat. To advertise dentists they have large cases of false teeth, and they write the name of the dentist with the teeth. Turkish cemeteries are to be seen everywhere, and one sees skeletons and bones lying about the fields. The cemeteries are not railed in at all. There are harems all over the place; one can always tell them as the windows are barred. Most of the pathways round here are paved with old Turkish tombstones.
Friday, August 27, 1915.
We hear that Belgrade is being bombarded again, and that no private people are allowed to go there. This morning we went into the Turkish quarter, and we went over some old Turkish baths. I saw over the wards at the hospital; there are over 400 patients. Malaria is very bad here, and there have been several deaths from it. It is the malignant malaria that is so dangerous. Mr. Chichester died of typhoid and para-typhoid combined. Para-typhoid affects the nervous system. There is also another kind of typhoid, A and B, and one can be inoculated for the three.
Saturday, August 28, 1915.
This morning the night nurses and I drove over to see the melon and tobacco fields. The tobacco leaves are threaded on string and are dried on the outside of houses under the eaves; it looks so nice hanging down. After tea one of the sisters and I went for a drive by the river, and we passed thousands and thousands of troops coming from Albania. They were Albanians and Serbians; they had hundreds of horses, who were laden with ammunition and all kinds of transport on their backs. Lots of them had goats and fowls on their backs, which looked perfectly happy and quite tame. I expect all these troops were going to line the Bulgarian border, but we have not heard yet. 150,000 have passed through Scoplie the last few days. If the roofs of the small cottages get damaged they are repaired with petrol or biscuit tins.
Sunday, August 29, 1915.
We went down into the little village for a drive. On our way back we saw a quaint band and a lot of Turks and Serbs in the most lovely costumes, wrestling; it was amusing to watch them. I left Lady Paget's to catch the 7 o'clock train. Lady Paget came to see me off. Mr. Askew was on the train, so it was nice knowing some one.
Monday, August 30, 1915.
We arrived at Nish at 8 a.m. Our carriage was very full: a Serbian doctor, three Serbian officers, and a French lady who was travelling with me.The Serbians brought us a beautiful melon; they are quite different to our English ones. I am writing this at the station at Nish. My train leaves to-night for Kragujevatz at 8 o'clock. We got off comfortably. Mr. Askew went down and got me a nice sleeping-carriage, but unfortunately I had to change at 3 o'clock at Lapovo. I arrived at Kragujevatz at 6 o'clock.
Tuesday, August 31, 1915.
On arriving at the camp, Mrs. Stobart was just off to another dispensary. We have five dispensaries working now. Another is to be started on Saturday; this is the last. The chief, I hear, is to return to England in about three weeks, as her son has returned from America. Dr. May will be left in charge of this camp. Colonel Harrison came to dinner; he is the English Military Attaché. He is returning to England as his health has broken down. Very few English people can stand the climate for very long.
Wednesday, September 1, 1915.
Mrs. Stobart returned from the dispensary. Colonel Harrison came to dinner with the new English Attaché; Colonel Harrison left directly after for England. He has left us the most beautiful gramaphone.
We heard the sad news to-day that Nurse Berry died on arriving in England. She was a beautiful girl and a splendid nurse. She was my nurse when I first became ill, and she was taken bad a few days after we were together at Vrynatchka Banja; she was craving to get home.
Thursday, September 2, 1915.
Nothing of interest has happened to-day. I am not on duty, but hope to be in a day or two.
The weather is still very hot, but we have a good deal of wind; the guy ropes constantly want tightening.
Sunday, September 5, 1915.
We had service at 5.30 a.m. I helped one of the sisters get ready for Mr. Little. Several of the Scotch unit came up. Friday and Saturday I was busy doing the accounts, as my part has not been done since I left, and we have about fifty of the staff and 125 patients.
Monday, September 6, 1915.
I have been for two walks to-day, first with one of the doctors, and then with one of the sisters, the first walk since I was ill. This morning we went through maize fields, and on our way met several women spinning; they are always at their knitting or spinning working on the fields. Their knitting is wonderful as they make such lovely patterns with different coloured wools. We saw a man making baskets. He first gathered the willow sticks, which he put into boiling water, removed the skin, then he started his basket work. This morning I went up to the cemetery. Fancy, over 11,000 graves since November, 1914, all soldiers, and there are just plain little wooden crosses to each, and four in a grave. Dr. and Lady Finlay came over to see our camp; she came out with us on the Saidieh.
I got the accounts finished up to date, and in the afternoon about fifteen of us went off on two bullock wagons to get blackberries, as we have scarcely any jam left. Mrs. Stobart had asked us at lunch who would volunteer. We took tea with us. We went about two miles but did not get any, only one of our unit who lost us, and she found a hedge covered and so managed to get a bowl full. The fields are full of maize, and amongst the maize they grow pumpkins and marrows, and large sunflowers, and up the maize stalks they grow beans. The soil is wonderfully rich. Some of our party brought a large pumpkin back with them. The peasant women are much to be admired; they do all the field work, and one will meet them driving the oxen and nursing a baby. The oxen are lovely beasts and so well cared for, but they are very slow in their movements. The hills round are lovely; the most wonderful colourings.
Tuesday, September 7, 1915.
I am not on duty yet, so this morning I have been doing a little washing and ironing. This afternoon I went for a short walk and got some lovely cape gooseberries and flowers; they are very plentiful. The Serbians make quite a nice jam out of the cape gooseberries.
Wednesday, September 8, 1915.
I went into Kragujevatz this morning to do some shopping; met Miss Vera Holmes. We bought a hat for one of the sisters going to a dispensary. You never saw such things; the hats are just like those at the sales in London for which we give 6-½d. I went for a walk with Dr. Coxon, and as we were passing a vineyard such a nice woman called us in and gave us grapes and flowers. It is wonderful the richness of the soil, for when we arrived here in April there was very little on the land, and it all seems to spring up at once. We are getting short of provisions here; we managed to get some Serbian bacon, but when you want anything of this kind you find there is a long line of people outside the shop waiting for it to open, and my commissionaire goes in at the back door and buys it all up; it seems too bad. Tea is 15s. per lb.; bread, 8-½d. per loaf; sugar, 1s. 6d.; butter, 7s.
Thursday, September 9, 1915.
I went to see a camp of Serbian soldiers; they had many large guns and carts full of shells which they showed us. Sixteen shells in each cart; they were 15 cc. They also had boxes full of rings of gun cotton, with powder in the centre; these they put on the top part of the shell before firing it off. There are about 200 bullocks and carts at this camp. The hood part of the ox-cart is used as a shelter for two soldiers to sleep under, and very comfortable it looks, and they only have a very few tents to pitch and quite small ones, low to the ground; one cannot stand up in them. Six mensleep in one tent. We went to see the air-craft guns and were shown how they were worked; it was most interesting. We then went on to where the Serbs were practising firing the shells. They have high stone walls which they use as a target, and there are two or three trenches near the walls. We saw lots of bursted shells. In the afternoon we went for another walk and saw the women making wine out of plums. They pack large barrels full of plums, then fill them up with water and put some sugar in; these are left for a month or longer; then the liquor is drawn off and bottled. I wish the plums had been washed! We met some women knitting some elaborate coloured stockings; the colour is worked in after the stockings are knitted. Some of the walnuts here are almost as large as a hen's egg.
Saturday, September 11, 1915.
To-day I have been in the wards taking the numbers down of all the patients. I also did some washing, then I got some lovely wild flowers and arranged them in our sitting-room. We have a gorgeous Indian tent; it is cool in the hot weather and warm in cold; it is lined inside with yellow. I have a very large tent all to myself; it would hold quite six or eight beds, so I am in luck's way. On my table I constantly find dishes of grapes, and to-night I found a dish of boiled corn—so good, I invited four of the nurses up to help eat it. The farm girls bring me all these good things, but of course I have to be careful what I eat. Five of the Second Farmers' unit have been to spend the day with us; one of them comes from St. Leonards. She has asked me to go and see her when I return to England. I also met a nurse from Holland; she knows me quite well by sight; she used to work for Dr. Stanley Turner at Battersea.
Sunday, September 12, 1915.
I have been for two short walks to-day. The fields are still a mass of lovely wild flowers, and the hedges full of red berries. I keep the sitting-room supplied with flowers as I am not allowed to do work, so I do all kinds of odd jobs.
Monday, September 13, 1915.
A wet day, so I wrote cards this morning and mended stockings. Letters and papers are coming very badly from home. We have seven dispensaries at work; Mrs. Stobart has just started the last one.
Tuesday, September 14, 1915.
I went for a walk with one of the sisters. We saw a large Serbian camp, then on to a gipsy village. We had crowds of little children after us; they are not used to seeing strangers about. We then saw a cemetery where some Austrian prisoners were digging up some old graves; the skulls and bones they were collecting and putting into handkerchiefs to re-bury them; it was a ghastly sight. In this cemetery they had little arched fireplaces made of brick at the head of each grave. I suppose in the cold weather when they come to wail over the grave they light a fire. I have picked up seven horseshoes, so I ought to have some good luck.
Gun captured from the Turks in the last war. Used by the Serbs to bring down German aeroplanes.
Face page 96.
Wednesday, September 15, 1915.
I was not well again to-day, so I stayed in bed all day. The doctors say I am not to do any work for six months in the kitchen departments; it is very annoying.
Thursday, September 16, 1915.
It seems that the peasants only have three sets of clothes to last them their life; the cloth is homespun, very strong and heavy, and a dark brown colour, most serviceable. It is trimmed with black braid.
Saturday, September 18, 1915.
Two of the sisters arrived last night from the dispensary. They have had several cases of small-pox; out of six cases in the village, two died. The peasants are the most funny people. Three days before the death of one of the smallpox patients everything was got ready for the burial. The coffin was made by friends on the premises. The girl was told, when our nurse went to feed her, not to take any more food. Before the girl was actually dead she was put in her very best clothes to be buried in; she was also laid out before the breath was out of her body. The coffin was left open until just before putting into the grave. There were no priests in the village, and the girl was buried by her friends.
Sunday, September 19, 1915.
We had service at 5.30 a.m. The priests in Serbia are not allowed to go into the church until they are married. In war time no priests are allowed to marry, so they are not able to go into the church. The priest at Natalintse went to have dinner at our dispensary. He took with him all the things that he thought they would not have, cheese and wine. They were having goose for dinner. He took this course, and then he kept stretching across the table, took a fork without asking, and kept helping himself; he had five helpings of goose. Pudding he refused, but our interpreter was sitting next to him, so he took a fork and took a taste of his pudding without asking. Five little boys keep the church in order and they ring the bell. The priests and people think nothing of spitting on the floor of the church. I thought this habit was bad enough in the streets in England, but I find that it is worse abroad. This morning a Red Cross ambulance corps, pulled by bullock-wagons, passed this camp; they were the first to go to Malanovatz to join the first field ambulance, the Bevis unit. This afternoon I went up to see another Serbian camp, and took photographs.
Monday, September 20, 1915.
We are having lovely weather, but the nights are terribly cold, and there is a thick frost in the morning. The days are very hot. It seems that when the Austrians last year got into Belgrade they were there for thirteen days. When the Serbs drove them out, they found a freshly-made cemetery full of wooden crosses. The Serbs thought that it was strange within such a short time, and the graves were a curious shape. The Serbs turned up the soil and found about 80,000 pieces of ammunition.
Tuesday, September 21, 1915.
Mrs. Stobart, Mr. Greenhalgh, Colonel Gentnich, Mr. Little and myself motored over to Vilanovatz to see the dispensary. There is one doctor, a nurse, a cook and two orderlies; the dispensary site is very beautiful. They are doing good work and they have about 70 to 100 patients every day; they come for miles; some of them are in a terrible condition. This dispensary is fifteen miles away; the ride is lovely, the scenery being so very beautiful. The fields are looking so pretty with wild crocuses. There is only one shop in the village. Paprica grows very plentifully out here; the stews are quite red with it. The paprica is also eaten in the green state filled with meat minced.
Wednesday, September 22, 1915.
This morning one of the sisters and I went on the top of some hills to see the Serbians practising and testing some Turkish shells. It was most interesting, for they were telephoning up to the arsenal after every one that was fired, stating the distances. In the afternoon we both went up to get a shell; there were fourteen unexploded ones.
Thursday, September 23, 1915.
We have heard nothing but firing most of the day. I forgot to say that on Tuesday a message came up from the Government to say that an aerial raid was expected, but they were again driven back.
Friday, September 24, 1915.
To-day we hear that the Bulgarians have joined with the Austrians, and that fighting has started on the Bulgarian frontier. All along the Danube and at Belgrade the Austrians were bombarding. One hundred shells were fired.
Saturday, September 25, 1915.
To-day we had a message from the Serbian Government to say that part of our unit had to go to form a hospital near the Bulgarian frontier. The Serbians have a splendid equipment ready. Twenty of this unit are going: Mrs. Stobart, Mr. Greenhalgh, two doctors, six chauffeurs, two cooks, two orderlies, and six nurses. They are taking six motors. We shall be very busy here with so many of the staff away. The doctors want me to stay a little longer to help in the wards, do the diet sheets and the accounts, and help the nurses.
Sunday, September 26, 1915.
We had two services to-day, one at 5 a.m., the other at 5 p.m. We are still having very hot days but the nights are cold. The wild flowers are beautiful, and there are lots of butterflies, little blues, and a dark yellow with black edge round the wings, and swallow-tail. There are scarcely any cabbage butterflies here, but there are some quite small white, like the cabbage.
Monday, September 27, 1915.
The part of our unit that was to go to the Bulgarian frontier had to be inspected to-day, with all their baggage. There is some difficulty in getting through to Salonika, owing to the troops going to the frontier.
Tuesday, September 28, 1915.
I hope to be back on duty in a few days. To-night the sky was most gorgeous, quite indescribable; there were two of the most beautiful rainbows, absolutely perfect, with a sunset which illuminated the mountains all round. Moles are very plentiful here; they make a dreadful mess of all the fields. One lived under the ground-sheet in our sleeping-tent, but, poor thing, it got trodden on and we found it dead. There are a few bats; they are a tremendous size, much larger than they are in England. Grasshoppers and locusts are also plentiful. Small birds are scarce, only a few sparrows and swallows and sand-martins and larks. The swallows have their nests right inside some of the houses on the tops of the electric light and in some of the corners. They fly about at night, catching flies, not caring for any one. We heard last night that the Scottish unit had lost one of their nurses, with typhoid; it was at Valievo. Dr. Inglis, from Kragujevatz, and the head of the Scottish women's hospital, a woman doctor, had to read the burial service. I had a lovely large bunch of hyssop given to me this morning; it is used in the churches at christenings to sprinkle the infant with holy water.
Wednesday, September 29, 1915.
To-day we had a medal presented to us from King Peter. It is a coat of arms on a cross of Serbia, and is called the Cross of Charity. Two of the Government officials came up to present us with them, and they gave us a testimonial of their appreciation of our services. We hear to-day that the Bulgarians have started fighting. I saw some of the Serbian cavalry starting for the Bulgarian frontier; they were going to Nish, then towards Pirot. The Serbs are very brave and some of them stand pain so well. One man had an operation on his spine, some broken bone removed, and he was walking about two hours after. Another man had some varicose veins removed and he was walking ten minutes after.
Thursday, September 30, 1915.
This morning at 7 o'clock we had an air raid; six German aeroplanes came over dropping thirty bombs on Kragujevatz. Most of the bombs dropped near the arsenal and at the station; they tried to get the magazine, but did not succeed. The bombs did little damage, but six people were killed and several wounded. We brought one aeroplane down; we saw quite plainly and the bombs seemed to drop right on the aeroplane—a great blaze of fire we could see—and the aeroplane fell to the ground only a few minutes' walk from this camp in the main street, just near the cathedral. It came down quite gently, and as it got to the ground there was a great crash; the men were both Germans; they were smashed to pieces. I have taken two photographs; all the woodwork was burnt away. I have several interesting pieces of the aeroplane. The Germans had their diaries on them; these of course were taken to the Government office. An officer was killed at the arsenal, so they had a military funeral for him this afternoon. The other portion of our unit may go to the front any time now; they are only waiting for orders.
Friday, October 1, 1915.
This morning at 6.45 we had another air raid. We soon cleared the camp of the patients. Three aeroplanes came over in all, and dropped about fifteen bombs on Kragujevatz. Five fell in the arsenal, but little damage was done; several fell round about the station. Several of the station men got into a truck for shelter. One shell fell just outside smashing up the pavement along the line. A piece of the shell went through the truck; no one was injured, and it was given to me afterwards. The air raid lasted about one hour. When all was over Dr. May and Dr. Berry asked me to take them to see the aircraft guns. These were about seven minutes' walk from the camp on the top of a hill; two of the Serbian camps were also near by. I knew several of the officers at the camp. On arriving we were met by some of them; they took us round and showed us the guns and the shells, explaining and describing all about them. There are three very large guns, and these took the 12 inch shells; they were of French make, and two smaller ones which were captured from the Turks in the last war.
We had only been up on the firing ground about five minutes when the signal was given that enemy aeroplanes were sighted. All men were at their posts in a second, and it was splendid to see the order and discipline.
It was no use our retiring, as it would not have been safe, so we stood by while the firing was going on. The vibration and noise were terrific; one could not see even these large shells coming out of the guns, only fire and smoke. I took a photograph while the firing was going on. Five bombs were dropped in Kragujevatz, one on our camp, which fortunately did not explode. It was only a few yards away from the night nurse's tent and mine, otherwise we should have had our poor tents in pieces. Two bombs fell on the magazine, destroying lots of our stores; three tents were burnt, but the fire was soon extinguished. Nine 7 lb. tins of marmalade were smashed to pieces; marmalade was all over the floor, windows, ceilings and walls, making the place in the most terrible mess; other stores were also spoilt; pieces of shrapnel were found in the sugar. About eighty shells were fired on the aeroplanes, and it got so hot for them that they soon fled. The air raid was over at 10, so our patients were allowed to return.
In the evening we had a farewell party, given by one of the sisters, as she was leaving for Lady Paget's hospital, and twenty of our unit were leaving for the Bulgarian frontier with Mrs. Stobart, and they were to go to Perot. They left at 10 p.m., and slept in the train all night; the train left at 7.20 in the morning. They have taken five motor ambulances, three bullock wagons, one kitchen that was captured from the Austrians by the Serbs, a few bandages and medical stores. A Serbian army was supplying all the other necessary medical stores and equipments for "The Flying Field Hospital." I was to have gone, but owing to having had typhoid was not allowed. It was arranged that the doctors, nurses, cooks and orderlies should change over every month, so that all could get a variety of work.
Saturday, October 2, 1915.
Another telephone message arrived at 7 a.m., to say that three aeroplanes had crossed the frontier. We got breakfast over at 5.30 and the camp was cleared of all the patients, and then we left ourselves. It is interesting to see all the townspeople going out miles into the country for safety. Fortunately the wind got up and the flyers had to return, but they managed to drop their fifteen bombs on another town close by. On our return home to the camp we went by the guns, and I was introduced to the man who brought down the aeroplane on Thursday, September 30. It was the Turkish aircraft gun he was using, quite a small one. We expect air raids every day now; this means breakfast at 5.30. We are clearing this hospital of the old patients, and are getting ready for the fresh wounded, and it will not take us long to be straight.
We can do nothing much in the mornings now, so we work hard all afternoon. The arsenal is also closed in the mornings.
Sunday, October 3, 1915.
It has been too cloudy and too windy for an air raid to-day, so we have had a day of rest. Pontoon bridges have been passing most of the afternoon on the road by our camp. I expect these are going to the Bulgarian frontier.
A very young student at a village near here was full of mischief, and for a lark he poured a pot of red paint into the holy water. The priest at the early service looked up, and found that all his congregation had red crosses on their foreheads. The priest told us this story, and the boy got into great trouble over it.
The name of the aeroplane that was brought down at Kragujevatz was the "Albatross." The younger German killed was an engineer twenty-six years of age.
Pieces of aeroplane were found at Ratcher, but nothing else. Another aeroplane was seen to turn over outside a small village, but has not been found.
Monday, October 4, 1915.
The camp was cleared about 7 o'clock, as we received a message that six aeroplanes had been sighted over the frontier; they were prevented from getting to Kragujevatz. The Germans say they will smash up Kragujevatz, also the railway line. A very little damage has been done considering.
We had a card from the other part of our unit which left for Perot, saying that they had arrived safely, and that they liked their position; they were on the top of a hill, and looked down on the enemy.
Tuesday, October 5, 1915.
Two aeroplanes flew over Lapovo, dropped three bombs on the line, but no damage was done. We cleared our camp as on previous days but nothing happened.
Wednesday, October 6, 1915.
We are about ready for the fresh wounded; we have put up one or two fresh marquees, which hold each about twenty-six beds. We have seventy-two tents in all, and a number in reserve if required. We have long buildings when the weather gets cold, which have been built during the summer by the Austrian prisoners; these were intended for cholera, but fortunately we did not get this disease in Serbia, so the buildings have been promised us by the Government for wards for our patients during the winter months. They are very long low buildings and would hold about thirty or forty beds; there were about six buildings in all.
On one occasion, in our ward, a patient who was on light diet, was found to have a parcel under his pillow. This parcel was found to contain a little roasted pig, from which he had been helping himself to small pieces. His relations had been to visit him that afternoon and had given it to him, regardless of whether it was a suitable present or not. Pigs in this country are cooked when they are quite tiny, and a leg is only sufficient for one person's meal. Lambs are also killed and cooked about the same age, and it is really difficult to find any meat on the bones after they are roasted. The Serbs do not consider meat good when it is fully grown, excepting oxen, and beef in Serbia is one of the worst classes of meat, probably on account of their being used for labour. Milk is scarce owing to the cows being used for transport.
They have an extraordinary one-stringed instrument which they will play for the whole of the day; crowds of people will sit round listening; this was most trying when the patients got hold of it in the wards, very monotonous and trying, and some of the singing is also very weird, being only on one or two notes, but on the whole they are the most musical people. In the cathedrals the singing is perfectly lovely, such well trained voices.
We hear that the Germans started shelling Belgrade at 3 a.m.; it lasted for many hours. We had a thick fog at night, which reminded one of London, being equally dense but not so yellow.
Thursday, October 7, 1915.
Still a thick fog, and we hear that Belgrade is still being bombarded. The English and French troops have been expected for some time to help the poor Serbs, and we are told that Nish and many other towns are decorated in their honour.
I understand that the bombardment of Belgrade has not been quite so severe to-day, but all English missions have been told to leave. The Germans have landed in three places. They crossed the Save in boats and by pontoon bridges; there were about 3,000 of them. It was a misty night, and they thought they would not be noticed. The Serbs allowed them to cross, and then took 2,000 prisoners. The pontoon bridges and boats were sunk; then they had a hand-to-hand fight in the streets, knives being principally used, and we heard that even the women joined in. Many bodies were floating in the Danube and the Save; we heard that two of our Marines were killed and several wounded.
This afternoon we went over the wounded Allies' hospital at Kragujevatz with one of the sisters. In one ward there was a brigand who was wounded; he had told the nurses that that was his profession. We also saw an Austrian who was an artist, and he had obtained in the hospital several orders for his pictures, for which he made the sum of 10s. We also saw a German who had had both his legs amputated; he was allowed to make baskets, and was selling them.
This evening one of the doctors consented to my leaving, as having an appointment in England I had only another two or three weeks leave of absence and as we heard it might be rather difficult later on to get away. I was asked to look after an orderly from the second Farmers' unit, who had just recovered from typhoid; she would not have been able to do any work for some weeks so it was decided she should return to England in my care.
Friday, October 8, 1915.
I was busy packing most of the morning, then I did up the accounts and the diet sheets for the wards, finishing up this part of my work. In the afternoon one of the sisters and I went to the arsenal and I was presented with a medal of King Peter. We also saw many of the treasures which were taken off the German aeroplane which was brought down. They showed us an orange printed paper with full instructions on. It was of course in German and it said that they had to come to Kragujevatz and drop four bombs.
It was very painful saying good-bye to my kitchen staff, principally Austrian prisoners who had done such good work. When they first came they said, "No pay, therefore no work." I replied, "No work, therefore no food," and they quickly fell in with my views, which they never resented but really worked well. The commissionaire came up to say good-bye with his daughter, and brought from his wife two cooked chickens for our journey, a dozen eggs, walnuts, apples and jam. I packed these up, then went in to dinner. When I returned I found my parcels had been unpacked by the dogs from the farm near by; the chickens had gone, the eggs eaten, and bits of shell all over the floor of my tent. Eggs when boiled hard out here the white will often be found soft no matter how long one boils it. Also the apples and the nuts scattered about; my tent was a sight to behold, but fortunately we had other things provided for the journey.
At 9 o'clock fifteen wounded men were brought in from Belgrade. They were in the most terrible condition, and they described to us the most awful slaughter that had taken place there.
At 10 o'clock one of the Government officials came up to say good-bye, and to bring my pass on the railway as far as the Greek frontier, and also gave me some sweets.
At 11.30 the carriage came to take us to the station. The train was leaving at 12 o'clock. A terrible night, pouring with rain, and we all got wet through before starting. We had a comfortable journey as far as Lapovo, where we arrived at 2 a.m. Here we had to change, and were supposed to get a train on in an hour's time, but waited about till 5 o'clock, and were then told that there would not be a train on till noon. We piled our luggage up and went to our dispensary, which is on the line. We found the windows open and the door unlocked and every one in bed. They had left it like this as they were expecting the doctor from Nish, who had gone to fetch fresh supplies of stores. We took off our boots and lay down on the beds in the ward until 7 o'clock, then we had breakfast and took it in turns to go back to the station to take charge of the luggage. It was a pitiful sight while in the station, watching the train loads of refugees coming in from Belgrade. Many of the women were crying as they related their sad experiences to the people on the platform. Also train loads of wounded were coming in; many had been to our dispensary on the Thursday to have their wounds dressed before going on to a permanent hospital.
We were told that 6,000 or 7,000 shells had been fired in Belgrade, and that many places were on fire.
At 11 o'clock a train came in from Belgrade, and I heard several voices calling to me, and I found there were some of Admiral Troubridge's unit on the train, and three or four of the first Farmers' unit. They all looked very ill and were covered with mud. They had left Belgrade at 6 o'clock the night before, and had had to walk many miles before they could get the train, and had left everything behind them, only having the clothes they stood up in. They had only had bread to eat and were almost famished, so I told them to come and get into our carriage, as we could give them some of the food we had for our journey. I then went to the guard and asked where this train was going to, and he replied "to Nish"; but there was only a cattle truck for us, so we all got into it, and as it was very doubtful about our getting a train at 12 o'clock we thought it better to go on. We gave them all a good meal of tongue and beef sandwiches, bread and cheese and apples and lemonade, and they were indeed thankful, poor things! for they had gone through a terrible time. They told us many sad stories of our brave Serbians, who ran into the hospitals, had their wounds dressed, and then went back to fight. All the patients in the hospitals who were suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, and consumption, and many other diseases, put on their clothes and went to the trenches. They also told us that the American hospital was staying on, so all their luggage was sent to this hospital for safety; later on the American hospital was seen in flames. The members of these units got out of the train at Chupria, to join Admiral Troubridge. We heard that the English batteries, with the exception of one, had been quieted at Belgrade. At Chupria many wounded soldiers got into our truck. They were going to the hospital at Nish, we to the rest station which belonged to Sir Ralph and Lady Paget, and it was for the use of the different English units that were coming to Serbia. We arrived at 9.30, and as we were very tired we went to bed at once.
Sunday, October 10, 1915.
We had breakfast at 7.30, then went to see Sir Ralph Paget, then to the bank, which fortunately we found open, then to the Serbian Red Cross.
Several other members of different units arrived from Belgrade during the day.
At 2.30 an enemy aeroplane came over Nish. No bombs were dropped, so they had come to spy. Three French aeroplanes went after it and drove it away; they also fired on it with the aircraft guns. We heard that one of the trains from Belgrade had been fired at by the Germans and that twenty-five civilians had been killed. We had a service at the rest house at 5 o'clock. Two aeroplanes had arrived during the afternoon and were going on to Kragujevatz.
We left by the 8.30 p.m. train for Salonika.
Monday, October 11, 1915.
It was a lovely day and most interesting journey. All along there are camps, wire entanglements and trenches. Some of the camps are amongst the trees and can scarcely be seen, as they are made of sticks and mud. The sentry guards also along the line have curious dug-outs, to which they go down by steps. The haystacks, instead of being on the ground as in England, are fixed up in trees, like huge beehives, as the ground gets so swampy. The Serbs and the Albanians look most picturesque. These must have been the regiments I saw coming along when I was staying at Uskub. We have just seen a wolf chasing a young deer; they passed close by the train. It seems dreadful to leave this glorious country with its brilliant sunshine and bright colours, until we see all the horrors that are going on so near to us.
We arrived at Uskub at 7 o'clock; had breakfast at the station, and a few minutes before our train arrived 170 Bulgarian prisoners had been brought in. They were tied together in batches by ropes. I saw one or two of the nurses from Lady Paget's on the platform; they had been to see some friends off. Our train left again at 7.25; then we passed through wonderful gorges; this of course would make the fighting very difficult.
Our next stop was the frontier Ghevghili(?). Most of the passengers' luggage was examined; it was also weighed, and we had to pay on ours.
We arrived at Salonika at 8.30 p.m. We found the station full of Greek soldiers; many of them were on the ground asleep. We had to leave our large luggage for the night, then we took a carriage and went to the hotel Olympus, where we had wired for rooms. We saw many of our English and French troops as we drove down; this of course cheered us up. We heard there were 25,000 French and 11,000 English, and that they had been detained by the Greeks, as they were expected in Serbia some days before.
On arriving at the hotel we made ourselves tidy, went down to dinner, found the room full of English and French; several of them gave us a hearty welcome as there were no English women in Salonika. One officer told us that an American, sitting at their table had insisted on it that we were Americans, and what a great deal the Americans had been doing in Serbia, and the point had been argued, so there was great excitement to know what nationality we were, and the English officers were delighted to find they were right.
We are all hoping that the Greeks will join us, and that they will all be going up to Serbia in a day or so.
Tuesday, October 12, 1915.
Two English officers invited us out to tea to the café near, and were much interested in hearing all our experiences in Serbia. In the evening we went to a cinema.
Wednesday, October 13, 1915.
We had to go and have our passports inspected by the English, French, and Italian consuls; we got some money changed and did some shopping.
The Turkish markets are very interesting and the salesmen very amusing, and bargaining is very necessary as they begin by asking often more than double the amount they are prepared to take.
The Greek shops are very fine, full of beautiful things, and the fashions quite up to date. We have a nice little Greek lady staying here from Athens; she told us it was a known fact that the Germans had lost over three million men. She also told us that seven French officers had escaped from Stuttgart; they were let out of prison as they bribed the man who was looking after them. They walked all the way from Stuttgart through Switzerland to France, having been given sufficient food for their journey, a compass and a map, and advised not to speak to any one on the way. They said they never met a man all the way through Germany; women were armed outside forts, railways and along roads; every man had gone to fight.
Thursday, October 14, 1915.
There are eight battleships in the harbour, French and English. The Greeks are mobilized, and are ready to join whichever side they think the best. They have copied the English in their uniform.
A Turkish aeroplane passed over to-day. Our boat, the Sydney, has arrived in the harbour, so we went to choose our berths.
About forty boats arrived to-day with English, French, and Greek troops. We went to watch the horses and mules being unloaded at the docks; there are more mules than horses; they find them much hardier.
Friday, October 15, 1915.
We had an interesting day; one of the doctors from Lady Paget's came to see me, then the captain from the Abbassieh, who had brought out some of the units and knew the three sisters who were with me. He invited us to lunch on his ship; he had brought in troops from the Dardanelles, and was doing transport work. He told us that he had brought 1,300 and that he had only sufficient life boats for 300. In Salonika we had the Dorsets, the Norfolks, the Herefords, Royal West Kent, Royal Engineers, the Army Service Corps, and the Royal Army Medical Corps, and several other regiments that were going up to Serbia.
The captain asked what boat I had come out on to Serbia. When I said "the Saidieh," he said, "Why, the chief officer is now on my boat, as theSaidieh was torpedoed some time ago"; and he sent for him to see us. It was very pleasant meeting again and hearing his story; he was made captain of another boat, but it had been so much damaged with shell fire that it could not be used.
Saturday, October 16, 1915.
In the afternoon the commander from the battleship H.M.S. Albion came to have tea with us, and invited us to tea on his ship the following day.
We heard to-day that some of the French troops had gone up to the Bulgarian frontier; we also heard that Perot had been taken by the Bulgarians, and that the line between Nish and Uskub had been blown up.
Martial law is in force here, and pickets are all along the front. The English, French, and Greek officers all had to salute each other.
Sunday, October 17, 1915.
This morning we went over two old Greek temples, Demetrius and St. George; they were taken by the Turks and turned into mosques. The Turks had whitewashed all over the mosaic and marble pillars; fortunately the whitewash is crumbling away, and one can see the mosaic through.
A story is told that one of the large panels of marble is supposed to bleed when anything serious is going to happen; it is a kind of grey-red, very lovely, and the blood trickles through the cracks. The priest in Demetrius was standing with a cross and a piece of bosaliac, known to us as hyssop.The Greek soldiers were going up to him, kissing the cross, and then he sprinkled their heads with holy water with the bosaliac.
We went to see the wonderful old bridge that Hadrian, the Roman Emperor, built.
In the afternoon we went to H.M.S. Albion to tea; it is a very fine ship, and of course of great interest to us. It has been damaged many times with shell fire; we went all over and it was most interesting.
Lady Paget arrived here last evening, and five of the sisters from Admiral Troubridge's unit, as they had been staying the night with her at Uskub. Two of them were returning to England with us.
Monday, October 18, 1915.
We hear that the Sydney sails to-morrow at 4 o'clock, so we made our preparations for leaving.
We have seen crowds of refugees coming into the town to-day, many of them sleeping on the doorsteps, huddled up in the corners. One poor man died on the road, and I expect many others will not survive as they had walked so many miles.
Tuesday, October 19, 1915.
We got our luggage on our boat the Sydney early, then we took a small boat out to the hospital ship, the Grantully Castle, London, as the military doctor said the matron would so much like to see us. On arriving we were received by the matron and the English chaplain; we were taken all over the ship; it was beautifully fitted up, and they had every convenience. There were three of our naval men from Belgrade, two of whom had been wounded, and the other one was threatened with appendicitis. Forty English soldiers had been taken on board the night before, suffering from illnesses of different kinds. The nine nurses were Australians, the matron English. We were invited to lunch, but could not spare the time, as we had to get back early to the hotel on account of leaving in the afternoon. We left the hotel at 3.30 and at once went on board. One of the doctors from Lady Paget's hospital is with us, two of the nurses from Admiral Troubridge's unit, six of the Scottish nurses from the women's hospital, Valievo, two French doctors, and an English lady from Bulgaria who had been teaching there for the last six years, also the military attaché from Bulgaria, a naval member of Parliament who was carrying dispatches, also Brigadier General Koe, who was engaged in transport work.
We left Solonika at 5 o'clock. This boat is quite nice and beautifully clean, very different from the one we came out in. It is a French boat belonging to the Maritime Line. We had a good passage as far as Lemnos, where we arrived at 7 p.m. General Koe got off here.
Wednesday, October 20, 1915.
Lemnos is a barren-looking place, mountainous all round, no trees, and it is covered with the English and French camps. There is a new hospital being built at the water's edge. There is no fresh water, and experts have been sent from England to sink artesian wells. The water had to be taken out in tanks. One lady at Marseilles sent out ship-loads of soda water for the soldiers. The harbour is full of battleships, chiefly French, and there are several hospital ships, also many transports. The largest ship is the Aquitania from Liverpool, with four large funnels. Mines and nets are all round us; at several points of the island guns are fixed; we could hear firing this afternoon, and we were told that at Imbros one could see the shells bursting at the Dardanelles. We stayed at Lemnos eight hours; it is a lovely day and very calm.
Thursday, October 21, 1915.
We arrived at Piraeus at 6 a.m., landed at 8, then took the train to Athens, and went straight to Cook's office and wrote letters to friends staying here, arranging to return for any answers. We then took a carriage and went to the museum; the statuary is very fine and beautiful. We returned to Cook's and found a letter from our Greek friends, inviting us to luncheon at 1 o'clock. We had an hour and a half more to spare, so took a carriage and went to the Acropolis. It is indeed wonderful the view of Athens from the top, most beautiful. We thoroughly enjoyed this sight; the trees all along are most interesting—avenues of pepper trees, date palms, aloes and cactus; we also saw a few orange trees. We then went to our friend's house at 1 o'clock. There were three married sisters and their children, and an English girl, governess to the children. After luncheon they took us sight-seeing, first to the Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1837 by some wealthy Greek, and containing memoirs of the Greek War of Independence, portraits and native costumes, and the clothes of the Greek King who was shot at Salonika. A tomb has been erected on the pavement there where he was shot, and a chapel is to be built near. The pistol that shot him was in the case with the clothes. We also saw many flags that the Greeks had captured in many different wars, a sword of Lord Byron's, and his portrait and visiting card.
After leaving here we took the carriage and drove round the principal streets, then went to the Keremakos market, where there are wonderful tombs containing the remains of three people in each; the bones are visible, and the statue of the bull. We then went down the oldest streets, and to the ancient Church Eglise de Capnicarea. We saw the temple, the bank, the general post office and the theatre; had tea at a café and took the train back to the port, and arrived on the boat in time for dinner. Another lovely night; I slept on deck. I forgot to mention we passed, on Wednesday, some burning rocks; the chief officer told us they are set on fire by oil by the shepherds, to watch their flocks by night.
Friday, October 22, 1915.
We did not leave Athens until 8.30 this morning. We were held up much longer than we expected. An aeroplane followed our boat for a little way, but it was a Greek one, so we had nothing to fear. At 3 p.m. we had quite an excitement; a message was sent to the ship to say we had to go into the Island of Milos for orders; submarines had been seen round the neighbourhood. We got into Milos and found five French battleships, submarine destroyers. One of the maritime ships was in the harbour that had been torpedoed two weeks ago. The island is very picturesque; the houses are built in the Turkish style. We remained in the harbour for about two hours. We have a submarine destroyer escorting us, also another ship was with us, so we feel quite safe. Written notices were sent round to each passenger with instructions what to do in case we were struck. The captain had an anxious voyage from here on, keeping watch all the time. We kept going out of our course and the destroyer and our boat were constantly signalling to each other. We had to come round by Crete instead of Cape Matapan. The wind has risen and it is very rough; most of the people are ill. We had a bad night, continuous thunderstorms and heavy rain. The boat is rolling as well as pitching.
Saturday, October 23, 1915.
It still continues very rough and very few passengers are visible. Nothing exciting has happened; our two escorts are still in front of us.
Sunday, October 24, 1915.
This morning a large steamer signalled to our destroyer, so it left us for two or three hours and then returned. In the night it was exchanged for another one. We were told that they had to be very careful along this route, as nine boats were torpedoed in one week; naturally we were all more or less anxious, looking down into the cold water. I much dreaded the risk we ran as I should much prefer to be shot or shelled to being drowned. We heard that we reach Malta in the evening, but owing to our having to go so much out of our course we did not arrive until the following morning at 6 a.m. It was an anxious night; neither the captain nor the chief officer appeared for dinner; no end of men were on the watch for enemy submarines; it seems that there are many in the Mediterranean just now, and we were told that this is the worst danger zone at present. The Germans have a specially large new one here which is doing a lot of damage. It has been very rough all night, and the boat had to slacken speed as we were not allowed to enter Malta before 6 a.m. I met a very interesting English lady from Constantinople on board this morning. She has lived there for forty years. Her husband is a doctor. She had three sons—two solicitors, the third an invalid. He suffers from fits. The youngest son's name was down on the list to be sent to Gallipoli with the English and French prisoners, whom the Turks were sending from Constantinople, in the hope that this would prevent our troops from bombarding Gallipoli. This poor mother was so distressed, and pleaded so hard to the Turkish officials that they consented that her son should be released. She then made another plea for her husband to be allowed to leave the country, and he left for Malta. Then she procured the release of her delicate son, and he also joined his father, and now she herself is on her way to join them. The other two sons were not allowed to leave; they are being kindly treated, but have come down to breaking stones. I felt very sorry for her, but admired her courage and cheerfulness in such distressing circumstances. All her valuables from her lovely home she sent to the Turkish bank, but of course has no hope of seeing them again; they are sure to be confiscated. Fifty or more of our men were sent to Gallipoli from Constantinople, so that should the place be bombarded they would be the first to fall; but the English and French threatened the Turks with other reprisals, and they were withdrawn. They left the ship and spent five days in a mosque, where they had to rough it terribly, though the officials were very kind to them, and on their return to Constantinople gave them a good dinner. Everybody out here speaks so well of the Turks, and all those we have met seem so very sorry that they are fighting against the English, and they said it would be their ruin joining the Germans, their great dread being the loss of Constantinople. Three little birds are following our boat, often coming on board; one is a robin, but the other two we do not know. We had several cats on board and were much afraid for the safety of the birds. Two sparrowhawks also pursued them.
Monday, October 25, 1915.
We were allowed to land at Malta at 8 a.m. As we only had three hours on land we took a carriage, only 1 fr.80 the hour, and drove all round. The carriages are different from ours, so picturesque, and the Maltese women, with their curious headgear, are very fascinating. We went first to the gardens to see flowers and palms, which were looking lovely, then to the Church of St. John's, where a service was taking place, so we remained a little time. We saw the Governor's Palace, then the Chapel of Bones, formerly attached to the hospital. Over 2,000 skulls are shown, and the remaining framework of the body is most artistically arranged, but very gruesome. We had not time to enter the museum as we had to do a little shopping before returning to the boat. We sailed at 11.30, still very rough, and we could not keep a straight course; our escort was with us.
There were three suspicious characters on board, and we hear they had been locked up.
Tuesday, October 26, 1915.
Still very rough, and most of the passengers have had to retire; those who were able to remain played bridge.
We have no butter for tea, only biscuits and dry bread; this was not such a hardship to me as to some of the other passengers. We had had no butter in Serbia for more than three months as butter cost there 7s. per pound, and as we could only obtain such small quantities, even at that price, it was not worth buying for our large unit.
Wednesday, October 27, 1915.
We had a bad thunderstorm to-day, and the sea is still very rough. Nothing of any importance happened.
Thursday, October 28, 1915.
We arrived at Marseilles at 8 a.m., for which we were all truly thankful, as it is not much pleasure to be facing such dangers as we had done.
At the Customs our luggage was most carefully searched, even the leaves of our Bibles and other books being turned over. We were all much amused and wondered if we should be searched next. This I believe happened to some of the women, but not any of our party.
We had our passports seen, and also paid a visit to the police station to obtain a pass to Boulogne. This took up most of the day, and we remained two nights in Marseilles. There is an Indian camp, as they come here to be climatized before going to the front. It was interesting seeing them about the town.
Saturday, October 30, 1915.
We left at 7 p.m., and on our arrival at Boulogne found the times had been altered, and our boat did not leave until the next day at 3 p.m.
Monday, November 1, 1915.
When we got on to the quay a hospital train came along, and we were told our King was in it, and his boat left just before ours, so we felt quite safe—and not at all sorry when we arrived once more in England.
Butler & Tanner Frome and London