7th March 1919

We breakfasted in the Fany Mess at about 8.15. The parade before breakfast was an amusing sight owing to the variety of garbs of the girls – blue smocks, knickers and gaiters for the domestic staff, every kind of jersey – and the usual khaki uniforms of the drivers. The mess hut was buzzing with jolly happy-looking girls.

After breakfast we went over the road to the “Park” where the girls’ cars were kept, a large enclosure with workshops and a “wash” on which I photographed them busy cleaning their charges.

St Omer

Members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) washing their motor ambulances, St Omer (IWM).

The workshop was so entirely filled when a car was in it that I could not make a picture of it, much to the disappointment of the girl in charge – a military medallist.

…We photographed from the back of the Canteen at a YMCA Hut, then went on to Longunesse Hospital, where Col. Inkson, V.C, D.S.O., received us. Miss Forrest was the matron. I did a ward of English surgical cases and another of German prisoners, and I was glad to be able to talk to them a little in their own lingo. The danger-list from influenza and pneumonia ¬†hanging in the office was terrible.

Longunesse

Doctors, nurses and patients in the German ward of No. 4 Stationary Hospital at Longuenesse (IWM).

Nigel [Henry Nigel St Valery Norman, Lady Norman’s step-son] helped me splendidly with the camera, and I felt so thankful for the attention he gave to us, as most of my helpers were of a more scattered mind, naturally having other interests, and it was no joke to keep them within hail when wanted, and to be sure that everything was collected. Throughout the week, the collection of all the baggage, to leave nothing behind – for it could never be reclaimed – was a tremendous effort – the slide-cases having to be continually changed as my work progressed.

Our run to Boulogne was uneventful except for a burst tyre… By this time my throat had become very troublesome and I could hardly speak when Lady Norman came in, but dinner improved matters. Miss Conway and I developed some rolls of Kodak films in my bedroom and found a few good ones of the Waacs at Calais – my first efforts with the borrowed Kodak, taken in great trepidation as I could not work the finder, and others which in our kaleidoscopic rush through Belgium, we could hardly recognise. I resolved to note my exposures. We expected a big photographic day in Boulogne, so I re-loaded and packed accordingly.

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