8th March 1919

We went next to the Cemetery [outside Boulogne], where Lady Norman ran to the section where the men from her own hospital were buried. It was terrible to hear how many she knew. She flew from grave to grave, giving a short and sketchy account of man after man. She said that she read the funeral service herself over the first man they buried, as the Chaplain did not turn up.

After a hasty run round we drove on into Boulogne and visited the Signals. I did a long room of girls at machines, reading off the messages.

Signals at Boulogne

Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC) telegraphists in the Signals Office at Boulogne.

By this time my throat was so bad that I could hardly speak, and it was not easy to carry it through.

After this Miss Parker carried us off to lunch at a place where all the WAACS, coming or going, passed through – a hostel. We took our lunch in a great hurry, as we wanted to get down and photograph some girls going home to England on a leave-boat. In spite of our rush, leaving the most delicious pastry in the world, we arrived to find that the boat had just gone  very punctually, but we decided to wait for the incoming boat which had parties both of WAACS and V.A.D.s returning. I climbed up on an unused gangway, piled on top of another, and this gave me a fine vantage point. It was rather a trembling platform, and at one critical moment i wondered if the camera and I were going to be smashed up. A fight started between two Frenchmen in the road outside the landing stage, and immediately about 20 men flew to my gangway and climbed up on it to get a sight of the fun. The thing tottered, and there was only my own weight on the opposite end to steady it. However, the fight fortunately moved on, and the audience likewise, and I was safe. It was a very pretty sight as the boat came alongside, and by using my sliding back I got a very good picture. I did one plate of each set of girls being received by one of their officers.

VADs at Boulogne

A group of VADs (Voluntary Aid Detachment) returning from leave on the gangway of a ferry about to disembark, Boulogne (IWM)

WAACS at Boulogne

Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC) returning from leave, Boulogne (IWM).

[We] went on to the School of Cookery. Here a very excellent Sergeant Shepherd, in white attire, one of the chief lecturers, took us round. They trained army cooks, both men and women, and the methods and arrangements were splendid… I got a photo in the big kitchen, with Sergeant Shephed intstructing a lot of girls. (Unfortunately one plate was reversed in loading, as I only discovered later, and I lost the most amusing group.)

Sgt Shepherd

Sergeant Shepherd instructing members of the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps at the Army Cookery School, No. 4 Rest Camp, Henriville (IWM).

We then returned to Boulogne. The others meditated going to 3 WAAC dances, but it was more than I felt able for, having already visions of hospital or of returning to England and missing the rest of the trip…so it seemed not an unwise proceeding to stop at home and let Miss Conway enjoy the fun of the 3 dances. I felt that in my own modest way I, too, had done a day’s work, and however willing the spirit might be, the flesh was weak.

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2 thoughts on “8th March 1919

  1. Pingback: 26th March 1919 | Olive Edis

  2. Pingback: Our new galleries are open! | Olive Edis

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