The run to Etaples was not very long, and we went straight to the V.A.D. Motor Ambulance Convoy where Dame Rachel Crowdey met us and took charge of us for the day. They were a very nice set of girls. Miss Mellor was Commandant, also very attractive.
I did some girls repairing cars, then a general view from a high embankment.
Then we went down to the cemetery – a perfect forest of little wooden crosses. We were directed to the section where the four Nursing Sisters killed in an air raid lay – with the Officers. Some WAAC girls always tended the graves, and a few of them came down and grouped at work for me to photograph them. I soon found Bettie Stevenson’s grave and singled it out for a special photo.
Bertha “Betty” Stevenson was a YMCA driver who was killed in an air raid in 1918, aged only 21. She had stayed in the danger zone to assist some French refugees. She was given a military funeral and was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme by General Petain, for courage and devotion to duty. The personal inscription on her headstone reads simply, ‘The Happy Warrior’. (Information and photograph from The Commonwealth War Graves Committee.)
We did next Mewy Lodge Convalescent Home for Nursing Sisters… Miss Allen of the big “24” General [hospital] came with us and Miss Shepherd, Commandant of the WAACs – both interesting. Every one I met expressed a desire to put me to bed and doctor me, as my voice was again very lacking.
We drove on to a very nice WAAC camp with the best YWCA Hut I had ever seen, very cosy and pretty… I gave the girls a little show of my photographs and afterwards to the Staff.
I saw in this camp the youngest V.A.D., a de Trafford girl. She had come out as a girl scout and had just evolved into a V.A.D. I think she was 17.