12th March 1919

On Wednesday 12th March we visited the Base Commandant of Dieppe, Col. Pearson, and got permission to go to the great Bakery, the biggest in the world, which supplied the whole British Army in France. The great hall was, I suppose, 400 feet long, a wonderful sight with its rows of ovens and trollies. But unfortunately on Wednesdays all womenkind knocked off early – and it was impossible to get any picture of them at work. This was a great regret, as it was one of the really important things that women were doing in France. Lavery was to paint this for the museum but a flashlight photo of the night shift would have been very good.

(Click here to see Lavery’s 1919 painting of the bakery, also part of the IWM collection.)

I did the girls playing football, the first set in trousers we had seen in France. They looked very jolly, playing with the soldiers.

(I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that we don’t have this photo in our collection, and neither does the IWM. I would have loved to see it!)

The Great Hospital on the Quai [at Le Havre] we found had been disbanded – only the matron remained. I did a most attractive picture of her on the balcony, looking out in a farewell attitude at the great American liner which with the port made a background for her.

Le Havre

Miss Minns, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS), Matron of a Hospital on the Quay at Le Havre (IWM).

I next did a group of signal telephonists, and another of a YWCA canteen under outrageously bad conditions – both interiors with hardly any light and the hour, nearly seven pm, and absolutely at the last with tiredness. When we got to the hotel, after a YWCA cup of tea, I felt quite unable to face dinner and lay down to sleep for a couple of hours, then did another couple of hours work listing plates and writing till midnight.

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