14th March 1919

On Friday 14th we started what proved to be about the biggest day’s work. We first drove back in the rambling old ambulance car to the hospital where I had photographed in the dispensary – 25 Stationary, where we grouped all the Sisters in the chapel. They made a perfectly beautiful picture in their grey dresses and white caps with the touch of scarlet on their capes. I was immensely taken with the whole  thing.

Nurses 25 Stationary

Nurses coming out of their Chapel, No. 25 Stationery Hospital, Rouen (IWM).

We then went on for an hour’s drive to Pont de l’Arche, where after a good lunch I had five more rather difficult groups to do, a barber’s regular Bond St. establishment with Miss Button as coiffeuse, others of machinery, electric deposits and acetyline welding.

Hairdressing

Women having their hair brushed in the hairdressers’ shop for the Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps (QMAAC) at Pont de l’Arche (IWM).

We then had a long two hours more in the ambulance to Gournay. I managed to get outside with the driver, for the noise inside with the rattling of the fittings was fearful, and had a wonderful view of the flooded Seine in mist and rain – a most beautiful winding road through the forest of Lyons.

The way was long and unknown, and Lady Norman’s help was needed with the maps. As it grew dark we had the benefit of a faint glow of moon. We passed through Beauvais, with its lovely Cathedral and Choir with flying buttresses, but it was closed. We reached Précis about 9.30 only to find that our unit had flown three days before. It was rather an awkward predicament on dark, unknown roads. However, the girls seemed mightily pleased with the adventure, which made all the difference. As it would have been unheard of for three benighted ladies to seek shelter at Chantily GHQ of the French army, we made for Creil, a dull ugly manufacturing town where the Germans had been.

We found there was a train to Paris at 10:25, so got the chaffeuses to take us to the station and then sped them on their homeward way, whilst we took the train.

Again, there is much more information about this day in the journal and plenty more photos to be seen via the IWM’s collection search.

15th March was a quiet day in Paris, with no photos taken, so we’ll rejoin the group on 16th March, where we meet Edis’ favourite chauffeur of the journey, affectionately known as “Daddy Blow”…

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