“Ill and frightened in a strange land”

A Bracknell woman who had the opportunity to visit her seriously ill soldier husband was full of praise for the medical staff and volunteers caring for the sick and wounded.

THE WAR

Our readers will be glad to know that Corporal Michael Fox who has been very ill indeed with pneumonia in France is now on the high road to complete recovery. The following account of his wife’s visit to him will be read with interest:

“I feel I must let the people know of the great kindness shown towards me while I was in France. I was sent for a visit to my husband who was dangerously ill. I started away at once; on getting off the boat, feeling very ill and frightened in a strange land, to my surprise a gentleman came to me and took my luggage and papers and saw me through the signing of them, and through to the Customs, and then put me in a motor, and I asked him if I could go straight to the hospital, although it was very late then, he said ‘certainly you shall go at once.’

When I got there Matron and Nurses told me all about my husband, then took me in to see him. He was unconscious and did not know me. I went away, the Matron telling me to return early in the morning. Then the kind gentleman who had waited for me took me to the Y.M.C.A. Rooms. There a lady welcomed me as though I was a sister, also the gentlemen of the Y.M.C.A. My husband was like that for three days and I sat with him three or four times each day; all the time the Nurses and men of the Medical Corps bringing me refreshments.

If only people could see what the Nurses, Doctors and the Medical men are doing! They never get impatient and a smile is on their faces all day even when they are on the go hour after hour. I cannot say enough of all they do, and did for me and mine. All the ladies out there, in the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Rest Home, do all sorts of dirty work, washing up cups and dishes, cleaning up the places, and one lady I saw, her hands are worse than mine who have had to work for my living all my life. She does all this in the morning, then in the afternoon visits the hospital and gives to the Soldiers games, English papers, cigarettes, note paper and envelopes, and is always cheering them up and doing all she can for them. There are many more who do the same. How they must miss all the comforts they have been used to!

Then there are the Red Cross Nurses waiting about the harbour to rescue any poor soul who has been missed off the boat, in the rain and snow all hours of the night, and then take them to the Y.M.C.A. where the gentlemen make them comfortable. The ladies and gentlemen of the Y.M.C.A. never get a minute’s rest, even when they are having their meals they are called away to attend to someone. I think the work out there is splendid.

When my pass for the seven days was up the doctor would not let me return, so he extended my pass for another five days, he said I was doing my husband such a lot of good. The kindness I received over there overwhelmed me, and I feel I must let everyone know what the Nurses and Medical men and Ladies are doing for our Soldiers and Sailors, and I am unable to express my thanks enough, also to all the ladies who are making the wadding jackets for the sick, my husband had one up to his chin, which he said was a comfort to him.”

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1915 (D/P151/28A/7/12)

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