A gruesome war hospital

Lady Mary Glyn had news of various friends’ fates. Lt Marmion Ferrers Guy (1877-1953) had a half-French wife. He was a career officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers who had joined up in 1900. Craufurd Tait Ellison (1888-1942) was the grandson of Archibald Tait, a former Archbishop of Canterbury, and related to the Vansittart Neales of Bisham. Lady Mary was repelled by the use of a mental hospital for nursing the wounded.

Peter[borough]
March 26th

I like General Blunker so much, & his wife – one of the quiet Irishmen, and a man of great personality. I wonder if you came across him at the Suvla Bay time? They come here for Sunday April 3rd, and we shall have Mrs Guy here the same time. She is very proud of Marmion’s DSO for Dardanelles work. Crawford [sic] Ellison is doing Brigade Major there at Northampton, Johnny Ellison’s son, whose mother was Aggy Tait, and he is a young man with much side on, & swelled head, & no manners. He was badly wounded in the leg in the Aisne battle and will probably be always lame….

[In Northampton] I saw all the Institute people, nurses & Church Army & Red Cross Rooms, under Lilah Butler, and I went all over the new County War Hospital at Duston which the War Office are getting ready for 950 wounded. It is the pauper lunatic asylum, so we are not to call it Berrywood as the soldiers would not like the idea, but as they are keeping on some of the lunatics for farm work, & some are now about the dreary half built and half prepared place I thought it sufficiently gruesome, and I am sure the place cannot be ready for a long time, and I wonder if the War Office mean real business. It is a huge and most unsuitable place, and full of great inconveniences for Staff work. I thought the cubicle being prepared for the 150 nurses dreadful and uncomfortable; the kitchens far away. We went into the Bakery and a dreadful lunatic was crouching on one of the ovens! Another came & jibbered at me in an unexpected place, and the Matron (who was there when it was an asylum) has a sinister cast in her eye and quelled him with a look! She is Scotch and keeps on all the staff of “mental” trained nurses as probationers. It all seems to me to be a tricky affair. The Doctor Superintendent is to be the Chief Doctor, and he too keeps on his staff. I certainly would not care to be sent to Berrywood if I was a wounded Tommy, but it all may come right. It did not attract me….

Poor Pen Graeme, her husband’s death is a great heartbreak. He had just gone back, a stray shell in a back trench, and it was instantaneous. Old “Hoppy”, amazed at the calmness of his womenfolk is terribly upset, & has gone to Devonshire to see the old father whose life was wrapped up in this son. Pen & he had gone to their little cottage on Perthshire his last leave, so I am afraid the old people did not see him then….


Letter from Lady Mary Glyn to her son Ralph Glyn ((D/EGL/C2/3)

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Steadiness, pluck and endurance

A Bracknell officer writes of the impressive fighting by the Royal Berkshire Regiment in the early months of the war.

From “The Times” of November 27th.
RECORD OF THE BERKSHIRES

An officer just returned form the front writes:-

Every one who belongs to Berkshire will be intensely proud of their regiment when the history of the doings of the 1st Battalion during the past three moths comes to be written. They fought at Mons and during the subsequent retirement at Moroilles, and then they were in the advance and fought in the battles of the Marne and Aisne. For 32 days they were on the Aisne, and all but five days were spent in the trenches. They are making a great name for themselves, a name for steadiness under fire, pluck, and endurance. They have been out there from the beginning, have been in every battle, and always in the front line. Their example should be an inducement to all able-bodied men in Berkshire to enlist immediately.

The following copy of orders by Lieutenant-Colonel M. D. Graham, commanding 1st Batt. Royal Berkshire Regt., is exhibited at Reading Barracks: –

October 29th. – The commanding officer has been directed by the Major-General Commanding 2nd Division to convey to the battalion the very high appreciation of their attack on October 24, and of the determined manner in which they subsequently held their ground.

Bracknell section of Winkfield District Magazine, December 1914 (D/P151/28A/6/12)