“The War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you”

The Superintendent at Broadmoor felt unappreciated for his organisation’s contribution to the care of insane PoWs. This complaint elicited a hasty letter of gratitude on 16 November.

3rd November 1919

Dear Major Wells

With regard to the enclosed I don’t know exactly what manner of report may be required, but I have neither the time nor inclination to go further in the matter.

In 1916 I undertook to relieve Netley Hospital of the care & treatment of their German Insane Patients, a job that was not at all congenial & which apparently nobody else would look at.

Later on the War Office, without consulting me on the subject, by telegram gave orders that I should undertake the duty & responsibility of repatriating the German Insane via Boston, not only from this Hospital but from others, the patients being sent on here for review and dispersal. I made no demur but carried on all this extra gratuitous work in addition to my own heavy civil duties which had to be performed with all my very able-bodied staff on active service.

Result, I am gazetted out of the army without remark & the War Office had not even the common courtesy to say thank you.

Under the circumstances I feel I am under no obligation whatever to render further gratuitous service to the War Office, altho’ the material might be forthcoming.

These remarks refer entirely to the War Office; the DMS Staff at Aldershot were always kindly, helpful & courteous, & Major General Browne was complimentary in acknowledgement of the work performed.

Yours faithfully

[Dr Baker
file copy not signed.]

Broadmoor correspondence file (D/H14/A6/2/51)

“I wonder if this war will ever end?”

Lady Eileen Browne (1889-1940) was the eldest daughter of the Marquess of Sligo, an Irish peer. Her brother Ulick (1898-1941) was just 18 and was training as an officer. After the war Lady Eileen married Lord Stanhope (1880-1967), who left their stately home Chevening House to the nation as the official residence of the Foreign Secretary.

March 11th
7 Upper Belgrave Street SW

Dear Captain Glyn

Don’t think me quite mad but if ever you are in London & have any spare time, do come & see me as it is such ages since we met & I want to hear all your news. We are up now indefinitely as my brother has gone to Sandhurst & gets up to us for weekends! So just write or telephone.

Please excuse me if I have got your rank wrong, but I am very vague in these matters! I heard from Maisie yesterday from Windsor! I am so dreadfully sorry for Lady George [Ralph’s aunt Sybil Campbell]. I am sure she is wonderful but she wrote me such a sad letter. I wonder if this war will ever end?

All good luck
Yrs sincerely

Eileen Browne

Letter to Ralph Glyn (D/EGL/C32/17)

Bisham Abbey becomes a hospital

The day of Bisham Abbey’s launch as a war hospital for Belgian soldiers dawned. Florence Vansittart Neale’s daughters Phyllis and Elizabeth (Bubbles or Bubs) were among the voluntary nurses.

4 December 1914
Heard no more of Belgians till 10 o’clock. Telegram saying 25 would arrive in afternoon! Tel: motors. Dr Norris & Mr Hill here, turned out dining room. Beds made up! Met 4.40, but arrived 9.30! Dr Downes here till 12 pm. Phyllis & May have Chintz Ward, Bubs & Lottie North. Maud Richardson & Johnson Middle. Gladys Frere & Edie F. Green. Mrs Jay & K. Tovers Hoby Ward! Pry & Browne night nurses. Miss Headington & Mr Hadfield.
Bisham Abbey become a Hospital for 25 Belgians, all with wounds.

Charlie’s furlough of 4 days over. He back to France.

Civilian William Hallam spared a thought for soldiers in wet weather:

4 December 1914

This dinner time I never remember a rougher wetter middle day than it was. In fact for some time now we have had nothing but rough wet weather. It must be awful for our poor soldiers.

Diaries of Florence Vansittart Neale (D/EX73/3/17/8) and William Halalm (D/EX1415/22)