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Dorothy Robinson, letters home from a First World War nurse

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BerichtGeplaatst: 03 Jun 2012 16:20    Onderwerp: Dorothy Robinson, letters home from a First World War nurse Reageer met quote

Downton Abbey fans will have seen Lady Sybil in action as a Red Cross nurse helping wounded soldiers.

In our archives, weíve found letters from one of our nurses who sheds more light on the difficulties of nursing, as well as some of the lighter moments. According to our records, Miss Dorothy M Robinson, daughter of Major General Sir C W Robinson KCB (ex Rifle Brigade), was a nurse at Waverley Abbey Military Hospital in Farnham, Surrey.

Dorothy tells her mum about the trouble she has to go through to get a bath, the jokes wounded servicemen play on each other, and the nervous anticipation everyone feels when the Zeppelin warning bell goes off one night.


December 3rd, 1915

My dearest Mother

Thank you so much for forwarding Joanís letter. I am glad she is getting on so well. I think that all things considered it is much better that Gladys Goument is not coming here. Her cousin really made a very bad character for herself and as everybody knows it and would associate Gladys with it, it would not be very nice for her.

I met another Waverley Abbey girl at the station and drove up in her motor and sent the two lots of boxes on the cab that came to meet me! Jamie met me in the Hall and I could not see the Commandant as she was out, since then Iíve tried four times to see her, and always hit the time she is out. I really canít make another effort as I shouldnít know what to say when I did see her, all this time after my arrival!!

I am sleeping in what is known as the Cubicles. It is a large room divided into seven cubicles and is just above the stables. Now the stables are used as a laundry, so you can imagine there is no fear of my being cold at night. They really are awfully nice cubicles, and the bed is a very comfy one, but Iím exceedingly glad I had the electric torch with me that Daddy gave me on my birthday as you have to find your way in the dark across a very cobbly and at present very puddly courtyard, through the wash tubs of the laundry and up a sort of wooden staircase! The fun comes when you want a bath and have to run across the afore said courtyard in your nightdress (I usually put on a coat!) with your towels etc. Jamie is sleeping in the house and would have asked if I could be up in her room, only the spare bed there was so very lumpy, she thought she could not commit me to it!

I am in a ward known as the Lady of the Lake with two other smaller wards attached to it called Abbot A and Abbot B. One thing I shall know the names of some at least of Scottís novels as a result of being here. Jamie is 2nd nurse and Iím third which is a ripping arrangement. She is supposed more or less to be in the Abbot ward while Iím in Lady of the Lake. As a matter of face we hop pretty freely between the two. As there are wardmaids under us, we have all the nice part of the work without any of the other!

Yesterday an officer brought over some men of his regiment and they gave a variety entertainment. They were most clever. A conjuror, a musician and a ventriloquist came. All the patients were taken into the Monastry Hall. The ones that could not move were put on stretchers on the floor and the others were in chairs etc. They enjoyed themselves most awfully. Jamie and I only saw a small part at the end as we had a whole lot of dressings etc to prepare, but to judge from the cheering and laughing that went on it must have been a most brilliant performance. I think it was a very good idea of the officerís myself as he could select the most suitable men, and they naturally know exactly the sort of thing that amuses Tommies.

How are you all getting on? I hope nothing new has turned up which requires a vast amount of energy to meet it!

Please give my love to Daddy and Charlie.

Your loving daughter
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