Louisa Garrett Anderson to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Scope and Content

22 September 1914 Written from Hôtel Claridge, Paris. Transcript:

Dearest Mother

Your v. welcome letters reached safely. This letter is going to England in the American Embassy Bag. The American Ambassador visited us the other day and v. kindly offered us all kinds of help among other offers the practical one of a lift home for letters in his despatches which go several times a week. As the ordinary posts are still uncertain this is v. nice. We have done a great deal in the week. This hotel is now transformed into a hospital of 100 beds: 4 big wards 18-25 beds each and 2 or 3 small ones for officers. We have made a theatre and a sterilising room - which are in constant use - a mortuary chapel and a dispensary. The domestic arrangements are improving and the nursing staff settling to work. We have telegraphed home for an ambulance and a car - both of which we need very much, and an X Ray apparatus, and more instruments.

The shell injuries are dreadful, and the men come to us worn out after days in the trenches. We have only English in at present. 5 officers and the others Tommies. We hope to get in some French men but there has been a French Military Regulation, not yet rescinded, v. bringing wounded French soldiers into Paris.

As we are run by the French Red Cross we are most anxious to do our best for their men - although we like extremely having the English and Scotch. It is most awfully nice to have a chance of doing the work. It is a great chance. We will get unique surgical experience of every kind: already we have had a number of operations. Compound comminuted fractures; lung wounds; trephining for bullet wounds of head etc etc. I like that chance v. much but I like still more the opportunity of being a little good to these bruised men. Their minds are full of horrors and it is a help to them to come into a soothing atmosphere with decent food and soft beds and our gentle merry young orderly girls who feed them with cigarettes and write to their mothers and read to them. We are overwhelmed with kindness from French and American visitors - the President of the French Red Cross calls daily with a party of red-buttoned gentlemen, and as they generally arrive before 9am they help to get us up in the morning. We are all v. well: v. hard worked and very proud of our hospital. Will you please pass this letter on to Alan and Ivy and Aaa [Helen Lorimer, who looked after EGA's children, and subsequently her grandchildren].

We have been begged to go to Limoges where there are an immense number of wounded - and no equipment and scarcely any doctors but Dr Murray and I decided it was better to do this well and we are fully occupied here as it is. When we get our motor car and can send out a nurse and doctor daily to the railway junctions round Paris we shall be able to do still more.

A few English stamps 1d and 1/2d in each of your letters wd be very useful as e always try to get letters taken back to England by hand and posted on from there. Much love dearest mother



Please tell Ivy her shirts and towels are invaluable and Martha that her bottle covers are in constant use. Soon you must come out and see us. There is no real difficulty about the journey or about hotel accommodation.