The careful system of sanitation introduced into the army has, with the assistance of other measures, kept the troops free from any epidemic, in support of which it is to be noticed that since the commencement of the war some 500 cases only of enteric have occurred.
The organization for the first time in war of motor ambulance convoys is due to the initiative and organizing powers of Surgeon General T.J. O’Donnell, D.S.O., ably assisted by Major P. Evans, Royal Army Medical Corps.
Two of these convoys, composed entirely of Red Cross Society personnel, have done excellent work under the superintendence of regular medical officers.
Twelve hospital trains ply between the front and the various bases. I have visited several of the trains when halted in stations, and have found them conducted with great comfort and efficiency.
During the more recent phase of the campaign the creation of rest depots at the front has materially reduced the wastage of men to the line of communications.
Since the latter part of October, 1914, the whole of the medical arrangements have been in the hands of Surgeon General Sir A.T. Sloggett, C.M.G., K.H.S., under whom Surgeon General T.P. Woodhouse and Surgeon General T.J. O’Donnell have been responsible for the organization on the line of communications and at the front respectively.
12. The exceptional and peculiar conditions brought about by the weather have caused large demands to be made upon the resources and skill of the Royal Engineers.
Every kind of expedient has had to be thought out and adopted to keep the lines of trenches and defense work effective.
The Royal Engineers have shown themselves as capable of overcoming the ravages caused by violent rain and floods as they have been throughout in neutralizing the effect of the enemy’s artillery.
In this connection I wish particularly to mention the excellent services performed by my Chief Engineer, Brig. Gen. G.H. Fowke, who has been indefatigable in supervising all such work. His ingenuity and skill have been most valuable in the local construction of the various expedients which experience has shown to be necessary in prolonged trench warfare.
13. I have no reason to modify in any material degree my views of the general military situation, as expressed in my dispatch of Nov. 20, 1914.
14. I have once more gratefully to acknowledge the valuable help and support I have received throughout this period from Gen. Foch, Gen. D’Urbal, and Gen. Maud’huy of the French Army. I have the honor to be, your Lordship’s most obedient servant,
J.D.P. FRENCH, Field Marshal, Commanding in Chief, the British Army in the Field.
BY EMILE VERHAEREN
(From Les Bles Mouvants)
Done into English verse by Joyce Kilmer.