It took us till exactly 7 a.m. to get those three wards in anything like order, working without stopping. “Uncle,” who had dressed hurriedly and come up to the Hospital from his Hotel to see if he could be of any use, brought a very welcome bowl of Ivelcon about 2.30, which just made all the difference, as I had had nothing since 7 the night before. It’s surprising how hungry Zeppelin raids make one!
An extract from the account which appeared in The Daily Chronicle the following morning was as follows:—
“One bomb fell on Notre Dame Cathedral piercing the vault of one of the Chapels on the right transept and wreaking irreparable damage to the beautiful old glass of its gothic windows. This same bomb, which must have been of considerable size, sent debris flying into the courtyard of the Lamarcq Hospital full of Belgian wounded being tended by English Nurses.
“Altogether these Yeomanry nurses behaved admirably, for all the menfolk with the exception of the doorkeeper” (and Pierre, please), “fled for refuge to the cellars, and the women were left. In the neighbourhood one hears nothing but praise of these courageous Englishwomen. Another bomb fell on a railway carriage in which a number of mechanics—refugees from Lille—were sleeping, as they had no homes of their own. The effect of the bomb on these unfortunate men was terrible. They were all more or less mutilated; and heads, hands, and feet were torn off. Then flames broke out on top of this carriage and in a moment the whole was one huge conflagration.
“As the Zeppelin drew off, its occupants had the sinister satisfaction of leaving behind them a great glare which reddened the sky for a full hour in contrast with the total blackness of the town.”
Chris took out “Flossie,” and was on the scene of this last disaster as soon as she could get into her clothes after being so roughly awakened by the splinters of glass.
When the day staff arrived from the “Shop-window,” what a sight met their eyes! The poor old place looked as if it had had a night of it, and as we sat down to breakfast in the kitchen we shivered in the icy blasts that blew in gusts across the room, for of course the weather had made up its mind to be decidedly wintry just to improve matters. It took weeks to get those windows repaired, as there was a run on what glaziers the town possessed. The next night our plight in typhoids was not one to be envied—Army blankets had been stretched inadequately across the windows and the beds pulled out of the way of draughts as much as possible, but do what we could the place was like an icehouse; the snow filtered softly through the flapping blankets, and how we cursed the Hun! At 3 a.m. one of the patients had a relapse and died.
CONCERNING BATHS, “JOLIE ANNETTE,” “MARIE-MARGOT” AND “ST. INGLEVERT.”
After this event I was sent back for a time to the blesses graves on the surgical side on day duty. All who had been on duty that memorable night had had a pretty considerable shock. It was like leaving one world and stepping into another, so complete was the change from typhoids.