When all were brought in, places were changed, and the stretcher bearers became the wounded and vice versa. We got rather tired of this pastime about 12.30 but there was still another wounded to be brought in. She had chosen the bottom of a heathery slope and took some finding. It was the C.O. She feigned delirium and threw her arms about in a wild manner. The poor bearers were feeling too exhausted to appreciate this piece of acting, and heather is extremely slippery stuff. When we had struggled back with her the soi-disant doctor asked for the diagnosis. “Drunk and disorderly,” replied one of them, stepping smartly forward and saluting! This somewhat broke up the proceedings, and lese majeste was excused on the grounds that it was too dark to recognise it was the C.O. The tent pegs were pulled up and the tent pulled down and we all thankfully tramped back to camp to sleep the sleep of the just till the reveille sounded to herald another day.
The last Chapter was devoted to the F.A.N.Y.’s in camp before the War, but from now onwards will be chronicled facts that befell them on active service.
When war broke out in August 1914 Lieutenant Ashley Smith lost no time in offering the Corps’ services to the War Office. To our intense disappointment these were refused. However, F.A.N.Y.’s are not easily daunted. The Belgian Army, at that time, had no organised medical corps in the field, and informed us they would be extremely grateful if we would take over a Hospital for them. Lieutenant Smith left for Antwerp in September 1914, and had arranged to take a house there for a Hospital when the town fell; her flight to Ghent where she stayed to the last with a dying English officer, until the Germans arrived, and her subsequent escape to Holland have been told elsewhere. (A F.A.N.Y. in France—Nursing Adventures.) Suffice it to say we were delighted to see her safely back among us again in October; and on the last day of that month the first contingent of F.A.N.Y.’s left for active service, hardly any of them over twenty-one.
I was unfortunately not able to join them until January 1915; and never did time drag so slowly as in those intervening months. I spent the time in attending lectures and hospital, driving a car and generally picking up every bit of useful information I could. The day arrived at last and Coley and I were, with the exception of the Queen of the Belgians (travelling incognito) and her lady-in-waiting, the only women on board.