Stephen Warner Diaries, Volume IV, October, November, December 1916

Friday 6 October

“My second birthday out here! Somewhat unexpected in old days but now we seem almost to feel as though one were settled down here for life.”

Wednesday 18 October

“Since my birthday a change has happened and for the last 10 days or so I have found myself attached to the x-Ray Dept. The cardiograph business having so greatly developed.”

Friday 27 October

“A little time back in the theatre, had a very bad night for there were three emergency operations, two of which were amputations and the third ended in death on the table!”

Wednesday 8 November

“The immediate future seems fraught with possibilities for the S.M came to me the other day to my great surprise and asked me if I was still of the same mind as regards a transfer! I could hardly gasp out a reply as I was so flabbergasted, but the upside of it all is that I and Sergeant Pronse have each signed the necessary form of application for transfer to the machine gun corps and we now hope for the best – wonders will never cease!”

Thursday 9 November

“A little late in the day perhaps but I have only just got the figures for the hospitals work for one year, from the day it opened September 5th 1915 to September 5th 1916: officers admitted – 193

NCOs and men – 9231

operations done – 1218

amputations (including feet and hand but not fingers and toss) Arms – 7, Legs – 70 Eyes removed – 38

Deaths – 160.”

Friday 17 November

“This is written in England where I am on leave! This happened all of a sudden last Saturday night.”

Thursday 23 November

“I pass my stay at home and pick up the thread again on the 20th when I left at 7.00pm for London. Spent a night at a very second rate hotel near Victoria and duly caught the 7.53am train to Folkestone.”

Tuesday 28 November

“Today I have handed in my form application for commission and only hope that I’m doing the right thing.”

Saturday 2 December

“Have been interviewed and after a few questions about my previous military experience (easily answered) and as to my ability to see without glasses, he said that he would send it on with a recommendation that I should have a three weeks preliminary course before going to the cadet battalion.”

Friday 8 December

“Have managed to get hold of one of the Sergeant Majors at No.1 training camp and he is giving Pronse and I lessons on the rifle which are invaluable to me – I’ve already learned the different parts and how to load and unload and tomorrow we go onto a machine gun.”

Friday 15 December

“I had filled various roles in this hospital besides my ordinary work I have been interpreter for French visitors, I have made copies of the builders’ plans of the hospital and wards for the OC, but now I have the job of all! I am nothing less than letter writer in chief and translator into French of lovesick patients!”

“Most unexpectedly I have just had a pleasant half hour of archaeology. Captain Gordon has just been in to show me some Roman coins (mostly pennies and 3 silver, moderate preservation) found close by the hospital.”

Saturday 23 December

“The call has come at last and I reported at No.2 training camp for accommodation, we are only 5 at least at present – three canny Scots and another RAMC man, rather a poor specimen in my humble opinion.”

Sunday 24 December

“6 hours a day seems to be as much as we are going to put in – but there is no more today and none tomorrow! So down I came to the hospital to pick up odds and ends and have tea with Sister Weston.”

Monday 25 December

“Christmas day again at last? But not so happy as the last. To begin with Mr Jocks returned from Paris Plage yesterday seeming rather the worse for liquor and the other RAMC man distinctly drunk.”

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