Series 01: Anne Donnell circular letters, 25 May 1915 - 8 July 1918 - Page 250

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[Page 250]

have the order to disperse. It's my sister's birthday, she little dreams of the early wishes wafted to her from a dugout in France. The nearest shell came within 3 yards of the resuscitation ward, but providentially the flying shrapnel burst away from the ward. We only had one casualty – an orderly received a broken leg – but oh we never have these shellings without someone suffers, and we could hear the cryings from the poor Labout Batt. Who had caught it whilst working at the railhead – enough.

Miss McCarthy hurried up to us having heard of course about the night dud, we thoroughly appreciated the message she left – that during a raid we could please ourselves, stay in bed, go to the dug out or remain on duty. It was very sensible for we had at that time no place of safe shelter.

Truly I must start and curtail this letter or it will never be finished, so I'll skip on to Xmas and just say that that night in the dugout was a bit severe for some of us. For myself I developed a cough which helped to add to disturbed nights, and the results of which I have just now fully recovered.

On the whole I was as happy as I could be under such circumstances. The Matron and sisters and I must add Orderlies, were especially good I thought to the odd but from Australia. And I loved the work if it wasn't for the constant unsatisfied feeling that you could not individually special. One only had time to give the treatment and dit seemed crude to have to pass by the little extras that makes nursing a pleasure, though everything was done that could be done. It's really great the work at a C.C.S. and to be one of the band of those unselfish workers I felt it a privilege indeed. For instance, Matron rarely if ever went to bed before midnight and more often 2 and 3 a.m. would find her in her office writing letters to all who were on the dangerously ill list, and to those who had passed away. Another instance of goodness I thought was the healthier boys giving up their blood for their almost dying comrade (the transfusion of blood to one person from another). In this way I believe many a life has been saved. For this the boys were given [indecipherable] and kept longer than the rest, and needless to say they liked that part though they did not look for compensation.

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