Series 01: Anne Donnell circular letters, 25 May 1915 - 8 July 1918 - Page 246
coming down in parachutes. On reaching the Quarters I see the night staff are wandering around in an agitated way and on my enquiring what was the matter they indignantly reply "Goodness don't you know that the Germans have broken through and are only 3 miles away and we'll have to evacuate." The noise from the guns by this time is in full fury, it's tremendous, and the continuous humming of it seems like scores of aeroplanes above. I feel this is war indeed, and I fancy all at once that I can see the Germans coming in swarms over the ridge. I hasten back to the boys on the stretchers to get them ready and almost lose consciousness of the excitement that is going on outside, but soon Matron hurries in again and sends me off to put a few things together into a suit case to take with me. It's come I thought and they won't let us stay to see the boys away first, but just as fast as the trains can be loaded, just as fast are the patients coming in - no faster – and now there is a query if they can all be got away, and the irony of it all for the wounded boys and the gassed boys are just making their way in streams towards the C.C.S. I could never forget it, the expressions on those dear boys' faces as they come pouring in with their frightened anxious hunted look combined with the suffering of fear, pain, and shock. Boys who could see would be leaders of queues of blind bandaged boys each placing their hands on the others' shoulders and so feeling their way.
Very soon every available space under cover is packed and not only inside but outside as well. I leave my wounded men and go over to the gas side where Matron soon joins in to help, also another Sister and as many Orderlies as can. They are great too and can work with the best when work is to be done, and there we go on hour after hour putting cocaine in these poor smarting eyes, then sodi-bicarb pads and a bandage.
The M.O. as busy in other ways in relieving blood pressure and giving oxygen to the more serious ones, really this goes on in a more or less degree for two days and nights – but I have gone ahead. Well about midday of the 30th the D.D.M.S. OR A.D.M.S. comes along and says the sisters can stay on as long as the place itself is not being