Newfoundland and Labrador In The First World War

Frances Cluett Letter 1

Lincoln,
Feb. 25/17.

Sunday night

Dear Mother,

...Oh Mother! We are put on rations. A 2 lb. loaf of bread must last us two days; and we are also given 3/4 lb. sugar to do us for a week. Each nurse was presented with a small bag to hold her loaf of bread and tin of sugar. I did laugh the first morning these bags were given out. We all went up to one of the nurses in single file to get them...

Frances Cluett, Rouen, France, c.a. 1917
Frances Cluett, Rouen, France, c.a. 1917

Courtesy of the Archives and Manuscripts Division (Coll. - 174.5.01.002), QE II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

Sunday, March 4th

...I wish you could see us going to the hospital in the mornings. In one hand we have a case containing cuffs, collars, aprons, scissors, caps etc.

In the other hand we carry our ration bag, containing our 2 lb. loaf, and our tin of sugar...

Sunday March 11th

... I never felt better in health in my life except for a cough I had when I left N.F.L.D: I still have it: but it does not hurt me. I never know what it is to feel a pain; of course we are tired at times: for we have a tremendous lot of walking to do. The wards are nearly twice the length of the Orange Hall, and one goes the whole of it about one hundred times per day...

VAD Members with Supply Cart, n.d.
VAD Members with Supply Cart, n.d.
The women are identified as Ruby (right) and Georgie (left).

From the Ruby Ayre Album, p 7. Courtesy of Archives and Special Collections (Coll-322 1.01), QE II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL..

... We had another convoy about a week ago. Two hundred came to this hospital but we got only two. One of them is a T.B. patient (Tuberculosis). He was wounded in the thigh; quite a young boy, he is so pale looking. A few evenings ago I took his temperature which was over 100&176;, and pulse 102; the next evening when I took it, it was a bit better, and yesterday evening it had gone down quite a bit. The other evening a visitor came to see him; He handed me his pass: I saw he was a Jew; I thought the boy looked Jewish; you know no visitors are allowed into a hut without just showing their pass.

G- has had to undergo another operation. I hear there are talks of sending him to his home in Canada. This morning Sister was syringing his leg; then she put plugging into it. Plugging is put on one side of the leg and pulled through the other side. It is awful.

VAD Members and Soldiers on a Ward, n.d.
VAD Members and Soldiers on a Ward, n.d.

From the Ruby Ayre Album, p 13. Courtesy of the Archives and Special Collections (Coll-322 1.01), QE II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

Poor D- has had his hip cut open again, to take a piece of bone that was floating around in the wound out; that wound is awfully deep. G- is able to hop around the ward; I expect he will soon be sent to his home in London. He walked yesterday down town to Theatre Royal. It seems so nice to see those poor things able to get up again. Four have died in Gallishaws ward. I expect when you hear from me again, I shall be on night duty: that is go on 8:30 p.m. and come off 8:30 a.m.

Good bye Mother; from your loving daughter Fannie.

Letter courtesy of Archives and Special Collections (Frances Cluett Collection 174), Queen Elizabeth II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL