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Managing the
War Effort

Home Front

at War

Newfoundland Regiment

Royal Naval Reserve

Forestry Corps

Volunteer Aid Detachment

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Letter 4



A Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Partner Project. Created under contract to Canada's Digital Collections, Industry Canada.

Letter 4        | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 |

I have been so tired towards morning that I could scarcely walk; the bottoms of my feet are like boils; my first ward on night duty this year was C1. Just as we had one man washed and shrouded ready to be taken to the mortuary, I was sent to another ward to help Sister prepare another for the mortuary. Next evening I was told to watch a man until his last breath went. I never thought mother [sic] that I could do what I have done. I went behind the screen and stayed with him until he died. Oh the pitiful sights, the worn faces: one man asked just before he died when he could see his mother.

VAD members, n.d.
Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL P49-A1), St. John’s, Newfoundland.
(21 Kb)

Next night in the midst of our rush, I was sent to Special a man. He was wounded in buttock, left arm, abdomen. His arm was in “Thomas” splint; that is bound on steel rods: the poor thing was raving at times. We were giving him a saline injection but gave it up: he died about 7 p.m. When I came off duty this morning, one of our patients was slowly fading. You cannot realize mother what we go through.

I have been to church; both going and coming I saw them taking stretchers with the ‘Union Jack’ over them; you know what that means.

One of the patients was telling me about this last push when the Germans drove them back: he said you could see them coming; as fast as you can knock one down another took his place, there was no end to them, at last they had to retire; the Germans are getting the best of it. Out of one of the boy’s battalion, only 9 came back; they tell us it is murder.

VAD printed propaganda, n.d.
Courtesy of the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL P5-11), St. John’s, Newfoundland.
(29 Kb)

Of course we get it right from the persons who are engaged in the battle and not from the papers. Another said he just went with his company to dig a trench; they were not fighting men; but found when they had finished, they had to hold the line; and he said he was no good at all, not able to do anything of the kind. One old man got knocked about a bit, he couldn’t run he said like the younger ones; poor old chap he must have lain in the cold quite a while; he is so wheezy. The Germans nearly executed them.

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