Étaples Weekly Reports

Étaples Weekly Reports – 18th October, 1916

Museum of the Order of St John

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In this detailed report, Colonel Trimble details the number of people entering and leaving the hospital, including a number of deaths. Members of staff have joined and left, and the Hospital had been visited by several notable people, all of whom were impressed with its operation, with some of a medical profession giving very high praise. He draws attention to recent research into the bacteriological aspect of Trench Fever, as well as progress in using x-rays to identify foreign objects in the human body.



                                                                                                        Army Post Office, S.11.

                                                                                                                                    British Expeditionary Force,



My Lord,

Herewith my weekly statement respecting the

work of the St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital.

The following convoys have been received :-

Sitting. Walking.
Wednesday 11th. No. 16. A.T. 44.
Thursday. 12th. 30. 79.
Saturday 14th. 1. (Officers) 1. 2.
19. 80. 40.


giving a total admitted of 314.

The total evacuated during the week is 495.

and I regret to say there were 18 deaths. This we must

expect as the inevitable result of the very serious

cases they are sending to us.

The following Sisters were taken on the strength

of the Hospital- Sisters Bescon, Rigden and Nelson.




Sister Ivers went off the strength of the Hospital on

the 13th. Inst. She had not been very well and so went

to the Sisters Home at Hardelot for a short rest.

On the same date Sisters Watson and Babbitt and V.A.D.

Nurse Wilson left for England on the completion of their

contracts. I also regret to report that V.A.D. Nurse

Gwen will not be able to return to the Hospital owing to

the present condition of her health.

The London Gazette of October 13th. notified

the promotion of Hon. & Temp. Lieut. W. B. Coe to be Hon.

and Temp. Captain while employed at the St John Ambulance

Brigade Hospital.  Captain W.B.  Coe is our Dental Surgeon.

Major Houston went on leave on the 12th.

and is to return on the 25th. Inst.

On the 13th. Inst. General Sir Arthur Sloggett

and Lady Debenham called at the Hospital. Sir Arthur was

desirous that Lady Debenham should be shown over the Hos-

pital; this was done and she seemed very pleased with all

She saw.

On the same day I had in the way of visit-

ors, Lt-Colonel G. Stephens Sub. Editor of the British

Medical Journal, and Colonel Burchaenall brought Colonel

Wilson of the War Office. They found the Hospital very





full and working at full pressure and I feels sure they

were all satisfied that we are doing an excellent work,

and doing it in a business like manner.

My next batch of visitors turned up on

Sunday the 15th. Inst. And consisted of the Moderators

of the Established and the Free Churches of Scotland, the

Revd. Dr. John Brown and Dr. George Adam Smith. The last

named gentleman is the Principal of the University of

Aberdeen, and I believe a Hebrew scholar of much note.

These devines were accompanied by Major General; Simms the

Principal Chaplain. They had a good look round and much

interesting conversation with Scotch soldiers.

On the same day I had a telephone message

from the D.D.M.S. saying that two French Doctors who are

Deputies of the French House of Representatives, together

with being President and Vice President of the French

Hygienic Society would be glad to see the Hospital. They

came and were accompanied by Captain Boudsille who acted

as their Interpreters.   It was quite an interesting exper-

ience showing them our methods of working in the differ-

ent Departments of the Hospital. They were men who fully

understood and appreciated everything they saw. Through





their Interpreter they informed me that the St. John

Ambulance Brigade Hospital was the best Institution of

its kind they had ever seen.

On Monday the 16th. Inst. I had a commun-

ication from Major Turnbull of the D.D.M.S. staff asking

if I would take Lady Tange, her daughter Mrs. Robinson,

The French Medecin Chef who is O.C. the French Hospitals

At Paris-Plage and Le Touquet, the Chief Surgeon and

the Chief Physician of the Hermitage Hospital round the

Hospital.  This party arrived about 3.30.p.m. and were

shown everything. The French Doctors were greatly delight-

ed with all they saw, and I think their great admiration

was especially taken by the cleanliness and order which

prevailed on all sides.

There are two matters of importance to which

I would like to draw your attention, and these relate to

Research work which has been carried out by Major Thomas

Houston, Captain John McCloy and Captain F.T. Crymble.

The first two Officers named have been, since the Hospital

opened, directing their attention to the Bacteriological

aspect of Trench Fever.  In connection with this work they

found that there is a micro-organism very common in the

wounds of soldiers and which normally resides in the human




intestines, and they set themselves to ascertain if the

organism could produce certain illnesses among soldiers

not wounded, but who lived in the trenches along with

those who had been wounded. As a result of this admirable

work it is shown that a great number of cases of Trench

Fever are due to this organism. The article goes on to

deal with the relation of the same organism with muscular

rheumatism and other kinds of fever hitherto mostly des-

cribed as Influenza.    In addition they have shown that

vaccine therapy can be utilised most successfully in the

cure of these cases.            It is probable that no better

or more original Research work has been done by Bacteria-

ologists since the war began. Major Houston`s and Captain

McCloy`s article was published in the Lancet of October


Captain Crymble, who has been in charge of

our X-Ray Department and who is one of the teachers of

Anatomy at the Queen`s University, Belfast, has written an

article on the “Anatomical localisation of a metallic

foreign body and reconstruction of its track”. This appear-

ed in the British Journal of Surgery for October.

It opens up a new ground entirely and its object is to

show that it is possible to combine radiographical results




with sectional anatomy and thus determine the anatom-

ical position of a foreign body.

My object in bringing your attention to

the work of these three Officers is to emphasise the

position of the St. John Ambulance Brigade Hospital with

regard to scientific research done by its staff.

Both these contributions are to be published in pamphlet

form and these I can let you have later on, but in the

meantime some copies of the journals in which the articles

appeared might be procured and brought under the notice

of the Chapter and Council of the Order.

I am sorry to have troubled you at such length but I feel

that the matters I have last mentioned will be of consider-

able interest. I might add that the photographs embodied

in Captain Crymble`s article are all the work of our own

photographer. They are excellent examples of photographic

art, and in many cases they are reductions of large pictures,

which I believe requires a good deal of skill.

I have the honour to be,

Your Lordships

Obedient servant,

(signed) Charles J. Trimble



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