Étaples Weekly Reports

Étaples Weekly Reports – 29th December, 1915

Museum of the Order of St John

For an introduction to this project, follow the link.

In this extra report given by Stuart Gordon at the St John Ambulance Hospital in Étaples, a full description is given of the Christmas festivities enjoyed by the patients and the staff at the hospital. Breakfast contained extra rations, there were chocolates and gifts for all, two concerts were held – one by patients, another by staff – and everyone involved said they had a wonderful time, despite the circumstances.


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Army Post Office. S. 11,

British Expeditionary Force,




I feel we owe our friends at home a short account of the

happenings on Christmas day as much of the success was due to

their kindly thought in sending out sweets and presents.

We had about 370 in the Hospital and I think those who

were able to enjoyed themselves; although there were many unfort-

unately to whom it was anything but a day of pleasure.

The men had extra rations for their breakfast in the way

of either sausages or fish, and in every ward there was some little

thing for every man, in many instances the Sisters had special

stockings. The Canadian Red Cross sent stockings and kit bags for

every wounded Canadian in the hospital, and most of the wards were

gay with evergreens and Christmas decorations. Dinner for the wards

contained the usual Christmas Pudding and came at 12 o’clock.

Every man able to, had a bottle of beer, those who could not or

would not having temperance drinks, every man had a pipe and tobacco

or a couple of packets of cigarettes whichever he preferred.


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In the afternoon there was a concert of which the items

were practically all provided by the patients, three or four of

the wounded Officers whom we have with us took a very large part

in the programme; after the concert there was a bran tub in which

we put all the smaller presents and which the men thoroughly

enjoyed. The concert room had been decorated by the men themselves

and was very pretty with flags and evergreens, I think by about

7 o’clock the patients were pretty well tired out and glad to go

to their beds, and every man that I spoke to said he had had a good

time and thoroughly enjoyed himself, and I heard the same report

from the Sisters.

Our own Orderlies had their dinner at 1 o’clock, the night

men getting up for it and the Sergeants taking duty in the wards

so that every Private could be present. After the Colonel had been

to every ward and wished the patients as merry a Christmas as he

could have under the circumstances he visited the Orderlies dining

room and they also seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The sergeants Mess dined at 6 o’clock, their dinner was

practically the same as ours. The Officers dined at 7.30 and I

enclose you one of the Menu Cards. We had as Mess Guests seven of

the Officers from the Officers Ward who were able to walk and the

Officer Commanding the Training Camp.

Every Officer received from the Order a very attractive


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match box engraved with the name of the hospital and the date,

and in addition to the silver belt buckles for every Sister there

was a big box of chocolates or sweets of some kind for every one

of them, and Major Trimble gave to the Nurses in his Medical Wards

a special brooch containing the arms of the Order.

Christmas festivities in themselves really started on

Monday the 20th when a concert was given by the Sisters, Nurses

and Officers to the patients. On the Wednesday we had the good

fortune to have a concert given us by Princess Christian’s Concert

Party, all first rate London artists sent out by Miss Lena Ashwell.

On New Years even the V.A.D’s are going to give an enter-

tainment after which we will have some music and supper for every-

body, Officers, Sisters, and V.A.D’s and see the New Year in, and

on New Years day I hope to arrange to get an amateur company who

have organised quite a clever comic pantomime to come up here and

give a performance, and then I hope we will settle down to work


Will you accept my very best good wishes for the coming

year and let us hope that long before it ends we may all be back

in our home in happiness and at peace.

Stuart Gordon

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