Diaries Home Page

Diaries of Ethel Eva Brander, nee Conybeare

Volume 6: May 5, 1916 (Boxmoor) - December 10, 1916 (Sutton Veny)

000 Front cover - Green cloth-bound scrapbook
Vol VI: May 5, 1916 to Dec 10, 1916
001 Inside Front cover:100mm x 75mm B&W photograph of
Ethel Eva Conybeare in Red Cross Nurses uniform
(scanned at 300dpi, probably best picture of her at age 25)
002 1916 May 5 Boxmoor House Hospital
Thanks for food package
Received box of bequests from Annie Florence Conybeare, sent by Augustus
Rose silk japanese "kimona" (sic), blouses, scarf ("gold-scaley kind")
feather boa, cotton summer dress. Sending latter to Mother.
003 1916 May 5 Boxmoor House Hospital - page 2
Have worn nothing but uniform for 3 months; not allowed to "wear mufti"
when out, or off-duty.
Package sent to Dad, incl. 'little chocolate dolls'. Have heard from
Red Cross that she has passed Selection Board, received instructions to
prepare to become V.A.D. member
004 Inserted booklet into the scrapbook: Page 1
"Instructions to V.A.D. Members Serving in Hospitals".
March 1916 Joint V.A.D. Selection Committee, Devonshire House
Form V(77b)
005 Inserted booklet into the scrapbook: Page 2
Rules 1-13 for members (i.e. 1: Only Regulation Uniform..may be worn;
13: Avoid trivial complaints)
006 Inserted booklet into the scrapbook: Page 3
Rules 14-21 for Members. (17: forbidden meetings to discuss conduct of
superiors; 18: everything is confidential; 21: exact clothing to be worn
when travelling on duty...)
007 Inserted booklet into the scrapbook: Page 4
Rules 22-29 for Nursing Members of the V.A.D.
(24: Surgical scissors, safety-pins, and a pencil...)
008 1916 May 5 Boxmoor House Hospital - page 3
Lunch at Miss Seaton's. Her father promised a trip to the Royal Academy
1916 May 6
Took Six soldiers with Miss Seaton and Tou-tou,
to the cinema and tea, "just 3/9 apiece".
Asterisk at bottom from "Tou-Tou" leads to "Eileen Horsman" at bottom.
009 1916 May 6 Boxmoor House Hospital - page 4
Getting new trunk, putting all non-nursing possessions into it to
store in London, so ready to leave for continent on an hour's notice.
Drew $50 the other day, may not cover all preparations.
Tou-tou writing fiance in the trenches named Paddy.
010 1916 - Letter inserted into Vol VI.
Inside address:
British Red Cross Society, V.A.D. Selection Board, Devonshire House

"Dear Madam, you are appointed to join the" (written) "Sutton Veny Military
Hospital" (written) "Warminster on May 9th"
Yours, Faithfully, Katharine Furse A.S.V.
to "Miss E.E. Conybeare".
011 1916 May 7 Boxmoor House Hospital - one page letter
Sister she is leaving is inconsolable.
Hopes she likes Sutton Veny, six month comittment.
012 1916 May 9 "En route to Warminster" - p.1
Travelling First Class with a Royal Warrant, not a ticket, because
now a "Servant of the War Office".
Spent day in London in preparation: new trunk, stored belongings, shopping,
got Florence's fur coat.
013 1916 May 9 "En route to Warminster" - page 2
also visited "Cousin Helen". Drew another $15; after this, will need
postal orders for allowance, costs sixteen shillings to travel to London.
(Warminster is about 140km due west of London, just north of Salisbury)
Rooming with another V.A.D.
[Note on money: at the time, it was about $5 to the pound; and the UK pound
has lost 99% of its purchashing value between 1916 and 2024. 16 s = $4,
and is the equivalent of hundreds of dollars today. Her $15 was 30 hours'
wages for a journeyman in 1914.]
014 1916 May 9 "En route to Warminster" - page 3
Whole place "swarms with khaki", must be many thousands of troops here
Sad goodbye to Seatons before leaving Boxmoor, got invite to stay with
them any time. Sorry to leave young lady Tou-tou, tucked her into bed at 1, on night duty.
015 1916 May 9 "En route to Warminster" - page 4
Enclosing postcard with six people
Miss La Terrere, Me, Tou-Tou, Sister, Miss Harngau, Nickie.
Other lady is Jane.
(There's no sign of this picture in any page near this letter, alas.)

1916 May 10
I am in ward 16 and 17, physical and skin diseases
very slack time just now
016 1916 May 10, Sutton Veny
"We get 3 hours a day, a half day once a week, and a whole day every month -
and half a day every other Sunday - not bad, is it?"
we are allowed to go into the woods, they are private, as long as we
are in uniform.
The hospital is all endless covered passages, nurses quarters quite decent
Matron is awfully nice.
017 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15
Page is part of the letter, but mostly filled with a pen/ink map of
the Sutton Veny Military Hospital, showing all wards, halls, offices
and quarters labeled in red ink.
018 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 -pg 2
Describes map and hospital: all galvanized iron sheets, just like
freight sheds. A small city of 35,000 inhabitants, in groups on
what used to be Wiltshire meadows. Either in plain khaki or kilts.
Sutton Veny has many canteen stands, thatched cottages.
019 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 - pg3
Except medical staff in hospital uniforms - grey dress, red capes
blue Red Cross uniforms - almost no civilians.
Warminster is 2.5 hours away from London and now seems very far,
"getting regularly English in my consideration of distances" compared to
thinking Medicine Hat nearby (167km) and Calgary just a bit further (215km).
This is a paid position, 20 pounds per annum, plus 10s/month for laundry.
(Suggests laundry bills were 23% of all expenses then!)
020 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 -pg 4
Food good, quarters comfortable, doesn't like roommate
Six Canadian Sisters here, from QAIMNS - Queen Alexandra's Imperial
Military Nursing Service, learning military methods.
"The main thing seems to be to do as little as possible and shove the
responsiblity to someone else!"
"Looks" of the six Canadians reviewed unfavourably.
021 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 5
One young nurse very provincial small-town Ontario, "in for a lot of shocks".
Canadians as annoying here as the English in Canada - stuck in own ways.
Very quiet now, half full, not enough to do.
022 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 6
Much of her old work done here by orderlies. Slack times often
followed by horrible rush, short staff.
Wrist watch arrived, good as old one broken; new one lacks second hand
for taking pulses.
023 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 7
Letter from Jean Cameron, nice hanky for birthday present.
Heard from Hugo Monaghan that 79th at East Saudling (Soudling?)
(This is the 79th battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, organized in Brandon, MB. Hugo Monaghan appears as a private in their records.)
Have not heard from Barney for a long time, Oly hasn't had his leave yet
024 1916 May 25 Sutton Very Military Hospital - page 1
Going to buy a bicyle, five guineas
Exhausted all the walks around the place (16 days)
Settling down
025 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 25 -p.2
Getting to tolerate roommate, very uneducated, nurse for 8 years with no creds.
Other VAD are all nice well-educated girls, most quite good-looking
Credentialed sisters are mostly hob-nobbing with VAD amateurs, would never have
believed that before the war, were very standoffish at first, VADs won
them over.
026 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 3
Last week, half-day in Bath, with Miss Aldons, nurse from Barrie, ON.
Got on train to pay a call to Canadian Discharging Station. Two
officers, Captain Eurigleb (sp?) and a Lieutenant Brander, brother
of one of the nurses here,
027 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 4
had seen us a few days before, and invited us to come and see them
when we went to Bath. They are in a huge and interesting house built
in 18th century, chapels, cloisters, little theatre, high terrace,
lovely sloping gardens, a lake, Bath in distance. Then they brought us
back in a motor by moonlight, four in the back seat.
(Well, that explains the subsequent marriage of 45 years. Holy Cow, did
my grandfather set himself up properly for WW1. Luxurious accomodations,
cute, upper-class nurses all about.)
028 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 5
Got snapshots from Fish (brother-in-law, no doubt the pictures coming
up on scans 31 and 32).
Baby (Crawford Fisher) won't escape being called "Crawfish".
Quotes favourite verse seen other day, about beauty.
029 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 6
London Division leaving soon: good, because they are spending half the
night bombing and sending up star-shells, then bugle at 5 AM, bad for sleep.
"We have one young sub in who was bombed by his own men before they had
attained a suitable degree of proficiency in missing the object at which
they were not aiming". Still has shrapnel in shoulder, may not go out again.
030 1916 Sutton Veny Military Hospital Warminster, Wiltshire, 1916 May 15 pg 7
Lilacs are magnificent here, remind her of Riverview (family home in Lethbridge)
Adds very slightly risque joke she'd just heard.
031 Inserted page with two photographs from sister Elaine, husband Fred Fisher.
Top photo labelled "Mother, Elaine, Bernadette, and baby CRAFORD",
has best picture, so far, of Letitia Ida Attwood. "Crawford" misspelled.
Second photograph of Bernadette Fisher (later Bernadette Carpenter).
032 page with two pasted-in photographs from Fred Fisher.
Elaine Fisher with child Bernadette Fisher, baby Crawford Fisher;
second photo just Bernadette Fisher
033 1916 June 2 - Sutton Veny, "etc, etc" - p.1
Important day - paid (pounds)1.4.9 for my twenty three days, and 7/5
laundry allowance. First two weeks of laundry came to 9 shillings, and
they only get 10 shillings laundry allowance a month.
Government cheques include pay, laundry, mess allowance. They endorse these,
have the mess money deducted by the "home Sister" and the rest handed
over the next day.
034 1916 June 2 - Sutton Veny, "etc, etc" - p.2
We have daylight saving now - on May 21 at 2AM. "we poor wretches had to
get up at what was really 6:30. Funny to have light at 10PM, but saves
a heap of electric light."
Motored to Shearwater, tea, "Heaven's Gate", postcard enclosed (scan 39)
035 1916 June 2 - Sutton Veny, "etc, etc" - p.3
Yesterday, off, went to Bristol and Bath with Sister Brander
Bristol, just the cathedral, not very interesting.
Saw Roman baths at Bath, picked up by Mr. Brander to tea at Prior Park
officers had several to tea on terrace, six or eight ladiers, stayed
to supper, driven home in ambulance.
036 1916 June 2 - Sutton Veny, "etc, etc" - p.4
photos give some idea of Prior Park, quarter-mile long
They say the CMR was busted up because they had bad training, let Germans
build a barricade that cost hundreds of men to clear. Men moved, officers
shipped home. A shame because most Canadian brigades have given a
splendid account of themselves.
(CMR = Canadian Mounted Rifles)
037 1916 June 2 - Sutton Veny, "etc, etc" - p.5
Questioned report of Elaine's thermometer reading 101 1/2, as they
are decimal. A pretty Canadian sister has gotten engaged to a lieutenant
in the Queens she met when he was convalescing from German Measles.
Secret so far.
038 1916 June 2 - Sutton Veny, "etc, etc" - p.5
Division going out tomorrow, Sisster has wild idea of marrying before he goes.
Rumours of Canadian division coming in.
Canadian Sister leaving tomorrow, Ethel will have Ward 16 to herself,
but it barely needs one person right now.
039 Scan 39 is a two-page spread, as two very wide photographs were
pasted-in to the book. They are pasted tightly to the centre, making it
impossible to spread them out. This is a photograph, not a scan, of the
book opened up. They are pictures of Prior Park, as described on scan 36;
and of the view from the Terrace, described on scan 35.
039.z1 Higher-resolution Scan of left page of two-page spread shown on scan 39.
039.z2 Higher-resolution Scan of right page of two-page spread shown on scan 39.
040 Two pasted-in photographs, top one labelled "Palladian Bridge, Prior Park"
bottom one the Prior Park building.
041 Two pasted-in photographs, top one labelled "Meadow Near Prior Park".
Bottom one labelled "View from Terrace".
042 Single pasted in photo labelled
"Mr. Brander at the Terrace - Get the moustache".
Photo of Alastair Ian Brander, age 32, army officer uniform, moustache indeed.
Scanned at 300 dpi.
043 Two pasted-in photos
Ethel and friend Coulter at Prior Park building.
(Later pages identify Florence Montgomery Coulter, Bowmanville, ON)
043.z1 Upper left photo from scan 043.
Ethel Conybeare on left, Coulter friend on right, statue in between, label
"Dignity and two impudences".
043.z2 Lower-right photo from scan 043, Ethel and friend Coulter sitting
on balustrade at Prior Park.
044 Page with two pasted-in photos, scanned as 044.z1 and 044.z2
044.z1 Photo of seven people posing on the terrace at Prior Park, left to right:
Miss Mapstone, "A.I.B." (Alastair Ian Brander), Ethel Conybeare,
Capt. Jamieson, Coulter, Capt. Hodgson, Mr. Ford
(Later pages identify Florence Montgomery Coulter, Bowmanville, ON)
044.z2 Photo of same seven people in same order at Prior Park terrace, label
"Same bunch - isn't it fatuous?" Left to right:
Miss Mapstone, "A.I.B." (Alastair Ian Brander), Ethel Conybeare,
Capt. Jamieson, Coulter, Capt. Hodgson, Mr. Ford
045 Page of three pasted-in photos, scanned as 045.z1, 045.z2, 045.z3
045.z1 Photo of seven people posing in front of large hedge at Prior Park.
One is different from 044.z1 and 044.z2 scans, has enlisted man's hat,
upper centre.
Believe this is Mr. Ford, upper left, Alastair Brander lower left.
Ethel Conybeare is white hat on left, Coulter friend white hat on right.
Capt. Hodgson in centre lower, Miss Mapstone in dark hat.
(Later pages identify Florence Montgomery Coulter, Bowmanville, ON)
045.z2 Photo of man in sergeant's stripes, label
Tom Howley - somewhere in England
045.z3 Photo of three women, front, two men, sitting in a circle under a canopy,
one man in military uniform and pith helmet. Label:
Dicky Bird in Egypt.
046 1916 June 11 - Sutton Veny
Explanation that Army people "appropriate" issued items from each other all
the time, calling it "winning", not "stealing", as all is government property
anyway. Men "win" stuff from each other all the time.
047 1916 June 11 - Sutton Veny p.2
Sister Brander tells of another sister bragging of having "won" 4 diet tins.
Ethel finds that it is her ward (16) that has lost 4 tins.
"Needless to say they were 'won' back that afternoon, and two extra besides!"
Army in mourning for Kitchener for 7 days, officers have crepe armbands,
including V.A.D. who rank as officers.
Patients made jokes about it.
048 1916 June 11 - Sutton Veny p.3
Still cold.
Would love Dad to come over and enjoy England at best, but by winter would
"long to get back to God's country and steam heat!"
049 1916 June 11 - Sutton Veny p.4
Miss Brander got Canadian mail damaged by sea water - anything sunk?
Bored stiff - nothing to do for half day off.
"Wish the boys would come over from Bath"
050 Pasted-in to the book are 3 sheets of onionskin, with a parody of a newspaper
created by hand, with pen and ink.
The headline reads "SUTTON VENY WEAKLY HASH" Vol xxxx No. 23 June 18th, 1916
The stories are penned into two columns, two in column 1, 3 more on right.
"More German Frightfulness" (cold weather the machinations of a submarine)
"Egyptian Hotness Hot Stuff" (weather hot in Alexandria, no doubt "Dickey Bird")
"Another Conybeare Honour" (Lt. Jack Conybeare, son of F.C. Conybeare, M.C.)
"Count's Hard Luck" (Chappelow will need further amputation)
"Clever Canine" (Joke about local dog)
051 SUTTON VENY WEAKLY HASH, June 19th 1916, Page two
"Sporting News" (rat-killing contest) is whole left column
"Impending Invasion" (6 more Canadian nurses expected)
"Correspondence Corner" ("letter" complaining about lack of mail from Canada)
052 SUTTON VENY WEAKLY HASH June 18th, 1916, Page 3
One headline "MILADI" - "Social Notes by Weno"
Two columns of brief announcements, people visiting, including
"Mrs. H.C. Conybeare" and two youngest daughters.
[That would be "Henry Crawford" widow - Amy Maxwell Brodhurst -
who lost husband and two sons in 18 months, still had three daughters.]
Three "Engagements" that seem to be jokes about just dates.
053 1916 June 26 - On Train
London for 2 days leave, errands, visits. Buying civvie clothes,
allowed at Sutton "on occasion". "Prefer to wear mufti out at the movies".
[NB: This is the first time she has used the word "movies". It was always
"picture show" or "cinema" until this entry. Etymologists take note.]
054 1916 June 26 - On Train
Going to share a room with "Miss Brander". Went to Bath with her last
week, took in vaudeville show. "The brother is very nice and has a
beautiful back. I told Miss Brander he had much too straight a back
for an officer and looked more like a smart sergeant."
[He had been; had to work his way up after joining as a teen. NB to readers,
we learned *nothing* about our grandfather's family, I had no idea he
had a sister also in Canada, still have no idea what her name was.
The "beautiful back" comment, in an Edwardian letter home to parents,
is bold indeed; I see why she married him.]
055 1916 June 26 - On Train
Sutton Veny base has emptied out, shipped to battle. I'm going to transcribe:
"We have been very busy going down to the gate to wave at them marching to
the station and yell 'Goodbye good luck' every few seconds. They always
call back and smile...the officers always salute...thrilling moments, really,
for one can't help thinking of the fit and hearty ones will will either
be killed or returning to us crippled in very little time. Some say the
'Big Push' is coming right away and that's why the military hospitals
have been cleared out".
056 1916 June 26 - On Train
Comments on "little South African" who looks like her. (Surname: Markus)
Markus' Father was five years a prisoner of war,
signator of the treaty with England.
057 1916 June 26 - On Train - page 5
Marvels that these South Africans are now volunteering to fight for England.
Notes some had never seen a train before, right off farms. Transcription:
"What made them come? And yet, they - and we - are merely 'Colonials'
and not of the chosen race. One small shopkeeper actually said to Miss
Markus [her lookalike friend] on learning she was South African -
'I don't see what our men want to go to war for. There plenty of Colonials
to fight for us, and they haven't anything to leave behind!' - Can you beat it?"

Reading book by Ian Hay.
058 1916 June 26 - on train - page 6
Glad Captain John Hay Beith, author, is not dead, as was rumoured, in fact has
new book out.
Requests Holeproof Hosiery size 8.5, either silk or non- , for birthday.
"May as well patronize home industry seeing that there's no duty and
postage is very little".
059 1916 June 26 - on train - page 7
Just bought "More Fragments from France" shall send to Dad.
060 Two pasted-in postcards with professional photos.
Top: Office - Canadian Discharge Depot - shows a Palladian building
with six columns at the door. It is not the main Prior Park building
from previous photos - may be part of the larger campus.
The lower photo is of a curved building-walkway connecting to
larger house and small turret. Not clearly part of Prior Park.
061 1916 July 4 - Sutton Veny
Mr. Brander drove her part of the way home, "poor fellow had to taxi".
Since her return, hospital has been nearly empty, wards closed down.
062 1916 July 4 - Sutton Veny - p.2
Was afraid of bullying from head Sister of new ward, but she got orders
to France just before Ethel moved wards,so she has been so happy since.
Ethel is closing down wards, which must all be scrubbed, left spotless
so they can be re-opened on two hours' notice.
063 1916 July 4 - Sutton Veny - p.3
Rumours flying, all contradictory.
Dominion Day had baseball game between Canadian Discharge Depot staff
and locals. Soldiers cheered like crazy, "bewildering the English part
of the audience". Music hall with Miss Coulter afterwards.
064 Two photos, non-professional, pasted in.
Bottom photo is just of barracks-like buildings with a gate in front
with a sign: "Matron and Sisters". Likely where she's staying.
Top one has "Sunday Afternoon at Sutton Veny" at top and twenty
two names written close to most of the 24 people (1 dog) in a group pose.
Sister Lawrence, Irving Gane - Coulter's Fiance, Sister Fry, Stray Padre,
Matron and Rannie (the dog), Sister Pooley, me, Coulter, S. Wray,
S.Winward Collins, S.Deacon, Miss Stankey, S.Ervin, S.Biggar, Miss Butler,
S. Maclean
(the "S" is for "Sister", I'm sure, not forenames)
065 Came home on train [from Bath on Dominion Day] because now not allowed to
ride in W.D. car without writ from G.O.C. [War Dept and Gen. Officer Commanding]
Dorothea saw Bruce, Gladys now in Dover, meaning Bruce will likely ship out.
Friend Tou-Tou [engaged to "Paddy", scan 009] to be married in August. Will save up days-off to go.
Hopes Oly can come, too.
Must go easy on money, can't quite live on salary alone, but almost if
she never leaves work.
066 Has cost Dad average of $58/month since August, must come down, may skip
oculist. Must go to dentist, "oughtn't to cost a lot".
Joke about over-editing.
[Not the same as $5800/month today; working men averaged about $90-$100/month.
It does highlight that volunteers with no money from home would be scarce.]
067 Two pasted-in commercial postcards, labelled "Christ Church, Warminister"
for fields and a small stone church; and "Sutton Veny" for a treed lane
and fields. Both B&W.
068 2016 July 9 Sutton Veny p.1
500 men expected from front. Welcome distraction from boredom.
Adding 8 beds to every ward, marquee full of beds outside.
Alastair Brander off to front, has been trying to get it for months.
069 2016 July 9 Sutton Veny p.2
Alastair is attached to Headquarters, need men of Army experience as Adjutant
to "green colonels". Off now, I have no "beaux" in a hundred miles.
(Her first endearment term of my grandfather...or anybody else)
Stories of "Miss Coulter", parcel discussion, and theatre.
070 2016 July 9 Sutton Veny p.3
More about theatre; getting along with roommate, enclosing snapshot
of Sister Mapstone, [undoubtedly the one on next page.]
071 2016 July 9 Sutton Veny p.3-enclosure
Pasted-in photo of "Sister Mapstone" labelled "Matron with Rannie", a
Scottish Terrier-type dog in her arms.
072 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.1-2
Written on some kind of medical, perhaps prescription form, printed with
...and "Ethel Conybeare, 1 hour's rest"
Needed badly, "guess, GUESS what I've been doing - Nursing Germans!"
236 German prisoners taken in, all one side of hospital.
Germans mostly pretty badly wounded. Armed sentries, fixed bayonets, everywhere.
"Some poor wretches are horribly mutiliated - the wounds make me simply
mentally and physically sick"
"I feel most horribly sorry for them, sick and wounded and prisoners in a
strange land"
073 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.3-4
Up past 12:30 washing them, sending clothes to disinfection.
Two died before the doctor could see them.
Back at it 7:30 AM, dressing wounds, some "simply ghastly".
Wonders how Tommies are treated in Germany;
"Chappelow said he was treated pretty well".
"a ward full of newly-wounded men - one Mad rush all day and no off duty"
074 1916 July 21 Sutton Veny p.1
Just discharged as many as possible to make room for 200 more Germans.
Simply ripping experience ... doing big dressings on my own ... I would
scarcely be allowed to see ... left alone in charge of a heavy ward
for 3 hours at a time.
075 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.2
would enjoy work but hate working for Germans.
"doing dressings, cleaning up pus-y (pussy?) wounds, dabbing on iodine,
applying fomentations, picking out little bits of shrapnel with the
forceps and bandaging furiously." Notebook barely sufficient to track
all the dressings.
[NB: "applying fomentations" may mean something about "fermentations", a
very old term for infections. But it's the letter "o" after "f"...shrug.]
076 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.3
Has learned a few German phrases. Got a day off, borrowed a bike,
picnicked with another girl - "heavenly".
077 2016 August 2 Sutton Veny p.1
Have regular off-duty times again, used to idea of nursing Germans now.
The worst ones are most-pleasing to nurse because they'll be exchanged
for our own men permanently disabled at first opportunity.
078 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.2
Had three lots [of Germans] already 236, 71, 60.
Each required heavy rush work
First discharged went out today, about 90
Have persuaded M.O. to let us keep able ones for a week or two
as they are willing to do a lot of work
079 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.3
Now surrounded with barbed wire, sentries everywhere, marquees
everywhere, between every ward. A Boy Scout messenger in every ward.
Occasionally useful. Sergeant Major marched them up the road.
080 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.4
Kept her scout, Percy, busy writing letters
Discussion of missing letters.
081 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.5
Sad for Tou-Tou as Paddy was killed, was to have
been married this month. Also her brother Tom wounded in January, hasn't
heard from him since.
"We've killed 8 Germans altogether" (Meaning lost patients.)
Surprised they get regular military funerals.
082 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.6
Joke story about Tommy reduced to a number.
Horribly hot, sunny side room is unbearable in afternoon for the healthy
and yet badly wounded men must endure it.
083 2016 July 14 Sutton Veny p.7
No news from Bruce, now in France, is good news.
Rotten news about Clarence Rogers. (The name appears in her 'Volunteers from Lethbridge' list in Volume III, scan 0116
Questions about people in Lethbridge.
084 1916 August 9 Sutton Veny p.1
Was switched to night duty so all in hospital could have experienc with wound dressings.
Another nurse became sick, and she and her South African friend sent to
five nights duty without notice.
085 1916 August 9 Sutton Veny p.2
Not supposed to be on German side between 22:00-04:00, orderlies only.
Been "specializing"(?) on a boy who is delirious, kicked in head by mule.
Two orderlies on each of her wards, very little to do at night, write reports.
086 1916 August 9 Sutton Veny p.3
Now have single rooms, no more room-mate. Letter from Oly promising to come visit if he gets leave.
087 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.1.
Several pages were pasted in at the spine of the scrapbook, so close that
I could not scan them without damage. The fainter, whiter "scans" are
photographs, but legible.
"That rotter Oly has a D.S.O. and has not told me.
Discussion of Ross or others ("George" and "Edna Ault's brother Wellington")
coming to visit.
Alastair Brander saw a Canadian aeroplane polish off two Taubes.
[pencil notation "Tau=Taube (dove)" - the Taube was a German bomber]
088 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.2. [this page I was able to scan]
The Canadian plane dropped one Taube behind Canadian lines, the other
behind German. "Our chap handled his machine like a polo pony".
"I'm still aching to fly...perhaps I can cajole George, or Wellington Ault"
mail has been very slow.
089 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.3 [back to photographing the onionskin inserts]
Trouble buying slippers of a good size, have to send to Elaine. Smallest size
England has is four.
Bored with night work, has "beastly" monotony.
090 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.4 [photographed onionskin insert]
Colleagues Coulter is from Toronto but American-trained, "Collins"
from Edmonton, English-trained.
Miss Rohner, from Vancouver, American-trained; Miss Brander, Alastair's
sister - not on speaking terms at moment. We have a song about V.A.D.s
Gives song lyrics.
091 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.5 [photographed onionskin insert]
All song lyrics.
092 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.6 [photographed onionskin insert]
All song lyrics.
093 1916 August 20 - Sutton Veny. p.7 [photographed onionskin insert]
Asks for one of her pictures to be printed for "Dad's doggie book"
Love to all doggies, promises to come home to hers "as soon as those
silly people have stopped fighting".
094 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny
Has postscript penned at top, sideways, thanking them for letter about vacation and picture of Dad.
Expresses great glee at being officially challenged by a Sentry with "Halt! Who goes there?" when posting a letter after dark.
095 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny
German prisoners are taunted by UK patients, throwing them cigarettes into the six-foot space between two fences, where they will be shot if they step out. Sgt. Major finally had to issue order against throwing them just outside the safe-reaching distance. "Funny beasts, soldiers!"
096 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny - p.3
Soldiers are not very ill. They sing their route-march songs every night.
Have many Australians, New Zealanders, with various bronchial or eye-ear-nose-throat problems. English weather hard on these, and Ethel claims Dad would stop
pining over England if he had to experience her weather again.
097 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny - p.4
Didn't like Australians at first - "sulky" - but now has a soft spot for them.
Believes that colonials are more chivalrous and nice than the English.
If "you joke and laugh with a colonial..he will never take advantage of it, as an English Tommy will...same with the better class of Englishman, you give him an inch and he takes two or three yards. They don't understand the spirit of camaraderie that exists between colonial boys and girls."
098 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny p.5.
New Zealander Medical Corps Captain McCaw says "there are two kinds of Englishwomen, the kind on a pedestal, and the rummy in the streets - so that if you say a thing to an Englishman, he thinks you're the rummy. The English people can't
understand the colonials at all - they seem to think each colony should run the others down."
"They are quite suprised when we say that we are not fighting for their great and wonderful country, England, at all, bu for the Empire. It truly is time that they had a war - they wanted waking up."
Outraged that ceding colonies to Germany to end the war was mentioned in Parliament.
099 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny - p.6
Longer she stays in England, the more-convince that it is degenerate and only
supported by colonies where they "rear a few men!" "More manhood in one
colonial than in twenty five old country people".
"Probably we'll become degenerate too when the old pioneer breed dies out, but it won't be while I'm alive, thank God".
100 1916 August 31 - Sutton Veny - p.7
Australian patient discharged looking "perfectly ripping" in riding breeches, slouch hat, "swanky leather leggings", presented her with "a quaint little Kaffir bracelet, wasn't it sweet of him?".
[Note from astonished scanner: Australians were using the South African term "Kaffir"? Basically, it is the "N-word" Boers used for Africans, now not tolerated.) Was this bracelet from Africa, or were they using that word for their own
Australian Aboriginals at this time?]
"Oly's parcel arrived, so I sent it off to Major J.A. Ross D.S.O., together
with the Calgary Eye-Opener which Elaine sent."
[This is just 16 days before Major Ross's death at the Somme (Courcelette),
probably the last communication he ever received.]
101 1916 September 19 - Sutton Veny - p.1
Alastair's "flying trip to France" provided diversion when badly needed.
Impatient for a break, but have a lot of night duty coming up.
102 1916 September 19 - Sutton Veny - p.2
Awaiting back pay, must go to London to get at least six guineas of
warm clothing, other necessities, so will need a draft from Dad.
Trying to arrange leave around Xmas with "Twin" (?) friend she's made.
103 1916 September 19 - Sutton Veny - p.3
"ghastly" doing without an orderly for a few weeks. Many details of her
nursing shift and schedule. Hated the officers ward at first "The officers
are fearfully cheeky when one is used to the Tommies, but they are not
so bad when you get the knack of handling them. I should hate to be there
on day, though".
[Getting very strong "casual sexual harassment" vibes from this passage...
and that the enlisted men gave her more respect than officers...]
104 1916 September 21 - Sutton Veny - p.1
One page letter to enthuse about "bed socks" that go up to the thigh,
though they are "operation stockings really". The Matron issued them
for the cold weather, it's more like November.
105 1916 September - pictures may be older - Sutton Veny
Two large, sharp, high-quality for the time, B&W photographs of the
nurses in pajamas, posing in a jokey way. Captions are "Some Bunch! Some legs!"
on the first, and on the second "Us" below Ethel getting a cigarette light
from a friend (perhaps the "Twin"?), and "Coulter and Collins" under two
more, and "Mac Ginlay" under the tallest nurse with long hair.
106 1916 September - Sutton Veny
Two more half-page B&W pictures of nurses staging joke poses.
"Sister Moore does not approve" of a nun shaking her finger at the grinning
nurses smoking. In the second, "Sister Moore wants to know what this
thing is - It's a boudoir cap" (about half of them are wearing frilly caps).
107 1916 September - Sutton Veny
Third page of two photographs of the nurses, the first with complete
captions for seven women, with overall title "The Night Birds":
"Mac Ginlay", "Romrer", "Coulter", "Twin", "Me", "Brander!" Collins
The second picture is five women from the first, with "Same" as the caption.
[The "Brander" is the only picture so far of Alastair's sister, the grand-aunt
whom I never heard of, before this diary.]
108 1916 September - Sutton Veny
Two B&W postcards, titled "Shearwater, Warminster",
and "Market Place, Warminster"
109 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.1
Stationery has "MILITARY HOSPITAL SUTTON VENY WILTS." embossed into the paper
at upper right.
Cheery, going off duty for two days' leave, Friday morning to Monday at two.
Two days on day duty so they don't go "looking like scarecrows". London
for matinee, Brighton for dinner, shopping next day.
110 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.2
Proper leave end of November, Alastair will try to get at same time.
Needs attentions of occulist and dentist.
Saw in "Canada" section of paper that Capt. R.C. Coatsworth, R.A.M.C.
had been wounded, turns out was minor.
111 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.3
"Alan" is a gunner, "Maude" coming soon with training completed.
Dick (presumably R.C. Coatsworth) came as Private with C.A.M.C. but got
Captain's commission to R.A.M.C. "Most of the R.A.M.C. Captains I've seen
are fearful old fossils" because young are sent to front, elders to rear
hospitals. Mentions collection of snapshots that are on previous pages.
112 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.4
Expresses admiration for a Tommy nice to a kid.
"Tommy really is a rather nice animal, especially the wounded variety who
as been the front and got a bit of sense knocked into him. It really
and truly seems to improve a man to see death and destruction and battles
and hardships of all kinds. The ones who come back are simply not to
be compared with the ones who have never been out."
113 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.5
Dreamed that Elaine was not well, and got a letter that she wasn't.
With "twin", teaching parrot of Sister Moore to say "go to hell" while
Moore is away.
114 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.6
Can't suggest present for Gladys (new wife of brother Henry Bruce).
Discussion of warm shoes, clothes needed here.
Never got bicycle.
115 1916 September 28 - Sutton Veny - p.7
Joke about German officer; notes that German officers she's treated "behave
very well".
116 1916 October - Sutton Veny
Two postcards, both labeled "Sutton Veny", one of a village street, the
other of a local church.
117 1916 October - Sutton Veny
Two postcards, one in colour, the other sepia. The colour one on
"Bath Abbey, West Front" ,the lower is "The Minster", Warminster.
117.z1 1916 October - Sutton Veny
Higher resolution scan of the colour (painted-on false colour?) postcard
of the Bath Abbey.
118 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.1
This whole letter, I won't attempt to quote at length. The whole thing
is her reply to her father about her theory that the English have become
"degenerate", and all vigour in the Empire is from the colonials.
119 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.2
She does seem to understand that she's talking about childhood health
and nutrition, that it isn't genetic that the English Tommies she is
seeing are distinctly less large and healthy than the Germans and
Colonials she's also seeing go past in large numbers.
120 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.3
There's conflation of that, though, with actual "breeding", as she champions
conscription rather than see all the best and bravest die, while the
"cowardly, timid and unfit" become "fathers of the next generation!"
That the heroic English soldiers her father's letter countered with are
"the flower of the race", and "head and shoulders above the type of Englishman
one sees in thousands".
121 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.4
OK, have to copy this:
"England jolly well needed this war, and don't you forget it - she was
just a bit too self-complacent ... she forgot to look in her own big
towns to make sure she was still breeding the kind of men to keep
up her proud traditions. Perhaps now that her best men are being
killed off, and the unfit either weeded out or trained into being men, she
will wake up and go in for child-welfare and the preservation of the race."
[She mixes up "breeding" with "child rearing", and even "social conditions
for adults", to our eyes. Historians can conclude whether the fluidity of
these words to her are just her limited understanding, or a characteristic
of her time...]
122 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.5
Her opinions come from seeing the "German side where there are many
physically splendid men" compared to "this mangy lot of camp lead-slingers..and the colonials who are in her are all fine fellows as it happens - men who
have been walking around with pneumonia for a couple of weeks before they
give in...splendid constitutions".
123 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.6
"Yes, I'm quite incurably colonial" as she pushes her idea that
only the colonials are fighting hard, are way better physical specimens,
theory of how colonial life makes better men via challenges.
Apologizes for spouting off for six pages. [I inherited this from her...]
124 1916 October 3 - Sutton Veny - p.7
Had one extra day of night duty, eager to leave Friday.
[NB: Major Jack Ross was 18 days dead at this point, and she hadn't been
notified. Gives us some idea of desperate conditions at the Somme at this time.]

125 1916 June 3 - Inserted Newspaper - VICS Patrol, two newspapers
Shown below is a photograph of Volume 6, with the two inserted newspapers
that were stapled in. They are in astonishingly good condition, only one
page has a small tear, and there is no way to scan them. I will provide
more links to PDFs and more photographs on the next two scans.
126 1916 June 3 - Inserted Newspaper - VICS Patrol, Vol. 1. No. 1
Photograph of Volume VI opened to the first inserted newspaper.
I did not bother to scan, as it is available as a PDF from
the Canadiana.ca web site, and a cached copy is stored here.
Having done both, I can assure the reader there's no difference between
any scan I could do, and the PDF. Many thanks to Canadiana.ca.
127 1916 June 3 - Inserted Newspaper - VICS Patrol, Vol. 1. No. 2
Photograph of Volume VI opened to the first inserted newspaper.
I did not bother to scan, as it is available as a PDF from
the Canadiana.ca web site, and a cached copy is stored here.

I would hugely recommend the movie, "The Wipers Times" to any reader interested
in these trench publications.

128 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny p.1
Has heard about Oly - Major John Alexander Ross, missing since Sept 17 1916,
last seen wounded and presumed dead.
To change the gloomy subject, just had great shopping weekend in London.
128.z1 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny p.1
The scanner was not able to pick up an interesting property of this page,
which is that the inside address:
Military Hospital
Sutton Veny
...was not printed on the stationery, but embossed, about a millimetre deep.
This is a photograph in sunlight at an angle, bringing it into relief.
Similar to page scan 109.
129 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny - p.2
Describes clothing bought in London.
Extended date with Alastair, after telegraph from him at Folkstone could
visit while he had "duty in London". "Gaily wired him to meet us at
Paddington". Lunch, "with him and his sister (not the one here) at a quaint
little French restaurant in Soho, that night we dined at the Cecil, and
went to a revue at the Ambassadors", and another lunch.
[This is his second sister of whom we grandchildren were told nothing, not
even names...at least one lived in Canada, I learned recently, but clearly they
were never close.]
130 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny - p.3
Met Tou-tou, joined "Twin" and a "wounded South African friend" at Selfridges
later. Met Alastair at 6:30 at Regent's Palace. Tou-tou is working at
an officer's hospital in Kensington.
Shopped madly, outings with "S.A. friends of Dolly's" Victoria to Brighton,
welcome "her young brother and another youth from Sandhurst"
131 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny - p.4
Fully Sunday, with two "Gentlemen cadets" from Sandhurst,and "the two kids
who are regular flappers, aged sixteen and seventeen, very pretty and
engaging, all complete in the most expensive clothes, a la Kathleen
Sonthard" (sp?)
"When we came in, there was great rejoicing"
[Hey, the Monty Python phrase really is that old]
Went riding with Sandhurst men and the "kids", all properly dressed, so
Ethel had to hire "togs".
132 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny - p.5
"Togs" didn't fit very well, breeches too large. "I had an English saddle,
and four reins which I didn't understand". But did all right.
133 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny - p.6
Off on Sunday on 8:10 train, made it to S.V. just after one, in time
for starting shift. [They trusted trains more than we trust planes...]
Did not enjoy getting back to work.
134 1916 October 10 - Sutton Veny - p.7
Nothing to do at present - back on fractures and accidents, and ward is quiet.
PS expresses hope for Oly, but has little "and Tou-tou has never heard
anything from her brother Tom who has been 'wounded and missing' since the
beginning of July".
135 1916 October 19 - Sutton Veny - p.1
A year today since I started at Westminster - I hadn't known before there
was that much work in the world. The dingy little room.
"I enjoyed it immensely, despite these little drawbacks"
Happy at work, lately, mostly on "German side".
136 1916 October 19 - Sutton Veny - p.2
Very pleased to be able to run her ward by herself, do things her way.
Settled a dispute the Germans had with their own kitchen man.
137 1916 October 19 - Sutton Veny - p.3
Proud of the minimal, ungrammatical German she has learned, and her ability
to communicate with them with a lot of vehemence and gesticulation. Gives
many German/English examples of her proclamations.
138 1916 October 19 - Sutton Veny - p.4
More about getting along with her German charges.
"But I'd much rather a wardful of Huns than one conscientious objector"
and tells tale of one very loud, insistent case. "He lived in one of the
special wards under guard...removed under guard ... to a lunatic asylum
which was undoubtedly his proper destination."
139 1916 October 19 - Sutton Veny - p.5
Tale of a Quartermaster Sergeant ("Foddering", I think) who instructed her
on military insignia and joked and punned with her. "Such bad puns!" has been
pencilled onto the page later on, possibly by another hand.

140 1916 October - Sutton Veny - p.6
Enclosing the picture (appears later in the volume, pasted-in on scan 142)
of nurses at Sutton Veny receiving their "Royal Red Cross" at Buckingham
Palace, including her Matron, and Sisters Biggar, Lawrence, Moore, and Deacon.
"I wrote to Bruce Davies...Dr. Mewburn got him transferred to the Duchess of Connaughts and he is just about to undergo his 23rd operation".
141 1916 October - Sutton Veny - inserts
Pasted-in sepia postcards, top labelled "Sheerwater", the bottom "Sheerwater
Lodge", of a small lake and building beside it.
142 1916 October - Sutton Veny - inserts
Pasted-in newspaper clipping of "Nurses leaving Buckingham Palace after Decoration" as described on scan 140.
Two more pasted-in personal photographs, described on next two scans.
142.z1 1916 October - Sutton Veny - inserts
Larger scan of second pasted-in photograph on scan 142 -
photograph of Ethel Conybeare in military uniform and cap.
142.z2 1916 October - Sutton Veny - inserts
Larger scan of third paste-in on scan 142, two women in nun's habits,
Labeled "Collins and Coulter".
Apologies for the blur in these two photographs, they
were on the curve near the spine and couldn't be scanned
without removal.

143 1916 November 5 - Sutton Veny - p.1
"Filthy weather". Overdosed on quinine mixed up by
"the dispenser" put treat a head cold; misread directions
to take every 4 hours, took every hour - "Consequently I had a head like a house, all
full of buzzing bees". Cold left the next day. ["Cold tablets" containing cinnamon and
quinine were sold at this time. Quinine has no known use outside of mosquito-borne disease,
and has no known effects on colds. It was most recently imagined to be a coronavirus treatment, but briefly - no effects.]
144 1916 November 5 - Sutton Veny - p.2
"Miss Brander - Busy Liz herself", seems to be Alastair's sister that's also nursing, and
not getting along with Ethel. On this page, Ethel notes that she and Alastair are engaged,
the first such mention. Miss Elizabeth Brander had thus been "thawing", (now I know the
name of an Aunt my Dad never mentioned..)
A Hallowe'en party is described, noting that they are not allowed to dance in uniform,
so had to create other games.
Had intended to go out "beagling" with R.A.M.C. staff, which is chasing beagles as they
chase rabbits, then a picnic.
145 1916 November 5 - Sutton Veny - p.3
Sending staff pictures - one has all the orderlies and general duty R.A.M.C. men, and
lady clerks and cooks. (Appears as scan 154 in this volume.)
The other is just the nursing and medical staff. (Appears as scan 155 in this volume.)
Not complete, several were on leave or duty. "I think that on the whole they are bad
likenesses of almost everybody". (Amusing descriptions of how bad various friends look.
Page should be enjoyed while viewing the photograph.)
146 1916 November 5 - Sutton Veny - p.4
More description of who's who in the photographs. Miss Brander not in picture.
[The folks at home must have been in pain as their children all get engaged 5000km away,
wanting to know about "Good family" and so forth, appropriate to an Edwardian lady...]
The diary either misses the odd letter home, or she advised them of the engagement by
telegraph already.
147 1916 November 11 - Sutton Veny - p.1 (Armistice Day Minus Two [years], you might say...)
Not sure what to write about her brother Bruce "It's a week since Gladys wrote and
said that the shell shock and finished off his nerves, and he had been passed "unfit for
active service". May have to choose between losing his commission and home service.
148 1916 November 11 - Sutton Veny - p.2 (Armistice Day Minus Two [years], you might say...)
"It is jolly hard luck for him, because its much more satisfaction to get a good old wound
and have done with it. People haven't much patience with nerves and are just beginning
toto realize that shell shock is quite as bad a mutilation on one sense as an amputation."
[Frustratingly, the only available records for Henry Bruce Attwood Conybeare are
Canadian records that end after a few months of 1915 because he was discharged to a
commission in the "New Army", that is "Kitchener's Army", British - and those records
exist but not digitized. So I'm not sure how Bruce's medical situation was - only that
he continued in service into 1919.]
149 1916 November 11 - Sutton Veny - p.3 (Armistice Day Minus Two [years], you might say...)
Went to Army occulist to save money, found her right-eye was far more short-sighted and
new glasses badly needed. "Andy Naismith had been wounded...back on duty same week".
Enclosing a picture of Matron with Rannie [probably the picture
on Scan 071.]
150 1916 December 10 - Sutton Veny - p.1
Back from leave, on English side of hospital again, hope to stay. Should have told
Matron she didn't like "playing lady" to the Germans long ago, hated to be a "kicker".
Now working with Coulter, now "Mrs. Gaus" "Was married for five days, and now
her husband has gone to Salonika".
151 1916 December 10 - Sutton Veny - p.2
Enclosing snaps Mr. Seaton took - the dog is Peter. [No photo of that description
found in volume]
Signed on for second six months - to be paid 22 pounds, 10 shillings per annum,
"if we sign on for as long as necessary".
152 1916 December 10 - Sutton Veny - p.3
"Messing money" has been raised by four shillings a week - they only allowed us 1/9
a day before. [Assuming that's one shilling, ninepence per day, or about 12 shillings/week]
"What do you think of Lloyd George as Prime Minister? As far as this small section
of the public opinion is concerned, there is great rejoicing - Asquith's Wait-and-See
policy has riled up the the whole country, and they seem to have a great deal of
confidence in L-G's ability."
Keeping warm with fires in rooms - "no joke getting up in a freezing room at 6.30
on a December morning".
153 1916 December 10 - Sutton Veny - p.3
Referring to her letter about "degenerate" English, she stresses that "the 58th was
not a bunch of new conscript recruits, but 1914 men. However they seem to be sending
them down conscripts now, for we get in various "Recruit So-and-Sos" who are not yet
honoured with the title of "Private".
154 1916 November - Sutton Veny - inserted photograph
This ran across two pages and was impossible to scan with home equipment. It should
be examined while reading Scan 145, which describes it.
155 1916 November - Sutton Veny - inserted photograph 2
This ran across two pages and was impossible to scan with home equipment. It should
be examined while reading Scan 146, which describes it.
156 1916 November - Sutton Veny - pasted-in photographs
I didn't scan these at high resolution as they weren't well-explained on this
page or at any point in the volume. One is a newspaper clipping from Victoria, B.C.
Sunday, July 30, 1916 headlined "Principles in Wedding" of Lt. A.G. Gray and
Miss Florence Spencer.
Beside it, a woman holding a baby and an ice-cream cone, in front of a family house.
Below another woman with a toddler, on steps of some house or cabin with rough lumber.
Below right, three nurses, none identified.