My War Experiences in Two Continents
The Project Gutenberg eBook, My War Experiences in Two Continents, bySarah Macnaughtan, Edited by Betty Keays-Young
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: My War Experiences in Two Continents
Author: Sarah Macnaughtan
Editor: Betty Keays-Young
Release Date: May 10, 2006 [eBook #18364]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MY WAR EXPERIENCES IN TWO CONTINENTS***
E-text prepared by David Clarke, gvb,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries
|Note:||Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries. See http://www.archive.org/details/wartwocontinents00macnuoft|
The unique headers on the odd numbered pages in the original book havebeen reproduced as sidenotes. They have been inserted intothe paragraph or letter to which the heading refers.
There are several inconsistencies in spelling and punctuation in the original.A few corrections have been made for obvious typographical errors;these, as well as some doubtful spellings of names, have been notedindividually in the text.
MY WAR EXPERIENCES
IN TWO CONTINENTS
MY WAR EXPERIENCES
IN TWO CONTINENTS
By S. MACNAUGHTAN
EDITED BY HER NIECE, MRS. LIONEL SALMON
WITH A PORTRAIT
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED,
IN ACCORDANCE WITH A WISH EXPRESSED BY
MISS MACNAUGHTAN BEFORE HER DEATH,
THOSE WHO ARE FIGHTING AND
THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN,
WITH ADMIRATION AND RESPECT,
Captain Lionel Salmon, 1st Bn. the Welch Regt.
Captain Helier Percival, M.C., 9th Bn. the Welch Regt.
Captain Alan Young, 2nd Bn. the Welch Regt.
Captain Colin Macnaughtan, 2nd Dragoon Guards.
Lieutenant Richard Young, 9th Bn. the Welch Regt.
|WITH DR. HECTOR MUNRO'S FLYING AMBULANCE CORPS||24|
|AT FURNES RAILWAY-STATION||60|
|WORKING UNDER DIFFICULTIES||85|
|THE SPRING OFFENSIVE||111|
|LAST DAYS IN FLANDERS||135|
[Pg viii]PART II
|HOW THE MESSAGE WAS DELIVERED||159|
|WAITING FOR WORK||204|
|SOME IMPRESSIONS OF TIFLIS AND ARMENIA||219|
|ON THE PERSIAN FRONT||237|
|THE LAST JOURNEY||258|
In presenting these extracts from the diaries ofmy aunt, the late Miss Macnaughtan, I feel itnecessary to explain how they come to be published,and the circumstances under which I have undertakento edit them.
After Miss Macnaughtan's death, her executorsfound among her papers a great number of diaries.There were twenty-five closely written volumes,which extended over a period of as many years,and formed an almost complete record of everyincident of her life during that time.
It is amazing that the journal was kept so regularly,as Miss Macnaughtan suffered from writer'scramp, and the entries could only have been writtenwith great difficulty. Frequently a passage isbegun in the writing of her right, and finished inthat of her left hand, and I have seen her obligedto grasp her pencil in her clenched fist before shewas able to indite a line. In only one volume,however, do we find that she availed herself of theservices of her secretary to dictate the entries andhave them typed.
The executors found it extremely difficult toknow how to deal with such a vast mass of material.Miss Macnaughtan was a very reserved woman.She[Pg x] lived much alone, and the diary was her onlyconfidante. In one of her books she says that expressionis the most insistent of human needs, andthat the inarticulate man or woman who finds nooutlet in speech or in the affections, will often keepa little locked volume in which self can be safelyrevealed. Her diary occupied just such a place inher own inner life, and for that reason one hesitatesto submit its pages even to the most loving andsympathetic scrutiny.
But Miss Macnaughtan's diary fulfilled a doublepurpose. She used it largely as material for herbooks. Ideas for stories, fragments of plays andnovels, are sketched in on spare sheets, and thepages are full of the original theories and ideas ofa woman who never allowed anyone else to do herthinking for her. A striking sermon or book maybe criticised or discussed, the pros and cons ofsome measure of social reform weighed in thebalance; and the actual daily chronicle of her busylife, of her travels, her various experiences andadventures, makes a most interesting and fascinatingtale.
So much of the material was obviously intendedto form the basis for an autobiography that theexecutors came to the conclusion that it would bea thousand pities to withhold it from the public,and at some future date it is very much hoped toproduce a complete life of Miss Macnaughtan asnarrated in her diaries. Meanwhile, however, thepublisher considers that Miss Macnaughtan's warexperiences are of immediate interest to her manyfriends and admirers, and I have been asked to editthose[Pg xi] volumes which refer to her work in Belgium,at home, in Russia, and on the Persian front.
Except for an occasional word where the meaningwas obscure, I have added nothing to the diaries.I have, of course, omitted such passages as appearedto be private or of family interest only; but otherwiseI have contented myself with a slight rearrangementof some of the paragraphs, and I haveinserted a few letters and extracts from letters,which give a more interesting or detailed accountof some incident than is found in the correspondingentry in the diary. With these exceptions thebook is published as Miss Macnaughtan wrote it.I feel sure that her own story of her experienceswould lose much of its charm if I interfered withit, and for this reason I have preserved the actualdiary form in which it was written.
To many readers of Miss Macnaughtan's booksher diaries of the war may come as a slight surprise.There is a note of depression and sadness, andperhaps even of criticism, running through them,which is lacking in all her earlier writings. I wouldremind people that this book is the work of a dyingwoman; during the whole of the period covered byit, the author was seriously ill, and the horror andmisery of the war, and the burden of a great dealof personal sorrow, have left their mark on heraccount of her experiences.
I should like to thank those relations and friendsof Miss Macnaughtan who have allowed me to readand publish the letters incorporated in this book,and I gratefully acknowledge the help and advice Ihave received in my task from my mother, frommy[Pg xii] husband, and from Miss Hilda Powell, Mr.Stenning, and Mr. R. Sommerville. I desire also toexpress my gratitude to Mr. John Murray for manyvaluable hints and suggestions about the book, andfor the trouble he has so kindly taken to help meto prepare it for the press.
Zillebeke, Waltham St. Lawrence,
MY WAR EXPERIENCES IN
On September 20th, 1914, I left London forAntwerp. At the station I found I had forgottenmy passport and Mary had to tear back for it.Great perturbation, but kept this dark from therest of the staff, for they are all rather seriousand I am head of the orderlies. We got underway at 4 a.m. next morning. All instantly beganto be sick. I think I was the worst and alarmedeverybody within hearing distance. One morevoyage I hope—home—then dry land for me.
We arrived at Antwerp on the 22nd, twenty-fourhours late. The British Consul sent carriages, etc.,to meet us. Drove to the large Philharmonic Hall,which has been given us as a hospital. Immediatelyafter breakfast we began to unpack beds, etc., andour enormous store of medical things; all feelingremarkably empty and queer, but put on heroicsmiles[Pg 2] and worked like mad. Some of the staffis housed in a convent and the rest in rooms overthe Philharmonic Hall.
23 September.—Began to get things into orderand to allot each person her task. Our unitconsists of Mrs. St. Clair Stobart, its head; DoctorsRose Turner, F. Stoney, Watts, Morris, Hansonand Ramsey (all women); orderlies—me, MissRandell (interpreter), Miss Perry, Dick, Stanley,Benjamin, Godfrey, Donnisthorpe, Cunliffe, andMr. Glade. Everyone very zealous and inclined todo anybody's work except their own. Keen competitionfor everyone else's tools, brooms, dusters,etc. Great roaming about. All mean well.
25 September.—Forty wounded men werebrought into our hospital yesterday. Fortunatelywe had everything ready, but it took a bit of doing.We are all dead tired, and not so keen as we wereabout doing other people's work.
The wounded are not very bad, and have beensent on here from another hospital. They areenchanted with their quarters, which indeed dolook uncommonly nice. One hundred and thirtybeds are ranged in rows, and we have a brightcounterpane on each and clean sheets. The floor isscrubbed, and the bathrooms, store, office, kitchens,and receiving-rooms have been made out of nothing,and look splendid. I never saw a hospital springup like magic in this way before. There is a wideverandah where the men play cards, and a gardento stump about in.