MISS A. JARDINE, S.J.A.B.
B.R.C. CIVILIAN RELIEF,
ATT. CIVIL AFFAIRS,
12 L. of C,
Dear Miss Tomkinson,
I know you must think that I have forgotten you really I haven’t, but we have been so terribly busy. We got so impatient hanging about waiting to come over, though we now feel that we have been well rewarded. Now that we have “got going” we are moving as fast as both Monty and Eisenhower put together!!! We spent 4 nights under canvas in a transit camp outside Southampton, then we left from there on board a Red Cross ship, on which we spent 2 nights. The journey was very uneventful & we all landed safely. From the beach we came in our own ambulances & those we left open and so had a good view of all the places we passed through. For the moment we are billeted in a lovely old house which in peace time could be nothing but beautiful, though now most of the original valuables have gone. The following day after our arrival we went for a walk to the neighbouring town & we walked round we came upon William the Conqueror still standing, gazing down at us. I’m so glad that I came out as apart from the work being new and interesting it is also a most wonderful experience. Sometimes we work in a hospital and other times we go out in the Ambulance & on Recce’s. Last night two of us were sent over here (about 50 miles) to relieve for a week. We are doing night duty, & fortunately we are both on the same ward. It is really a convent & is run by the nuns but they are very sweet. We were on the ward alone, a massive ward, with beds down both sides and the centre, also typically French, all windows shut. The Patients were so grateful for anything we did for them, though when we first came, they really did show some quiet polite resentment. This afternoon we had a look round this town, paying special attention to the reproduction of the tapestry in the cathedral. The original is hidden away somewhere I presume. A very beautiful cathedral & untouched. We are moving again soon but where to we still don’t know. Lady Louis came out to inspect us at work we were so pleased to [missing word] her, & she seemed delighted with us. Don’t you think she lives and dies for the St. John? How’s everyone at Tusmore? Do give them my love, I often think of you all & I must be honest I do miss you. I had a sweet letter from Matron Webb. She saw our photo in the paper and was so surprised. We are most comfortable at present & get very good food although all tinned. I feel so pleased with myself as everyone but three had the “Normandy Tummy” & I am one of the three!!! Joan had a touch of it but she is alright now. There’s such a lot that I’d like to tell you as I know it would interest you but I’m afraid I’m not allowed. Anyway I’ll store it all up for later on when we are all home again, we can maybe laugh at it all then. I watched some cider being made some days ago & I don’t honestly think I will ever touch it, I should always “taste” the progess it goes through, though it was quite interesting to watch. My French is coming on very well, though at first it caused many a laugh from the others. I shall have to start on German soon!!!
I expect all the old patients have gone now, if there are any whom I know please give them my regards, very specially to “Micky” one of our first head injuries.
There’s a lovely wee boy in the hospital here, an orphan, only 2 ½ years old & I so much want to send him home, I’d love to adopt him. The nuns won’t part with him. So far we are having lovely weather, at times a bit showery but not cold in this part.
Do write when you have a moment & give me all the news, my love to all including Lord and Lady Bicester
NB S.J.A.B. St. John’s Ambulance Brigade
B.R.C. British Red Cross
B.L.A. British Land Army