Étaples Weekly Reports

Étaples Weekly Reports – 30th August, 1916

Museum of the Order of St John

For an introduction to this project, follow this link.

Concerning the weekly report for the 30th August 2016, Colonel Trimble addresses a large number of of points which have come about over the past week. One of the key points raised in this particular excerpt is the departure of well-loved surgeon Major Maynard Smith, who left the hospital in order to report to the D.M.S. Reserve Army. Various replacements were suggested, including appointing bacteriologist Captain McCloy as the Officer in charge of the General Mortuary, and promoting Captain McIlwaine as heart specialist to the Etaples District. The Hospital appears to have experienced “tempestuous” weather at this time, and a number of sisters have become unwell (particularly Sister Swanne who is noted as having rheumatic fever and myalgia). However, the last report recorded of Sister Swanne is noted to be “most favourable”, and generally the hospital is running “satisfactorily” according to Colonel Trimble.




COPY.                                                       Army Post Office S.11

British Expeditionary Force,



My Lord,

Herewith my weekly report concerning the Hospital

from the 23rd to the 28th inst.

A convoy arrived by No.  15 Ambulance Train on the

evening of Wednesday the 23rd. and consisted of 61 stretcher

and 44 sitting cases. A second convoy was received at 5 p.m.

on Tuesday the 29th.  and numbered 30 stretcher and 73 sitting

cases.  There were a good many very serious cases amongst

those arriving on the 23rd.

Major Maynard Smith, who as you know has been

appointed a “Consulting Surgeon to the Army in France,”

left the Hospital on Monday the 28th inst. to report to

D.M.S. Reserve Army.

We all felt very keenly Major Maynard Smith`s

departure.   During the year he served with the Hospital

we had ample opportunity of becoming acquainted with him.

Individually and collectively we recognised his ability

and skill as a Surgeon,  and secondly we accepted him as a

very agreeable friend and companion.   Before he left we

entertained him at dinner and endeavoured to convey to him

our appreciation of all he has done for the hospital.   We

had present on this occasion Brigadier General Graham Thomson






Colonel Sir Almroth Wright, C.B., Colonel Carr, C.B., D.D.M.S.,

Etaples, Colonel Sir John Rose Bradford, Lieut-Col. Gordon Watson,

G.M.G, and other personal friends of Major Maynard Smith.

I enclose a copy of the Order relative to Major Maynard Smith`s


On Monday the 28th inst. La Marquise de Ganay and

Mons. Gouin                 visited the Hospital. As greatly inter-

ested in Hospital work and running a Hospital near Paris they

showed much pleasure in looking over this institution and

expressed their high appreciation of all they saw.

Sister John and Nurse White went to England on leave

on Tuesday the 22nd inst., and Nurse Owen was admitted to the

hospital for sick sisters on Saturday the 26th.  Sister Swanne

who was admitted to the same hospital on the 18th was reported

dangerously ill on Sunday the 27th.    She was certified as

suffering from rheumatic fever and myalgia.   I took means to

communicate with her relatives, and her aunt who lives at Font

de Brique went to visit her.      The report concerning Sister

Swanne this morning is most favourable.

There are one or two matters of interest I should

like to mention.   As perhaps you will know one of our Senior

Physicians, Captain McIlwaine, is a specialist on the heart,

and has during the past year done a good deal of research on

what is known as “Soldiers Heart.”   I have had some private

conversation with Sir John Rose Bradford, C.B., consulting

physician to the area with a view to Capt. McIlwaine being






appointed heart specialist to the Etaples district.     If this

can be done it will make our hospital a special centre for

enquiry into heart trouble, and in all possibility Captain

McIlwaine would get a step in rank.

Item number 2 is with reference to the pathological

work and control of the General Mortuary here.  Up to now

there has been some difficulty in providing a suitable

pathologist for this area and I know Sir John Rose Bradford

is very anxious to have the position filled by some very

capable officer. Captain McCloy who is one of the bacteria-

ologists to this Hospital is also a pathologist of some repute-

tion, and I know that Sir John Rose Bradford would like to offer

him the position of Officer in charge of the Mortuary.   Person-

ally I would be rather inclined to Captain McCloy taking this

on, it would be a nice position to be in, to be able to say

that the St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital was running a

special Heart Department and in addition supplying the

Pathologist for the Etaples Administrative District. Our

Hospital is particularly well staffed and I feel positive

that this work can be done without in the smallest way inter-

fering with the efficiency of our Hospital. Whether these

matters will fructify or not I cannot say, but I am very

desirous they should, and simply mention them so that you

may be convenient with what I am doing and perhaps express

an opinion.

The weather here during the last two days has been

exceedingly tempestuous with thunder storms and torrential






rain which has rather interfered with our sewage outfall

works, however we are grappling with the difficulty and I

do not anticipate any great trouble in this direction.

I have to-day received a notification from the

Chief Ordnance Officer telling me that the St John Ambulance

Brigade Hospital is now a recognised Voluntary Hospital and

entitled to indent for Ordnance Stores and Hospital equipment

on repayment under the terms of Departmental Order No. 48

date 22.6.15.     I have been in considerable difficulty con-

cerning our position as a Hospital for some time,   in fact

I was not a Military Hospital nor was I a Voluntary Hospital,

and my difficulty was to know what description of Hospital

I really was.     Red Cross Hospitals are Voluntary Hospitals,

But this hospital was not a voluntary hospital.       I therefore

assumed that because I was not a Red Cross Hospital I was not

a voluntary one.     By pegging away at the heads of the depart-

ments I have now managed to get a definite ruling and this

makes my position quite clear and comfortable.

On the 21st August I submitted a scheme for promotion

to fill the vacancy created by Major Maynard Smith leaving us.

I have your acceptance of this through the Secretary of the

Order of St. John and in reply to his question as to the

financial aspect of this arrangement I have to point out

as I did in my letter of 21.8.16 that no increased expenditure

will be incurred by the Order.   I am dealing with the matter

of the contracts of these officers with Captain Gordon





So far as I know the hospital is working quite


I have the honour to be,

Your Lordship’s obedient servant,

(Signed) Charles J. Trimble.

Lt.- Colonel.

The Director of Ambulance,

St. John`s Gate,

Clerkenwell, E.C.

Latest blog posts