Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Part VII: Mudder's World War I diary

On Oct. 24, 1918, nurse Florence Green ("Mudder" to her grandchildren) received orders to go to Evac 8 on the Meuse-Argonne front. This is from information provided by Dr. Marian Moser Jones of the University of Maryland after reading Florence Green's diary:
As she notes in her diary, Florence was sent to evacuation Hospital number 8 during the end of the Meuse Argonne Offensive in late October, after stints at Evacuation Hospitals 1 and 4. Evacuation Hospitals were nearer the front than base hospitals. Green served near the front during the final push of the war and was part of a group regularly exposed to large artillery fire and aerial bombardments.

Evacuation Hospital No. 8 and its wartime operations were also described in detail by Dr. Arthur Shipley, a prominent professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland, in a series of articles published in the Bulletin of the University of Maryland School of Medicine between 1919 and 1920. Florence mentioned meeting Shipley and working with him in her Oct. 26th diary. [Frederick] Pottle worked under him as an orderly. He later wrote a supplement to Pottle's book, The Officers and Nurses of Evac. No. 8. Although Green only served at this hospital for a short time, Shipley lists her in the supplement.
Here's Dr. Shipley writing about the details of evacuation hospitals:
The Evacuation Hospitals were usually up to 10 miles from the front. They were well out of reach of the light artillery but within the range of the "heavies" and, of course, were subject to bombing. The difficult thing was to place them along the lines of communication, and at the same time far enough away from ammunition dumps and rail heads not to invite shelling or bombing. They were plainly marked with big crosses made of different colored stone laid out on clear space, so as to be easily seen from the observation planes and to show up in photographs. If there were buildings in the hospital group, red crosses were often painted on the roofs. This was most important, as wounded men in large numbers could not be moved into dugouts if the hospitals were subjected to much shelling. During the Argonne offensive, we were at the top of our strength. We had about 1000 beds for patients, 410 enlisted personnel, 65 medical officers and 75 nurses.
Florence Green of Baltimore was one of those nurses. Her diary continues....

October 26
Dr. Shipley from the University of Maryland here. I made myself known to him, several other Baltimore people here. Worked all day.

October 27

Nothing exciting to relate, worked the entire day.

October 28

Goldie came to see me today, brought me four letters all from home too. Miss Martin made some good taffy, the best I have had for many a day.

October 29

Not so busy today.

October 30

The girls are trying to have a party for tomorrow night, it is Halloween. I hope they succeed. Made some real good fudge.

October 31

Had a wonderful ride today in a Cadillac and with a Lieutenant Colonel, but not the one I would of liked to of been with. Also had a dandy walk. Halloween night, but no dance.

November 1

Cleaned house today and wrote a pile of letters. Had a very nice walk. I think patients will soon come in by the barge this am.

November 2

War news is encouraging if it only keeps up. Heard today that Evac#4 had been shelled, poor Goldie, I bet she was scared to death.

November 3

Today is Sunday, but I never know one day from the other. Worked all day.

November 4

Well, Austria is out of the war; I do believe it will be over soon.

November 5

Nothing new, the war is still on.

November 6

No mail, no nothing, wish I was in Baltimore, tonight. Rain for a change.

November 7

Heard today, the war was over, another wild rumor I suppose but if it is true, how wonderful it will be.

November 8

Had the whole day off today, went about 3-5 miles from here, rode in four different vehicles, had a good lunch and dinner and a dandy ride in a Cadillac, a dandy time.

November 9

The Germans have until Monday 11am, am crazy to know how every thing is going to turn out. Am waiting to go on a candy making party but looks like we won’t go tonight as the officers can’t come, such as life, just full of disappointments.

November 10

Busy as could be today, tomorrow is the day which decides about the war, am so anxious to hear the return.

November 11

Am some happy tonight to think the war is really over. I cannot believe it. Haven’t heard a gun since 11am. Great celebrating everywhere. Can almost hear the city hall in Baltimore ringing, and what a wonderful time for Paris.

November 12

Nothing exciting happened, patients coming in slowly. Took a walk. Our orders came. We go Evac to #15, hope from there to #2.

November 13

Gee, but I had a good time today, went to Verdun and then way up to the front, saw lots of sights. Came back and went to Evac #3, since they are having no work there at all. A dandy little Lieutenant took us there and then later met us later and took us to Evac #4 where I saw Goldie, some mud there. On arriving home, we hear there is to be a big dance in the Citadel at Verdun, went up in a huge truck, just had lots of fun. Got home about 1am. The most exciting thing happened during the day I forgot to relate, met Captain R from the 346 and now I know where Lieutenant Colonel S is, hope I see him soon.

November 14

Stayed in bed late and at 11am, the chief came in to give us our orders; we left at 2pm, to take the train. It only takes 5 hours so Miss Martin and I thought we could make it quicker. We got permission from Captain Cahill so we beat it. A colonel was delighted to take us; I think we made it in ¾ of an hour. 30 miles at least, but we enjoyed it, but don’t say it was not cold. Had a dandy dinner and met the train from B. Oh yes, we are going to Paris, am tickled to death, took the night train and oh the ride, no sleep, about 9 people in the compartment.

November 15

Such a wonderful day, arrived at the Continental, got a beautiful room had breakfast in our boudoir. Went to the Red Cross, did some shopping, from there to the Marlboro Tea Room and such a good lunch, soup the best chicken, first I had had in France and real ice cream, well it was delicious. Did some more shopping. Eva met a captain from her home, so he went around with us, bought a dandy looking pair of shoes, had my suit pressed, I feel very much dressed up, to dinner and theater tonight with Captain Hinton and K, we saw ‘Tales of Hoffman’ mighty good show.

Musical interlude: Violinist Mery Zentay: Melodie in F and Barcarolle from "Tales of Hoffmann" (1917), https://youtu.be/OvJcjiDNZpo. A pupil of Jenö Hubay, Mery Zentay successfully toured Europe 1910-1914. She made her American debut in 1915 and became a popular recitalist as well as an Edison recording artist. She died on Oct. 3, 1918, at the age of 21, a result of the flu epidemic.
L’Infirmière (The Nurse), 1914–1918, by René Georges Hermann-Paul. Collection of Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas. Gift of Professor Eric Gustav Carlson. This work was part of the exhibition “The Second Battlefield: Nurses in the First World War” at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, 2015-2016.

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