No 9 General Hospital
My dear Mother
I’ve completed the circle and come back to No 9 and Rouen; in all probability I’ll be here some time. The hospital has just taken possession of huts built for it, and on a very large scale. Room for 750 patients, and very complete administrative and residential quarters for everyone. It would make an admirable place for ten years if necessary. We are on a large common south of the town, between the racecourse and a forest, and about three miles from the centre of the town; trains come about halfway. Everywhere are camps, of wood and of canvas, and they seem to extend every day. There are some Indians here, and heaps of hospitals, and altogether there’s a lot of traffic on the road leading this way. I found more old friends at No 9 than I expected, but two have already gone off to other jobs. Owing to the move from tents to huts there are at this moment no patients in, but we no doubt shall get convoys quite soon.
We have quite a nice officers’ mess, and have buildings round three sides of a square. The sides contain bedrooms, 12 in all. When full we’ll share between two. In each wing a bathroom is being installed. The centre block has mess room and club room, and kitchen behind.
The wards are long buildings to take about 30 beds, and arranged much as in up-to-date hospitals at home. There is a pathological lab and dispensary etc, and various rooms for office work. We are on high ground overlooking the town, and I should think in summer it will be dry and hot, not to say dusty. In our square we are starting a garden, which will be a nice recreation in spare time. Some of the canvas camps which have been here all the winter look very neat, and have planted small fir trees about.
I’ve had no letters since Sunday owing to my move. It was a long journey cross country from Saint-Nazaire, but quite enjoyable. I had a party of men with me, or should have made a quicker journey through Paris. The French people have good arrangements by stations for helping soldiers passing through, and I found their aid very useful for my convalescents.
On Sunday last at Saint-Nazaire two officers from Nantes were over in a car, and took me along the coast to La Baule for lunch. The coast gets quite nice down west of Nazaire, but doesn’t come up to Pembrokeshire or Cornwall.
I hope when I get more news to hear you are much better and about again. It was very cold on arrival here, but today has been sunny.
With much love to all
From your son Arthur
PS – Address: No 9 General Hospital, Rouen, Brit Exp Force