Grace Reynolds Durant Diary 1917/18

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Grace trained as member of the Notts 94 Red Cross Detachment in Radcliffe on Trent before the War. On the outbreak of war in 1914 she volunteered to serve where required. In 1915 she was posted to the 4th Northern General Hospital, Lincoln. She served there as a Senior Nursing V.A.D. for just over a year before being transferred to St. David’s Hospital, Malta, arriving there at the beginning of December 1916. On 28th August 1917 she became very seriously ill with dysentery and almost died. After a long period of recovery she was discharged from hospital and returned to England.  Determined to return to nursing, after two months sick leave Grace was passed fit and she returned to serve at the 4th Northern General Hospital, Lincoln, at the request of the Matron.

At the 4th Northern, convoys were constantly coming in, usually late at night.  According to Grace, ‘They came straight out of the trenches, just passing through a clearing station to receive first aid. They were a sorry sight, badly wounded, in blood stained clothes, dirty and often lousy’. In February 1918 Grace was put on night duty on the Officers’ ward where the majority were aircraft crash cases.

The following extracts are from Grace’s diary while she was serving in Lincoln in 1918.  In her diary the 1918 entries are preceded by a short summary of events in 1916/17 when she was in Malta, reproduced here as background information. For a fuller account of Grace’s time there, see her Memoirs of Malta.

1916/17 (Malta)

Sailed to Malta on the Asturias Nov 30th 1916

Taken ill Aug 28th 1917

Reported sick Aug 29th 1917

Admitted in hospital, Imtarfa Sept 1st 1917

Discharged out of hospital Nov 9th

Invalided to Blighty Nov 12th 1917

NOVEMBER 1917

12 Monday Embarked on the Braemar Castle for England

13 Tuesday Sailed 10.15 a.m. Very rough indeed

14 Wednesday Sailing 12 miles. Death of a TB boy. Miles 245

15 Thursday Passed the B—-z. Another death TB.  Miles 288

16 Friday Passed by Spain and Algiers.  Miles 305

17 Saturday Arrived at Gibraltar 7.30 a.m. Engine trouble. Spanish Officers left ship, sailed again 2.45 p.m.

18 Sunday Attended service on deck.  Boarded by Germans

21 Wednesday 8.30 a.m. Bishop (Rock) Lighthouse.  Passed Scilly Isles. 5.20p.m. Lundy Lighthouse

22 Thursday 86 miles. Arriving Avonmouth 11 a.m. Disembarked 2.30.  Miles 2,473

JANUARY 1918

2 Wednesday Went to the Vicarage for tea and supper

8 Tuesday Arrived back at Lincoln

9 Wednesday Went on duty 7 a.m.

10 Thursday Half day, nothing doing

14 Monday Convoy 134

15 Tuesday Convoy

16 Wednesday Went to see Miss Sheppard

17 Thursday Half day. Benny up for tea. Pictures

18 Friday Pay day, out with Benny for lunch.

19 Saturday Evening off, very tired

20 Sunday Half day. Benny and Golden for tea. Went to Church

24 Thursday Half day. Went to pictures with Benny.

FEBRUARY 1918

8 Friday Went to the theatre. Stayed all morning. Went home at night

9 Saturday Day off

12 Tuesday Half day

13 Wednesday Night duty, Officers’ Ward

15 Friday Lt Paine RFC, crash

25 Monday Lt Everitt RFC, crash

26 Tuesday Pictures. The Whip. Very good

27 Wednesday Lt Dyer RNAS, crash

28 Thursday Lt Gosse, crash

MARCH 1918

1 Friday ‘Wind up’. Clean sheets. Sir W Robertson opened new stores

6 Wednesday Went to matinee The Better Ole

10 Sunday Lt Warrington RFC, crash

11 Monday Lt Shaw RNAS, crash

12 Tuesday Lt Prudrith RFC, crash. Pay day 7/6.

15 Friday Lt Murray RFC, crash

16 Saturday Lt Luke, crash

17 Sunday Stayed in bed

18 Monday Lt Patman RFC, crash

19 Tuesday Lt Lawler RFC, crash.  Convoy

22 Friday Lt Weir RFC, crash.  14 Officers in A8

26 Tuesday Lt Chapman RFC, crash

27 Wednesday Lt Mitkewiecz

30 Saturday Lt Sanders, crash. Died

31 Easter Sunday Early service. Cathedral in the evening

APRIL 1918

3 Wednesday Lt Pipbles(?) RAF killed

7 Sunday Lt Simpson RAF died 8 pm

8 Monday Lt Marriott RAF. Convoy 180

9 Tuesday A great day. King and Queen came

9th april 1918

11 Thursday Convoy 140 stretchers

16 Tuesday Pay Day

18 Thursday Lt Pudrith operation

20 Saturday Lt Latham RAF died

21 Sunday Lt Sawyer RAF, crash. Convoy. 2 killed

23 Tuesday Convoy

25 Thursday Convoy. Lt Widenkind RAF, crash, very bad

26 Friday Lt Summers RNAS, crash

29 Monday Lt Pudrith died 2.45

30 Tuesday Convoy 179

MAY 1918

1 Wednesday Lt Stall RAF, crash

3 Friday Cpt Moodie RAF, crash

4 Saturday Lt Stratton RAF, crash

9 Thursday Lt Jones RAF, crash

11 Saturday Lt Jones RAF, Lt Kite RAF, Lt Birkenshaw, RAF, crashes.  Convoy

12 Sunday Lt Kite died

16 Thursday Praise be given.  Night duty finished.  Arrive home 12 p.m.  Benny arrived 8 p.m.

17 Friday Went to Notts. Pictures. Empire at night

18 Pictures very good

19 Whit Sunday Service 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 6 p.m. Very good

20 Monday Out for supper

22 Wednesday Went to Nottingham, Bridgford for tea. Hippodrome in evening

23 Thursday Bored stiff. Raining

24 Friday Discovered Grandad Durant landed in Malta 22.7.1855. Visitors Mrs and Miss Bonsell for tea

25 Saturday Pictures

26 Sunday Church

27 Monday Went to Clifton. Top hole time

28 Tuesday Went up to Crosses. Mrs T Roses

29 Wednesday Basford for tea. Empire. Very nice too

30 Thursday The Manor for tea

31 Friday Letter from Silas

JUNE 1918

1 Saturday Came back from leave

2 Sunday Went to 9A. Met by Turnip and Hal

10 Monday Benny back from leave

11 Tuesday Pay Day. 7/6

23 Sunday Turner came for tea. Went to Cathedral and a walk by the river after

27 Thursday Did not feel well. Still ate chips for supper

28 Friday Went sick

29 Saturday Damn Flu

30 Sunday String broke. Lead dropped

JULY 1918

3 Wednesday Went to Theatre (Merely Mary Ann)

4 Thursday Benny’s birthday

7 Sunday Turner, Golden for tea and supper

8 Monday Birthday

9 Tuesday Letter from the Navy

10 Wednesday Evening off. Went to Horncastle

11 Thursday Enjoyed myself

14 Sunday On duty

15 Monday Supper party. New spuds, pork and beans. Very nice too. Jam tarts

31 Wednesday Went up the river. Had a great time

AUGUST 1918

2 Friday Went home, had a good time

3 Saturday Empire in the evening. Jolly nice

4 Sunday Nelthorpe for tea

5 Monday Zepps

6 Tuesday Convoy 190

7 Wednesday Picnic up the river, very nice too. Pictures

8 Thursday Made china cabinet. Pay Day

9 Friday Evening off. Stayed in

21 Wednesday Tea party. Balderstone came

24 Saturday Tent burnt down

25 Sunday Very disgusted at having to scrub on Sunday. Cleaning

28 Wednesday Half day

SEPTEMBER 1918

1 Sunday Went to New York

2 Monday Had a ripping time. Arrived back 7.15

OCTOBER 1918

9 Wednesday Pay Day

11 Friday Went home. Fred killed

12 Saturday Day off

13 Sunday Half day. Went to Church. Had a lovely cup and saucer from Taffy Lewis

There are no further diary entries.

Fred was 26540 Frederick Samuel Allen 1/6 Bn Sherwood Foresters, age 29, who died on 10th October 1918. He is buried at Bellicourt British cemetery, Aisne, France.  His Army correspondence address was in the front of Grace’s diary. His home address was Clifton, Nottingham.

In the diary entry for Thursday 15th November ‘Passed the B—-z’ probably refers to HMS Biarritz as Grace has a correspondence address for HMS Biarritz in her diary.

Read Grace Durant’s biography

Read about her time in Malta