Monday 18 July 2016

Will Sidney's War - August 1918 - Still Suffering

It's now August 1918, four years since the beginning of 'The Great War'.  Will has been 'in the Dock' since the end of May, with a problem with his neck.

This picture is quite amusing and has been taken whilst Will is in the hospital. We can tell this because of the uniform that both are wearing. It clearly shows the difference in height of the two men, which is considerable, as you can see ...

Having had an operation during July, Will still seems to be suffering at the beginning of August, as well as deciding that it's time for him and Ethel to tie the knot ...

"1 Thursday - Marked for Con Camp. Writ to Ethel in answer to paper. My neck getting stiffer & sore again. Letter from Darling Ethel."
"2 Friday - Answered Ethel's letter. God bless her. Writ to Lily & Maisie ..."
"3 Saturday - Sent to Con Depot 'F' Coy. Classified B for a fortnight. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her. No letters from anyone. Made up my mind to get married as soon as I get home, if Ethel is agreeable."

4 August 1918 was the 4th anniversary of the beginning of 'The Great War' and worthy of a mention in Will's diary.  He is still struggling with his neck and is being treated with fomentation, which is a substance used as a warm moist medicinal compress or poultice.
 "4 Sunday - Anniversary of the Gt War. Church service @ 10.30. Pay parade @ 11.45am. Writ to Ethel about money."
"5 Monday - Got to have a bandage around my neck. Had a parcel from home. Cakes all mouldy & wet through."
"6 Tuesday - My neck getting stiff again. No letters from anybody. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her."
"7 Wednesday - My neck broken out again. Letter from Ethel & writ to her about going in hospital."
"8 Thursday - In hospital. Admitted into hospital again. Same ward & same hospital. No letters from anyone. My neck very painful & sore."
"9 Friday - Still in the 38. Having fomentation twice in a day time & twice @ night."
"10 Saturday - No news of Ethel. Thinking of her & wondering how she is going on. Also if she is worrying or not. God bless her & protect her from all danger." 

 "11 & 12 Sunday & Monday - Still in the 38. Went to church @ 11. 2 letters & paper from Ethel & 1 letter from Ma. Answered Ethel's letter. Will send her a long one when I get a pad.
"13 Tuesday - My neck feeling stiff again. Still in hospital."
"14 Wednesday - Thinking of Dearest Ethel. How I wish she was here."
"15 Thursday - Still in Hospital. Still to carry on. My neck getting worse. Thinking of Darling Ethel."
"16 Friday - Went into Genoa for a short walk."
"17 Saturday - Answered Ethel's parcel & letter. She must be in a temper (letter). 1 letter from home this week."
 I wonder if Will bought this postcard on his walk into Genoa ...

The following week Will experiences a new type of treatment on his neck. It doesn't sound very pleasant at all ...
 "18 Sunday - Recommended for a new treatment - Elect Rays. Very painful. Wish I was better."
"19 Monday - Still in the same hospital. No letter from Ethel. Thinking if anything is the matter."
"20 Tuesday - I hope she is not worry @ all for it hurts me to think that she is worrying."
"21 Wednesday - Still under the new treatment. Written to Ethel. God bless her & protect her from harm."
"22 Thursday - Still in Dock. Finished with the ??? treatment. Made enquiries about sending some money to Darling Ethel. Sent £10 to Darling Ethel."
"23 Friday - A letter from her & answered it straight away."
"24 Saturday - Another letter from her & also answered that one. Hoping she gets the money alright & I hope she puts it to some good cause. She is worth more than the all the World to me."
The final week of August 1918 sees Will undergoing yet another operation on his neck. Hopefully this time it will resolve the problem ...
 "25 Sunday - Awaiting news from the Doctor whether I have to go under another operation or not. Letter from Ethel. Answered it straight away."
"26 Monday - Major Whittaker inspected my neck & told me I should have to have an operation on Wednesday . Writ home to Ma. No letters."
"27 Tuesday - Getting prepared for the operation. Iodine & shaving. Writ to Ethel telling her of it. I do wish she were here so as I could have her nurse me."
"28 Wednesday - Went under the operation @ 10, came out of Chloroform @ 11.15. A letter from Ethel."
"29 Thursday - Writ to Ethel. Answered her letter. Feeling pretty bad all day. My neck very sore & is affecting my arm & hand. I wish she was here to look after me. God bless her & protect her from all harm."
"30 Friday - My neck still a little sore. My arms very stiff. Letter from Ethel."
"31 Saturday - A letter from Ethel. Answered both of her loving letters. I wish she was here. My credit came through from York. £84.6.101/2."
So, August was another full month for Will in the hospital.

Amongst his things we have found a selection of photographs taken during WW1 in hospital. We can't be certain they were taken during this stay, but one of them does have 1918 written on the back so they may well have been.

I am sorry that the quality of some of them is very poor, but I have included them all the same ...


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