Monday 4 July 2016

Will Sidney's War - July 1918 - Still 'In the Dock'

In my last post we left Will 'In the Dock', waiting for a Medical Board.  It was 29 June 1918 and Will had been hospitalised since 26 May, with a problem with his neck.

On 30 June Will writes of receiving letters from Ethel, Ma & Charlie. Will then went on to also spend the whole of the month of July 1918 either hospitalised or in a convalescent camp. He was clearly having a pretty rough time of it, though probably not as bad as being on the front line ...

"1 July, Monday - Finished Ethel's letter. Thinking of her & the temptations she is under. God bless her & protect her."
"2 Tuesday - Writ to Charlie. I have had a letter from Darling Ethel & one from Chuck. My neck still stiff."
"3 Wednesday - Awaiting Medical Board @ 10.30 before the CO, Maj, Capt & 2 Lts. Writ to Ethel & Chuck."
"4 Thursday - Still Convalescence. Expecting another Board. Got mark to attend treatment for 3 weeks. No letters from anybody. No paper for me to write with." 
"5 Friday - Still here. Thinking of Ethel. Bless her. I wish with all my heart we were wed."
"6 Saturday - Still in Con Camp. My neck still stiff. Still getting it massaged. No news from anybody."
          "7 Sunday - Still @ the same old place. Had a letter from Darling Ethel. God bless her."
"8 Monday - Sent into the 38 Hospital for an operation with my neck. Letter from home with photos."
"9 Tuesday - Waiting for 1/2 past 10 for my operations to lance abscess & cut tendon." 
"10 Wednesday - Writ home to Ma, Lil, Charlie. Took some stitches out of my neck."
"11 Thursday - Still in the 38. I can bend my neck a little now. Thinking of Darling Ethel. No news from anywhere. Writ to dear Ethel."
"12 Friday - No letters from anybody. My neck very sore & stiff."
"13 Saturday - Stitches taken out. My neck very painful & sore. No letters from anybody. Thoughts of Ethel." 
Here is another photo that we found in Will's things. Could it have been taken in the convalescent camp? We don't know for sure, but the clothing does look like that which would have been worn by soldiers in hospital during WW1.

Whilst, as usual, Will has written on the back of the card, it still doesn't really give any clues as to where the picture may have been taken.
In his note Will sets Ethel the puzzle of finding 'Big Willie'. Will is sat pretty much bang in the centre of the picture. 

"14 Sunday - The sister pulled the setting plaster off my neck & I nearly fainted with pain. Very poorly after."
"15 Monday - My neck still feeling sore. Thinking of Darling Ethel. God bless her."
"16 Tuesday - Still in Dock. My neck getting better. Not so sore now."
"17 Wednesday - Letters from Ethel & answered them. I wish she were here."
"18 Thursday - Writ to Charlie, Lily, Rosie & Ma, not forgetting Darling Ethel."
"19 Friday - Thinking of Ethel. Wondering what she will say to the big letter."
 "20 Saturday - My neck getting better nicely. I wish Ethel was here so as I could have a long talk with her smiling face." 
"21-23 Sunday-Tuesday - My neck dressed. All the stitches out. Went to church. Thinking of Darling Ethel. God bless her & protect her from all temptations & harm. I wish she were mine so as I could protect her. Letter from J Clark & 1 from Ethel."
24 Wednesday - Answered Ethel’s letter & J Clark. Wishing Ethel was here. My neck nearly better. Still in hosp."
"25 Thursday - No dressings on my neck now. Better, but very tender & sore. Doctor no good @ his work."
"26 Friday - Letter from home & answered it straight away. Thinking of Ethel."

 "28 Sunday - Still in the 38th. Church @ 11.30. No bandages on my neck @ all now. Answered Ethel's letter of 18th."
"29 Monday - Still in the 28th Sta Hos. My neck is still a little bit stiff. I wish I knew what they did to it."
"30 Tuesday - No letters from anyone. Thinking of Darling England."
"31 Wednesday - My neck slightly swelled & getting a little stiffer every day. No letters."

Will had now been hospitalised for two full months. Surely his neck would soon recover. You can find out what happens next for Will in my next post.

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