Tuesday 14 February 2017

Will Sidney's War - August 1918 - Formentations, Electrical Rays & an Operation

I can't quite believe its now been over six months since I've done a Will Sidney post and I have to say that I do feel a little remiss.

In my last post it was the end of July 1918 and Will had been 'in the dock' since 26 May with a problem with an abscess on his neck.

I am picking up Will's story, as written in his own hand in his personal war diary, on 1 August 1918. Will was still in the 38th Stationary Hospital with his neck slightly swollen and getting a little stiffer every day.

During this week, as well as Will's neck seeming to be getting worse, Will states his intentions of getting married to Ethel as soon as he gets home, assuming of course that Ethel is agreeable ...

"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 & ??? Sent to Con Depot F Coy."
 "3 Saturday - 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."

The following week is the anniversary of the start of 'The Great War' and four years since the date of Will's mobilisation. The formentations Will refers to would likely be the application of some form of hot poultice, presumably in an attempt to reduce the swelling on his neck ...

"4 Sunday - Anniversary of the Great War. Church Service @ 10.30. Pay Parade @ 1114am. 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 anyone. Thinking of Ethel. God bless her."
"7 Wednesday - My neck broken out again. Letter from Ethel & writ to her about going into hospital again. Same ward & hospital."
"8 Thursday - No letters from anyone. My neck very painful & sore."
"9 Friday - Still in the 38. Having formentations 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 38th. Went to church at 11. 2 letters & a 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." 

"18 Sunday - Recommended for a new treatment. Elect rays. Very painful. Wish I was better."
"19 Monday - Still in the same hospital. No letters 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 the dock. Finished with the elect 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 all the world to me." 

 "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 was here so as I could have her near 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 arm 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 £34.6.101/2." 
In Will's bits and pieces we found a few mementos that Will either sent to Ethel from Italy or brought back with him, including this 10 cents note ...

Google translate ...
Cash voucher in legal tender for ten cents Venetian cash loans. January 2, 1918

Google translate ...
They will be punished by fake cash makers of good people who use them and who puts them back in circulation

And this card of an Italian sharpshooter with a coin depicting a fat tummy ...
As ever, Will has written a message to his dearest Ethel on the reverse ...

 "I do hope you have got the other one like this & I hope you will like them.
With my very best love to you



The coin itself is a 1909 5 cents piece, engraved with "From Will to Ethel" with flowers on the reverse side. I have scanned them in, the images aren't great but I thought you might like to see them ...
In my next post you will be able to see some of the other activities that Will got up to whilst in 'The Dock'. Hopefully you shouldn't have to wait too long.

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