News of Mistresses and Old Girls – Summer Term 1917

Miss Fairclough spent a week-end at Holmwood early in June, during a month’s leave from Malta, where she has been working as V.A.D. for the last 15 months. Her work consists principally of starting and organising hospital invalid kitchens all over the Island, and inspecting those which are already in full swing. She is called Principal Commandant, wears a most becoming blue uniform, and ranks as a Colonel! She seems very happy in her work, and showed us a quantity of interesting photographs.

 Doris Gozvenlock and Muriel Vicary are nursing at the Red Cross Hospital at Wimborne, and Dorothy Vicary has gone to help in the kitchen, as they were short-handed; after this she is hoping to do Secretary work in a new Hospital in Warminster.

Nancy Wolley Dod is nursing in France, and Marjorie has gone to Salonica. Rosamund and her baby are well.

Gwynneth Hope is nursing in the American Women’s Hospital.

Emma Burt is still at the Australian Hospital.

 M. L. Callard (nee Coomber) is working at the Ministry of Pensions, Widows and Dependents’ Branch.

 E. Newton has been working in France since October. 1914, and was mentioned in Sir D. Haig’s dispatch.

 N. Richards has been working up for the London Matric.

 B. Niven has been at Manchester University for a year, and is going to Cambridge in October.

 M. Godley has finished a course of motoring, and she hopes to get some kind of motoring work to do; in the meantime she is working at the Y.M.C.A. Canteen at Paddington several times a week.

 M. Campin writes: “I am at present enjoying my life very much at Monmouth High School, where I am having a very busy time teaching (chiefly Maths.) and filling up my spare time studying.”

Ursula Stokes, in answering Miss Douglas’ Easter Letter, says: ­”I have been wondering how many of the Old Girls realise that there is still a Commem. held at School of a character which those who are far away would appreciate most perhaps. Even in Grahamstown I did not realise that the day was being kept officially at School, though of course we knew that some of you were thinking of us when we had our Commem, parties, and I suppose Grahamstown is more likely to know all there is to know about the School than any other part of the world. I, suppose Miss Jones knew, and that is why she wanted more. But though I was only at School last Commem. from 8.30 p.m. on Friday – night and had to leave St. Martin’s long before the Service was over on Saturday morning (to catch me train), it was sufficient to realise that there was far more of Commem. left than I had ever dreamt of, that the whole of the present School knew it was ‘Old Girls’ Day’ and that the Celebration at St. Martin’s was still for all who could to be present there, and for the rest of us to join in wherever we might be.”

A. Chambers has been working since March as pantry maid in the V.A.D. Hospital. Rhode Hill, Uplyme. Devon.

Nora Randall says: “I am now going on Thursdays to the V.A.D. Hospital at Mere, about 25 miles from school, as a Probationer. Of course, I did not mind what I went as, but all the same I am very pleased that I shall get some opportunity of nursing, for it will help so for later on.”

J. Dennison Says: “I am quite busy now, working at Christchurch Red Cross Hospital, as Quartermaster’s Orderly. I spend every morning there, and do all sorts of jobs, from sweeping, dusting and clearing brass, to sorting Linen, mending clothes, and getting the nurses’ lunch – so I have plenty of variety and love the work. I have also been attending Lectures on Fist Aid and Home Nursing, so have had my time fairly well occupied.”

M. Irby writes: “It has struck me that you may be rather interested to hear of the work I am doing at present. I obtained a post at the beginning of the summer at ‘Women’s Service,’ an organisation run by the London Society for Women’s Suffrage for the purpose of suppling women for War Work, and also to investigate new professions, and trades which are suitable for women to take up, but which hitherto they have not had the opportunity of entering. I am working for the head of the ‘Training’ Department and we give advice to women with regard to the best work for them to take up and how to train themselves for it. I Was wondering whether you would like to mention the Women’s Service Bureau in the school Magazine, in case any of the Old Girls, who are looking out for posts, would care to register there; and also perhaps some of the girls just leaving School would like advice about taking up some of the professions which are off the normal lines. The office is at 58, Victoria Street, S.W. I enjoy the work there very much, and find it extremely interesting.”

 Freda White worked in her Easter holidays for a month at the large Military Hospital at Devonport. She was at the Nursing Sisters’ Quarters helping the Matron with the house-keeping and doing odd jobs for her, and enjoyed the experience very much.

Rosamond Conquest (nee Acworth), in writing to Miss Douglas some months ago, told a delightful story, which we cannot leave out of the Magazine. Her husband, who was out with the American Ambulance in France, was ordered up to some “post” or other to take “one assis” and “three coucher “cases. He had his “coucher” cases in all right, and was working round for the “assis”, when a little dog was lifted in beside him. The poor little thing had been already wounded twice, and on this occasion had a body wound; his master had also been hit. The little dog had all his papers filled up, just like a regular “poilu,” and was evacuated to the rear as a man would be.

Ella Burden writes: “Once again I am out in France-this time working in a Military Hospital under canvas. The open-air life is just glorious now, but I can’t imagine what it is like in the winter. We are sleeping in small huts big enough for two, and in the hot weather the whole of one side can be thrown open. Just at present we are rather unsettled, as the Americans may arrive any day to take over this Hospital, and some of us will be sent elsewhere, whilst some of us are staying for a while to work with them. I hope I shall be allowed to stay, as it is a lovely Hospital, situated high up out of the town on the race-course, with woods all round us, and fortunately I am nursing Tommies here. They are just too splendid for words, and their one wish is to see Blighty again. I’m so sorry I could not come up to see you before I left England, but my time was so short and there was such a lot to do. I’m ever so happy here and feeling very fit indeed.”

Jeanie Raven, in thanking Miss Douglas for her Easter Letter, says: ­ “I quite agree about Commem. We should all want to come so much, and of course we ought not to from a distance. But where will you put us all when we come to the first Commem. after the war? Won’t it be a glorious squash, and how the hall will bulge! We have had quite exciting times at frequent intervals here, with air-raids and bombardments, both more startling than alarming, for we are so well guarded that the Huns dare not try more than a “tip-and-run” attack. It is wonderful to see miracles happening as they do, e.g., in Ramsgate last time but one, three houses were hit in a crowded quarter, each one empty: and the other shells all fell in fields; they nearly always fall in waste ground. Another time, bombs were dropped just outside the National School, one yard from the window, with all the children inside; shells fell one either side of the V.A.D. Hospital. Only once a cottage was hit, and there were three people killed: otherwise we have only had roofs and windows damaged. The Relieving Officer called Mr. Cate, had his roof smashed in, no one was hurt, and he emerged from the ruins brushing the dust from his coat and saying: “It takes more than that to kill a Cate!” The 14-months-old baby next day can say ‘Bombard,’ and shows off his trick with great pride. So you see we are quite in the war zone!”

Dorothy Man, writing from France, says: “I am writing this in a Church Army Club, near a lovely French town. I did not expect to hear about Salisbury again out here, but I was serving a man at the Canteen who belonged to the Wiltshire Regiment, and he told me all about the changes that had taken place since the war. He used to be the Carrier between Amesbury and Salisbury, and he is one of our friends here! While I was telling him I was at School at the Godolphin, a friend of his came up and said: ` I am a Salisbury man, and I’ve heard that the Godolphin young ladies have gone on the land, and the farmers say that they are the best helps they’ve ever had!’ I felt that I must write and tell you this! It was a very sincerely-said compliment. I saw my first sight of some German prisoners yester­day. They were slightly wounded, but looked very well cared far. I am coming home, I think, in June. If anyone wants work that is absolutely brimming with opportunities, they had better apply to the Headquarters of the Church Army for Canteen and Club work! The men are simply splendid, in spite of all the discomforts they have to put up with. They are keen on everything-French, music, and library-and we could do with one worker for each subject!”

Eleanor Chase writes: “Since I last saw you, nearly two years ago, I have been as busy as one could be, and, with the exception of some sick leave, I have only had a week’s holiday. I was in the Military Translation Bureau of the War Office for 14 months. I came across Marian Tatham in the War Office occasionally where she was working in the Registry. I left there to go to the Russian Government Com­mittee last October, and was there until last week, when I was offered the post of Superintendent of Translations to the Air Board, and came here to form a new section similar to that in which I worked in the War Office. It is a very good post, and I can’t help being very pleased at having got it. It is pleasant, too, to be one’s own head, since, as the new section is to be a central one for all Air Ministry Translations, it is not dependent on any Department, but only on the Secretary direct. I met Dorothy Sayers a month or so ago, and she was very pleased with the publication of her book of verses, and with her new work at Oxford under Blackwell. I also met Jean Smith not so very long ago, and heard all her news. I believe she is still at the Ministry of Munitions; she seemed to be very happy there.”

Nancy Woodrow (nee Marlow) tells us that she is now in the Dutch Section of the Censor’s Office, so does very little but Dutch and French. She would like to tell us more about the work if it were allowed.

Freda Shingleton writes from France, where she is nursing and says: “I came out in January, and love the work. Unfortunately, I got a frost-bitten toe, and had to go to Hospital for five weeks, but I am back at work again now. I have several times seen Theophila Yeatman and Alice Workman. It is so nice to come across old Godolphinites out here. How is the dear old School, I wonder? I so often think of all the happy times we had, but what years after it, seems!”

Helen Rhodes writes: “I am still as keen as ever about my music, but I felt it wrong to give all my time and energy to it in war time, and about eight months ago I took the place of a man, and became a Bank Clerk in the largest Bank in Sheffield! I like the work very much indeed for a time. It certainly wouldn’t excite me to think that I had to be a Bank Clerk for always! It is extremely nice to feel a little useful. There are 22 other girls in the Bank, I suppose just for the period of the war; also, about 30 men and boys. There is always an enormous amount of work to be done, as it is such a busy Bank, but that is what one expects, and everyone is very jolly.”

Gladys Filliter has had a good bit of experience nursing first at Barts, and when she wrote she was at No. 1 War Hospital, Reading.

Esther Field was working in the New Zealand Hospital, Codford, when we last heard of her.

A Capel is living at A. Foljambe’s home; and they have taken up dairy work together.

Annie Pritchardl tells us that she is working at the Fielden School as well as the Manchester University. She says: “We are, like most other people, working with a reduced staff. I am hoping to get home for Whitsuntide, and perhaps I might see you during that week. It was very delightful to have a peep at Miss Jones during Christmas week. She and a friend have been very busy in the holidays reclaiming a piece of land for an allotment. She says: ‘We have a good many visitors, even in war time, who come to see the School, which used to be under Professor Findlay in former days. I am on the Manchester Council for Day Nurseries and Nursery Schools, and we are much interested in the new programme proposed by Mr. Fisher. Personally, I shall feel much regret if our five happy little Nursery Schools in Manchester have to come under a wider scheme, and the red tape of the Board of Education. Professor l3ompas Smith has had an interview with some of the people at the Board of Education, and we are sorry that their tendency seems to be towards the inclusion of the children from three years in the Elementary School organisation. At present some very valuable voluntary work is being done, and little children want mothering, which can’t be possible if the numbers grow too large. Our most successful Nursery School is in an ordinary work­ing-class dwelling in one of the Manchester slums. It has had the greatest influence on the mothers by showing them just what can be done with the means at their disposal, and it is the finest object-lesson they could have-far better, I think, then a model building, with baths, hot and cold water, and all kinds of conveniences impossible in the homes from which these mites come.”

K. Keble sends a most interesting account of her work at Vickers’ Aeroplane Factory, Weybridge. She says: “I am afraid I shall find it rather difficult to explain, as so few people seem to have heard of it. It is commonly known as oxy-acetylene welding. The acetylene gas is made in a generator outside and is carried by pipes to each person; the oxygen is in a large cylinder by one’s side. We work with a blow pipe, which has a tremendously hot flame, about 600° Fahrenheit this is attached by rubber pipes to the oxygen cylinder and the acetylene safety valve; we control the acetylene and oxygen with a tap on the blow pipe, and we light up at a gas jet. We apply the flame to the metal until it is quite molten, and then one adds a little wire to make the two surfaces weld together. We weld most of the small steel parts on the aeroplane. Our kit consists of an overall, leather apron, and dark goggles, also a handkerchief over our head. The leather apron and the handkerchief are very necessary in order to protect one from the sparks, and we must wear dark goggles because the flame is tremen­dously bright. The shop we work in is called the ‘Tinsmith’s’, and is exceedingly stuffy and noisy, but very interesting as all the aluminum work is done in it. At the back of the shop there are furnaces with steam hammers going all day, the latter sound rather like bombs being dropped just behind you. We begin work at 7 O’clock in the morning and go on till 7.30 or 8.30 at night; the hours for meals are; Breakfast, from 8.30 to 9 o’clock; dinner, from 1 o’clock to 2 o’clock; and tea, from 5 to 5.30; we have all our meals at the works Canteen, which is about three minutes’ walk from the Factory. The Factory is on the edge of Brooklands Track, and we find it very interesting at meal times watching the aeroplanes going up and coming down, and doing wonderful things in the air, which occasionally make one’s hair literally stand on end.”

Mary Gordon has a classical post at the Manchester High School, under Miss Burstall.

Naomi Peake wrote to Miss Douglas in December to say that she met a Fawcett House girl when working at the Farnborough Royal Aircraft Factory, and recognised her by her blue overall; and that she and Dorothy Tull and Katharine Garnons-Williams and Irene Wordsworth had all been meeting and comparing their war work experiences.

Amphilis Middlemore tells us that she is training in the General Hospital, Birmingham.

Coralie Middlemore is still farming, and is now a carter, and is busy ploughing and carting anything under the sun.

Merrell Middlemore is training to be a doctor.

Jean Alexander is out in France with her sisters, and doing extraordinarily interesting work, which some day, I hope, she will find time to tell us all about in the School Magazine.

Theophila is home for a holiday, and we hope to see her at Godolphin.

Rita Paulley (nee Douglas) is House Mistress at St. Margaret’s. Her husband is in Egypt.

Kathleen Douglas’s name was amongst those in the long list mentioned in Despatches for their work in Home Hospitals.

Evelyn Gilroy was mentioned in Despatches, and the following are extracts from a letter from her mother, in last March: “Evelyn has been Sister in charge of a Ward for 14 months. She had the ‘Acute’ Ward at the Havre Clearing Hospital in regular turn with the other Sisters, and last June was moved up to the Somme for the `Push,’ and after a week there was again given a Ward-the second worst ` Surgical’ and has had it ever since; 36 beds, under canvas. For the first two or three months the work was truly appalling. Cases straight off the field, of course, and only the worst ‘ kept’; so, it was always a strain and awful responsibility. Then all the winter it has been dreadful. First wind and damp, then bitter cold, and no `floors’ anywhere, only tarpaulin to stand on; consequently, all the Nurses up there have had aa sort of `trench feet’ like very bad chilblains, red and blue and swollen up, and their knees all lame, and suffering greatly when they got warm in bed (which was the only time they were ever warm). The whole staff had bad influenza at Christmas, and Evelyn was one of the only four who didn’t ‘go sick,’ but was awfully bad and worked on with a high temperature. Con­sequently, she is only now beginning to get over it. She has only been home twice in two years, once for seven days and once for ten. She has, of course, the regular Hospital hours, 6.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., and when the push is on no hours at all! They all work night and day, and get sleep when and how they can. For three weeks on two occasions – she was never in bed for more than three hours at one time, and often no time to undress at all, unless compelled in order to search for trench creatures! which, unless found, destroy all chance of sleep.”

Iris Chauncey, when last we heard, had been going through a course of motoring.

Dulcie Chauncey is at the Woolwich Arsenal as an Assistant Overseer. 

Molly Thomas has given up her Bank work, and was intending to learn typing and shorthand this summer and autumn. and talks of the possibility of going to France as a Pay Office Clerk.

Violet Christy is helping in her father’s office, and has a busy time of it. When she has a spare day, she goes down to Bethnal Green on School Care Committee work, and has been now and again to help in the Arsenal Canteen, where she ran across Gladys Crombie.

Molly Sanctuary says: “When the end of my time at the Calcutta Diocesan College drew near, it seemed better for several reasons not to sign on for another Term of years there, so I wrote to ask whether they wanted any one of my qualifications here, and found that they would be glad of my help in a School ‘for the daughters of Indian gentlemen who are able and willing to pay towards the cost of their education.’ The girls are mostly Mahommedans and Hindus. Several of them are married: some are more or less strictly Purdah. I am already very fond of these children.”

Ena Merrell says: “I am, as you will see, farming, and have been since December 3rd of last year. I was companion to a lady at Hounslow, and saw in the paper that the National Political League were advertising for hay balers, so I went to see them and they said they did not want any more, but would I care to do farm work, so I agreed: and they sent me, with another girl of my own age, to Barton Seagrave, to work on Lord Hood’s farm. We were then the pioneers of Northants. While we were working there we used to visit of an evening another farmer, and after being in the neighbourhood for three months he offered us work with him, and to live in the house, so we accepted and here we are now. We seemed to be such a great success on Lord Hood’s farm that they set up a Hostel and had 20 girls there. Now I will give you an idea of the sort of things we do. Of course, each season has its different work. Milking, churning and making the butter; rearing calves, fattening bullocks and taking them to market ; feeding sheep and making pens, feeding poultry, feeding nag and grooming, feeding pigs and cleaning them out, cleaning calf hovels out, loading carts with straw and hay, cleaning mangolds, threshing, and turning hay in hay time (then we work till it gets dark), hoeing thistles out of the wheat, horse-hoeing cabbages and mangolds, spreading manure, gardening, cutting cabbages, loading them and throwing them to the cows. There are lots of other things which we have to do. In recreation time, we do just what we like, of course the summer-time is the best time to enjoy ourselves. We play tennis, ride and drive the nag, ride Hugh Everard’s motor-bike and use his gun. When I had time, I used to go and shoot a rabbit, and we used to have it in a cold pie for breakfast. At present there isn’t any time for that as the days are so short.”

Augusta Merrell has been working in a Munition Factory. She started by filling shells until her hands were perfectly yellow. Now she has gradually worked herself up to a forewoman, and is receiving nearly £4 a week.

Mollie Sanctuary is now at Queen Mary’s School, Delhi, and writes happy and cheery letters home.

Monica Sanctuary is a masseuse, and has just gone to a new camp in Ashton-in-Maberfield. She is very keen about her work, and has just passed an electrical examination, coming out with the top set.

Susan, Sanctuary is still in France, and the other day was in charge of an acute surgical ward.

Carline Sanctuary is working at the Headquarters of the Dorset Volunteers.

Edith Kinder is having lessons in motor driving, under Dorothy Trask, at the Grosvenor Garage, near Bournemouth, as she wants to be able to drive the car at Canford. Edith is in the middle of training in garden­ing and other Work on the land at Lady Winmborne’s School. Esther Taunton is also there.

Stella Wilkinson has left the Forage Department Office, where she had been working for 16 months. and is now acting as Clerk to Mr. Squarey in his Land and Estate Agency Office.

Nellie Kenyon has published a small rook of poems, “An Offering” the proceeds of which are to go to the Hostel for training Indian girls as missionaries and teachers. The cost of the book is 1s, and the publisher is B. H. Blackett, Broad Street, Oxford.

Winifrid Blackett is still working as cook in a convalescent home for Army Sisters in Guildford.

Edith Villar is still working on the land.

Miss Jones went back to South Africa in January. We were very, sorry to say goodbye to her. She wrote to say that the voyage was very long, but uneventful.

Miss Bagnall was down here for a fortnight or so, we were all very pleased to see her.

Miss Jefferys is staying at Melbury; we are glad to see her looking so much better.

Miss Edwards Sends her love to everyone who remembers her.

F.E. Ashford is now doing Red Cross work at Longford Castle.

Dolly Wilson, and Monica Wood have been through a course of training for agricultural work at Longford, and are now at a farm at Teffont Evias, Wilts.

Letty Kettlewell is going to be “housemaid” at Sturminister Marshall Red Cross Hospital, near Wimborne.

Phyllis Blandford has been working at Newton Red Cross Hospital as a permanent ward-maid, and is returning to the hospital the first week in July to take up nursing for good.

Cecil Lock is working at an Auxiliary Military Hospital near Shrews­bury.

Hilda and Lilian Barbrook are both working at the Remount Depart­ment at Elsingham. Hilda is now forewoman.

Helen Harrison is in the V.A.D. at Lady Howard de Walden’s Nursing Home for officers’ wives.

W. Poynton packs for the A.0. Department Didcot, in the crockery sheds.

Kathleen Durden is helping at a 100-bed Red Cross Hospital at Dorchester.

Flo Burnet cooks at Longford Castle Officers’ Hospital.

M. Holmes is orderly at Longford Castle Officers’ Hospital.

 T. Woodman Smith is nursing at Longford Castle Officers’ Hospital.

 S. Yorke is still on a farm in Dorset. She has just been to Reading for her butter-making exam, and is going to an Agricultural College in October.

Ella Burden is working as a V.A.D. in France, and is at present under an Australian sister in one of the surgical lines.

Norah Chapman is working at the Royal Herbert Military Hospital. Woolwich.

M. Wild and M. Weigall, have during their holidays been doing massage in Indian Hospitals for British troops. They have 70 cases to deal with, and find it almost impossible to get through the work, as there is no one else to help.

 R. Jarrett is working at Endell Street Military Hospital.

M. Jarrett, is at the Y.M.C.A. Shakespeare Hut.

 Ethel Newton (Sister), Army Nursing Reserve, mentioned Sir Douglas Haigh’s Despatch of January 25th.

N. Newham was first in the Archbishops’ Examination, and is going to London as the first woman to hold the Board of Education Certificate in Handicraft, Machine Construction, and Drawing. She will work at Shoreditch Polytechnic for a course of two years.

COMMEM Saturday – Christmas 1916

I know that you and many another Old Girl were thinking of Godolphin at Commem. time this year, so you may like to know what we did to celebrate it in a quiet way.
First and foremost we had Miss Jones with us, on a visit to England, and she always seems such an essential part of Commem., in fact I suppose there has only been one without her!
We began the day with the early Celebration at St. Martin’s, then after breakfast we had our Commem. Service in the School Hall, and Miss Jones spoke to us, and told us what an extraordinary blessing it was to a country and a school to have old traditions at their backs, and that nothing brings this home to one so much as living in a country like South Africa, which is still “in the making.”
She asked for a show of hands of all those who had known her at School, and there seemed such a small minority-one does not realise how much a School changes in three years.
After the Service there was an hour’s Prep., and then the girls were left to spend the day as they pleased; some took their lunch and some their tea, and went to the Downs or Old Sarum, and any who liked assembled in the evening in the Hall, where Miss Atkinson, Miss Ward, and Miss Lavender, played delightful music to most ap­preciative listeners.
So you see Commem, for us was not without its pleasures, and as so few of the present girls know “the real thing” no comparisons could be drawn by them, but it made us old ones long more than ever for the necessary circumstances that might bring about another Commem. Anyway I have had my last Commem. as a member of the Godolphin Staff as, with much regret, I am leaving this term and take this opportunity of saying “Goodbye” to all Old Girls as a Mistress, though not as an old friend.
Yours affectionately


Commem October 1915 – Christmas 1915

On Friday morning, October 1st, at Prayers Miss Douglas gave out the following notice: “I’m glad to say that we may expect about fifty soldiers from the Infirmary and Red Cross Hospital to tea to-morrow, and the whole School is invited to the entertainment afterwards.” (This then, was how we were to spend Commem. this year!) “Will the Houses prepare for the Party as follows:

School House will lay the tables in the School House dining room, clear away and wash up afterwards.

St. Margaret’s will decorate the tables.

New Forest will decorate the Hall and cut up bread and butter.

Fawcett House will arrange where the boarders sit in the gallery.

Nelson will cut up the cakes.

The Senior girls of Sarum House will be stewards in the Hall.”

All this was excellently carried through.

About 3.45 when all was ready our guests began to arrive, and were all at tea by 4 o’clock. Most of them were from the Dardanelles, and had much to tell us of their experiences. They were full of thankfulness that it fell to their lot to be sent to England.

The Entertainment began about 4.45, and who would have thought that Commem. 1915 would be a smoking concert! However, Mrs. Elizabeth Godolphin looked down as complacently as ever, and we may be sure gave her blessing on our small effort to bring cheer and relaxation to our brave soldiers.

After lively strains from the Orchestra-songs sung by Mrs. Leys, a choir of girls, and choruses sung by us all, we had The National anthem, our Commem. hymn, “Now thank we all our God,” and cheers for all our gallant fighters. On this occasion the loudest cheer was for the Army.

Just to remind us of a former Commem. the light went out, and the Orchestra finished its performance by the aid of candles held by girls, which possibly added to the amusement of the men, though it was inconsiderate of the light to choose that day!

We enjoyed our Commem., and while spending it in this unique way our thoughts continually went out to all of you Old Girls in your work, and to those of you who are sad.