31st January 1916

At Queensferry. The number of bed cases today has increased by one, so now stands at eleven. The “prices” are undergoing a steady rise it seems to me. We had plenty of work to keep us going this morning in the Sick Bay, yet it was necessary (for red-tape reasons) for two of us to go to General Quarters. I thought it rather thick, and didn’t attempt to let the Fleet Surgeon see that I was any other than disgusted. I’m sure the Captain would have excused us if he had been told how busy we were, but no it was thought best to forsake the treatment of the patients for the drill which we have been doing weekly since the war began, and on more than one occasion we have been ready for real action. The result was two of us had to go and give “First Aid” lectures to the “First Aid” and “Stretcher Parties” instead of doing what was heaps more necessary in the Sick Bay.

This kind of thing makes on take their troubles heavier than would be the case. Men can’t help getting ill and we are willing to do our best under any circumstances, but when such unnecessary work is piled on as well, one can hardly feel otherwise than “fed up”. I can assure you we had not failed to give vent to our feelings in consequence, and I think the people concerned would have felt rather nasty towards us if they had heard what we had to say.

This afternoon whilst writing to you I was disturbed by a messenger from the Fleet Surgeon. As I anticipated, before seeing him, it was to inform an officer had been put sick. He has got the “flu”, so I suppose this darned nuisance is finding its way around, just as it did last year. I believe this present “rush” is due to the picture shows being held in the cold and wet on the upper deck. Anyhow it has only come about since these “shows” have been held up there and it certainly is rather cold, and the officers have been careful to put their great coats on when they have had their show.

Thank goodness I managed to get your letter written and dispatched this afternoon, and I hope you will get it tomorrow all right. Sorry I have kept you waiting.

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