CollectionGB 0231 University of Aberdeen, Special Collections
Ref NoMS 3290/2/199c
TitleLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws to her relatives
Date5 August 1917
Extent8 sheets + carbon copy
DescriptionLetter from Amelia Nyasa Laws, Chambéry, to her relatives, regarding heavy rain locally; reports of terrible rain in Flanders; 'it is such marshy ground that of 150 shells only 30 may burst: the rest sink in mud to the depth of 3 feet and have not sufficient power to lift the mass of soaking earth through which they have passed'; the French have seven days in the front line and seven days of billets, but the front line is waist deep in mud so the other week is spent in recovering from exhaustion; lung troubles are common and tuberculosis is spreading; the older men speak more freely of their home troubles in the afternoon when the young men are out; bachelors of 25 to 45 are rare and the younger men assume they will marry and think of themselves as 'perfectly desirable'; they do not think of future responsibilities; many of the men now have their eldest sons at the front, too; 'there is a serious lack of moral power and fatherhood amounts to physical ability to dominate a household; one of her patients complains that he does not have enough leave to control his household and his wife does nothing to try to do so; Amelia asks if his absence means that his wife has much more to do, and he admits that this is the case, and that women have a harder time during wartime; those who are widowed quickly have time to adapt, while those whose husbands have managed to survive have more worries at present, and in the future they will have to deal with men 'embittered and coarsened'; there is always tension in trench life, even amidst laughter; at the Bristol, ill and convalescent mixed which held back the worst excesses of the bored well, but here they are separated and the convalescent get up to mischief; description of the morning ward cleaning; Mme. Félicie, the cleaner, and her way of dealing with obstreperous patients; Raby has had colic; she saw to his sciatic and lumbar regions, but he also has hot plaques on his former erysipelas leg; Raby has told the doctor that she thinks the sciatic nerve caused the colic, but this is nonsense: it was from eating unripe gooseberries; he is really appreciative of her work, but this might not create a good impression with the doctors, particularly when he reports things wrongly; Piquet 'helping' to arrange dressings, some of which have been sent from Boston; some of the patients evade massage so that they do not recuperate too quickly, and Phillippe has been particularly bad about this; she ends up having to massage him in public, which embarrasses him; he should know better as he is better-educated and a sergeant; massage is a duty for both of them; she hardly sees the doctors, which is not helpful; she is amused at the different characters of her patients. [Letter breaks off unsigned].
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