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About the Author

William Webb spent ten years as a radar technician in the RAF before becoming an
ICAO listed expert in communications and navigation Aids.
He spent more than forty years travelling the orld before using his experience to
rite his first three boo!s.
His latest boo!" The Best Medicine" as inspired by the gift of an autograph boo! of
a WW# voluntary nurse.
$revious boo!s%
&on fiction'
Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt
My Art Is Where the Ohm Is
Fiction'
Per Ardua Ad Ulcers
(edications
)o my late dear friend Colin Hornsby ithout hose generosity this
boo! ould never have been published.
Also" to the many servicemen and nursing staff of World War
One hose names have been long forgotten but hose sacrifices ill
ever be remembered.
Wi l l i am Webb
T H E BE S T ME D I C I N E
Copyright William Webb
)he right of William Webb to be identified as author of this or! has
been asserted by him in accordance ith section ** and *+ of the
Copyright" (esigns and $atents Act #,++.
All rights reserved. &o part of this publication may be reproduced"
stored in a retrieval system" or transmitted in any form or by any
means" electronic" mechanical" photocopying" recording" or otherise"
ithout the prior permission of the publishers.
Any person ho commits any unauthori-ed act in relation to this
publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for
damages.
A CI$ catalogue record for this title is available from the .ritish
/ibrary.
I0.& ,*+ # *+122 312 ,
.austinmacauley.com
First $ublished 435#16
Austin 7acauley $ublishers /td.
32 Canada 08uare
Canary Wharf
/ondon
9#1 2/.
$rinted and bound in :reat .ritain
Frontispiece
$rivate Fr. Clar! 3,#;#1
3<1 (evonshire Regiment
With .est Wishes to &urse :oodban
=AH .arnstaple Oct 3>
rd
#,#*
$rivate Clar!" (evon Regt" and )rooper =enables" Innis!illen (ragoons
Foreword
Frances ?osephine Hamlyn :oodban served as a volunteer 4=A(6 nurse ith the
.ritish Red Cross from October #,#1 until the >#
st
?anuary #,#,. 0he or!ed a
total of ##"3*; hours" largely in &orth (evon" for no pay at all. Hoever" she did
receive @#2 in expenses for her nine months spent at the .ritish Red Cross
Hospital &etley" near 0outhampton" hich probably did not even cover her
travelling costs.
.y coincidence" Agatha Christie also Aoined the Red Cross as a volunteer
nurse in (evon in October #,#1. Hoever" she later 8ualified as a dispenser of
medicine here she no doubt ac8uired her !noledge of poison hich featured
in many of her mystery novels. In contrast to &urse :oodban" Agatha Christie
only or!ed a total of >"155 hours.
For the duration of the ar &urse :oodban or!ed at various =A( and
.ritish Red Cross hospitals. 0pecifically" these ere IlfracombeBs Westell
Hospital 4October #1
th
#,#1 until 7arch #2th #,#2" and October #,#+ until
?anuary >#
st
#,#,6 and .arnstaple =A( Hospitals 4#,#2<#,#; and #,#*<#,#+6.
0he also or!ed at the Red Cross Hospital at &etley in Hampshire in #,#;<#,#*
and 7arch #,#+ until ?uly #,#+. Her tours of duty at &etley ere no doubt
precipitated by increased action" and therefore an increase in casualties" by the
allied forces in 9urope and Asia. (uring her years of service she tended
hundreds of ounded servicemen from the .ritish and Commonealth forces
that had been evacuated from the conflict.
Frances :oodban as born in the /eisham district of /ondon in #+*+ to
ellCtoCdo parents. Her father" ?oseph" as a deputy principle in the .an! of
9ngland and as born in $imlico" /ondon. Her mother" Anne Frances" as born
in Ashford" &orth (evon. It as her second marriage" her first husband having
died. .y #,## the family had moved to &orth (evon folloing ?osephBs
retirement.
Frances as >* years of age and still unmarried hen she decided to Aoin the
=oluntary Aid (etachment and become a volunteer nurse. )he =A( as a
scheme brought about by the War Office on the #;
th
August #,5,. At the
conclusion of the .oer War the :overnment as concerned that the existing
medical and nursing services ould not be enough to cope ith the number of
casualties in the event of any ne hostilities. What ith the evolution of ne
and improved guns" tan!s" aircraft" and gas arfare they had good reason to be
apprehensive.
7ale and female =oluntary Aid (etachments ere set up throughout
9ngland and Wales in #,5, ith a similar scheme commencing in 0cotland in
(ecember of the same year. .y the time of the outbrea! of ar in #,#1 there
ere 2#, male detachments and #*2* female detachments registered ith the
War Office.
)he female detachments mainly consisted of a Commandant" a 7edical
Officer" a Duartermaster" and tenty to omen. Of this tenty to" at least
to ere trained nurses. Originally" the detachments ere scheduled to meet at
least once a month but most met ee!ly ith the participants or!ing toards
gaining certificates in Home &ursing and First Aid. In some areas the volunteers
ere alloed to spend time in local civilian hospitals to gain experience in
caring for the sic!. )he detachments ere originally intended to staff auxiliary
hospitals and rest stations in the EF. Hoever" by the middle of #,#2" =A(
members ere being shipped overseas to augment the number of trained nurses
in military hospitals. Only =A( nurses aged #, G >5 ere considered for
overseas duty" hereas those from 3# G 1+ ere eligible to or! in the EF%
hich included &urse :oodban.
On the commencement of the ar Red Cross and Auxiliary Hospitals sprung
up all over the EF. $ublic buildings" church halls" hotels" and even large private
houses ere commandeered and utilised to accommodate the thousands of
casualties being shipped bac! to .ritain. )he proportion of trained nurses in
these establishments as very small so =A(s ere called upon to carry out the
bul! of the or!. In addition to mundane tas!s such as coo!ing" cleaning"
ashing" and polishing" they also dressed" undressed" and bathed the inAured
patients. As most of the young omen involved hailed from ellCtoCdo families"
this as a huge step in their emancipation. 7ost ould never before have been
alone and unchaperoned ith an unrelated member of the opposite sex.
)he folloing is an extract from a message by Fatharine Furse"
CommandantCInCChief" .ritish Red Cross 0ociety WomenBs =oluntary Aid
(etachments" to =A(s proceeding on active service%
You are ein! sent to "or# $or the %ed &ross' You ha(e to )er$orm a tas#
"hich "ill need your coura!e, your ener!y, your )atience, your humility, your
determination to o(ercome all di$$iculties' %ememer that the honour o$ the
*AD or!anisation de)ends on your indi(idual conduct' It "ill e your duty not
only to set an e+am)le o$ disci)line and )er$ect steadiness o$ character, ut also
to maintain the most courteous relations "ith those "hom you are hel)in! in
this !reat stru!!le'
Be in(arialy courteous, unsel$ish and #ind' %ememer "hate(er duty you
underta#e, you must carry it out $aith$ully, loyally, and to the est o$ your aility'
%ules and re!ulations are necessary in "hate(er $ormation you ,oin'
&om)ly "ith them "ithout !rumle or criticism and try to elie(e that there is
reason at the ac# o$ them, thou!h at the time you may not understand the
necessity'
Sacri$ices may e as#ed o$ you' Gi(e !enerously and "holeheartedly,
!rud!in! nothin!, ut rememerin! that you are !i(in! ecause your &ountry
needs your hel)' I$ you see others in etter circumstances than yoursel$, e
)atient and thin# o$ the men "ho are $i!htin! amid discom$ort and "ho are o$ten
in !reat )ain'
Those o$ you "ho are )aid can !i(e to the %ed &ross Society, "hich is your
Mother and "hich needs much more money to carry on its !reat "or#, to their
Mother Society and thus to the Sic# and Wounded'
-et our mottos e .Willin! to do anythin!/ and .The Peo)le !i(e !ladly/'
I$ "e li(e u) to these, the *AD memers "ill come out o$ this "orld "ar
trium)hant'
Do your duty loyally
0ear God
1onour the 2in!
And only the Master shall )raise us, and only the Master shall lame'
And no one shall "or# $or money, and no one shall "or# $or $ame'
But each $or the ,oy o$ "or#in!, and each in his se)arate star,
Shall dra" the thin! as he sees it $or the God o$ thin!s as they are'
A P%AY3% BY %A&13- &%OWDY'
.-ord, "ho once ore your o"n &ross shoulder hi!h to sa(e man#ind, hel)
us to ear our %ed &ross Banner hi!h, "ith clean hands una$raid'
To those "ho tend the "ounded and sic# !i(e health and coura!e that they
o$ their store may !i(e to those "ho lie a"a#e in )ain "ith stren!th and coura!e
!one'
Teach us no tas# can e too !reat, no "or# too small, $or those "ho die or
su$$er )ain $or us and their &ountry' Gi(e unto those "ho rule a !entle ,ustice
and a "isely !uidin! hand, rememerin! .Blessed are the Merci$ul/' And "hen
)eace comes, !rant neither deed nor "ord o$ ours has thro"n a shado" on the
&ross, nor stained the $la! o$ 3n!land/'
45ote6 The line 7Gi(e unto those "ho rule a !entle ,ustice and a "isely
!uidin! hand8 seems totally ina))ro)riate "hen one considers the (ast numer
o$ shell-shoc#ed soldiers "ron!ly e+ecuted $or co"ardice9'
&urse :oodban appears to have commenced collecting for her boo!" hich
contains entries from more than one hundred of her patients" hilst at the
.arnstaple =A Hospital in #,#2 and continued until she finally left the Red
Cross on ?anuary >#
st
#,#,. It is possible that the autograph boo! may originally
have been a gift to her from some of her grateful patients.
Hereith are excerpts from the boo! hich are testament to the high regard
in hich she as held by those ho benefited from her care and attention. &ot
all of her patients ere gallant arriors ounded in action% some ere
ignominiously shipped home suffering from dysentery" trench fever" or trench
foot but it is evident from the entries in her boo! that all her patients received
the same level of devotion. )he various entries on the pages display not only the
gratitude felt for &urse :oodban but also the mood of the .ritish )ommy at the
time. (espite the indescribable horrors that many had itnessed an
unmista!eable air of humour and optimism prevails throughout the boo!.
Hoever" there is evidence that not every patient as ithout heartache% there
are to poems hich ere obviously inspired by bro!en romances 40ee page
>16.
CHAPTER ONE
.AR&0)A$/9 7I//9R I&0)I)E)9<R9( CRO00 HO0$I)A/
At various times in #,#2" #,#;" #,#*" and #,#+ &urse :oodban or!ed in
.arnstaple" &orth (evon. It is unclear from the records hether or not the
7iller Institute and the Red Cross hospital ere one and the same place. )he
folloing are entries made in her noteboo! during these times.
As all the entries ere handCritten" some by severely maimed servicemen"
not every ord ritten could be understood. Where the signature could not be
accurately ascertained an educated guess has been made of the surname. 0uch
names are indicated ith an asteris! throughout the boo!. 0imilarly" here the
initial4s6 are<is also in doubt" an asteris! has been placed by the doubtful one.
Also" almost one hundred years ago" the standard of education varied
enormously from man to man. )o retain authenticity" herever possible the
ords have been produced as they ere ritten. Occasionally some minor
spelling and punctuation mista!es have been rectified.
/9A=9
&o the day is over"
/eave is draing nigh
0hados of a dust up
0teal across the s!y
&o more ee!ly coalings
&o more night defence
All the 8uids e have no
Are dindling into pence.
0taying onboard so long no
Has made us rather glum
.ut that ill soon get or!ed off
When ith a Hlong haired chumI
.ut dutyBs coming nearer
For leave is getting short"
And soon eBll have a medal
For battles someoneBs fought.
)hen a chap may as! you
WhatBs that honour forJ
HWearing slac!s in artimeI
Ought to stop his Aa.
0ilence may be golden
And searing indiscrete
0till they donBt draft angels
)o the .ritish Fleet.
)hough they donBt draft angels
)o the .ritish Fleet
From Admiral to 0notty
)heyBre all G ell" simply seet.
With !indest regards and best ishes to &urse :oodban
Corporal R 7 .urn
This man descries himsel$ as a cor)oral, "hich is not a na(al ran#, and yet
he "rites aout the British 0leet and ein! 7on oard8' Maye he "as a marine:
I as ounded in france a place call Hooge ounded in the right fore arm on
the ; of Auly #,#2 i have been out there since last 7ay #,#1 and ounded once i
as sent out of the trenches don to the dressing station I as there for one
night and then sent to )rypots from there sent to 9xeter ear i resied 4)ossily
.recei(ed/ ; author9 many than!s from the nurses and the 0ister and then sent
to the Red Cross Hospital .arnstaple ere i resied every bit of !indness from
the nurses.
$rivate : 9 0amell.
#
st
Royal Foresters
Wounded at the (ardanelles. A small ord G ith a large .earing H)han!sI
#3
th
October #,#2
$rivate =ictor 9llood
(u!e of Wellingtons
Invalided home from the (ardanelles ith (ysentery and &euralgia as
transferred from $lymouth to .arnstaple Institute here I am almost got ell
again. .est ishes to all the nurses there and good luc! to all.
$rivate H Haylett
#<2 &orfol!s
Rendered HHorsCdeCcombatI at (ardanelles 3#st August #,#2.
)rooper A F Chapman
7iddlesex Hussars
0ent home ith (ysentery from (ardanelles #*th 0eptember #,#2.
$rivate R Armstrong
#st Royal Innis!illen Fusiliers
With many than!s for the !ind treatment received at Red Cross Hospital
.arnstaple.
##th October #,#2
$te .rumbill
#<#st Herefords Regt
:reater love hath no man than this" that a man lay don his on life for his
friends.
Wounded at (ardanelles on 3+th ?une #,#2
From Kours Aye ?oc!
Rifleman )homas Ferguson 3353
40cottish Rifles6 Cameronians.
Wounded at 0ulva .ay" (ardanelles August #>th #,#2.
$te :ordon A. .rone
#<2 &orfol! Regt
The Dardanelles o$$ensi(e, etter #no"n as the Galli)oli &am)ai!n, lasted
$rom 0eruary <=<> until ?anuary <=<@ and can only truth$ully e re!arded as
an unmiti!ated disaster' Military and na(al commanders "ere totally o))osed to
the action ut )oliticians, includin! Winston &hurchill, in res)onse to a reAuest
$rom Grand Du#e 5icholas the commander o$ the %ussian armies, ordered the
o$$ensi(e to !o ahead'
The intention "as to land a comined $orce o$ British, 0rench, and
&ommon"ealth soldiers to attac# and de$eat the Tur#ish Army and then march
into &onstantino)le' In so doin! they "ould relie(e )ressure on the %ussians on
the &aucasus $ront' The action commenced "ith a na(al omardment o$ the
Tur#ish )ositions' 1o"e(er, o"in! to a totally une+)ected sho" o$ resistance,
the action resulted in the loss o$ three shi)s and three other cra$t dama!ed'
SuseAuent land attles resulted in B<C,=DE &ommon"ealth casualties e$ore
the cam)ai!n "as aandoned' The reno"ned "ar )oet %u)ert Broo#e "as a
casualty o$ the Galli)oli &am)ai!n ha(in! died o$ lood )oisonin! $rom a
mosAuito ite en route to the $ront' It seems rather an in!lorious death $or a
man "ho had "ritten so much o$ "ar and its a$termath'
)here as a man ho could not spea!
Of course this as no Ao!e
He ent into the Aoiners shop
$ic!ed up a Chisel and 0po!e.
With best ishes
$rivate A 7aybin
*th .att 9ast 0urrey
/est We Forget
?ust a fe linesLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL
From a shy young man.
Wounded 32th 0ept #,#2
Wounded #st ?uly #,#;
With best ishes to &urse :oodban
$te /. Coo! ,1+
3nd Dueens R.W.0.
With best ishes from 9x $rivate R ? :regory.
3>rd ?uly #,#*.
4It a))ears that this man is an+ious to )oint out that he already considers
himsel$ demoedF 1e also has a second entry in the oo#' See )a!e GE9
7y /ittle Wet Home in the )rench
7y little et home in the trench
)hatBs the place here e fright ith the French
)he :ermans they !no" so you have to !eep lo"
In my little et home in the trench.
)here is noCone to visit you there"
For the place is so muddy and bare"
.ut IBve got one good friend I can trust to the end
In my little dugCout in the trench.
7y rifleBs the only defence"
If that should refuse" then perhaps I might lose
7y little dugCout in the trench.
.ut still I should never say die
For my comrades ill alays stand by"
)he shots they come sift
.ut still none of us shift
From our little dugCout in the trench.