100 Years Ago: Leo Ross Writes, Canadian Hospital Christmas

The Intelligencer January 21, 1915 (page 3)

“Dear Mother:– Just received the second box you sent me, so you see it arrived in time for New Year’s. The duck didn’t last long. My tent-mates and myself made it get a “23-skidoo” hustle on it in no time. In fact when we got through with it, bones and all had disappeared as if by magic. …  I managed to hide the Jell-o on them as I wanted it all for myself. I can take a spoonful and, closing my eyes, imagine I am in Uncle Bill’s caboose in Mimico. …  Well, Mother, I guess I will have to close. Give my love to all. From your loving son, Leo Ross. Salisbury Plains, Eng. Dec. 31, 1914.”

The Intelligencer January 21, 1915 (page 7)

“Belleville has three nurses with the first contingent: Miss Ethel Ridley, as matron, and Miss Nida Denmark are with Dr. Shillington in the Canadian Hospital at Le Touquet, in France, and Miss Geen in one of the hospitals at Salisbury Plains. …  the following extracts from Miss Denmark to her mother, Mrs. Geo. Denmark, will be of interest, particularly to those connected with Red Cross Work. …

We are terribly busy in this new hospital. I am in the operating room with two other nurses. Thirty-five of us under Miss Ridley are living in a villa owned by a Russian count; …  We have named the wards after the Provinces in the Dominion, and can accommodate nearly 300 patients. …  You people at home know about twice as much war news as we do, not having time to read the papers. You may depend on it, though, when I get home to Canada, I am not going to talk about this war–it is unspeakable and awful. …

At Christmas time there were only 150 cases in the hospital, and those in charge did all they could to make it a jolly and bright day. The place was decorated with pine from the forest near, and with bunting and flags sent by societies and different people in England. Each man found in the morning a red stocking tied to the foot of his cot, which was filled with small toys, candies, nuts and some useful article at the bottom. In the afternoon a concert was held, at which many prominent London entertainers took part.”