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Gladys Crane
and her work in Bevan and Rouen Hospitals during The Great War

Robert Thompson

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Gladys Crane, Bevan Military Hospital, Sandgate, Kent 1916

     A wonderful little book full of poems, drawings and messages from sick and wounded soldiers in Bevan and Rouen during WW1   -   Gladys Crane, nurse, gathered these memories in a little autograph book.    Here is a small sampling from Gladys' book

     Gladys Crane was a young English girl who became a nurse and then a Sister in Bevan Military Hospital al Sandgate, Kent.  She worked there throughout 1916 and early in 1917 she was transferred to No5 General Base Hospital, Rouen, France where she worked in Ward 13.  She had constant contact with wounded soldiers of the Great War and asked many of them to write something in a small autograph book which she kept.

     Her Father, Andrew Crane, was a Dentist and born in Leicester whilst her Mother, Amy Constance, was born in London.  There were two of a family, Gladys Constance and her younger sister Muriel Amy but by the census of 1911 their Father had passed away.  They lived at the Bungalow, St Leonard, Hythe.  The births of both children were registered at Elham in the Parish of St Leonard, Hythe.

     The Mother and the youngest daughter, Muriel Amy, joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and were working with wounded soldiers at Hythe soon after the start of the Great War.  Gladys then joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and was sent to the Bevan Military Hospital at Sandgate, Kent, the largest hospital of it's kind in Kent.

     On 20th March 1917 she was transferred to Rouen and remained there for the next two years.  In June of 1917 she was off sick but soon recovered and came back to work.  Some years ago Gladys passed away and today that little notebook is in my possession.  It is a wonderful record of the friendships that had been made in both hospitals.  Some of the writing has now faded and some names are difficult to read but most are legible.

     Many of those young men in the loving care of the Sisters of Bevan would return home with horrible injuries to be discharged as unfit for further duties and left to spend the rest of their lives as best they could.  Others would return to the front lines to resume the fight against the German oppressors and at least three to be killed in action.

     Not one of these young men ever complains of the pain they had to bear or the suffering they had to contend with so many miles away from home and from their loved ones.  All of them are grateful for the skills and - kindness of the Sisters of Bevan and the gratitude shows through in the many lovely verses and drawings done for Gladys in her little book.  It is something she must have been very proud of.  I wonder how many if them became lifelong friends.

                                            ............................       Robert Thompson

Pte. Ross Muir, 6th Inniskilling Dragoons  23rd June 1917 at Rouen

Smile awhile

And because you smile, another smiles,
And soon there's lots and lots of smiles
Because you smile

Pte. Billy Smith - 1st Cameronians 4th Nov 1916

Backwards, turn backwards old father time pray,
Make me a boy again just for today,
So that I might eat a green apple or plum,
Without having a pain in my tummy-tum-tum
30800 Pte. James Bottomley 15th Cheshires

4th Nov 1916  'Can't you look pleasant'
172315 Pte. W. H. Nash - Anzac Supply Column
4th Nov 1916

All humor to those that know you
all humor to Nurses and Sisters too
for they are the finest in the land
all humor to our Sisters helping hand
< Cpl. John Stanley Upstone - Died 10.09.1917
1/4 Oxford & Bucks B.E.F.

I am a Oxford and to the war went
Wounded and sick, to hospital was sent
Nursed back to health by a Sister from Kent
Many thanks to the Sisters for their kindness while a patient at No. 5 General Hospital Rouen

Pte. P. Sarsons  1/6th Royal Sussex Regiment
22nd January 1917

Thanking you very much for the kindness shewn here
< 4018 Pte. Ernest Marshall Baskerville (29)
14th Machine Gun Corps  9th Aug. 1916
Australian soldier injured at Pozieres
D.O.W. 14th October 1917


'as being something out of the ordinary, I have expressed below (left) in the Fijian language my hearty thanks to the Sisters for their kindness to me while at the Bevan Military Hospital'

335 Pte. George Clifford  8th Australian Machine Gun Corps  

Black as a crow, Black as a rook
But a black eye to the beggar
That steals this book
< J. Rennie RCM? 2nd Australian Field Artillery Brigade
27th March 1917

Dear Sister Crane, Goodbye
you're gentle and you're kind
But that's not why Dear Sister Crane
I say Goodbye

It is because I'm leaving France
against my will, perhaps, a bit
an accident gives me the chance
So I'll avail myself of it.

Leave no little things behind
Like Rudyard's soldiers in S.A.
A higher moral plane is reached
By soldiers of the present day

So I will now, Dear Sister Crane
Shake hands, and say Goodbye again