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Pte Frank Holmes Armitage, son of Mr A Armitage of 10 Knoll, View, Baildon Green, has sent home the following interesting letter: August 7th, 1915. At Sea. Dear Parents – Since I wrote to you from Malta there have been many surprises in store for me. You will see by the above address that I am now on a hospital ship which conveys sick and wounded soldiers from the nearest place of safety behind the firing line to the base. If I dare, I would tell you the names of those places but I am afraid they would be censored before this reached you. I have such a lot to tell you and if only time would permit I could sit down and write a book about all I have seen since I left dear old England. Excitement However, you will have to try and be satisfied with a few brief notes. On 21st July we started from Aldershot at 9 o’clock and arrived at Southampton at about two o’clock in the afternoon and after a little excitement we were marched
alongside the hospital ship Delta, a photo of which I sent you from Malta. We managed to get everything safely aboard by 3.35 and the boat parted her moorings at 4 o’clock though had it not been for the cheering which I heard, I should not have known for I was asleep in my bunk down in the hold of the ship at the time we started. We had a very rough passage through the Bay of Biscay and most of us were seasick the first day but after you get over it, it is a very pleasant time that you have.
It took the boat seven days to reach Malta and after staying there 24 hours, we made our way through the Ionian Sea to an island about 40 miles this side of the Dardanelles. If I could only tell you all what is going on here it would open your eyes a bit. You see it is rather awkward when you don’t know what to put in your letters to clear yourself of Mr Censor. Well, I can say I have seen something here which it has been my desire to see for some time: I will leave it for you to guess. We reached the little island I have
referred to on Bank Holiday Sunday and left yesterday with about 600 sick and wounded soldiers. Most of them are Australians who have been fighting in the Dardanelles. What a pitiful sight to behold! How happy I am now that I am doing my duty after seeing such a sight. Rough time There are 25 RAMC men on this boat and we have experienced a rough time. I have had to take on night duty in No 3 Ward and am now a nursing orderly instead of a clerk. The sergeant in charge of us does all the clerical work. One thing is just as good as another so long as you are doing your bit. There are about fourteen Sisters or nurses on board and they tell us what we have to do if we are puzzled with anything. I am looking after about 40 men, some of whom, in addition to being wounded, are suffering from enteric and dysentery so you can guess I am a trifle busy. I am I excellent health. Yours etc, Frank. Shipley Times & Express 10-9-1915
More of Frank’s story More of Frank’s story More of Frank’s story
From clerk to nursing orderly
H M Hospital Ship Delta