Since Kittie recalled receiving a telegram ‘one Sunday morning’ saying ‘Home wounded, shot through ankle’, it probably was on 1 November 1914 that George arrived at Sussex Lodge Hospital, 27 Sussex Place, Regent’s Park, which is now the home of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology. This was extremely efficient: on average it took five days to get a wounded man from the Front to a hospital in ‘Blighty’, and for Jim Corbet at the Marne in September it had taken eleven.
Having received the telegram with address and visiting hours, Kittie set off from Hampstead to bring the news to George’s mother, Clara, at 11 Hill Road in St John’s Wood. There she found George’s younger brother Fred, who had signed up in Canada on 23 September and was passing through London on his way to the Front. She took Fred with her to visit George:
I found him very alert — in spite of all he had been through. [Fred] also saw him there that day. This was an immense pleasure, he was devoted to Fred and they had not met for years. But it all rather over-excited him and he was allowed to see no-one but me for a few days after.
The wound may not have been healing very fast. But he was clearly experiencing considerable emotional turmoil as well.
Yesterday at Ypres the British lines were pierced and the situation became critical. It was saved by a famous charge by the 2nd Worcesters at Gheluvelt, by small groups fighting to the last man, and by the superb manoeuvrability of the French. Today, however, the Germans captured strategic ridges at Messines and Wytschaete.
Next entry: Nurse Katharine