The Ambulance Column’s Headquarters and Depot at 7, 9 and 11 Gower Street, Bloomsbury
The following photographs are from the Welcome Library, London and are reproduced here by their kind permission. The original photographs are in the Wellcome Library, the digital images are available on the Wellcome Images website.
The captions under each photograph on this page are the same as those the reverse of the original photographs. All of the photographs were taken on 17th September 1918.
In Nurse Claire Tisdall’s memoirs, deposited in the Imperial War Museum, she recalls that early in the war, the linen was provided by Derry & Toms, the large department store in Kensington.
Mr RBW Crothers was one of two deputy Directors of the London Ambulance Column. He was responsible for the Vehicular Section.
Mr “Strakes” is Mr D Straker who is shown as a Quartermaster on the December 1917 Command Structure.
Note the two panoramic photographs on the wall. These show fleets of ambulances.
Possibly Miss M Byron1, F W Davis, Miss Hall & Mrs Glover1
Some of the headings on the two information boards above the fireplace can just be read. They give an insight into general operation of the Column when meeting a train.
The left-hand board reads DOVER, Arrival Station Charing Cross, Approximate time of leaving…pm, Official time leaving, Official time due…. Officers, Men, Sisters, prisoners. (It then seems to be numbers split between cot cases and walking wounded)
Officer in Charge, Assistant for Cars, Sister in Charge, Assistant for Sisters, Trained Nurse, Blanket Bus, Luggage Van, Station Buffet, Bearer Detachment.
The right-hand board is headed SOUTHAMPTON and Waterloo and appears to have the much the same headings.
The last line reads, – Bearer Detachment – Prudential. (This shows that the stretcher bearers for that evening was a Unit that consisted of employees of the Prudential Insurance Company)
The photo is obviously posed for the occasion because the lady sitting at the telephone switchboard would not have been wearing a nurse’s cap. She would have been wearing a cumbersome headset with earphones attached to a band on her head and a microphone at her chest. This would leave her two hands free to operate the switchboard. Often the board was operated by a trained telephonist from the nearby GPO London Telephone Service, Museum Exchange, working during the evening and night as volunteers in their own time.
- See page for awards and decorations recorded in the London Gazette.