A postcard from Corder Catchpool

It will be generally known that our President, T. Edmund Harvey (1887-1891), after preliminary visits of investigation to Holland, Paris, and Bordeaux on behalf of the Friends’ War Victims Relief Committee, is now leading our first party of workers in France. Three others of this first party are O.Y.S., in Hugh B. Clark (1899-1901), F. Herbert Wetherall (1893- 1894), and Arthur B. Webster (1907-1909), all of whom are acting as chauffeurs. There are so many O.Y.S. working with Philip J. Baker (1903-1906) in the First Anglo-Belgian Ambulance Unit in the neighbourhood of Dunkirk that these will probably be referred to elsewhere, so I will be content to quote, by permission of Stephen Hobhouse, a postcard addressed to him on November  11th by T. Corder P. Catchpool (1900-1902) and franked by M. Stansfield (1903-1905) as “Acting Adjutant ” :— ”We are spending long- hours day and night dressing ghastly wounds in the shambles, two huge dark, dirty sheds at the station, where some 300 wounded arrive and leave by boat every twenty-four hours. The sights, sounds and smells could hardly be imagined. Some 20 of our party are out at the firing line, and have already experienced nights under continuous shell fire. We relieve the party weekly, so my turn will come very soon. Our surgeons are busy at an improvised theatre here—we bring out the worst cases from the station, and have some 50 beds at disposal. Many die each night. Some go mad.” Our thoughts go with both parties in the prayer that their work may serve to spread the spirit of love and reconciliation, upon which alone our shattered civilisation can be rebuilt.

From ‘Bootham’ magazine, December 1914

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