22nd August 1917

Across the courtyard was the operation theatre and here no time was lost in getting down to the business in hand.  The anaesthetic was applied and long before it was given a chance to function I was on the slab surrounded by white gowned figures in masks, the surgeon with scalpel at the ready.  I heard the sister say “he’s off” and fearful lest the bloody work should commence at once I waggled my hand furiously.

Back in bed number 27 I awoke to see the big moonface of the day sister grinning at me from the end of the bed.  I asked for my tea and was told not to be silly, teatime was finished hours ago.  I had to be satisfied with one sip of water and two kidney basins for which, to her surprise, I had no use.  I was annoyed because, so I thought, the shattered remains of my finger had not been amputated – I could move it under its wrappings.  It was not until the 28th August when the bandages were removed that I was duly convinced.

For some days I had been fidgety to get back to England but the weather was stormy and I was told that with the rough seas in the Channel the danger of peritonitis could not be risked.

Finger amputated and stomach wound cleaned.
No 1 Canadian General Hospital, Etaples.

Original diary entry
Original journal notes