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Date: October 7th 1917
To
Miss Lola
From
Arthur Turner
Letter

The King's Canadian Red Cross Convalescent Hospital Bushy Park Hampton Hill, London. Sunday Oct. 7th 1917 Dear Miss Lola, It must be about three weeks since I last wrote to you. Somehow I get fed up with writing letters once in a while. It seems such a long time since I left Canada and the prospect of returning soon seems so remote. You will notice that I have changed hospitals again. I left Epsom a fortnight ago last Monday and you may be quite sure that I was glad to do so for it is a horribly regimental place. The doctor at Epsom only saw me once so he must have decided to send me here right away. This hospital is situated right in Bushy Park which is one of the Royal Parks and very beautiful, being justly celebrated for its fine chestnut trees. The hospital grounds are quite extensive and as the old Park House is one of the hospital buildings, they naturally include some of the prettiest parts of the Park. There are two little lakes in the grounds with a fall between them. The stream feeding the upper lake is mostly out of bounds but the stream from the lower lake is not, the grounds following it for quite a long way and extending several yards on either side of it. There is a punt on the upper lake but as the bottom of the lake is very muddy poling is somewhat poor sport. The hospital buildings themselves are quite picturesque. The old Park house is used mainly for the staff and M.O's offices but one of the outlying rooms is used as a patients'-dining room. The other and larger dining room has been built on to this since. The stables, and other buildings of the old house are used as Pack Stores, Q.M. Stores, Guard Room Canteen etc. The Wards, Billiard Room, Recreation Room, Pay Office & Orderly Room are all new buildings. They are frame buildings of asbestos & wood stained black. The walls are calcinated pale green which shows up well against the black woodwork. The Recreation Room was green given by some lady in Toronto and I believe the wards & other buildings were given by the King together with the old House & Grounds. All the wards with the exception of one, which is detached and out in the grounds, form an oblong court which is covered with grass & contain one tree. The wards are called after the Royal Family and one ward "The P. Henry Ward" juts out into the court from the centre of the Princess Mary Ward. In the front there are several places such as the Ward Masters Office etc & a building for the sisters jutting back into the court. This building contains a dispensary amongst other things. A verandah runs along the outside of the wards on the sides going on the court and is continuous round the whole court. The court is surrounded by a brick wall which reaches to the edge of the verandah, the floors of wards and verandah being about six feet from the ground. This wall probably supports the verandah & it also prevents a draught up through the floor boards. The wards all open on to the verandah & into each other. The hospital is a kind of sanatorium for heart cases & nephritis cases and there are several beds on the verandah for the former. These verandahs are well protected against the weather & quite comfortable. They are covered with a good roof and provided with heavy green duch[?] curtains suspended from poles just under the eaves of the roof. These draw across from post to post and hook to the floor and to each other thus shutting in the place entirely and keeping out the rain. The verandahs are lit with electric light. The wards are provided with opal glass bowls which are suspended from the ceiling & contain electric light. They afford a very soft diffused light which is excellent for reading in bed. The wards are nearly all windows on the outside wall & on the verandah side the glass is continuous right round which helps to light the verandahs in daylight. The cots in the wards are all presents from the Red Cross Societies & people in Canada and have the name of the donor over the head. Mine was given by the Red Cross Society Aroostook, N.B. I am enclosing one or two pictures of the hospital including one of the P of W Ward. I could not get a photo of the Prince Henry Ward but all the wards differ only in length. The hospital holds just over 300 patients and is supposed to be one of the finest Canadian Hospitals in the Kingdom. It certainly is a great place from the visitors points of view but for real comfort cannot be compared with the Imperial Hospitals I was in especially Runcorn. Bushy Park is a dear park similar to the one at Epsom. A big buck got into the hospital grounds during the night, ran up one of the sloping board approaches and on to the verandah. It must have fallen off from there as it was in the court this morning. The boys tried to coax it up the steps on to the verandah again as that is the only way out but there was nothin doin! At last Mr Buck took a flying leap at the verandah, ducking his head with its magnificent pair of antlers at the same time & thus avoiding the rail which is quite low. He landed quite lightly dragged his hind legs up after him & dashed along the verandah & down the approach like a streak of lightning and was seen no more. We are quite near to London - about three quarters of an hour's car ride & although that town is out of bounds the boys often chance it. I have not been there yet. The towns of Richmond Hammersmith, Twickenham, Kingston, Teddington are all in bounds until 8pm at night. Hampton Court, which is quite near, being about five minutes car ride from the hospital gate is always in bounds. Hampton Court Palace, which is a beautiful place built by Cardinal Wolsey & Henry VIII & extended by William of Orange, is open to us free whenever open to the public. I do wish you could see the tapestries in the Great Hall & the other beautiful things there but I suspect you have heard all about them from your Father. The Rives is very pretty at Hampton Court and I have been out in a canoe there several times. Was out for about two hours yesterday afternoon. You can hire any kind of boat up there but punts seem to be the favourites. On Friday afternoon about fifty of us went to a party at Mrs Whitehead's house, Richmond. Mr Whitehead is an aeroplane manufacturer. Their house is right on the River & the grounds are lovely. They provided us with row boats & we had a jolly afternoon on the river, those who wished to go out. The others played cards on the terrace. After tea I had a very short game of tennis but the game ended very abruptly by the river flooding the lawn which it does twice daily at this season of the year, the tides being very high. Sometimes the water comes right over the bank & floods the rooms of the house. We could not be situated in a prettier or more interesting place. Between here and Hampton Court is David Garricks House. Down towards Twickenham Green, King Manuel of Portugal is staying & all around are places of interest. I have persuaded Father & my Stepmother to let me treat them to a week's holiday at Hampton Court and am expecting them down this week, probably the day after tomorrow. It will be very nice to have tea with them every day eh? Unfortunately the Summer seems to be about over. It is very cold & wet here today. I feel much better since I came here but my back is not much use for paddling yet. I get tired very quickly. Have not seen the doctor since two days after my arrival here. He told me that he thought I should make a complete recovery. Mrs Col Gunn, the wife of the former O.C. of the 24th Bn wrote me three times the week before last. In the last letter she asked me if I had ever thought of a Commission & told me to write the Col giving him a short biography of myself. I replied that I hardly expected to go back to France but that if I was marked in the class for France should like to try for a Commission otherwise I wished to get in the drawing office of the Flying Corps if possible. She wrote me yesterday & said the Col wished to let her know which Service I desired "The Canadian" or "British" as soon as I was classified by the medical here as he thought that it could easily be arranged. I seem to be quite well in. Col Gunn has a staff job at Bramshott not and Col Magee of the old 148th has a Reserve Battalion under him. I still hear from some of the boys and nurses up at Runcorn. Millar is still there but expects to get his sick leave soon & poor Tom Hargreaves is expecting his discharge as the M.O. thinks that he is incurable. Are you going to the Lake for Thanksgiving this year? Also did you take any interesting snaps this Summer? Please give my kindest regards to all the family and accept the same yourself. Yours very sincerely Arthur Turner

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