Margaret Box letter from Southern Italy – September 1918

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On the 30th September 1918 my Great Aunt Margaret Box wrote to her Mother from 79 General Hospital, Italy, which was in Taranto, an important Italian naval base. This follows on from her letter from Rome, and is part of the story of her adventures nursing in Solonica and Serbia.

c/o 79 General Hospital




My dear Mother,

I hope you received the post cards safely, we all had a lovely week and saw a lot of wonderful things. We went to several Operas & enjoyed them immensely – the music and singing were very good indeed. We are getting on splendidly – I wish you could have seen us last night in little beds all in a row covered up in mosquito nets ! I slept like a top all night.

I was so pleased to find a letter waiting here for me from Gadlein the Guy’s Nurse who is at York Rd now – she was here nursing for a time before she went to York Rd. to knew the address all right.

It was raining a lot yesterday & our shoes are caked in mud – just the Hailsham sort ! they say the only way to remove it is to wash the shoes. Today the weather is perfect – not a cloud to be seen. We ope to get a few of our own things washed this morning – dirty handkerchiefs collect so quickly. My cold has quite disappeared – ‘weeks’ ago & we are all quite fit & well.

I have only read about 2 pages of my book! there is so much to see & always someone to talk to !

Yesterday we had a find picnic lunch, 2 of us and 2 Majors – we had cold chicken – which was procured at a little station by the way – & which we are in a very primitive way – not having any knives or forks – but as we were all gnawing bones nobody could say anything about his neighbour. Anyway we all enjoyed it. This evening I may get a chance to read a little – we have a very comfy little lounge here & we expect to have a quiet evening. I have got a very nice little picture of the Tiber & Castle Sant’ Angelo with the dome of St Peter’s in the distance. I do hope it won’t get spoilt but there is not much room in my kit bag.

I wonder how everyone is getting on & if you are all settled let. Has Rose been in to see ?Corin ? How is the garden looking ? I am trying to remember what green grass looks like ! There are some lovely convolvulas growing up these huts very large & such a beautiful blue colour. Did I tell you how we went to the Zoo on Friday last ? the animals are not kept very well now as there are not enough men, we saw some fine polar bears, lions, tigers & some kangaroos that did gymnastics for our special benefit. There was a huge mimosa tree growing there – it was pretty – I picked 1 little bits off it.

Please will you give my love to Ethel when you see her – I expect you told her how pleased I was with the handkerchiefs & am so sorry not to have thanked her myself for them. I hope Father is keeping free from rheumatism – I suppose that depends on the weather – it is difficult to imagine cold winds & rain at the present moment.

Very much love to all the family, hoping you are all very fit.

Your loving daughter

Margaret Box

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