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No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station

[Nos. 1 and 2 A.C.C.S.] arrived in France with the A.I.F. and were at once established behind the force in the British Second Army—almost literally “in the front line.” In this solidly efficient Army, under Surgeon-General (later Sir) Robert Porter they worked till the end of the war— always in close conjunction, at times in double harness.

Butler, A. G. The official history of the Australian Army Medical Services in the War of 1914-1918 – Vol II, p382

No.2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station opened on 29.7.16 at Trois Arbres, near Bailleul, 2nd Army.

During the Spring [1917] the work was normal, but in May and June 1917, it became heavier, and additional staff was sent up from No.2 Australian General Hospital, increasing the Nursing Staff to 14. In July, the Sister-in-Charge wrote that they had 3 operating tables in use throughout the day, and usually two at night. During July and August almost 2000 operations were performed in this unit alone. It was in July that the C.C.S. was bombed, and the 4 Sisters were awarded the Military Medal … At this period also the C.C.S. received many patients from the mustard gas attacks. The Sister-in-Charge wrote “Mustard oil shells are being used by the enemy, in consequence of which we receive many patients with burns therefrom, the eyes specially being much inflamed. At times, large blisters form on the body”.

In September the C.C.S. was under shell fire several times and once a large piece of shell pierced the roof of the theatre, and bent the operating table, but fortunately no one was operating at the time. Night bombing raids were also quite frequent. A bomb-proof shelter was built for the Sisters who slept there on moonlight nights. The heavy work continued up to the end of the year, and a great deal of night work was done, it being quite a usual thing for 2 or 3 surgical teams to work through the night.

On 11.3.18 hostile shelling was closer than usual, and orders were given for the unit to pack up preparatory to a move. All the patients were evacuated and the Nursing Staff left in motor ambulances for 10 Stationary Hospital. On 5.4.18 the C.C.S. returned to a new site, Ana Jana, near Hazebrouck, and on the 9th, work commenced with a great rush. On the 12th, after only 3 ½ days work at this new Hospital, during which over 1000 cases had been received, orders were given to pack up again, and to be ready to move off by nightfall. The report of the Sister-in-Charge says: “All worked up to the last minute and patients were quickly evacuated. We Sisters, left on this occasion in an old London double-decker bus, Sisters on top, and all out luggage stowed inside. This journey, again to No.10 Stationary Hospital was anything but a pleasant one. The roads were extremely bad, traffic very heavy and the sight of hundreds of refugees streaming along, carrying their all, was heart-rending.” On the same night there was a terrible air-raid over St. Omer, many civilians killed, and buildings wrecked.

On 17.4.18 No.2 Australian C.C.S. re-opened at Blendeques and work commenced on the 26th, though with not quite such a tremendous rush as there had been at Ana Jana. Anzac Day (April 26th) was celebrated by a Church Service in the morning and sports in the afternoon.

E. M. McCarthy – Matron-in-Chief, British Troops in France and Flanders, 22.7.19

Trois Arbres

At this location – a muddy field (36NW B.13.a.9.4) – the unit built an impressive hospital.

As we are now in our ninth month up at the front, probably a description of the work and conditions of this Hospital may be of interest. As to our location all I can say is, we are in Flanders, and about 7000 yards from the front line trenches, sharing with No. — Australian Casualty Clearing Station the distinction of being the nearest to the line…

Lieut.t-Col. H. S. Stacy, The Medical Journal of Australia, May 26, 1917 (pp 437)

Stacy’s article was written in Feb/March 1917. The front line “7000 yards” distant is Plogsteert (Plug Street). 2 A.C.C.S. were at Trois Arbres from 17 June 1916 until 15 March 1918.

See Trois Arbres page

Movements during the German Offensive, March—June 1918

“It was serious business and was accomplished … with great celerity” (Butler, p641).

Noote Boom, near Outtersteene 36A.NE.F.16.b.1.8
16—26/27 March 1918
War diary says good spot found a mile behind No. 2 British CCS within a “coo-ee” of No. 1 A.C.C.S.

Google Maps link · Photos taken in the area, 2011

Ana Jana Siding at Hondeghem near Hazebrouck 27.V.10.c.8.8
26-29 March 1918—12 April 1918

Google Maps link

Blendecques Sh.36d.N.E.F.5.b.9.6
17 April 1918—approx. 2 September 1918
Located beside No. 1 A.C.C.S. (see 1 A.C.C.S. page for more information)

Google Maps link

July 1918, 2 A.C.C.S. tent lines at Blendecques AWM H01993

Advancing with the Fifth Army

2 A.C.C.S. colour patch. Worn as a distinguishing unit indication at the head of each sleeve from 1918. AWM RELAWM07941.068

Hondeghem 27.V.4.c.6.4
2—18 September 1918

St.Venant (Asylum)
5—12 October 1918 (approx.)
With 1 A.C.C.S., “large group of buildings, run down”

Nouveau-Monde 36.G.32.b.7.2.
13 October—13/14 November (approx).
Between Estaires and Laventie, in a cultivated field

Tournai (Asylum)
14 November 1918—13/14 December 1918

Ath civil hospital
13/14 December 1918—27 February 1919

Nurses at 2 A.C.C.S.

No.2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station opened at Trois Arbres near Bailleul, in the 2nd Army on 29.7.16, and was staffed with selected Sisters from No.2 Australian General Hospital with Sister A. B. Pocock A.A.N.S. in charge. Great care was always taken that suitable sisters should be selected for duty in Front Areas, and lists of suitable people were obtained at intervals from Miss Conyers R.R.C. Matron-in-Chief A.I.F. at Headquarters, London.

The following were Sisters-in-Charge of No.2 Australian C.C.S. until its closing on 2.3.19.

Sister A. B. Pocock 29.7.16 to 11.4.17.
Head Sister E. S. Davidson 11.4.17 to 12.7.17.
Head Sister L. Stobo 12.7.17 to 9.2.18.
Head Sister C. M. Keyes 9.2.18 to 28.2.19.

E. M. McCarthy – Matron-in-Chief, British Troops in France and Flanders, 31.7.19

Sisters-in-charge:

  • Sister Pocock
  • Sister Stobo
  • Sister Davidson

Other Sisters:

  • Sister Earle
  • Sister Gibson
  • Sister Carpenter
  • Sister Joliffe
  • Sister Sorley (Now Mrs. Garden)
  • Sister Porter
  • Sister Durham
  • Sister Dickson
  • Sister Cawood, M.M.
  • Sister Peters (Now Mrs. N. Wilkinson)
  • Sister Haynes (Now. Mrs. Dooley)
  • Sister Derrer (Now. Mrs.   )
  • Sister Shearer
  • Sister Riordan
  • Sister Grant [Elsie Grant]
  • Sister Tyson [‘Topsy’]

Lieut.t-Col. H. S. Stacy, Unofficial history of the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station

Also detached to No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station:

Photos

30 November 1917. Near Steenvoorde, France. 30 November 1917. A ward in the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station near Steenvoorde. Most of the patients treated were wounded int he fighting of the Third Battle of Ypres. AWM E04623 [NOTE: Caption says Steenvoorde, but 2 A.C.C.S. was near Steenwercke at this time.]

Trois Arbres page

Overview of the work of No. 2 A.C.C.S. by Lt. Col. H.S. Stacy

No. 2 AUSTRALIAN CASUALTY CLEARING STATION IN FRANCE (PDF 8MB)
By Lieutenant-Colonel H. S. Stacy, Australian Army Medical Corps, Commanding Officer in The Medical Journal of Australia, May 26, 1917 (pp 437-440) and June 2, 1917 (pp 457-465)

Unofficial history of the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station (PDF 19MB)
By the O.C. – Lt. Col. H. S. Stacy, 1939

The X-ray department had the honour of being the first of its kind with any C.C.S. in France; it was soon recognised of being of such importance that it was copied by the British, French and Americans. Tram tracks through the camp took wounded to the hospital train that pulled into a siding beside it. The camp had 150 lighting points.

A.G. Butler, in his Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services (Vol II, p383), says Stacy’s history, outlining the work of 2 A.C.C.S., is “excellent.”

Resources

Published Saturday May 21, 2011 · Last modified Monday February 20, 2012
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence

We're pleased that people are using this website as a source for locations, quotes and other primary source material. It's why we published our notes on the web. But we'd very much appreciate a footnote or credit. Much of the hospital (and other) location information for Lemnos and the Western Front is original research -- thank you, from Bernard & Cheryl