Miss Nightingale was to take over the General Hospital, as Mother Bridgeman and her nurses had left. She found conditions appealing. It took two days to clean the building and three days to clean the patients. Miss Nightingale spent many hours travelling between the hospitals. At the Land Transport Hospital, she found men suffering from exposure, their rations were inadequate and badly cooked. Miss Nightingale was very distressed, the Army was in the same condition as it was eighteen months ago. The people she felt were most responsible were: Mr Fitzgerald, Purvey-in Chief, who got promoted, and Dr Hall who was awarded the KCB
Peace was declared on April 29th 1856. In May 1856 in the House of Lords, Lord Ellesmere moved the address on the conclusion of the peace, referring to Miss Nightingale: ‘My Lords the agony of that time has become a matter of history. The vegetation of two successive springs has obscured the vestiges of Balaclava and of Inkerman. Strong voices now answer to the roll-call and sturdy forms now cluster round the colours. The Angel of Mercy still lingers to the last on the scene of her labours: but her mission is all but accomplished. Those long arcades of Scutari in which dying men sat up to catch the sound of her footsteps or the flutter of her dress, and fell back on the pillow content to have seen her shadow as it passed, are now comparatively deserted. She may probably be thinking on how to escape, as best she may, on her return the nations appreciated of her deeds and motives of Miss Nightingale’.
Miss Nightingale returned to Scutari, by the end of June there were very few soldiers left,they along with the nurses were returning home. On July 16th 1856, the last patient left the Barrack Hospital.
On the heights of Balaclava Miss Nightingale had a marble cross raised to remember the men who had died. On it were inscribed in Italian the words ‘Lord, have mercy upon us.’ Twenty-one thousand British soldiers had died.
MISS NIGHTINGALE RETURNS TO ENGLAND
On July 28th, Miss Nightingale and Aunt Mai left for home, travelling as Mrs and Miss Smith. With her was a Queen’s Messenger, a one-legged sailor boy, a Russian orphan, a large Crimea puppy and a cat which died on the journey. She spent the night with M.Mohl, and continued on alone to England. The following day she went to the Convent of the Bermonsey nuns, where she spent all morning in prayer and meditation. In the afternoon she took a train North and in the evening walked up from Whatstandwell station to Lea Hurst.
There was so much work for her to do, her reforms were just beginning. Could she one woman achieve her goal. The memories of the squalor, and filth, pain and suffering would be with her for the rest of her life, is this not the strength she needed to carry on.
‘SHE GAVE THE SOLDIERS RESPECT, AND THEY RESPECTED HER’
(THEY ASKED NO MORE)