“After the war – providing time allows – I shall rewrite the diary I have kept and so if possible make one book, which will be a memento and possibly a heirloom”.
This is an ongoing transcription of a diary written by my grandfather, Harry Richard Tothill, a 2nd Sick Berth Steward (later promoted to Sick Berth Chief Petty Officer) on HMS Roxburgh from July 1914 to July 1917.
I’ll add photos and scans of the journals later; if time allows I shall index the whole and make an ebook version.
I’ve censored one or two passages which give names and information that I guess families might prefer to be left undisturbed.
The Sick Berth:
“Every ship is fitted with a specially equipped “sick berth,” which is really the ship’s hospital, and all minor cases of sickness are attended to here, the more severe ones being sent to one or other of the naval hospitals, as opportunity offers. In the event of war the sick berth would be supplemented by an “operating theatre,” fitted up below the waterline, the doctors and their staff, the sick berth stewards, carrying out this work. These sick berth stewards are all properly qualified medical and surgical assistants, having to qualify at our naval hospitals before they can rise above the rank of “attendant.”