LADY PAGET HOME AGAIN
ADVENTURES IN THE BALKANS.
LONDON, April 6. - Nurse Mabel Atkinson (Christ* church} formed one of Lady Paget's party of 54 ladies and gentlemen who arrived safe and sound in this country this week-end after remarkable adventures in the Balkans. Miss- Atkinson told me that she went to Serbia early in IQIS, with Lady Wimborne's unit, and when this was broken uo she became attached to Lady Paget's hospital staff, and continued nursing in Skopje.
When the Serbians retreated. JLadv Pajret decided to remain witli the wounded in the hospital, and the Bulgarian advance was so rapid that the party was cut off. The line of battle passed practically through the hospital, but when the Bulgarians saw the Red Cross flag they did not fire in that direction. They took possession of the town" in quite an orderly, way. They gave the nurses a great amount of liberty, and Lady Paget was allowed ■* independent use of her stores in helping tbe refugees. ' At one time the unit was regularly supplying* food to between 3000 and 4000 refugees a) day.
There were 800 patients in the hospital, half being Serbs and half Bulgars. The Bulgarians did what they could ip help, being anxious to stand well in English eves. "The Bulgarians who entered Skopje on October 22nd treated our unit with great cour'' tesy, 5 said one of the members of the party. "They gave us all they could in the way of sdpplies of firewbod and food. Our greatest difficulty was the lack of firewood, oil. and spirit. The wards had to be lit with single candles and in the coldest weather we has no heating. The Germans came about the. end of November and took -chargfe of things, but we were prisoners,- of the Bulgarians, and tppk bur orders from them, not from the Germans. I think the Bulgarians were very_anxious for it to be realised that meant to play the civilised game,' and one that would be a credit to them in the eves of England. Undoubtedfy they do consider English public opinion a good, deal." King Ferdinand and both the young "princes game to Skopje while the nurses were prisoners, but they did not visit the hospital. Lady Paget and her party were taken to Sofia about the middle of February, and they were interned for four weeks. They were treated there with all consideration. Lady Paget herself was the guest of the Queen, and the rest received the hospitality, of the Red Cross When they left to return to England, via Roumania. Russia, Sweden and Norway, the Bulgarian Minister came from Bucharest to greet Lady Paget at the frontier, and arranged for her transit over the Danube. Miss Atkinson said they were lodged in Sofia in hotels as guests of the Bulgarian. Red Cross, and were permitted to visit the British prisoners. Later they spent two days in Bucharest. Miss Atkinson's plans for the future are uncertain, but she is hopeful of going again to the Eastern Mediterranean in her professional capacity.
The F. S. liner Middlesex, at present in Australia on her way to New Zea.land had a narrow* escape froni disaster soon after commencing her voyage. Leaving Liverpool on March 25th, she was proceeding off the Irish coast when a* mine was sighted ahead. Word was immediatly passed to the helmsman and the steamer steered clear of the dangerous obstacle. Weather conditions were comparativly "fine during,, the passage to Capetown, but after resuming the . voyage on April 20th the Middlesex encountered a violent storm '• The wind blew with the force of a gale and was accompanied by heavy seas. As a result of the. unf avourable weather, the passage from South Africa to Melbourne occupied neatly 26 days.
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