End of November 1918

Longing for Home and Recovering From Frostbite

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“During the next few days I recuperated. The hospital wasn’t in working order yet, so that there was no work for the large staff of Medical Officers loafing about here. I wish they’d send me home! I had one or two trips into Archangel, where I met many old acquaintances. I also paid a visit to the Hospital Ship ‘Kalyan’, which is lying frozen in alongside the quay at Archangel. She is to remain here all winter. It was a treat to see and talk to a British woman again. The evenings were spent in playing bridge and vingt-et-un.”

The card game vingt-et-un is of course known these days by the names “Twenty one”, “Pontoon” or “Black Jack”.

HMHS Kalyan

Kalyan was one of a series of six small ships ordered by P&O in 1914. She was laid down and built by the Cammell Laird Company in 1915 at their yard in Birkenhead. All six had names that began with K and were named after places in India. Originally entering service as a troop ship, Kalyan was refitted as a hospital ship during 1918 and able to provide accommodation for over 750 patients. One of the “Improvements” noted in the ship’s diary was that of a wire cage forming a segregated area to contain patients suffering from mental disorders. This was described as “very satisfactory”.

From around this time in 1918 Kalyan would become iced-in on the River Dwina and would remain so until late spring in 1919. Each day the ice around the ship would be hacked away to prevent crushing of the hull.

Following the war Kalyan remained in service with P&O until 1932 when she was sold to a Japanese salvage company. Rated at 9118 tons she was broken up for scrap in Japan during 1933.

HMHS Kalyan on the River Dwina preceded by an Ice-breaker. (Picture from the diary all rights reserved)

HMHS Kalyan on the River Dwina preceded by an Ice-breaker.
(Picture from the diary all rights reserved)

Find out about our connection with Dr Page and an introduction to his diary here