FROM THE ARCHIVES
Alice M. Holmes, a graduate of St. Aloysius Academy, was drawn to assist the American Red Cross during the First World War. In 1916 she traveled to Russia and later shared some of her experiences with her fellow SAA alumnae in the pages of Echoes.
When the invitation to join the Red Cross Service, bound for Petrograd, Russia, came to me from the hospital in which I had received my nurse’s training, I accepted it gladly and at once announced my willingness to go.
The party consisted of Dr. Downer, of Lansing, Mich., and three nurses—Miss Scanlon, of Buffalo, N.Y., Miss Murday and myself of Columbus, Ohio. We left Columbus September 3, 1916, arriving in New York City September 4, hurried around to get passports in order and departed from Hoboken, N.J., on the “Frederick VIII,” a Danish liner.
The trip was a very pleasant one—the cosmopolitan crowd very interesting and agreeable. Each one of the twelve days brought to us many pleasures, such as dancing, deck games, etc.
When within two days of Kirkwall, Scotland, we had the interesting experience of being stopped at about 11 p.m. by an English man-of-war. There was much excitement among the passengers at first, for we feared it might be a German warship or submarine, but happily, by the circumstance of the boat’s being a British cruiser, the tension was relieved and we settled down in anticipation of our arrival in Kirkwall. There we stayed for two days for examination and inspection.
We left Kirkwall on Sunday morning and were on the steamer all that day and the next. Monday afternoon we began to slowly enter Christiana Fjord. The beautiful scenic effects of the Fjord were admired by all the members of the party and especially the feature that it was still daylight at 9 p.m. The wonderful shadows of the Norwegian mountains reflected in the water were truly most picturesque.
Arriving in Christiana at 9:30 p.m., we spent a rather strenuous two hours trying to secure accommodations, owing to the overcrowded condition of the hotels. We finally succeeded, however, in obtaining very indifferent sleeping quarters.
The next morning we had a most amusing if uncomfortable experience. Not seeing any water to perform our ablutions, we rang for some, and at our request for water we were brought one pint—that was all—and that pint had to be divided among the crowd of us.
We then proceeded to view some of the interesting points about Christiana. We motored to a sanitarium which is located about 2000 feet above sea level and at that height we used a telescope to view at different angles the valley below. We then returned to the city, visiting there museums and different places of interest, incidentally having our passports “vized” in preparation for continuing our journey to Stockholm. We arrived in Stockholm in the morning and had breakfast at the “Hotel Continental” and from there we took a taxi and toured around the city. We noticed especially here the King’s Park, which is indeed beautiful.