The Birmingham Weekly Post, Saturday March 9, 1918
Miss Katy Beaufoy, the matron on the torpedoed hospital ship, Glenart Castle, was a Birmingham lady and it is feared she is among the missing. She was a daughter of the late Mr Thomas Beaufoy, for many years an official of the Birmingham Post Office , and a sister of Mrs J Howard Kirk, of The Grange, Shirley, where she made her home.
Miss Beaufoy was matron of the Military Hospital at Exeter when the South African war broke out, and she volunteered for active service, and served throughout the war. For three years she was assistant matron of the Queen of Italy’s Polytechnic in Rome, for the training of young Italian nurses, for which she was decorated. Miss Beaufoy volunteered immediately the present war broke out, and for the early months of the war was at Devonport Military Hospital. From there she was sent to Ras-el-Din Hospital at Alexandria. She had her first ship, the Ionian, at Mudros, after which she was appointed matron of the New Khedivial Hotel at Alexandria.
In June 1916, she was appointed matron of the Dover Castle, in which she continued for fifteen months, only being absent for a few days when the vessel was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. After being on shore for a short time she was given the Glenart Castle on her first voyage, from November to February and was in her when she was torpedoed on February 26.
Medal from the Queen of Italy given for her training of Italian nurses.
The reverse of the medal reads:
Sister K Beaufoy
Marxo (March) 1913
Katy kept a detailed war diary from May 1915 when she left Devonport on the RMS Orsova. Because the diary contained sensitive military information she did not post it but left each installment with her family in Birmingham whenever she returned on leave. Here are a few extracts.
Katy’s diary has been published as : Matron at War: The Story of Katy Beaufoy (1869-1918)
13th August 1915
We were told that we must go out the same evening, but about 8 or 8.30 the Royal Edward, who took our berth in Alexandria to embark troops and follow us up, was torpedoed by submarine just outside the harbour. 1,100 troops and about 400 crew; a few hundred only saved. A destroyer rushed out to rescue them our having the distress SOS signals. There have been about 10,000 casualties this last week, one boat took 1,100 another 1,800. The HMS Doris hit pretty badly, lost 2 guns, not sure about loss of life, hope none of our friends are lost – nothing much gained as yet at the Dardanelles – a fresh landing certainly but naught else, it is fearful. The E Lancs and Manchesters got between 2 hills and were completely wiped out. Two new sisters came from the Simla at 11.30pm. B Henderon S.N. and S.A. O’Riordan S.N.
31st December 1915
We went to the Pyramids in the train to terminus & then on camels. Had our photos taken on the camels as we sat in front of the Sphinx. It is a wonderful antiquity,it used to be buried in sand up to the neck but is now cleared & so the rock bust stands forth. The Pyramids are ordinary sandstone encased in marble. We climbed up the largest taking 25 minutes to go up, the Arabs helping us up, 10 minutes tocome down. at the foot of the second we had lunch and very glad we were to get it. After lunch we went inside the pyramid, but I was glad to getout. The view from the Pyramids is very fine. I took a photo of the Sisters on the top. We were very hot and tired. We arrived back at the Continental 4.30, had a bath & went down for tea.
4th March 1917
Several aeroplanes came over in the night. At 8.15 am 5 came over and dropped bombs on the 29th General Hospital, the A.S.C. camp and the A.O.D. camp, none reached the munition dump near, which is the largest here. Two machines brought down before arriving at these camps (1 sister killed) from 30-40 killed and many casualties. Father Prendergast and Kenworthy went to see the damage and brought a piece of shell for me and took some fine photos.