An interesting occasion was that at Wardown V.A.D. Hospital on Tuesday evening [May 20th, 1919]. After years of magnificent service throughout the war in tending the sick and wounded soldiers back to health and strength, the time had come to part from these war associations.
The circumstances could not but call for a great measure of regret, for Wardown Hospital housed a very happy and hard-working family during the war. Thanks to Mr and Mrs F. W. Plummer, the host and hostess of the evening, the emphasis was laid on the pleasurable side of the evening's breaking-up presentations and speeches.
The proceedings were of quite an informal nature, and a delightful entertainment was given by London artistes. Songs were prettily rendered by Miss Whymant and Master Basil Dines, of Luton, and Mr Ellcock was the accompanist.
During the evening the assembly adjourned for refreshments. There was a large gathering, including the whole of the hospital staff in indoor uniform, the medical staff, the Hospital Committee and other friends. All enjoyed the evening's pleasure so kindly given by the host and hostess, and the gathering proved a most fitting finale to the splendid war period of national service.
There were several interesting presentations in the earlier part of the evening. The Joint Commandants, Mrs J. W. Green OBE and Mrs R. Durler OBE, received from the staff admirable illuminated addresses. On the top appears the name of the Red Cross Society, and the wording on each is as follows: "This address is presented to Mrs Mary A. Green OBE (the other address bore Mrs Durler's name) by the members and staff of her detachment, No 12, Bedford, as an expression of esteem and affection, and in recognition of her devoted and unselfish service as Commandant of the Wardown V.A.D. Hospital, Luton, from October 1914 to May 1919."
Sister Hobbs made the presentations amidst applause, and the recipients feelingly responded.
Mrs Green remarked as that was probably the last occasion on which they would all meet together, she wanted to thank all who had given her such generous support.
The hospital was opened in October 1914, and in November 1915 was taken over by the Red Cross. Since then over 3,500 patients had been through the hospital. The busiest and most anxious period was during the influenza epidemic last winter.
It would have been impossible to have accomplished so much without the goodwill and great interest of all, especially as nearly all the work was voluntary. Their thanks were due to the Town Council for the loan of the building, and to Col Stevens, the County Director, who had been most kind and helpful. To Mr F. W. Plummer and the Committee she extended most grateful thanks for his hospitality that evening.
When she thought of all connected with the hospital she felt that no hospital ever had a more devoted band of workers. They remembered the kind friends who helped so much lending furniture, and giving food, fruit and flowers. The interest taken by all in the neighbourhood had been a great encouragement.
They owed gratitude to the medical staff - (applause) - for the doctors had given much time despite the calls on their time, and had given of their best to the patients. She thanked the nurses, cooks and all workers in the hospital from the bottom of her heart. She would never forget their loyalty. In Sister Hobbs they had an ideal sister, whose cheerfulness and devotion had endeared her to all.
Now that the hospital was a thing of the past, she knew all would look back with pride and pleasure to their association with it, and they felt better women for having done their best to relieve some of the suffering of those who fought for the country in the war - (applause).
Mrs Green then presented Sister Hobbs with a handsome solid silver toilet set, and, in responding, the Sister said she had enjoyed the work and had been very happy there.
Some weeks later, Sister Hobbs, along with V.A.D. nurse Miss Winifred Green, was awarded the Royal Red Cross, 2nd class, for valuable nursing service during the war.
Sister Hobbs, the daughter of Luton businessman and photographer Mr T. G. Hobbs, had been in charge of nursing at Wardown since 1916, when she succeeded Sister Cooper. In January 1917 she was praised for the speed with which wards were cleared when a fire broke out at Wardown. Hospital staff also got the small blaze in an annexe under control using chemical extinguishers, leaving the borough brigade with little to do upon their speedy arrival.