Medical Headquarters, Lines of Communication, Dar-es-Salaam
20 April 1917
To: The SMO, Kilwa
MEMORANDUM: Reference Telegram No 1693 of 29/3/17, 1698 of 30/3/17 and Y 203 of 3/4/17 regarding Medical arrangements for Aragon last trip.
I am informed that some Union Porters becoming seriously ill on arrival at Kisiwani were embarked on Aragon. Why was this done, as the Aragon was not a Hospital Ship and you have a small Hospital at Kisiwani Post where they could be accommodated with Captain Douglas as Post Medical Officer for treating such cases? Captain Douglas as Embarkation Officer must see that those who are actually sick are invalided on a Hospital Ship only. Those who have no active disease and fit to travel without special medical attention can go on ordinary transport, if medical personnel are on such transport.
C Johnston, Colonel, IMS
From: The Officer Commanding
No 19 Stationary Hospital, Kilwa Kivinji
To: The DDMS, Lines of Communication, Dar-es-Salaam
Until these Union Porters were actually on the Aragon there were none reported as sick.
The porters were sent by dhow and rowed to the ship, and it was not until next day that any actual sickness was reported.
They were all “unfit”, full of malaria, and appeared to have no resisting power left for relapses.
The question of removing sick from ship was most carefully considered, but in view of the large numbers with temperatures, and the fact that there appeared to be sufficient bunks for the bad cases, that the feeding arrangements for the sick were excellent, that a Medical Officer, one RAMC, NCO, and three Nursing Orderlies were being sent on board with sufficient drugs and equipment, and porters were leaving for a good climate, I considered they would be under better circumstances on board than on shore in the Post Hospital, which was much over-crowded owing to sickness among the Seychelles Porters.
I would also put on record my opinion that if these porters had been taken ashore their chances of recovery would have been less than on the ship, owing to the mental depression that would have been caused.
The improvement in the majority of cases after the first days on board was most marked, largely due to the knowledge that they were being sent home.
I am at present working out the figures regarding the sick rate amongst these porters and sending a full medical report for your information.
JA Manifold, Lieut-Colonel RAMC
OC, 19 Stationary Hospital