Turkey was the second furthest venue in the Society’s first sixty years, and the only visit there was sponsored by the British Council. Most members flew but some travelled on the Simplon Orient Express. In his opening speech in Istanbul, the Society’s President Sir Clement Price Thomas told his Turkish audience that this was his second visit to Turkey and that the welcome had been very warm on both occasions, his previous visit having been with the British Army to Gallipoli in World War One. The applause was thunderous.
At the Gerapasha Hospital, which had a surgical teaching unit, a graft bank was seen, for bone, artery and tendons (particularly those from sheep). The Chapa Hospital was also visited. Florence Nightingale had worked at the former Selimiye Barracks, taken over by the British as a Hospital during the Crimean War.
Here a room is devoted to her memory, her portrait gazing serenely down on those who visit. Bob Nevin, Dean of St Thomas’ Hospital, paid tribute to her work and presented to the President of the Turkish Nursing Association, Miss Esma Deniz, two letters written by Florence Nightingale from Balaclava. Ankara’s new hospital was inspected, and the youthfulness of the nurses was explained by the fact they often enrolled below the age of fifteen in order to receive a basic education. Finally, Izmir (Smyrna) was visited, with a trip to Ephesus.