The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Hospitals

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The nature of the fighting during the Great War led to a huge number of injured soldiers and the existing Military medical facilities in the United Kingdom were soon overwhelmed. A solution had to be found quickly and many civilian hospitals were turned over to military use, a large number of asylums were also converted to military hositals, with the asylum patients being sent home, often to unprepared families. As demand for beds grew, large buildings such as Universities and hotels were transformed into hospitals and wooden huts sprang up in hospital grounds and at army camps to cope with the huge numbers. Additional nursing staff were needed and this was met by a mixture of qualified nurses and volunteers.

A soldier who was injured in the field would be treated firstly at a Regimental Aid Post in the trenches by the Battalion Medical Officer and his orderlies and stretcher bearers, then moved to an Advance Dressing Station close to the front line manned by members of The Field Ambulance, RAMC. If further treatment was needed he would be moved to a Casualty Clearing Station, a tented camp behind the lines and then if required moved to one of the base hospitals usually by train, the seriously wounded were taken back to Britain by Hospital Ship and onto the relevant hospital for further treatment.

With the wide range of serious injuries before faced, hospitals began to specialise in certain types of injury in order to provide the best treatment, with soldiers being sent by train to the revelant hospital. Many large houses and hotels were used as Convalescent Hospitals.

Those being treated wore a blue uniform with a red tie, known as "Hospital Blues", once a solider was deemed fit enough to leave convalescence, he would return to one of the Command Depots for the rehabilitative training after which they would be allocated to a battalion, frequently a different battalion or regiment to that in which he had previously served, as his place would have been taken by another man to maintain numbers.

Those who did not recover suffiently to returnn to active service were issued with a Silver War Badge, SWB, to wear on their lapel, this signified that they had completed their war service. The badges were individually numbered and numbers are recorded the the medal cards of those who received them. Silver War Badges were also issued to soliders who had completed the length of service they had signed up for, mainly regular soldiers who had served before the war and whose period of service expired before the end of the conflict.

Silver War Badge

A Silver War Badge.

One possitive outcome of the horrific injuries suffered, was the advance in medical science. Inovative and often desperate solutions which would not have been considered in peace time were undertaken, those which showed promise were developed further.

This section is under construction.

If you have any photos, documents or a story relating to a hospital during the Great War please get in touch.

Hospitals in England

Bedfordshire Hospitals

Berkshire Hospitals

Buckinghamshire Hospitals

Cambridgeshire Hospitals

Cheshire Hospitals

Cumberland Hospitals

Derbyshire Hospitals

Devonshire Hospitals

Dorsetshire Hospitals

Durham Hospitals

Essex Hospitals

Gloucestershire Hospitals

Hampshire Hospitals

Herefordshire Hospitals

Hertfordshire Hospitals

Huntingdonshire Hospitals

Isle of Wight Hospitals

Kent Hospitals

Lancashire Hospitals

Leicestershire Hospitals

Lincolnshire Hospitals

London & Middlesex Hospitals

Norfolk Hospitals

Northamptonshire Hospitals

Nottinghamshire Hospitals

Northumberland Hospitals

Nottinghamshire Hospitals

Oxfordshire Hospitals

Rutland Hospitals

Shropshire Hospitals

Staffordshire Hospitals

Suffolk Hospitals

Surrey Hospitals

Sussex Hospitals

Warwickshire Hospitals

Westmoreland Hospitals

Wiltshire Hospitals

Worcestershire & Birmingham Hospitals

Yorkshire Hospitals

Convalescence Homes

Hospitals in Ireland

Hospitals in Scotland

Hospitals in Wales

Hospitals Outside of UK

Field Ambulances

This list is incomplete, if you know of any hospitals which are not listed please let us know.

Can you help us to add to our records?

The names and stories on this website have been submitted by their relatives and friends. If your relations are not listed please add their names so that others can read about them

Did your relative live through the Great War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial?

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Do you know the location of a Great War "Roll of Honour?"

We are very keen to track down these often forgotten documents and obtain photographs and transcriptions of the names recorded so that they will be available for all to remember.

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Please use our Family History resources to find out more about your relatives. Then please send in a short article, with a photo if possible, so that they can be remembered on these pages.

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