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The Wartime Memories Project - The Great War - Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley.
The Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley was built in 1855 on the shores of Southampton Water on the instructions of Queen Victoria to treat men wounded in the Crimean War. The building was 435 meters long, (Quarter of a mile) and three storeys high with 138 wards and approximately 1000 beds. Building work was completed in 1863 at a cost of £350,000. A 170m pier was built out into Southampton Water in 1865 to receive ships bringing back war casualties, this was however impractical as the water was not deep enough for ships to berth alongside and in 1900 a railway line was constructed and patients arrived by ambulance trains direct from Southampton docks.
During the Great War at least 50,000 patients were treated at Netley. A large Red Cross hutted hospital was built in fields at the rear of the main hospital, expanding the capacity to approximate 2000 beds. Most of the staff were reservists or Red Cross VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) nurses.
A small proportion ( about 5%) of the casualties die in the hospital's care. A military cemetery was established in 1864 to accommodate service men and workers from the hospital, situated out of sight of the main buildings.
During the Second World War, Netley was used as an American Military Hospital. The Hospital closed in 1958 and was demolished after a fire in 1966. Today only the Chapel remains in The Royal Victoria Country Park, it is used as a visitor centre.
List of those who served at The Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley the during The Great War.
- Sister Foggerty Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley
- Capt. Martin Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley Royal Army Medical Corps.
- Mjr. Stanford Read Royal Army Medical Corps.
List of those who were treated at The Royal Victoria Military Hospital. Netley during The Great War.
- Dvr. George A. Phillips Army Service Corps (d.10th Oct 1914) Read his Story.
- Sjt Mjr Hudson
- Pte. Hitchings
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them.
- Wanted: Digital copies of Scrapbooks, Autograph books, letters, postcards and ephemera relating to Britain in the Great War. Please get in touch as we are looking for these items for our new "Life on the Home Front" feature.
- Do you have an interest in a specific Battalion, Ship, Squadron or Voluntary Organisation during the Great War? Perhaps your relative served and you would like to find out more? The Wartime Memories Project are looking for volunteers to help with researching the activities of units of the Territorial Force, Regular Army, Pals Battalions, Kitchener's New Armies, Voluntary Organisations and the Ships of the Royal Navy to assist with the development of our Great War Centenary Commemorations, which will center around helping others to learn more about their own families and communities during the war. If you would be interested in helping with some research, please register on our Volunteers Page.
- The Wartime Memories Project is run by volunteers and this website is funded by donations from our visitors. If the information here has been helpful or you have enjoyed reaching the stories please conside making a donation, no matter how small, would be much appreciated, annually we need to raise enough funds to pay for our web hosting or this site will vanish from the web. In these difficult times current donations are falling far short of this target.If you enjoy this site
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- We are also looking for volunteers to help with the website. We currently have a huge backlog of submissions which need to be edited for display online, if you have a good standard of written English, an interest in the two World Wars and a little time to spare online we would appreciate your help. For more information please see our page on Volunteering.Wanted: Great War Newspaper clippings
If you have any news clippings from the Great War, please could you scan them and upload a copy
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Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site.
Pte. Ernest Evenden 9th Btn. The Royal Sussex Rgt. (d.1st Sep 1916)
Ernest died of wounds at the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley on the 1st of September 1916, aged 19. He was buried in the Military Cemetery in the hospital grounds.
Dvr. George A. Phillips Army Service Corps (d.10th Oct 1914)
George Phillips died at Netley on the 10th October 1914 he was 29 years old.
Pte. Thomas Mayrick 14th btn. Royal Warwickshire Regt (d.28th Sep 1916)
Pte Thomas Mayrick died of wounds at Netley on the 28th Sept 1916, he was 22 years old. He was buried at St Lawrence's Church, Bidford-on-Avon.
Able Seaman. James Thomas Bunting Drake Battlion
My father, AB James Thomas Bunting joined the Navy in August 1914. He was assigned to Drake Battalion, Royal Naval Division. They did their training at HMS Victory III. Crystal Palace . The training was brief. The whole division was sent to Antwerp to defend the attempt of the Germans entering Belgium. They were very ill equipped for the task. Many had no greatcoats. Some did not even have rifles. Little hope against the seasoned German Army. There were many losses but my father survived.
In February 1915 The Royal Naval Division left their new headquarters at Blandford Forum bound for Gallipoli in the Dardinelles Conditions were bad and by the end of March the whole division left for Egypt because of illnesses. By the end of April they were back at full strength but on the initial advance Collingwood Battalion was wiped out. July saw the depleted Division retreat to Larnos Island to recouperate. Everyone suffering from Diarrhoea Malaria and fly borne gastric infections. End of July saw them back again but campaign was declared a failure and all troops were withdrawn. Arriving at Marsailles in December 1915.
January 1916 moving up through France. February, The Battle of Verdun. September, The Somme. Then it became the end of the war for dad. He was wounded at Arras near the village of Gavrille. On the 23rd. of April 1917. Shrapnel wound left arm. Entering just behind the left elbow. Leaving an 8 inch cut up the tricep and exiting along the forearm Fracturing the Ulna and taking the end off the humerus. Hospitalised at Wimereux.
Departed on the 26th. of May on the hospital ship “St. Denis” for Victoria hospital Netley, Southampton. After six months in hospital he went on leave in December 1917.
Overdoing his leave by six months he faced a court martial at Perham Down.
“In that at Blandford camp on the 21st. of January 1918 he absented himself. Until surrendering himself to Goole ( his home town) police on the12th. of June 1918. Losing by neglect his equipment and regimental necessities. Sentenced to undergo detention for one year and to be put on stoppage of pay until he has made good the value of the articles valued at £2/6/9
On the 2nd. of August 1918 The Lords Commision of the Admiralty quashed the charge. Returning the good conduct badge which had been confiscated when charged!! What had brought about the turnaround to the serious charges against him? It may have been his contract which he had signed on enlistment 8th. August 1914. Which had clearly stated that, “I undertake and bind myself till the end of the war Or for three years, whichever comes first.
So legally his service had ended whilst he was hospitalised at Netley. Also consider he had served in three fierce campaigns. He was at that time rated as being 50% disabled.It would have being a travesty to have convicted him.
In November 1918 he was declared unfit for service and discharged after 4 years and 82 days. On his discharge he was still rated 50% disabled. But after visiting different hospitals and appeal boards he was finally awarded a final pension assessment of 30% for life on the 25th. of July 1923 The wound, which never healed caused problems all his life Quite often flaring up and needing hot fermentations and poultices. My sister became an expert. When he became fit for work and had regained some of the grip in his hand he went back to his trade as boot repairer. But finally found work on the docks.
Pte Charles Ellis Sherwood Foresters
My Dad, who was born on the 20 September 1899 enlisted when he was 16 years old. He didn't talk much about his time in France and I failed miserably to be interested in what happened, which I very much regret. He always made us eat up out meals as children and told us the story of how luck he was when he had a tin of jam, yes, just a tin of jam - his mate had a tin of golden syrup. Imagine that - a growing boy of 16 and that was your meal! He did mention how scared he was when, one night he was on "Sentry go" and there was an awful banging noise very close to him - he HAD to investigate and it was a rat with its head stuck in a bully beef can. He was badly gassed and spent some time at the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley. After the war he was based an the Cologne Cavalry Barracks where he was friendly with a German family. Being gassed caused enormous abcesses and I remember he could not sit down for three Christmas dinners. He died at the age of 75 and I still miss that very brave man.
Pte. Alexander Rees Davies 2nd Battalion The Welch Fusiliers (d.25th Feb 1917)
Alexander Rees Davies was born in Llanychaiarn, Cardiganshire, Wales in 1881. His father was a tailor and he was a plasterer by trade. His first regiment was the Welsh Horse and his service number was 11722. This Regiment then became absorbed in the Welch Regiment, I believe.
His death Certificate shows that he died at the Netley Hospital (the Royal Victoria Hospital) on 25 February 1917, of "multiple G.S. wounds of body and limbs and septicaemia and collapse". He was 36 years old and had been married for just over a year.
He is buried in the Llanychaiarn churchyard. His headstone reads:
In loving Memory
The beloved husband of Kate Davies of Towyn, Merioneth.
"Duty and honour bid us part 'Til the day breaks and shadows flee away."
Pte. Joseph Harold Alfred Applebee 33rd Btn.
Harold Applebee was a 19 year old Labourer when he enlisted, he was described as being 5'8", having very dark complexion, black hair and brown eyes. He embarked from Australia in May 1916 and after training in England, proceeded to France in January 1917 where he transferred from 33rd Btn to the 9th Machine Gun Company. He saw action at the Battle of Messines and was wounded on the 18th of July, had a short spell in hospital and was again wounded, this time by gassing on the 31st. After a longer spell in hospital he rejoined his unit in September and suffered a 3rd Wound in action on the 2 October, he was invalided back to England with a severe wound which had fractured his skull and treated at the King George Hospital. By mid February 1918 he was fit enough to return to France and rejoined his unit on the front line. He had another spell in hospital in England, this time at the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley in June 1918 suffering from Tonsillitis but again returned to France. He returned to Australia in 1919.
Pte. William Henry Holmes 2nd Btn. Northumberland Fusiliers (d.1st Mar 1915)
William Holmes died of wounds whilst he was being treated at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, he was buried at Netley Military Cemetery.
Pte. Henry James Qualtrough Royal Army Ordnance Corps
My Father, Henry Qualtrough, served France, Belgium and Dublin between 1917 and 1919. He was invalaided to Netley with Typhoid and also had his foot run over by a gun carriage.
Pte. Samuel Atkinson Lancashire Fusiliers
My Grandfather Samuel Atkinson, Lancashire Fusiliers, enlisted 26th of August 1916. He was wounded on the 14th of Sept 1917 and treated in Royal Victoria Hospital Netley with Gun shot wounds to his right side. Also wounded again 19th April 1918 gun shot wound to his left arm.
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?
If so please let us know.
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.
Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.
Celebrate your own Family History
Celebrate by honouring members of your family who served in the Great War both in the forces and at home. We love to hear about the soldiers, but also remember the many who served in support roles, nurses, doctors, land army, muntions workers etc.
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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