Shropshire History

Shropshire

Military Hospitals

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St John’s Ambulance Brigade

 

In 1540, the Order of St John (Knights Hospitallers) was disbanded in England by King Henry VIII. In 1826, the Knights Hospitallers living in France offered knighthoods to specific people in Great Britain, irrespective of their Christian denomination. These English Knights then devoted themselves to charitable activities and formed the Grand Priory of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem in England. They then set up the St John Ambulance in 1877 with the aim of training ordinary people in first aid so accident victims at work could be treated quickly. Classes were set up across the country, particularly in workplaces and areas of heavy industry.

 

In 1887, trained volunteers were organised into a uniformed Brigade to provide a first aid and ambulance service at public events. In many parts of Britain, St John was the first and only provider of an ambulance service right up to the middle of the 20th Century, when the National Health Service was founded. When there were far fewer doctors and hospital beds than today, St John nurses looked after the sick and injured in their own homes. There were originally three parts of the organisation, St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Foundation, St John Ambulance Association (concerned with training the public in first aid) and St John Ambulance Brigade (providing first aid care to the public). The latter two were amalgamated in 1974 to form the present St John Ambulance Brigade.

 

British Red Cross

 

Following the outbreak of war between France and Prussia, the International Red Cross Movement was set up in Switzerland in 1863. In 1870, the British Red Cross Movement was formed to provide aid to both sides in subsequent 19th century conflicts, under the protection of the Red Cross Emblem. In 1905, it was reconstituted as the British Red Cross Society and was granted a Royal Charter in 1908 by King Edward VII.

 

Voluntary Aid Detachments

 

In 1909, the British Red Cross joined forces with St John Ambulance to form Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) with members trained in First Aid, Nursing, Cookery, Hygiene and Sanitation. During both World Wars the VADs provided nursing services, mainly in auxiliary hospitals.

 

Military Nurses

 

In 1881, the Army Nursing Service was established to provide nursing services to the Army and in 1902 it was renamed Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service. It was renamed again in 1949 to Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps.

 

In 1918, the Royal Air Force Nursing Service was established to provide nursing services to the RAF and in 1923 it was renamed Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service.

 

In 1884, the Naval Nursing Service was established

to provide nursing services to the Royal Navy and in 1902 it was renamed Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service

 

War Hospitals

The huge casualties during the First World War increased the demand for hospital beds.  In Shropshire, some existing asylums and workhouses were converted into hospitals for military use.

 

 

Auxiliary Hospitals

At the outbreak of the First and Second World Wars, the War Office asked the British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance to provide auxiliary hospitals for officers and other ranks. Many privately owned properties were used, which created an atmosphere more conducive to recovery than would be found in a standard institution.

 

The hospitals also started to become more specialised. Certain ones were selected for servicemen :-

-         of particular nationalities

-         of specific military roles

-         liberated as prisoners of war

-         with specific disabilities.

 

Physiotherapy played an important role in the recovery of many of the patients and selected homes were able to organise physical training and remedial exercise classes under the supervision of an Army physical training instructor. Due to the changing nature of war, the auxiliary hospitals soon began to admit civilians as well. A few hospitals were run by the military organisations themselves and had military nurses.

 

At the direct request of the Government, the Joint War Organisation ran nearly 250 auxiliary hospitals and convalescent homes for injured and recovering service men and women. Altogether there was room for 13,384 patients. Although the Government gave them a grant, the Joint War Organisation was responsible for the upkeep of these homes.

 

 

 

Gazetteer of Sites

 

 

Adderley - Raven House Hospital (SJ662401)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Adderley - Shavington Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ635388)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Albrighton - RAF Cosford Hospital (SJ796055)

Second World War military hospital built in 1941 for RAF personnel.

 

Ash Magna - Ash Corner Auxiliary Hospital (SJ570397)

Second World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Ashford Carbonell - Ashford Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SO513712)

Second World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Aston on Clun - Aston Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SO390817)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Atcham - Attingham Park Auxiliary Hospital (SJ549099)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Baschurch - Baschurch Convalescent & Surgical Home (SJ4221)

The world’s first civilian orthopaedic hospital used during the First World War as an auxiliary hospital. It closed in 1921 and the facilities moved to the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital.

 

Bridgnorth - Bridgnorth Infirmary (SO714934)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties  during the First World War.

 

Bridgnorth - RAF Bridgnorth Hospital (SO743924)

Second World War military hospital for RAF personnel.

 

Broseley - Lady Forester Hospital (SJ679015)

Civilian hospital built in 1905 and used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Brynkinalt - Brynkinalt Hospital (SJ294389)

Children’s hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Chirbury - Chirbury Village Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SO260983)

Used as an auxiliary hospital during the First World War but closed in September 1917.

 

Church Stretton - Essex House Auxiliary Hospital (SJ4593)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Ellesmere - Ellesmere Cottage Hospital (SJ397348)

Civilian cottage hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War. The buildings were demolished prior to 1998 and there is now sheltered accommodation on site.

 

Ellesmere - Oteley Park Auxiliary Hospital (SJ412347)  

First and Second World War auxiliary hospital at Trimpley Hall, used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance. It had 1,084 beds. A Thomas McConkey was stationed there during World War II. Being one of the few men in his unit who knew how to type, he spent the war as a secretary in the 137th General Hospital instead of being a battlefield medic. He often claimed that typing may well have saved his life. As with some of the Yanks in the movie “Hope and Glory”, he had a grand time during the war. Not only was he situated on a beautiful English estate with spectacular trees but he got to explore nearby tourist sights and visit his aunts and uncle in Northern Ireland. He also dated two local British girls with whom he corresponded until the end of their lives.  Their families even stayed with each other on the rare occasion they went touring overseas. A Mrs Ransome lived in the house who was a great friend of the GIs at Oteley.  She was a lovely, kind old lady who spent every day on the wards cheering the sick. She was a good friend of Thomas McConkey and they corresponded after the war. Thanks to his daughter Jill McConkey for the following photos.

 

Oteley Park

 

Oteley Park

 

Lower Gatehouse used as the main entrance

 

Upper Gatehouse

 

Mrs Ransome

 

Ward 24 from Nurse’s Window

 

View of the billets

 

High command of the Educational Program plotting further moves

 

Christmas 1944

 

Patients January 1945

 

Outside the Billet June 1945 (Thomas McConkey is on the far right)

 

Ellesmere - Seven Sisters Auxiliary Hospital (SJ39373654)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Gobowen - Park Hall Military Hospital (SJ30293160)

Site of First World War military hospital with 866 beds. Following the end of that war, the hospital became disused and the land was used to build the Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital.

 

Gobowen - Shropshire Orthopaedic Hospital (SJ305323)

Built in 1920 on the site of Park Hall Military Hospital. It comprised a series of single-storey ward blocks with a central spinal corridor and the Baschurch Convalescent & Surgical Home moved here in February 1921 Although primarily a civilian hospital, it treated military patients during the Second World War and now operates as the Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

 

Hinstock - Hinstock Hall Military Hospital (SJ686268)

Second World War naval hospital for Fleet Air Arm Officers.

 

Hodnet - Hodnet Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ610284)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Hodnet - Peplow Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ638247)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Leaton - Leaton Knolls Auxiliary Hospital (SJ474168)

Second World War auxiliary hospital, used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Leighton - Leighton Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ61240514)

Second World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Ludlow - Overmead Auxiliary Hospital (SO518749)

Red Cross auxiliary hospital used during the First World War.

 

Ludlow - The Lodge Auxiliary Hospital (SO509762)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Lydbury North - Walcot Auxiliary Hospital (SO347850)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Market Drayton - Cheswardine Auxiliary Hospital (SJ725308)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Market Drayton - Market Drayton Cottage Hospital (SJ672338)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Market Drayton - Pell Wall Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ680331)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Market Drayton - Westholme Auxiliary Hospital (SJ6734)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Morda - Sweeney Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ29322655)

Second World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Much Wenlock - Lady Forester’s Hospital (SJ622006)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Newport - Longford Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ728182)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Norton - Apley Park Military Hospital (SO715984)

Second World War convalescent home for military officers.

 

Onibury - Stokesay Court Auxiliary Hospital (SO444786)

Margaret Rotton, Brigadier-General John Guy Rotton,  Jewell Allcroft and Russell Allcroft

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance. It was opened in April 1915 and initially provided 10 beds for recuperating soldiers but this was later increased to 30, giving each soldier an individual room. The hospital was overseen by Margaret Rotton, wife of Brigadier General Sir John Rotton. She was a charismatic lady, an inspiration to the men she and her staff looked after. As each man left her care she gave them a picture of Stokesay Court and a prayer book to take with them. She received quantities of letters from her former patients when they were back at the front, thanking her for her care and telling her what they were doing. During their stay, men spent time playing whist, walking in the grounds and talking in front of a roaring fire in the hall.

 

Oswestry - Ardmillan Hospital (SJ296298)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Oswestry - Brogyntyn Hall Auxillary Hospital (SJ279312)

Images Of England

Second World War convalescent hospital for WAAFs and the ATS.

 

Oswestry - Oswestry Cottage Hospital (SJ287296)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Oswestry - Pentre Pant Hall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ286318)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Pontesbury - Earlsdale Auxiliary Hospital (SJ402060)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Pontesbury - St George's Auxiliary Hospital (SJ399061)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Prees Heath - Prees Heath Military Hospital (SJ564375)

First World War military hospital with 609 beds.

 

Shifnal - Hatton Grange Auxiliary Hospital (SJ766044)

First and Second World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Shifnal - Hidern Auxiliary Hospital (SJ7507)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Shrewsbury - Copthorne Hospital (SJ46671232)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties in the Second World War.

 

Shrewsbury - Cyngfeld Auxiliary Hospital (SJ481117)

First World War auxiliary hospital at 39 Kennedy Road used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance. Cyngfeld was the home of Edmund Peele, a former mayor of Shrewsbury.

 

Shrewsbury - Oakley Manor Auxiliary Hospital (SJ4911)

St John’s Ambulance auxiliary hospital during the First World War.

 

Shrewsbury - Royal Salop Infirmary (SJ50751202)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties in the Second World War.

 

Shrewsbury - Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (SJ467123)

Second World War hospital.

 

Shrewsbury - Shrewsbury Eye & Ear Hospital (SJ488123)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Shrewsbury - Shrewsbury Military Hospital (SJ508121)

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First World War military hospital on London Road during the First World War.

 

Shrewsbury - St John’s Auxiliary Hospital (SJ4912)

Voluntary Aid Detachment auxiliary hospital during the First World War.

 

Wellington - Wellington Cottage Hospital (SJ644111)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Wem - Wem Auxiliary Hospital (SJ50722914)

Second World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Weston - Hawkstone Park Hospital (SJ582301)

First World War auxiliary hospital used by the British Red Cross and St Johns Ambulance.

 

Whitchurch - Broughall Auxiliary Hospital (SJ559410)

First World War V.A.D. auxiliary hospital. The address is given in several references as Broughall Cottage. An ordinary sized cottage would not be big enough for this as it had 30 beds for other ranks. Had it been for officers, no doubt Broughall House itself would have been used but, since it was for other ranks, it is likely that Broughall Cottage was in the grounds of Broughall House, probably used before the war by one of the estate workers. There were several small buildings opposite the main house and one of these could be the said cottage. The hospital itself would probably be a wooden hut erected next to the cottage.

 

Miss Alice Amy Wardle was a VAD Nurse who started at the hospital on January 28th 1915 and was discharged in March 1917. In total she worked 2,367 hours there.

The following nurses were appointed to serve in Broughall Cottage Hospital :-

Miss L Dicks - Mar 6th 1915

Miss E M Blease - October 16th 1915

On March 3rd 1917, a nurse there called Miss C Godsal  was brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War, for valuable service rendered in connection with the war.

 

Whitchurch - Iscoyd Park Military Hospital (SJ504420)

US Army 68th General Hospital during the Second World War with 1,084 beds. Also 18th Hospital Train and 11th Replacement Depot. The displaced family commented “The beautiful parkland was obliterated by an Orwellian nightmare of Nissen Huts, barbed wire and control towers.” Immediately after the war it become a camp and hospital for Polish refugees.

 

Whitchurch - Whitchurch Cottage Hospital (SJ544419)

Civilian hospital used to treat military casualties during the First World War.

 

Whittington - Halston Hall Military Hospital (SJ340315)

Second World War military hospital with 1,084 beds, used by the United States Army.

 

Worfield - Worfield Auxiliary Hospital (SO762953)

Voluntary Aid Detachment auxiliary hospital used during the First World War. It was based in the Worfield Recreation Room, which had been built as a working men’s concert hall and a club room for the village. More information can be found on the Share History site.