WW1 Great War Centenary - Auxiliary Hospitals
The British Red Cross WW1 Centenary Project are collecting memories and records for their work during the Great War. The Geograph Project can supplement this by providing a record of the surviving buildings that were used during this period and make this publicly available. Our thanks to the Red Cross archivist for permission to use their listing and text below.
'At the outbreak of the First World War,the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem combined to form the Joint War Committee. They pooled their resources under the protection of the red cross emblem. As the Red Cross had secured buildings, equipment and staff, the organisation was able to set up temporary hospitals as soon as wounded men began to arrive from abroad.
The buildings varied widely, ranging from town halls and schools to large and small private houses, both in the country and in cities. The most suitable ones were established as auxiliary hospitals.
Auxiliary hospitals were attached to central Military Hospitals, which looked after patients who remained under military control. There were over 3,000 auxiliary hospitals administered by Red Cross county directors.
In many cases, women in the local neighbourhood volunteered on a part-time basis. The hospitals often needed to supplement voluntary work with paid roles, such as cooks. Local medics also volunteered, despite the extra strain that the medical profession was already under at that time.
The patients at these hospitals were generally less seriously wounded than at other hospitals and they needed to convalesce. The servicemen preferred the auxiliary hospitals to military hospitals because they were not so strict, they were less crowded and the surroundings were more homely.'
I am staying with the format in the source document. Some of the locations will be unclear and may require local knowledge or research to identify. In Scotland Link identifies some of the sites.
There are a huge number of sites but a fair proportion of the more prominent buildings have already been photographed. Research has identified around 20% as demolished but with 19% of sites not positively identified this may rise to 21%.
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