Archive for the ‘The War Years’ category

Photopgraphs from WW1

November 8th, 2014
Verandah at Whitchurch Hospital during WW1

Verandah at Whitchurch Hospital during WW1

Richard Berry during the 1920ies

Richard Berry during the 1920s

Whitchurch Hospital Chapel during WW1

Whitchurch Hospital Chapel during WW1

Back in August a comment was left on the website by Jon Langley:

Hello,
I could not find a contact e-mail on your website but would you like a scanned picture of the Hospital taken I think around 1916? The shot is of the Verandah and is entitled M.I., Military Hospital, Whitchurch, Glam. I also have a shot of the Church.
Jon

Jon’s mother recently passed away and in her photo collection were a number of postcards that his grandfather, Richard Berry, had left to her.

Richard Herbert Berry was a solider in WW1 and was invalided out of the service at the end of 1915. Jon believes he may have spent some time recuperating at Whitchurch as there are 2 postcards of the hospital and 4 of the city. Richard was a Mancunian and a member of the 7th Bn Manchester Regiment:

http://www.themanchesters.org/7th%20batt.htm

It would seem logical that’s how he came to have the postcards, but they are not annotated.

Jon does not believe his grandfather is in any of the pictures.
According to his military records, he returned from Egypt on the 5th February 1916 and was discharged from the service on the 26th May 1916. If he spent time at
Whitchurch, it was possibly during that 3 month period.

Jon’s grandfather’s full name is Richard Herbert Berry, born 17th February 1879. See photo above of him taken around 1920.

 

If anyone has any information about Richard, we would be grateful to add it to his family history profile.

I wonder if the soldiers at Whitchurch and maybe other hospitals were given postcards as a memento of their time or possibly the Hospital sold them?

Does anyone have any further information?

Thank you so much to Jon for this post and photos and a special thank you to Richard Herbert Berry for keeping the photos

 

 


			

World War I Tablecloth

September 30th, 2014

I was having a look through my Twitter feed one day and came across a tweet about a tablecloth from a Cardiff Hospital during WW1 – This got me curious to find out more as Whitchurch was used as a Hospital during WW1 – The Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital. The initial tweet came from Elen Phillips, Principal Curator at St Fagans for Contemporary and Community History back in January. Following a few exchanges of tweets and then emails we realised that the tablecloth was indeed from Whitchurch and had the year 1917 embroidered on it together with names of staff – Matron Raynes and soldiers.

The tablecloth has a very interesting story as told by Ray Holman in his blog:

http://www.costume-designer.co.uk/therapy-cloth/

Elen kindly offered the Historical Society members an opportunity to visit St Fagans and see the tablecloth which some of us took up. It is a beautiful cloth and has many staff names on it including Col Goodall and Matron Raynes.

Some photos of the tablecloth after St Fagans restored it:

Restored WW1 Tablecloth

Restored WW1 Tablecloth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restored WW1 Tablecloth

These are some of the names that can be seen on the tablecloth:

J. Drummond

W Jones 4th Worcesters

Dr H Thorps RFA

E. W. Ilford

D Kozroski 4th (?)G M. Rifles

Corp J. Cork 2nd Grenadier Guards

Pte F. Astin (?)5th Staffs

Pte S. Bradshaw 1st Lancs JVS

O. Standish 4th KOYL

S. Walker RFA

Pte Howard 24th HF

H. Bentley 11th Cheshire

Pte E. Sheffield 7th Kings Own

Pte J [can’t decipher surname) 2nd Royal Sussex

L/cpl. F. Richardson 8th Lincolns

G. E. Head 2nd Middlesex

(?)Selfield 1st Coldstream Guards

Pte J. F. Davies RAMC

(?)W. Cooper 14th Northumberland Fusiliers

Can you see any other names? If you have further information please get in touch.

Thank you to all involved in this story especially Elen Phillips. Photos courtesy of St Fagans.

Does anyone recognise the World War 1 Hospital in this photo?

July 8th, 2014

The photo is part of the St Fagans National History Museum WW1 collection which is currently being digitised. It was given to St Fagans in the 1990ies but its location is unknown. It may not be a Cardiff hospital but if you recognise it please get in touch. Could it be Whitchurch?

Where is this photo taken?

Where is this photo taken?

Thanks to Elen Phillips, Principal Curator: Contemporary & Community History at St Fagans,  for the photo and information.

I came across this website which gives some further information about  hospitals used during WW1:

http://www.1914-1918.net/hospitals_uk.htm

The military hospitals at home

The flow of casualties from the various theatres of war soon overwhelmed the existing medical facilities in the United Kingdom, just as it did the recently established bases in France and Flanders. Many civilian hospitals and large buildings were turned over to military use. This listing is by no means complete.

Wales

3rd Western General. A TF General Hospital in Cardiff. 38 officers and 2626 other ranks. The Cardiff Infirmary became headquarters to the 3rd Western General Military Hospital, overseeing all the other military hospitals in the region.
Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital. Formerly the Cardiff City Asylum at Whitchurch. 61 officers and 839 other ranks.
– partly used for mental patients (14 officers and 416 ORs) from September 1917 to December 1919.
Kinmel Park Camp (Rhyl). A hospital established at an army base. 890 beds.
– a specialist venereal disease unit opened here after the Armistice
Prince of Wales Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, Cardiff. 66 beds for men from Wales, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.
Officers’ neurological hospital, Nannau, Dolgelly. Established by June 1918.

7936416 Corporal Richard Ernest Morris

April 28th, 2012

Thank you to Martin Morris, son of Corporal Richard Ernrest Morris for these photos and for the acompanying information. If anyone has further details of the Emergency Medical services at Whitchurch during the Second World War please get in touch.

W8/72 Emergency Medical Services - My father is seated first left, front row.

My late father was 7936416 Corporal Richard Ernest Morris (known as Dick). He worked in the steelworks at Ebbw Vale before the war and returned there after being demobbed. He became a well-known trade union official in the industry in South Wales and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year’s honours list in 1974.

He served in the 1st Royal Tank Regiment , 7th Armoured Division, the famous Desert Rats during WW2. He was wounded both in North Africa and Normandy. After D Day he was medically downgraded and was placed on admin duties. Wanting to be near his wife and family in Ebbw Vale he applied for a post at Whitchurch Hospital and became admissions and discharge clerk, NCO (Non Commissioned Officer which covers ranks below Commissioned Officers such as Sergeant Etc., Corporal in my father’s case). He was in charge of NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air force Institute an organisation formed by the government in 1921 to run recreational establishments such as canteens needed by the armed forces) and was also responsible for organising entertainment for the wounded soldiers. The only entertainer of note to visit while he was there was Will Fyffe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will_Fyffe ) who he had to collect from the station. Often with some of the acts he had some difficulty getting a reasonable sized audience!!  He had an enjoyable time there playing tennis and squash with the doctors and other medics. He served there with W8/72 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from December 1944 to June 1946 when he was demobbed. . The EMS was attached to a number of hospitals around the country to deal with casualty’s arriving from the various theatres of war.

W8/72 Emergency Medical Services - My father is 5th from the left middle row.

Article from the South Wales Echo – June 10th 2011

June 28th, 2011

Celebration: Ex-nurse celebrates 100th birthday

Ex-nurse Myfanwy Lewis has spent a lifetime looking after others but was on the receiving end of some love, care and attention when she turned 100.

Myfanwy, from Rhiwbina, Cardiff, celebrated with friends at the Gabalfa Day Centre, which she has visited three times a week for the past six years.

As well as a celebration with her family, the staff at the centre – where Myfanwy enjoys bingo and quizzes – had organised a buffet and flowers for her.

Myfanwy was born in Willesden Green, London, but moved to Welshpool in Powys when she was seven.

She later came to Cardiff when she began training and working as a psychiatric nurse at Whitchurch Hospital. During World War II, she played a vital role serving her country after psychiatric patients were moved out and injured servicemen from the Battle of Dunkirk were treated there.

But fun-loving Myfanwy said they still managed to have a good time, despite the ongoing war effort. She said: “Some of them were upset and distressed.

“But some of them were quite funny – and well enough to go to the Hollybush pub. “We looked after them and used to take them over the Hollybush for a drink.”

At the end of the war, Myfanwy was wed to husband Roy and they set up home on College Road, Whitchurch. Myfanwy briefly gave up nursing after having two sons, David, 64, and Richard, 61.

But in 1957 the family moved to Llanishen and Myfanwy resumed her career, becoming a private night nurse in Cyncoed.

Later, she worked as a sales assistant in Howells department store until she retired. In 1997, Roy passed away and Myfanwy now lives with son David in Rhiwbina.

She says turning 100 “doesn’t feel any different”. “I very much enjoyed the celebration they put on for me at the day centre,” she said.

“But turning 100 doesn’t feel any different. I don’t feel any different at all.”

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/cardiffonline/cardiff-news/2011/06/10/celebration-ex-nurse-celebrates-100th-birthday-91466-28852926/

Thanks to Julia Harper for spotting this article in the Echo.

Hamadryad Hospital

March 9th, 2011

Below is a photograph of a document relating to the First World War with Winston Churchill’s signature.

A discovery made at the Hamadryad Hospital

A discovery made at the Hamadryad Hospital

Thanks to Jayne Miller and Tim Goosey for this discovery

Photos from the War Years

May 13th, 2010

Below are a number of photos taken during the War Years at Whitchurch Hospital. Please get in touch if you have any information about any of these photos.

red-cross

group-with-dog

soldiers

soldiers-group

tea-party-2

tea-party-1

The Second World War

February 10th, 2010

During the Second World War (1939-1945), the hospital was once again commandeered for military use. It became the Whitchurch Emergency Hospital.  800 beds were used for the reception and treatment of war casualties, including civilians and 200 beds were retained for civilian mental patients.  Once again, most of the existing mental patients were transferred to neighbouring mental hospitals.

By the summer of 1940, the hospital was functioning as a general casualty, orthopaedic, neurosis and mental hospital.  As the war progressed, the hospital became a specialist orthopaedic centre, a function which was to transfer to Rhydlafer Hospital after the war.

For more information on Rhydlafer Hospital visit, http://www.pentyrch.org.uk/rhydlafar

After the war in 1945, under the direction of Dr. Thomas Hennelly, Medical Superintendent, the hospital retuned to its function caring for the mentally ill.  In 1948, with the establishment of the National Health Service, the hospital was renamed Whitchurch Hospital.

Thanks to Tim Goosey for this post.

The First World War

February 10th, 2010

From 1915 to 1919, Cardiff City Mental Hospital was taken over by the Army Council as a general medical and surgical war hospital and was renamed the Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital.  The majority of the existing patients, some 572 men and women, were transferred to neighbouring mental hospitals at Bridgend, Carmarthen, Newport, Abergavenny, Talgarth, Hereford and Gloucester, apart from 45 men, described as ‘harmless patients of the demented class’, who were retained to work on the hospital farm.

The Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital was opened 9th June 1915, by Sir William James Thomas.  The rationale for choosing Whitchurch was that is had the right infrastructure to support needs of a military hospital, including recreation halls and extensive grounds to keep the patients, who were generally young men, occupied and entertained.  It was also near large towns to enable surgeons / physicians to be readily available and close to road / rail.  As part of the Asylum War Hospital scheme of 1915, an extra 50,000 military beds were created in this way.  Asylums were grouped geographically and one from each group was chosen as a war hospital, their patients being relocated within their group.  Overcrowding estimated to be 5-10%, which was considered acceptable in a wartime national emergency.  The scheme began with 9 asylum war hospitals, but quickly rose to 10.  Money was spent to improve the hospitals veranda’s, labs, theatres and install electrical treatment equipment to the tune of £4,600.

Male staff who hadn’t been called up for military service became enlisted in Royal Army Med. Corps. Dr. Goodall, former Medical Superintendent, assumed the rank of Lt. Colonel and reported to the war office rather than the hospital management committee.  His deputy Dr. Barton-White, became a Major and Matron Florence Raines, remained and was given responsibility for all the nursing staff, including the male nurses.

Traditionally male nursing staff had always looked after the male patients, but because many of the male staff had been called up for military service, female nurses had to look after male patients for the first time in the hospitals history.  This arrangement was continued by Dr. Goodall after the war, partly because of its success and popularity among staff and patients and partly because it was seen as a way of moving away from the traditional roles associated with an asylum.

In the early part of the war, the hospital it became a specialist centre for the treatment of orthopaedic cases., but by 1917, 450 beds were put aside for soldiers with mental health problems.  Dr. Goodall insisted the staff caring for these patients must be properly trained.  By the end of the war, 9,997 sick/wounded men were treated and 1,883 mental/neurological cases.

Although the war ended in 1918, the hospital remained under military control until 31st December 1919.   Lt. Colonel Goodall wrote a strong letter sent reminding war office of the agreement to return to the hospital to civilian use 6 months after the end of the war.  After extensive refurbishment, on 20th October 1920 returned to its normal use with the benefit of a new dispensary, X ray department and cinema.  251 male and 306 female mental patients returned, however 48 were unaccounted for.  The hospital staff returned to their civilian roles.

Thanks again to Tim Goosey for this post.

Welsh Metropolitan Military Hospital Cottages

Welsh Metropolitan Military Hospital Cottages

The Welsh Metrpolitan Military Hospital

The Welsh Metrpolitan Military Hospital