Posts Tagged ‘War’

General Update

November 17th, 2018

So sorry for lack of posts this year, no reflection to a lack of activity or exhibitions.

Since our wonderful city showcase at the Cardiff Story Museum we have had a number of exhibitions:

June 2018

University Hospital of Wales

July 2018

Haydn Ellis building, Cardiff University

St Fagans

November 2018

Amanda Cashmore from the BBC interviewed Dr Ian Beech regarding the role of Whitchurch during WW1 and especially its treatment of shell shock, see link below

Remembrance Event at the National Museum

Whitchurch Village Library as part of Remembrance Sunday

Rhydypennau Library – small WW1 display until the end of the week


The Welsh Metropolitan War Hospital during WW1




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:

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’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:

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:

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:

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.


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 ( ) 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.”

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

Some Recent Pictures from Whitchurch

May 14th, 2011

Below are photos of a series of plaques hanging on the wall near the entrance of the Hospital, does anyone know their history?

Sir Edward Hain

Sir Edward Hain

Lord Glanely

Lord Glanely

Thomas H. Mordey

Thomas H. Mordey

Philip & Lewis Robert Turnbull

Philip & Lewis Robert Turnbull

Richard B. Chellew

Richard B. Chellew

Second Lieut W H Seager

Second Lieut W H Seager

The Duncan Bed

The Duncan Bed

Shandon Bed

Shandon Bed

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.







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,

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.