The soldiers remember: a history of Southfield Auxiliary Military Hospital, Duns
written published by the Dunse History Society
paperback 160 pages, illustrated
reviewed by Chris Baker
This is an excellent example of the many local history projects that have been triggered by the centenary of the Great War. It concerns the military auxiliary hospital that was established at Southfield House in Duns in Berwickshire, which operated from 1915 to 1919.
The book may never have been produced had it not been the donation to the local history society in early 2017 of two boxes of books and assorted personal records of the three Speedy sisters who lived in the area. What a treasure trove: one of the girls, Margaret May Speedy, had worked at Southfield House as a volunteer nurse and had encouraged her patients to write down their army experiences. They form a core of the book and provide numerous accounts of military life and of action overseas. Each man has been identified and their stories make for fascinating and sobering reading. There are about 80 men in all.
The society has also, through local newspapers, traced details of 678 of the believed 960 who at some point passed through Southfield House. They are listed in a table, giving name, rank, number, regiment, unit and relevant dates. A splendid resource for researchers and a fine record of the work of the hospital.
A splendid piece of research and compilation of a valuable history. Only available, as far as I know, from the society and at a very reasonable £10.
The book is available from the Dunse History Society at http://www.dunsehistorysociety.co.uk/membership.shtml