Military hospitals in the British Isles 1914-1918

The flow of casualties from the various theatres of war soon overwhelmed the existing medical facilities in Great Britain and Ireland. Many civilian hospitals and large buildings were turned over to military use. This listing is by no means complete.

Types of hospital

Existing Military Hospitals

Several military hospitals existed before the Great War, some even pre-dating the Boer War and going back to the Crimea.

The Territorial Force General Hospitals

A number of hospitals had been identified before the war for use and operation by the Territorial Force. They were generally based at existing hospitals and other large facilities. For example, the 1st Southern General Hospital was based on the Great Hall at the University of Birmingham. They did not exist as such prior to the war other than for training purposes, but were mobilised in August 1914. All were expanded during war time, not only on the primary sites but with the addition of Auxiliary Hospitals and annexes. They were staffed by a mixture of TF Nursing Service personnel and volunteers from many different organisations.

The War Hospitals

As the demand for hospital beds increased, one of the actions taken to provide more capacity was to turn over existing pre-war asylums for military use.

War Hospital

Military hospitals established at hutted army camps

Land either on existing army bases or acquired nearby for the purpose was converted into major hospitals.

Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance, auxiliary and private hospitals

Large numbers of public and private buildings (often large houses) were turned over for use as small hospitals, most of which operated as annexes to nearby larger hospitals. These are not listed below.

Specialist hospitals

Some hospitals were devloped as, or became, specialist units. Categories of specialism included mental hospitals, units for limbless men, neurological units, orthopaedic units, cardiac units, typhoid units and venereal disease.

Convalescent hospitals

These establishments did not have the usual civilian meaning of convalescence; they were formed from March 1915 onward to keep recovering soldiers under military control. See also the Command Depots

Hospitals by country/county/region

Please note that the list here, although long, is very far from complete. I add to it whenever I come across a new name mentioned in a soldier’s service record.

Berkshire

  • Taplow (15th Canadian General) Hospital, developed at Cliveden House.
  • Duke of Connaught’s Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow (same hospital?) Link

Cambridgeshire

  • 1st Eastern General. A TF General Hospital in Cambridge. 151 officers and 1191 other ranks.
  • Cherry Hinton Hospital, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 802 men.
  • Barnwell Hospital, a specialist venereal disease hospital.

Cheshire

  • Brinnington Neurological Section, Stockport (see 2nd Western General Hospital, Lancashire).
  • Birtles Hospital, Chelford, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 50 officers. Opened December 1917.

Cumberland

  • Fusehill War Hospital, Carlisle.
  • Greystoke VAD Hospital.

Devonshire

  • 4th Southern General. A TF General Hospital in Plymouth. 193 officers and 1029 other ranks.
    – included a specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918
  • American Women’s War Relief Hospital, Paignton
  • Seale Haye Neurological Hospital, Newton Abbot. Specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918.
  • Eggbuckland Hospital, Devonport, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 30 officers and 180 men.
  • Military Convalescent Hospital, Crownhill, Plymouth.
  • Town Hall Hospital, Torquay.
  • The Hon. Mrs Burns’ Hospital for Officers, Stoodley Knowle, Torquay.

Dorset

  • Blandford Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 204 beds.
  • Swanage Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 119 beds.
  • Wareham Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 45 beds.
  • Wool (Bovington) Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 288 beds.
  • Colliton House Hospital (VAD), Dorchester.

Durham

  • Gateshead War Hospital. Formerly the Gateshead County Borough Asylum at Stannington.
    – included a specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918.

Essex

  • Sobraon Barracks Military Hospital. One of the many barracks at Colchester, the main buildings at Sobraon were constructed in 1900. A cardiac hospital was opened when here Hampstead Military Hospital at Hillingdon (London) was turned over to the Royal Flying Corps. It grew to 672 beds before closing in August 1919.
    – an associated convalescent hospital of 200 beds operated at Summerdown Camp near Eastbourne (Sussex) from October 1918.
  • Whipps Cross War Hospital, Leytonstone
  • Woodford and Wanstead Military Hospital, “Highams”, Woodford Green.

Gloucestershire

  • Cheltenham Racecourse Red Cross Hospital. Arrival of a number of wounded Belgian soldiers was reported in the newspapers in November 1914, saying that this now filled the 103 beds provided at this hospital.

Hampshire

  • Cambridge Military Hospital. An existing pre-war military hospital at Aldershot.
    – A Special Military Surgical Section for orthopaedic cases was also established here.
  • Tylney Hall annex to Cambridge Military Hospital had 45 beds for officers.
  • Colchester Military Hospital. An existing pre-war military hospital at Aldershot.
  • Royal Naval Hospital. An existing pre-war military hospital at Haslar (Gosport).
  • Royal Victoria Hospital. An existing pre-war military hospital at Netley.
    – D Block was used as a specialist military mental hospital with capacity for 3 officers and 121 other ranks.
    – Netley also had a 30 bed unit for limbless men domiciled in Hampshire.
    – Neurological section also established by early 1915, acting as a clearing hospital for these cases.
    – Special Military Surgical Section for orthopaedic cases was also established at Netley.
  • 5th Southern General. A TF General Hospital in Portsmouth. 48 officers and 989 other ranks.
  • Haseley Down Camp (Winchester). A hospital established at an army base. 105 beds.
  • Magdalen Camp (Winchester). A hospital established at an army base. 252 beds.
  • Hilsea Camp. A hospital established at an army base.
    – A specialist venereal disease hospital for 47 officers and 430 men was also established at Hilsea.
  • Connaught Hospital. A specialist venereal disease hospital for 300 men.
  • Park Prewett (4th Canadian General) Hospital, formerly the Hampshire 2nd County Asylum.
  • Bramshott (12th Canadian General) Hospital, developed at Bramshott Camp.

Hertfordshire

  • Gadebridge Hospital, Hemel Hempstead, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 800 men. A former artillery training camp, taken over in July 1917.  Converted to a350 bed officers’ hospital after the war.
  • Shafford Camp included huts for a 106-bed specialist venereal disease unit.

Ireland

Kent

  • Fort Pitt Military Hospital, Chatham.
  • Orchard Hospital, Dartford. A military convalescent hospital. Under orders of London Command, opened on 24 May 1915. An infectious diseases hospital taken over from the Metropolitan Asylum Board.
  • 16th Canadian General Hospital (Ontario), Orpington.
  • Yarrow Military Hospital, Broadstairs
  • Nethercroft VAD Hospital, Ramsgate
  • Grange Hospital, Deal
  • Red Cross Hospital, Sittingbourne

Lancashire

  • 1st Western General. A TF General Hospital in Fazakerley, Liverpool. 153 officers and 4204 other ranks.
    – Belmont Road Auxiliary Hospital. Used the buildings of the former West Derby Union workhouse.
    – Brownlow Hill AuxiliaryHospital.
    – Netherfield Road 7-bed specialist cardiac section opened August 1918. Closing in May 1919, the unit transferred to Toxteth Park Military Hospital, then in August moved again to Queen Mary’s Hospital, Whalley.
  • 2nd Western General. A TF General Hospital in Manchester. Apparently based at Whitworth Street in the city,but also located at more than 20 other sites in Manchester and Stockport, most being school buildings. A total bed capacity or more than 16000.
    – included a specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918 at Brinnington, Stockport.
  • Lord Derby War Hospital. Formerly the Lancashire County Asylum at Winwick. 3313 other ranks.
    – partly used for mental patients (1000 beds) from June 1916.
  • Toxteth Park Military Hospital.
  • 5th Canadian General Hospital, Kirkdale, Liverpool.
  • Oakdene Auxiliary Hospital, Rainhill.
  • Red Cross Military Hospital, Moss Side. Formerly the Moss Side State Institution at Maghull.
    – included a specialist neurological unit. First case admitted 21 December 1914.  Initially 300 beds, later 500 and a section of 35 beds for officers at Quarry Brook House nearby.  From April 1916 used for severe or protracted cases only.
  • Queen Mary’s Military Hospital. Formerly the Whalley Asylum at Whalley.
  • Whittingham Military Hospital. Formerly the Lancashire County Asylum at Whittingham near Preston.
  • Alder Hey Hospital Orthopaedic Hospital. A military unit treated cases not sent to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital (London) from March 1915 onward.
    – in addition a special 200 bed unit for limbless men domiciled in Cheshire and Lancashire, excluding Manchester, was established at Alder Hey. An additional 100 bed limbless section was at Blackmore.
  • Lancaster House Auxiliary Hospital (affiliated to 2nd Western General Hospital), Manchester. 150 beds for limbless men domiciled in Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Manchester.
  • King’s Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital, Blackpool, specialist neurological section for officers, operating by June 1918.
  • A neurological section of Nell Lane Military Hospital, West Didsbury, opened in 1918.
  • New Bridge Street Hospital, Manchester, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 530 men. An old workhouse and boys school taken over some time in 1916.
  • Spike Island Hospital, Widnes, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 50 officers and 450 men.
  • King’s Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital, Clifton Park, Blackpool. Under orders of Western Command, for men whose homes were in Lancashire or who belonged to Lancashire regiments from any command.

Leicestershire

Lincolnshire

London Command District

Middlesex

  • County of Middlesex War Hospital. Formerly the Middlesex County Asylum at Napsbury (near St Albans). Total of 1600 beds.
    – included a specialist military mental hospital with capacity for 250 men. Opened September 1915, closed 1 August 1919.
  • Special Military Surgical Hospital (and Strand Extension), Edmonton, for orthopaedic cases.

Napsbury

Norfolk

  • Norfolk War Hospital. Formerly the Norfolk County Asylum at Thorpe.
  • Cliff House VAD Hospital.
  • Fernhill Isolation Hospital, Norwich.
  • Seafield Red Cross Hospital.
  • Thetford Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 120 beds.

Northamptonshire

Northumberland

  • 1st Northern General. A TF General Hospital in Newcastle. 104 officers and 1420 other ranks.
  • Northumberland War Hospital. Formerly the Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Asylum at Gosforth.
  • Brighton Grove Hospital, Newcastle, a specialist venereal disease hospital for 48 officers and 552 men.
  • Alnwick Military Convalescent Hospital. For men from units in Northern and Scottish Commands, men whose homes were in Scotland or who belonged to Scottish regiments from any command.

Nottinghamshire

Oxfordshire

  • 3rd Southern General. A TF General Hospital in Oxford. 336 officers and 1210 other ranks.
  • Ashurst War Hospital, Littlemoor. Formerly the Oxford County Asylum.
    – included a 580 bed specialist neurological section, opened in 1918

Scotland

Shropshire

  • Oswestry Camp. A hospital established at an army base.866 beds.
  • Prees Heath Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 609 beds.
  • Berrington War Hospital, Shrewsbury.
  • Lady Forester’s Hospital, Broseley.

Somerset

  • 2nd Southern General. A TF General Hospital in Bristol. 200 officers and 1350 other ranks.
  • Beaufort War Hospital. Formerly Bristol County and City Asylum at Fishponds.
  • VAD Hospital, Chard. A 46 bed limbless unit for men domiciled in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.
  • Duchess of Somerset’s Hospital, Maiden Bradley.

Staffordshire

Suffolk

  • Ampton Hall, a private property taken over for use by the Red Cross on on 16 October 1914, it continued in this role until 31 January 1919. In all, 6568 sick or wounded soldiers were treated there, of whom 40 died.

Surrey

  • 1st London General. A TF General Hospital in Camberwell. 88 officers and 852 other ranks.
  • Horton (County of London) War Hospital. Formerly the London County Asylum, Horton, Epsom.
  • Manor (County of London) War Hospital. Formerly the London County Asylum, Manor, Epsom.
  • South African Military Hospital, Richmond Park.
  • Ewell (County of London) War Hospital, Epsom. Formerly the The Ewell Colony.
    – included a specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918.
  • Special Hospital for Officers, a mental hospital with 51 beds established by Lord Knutsford’s Red Cross Committee in a private house (“Latchmere”) at Ham Common in November 1915. By October 1919 it had treated circa 430 officers.
  • Addington Park War Hospital, Croydon, opened as a typhoid specialist at Addington Palace in early 1915.   Initially 300 beds, it was expanded by addition of huts to 650.  In July 15 it was decided to establish a Command Depot exclusively for enteric cases in a hutted camp of 1000 beds erected ‘in the vicinity of Addington Park’.
  • Shirley Enteric Depot, near Addington Park, opened in March 1917.
  • Warlingham Enteric Depot. Opened in 1916.
    – a specialist venereal disease hospital with 750 beds was also opened here.
  • Woldingham Enteric Depot. As Warlingham.
  • Woking Detention Barracks had a small specialist venereal disease unit.
  • Woodcote Park Military Convalescent Hospital, Epsom. Under orders of Southen Command, opened 24 June 1915.

Hospital

Sussex

  • 2nd Eastern General. A TF General Hospital in Brighton. 98 officers and 1190 other ranks.
  • Graylingwell War Hospital. Formerly the West Sussex County Asylum at Chichester.
  • East Preston Military Hospital, Worthing. A specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918
  • Summerdown Camp Military Convalescent Hospital. Opened 8 April 1915.
    – Associated with Sobraon Barracks Military Hospital at Colchester (Essex), a specilaist 200-bed cardiac unit operated from October 1918.
  • Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.
  • Kitchener Indian General Hospital, Brighton (former workhouse in Elm Grove).
  • Royal Pavilion, Corn Exchange and Dome Indian Hospitals, Brighton.
  • Brighton Hove & Sussex VI Form College, Dyke Road, Brighton. 520 beds.
  • Sussex Eye Hospital, Brighton.

Wales

  • 3rd Western General. A TF General Hospital in Cardiff. 38 officers and 2626 other ranks.
  • 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.
  • St John’s Auxiliary Hospital, Stebonheath, Llanelli

Warwickshire

Western Command

LocationTypeUnitBeds (at 17 Jan 1919)
LiverpoolGeneral Hospital (TF)1st Western General9500
ManchesterGeneral Hospital (TF)2nd Western General5230
CardiffGeneral Hospital (TF)3rd Western General7795
Ashton-under-LyneMilitary Hospital25
Bangor (Wales)Military Hospital200
Barrow in FirnessMilitary Hospital115
BettisfieldMilitary Hospital50
BirkenheadMilitary Hospital36
BreconMilitary Hospital47
BuryMilitary Hospital30
CardiffMilitary Hospital58
ChepstowMilitary Hospital200
FleetwoodMilitary Hospital35
KirkhamMilitary Hospital101
LancasterMilitary Hospital26
MaghullMilitary Hospital500
Nell Lane DidsburyMilitary HospitalBritish1280
Nell Lane DidsburyMilitary HospitalGerman1724
OswestryMilitary Hospital550
Pembroke DockMilitary Hospital356
Prees HeathMilitary Hospital389
PrestonMilitary Hospital314
SeaforthMilitary Hospital399
ShrewsburyMilitary Hospital57
SouthportMilitary Hospital85
WarringtonMilitary Hospital55
WhalleyMilitary HospitalQueen Mary's2101
WhittinghamMilitary Hospital679
WrexhamMilitary Hospital30
BerringtonWar Hospital420
ChesterWar Hospital620
FusehillWar Hospital996
WarringtonWar HospitalLord Derby2327
WhitchurchWar Hospital901
Alder Hey (Liverpool)Orthopaedic Hospital722
Eaton Hall (Chester)Officers Hospital250
DawpoolOfficers Hospital60
Llangammarch WellsOfficers Hospital40
Ashton-in-MakerfieldConvalescent Hospital1053
BlackpoolConvalescent HospitalKings Lancashire3458

Source: “The history of 19th Company RAMC during the war”, compiled by Major S.T. Beggs.

Wiltshire

  • Tidworth Military Hospital. An existing pre-war military hospital at the cavalry barracks at Tidworth.
  • Codford Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 100 beds.
  • Fargo Camp (Larkhill). A hospital established at an army base. 1037 beds.
  • Fovant Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 449 beds.
  • Sutton Veny Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 938 beds.
  • Bulford Camp. A hospital established at an army base.
    – a specialist venereal disease hospital was established here. It was handed over to Australians (‘owing to large demand’) in November 1916 and known as 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital.
  • Chiseldon Camp. A hospital established at an army base.
    – A specialist venereal disease hospital of 400 beds was created from about half of the existing hutted camp to make up for accommodation at Bulford being transferred to the Australians in late 1916.  Beds for 100 more serious VD cases were also made available in Chiseldon Military Hospital. at that time.
  • Devizes Detention Barracks had a small specialist venereal disease unit.

Worcestershire

Yorkshire

  • 2nd Northern General. A TF General Hospital in Leeds. 60 officers and 2039 other ranks.
    – included a 126 bed unit for limbless men domiciled in Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.
  • 3rd Northern General. A TF General Hospital in Sheffield. 57 officers and 1360 other ranks.
  • East Leeds War Hospital. Formerly the Leeds Union Infirmary.
    – incorporated the 572-bed Killingbeck Military Hospital.
  • Wharncliffe War Hospital. Formerly the West Riding of Yorkshire Asylum at Wadsley in Sheffield.
  • Catterick Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 750 beds.
  • Ripon Camp. A hospital established at an army base. 670 beds.
  • Paull Point Military Hospital, Hull.
  • Abram Peel Hospital, Bradford. Specialist neurological section for other ranks, operating by June 1918.
  • Oulton Hall Hospital for Officers, Leeds. 71 bed specialist neurological section, opened in 1918.
  • Leeds General Hospital. A specialist 50-bed military cardiac unit operated from November 18 From August 1919 it was affiliated with the Special Military Surgical Hospital, Leeds. An associated convalescent unit opened at Killingbeck Military Hospital.
  • Royal Bath Hospital, Harrogate.
  • Grand Duchess George of Russia’s Hospital, Harrogate.
  • St Luke’s War Hospital, Halifax.
  • Ranmore Military Hospital, Sheffield.

Who operated and manned these hospitals?

These military hospitals were manned and operated by the Royal Army Medical Corps and Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, supplemented by voluntary workers from a number of organisations including the Voluntary Aid Detachments, Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance and YMCA.

Links

The casualty evacuation chain

Transfers to Military Convalescent Hospitals

The Royal Army Medical Corps