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grantmal

No.15 General Hospital, Alexandria

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grantmal

Seeking information on the above Great War hospital in Alexandria. I've scoured the internet and come up with a fair bit of general stuff, but am keen to add to it, also to know if the buildings are still standing. No.15 was commanded by Colonel Herbert Ellison Rhodes James, whose [great?]nephew, Robert Rhodes James, wrote 'Gallipoli'.

Here's a bit of what's been gathered so far:

Egyptian Gazette, Saturday, April 3, 1915: "The Abbasia School, in the Moharrem Bey course of Alexandria, which is the finest and most up-to-date educational establishment in Egypt, is now converted into a fully equipped military hospital and all is ready for the reception of the wounded. There are nearly 800 beds ready for patients. The entire establishment is under the care of the Royal Army Medical Corps."

'Nursing in New Zealand': "No. 15th General was the first of the new hospitals to be opened by the Imperial authorities on the outbreak of hostilities in the Dardanelles. It is in an Egyptian Government school, and the large classroom dormitories, and kitchen made it easily adaptable as a hospital. A great deal had been done in fitting up operating theatres, X-ray rooms and administration offices. A separate building was used for officers and a large number of patients were in tents and marquees."

'With the R.A.M.C. in Egypt' : "Meanwhile additional hospitals were on their way out from home. No. 15 General Hospital with its equipment, stores, and personnel, reached Alexandria on March 15, and by April 1 had taken possession of the building ordinarily occupied by the Abbassieh Secondary Schools with 1,040 beds ready for the reception of sick and wounded…."

Treves inspection tour report: "Abassia Hospital -- This is the other great RAMC Hospital. It is a new building (an Egyptian secondary school) in three blocks. Has over 1000 beds. The officer in charge is Col James, and it will be admitted that it is the best arranged and best administered Hospital in Alexandria. Many of Col James' devices may well be copied in other General Hospitals."

An NZ nurse: "....we were sent on duty at No. 15 General Hospital, Alexandria. This military hospital had been opened at the beginning of April. The buildings were the Abbassieh Schools -- secondary schools under the Egyptian Government. These were built by the Germans, I believe, for a hospital; and in an old map of Alexandria I see they are charted as the German Hospitals. Probably it was before the new German hospital was built, at present termed 'No. 19 Gen'..."

No.17 General Hospital took over Victoria College -- a quick internet search turns up plenty on this establishment, as it reverted to it's former role after the war, but, unfortunately, it's all quiet on the Abbassieh Secondary School front. Any help much appreciated.

Good on you,

Grant

There are a couple of pics from the AWM, but as uploading them was taking ages I skipped it.....

post-4061-1266220161.jpg

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JoMH

Grant,

Thank you for posting this information.

I can't add to it at this stage as I haven't yet started researching this, but I am keeping a track of this as the subject of my research was much involved with hospitals in Egypt, both as a patient and as a padre working in them [though I don't know which one(s)].

If I discover anything about the hospitals mentioned, I will add it here.

Joanna

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BJanman

There was a great deficiency of nursing sisters, as Nos. 15 and 17 General Hospitals arrived without a nursing staff, on the supposition that they would be sent to the Dardanelles. The D.M.S. Egypt, consequently obtained, though the goodwill of various authorities, as many nurses as possible from civil sources and also the assistance of several ladies and a large number of nursing sisters from the Australian and New Zealand hospital units.....

No 15 General Hospital was closed in April 1918 and the personnel was transferred to Salonika to form No 64 General Hospital there.

Just a couple of snippets from the OH, which may help to build up a bigger picture.

Barbara

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rmcguirk

There are a few more snippets about No. 15 and H E R James in A Consulting Surgeon in the Near East by A H Tubby, plus a lot of general information about the medical services in Alexandria and at Gallipoli. By the way, Muharram Bey district, where the Abbasia Secondary School was (at least until the 1950s) is just below the main Railway Station, or about a kilometer S of the Eastern Harbour.

Most of the Tubby snippets should be considered “colour” rather than directly relevant to the running of No. 15.

(p 141) Among the staff of No. 15 General Hospital... there happened to be a considerable amount of musical and dramatic talent; and the OC, Lt-Col H E R James, who was happily able to obtain the best results, both in work and play, from his staff, organised the 15th General Hospital Musical and Dramatic Society. Capt John Darling and Capt Delmege are musical executants of a high order, and with the many trained voices at their disposal fine renderings of classical and other compositions were given. In Lance-Corporal Nugent Monck, RAMC, a veritable mine of artistic and dramatic talent exists. With the encouragement and aid of the OC and of the staff he and his friends produced no less than fifteen plays between April 1 1916 and February 1918; the musical section, too, of the Society gave 21 choral concerts. These entertainments were designed primarily for the patients, who, with the nursing staff, constituted the “first and second-nighters,” whilst to a subsequent performance friends of the staff were invited. [and thus it goes on for another 2 pages].

Russell

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grantmal

Thanks everyone for their replies.

Russell, can I ask where your info about the location of Abbassieh School came from?

Thanks again,

Grant

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rmcguirk

Grant

I found a pdf file online with the following information

“Professor Khalil was born in the district of Karmouz (one of Alexandria’s old neighborhoods) in March 5th, 1938. He obtained his primary school certificate from Fuad I school in 1949, and his secondary school education certificate (science section) in 1953 from the Abbassia Secondary school at Moharram Bek. He also obtained a secondary school education certificate (with specialization) from the Abbassia Secondary school in 1954.”

If you would like to see the whole page, you can google the following and it should come right up:

To: Mr. Ahmed ElBerry – “Ahram Post” From: Mina Badie Abdel Malek

The Moharram Bek quarter is also called Moharram Bey or Muharram Bey. I have a map of Alexandria from a 1911 Baedecker, which shows a secondary school in the middle of Muharram Bey, but I’m afraid it doesn’t tell us which secondary school it is. It does, however, consist of 3 main buildings / blocks as per your description of No 15 General Hospital. On the enclosed map you’ll find it marked Ecole Secondaire just a little bit SSE of the mid-point of the map and below the black solid line (railroad tracks leading to the “Gare du Caire” station).

If this is the site you’re looking for, the buildings would appear to be still there. There is a google map of Alexandria at <http://24timezones.com/mapa/alexandria.php>, which clearly shows the same buildings. I’m rather cack-handed at producing illustrations on the GWF website, and I fear my offerings will not be as clear as I would like. I’ll post the relevant section of the google map, separately. If you would like higher resolution versions, send me a PM with your email address and I’ll attach them in normal fashion.

Hope this helps,

Russell

post-29366-1266500991.jpg

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rmcguirk

post-29366-1266501144.jpg

From Google Map of Muharram Bey

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grantmal

I note that one of the pics I gave up trying to post has miraculously appeared.....

Thanks Russell, PM on the way.

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rmcguirk

Grant

Here is some more evidence that the secondary school buildings on the Baedecker map are indeed the site of your hospital. Another fortuitous internet find gives the following sentence:

... à l'encerclement de la butte d'Al Abbassieh à Muharram Bey par l'armée ...

If you look on the map, you’ll see that the un-named school is on a hill, and the above clearly refers to “the Abbassia hill in Muharram Bey”.

I’ve also had a look at the second AUM photo of No 15 General Hospital – the one that is not in your first posting. To me the large building in the photo looks like the bottom building in the google map picture; and the 2 smaller buildings to the right of it appear also to be there in the google picture.

Thanks for the PM. The better photos coming shortly.

Regards,

Russell

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grantmal

Thanks for the pics via PM, Russell, and also your internet sleuthing.

It's interesting to note that those buildings, which I tend to agree, on the evidence uncovered so far, appear to be the former Abassieh Secondary School/No.15 General Hospital, are on Rue de L'Hopital des Diaconnessess, or Deaconess Hospital Street.

Although New Zealand nurse Edna Pengelly, who arrived at No.15 in June 1915, wrote that the hospital buildings "were built by the Germans, I believe, for a hospital; and in an old map of Alexandria I see they are charted as the German hospitals. Probably it was before the new German hospital was built....", the British Medical Journal of May 16, 1908, carried an article entitled "English hospital work in Egypt", which reads in part: "By an arrangement between the British Government and the authorities of the German Deaconesses Hospital at Alexandria, the English Consular surgeon, Dr Morrison, has permanent charge of half the 50 beds which the hospital contains... The accommodation at the present hospital has long been quite inadequate, and patients have constantly to be refused admission, so that beds had to be made up in the general sitting-room and also in the doctor's room. A site has been secured for a new hospital in a healthy position, and by the sale of the present building and site £35,000 has been secured towards the erection of a new hospital..."

It's quite obvious that the three large buildings of the Abassieh Secondary School, which, when converted to the No. 15 General Hospital, had over 1000 beds, are not the original Deaconess Hospital of 50 beds, but it is possible they were built on the same site. The BMJ article contained a picture of the new Deaconess hospital under construction --

post-4061-1266742476.jpg

which was later renamed the Anglo-Suisse Hospital, and is today -- according to this website: http://www.aaha.ch/photos/hospital-diaconessess.htm -- the University Hospital El Hadari.

The website also has a photograph purported to be the first (in fact second) Deaconess Hospital, although it appears much too large a building to only contain 50 beds.

Back to (the probable site of) Abassieh Secondary School/No.15 General Hospital -- wikimapia.org shows the three buildings now being used by Alexandria University's Faculty of Science.

Next step is to find someone in Alexandria with a camera and a little spare time....

Good on you,

Grant

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rmcguirk
It's quite obvious that the three large buildings of the Abassieh Secondary School, which, when converted to the No. 15 General Hospital, had over 1000 beds, are not the original Deaconess Hospital of 50 beds, but it is possible they were built on the same site. The BMJ article contained a picture of the new Deaconess hospital under construction --

The website also has a photograph purported to be the first (in fact second) Deaconess Hospital, although it appears much too large a building to only contain 50 beds.

Grant,

The new Deaconess (in 1908) was way off to the East, about 1.4 kilometers away from the Abbassia mound where we think the No 15 Gen Hosp was. On the first map below you’ll see it between reference points 3 and 4 on the right edge of my pre-WWI map (1911 Baedeker).

The second map is from an 1895 Baedeker, and the Abbassia mound has a small fort on it (“fortin”); and just above the fort about 100 meters away and NOT on the mound is the single building earlier Deaconess Hospital – and I should think that’s the building that had the 50 beds.

Thank you for bringing our attention to that Alexandria website with all the photos.

Regards,

Russell

post-29366-1266782930.jpg

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rmcguirk

Map showing earlier Deaconess H in 1890s.

post-29366-1266783126.jpg

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grantmal

Thanks for the maps, Russell. Glad the second one confirmed some of the ramblings of #11.

I had a read of E M Forster's 'Alexandria -- A History & Guide' (1922), written during his time in Alexandria with the RAMC, and was able to follow his travels about the city on your 1911 Baedeker. Moharram Bey, unfortunately, hardly rates a mention.

Grant

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airman

I'm researching WW1 RAMC Private William Victor Greenwood service # 10959. Quote from his note book "Left Aldershot 17/5/15: Sailed 19/5/15: Landed Lamnos Island 29/5/15: Left Lamnos for Embros 2/8/15: Arrived Embros Island 2/8/15: Left Embros Island for Suvla Bay 6/8/15: Landed Suvla Bay 6/8/15: Left Suvla Bay for Embros (no date): Left Embros for Alexandria 24/12/15: Arrived Alexandria 1/1/16: Left Alex for Port Said 16/1/17. Arrived Port Said 16/1/17."

. His notebook also records the death of a private J.H. Farrell of the 1/6th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 6/11/1917. The War Graves Commission records this soldier’s death as occurring during the attack on Beersheba. it is therefore possible that William V Greenwood was in a Field Ambulance Unit the vicinity of Beersheba during that campaign. Is there a history of that campaign detailing the RAMC's contribution?

The last page of his notebook contains the following entries: "Pte A ? Walker; 3rd Batt' Kings Own Royal Lancasters; Plymouth "First week in Nov, Pay stopped 11/11/15".

N0:-3802 Lanc Sergt Thomas Mayrune ? 13 Coy 6 Platoon 2 Batt Royal Irish Fusiliers Exp Force Egypt 28/1/18." (the question marks are mine)

He was a Burnley resident in 1911 and lived in Blackpool once he returned to civilian life. Although I have his Medal Card I've been unable to find his attestation or discharge papers.

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grantmal

A further description of No.15 General, from Driver GEA Russell, 3rd Field Ambulance, who was a patient there in Nov 1915:

"In the main No. 15 General is comprised of three separate brick edifices, rectangular in shape, and standing one behind the other, with buildings of lesser note surrounding. Each of these three buildings rises three stories high, is broad passaged, well ventilated, and floored, and roofed flat in concrete. Out on the roof you reach spaciousness and balm, with Alexander's ancient city and the congested underworld spread beneath, and to be got for 5 minutes climb from your cot. Of course, if strength and virility for the ascent of three flights of marble stairs be wanting, one must perforce await recuperation to convalescence for such as this...."

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JoMH

A thorough description, giving a real sense of the place. Thank you.

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Pedr

G'day Ladies and Gentlemen,

Firstly, thank you for this site and the insights that you have given me.

I was searching for more information on 15 General Hospital Alexandria, when I stumbled across this forum. Those of you whom have posted here, although it was quite some time ago, have aided me greatly in my search. I have been made an administrator for a facebook page called "Raising the First Contingent 1914", a site constructed as a part of an ANZAC Centenary Commemoration Event that will take place in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. on the 13-14th of September, 2014.

A picture was posted on this page of a young man from Tasmania, Australia, whom enlisted at Morphettville, South Australia in 1914.

Below is the text with the photo.

"This is a photograph of Jesse Smart , service no.100 from the Weekly Courier , who enlisted in the 10th Battalion on the 19th of August 1914 at Morphettville. He died on the 15th of May at No.15 General Hospital, Alexandria from wounds he received at Gallipoli. He was from Wynyard Tasmania and I am researching him because he is on The Mt. Hicks Roll of Honour that I hope to write a book on. He was the only one of them that enlisted out of Tasmania. I was hoping to find more pictures of him."

I immediately began to research this hospital and found original photos on the website http://www.qaranc.co.uk/, that had reportedly been found in a steel trunk by someones late relative. One of the photos is marked "15 General Hospital, Egypt".

It was then that I found your forum, and this thread. Using some of the information on this site I was able through Google Earth (Unfortunately without Streetview for some reason) to locate the same buildings mentioned in posts above mine. Google lists these buildings as "The Alexandria University - Moharram Bey faculty of Science" According to their website it has been used as this since 1942. (this can be read using Google Translate)

I was able to find an image of the buildings. I think this is the third building in the group. The most southerly.
If you are able to, comparing the windows of the buildings in both photographs shows that they have the same keystones and arch over the windows.
Some opinion would be greatly appreciated
Pedr.

post-112601-0-06902300-1405873055_thumb.

post-112601-0-03997700-1405873578_thumb.

post-112601-0-57365100-1405875593_thumb.

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liliasodell

I don't know if this is relevant to your research, but I've recently found reference to a convalescent area in a 'corner' at Mustapha Camp in Alex. Which, for me, fills in one question from my grandfather's records, which has him down as being at 'Mustapha' after being in hospital at Giza - something which had be stumping me for some time!

He was also in hospital at Alex in May 1918 ...but I don't have more info on that other than the dates (and reason), which are on the pension records.

Eljo

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rocknrollnobody

How about this?

My Great Grandfather was RAMC, and was at No.15 General Hospital, Egypt. He sent my G.Grandmother a postcard of the Hospital.

See attached

post-108781-0-80419600-1409961886_thumb.

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CS_Alexandria

Dear all,
This a postcard is fantastic !!

I'm new in this forum, and no-specialist for the WW1. I'm working for topic of WW1 at Alexandria in Egypt.
And now, I would like to localize the hospitals during the War.
Do-you know if it's possible to have the list of the General Hospitals in Alexandria. Thanks to this forum I have now more information for the 15th and the 21st General Hospitals.
But I found mention for the 78th General Hospital and 87th General and but I don't know which one it was.

Thanks in advance for your support.
Best regards
Cécile

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grantmal

Bit late but thanks for the wonderful pics at #18 and #20.

The AWM now has a treasure trove of No.15 General Hospital photos from SN Gawler, QAIMNSR, at:

https://www.awm.gov.au/search/all/?query=P10636&op=Search&format=list&section%5B%5D=collections

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CS_Alexandria
Thanks the reference of AWM archives... There are a lot beautiful photos for different hospitals at Alexandria.


Rocknrollnobody, the postcard #18, from your Great Grandfather is wonderfull!

I should finish very soon my research about alexandrian hospitals during WW1. Is-it possible to insert this postcard in my paper, that would be published by French Center Research for historical research about Alexandria (CNRS, CEAlex, www.cealex.org). We will publish a book about Alexandria during WW1, after the exhibition we did last year (you could see and download the panels on http://alexandrie1914-1918.cealex.org/).


At last, in this page there is photo #1, which is refered on AWM web site (photo H00894, see also photo H00895), to "15th Australian General Hospital". I was supposed that this hospital should (or could) be different than the 15th British General Hospital. On this page, to which one do-you, all of you, refer? British one or Australian one?

Sorry, in advance, for this stupid question


Best

Cécile

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