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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Broadwater Hospital, Ipswich

Soup Dragon

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Hi everyone

I have had a photo album presented to the Walsall archives from a volunteer. It was from a family member (Private Wilkes) who was in the Warwicks and wounded at the Somme (severe arm injury). The donor said it was Broadwater Hospital in Ipswich, however, the identifiable pictures are of the exterior, interior, nursing staff etc from Birmingham University, when it was a hospital. I was seeking help with a few questions:-

In general, does anyone have any information on Broadwater at all?

I take it postcards and just general pictures would be given to patients as keepsakes, or for writing - as i have seen one picture (not of postcard size) duplicated on the Univeristy wbsite?

Would i be right in thinking that after initial surgery at Broadwater, he may have been moved up to Brum to convalesce?

If anyone is interested in taking a look at the album feel free to drop in at the History Centre - i have notified my colleagues at the University archive as well.

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It's hard to see how these two places actually fit together. Broadwater Hospital, Ipswich, was a 43 bedded auxiliary hospital, so quite small, and under the control of the Joint War Committee (British Red Cross Society and St. John). As an auxiliary hospital of that size it would never have admitted patients direct or performed anything other than minor surgery. It was under the control of Colchester Military Hospital from where it would have received its patients. So if this man was in Broadwater Hospital (and I'm not sure what the evidence is for that) he would have first been a patient in Colchester, where he would have been assessed and treated until well enough to be transferred out to the auxiliary unit. Colchester and Birmingham came under different Command areas - Colchester being Eastern Command and Birmingham, Southern Command. Men who had severe wounds and were in hospital over many months were sometimes transferred nearer home, so possible that he ended up in Birmingham for that reason, but would almost certainly gone through Colchester>Broadwater first.


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  • 2 weeks later...

It's hard to see how these two places actually fit together.


Hi Sue - thank you for your reply - i completely agree with you, but the depositor is adamant that her family went to Ipswich to see him. I can only take their account when writing the description of the item - i am just happy to have it more than anything!


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  • 2 years later...
Guest family_cat

Broadwater Military Hospital was on the Belstead Road in Ipswich. It is listed as one of 33 Red Cross hospitals in Suffolk:


It can be viewed on google maps/satellite as 161/153 Belstead Road.

I have also tagged it on Britain From Above:


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  • 2 months later...

Hi Everyone,

I have an autograph book of my Great Aunt who worked as a nurse at Broadwater Hospital. Some entries are for her dated around 1907, but she has some beautiful poems, pictures and words from patients staying at Broadwater during WW1.

It's such a waste to have it sitting on a shelf, so I wondered if you thought a museum might be interested in it?

Many thanks

Katy Griffin

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