Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

BabaAndrew

Fargo Military Hospital, 1917-1919

Recommended Posts

BabaAndrew

Would anyone know if there are records of Fargo Military Camp anywhere? I am particularly interested in knowing if any lists of patients have survived, for the period 1917-19. Any help appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
seaJane

Hospital Records Database online may know, but don't get your hopes up too much:

http://wellcomelibrary.org/about-us/about-the-collections/archives-and-manuscripts/finding-medical-archives-elsewhere/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

My own search for Fargo in this database produced just one hit, and that was to the site in 1914 before a hospital was built there. Presumably the hospital catered for the 35,000 or so men based in the Lark Hill complex of camps, and some patients who didn't survive are buried in Durrington Cemetery. I've never been able to find out much about it and have never come across an image of it. (A local photographer, the grandson of T L Fuller who produced many postcards of the Amesbury area, has one print that he thinks might show inside the building.) I doubt very much whether patient lists survive, but there are many references to Australian patients

here

Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

There are no surviving admission and discharge registers for the hospital - almost all A&D registers for military hospitals were destroyed. Tracing patients from casualty lists and other brief sources (as above) is about the most you can hope for. My only other piece of irrelevant information is that for a large part of the war the Matron was Margaret Hepple.

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BabaAndrew

Thank you very much for the insights!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FullerAmesbury

This snap from an album has recently come to light. A Sister Harris at Fargo Hospital 15 Feb 1918.

Facebook: Barrows Biplane & Bombers

Edited by FullerAmesbury

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Nice one, but what a pity there aren't any hospital buildings in the background!

 

Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Very odd. I've just acquired a contemporary plan of the "Ratfyn and Rollestone Railway" - in effect the Lark Hill Military Railway - dated September 1916. It shows "Fay's Branch" heading southward and past "Fay's Hospital" - on the site of Fargo Hospital.

 

I've never come across this title before. All I can think was that it was named after the famous railwayman Sam Fay, who had been Superintendent of the Line at the London & South Western Railway (which served the nearby civilian stations of Bulford and Amesbury). In 1911, Fay joined the Ports and Transit Executive Committee bringing together the railway managers of six principal railway companies to examine the problem of feeding London in the event of enemy action on the south coast. On the outbreak of  War, Fay was appointed to the Railway Executive Committee. He was obviously much respected, as at the beginning of 1917 became Director of Movements at the War Office, an experience which he was to write about in his book The War Office at War.

 

So I can understand a railway branch being named after him, but a military hospital? The locality had been known as Fargo before the war and though I don't have a date for the building of the hospital, I have a reference to it as Fargo in summer 1916.

 

 

Moonraker

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
edwin astill

So I can understand a railway branch being named after him, but a military hospital? The locality had been known as Fargo before the war.

 

Perhaps the use of "Fay's Hospital" was just a shorthand - hospital along Fay's Branch of the railway - rather than a tribute to the railway fellow.   If a number of sources refer to Fargo Hospital one rather assumes this was its official name.  Could it have operated under other names as well?

 

Edwin

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jo morris

I have a photo in my Grandparents’ photo album labeled Fargo Hospital 1918. The only ‘injury’ I know my Grandfather had was malaria, so I am guessing that is what he was there for. 

E6941615-B0D7-4ABE-85F8-DA411C026C6D.jpeg

97E3DF1B-8425-4674-8484-7A97777FF188.jpeg

CA556E44-A55E-4D35-9B56-8A32FA6F3AB3.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)

Super photos Jo, thank you for posting them.  The inside shows a typical hut of a standard type that was used when building all the camps from scratch on Salisbury Plain and in and around the villages between Salisbury and Warminster and Salisbury and Amesbury.  In many cases the earliest huts were erected by the soldiers themselves as they were built to be a kit and relatively easy to assemble.  The huts were all intended to have rows of beds inside so they were relatively easy to convert into hospital wards, except that the hospital beds did not fold in half as the normal military beds did during the day.

I have strong memories of the Fargo camp area, as for around 8-years I visited the ammunition compound that was built either, near where the hospital was, or on a part of its footprint, I am unsure which, several times a week.  I then returned at the end of the day's firing with the empty containers after the local artillery range had ceased firing for the day.  Sometimes it would be very late at night if we'd been practising night firing with coordinated illumination.  I knew that there'd been a WW1 camp there and used to bore the pants off my comrades telling them about it....

Edited by FROGSMILE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE
Posted (edited)
On 05/02/2019 at 20:08, Moonraker said:

Very odd. I've just acquired a contemporary plan of the "Ratfyn and Rollestone Railway" - in effect the Lark Hill Military Railway - dated September 1916. It shows "Fay's Branch" heading southward and past "Fay's Hospital" - on the site of Fargo Hospital.

 

I've never come across this title before. All I can think was that it was named after the famous railwayman Sam Fay, who had been Superintendent of the Line at the London & South Western Railway (which served the nearby civilian stations of Bulford and Amesbury). In 1911, Fay joined the Ports and Transit Executive Committee bringing together the railway managers of six principal railway companies to examine the problem of feeding London in the event of enemy action on the south coast. On the outbreak of  War, Fay was appointed to the Railway Executive Committee. He was obviously much respected, as at the beginning of 1917 became Director of Movements at the War Office, an experience which he was to write about in his book The War Office at War.

 

So I can understand a railway branch being named after him, but a military hospital? The locality had been known as Fargo before the war and though I don't have a date for the building of the hospital, I have a reference to it as Fargo in summer 1916.

 

 

Moonraker

 

 

 

My guess is that perhaps Fay had been the one who specifically approved the branch line to be built servicing the hospital at Fargo, but that is mere conjecture of course.  Nonetheless it seems to me that the branch line and the hospital it served being named after him is no coincidence.

 

From my knowledge of the lie of the land therabouts I'd say that the photo below was taken from the Bustard side of the Packway (main track) with the hospital in the background on its far side and she is facing towards the artillery impact area.

 

Fargo Hospital 2.jpg

Edited by FROGSMILE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BullerTurner

I was unaware of Fargo’s previous existence as a hospital.  Every day is indeed a school day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker
18 hours ago, Jo morris said:

I have a photo in my Grandparents’ photo album labeled Fargo Hospital 1918. The only ‘injury’ I know my Grandfather had was malaria, so I am guessing that is what he was there for.

With the transfer of units from Salonika to France, soldiers returned home with malaria. At the end of 1916 and the beginning of 1917, the War Office considered and approved a scheme for all cases of malaria in the United Kingdom to be concentrated in each Command in special malaria wards under specially qualified medical officers, advised by special consultants in malaria, charged with giving the best treatment already known (involving quinine) and endeavouring by their own cumulative experience, to produce reliable scientific results as to the best form of future treatment. As soon as a man became fit for category B(ii) (apart from his malarial condition) he was sent of draft leave before proceeding to France. The centre at Lark Hill could accommodate 1,220 men. Two cases at Lark Hill are described by  C W J Brasher et al., "A Report On Two Cases Of Encephalitis Lethargica," The British Medical Journal, vol 1, no  3050, 1919, pp733–73. The first case had been transferred from Southern Command Malarial Centre at Lark Hill, the second had been in the army for a month and was aged only 16.

 

I think that the reference to the centre being able to accommodate 1,220 refers to the overall capacity for all medical conditions. The Barracks Book 1921 refers to the hospital having 1,200 beds. During the 1920s the buildings were used by RAF officers based at the balloon school at Rollestone and by 1929 had been renamed "Fargo Lodge".

 

It certainly looks like the Packway in the photo of the nurse, the telegraph poles being one indicator.

 

Nice pics of inside the hut, by  the way. I'm still looking for one (or more) of the hospital exterior.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE

Very interesting about the Malaria, Moonraker, thank you for posting.  Where can one get a copy of the barracks book for 1921?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

I wish I knew! It was cited several times by N D G James in Plain Soldiering. Very early in my own researches, c1997, I put it on my "shopping list" of publications to consult, but never tracked down a copy. Mind you, that was in the very early in the days of the Web, which I didn't get around to until c2000. It appears to have been a yearly publication.

 

I've just done the briefest of Googles, with no luck, but perhaps details lurk in the catalogue of some archive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
domsim

Couple of Ordnance survey images 1926 1:10560 for context and detail from 1924 1:2500

 

cheers

Dom.

fargo 2.JPG

fargo.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moonraker

Useful, thanks for posting these maps. I'd seen them before, but hadn't bothered to look closely at the segment showing the hospital. Note also the narrow-gauge railway (under "Knighton Down") that transported shells delivered by the Larkhill Military Railway to Hamilton Battery. And the sewage works horrifying close to the Cursus (at bottom). A pipe carried the sewage over the ancient earthwork and discharged it on the southern side. There's an aerial photo (b & w, of course) showing a rather nasty stain.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
domsim

Yes amazing-we take 1st year archaeology students up there every year for a walk (not this year though!) and always amazing to think what was there. The camp ghost still shows on GoogleEarth

fargo_2017.jpg

fargo_2017b.jpg

fargo_2017c.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FROGSMILE

Very interesting, thank you both.  It shows that the ammunition compound that I knew was just at the entrance to the access road from packway to hospital and so further away than I’d imagined.

 

For Moonraker:  comments about barracks book noted, thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
303man

Here you can clearly see the path of the railway. 2014 

FARGO HOSPITAL SITE.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...