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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Cranham (Gloucestershire) Hospital.


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I seem to be getting a reputation for liking to do "Odd bits of research" into the Great War (and a recent one for the Boar war which was different), so am getting rather strange questions thrown my way by friends - the latest is on behalf and local history society member and relatates to his grandfather so I would like to progress it but am getting nowhere so I am shouting HELP again.

He was told that his Grandfather was a Belgian Soldier who was a patient at the Military Hospital (possibly a field hospital?) at the rear of the Royal William Hotel, Cranham. He knows that it was operational in February 1916, and catered for Belgian Soldiers.

A member of the Sheepscombe History Society had recollections of the hospital but no hard facts or information.

Someone else said the malt house at the Royal William was used to treat soldiers with polio.

The secretary of Painswick History Society knew about the Belgian soldiers and some refugees who were cared for at the Red House in Painswick by the Royal Alexander nurses. The building is still there today on the Cranham side of the town, and only a mile or so from the Royal William so I can easily imagine them using the Royal William building as an overflow.

I am aware that the 5tn Btn Gloucestershire Regiment used the Royal William (skittle alley, malt house, and tents in field behind it) but have no idea if this was related (if so the connections with Belgium soldiers seems a bit odd). There is also a contradiction between the use of the Malt house by the Glosters and as a hospital (but the date I have for the Glosters is 1915 .... had they moved out and it was being used as a hospital by Feb 1916??).

The Belgian Soldier, who was evidently known as “Wanie” or similar sounding name, recovered from his ailments at Royal William and went back to the front and was killed in action, so that doesn’t sound like he had Polio!

It is a long shot but does anybody have any more information than the "vague recolections / second (third?) hand stories" above about a hospital at Cranham in February 1916?.

After the long shot I will try a "no hoper", the information above is all that is know about the Belgian soldier grandfather. Is there anyway I could find out about Belgian soldiers in hospital in Cranham / Painswick / Gloucester in Feb 1916?.

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I work on the Gloucestershire Historic Environment Record and a site we have recorded is the Cotswold Sanatorium which is near a house called The Red House. Neither of these are actually in Painswick (they are north east of Cranham) but to be fair it is only a few miles down the road. The Royal William is probably half way between Cranham and Painswick. (As an aside, George Orwell corrected the proofs of 1984 here.)

There's a photo here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robmcrorie/10805012435/ and I have a contact at the Cranham Local History Society should you want to see if they can be of help. Drop me a pm if you want me to have a more detailed look.



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many thanks for that information. I did not think that the Cotswold Sanatorium at Painswick, which I was aware of, was related.

Item I saw about the Cotswold Sanatorium said it was on the premises known as Todd's Cottages and Pleasure Gardens, but I did not know that this was "near The Red House". As the secretary of Painswick History Society knew about Belgian soldiers and some refugees who were cared for at the Red House this seems rather a coincidence. I think we need to look at this possibility again, especially as it was open during the war so both timeframe and general location are good.

We have already been in touch with the local History Societies at Sheepscombe, Cranham & Painswick. The general feeling is that the Royal William site was an outreach from the Hospital at Painswick, it was rumoured that they were put out there as some of the Belgian troops had Polio.

Once again many thanks, and I might get back to you.


thanks for that link. Neither Cranham nor Painswick were listed, but it might come in useful in the future.


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No probs Evan.

If you have any Gloucestershire-related info let me know as I am trying to get as much WW1 information onto the HER as I can at the moment.



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