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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Shell Shock, Leavesden Hospital, Edmund Hussey


Urs

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One of 9 related men in the London 'Hussey' family, Edmund served in The Great War. We cannot find any attestation papers on Ancestry or official documents at all but his nephews served mainly in the London Regiments. Edmund's living relatives tell me that Edmund was admitted to Leavesden Hospital with Shell Shock in 1918 aged 44 years, and his death certificate records him having died there in 1955 aged 81 years.

Any help to finding some documentation would be most appreciated.

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  • 1910

    Age: 36

    3 Holland Place Chambers, Kensington South, England

    Electoral register

  • 1911

    Age: 37

    3 Holland Place Chambers, Kensington

    Undertaker and employer.

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Only Edmund Hussey listed at NA.

Medal card of Hussey, Edmund Corps:

Hampshire Regiment Regiment No: 31880

Labour Corps 489381

If its not him could have been an officer ????

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Let me try and be tactful - could shell shock have been a family cover story? I lived for a time between Bedmond, Kings and Abbots Langley close to the site of the hospital and met many people who had worked there. i was unaware that it had ever been used for shell shock victims. It's primary role had been to look after what today would be referred to as those with profound learning difficulties providing long term residential care rather than psychiatric services, 44 would have made him a rather old soldier to be on active service but it is the sort of .age when someone who had previously been looked after by his relatives (who would be ageing) might need to go into residential care. In 1918 there was much more stigma associated with such conditions and shell shock was a much easier reason to give to people. It would explain the lack of any TNA record and no MIC

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It's an idea, Centurion, but if the record for him on the 1911 census record above is him and is correct, I'm not sure how his position as an undertaker and employer would mesh with that theory?

Just another idea, but if Leavesden was a mis-hear for Neasden, would that make a difference?

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It's an idea, Centurion, but if the record for him on the 1911 census record above is him and is correct, I'm not sure how his position as an undertaker and employer would mesh with that theory?

Just another idea, but if Leavesden was a mis-hear for Neasden, would that make a difference?

I suspect that the undertaker was his employer. An undertaker's mute was a traditional source of employment for those with cognitive problems - essentially another of those vanished trades.

Did Neasden have a hospital with long term residential capability? Leavesden was a self contained little world with its own farm on which some of the residents worked, workshops etc as well as it's own hospital within a hospital.When someone went into Leavesden they weren't expected to come out again under their own steam.

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I suspect that the undertaker was his employer.

No, he was the undertaker and employer according to 1911 census entry.

Steve

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I knew 2 women who worked at Leavesden [both now deseased] who spoke of mental patients. Local people called it the loony bin.

If the man in question was from London I would have thought he would have been in a 'hospital' in that area so as to be near relatives.

I found a mans records that I thought may him him. Lived Bushey, Watford.

Unfortunately wrong man.

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I knew 2 women who worked at Leavesden [both now deseased] who spoke of mental patients. Local people called it the loony bin.

Yes people do say some incredibly stupid things

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Thank you all,


Edmund Hussey’s death certificate confirmed that he died at Leavesden Hospital, Abbots Langley, Hertfordshire with his previous occupation being that of Estate Agent which we have records for prior to the 1911 census and his career as an undertaker. In 1911 he was a Licensed Victualler- Living in the premises with his wife and 1 month old son. Employing 3 barmen, 1 housemaid and a nurse presumably to help with his baby. The age thing is interesting as I had thought him rather old but then his older brother Henry also served and died in action in 1916.


I am interested in the idea that Edmund may not have served. Another brother, Thomas was recorded in his old school magazine as have died in 1916 with the assumption that he was killed in action but he died in London following surgery for a spinal tumour. So your idea has just made me consider another possibility.


I’ve looked at the Hampshire regiment Hussey but of course there is no way of knowing without an address - on balance as the rest of the family signed up to local London Regiments I suspect Ed would have too.


Hmm - more ideas to consider………….


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My point being that it was known as a mental hospital. It had a graveyard at EastLane. I think it is still there. The hospital site is now housing.

Some patients were there for years. I don't have dates but at some time young girls who had a baby were put there.

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My point being that it was known as a mental hospital. It had a graveyard at EastLane. I think it is still there. The hospital site is now housing.

Some patients were there for years. I don't have dates but at some time young girls who had a baby were put there.

There was a belt of Hospitals in Hertfordshire from Leavesdon to St Allbans all serving patients with long term issues and all labelled Mental Hospitals in their titles and all called loony bins by many unthinking half wits who lived in the vicinity. In fact they specialised in all sorts of conditions.My wife's mother worked on the staff of a number of them. Leavesdon originally had the title of Imbeciles Asylum but that was a bit too strong even for the Victorians and dementia was first substituted and then just mental hospital but look at any history of the place and you'll find that it specialised in long term residential care of those with reduced capacities. They were positioned where they were because land was cheap when they were set up but the railway system meant that they could easily be visited from London. They don't appear to have played much part in WW1 because they already had long term residents who had nowhere else to go and they lost staff to munitions factories and the forces so most of then had to close wards during the war.

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I am not sure if it played any part for the military during WW1. I think it was originally a place for imbeciles who were not thought to be a danger to others.

It grew a lot of its own food and the patients were used as labour.

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