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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Hospital Blues WW1


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Guest cybergranny

Having 'googled ' Hospital Blues I am rather confused? Who actually wore them? If patients Why?

Could anyone point me in the right direction to find out more??

Thanks in anticipation

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I'm not an expert, but this is a bit of what I've found.

Hospital blues were worn by the soldier patient. They were a blue pajama like uniform with a red tie. Based on my research of accounts from the time, I think there were a few factors behind the use of this distinctive hospital uniform. At that time there was a great deal of pressure on men to enlist, and even hospital patients wished to make it clear that they were serving with the army. This hospital uniform was therefore worn with pride.

I also think that the wearing of some type of distinctive dress may have been tied in with maintaining a group spirit. Another angle is that there may have been a disciplinary element - men might be recognized when sneaking out of the hospital. I am not certain about this, but it is a possibility. But I think that perhaps men often wished to get out for a drink, and the uniform would have made that a bit more difficult to achieve. Also, once in "uniform" they would be expected to maintain military discipline.

Roses of No Man's Land by Lyn Macdonald is an excellent book on the subject of war era nursing and patient care.

Here are a couple of pictures -

Wounded Tommies - 1916 book

Tommy in Hospital Blues with poem - postcard for charity

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Take a look at this thread: "Hospitals in the United Kingdom, Can we build up a list?" Some people have posted photos of certain hospitals, which show wounded soldiers in "Hospital Blues" - Blue uniform, white shirt, red tie.

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i read the other day in the trenches exhibition in newcastle (i think) that hospital blues were reissued to mental patients post war.....

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  • 8 years later...

Hi all, I also have a question on this point, so far all the talk has been about soldiers in the hospital blues, how about sailors..... were the blues the same & was the tie the same colour for them? Thanks

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I'm not an expert, but this is a bit of what I've found.

Hospital blues were worn by the soldier patient. They were a blue pajama like uniform with a red tie. Based on my research of accounts from the time, I think there were a few factors behind the use of this distinctive hospital uniform. At that time there was a great deal of pressure on men to enlist, and even hospital patients wished to make it clear that they were serving with the army. This hospital uniform was therefore worn with pride.

Nothing to do with this. Hospital blues were introduced at the time of the Crimean war and had been standard army hospital wear ever since as numerous Victorian and Edwardian photographs testify

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