Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Field Hospital near Coxyde


Peter Bennett

Recommended Posts

Peter Bennett

I am researching a soldier who died in July 1917 and is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery, a letter to his mother from a Sister L H Paterson in the  hospital where he died states it has 1600 beds but I cannot seem to find one in that area.

 

All help gratefully received

Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Bennett
1 hour ago, ss002d6252 said:

Who was the man ?

 

Craig

LITTLEWOOD, AUSTIN

Rank:
Private
Service No:
1604
Date of Death:
15/07/1917
Regiment/Service:
King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
 
2nd Bn.
Grave Reference:
I. H. 18.
Cemetery:
COXYDE MILITARY CEMETERY
Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter

Have you looked at the CWGC site which gives the history of the cemetery. If the hospital had 1600 beds then it must have been a base hospital. I think you are going to have to look a bit further afield around Coxyde to see where the main hospitals were.

 

Pete

Link to post
Share on other sites

The British may have brought forward a major hospital when they took over the coastal sector in June 1917, in which case I would look for it somewhere around Adinkerke, which was out of range of all but the Germans' long-range naval guns (emplaced north of the Yser).  It would not make sense for a large hospital to send its dead for burial any significant distance nearer to the front line ... but if your man's unit was in the forward coastal area, it might perhaps have claimed his body for burial with their other casualties in the recently-opened cemetery at Coxyde.  Coxyde, at that time, was mainly used to bury casualties brought back from the front line under cover of darkness.

 

Is there any doubt about the figure of '1600' beds?  Prior to the British takeover in June 1917, wounded from the Belgian positions further inland and from the British naval siege guns on the coast were taken to the much smaller hospital in Furnes/Veurne. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Peter Bennett
2 hours ago, petestarling said:

Peter

Have you looked at the CWGC site which gives the history of the cemetery. If the hospital had 1600 beds then it must have been a base hospital. I think you are going to have to look a bit further afield around Coxyde to see where the main hospitals were.

 

Pete

Thank you but that's the problem, I cannot find any in that area.

2 hours ago, SiegeGunner said:

The British may have brought forward a major hospital when they took over the coastal sector in June 1917, in which case I would look for it somewhere around Adinkerke, which was out of range of all but the Germans' long-range naval guns (emplaced north of the Yser).  It would not make sense for a large hospital to send its dead for burial any significant distance nearer to the front line ... but if your man's unit was in the forward coastal area, it might perhaps have claimed his body for burial with their other casualties in the recently-opened cemetery at Coxyde.  Coxyde, at that time, was mainly used to bury casualties brought back from the front line under cover of darkness.

 

Is there any doubt about the figure of '1600' beds?  Prior to the British takeover in June 1917, wounded from the Belgian positions further inland and from the British naval siege guns on the coast were taken to the much smaller hospital in Furnes/Veurne. 

The 1600 is anecdotal based on a newspaper entry. Maybe I need to look up Adinkerke

Link to post
Share on other sites

To be honest, I don't think you're going to find a big hospital much before Dunkirk.  The sector was relatively quiet until the British replaced the French in June 1917 and started feeding in artillery and infantry in preparation for the coastal component of 3rd Ypres.  They must have brought medical facilities with them, but there was nowhere safe to put a hospital further forward than Adinkerke, as the terrain was mainly open dunes and polder, swept by German artillery by day and (in the forward part) by machine-gun barrages by night.

 

Mick

Link to post
Share on other sites

L'Ambulance de L'Océan (Field Hospital) at De Panne (not to be confused with the Hospitaal L'Océan at Vinkem where Joe English died) had nearly 2,000 beds at its peak. Though over 150 of the staff were British I don't know whether the British Army ever utilised it. A possibility perhaps?

 

Dave

Link to post
Share on other sites

Peter,

I think Croonaert is right with the hospital at De Panne.

Two RNAS pilots who died in hospital after bad crashes were taken to De Panne.

FSLt Neville Frames of A Sqn 1Wing took off from Furnes Aerodrome for a raid on

Zeebrugge, but on his return got lost in thick fog ,and crashed into a house at Adinkerke.

He was badly injured, and died in hospital in De Panne the next day 28/11/16. My

Grandfather AM1 F G Parker visited him before he died and remarked that he met

Queen Elisabeth helping out there! This observation gave me a lot of head scratching

till I realised he meant Elisabeth Queen of the Belgians!

FLT Francis Dominic Casey was stunting over Furnes Aerodrome on11/8/17 when he

crashed into the ground. He was taken to the hospital at De Panne with a skull fracture

but died and is buried in Adinkerke Military Cemetery.

Roderic Stan Dallas RNAS ace and friends also socialised with English nurses presumably

from there.Regards

Geoff

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Admin

I suspect that was is being referred to here is the XV Corps Main Dressing Station at Groote Kwinte Farm, located about 7 miles behind the front line on the road between Furnes and Coxyde. It was manned by the 91st Field Ambulance and was often referred to as a hospital in their own war diary.

 

It had 10 Adrian huts, a large number of hospital marquees, a large operating theatre and was eventually equipped to receive 1200 at one time.

 

There were 21 other rank deaths from wounds on 15th July 1917 at this Corps MDS and I would conclude that those deaths would most likely be buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery.

 

Russ

 

 

Medical Units - Nieuport Sector.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Admin

In corroboration of the above, I note that L/Cpl 203864 of the 2/KOYLI also Died of Wounds on 15th July 1917.

 

He died in the care of 91st Field Ambulance (i.e. XV Corps MDS) and is buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery.

 

Russ

 

 

 

 

203864 Perkins 91st FA.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Admin

Further to the above, the 91st FA (XV Corps MDS) War Diary records that 2/Lt (John William) Laughland, 15th Bn HLI died (SDGW states Died of Wounds) on 21/06/197 in (the) hospital. Note the use of the term hospital, which appears through the War Diary of the 91st FA during June and July 1917. 2/Lt Laughland is buried in Coxyde Military Cemetery.

 

The admissions to the XV Corps MDS (91st FA) reached a peak on 22nd July 1917 when 2343 officers and other ranks sick and wounded cases were admitted. By the end of that day, there still remained a total of 1799 officer and other rank cases being treated. Whilst I doubt they were all in nice comfortable beds, these numbers are well within the number being reported by Sister Paterson as 1600 in the OP.

 

 

2-Lt Laughland 15th HLI.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Admin

On the 3rd August 1917, the 19th Field Ambulance (33rd Division) took over the running of the XV Corps Main Dressing Station at Groote Kwinte Farm from the 91st Field Ambulance (32nd Division).

 

On the 4th August, the War Diary of the 19th FA gave a summary status of the facility, reporting that 1120 could be accommodated expandable to 1400 during active operations.

 

 

19th FA 33rd Div WD 3-4 August.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

Likewise thanks to RussT.  My own knowledge of events on the Belgian coast comes from researching the RN Siege Guns, who were in that sector throughout the war (and for much of that time were virtually the only British presence there), but I am clearly deficient when it comes to the period June-October 1917, when the British took over the sector in great force and brought up their own medical facilities.  More research required!  I must say, though, that I'm somewhat surprised to see the MDS at Groote Kwinte Farm and several CCSs in line with the RNSG's 12-inch naval gun at Adinkerke, which was engaged on numbers of occasions by the German naval gun batteries beyond the Yser. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/28/2017 at 19:44, sdparker said:

Peter,

I think Croonaert is right with the hospital at De Panne.

Two RNAS pilots who died in hospital after bad crashes were taken to De Panne.

FSLt Neville Frames of A Sqn 1Wing took off from Furnes Aerodrome for a raid on

Zeebrugge, but on his return got lost in thick fog ,and crashed into a house at Adinkerke.

He was badly injured, and died in hospital in De Panne the next day 28/11/16. My

Grandfather AM1 F G Parker visited him before he died and remarked that he met

Queen Elisabeth helping out there! This observation gave me a lot of head scratching

till I realised he meant Elisabeth Queen of the Belgians!

FLT Francis Dominic Casey was stunting over Furnes Aerodrome on11/8/17 when he

crashed into the ground. He was taken to the hospital at De Panne with a skull fracture

but died and is buried in Adinkerke Military Cemetery.

Roderic Stan Dallas RNAS ace and friends also socialised with English nurses presumably

from there.Regards

Geoff

 

I visited the location of  L'Ambulance de L'Océan on my recent trip to the region. It was founded by the Belgian Doctor Antoine Depage with the assistance of the Queen of the Belgians as you mention. My great uncle was in the Friend'S Ambulance unit which serviced it in 1915-1916. They had rail and canal links to move patients back to Dunkirk and on to England.

Depage was quite man, he was the one who successfully used the Carrel–Dakin method* for treatment of wound and prevention of Gangrene. His wife, Marie, fundraised for the hospital and was killed in the sinking of the Lusitania.

*Carrel and Dakin developed the system at a hospital at Compiegne which my great uncle's also serviced later in the war

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Admin
On ‎30‎/‎06‎/‎2017 at 08:33, SiegeGunner said:

 I must say, though, that I'm somewhat surprised to see the MDS at Groote Kwinte Farm and several CCSs in line with the RNSG's 12-inch naval gun at Adinkerke, which was engaged on numbers of occasions by the German naval gun batteries beyond the Yser. 

 

There was extensive shelling all over the back areas throughout this period.

 

The Corps Main Dressing Station was heavily shelled on August 28th and patients had to be evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Stations.

 

The three forward CCSs were located at Oosthoek, which I understand was on a siding off from Adinkerke. They comprised the 1st Canadian CCS, No 24 CCS and No 39 CCS. There were no reports of shelling throughout June, July or August but on 5th September the 1st Canadian CCS War Diary reported heavy shelling dropping 100 to 300 yards from the hospitals. It went on to record that as there was no object of military importance in the area, "it is supposed that the enemy intended to shell the group of hospitals". One shell fell 20 yards from the 24 CCS - the 24 CCS War Diary reports that two reception huts were hit but as they were not receiving at the time, there were no casualties.

 

Following this experience, it was decided to evacuate all patients from the CCSs and to stop receiving any further.

 

Russ

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...