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Convalescent hospital (Eastern Command)


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Hi, 
According to Charles Messenger in his Call-to-Arms (2006):
 'Once discharged from hospital in the UK, the soldier went to a convalescent hospital, which were allocated on the basis of one per home command...' Please can someone tell me which was the convalescent hospital for Eastern Command. My great uncle (7th Royal Sussex) was wounded in April 1917 and I'm trying to work out his likely destination after a known infirmary in Balham. He did nor return to France until November 1917. I'm assuming his passage would have been convalescent hospital, then command depot, then back to the Front. 
Many thanks.

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Military Convalescent Hospital, Summerdown Camp, Eastbourne, according to the LLT

 

However here the LLT gives a very long list by county of convalescent hospitals, and there's scope for confusion here (and I fall within that scope). No doubt our resident hospital experts will be along shortly, but  I think that there were differences between "military convalescent hospitals" and the others. The former catered for men "likely to become fit to return to an Expeditionary Force within a maximum of six weeks and are, at the time of the transfer, fit to be up and about" and perhaps were run by military staff, whereas the hundreds of others weren't run by the army and took care of soldiers needing longer convalescence and then assessment as to suitability for future service.

 

Perhaps Charles - who sadly died last year and is recognised as an exceptional military historian - might have been a little more explicit in this case?

 

And if I'm wrong, I humbly apologise to his soul.

 

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Hi Moonraker,
Many thanks for the prompt reply. Sorry to hear about Charles he thoroughly responded to a query of mine a couple of years ago. His Call-to-Arms is firmly among my best reads.
The LLT link talks about an anticipated six weeks recovery time at military convalescent hospitals. I'm guessing as my uncle was was out of action for seven months he may have gone from the Balham infirmary to the Eastern Command Depot in Shoreham-by-Sea for a longer period of recovery and rehabilitative training. He did have a history of TB and was only recruited at the fifth time of trying. 

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1 hour ago, Yarnold66 said:

I'm trying to work out his likely destination after a known infirmary in Balham.

 

In my very limited experience the main UK hospitals that received wounded \ accidentally injured \ sick seemed to have maintained a network of "out-hospitals" (for want of a better word), large houses where the men could be housed after their immediate medical needs had been dealt with but there were still a need for nursing attendance and possibly either a resident doctor or one shared between nearby locations. In Norfolk they seem to be a mixture of workhouse infirmaries, cottage hospitals and country houses. As the war went on some of them were upgraded to take some categories directly and the qualified medical staff expanded.

 

If a man's health then declined he would be re-admitted to the hub hospital as that was the nature of the relationship. If they recovered sufficiently to no longer need nursing care beyond a light touch, they would be despatched to a convalescence camp - probably by the sea like the one at Shoreham. Those without even that need get two weeks leave and then told to report to the regimental depot. From the depot they would be posted to a home-service battalion for refresher training and medical board assessments.

 

A side loop in the process might be those with long term illnesses like TB, where they might well be packed off to the local country TB sanatorium for treatment.

 

If you haven't done so already, it may be worth checking newspapers covering his home area, as they may report on his whereabouts as part of a local news report.

 

Most of that limited experience comes from service papers for Australian soldiers who spent time at either the Norfolk War Hospital or the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital, or coroners inquest reports on individuals who had been moved on from those two hospitals and the one at Great Yarmouth into the 'out-hospitals" and then had died suddenly - so apologies if I'm making 2+2=5 !

 

Not sure how you would go about identifying such locations with regard to the Balham Hospital, but I suspect for a chunk of the 7 months from wounding to return to France this is the sort of place where he would have been recuperating.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Peter

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