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Patient as adjutant of a hospital - rank and duties?


A Lancashire Fusilier by Proxy
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I’m not sure whether the Medical Services or Other Great War Chat Forum is the best place for these questions, but hopefully someone will tell me if I have chosen the wrong one.

On 12 September 1918, after breaking his ankle in a riding accident while on active service in France, and spending some weeks in the 2nd Southern General Hospital at Southmead, Bristol, my grandfather, Norman Hall, a captain in the Lancashire Fusiliers, was transferred to the King’s Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital  (KLMCH) in Blackpool to convalesce.

I am grateful to @brianmorris547 for this link https://amounderness.co.uk/k.l.c.h.,_squires_gate.html giving some background information about the convalescent hospital.

My grandfather wrote the following in his diary about his stay in the hospital.

“Blackpool was the centre for the King’s Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital. Squires Gate had been fitted out as a hut camp and accommodated all non-commissioned rank. Officers’ accommodation was at various Hydros taken over by the War Office, the Imperial, the Savoy, the Queen’s, South Shore, Brighton Hydro, the Majestic, St. Anne’s.

I was put into Section 1 – no duty – reporting daily at 10.30am and treatment – then free …

I was appointed a duty officer. This actually meant very little – and carried with it privileges e.g. no Roll Call Parade at Squires Gate.

Shortly after I arrived at Blackpool, the Adjutant at the Brighton Hydro left – so I replaced [him] as Adjutant, and I held this position until I left Blackpool.”

He was still at Blackpool on 11 November 1918, and made an official announcement regarding the occurrence of the Armistice to the assembled company at the Savoy.

Then on 23 December 1918 a Medical Board passed him fit for Home Service, and he was sent to Withernsea, where he remained until he was demobilised early in 1919.

Regarding his discharge from the KLMCH he writes:

“On taking my papers to Col. Shea, Camp Commandant KLMCH, he was very annoyed with me for having a board as he had just filled in some papers applying for me to be appointed Camp Adjutant for the whole of Blackpool Centre. I thus missed a good job – which actually carried with it temp. Lt. Col.’s rank and thus my pension would have been based on this rank instead of that of a captain.”

So my questions are, what exactly would my grandad have been required to do as a patient appointed as adjutant of either the Brighton Hydro, or the “Blackpool Centre”?

He was Acting Adjutant of a battalion at the front for a couple of periods, so I know in general terms what that would have involved, but the duties of an adjutant in a hospital in the UK would surely have been rather different.  I’m assuming that the former, at least, would not have been particularly onerous, and I’m struggling a little to envisage what even the latter would have involved to justify the title of Lieutenant Colonel. Is it right that the post would have carried this rank? Also, how would the pension he is talking about have been computed, and when would it have been paid? Would it have made a big difference to have a pension based on the rank of Lieutenant Colonel rather than the rank of Captain?

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I went to Blackpool library this morning to see if I could find out more about the KLMCH but the Reference and History section was closed and will be for the next few months.

The Brighton Hydro and the Queens Hydro were next to each other on the South Prom in the 1960s, on either side of Rawcliffe St. On Google Maps The Brighton is now called the Colonial Hotel. The Queens was a lot larger. The Imperial and the Savoy are on North Prom and I walked past them this morning on way into town. I can get a pic of the Brighton but you can see it on Street View. 

Brian

Edited by brianmorris547
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7 hours ago, brianmorris547 said:

went to Blackpool library this morning to see if I could find out more about the KLMCH but the Reference and History section was closed and will be for the next few months.

The Brighton Hydro and the Queens Hydro were next to each other on the South Prom in the 1960s, on either side of Rawcliffe St. On Google Maps The Brighton is now called the Colonial Hotel. The Queens was a lot larger. The Imperial and the Savoy are on North Prom and I walked past them this morning on way into town. I can get a pic of the Brighton but you can see it on Street View. 

How frustrating to find the reference and history section of the library closed, and for so long - I hope that you hadn't gone far out of your way specially.

I am interested in the information you have given about the hotels, especially the Brighton Hydro - I hadn't realised that it had now morphed into the Colonial, which I have viewed on Streetview. I sometimes go to Blackpool for work, and might allow myself an excursion along the front next time I go. I suspect that it is all very different now than it was in my grandad's day!

Tricia

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Tricia

I usually go for a daily winter walk on Blackpool North Prom for my fresh air and exercise. I might go and have a look at the Brighton myself. 

Brian  

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A walk along Blackpool North Prom in winter sounds as if it could be bracing. In fact, I recall once having to get a train to Blackpool South instead of Blackpool North because the trains to North were disrupted, and the walk back along the front was indeed bracing. I didn't know then that I should have been paying particular attention to the Colonial etc.!

My grandfather joined in with Blackpool's celebrations of the Armistice on the evening of Saturday, 16 November 1918. His entry for that day reads:

Torchlight and Fancy Dress Processions in the afternoon and evening. I went along in the evening with Miss               (Manageress at the Brighton), Doris Barker, and Mmle Toby. I had my wrist watch cut off my wrist in Talbot Square, where there was a bon-fire and a burning of an effigy of the Kaiser.

Although he started writing his account in early 1919, I suspect that his account of the end of the war was written a year or two later, possibly mid twenties. Sadly it seems that the Manageress of the Brighton was eminently forgettable, and he does not tell us how he knew Doris Barker or Mademoiselle Toby or what they were doing in Blackpool. The watch was one he'd bought right at the beginning of the war in Bedford, and it had accompanied him throughout his time on the Western Front, so he was sorry to lose it.

Tricia

 

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Tricia

The Blackpool Herald is not on the British Newspaper Library via FMP but the Fleetwood Chronicle is. The edition of 22/11/1918 reported on the Armistice celebrations in Blackpool. There was also a reference to photographs from the Blackpool Herald. I will check the Blackpool Herald when the library opens again. I wonder if your grandfather organised the event described as part of his duties as Adjutant.

Brian

002.JPG

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Brian, as my grandfather was Adjutant only of the Brighton Hydro at the time of the Armistice, not the whole Camp, I do not think that he would have played a large part in organising the event described in the newspaper article, but possibly he might have helped the main Adjutant in doing it, and thank you for pointing me in the direction of the type of thing that an Adjutant who was himself a patient might possibly have been required to do. I can see that it would have been quite a task to keep so many convalescent men occupied once they were well enough to be out and about, and that a convalescent officer might well have played a useful role in that.

I am assuming that the enormous burden of the routine administrative work that would have been involved in running  such a large hospital (containing 2000 convalescent officers according to the newspaper article, and no doubt several thousand others), would have been carried out by men specifically employed for the purpose, acting under the direction of the Camp Commandant, rather than someone appointed from amongst the patients who had not yet been passed as fit even for Home Service? But perhaps I am wrong in this, if the role carried the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and significantly enhanced pay?

Thinking about it further, might the task of dealing with disciplinary issues reasonably have been assigned to  a patient Adjutant, even one not yet fully fit for Home Service? 

 

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13 hours ago, brianmorris547 said:

I will check the Blackpool Herald when the library opens again.

I meant to say in my last post that I would be interested to see the photos, though it looks as though you won't get access for a few months.

Here is a photograph that my grandfather took of some people in fancy dress - very poor quality, I'm afraid.

1847715383_159IMG_1847.JPG.a1455844238cb79f826b5fed4c2595be.JPG

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Tricia

Tomorrow afternoon's challenge is to find that location. The building on the right might be the side of the Queens Hydro which would mean the gateway on the left was the Brighton Hydro.

EDIT: Yes, the windows on the side of the Queens are quite distinctive. There is a false front on the Brighton now where the Officer was standing in the gate. 

 

blackpool.JPG

Edited by brianmorris547
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Brian, you are right, the porch on the Colonial/Brighton Hydro is also in the right place, though obviously the photographer is closer to the porch in the WW1 photo, making it look taller.

Returning to one of the questions posed at the beginning of this thread, i.e. that relating to pension, apologies for being so ignorant if the answer to this is obvious, but when I see reference to a pension on this Forum it is usually in connection with a disability pension, which is obviously not in issue here. I am aware that the state old age pension did not come into existence until after WW1, but would the government even in WW1 have made a contribution to a pension fund for those serving in the army which would have given them an entitlement to a pension on reaching retirement age, the amount of which would be related to their salary on leaving the army? If so, would this have applied to all soldiers, regardless of rank?

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