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Remembered Today:

Information sought about evacuation from No 20 Base Hospital at Camiers to Kent


joysmith7mr

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My husband's Grandad, Private John Kay 81248 of 86th Company Machine Gun Corps was wounded (shrapnel in right arm and leg) on 15 July 1917 and went through 88 Field Ambulance at Canada Farm to 4 CCS at Dozinghem and was then evacuated on 16 July 1917 by No 26 Ambulance Train to No 20 General Base Hospital at Camiers.  He was there until 26 July 1917 and then sent to Canterbury No 2 Hospital until 9 August 1917, and then on to Chatham Military Hospital, Fort Pitt.  From there he was was sent the next day to Great Hermitage VAD Hospital, Higham, near Rochester, Kent (we think it was a Red Cross Hospital).  He was there for 70 days until 19 October 1917, when he was said to be fit for duty but with movement limited in his shoulder.  We've got the war diaries for the 88 Field Ambulance and for 4 CCS. Are there any others that would be of use?

What about the hospital ship that would have taken him to England? Would it have gone from Boulogne?  To where? Would we be able to find out which ship? We wondered if anyone could tell us how to get information about No 20 General Base Hospital.  Are there any soldiers' medical records that can be accessed?   Does anyone know anything about Canterbury No 2 Hospital or Great Hermitage VAD Hospital, Higham, near Rochester, Kent?

After a furlough, John was posted to the Command Depot at Alnwick and then to Belton Park, Lincolnshire and eventually back to the front on 15 April 1918, to 61st Battalion MGC.  A few days later he was wounded by a gas shelling (would that be tear gas?) and ended up in 35 General Hospital in Calais.  After a couple of weeks in hospital and Convalescent Depots in Boulogne and Ecault, he was back at the front with 55th Battalion MGC by 7 May 1918.  He was again wounded (mild) on 22 May 1918 and sent to 39th Stationery Hospital in Aire (would that be reported on a Casualty List?) and was back at the front again on 29 May 1918.  He eventually got back to England on 15 February 1919, as did both his brothers, one of whom was a POW in Belgium and escaped.

We only have one photo, we think taken when he was in England in 1917/18, as he has one wound stripe.

JohnKay-smallimage.jpg.56887d5654591a8d162b054cf48a40e4.jpg

We are trying to write the war stories for all 3 brothers - we have John's service record, although a little burnt at the edges, (it's on Ancestry and Findmypast) and are trying to piece together everything from that and the war diaries.  If anyone has any other suggestions as to what would be useful to look up or read, we'd be very grateful.  We live in Northern Ireland, so mostly have to deal with what's online or in a library.  We would be very grateful for any assistance!

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Joy,

The war diary for 26 Ambulance Train;- Lines of Communication Troops. 26 Ambulance Train | The National Archives

The war diary for 20 General Hospital;-  Lines of Communication Troops. 20 General Hospital | The National Archives  This may tell you if a group of patients were sent to Boulogne, but John is unlikely to be named. Transport to Boulogne might be by Motor Ambulance Convoy. War diaries are available if you search 'WO95/ [NUMBER] MOTOR AMBULANCE CONVOY'.

If he was sent to Boulogne then copy Lines of communication. Boulogne Base: Deputy Director Medical Services | The National Archives  this should give Hospital Ship sailing dates

Regards,

Alf McM

Edited by alf mcm
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Thank you so much, Alf McM!  I'll get on to those now.

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I found his record eventually, Ancestry have it under 82148 instead of 81248.

I see he has a card with multiple wound event entries. Although it's burnt I think it's a next of kin form.

Then there's a B.103 which has more entries.

There is an entry for 26/7/17 from 20GH that is feint but mentions AT and what I think is the name of a ship to UK.

I looked at Boulogne base diary and there is no mention of 20GH that I can see anywhere. There are also tables of ship movements and there's no corresponding vessel with a name that matches the B.103 entry.

It doesn't seem to me that 20GH comes under Boulogne area although I have no idea which other base would be involved.

I believe the B.103 entry refers to a vessel as the reference for it is a W 3083 which is a ship's loading tally.

Caution is needed with the AT entry. 99% of the time this would be Ambulance Train but another recent post showed that in this context it could be Ambulance Transport as  the vessel in question was the HMAT Newhaven.

I can look through his record again later.

TEW 

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Sorry I didn't mean the Newhaven was involved here, it was another post that brought up that AT can mean a vessel.

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/310000-leonard-pickering/?do=findComment&comment=3284896

Attached is Kay's B.103 extract.

Anyone decipher the entry?

OC 20GH - To AT F????de Cornick? for UK - 26/7/17 - W3083. I maintain this is a vessel.

TEW

Kay.jpg.0c84b0e72ceb5c0101d90c5ccb3209fd.jpg

Courtesy of Ancestry

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I also just found the ship's name. It departed from Calais on that date. NB it states amb Transport (AT)

TEW

peter.jpg.21228ecb913ebe7b497d91a6ecf2bbbc.jpg

Extract from TNA

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With reference to the previous diary extract. 38 Ambulance Train arrived in Calais from Camiers. 16 AT came from Etaples.

TEW

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Quote

After a furlough, John was posted to the Command Depot at Alnwick and then to Belton Park, Lincolnshire and eventually back to the front on 15 April 1918, to 61st Battalion MGC.  A few days later he was wounded by a gas shelling (would that be tear gas?) and ended up in 35 General Hospital in Calais.  After a couple of weeks in hospital and Convalescent Depots in Boulogne and Ecault, he was back at the front with 55th Battalion MGC by 7 May 1918.  He was again wounded (mild) on 22 May 1918 and sent to 39th Stationery Hospital in Aire (would that be reported on a Casualty List?) and was back at the front again on 29 May 1918.

I've looked at his B.103 form and the next of kin card entries.

A few days later he was wounded by a gas shelling (would that be tear gas?)

No, not tear gas. Something much worse. I'm not sure if it would have been Mustard gas or Phosgene but something lethal.

 

he was back at the front with 55th Battalion MGC by 7 May 1918

I read he joined the base depot 7/5/18.

 

He was again wounded (mild) on 22 May 1918 and sent to 39th Stationery Hospital in Aire

I think this relates to the one gassing event from 21/4/18 and not a second event. The NOK kin card that has this information says he was transferred to base from 39 SH and quotes a HA list number far left and almost Illegible. I'd guess the list or the transfer was dated 22/5/18.

 

and was back at the front again on 29 May 1918.

I agree with this although this is where he joined 53rd Battalion.

 

(would that be reported on a Casualty List?)

Yes, finding it may not be easy though.

His July 1917 injury was published 21/8/1917. This second gas event would be published late May 1918 as a rough guide. The resource I use does not cover that period.

It's possible Findmypast have the correct coverage and they do have some hits for 'Kay' in May 1918 in their Casualty Lists section.

https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-records/british-army-first-world-war-casualty-lists?firstname=j&lastname=kay

You'll have to add a publication date, just type in the box --- 1918-05 and it should filter to just May.

Failing that you could try NLS, https://digital.nls.uk/british-military-lists/archive/144768587

I've never had much luck with the search function so I can't really advise.

 

Lastly, the main records of interest in his file are the NOK card and the B.103. There is some burning and water damage and some writing is feint. There is also a fair bit of jargon and abbreviations going on. There are a lot of entries that refer to HA lists, I've searched FMP and they don't come up there so finding them is unlikely.

If you want more detail perhaps you could add the images from his file. 8947, 8948, 8521, 8520/22240, in that order.

TEW

 

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Thank you so much to both of you!  We now have the following, so we're pretty sure that John was transported by No 26 Ambulance Train to Camiers on 16 July 1917 and on 26 July he went to Calais (not sure but prob by train, as we noted that No 26 ambulance train went on to Calais after leaving off the wounded at Camiers on 16 July, so we're guessing that on 26 July some other ambulance train took him from Camiers to Calais) and then he was taken by Hospital Ship Pieter-de-Coninck to Dover, and then to Canterbury No 2 General Hospital etc.:

Extractfrom4CCSWarDiaryfor16July1017.jpg.0c458c0d0078df4f703675c941343fd5.jpg

Extractfrom26AmbulanceTrainWarDiary16July1917.jpg.9d17a5254cb13d2ed3db2d83835e6fff.jpg

ExtractfromHospitalShipPieter-de-ConinckWarDiaryJuly1917.jpg.95a3c960930ba514f4a57adb9486aa6b.jpg

We would never have got this far with John's story without your help, so thank you so much.  The next step is to figure out what happened when he was gassed in April 1918.  If you can help with this, it would be brilliant.

These two documents are what we have - we think they show 2 separate incidents, one on 21 April 1918 and the other on 3 May 1918, but it all seems a bit confused!  If these are two separate incidents, would John have got a would stripe for each one?  Any idea of what gas it would have been?  Thank you again in anticipation.

ImageofwounddetailsJohnKay.jpg.3265b5fe5d664707baf93c4baac53ce8.jpg

WounddetailsJohnKay.jpg.bf2dd493f56a18a9aea3e2810c31e064.jpg

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It was 38 Ambulance Train that took him from Camiers to Calais 26th July. See previous post.

The 3/5/18 event is covered by list HA 23031which says he was admitted to 10 Convalescent Depot from 7 Convalescent Depot on that date. All part of the same gas injury in my opinion.

From what we have here he would have ended up with two wound stripes.

TEW 

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Thank you TEW!  Your help is much appreciated.

 

 

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