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Red Cross Hospitals


DavidJ

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Does anyone know anything about Red Cross Hospitals at Le Touquet Paris Plage during 1916-17? I have been trying to locate the identity of the building used for "No 8 Red Cross Hospital", also known as the Baltic & Corn Exchange. If anyone has done any research already on this topic, I will be pleased to hear from them.

DavidJ

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Hello David,

I have a little information which you may already know. Its from the Ministry of Pensions - Location of Hospitals and casualty clearing stations, british expeditionary force 1914-1919.

It lists,

No. 1 B.R.C.S Hospital at Le Touquet from Oct 1914 to 31/07/1918. Known as Duchess of Westminster's Hospital.

No.6 B.R.C.S Hospital at Paris Plage from 19/04/1915 to 03/07/1915. Known as Liverpool Merchants

No 8 B.R.C.S Hospital at Paris Plage from 30/09/1915 to Dec 1917. Known as Baltic and Corn Exchange.

Unfortunately there is no other information, but hopefully of some use.

Regards,

Spud

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Hi Spud -

- and thanks for passing that on. Yes, I did know that already, although I didn't get it from that source. What I would really like to know is which building or building was used for that particular hospital, but I keep drawing a blank. Thanks for the interest anyway. Regards. DavidJ.

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David

I have an interest in tracking down buildings used as medical units. I've never looked at the problems of No.8, but here are a few thoughts.

From what I can see, there were only three British hospitals in Le Touquet - Paris Plage during the war. One was No.1 British Red Cross Hospital [Duchess of Westminster's], which was located at the Casino. The other two occupied the same buildings at different times. No.6 BRCS Hospital [Liverpool Merchant's] took over a hotel, or possibly two or more adjoining hotels early in the war - this is confirmed in the war diary of the Matron-in-Chief, although the hotel/s are not named. No.6 vacated the buildings in July 1915, and the same accommodation was taken over by No.8 BRCS [baltic and Corn Exchange] the following month.

So if you exclude No.1 BRCS, there would seem to be only one other set of buildings in the town used as a British hospital [there may well have been others used by the French]. I would suggest, if you haven't done so, trying an enquiry to the Museum at Le Touquet - with all the redevelopment, perhaps it's unlikely that the buildings still survive, but they may be able to pinpoint which hotel was used. There is an email address on this web page:

http://www.letouquet.com/web/tourisme_sais...ueil/musee.aspx

Sometimes you draw a blank, but sometimes get a good response.

Sue

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A long shot, but presumably someone listed buildings that were commandeered for military (incl mil hosps) purposes - in France as well as in the UK !!??

If anyone found such a list I'll be amongst the first in the queue to look - I'm interested in the Le Touquet area - and just north of - too !!

Julian

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Thanks Sue - your suggestions are really helpful. Paul also - thanks - and yes I would be interested in your pictures. I will be reporting back in more detail when I have just a bit more time. Thanks again - DavidJ.

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Thanks again to Sue for her information that no 8 occupied the same building as no.6. You mentioned Sue that this was in the war diary for the Matron-in Chief. I would be interested to know the reference for that, and to see exactly what is said. I'd also be interested to know what she was in charge of - is that "in-Chief" for the whole British army? - or for the Red Cross hospitals?

Your mention of a war diary inspired me to make use of the National Archive's new same day digital service, and I sent off for the diary for no. 8 hospital for the weeks surrounding their move from Calais to Paris Plage. The vital words are - "Calais, 14.7.15 - The Hospital equipment was loaded on to a goods train by the Hospital staff." - and the next day - "Le Touquet, 15.7.15 - The O.C. Lieut. Caldwell RAMC, Secretaries, Orderlies, Drivers proceeded to Paris Plage Le Touquet where they took up their quarters in the Grand Hotel and Casino Paris Plage."

That is not absolutely crystal clear - could "their quarters" mean something other than the actual hospital building? Later in the diary, it says that the orderlies "took up their quarters in the Restaurant Ridoux", and also that "the Hotel Windsor has been secured as a Nurses Hostel". So "quarters" can mean something other than the place of work. But the fact that we know the Casino was used as a hospital could indicate that it does mean the actual hospital.

It could be useful to look at the diary of no. 6 hospital also, to see if they identify their building, either as they arrived in April 1915, or as they left, immediately before no. 8 arrived in July 1915. Do you Sue, or does anyone else have access to this? If not, I will take the plunge and send off for it myself.

Paul - I would still be interested in your pictures, especially if they are identified. I do have a couple of unidentified pictures myself, which I will attempt to post up next time I have chance to come here.

Now duty calls, and I must leave! - Regards to all - DavidJ

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David

That was good work - the diaries are often rather coy about naming actual buildings. The diary I referred to is that of the Matron-in-Chief with the British Expeditionary Force, and while she had no control of the British Red Cross Units, she did have overall responsibility for the organization of nursing services in France and Flanders, and did visits of inspection in all units. It's TNA reference is WO95/3988, 3989, 3990, and 3991.

It's a very long document, running to more than four thousand pages, and I'm transcribing it at present - I've got as far as August 1917. There's a thread running elsewhere on the Forum titled 'How long is a war diary?' and my answer is 'not half as long as the one I'm working on!' :) In 'my' diary, the term 'quarters' is always used to signify living accommodation, and it was often the case that staff were accommodated away from the hospital they were working in, especially in towns - the buildings just weren't large enough for both patients and staff. So I tend to think that those references were more likely to be staff quarters, but it would all depend, I suppose, on the general style of the writer throughout the document. And it's much more likely that doctors would have had their 'quarters' in the main body of the hospital [top floor!!] than the other staff, so perhaps the Grand Hotel is the best bet for the hospital.

I'll go through the M-in-C's diary for the few references that I found for the two Red Cross Hospitals when I get back on Sunday, and send them to you. They don't add up to much, but do show that the two units used the same buildings. I should be at Kew next Saturday and am more than happy to look at the diary for No.6 then, if you can wait that long.

Sue

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Paul

From a previous thread, I think that is No.2 Red Cross Hospital, Rouen, or part of it at least, situated in the seminary. Have a look at this page [scroll down a bit], which I believe to be the same building:

http://www.carmel.asso.fr/Formation-a-Rouen.html

And that ties in with Jo King's thread and investigations here:

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...showtopic=55634

Sue

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Sue, many thanks indeed - no wonder I couldn't find it! You can't see it on the photos I had posted but there is a street name to the left of the entrance. It gives a street name that I couldn't find anywhere in France - but shows the building as No 88. Thanks to you I have found the building today is still No 88, but the name of the street has changed!

I think this collection must come from someone who had been at both locations at some point as all the cards certainly came from the same source.

Thanks again - brilliant stuff. Must pay it a visit myself now!

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Sue and Paul - wow - what fabulous photographs - and those on the Jo King site also. If I were to identify successfully the hospital I am looking for, and to find just one picture of that quality, I would be very happy indeed.

Paul, when I get to the end of this message I will have a go at putting up the two pictures I have - but I have not done this with an attachment before, so no promises!

Sue - thanks very much for the info re the M in C - I'm glad you warned me about its length, and I think I will be well content for you to send me any references therein to the no.6 & 8 Red Cross hospitals, rather than searching for them myself. Your transcription sounds a mammoth but fascinating task - no doubt a book will one day appear out of your efforts. And yes, thank you for the offer - I will be very grateful if next weekend you are able to have a look at the diary for no. 6 between March and July 1915 and pass on any indications as to which might have been the building(s) they used. Don't worry if you don't get chance - just let me know, and I'll take it up again myself.

There is one more detail from the no.8 diary which might indicate that it was indeed the Grand Hotel that they used. I previously quoted the entry for 15.7.15, where it states that they took up their quarters in the Grand hotel & Casino. The next entry is for 17.7.15, and it states - "The drainage system is being overhauled by the Military Authorities". The state of the drains was the reason that no. 8 hospital eventually gave up at Paris Plage in 1917 and moved to Boulogne, so the two entries coming one after the other seems to imply that they were both referring to the same building - "the quarters" and "the drains", and the "trouble wi' t'drains" could imply that the building was the hospital. Let's see how you get on at Kew!!

I'll have a go at those pictures now - wish me luck! DavidJ.

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I am delighted to report that thanks to Sue Light's efforts at Kew yesterday, we can now definitely say that the no.8 Red Cross Hospital, the Baltic and Corn Exchange, occupied a building in Le Touquet Paris Plage called the Grand Hotel Casino, or Grand Hotel and Casino. This is different, by the way, from "THE Casino" at Le Touquet, which was used as a hospital by the no. 1 Red Cross Hospital - the Duchess of Westminster.

The no. 8 took over the Grand from the no. 6 hospital, who moved out after four months because of the bad drains (which were simply a cesspool!) The no. 8 lasted a bit longer (nearly two years), but it was the same problem that shifted them in the end!

So now the question arises - does anyone know anything about this building? And of course, above all does anyone have any photos of it? Any further interest or advice will be gratefully received. And thanks again to Sue. DavidJ.

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  • 14 years later...

904077212_20211002_2336352.jpg.33d04b9584c186885c182ce188a4fab1.jpgIm trying to research similar by way of a postcard I very fortuitously came across on Ebay by chance.  Why - because,  immediately recognising the writing from ancestry correspondence we had had years ago, it was a postcard sent by my Great Uncle George to his wife back in Eastbourne, just after the Great War, when he had seen service as an ambulance driver. I think the hotel on the card he sends, which isn't specifically named  - almost all but - was being used as a hospital, as he writes ' this is where I was yesterday but of course it us not quite like this at present. Having known it well.' It is hard to know what he meant exactly by this but trying to put his known wartime record together with this,  and the date April 1919 on the postmark, I'm making half-educated guesses only. Does anyone recognise this hotel and have any comments that might help me identify where he worked etc. during the war and just after?1870837076_20211002_2336472.jpg.ae25dd2846ac7fceb227916e2c27a37b.jpg

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