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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:


Kate Wills

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An essay entitled 'The History of the 1st Southern General Hospital in Wartime", which appeared in the hospital's monthly magazine in May 1917, records:

"A large addition to the nursing staff was required, and a great number of RAMCT men were enlisted, including employees of the Infirmary...Dudley Road (hospital) has now expanded to 1,650 beds...

In February 1915, fifty recruits were drafted from No 20 Company RAMC at Aldershot for training and they were quartered in the present barracks. Many will remember their arrival, how they came on a cold winter's evening, dressed in civilian clothes and looking anything but soldiers. However, they soon took to their new work, and some of them turned out the very best orderlies we have had. They became good comrades, and we were all very sorry to lose them when they left us about six months later."

Certainly, the hospital was staffed with RAMC orderlies throughout the war. Were these low-category men?

My interest stems from a mention that The Uniques concert party gave a show there. I know The Uniques was not necessarily a unique name, but I do know of an RAMC concert party called The Uniques, and 'd like to determine whether they formed as a party in training at home, or as a fully fledges medics; and if they stayed together on proceeding abroad, assuming they were posted to active service.

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They almost certainly would have formed as a party in training. After war broke out new training centres formed which were large enough to have a camp hospital but it was soon recognised that these were inadequate in providing proper training in hospital duties. Training this way continued at the beginning of the war because it was necessary to get field medical units out quickly. However, in February 1915 instructions were issued that as many young RAMC recruits as possible were to be sent in drafts to the various commands for a course of instruction in hospital work.

On the subject of concert parties, I quite often come across information/photos whilst searching through various bits and pieces. It's not an area within the RAMC that I have looked into as yet, and you may already have it, but I am more than happy to pass it your way as I find it if it will help.


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Many thanks for your reply, and particulary for your kind offer of help with concert parties.

Likewise, if I can do anything to assist your researches, please let me know.



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