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leanes-trench

Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, and Suicides

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leanes-trench

Greetings once again, all.

During WWI, the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley housed the British Army's largest psych unit. I have found anecdotal evidence that a number of suicides occurred there, but would like to find hard evidence. Even newspaper accounts would help. Can anybody steer me in the right direction? Does the hospital still exist, and is there an archive?

Thank you all once again,

Pat

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Sue Light

The hospital was little used after the Second World War, and the patients had gone by the mid-50s. The building was badly damaged by fire in 1963, and most of it was demolished in 1966, leaving just the chapel in the centre, which still survives today as a museum and visitor centre. The psychiatric wing 'D' block, continued to be used after the main building was demolished, but was closed in 1978. A Google search will bring up lots of information and pictures.

There are said to be no surviving patient documents from any period of the hospital's history, although there are many and varied administrative documents at The National Archives, and probably at the Hampshire County Record Office as well. Rumour has it that all the paperwork was carted off at the demolition, and used for building rubble under a local motorway flyover.

Philip Hoare's book 'Spike Island' is a good general history and reminiscence, and has many references to 'D' Block, and his notes also contain ideas for further reading.

Sue

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izzy

check with the nearest main libary as they may have coroners records with inquests in their records

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leanes-trench
The hospital was little used after the Second World War, and the patients had gone by the mid-50s. The building was badly damaged by fire in 1963, and most of it was demolished in 1966, leaving just the chapel in the centre, which still survives today as a museum and visitor centre. The psychiatric wing 'D' block, continued to be used after the main building was demolished, but was closed in 1978. A Google search will bring up lots of information and pictures.

There are said to be no surviving patient documents from any period of the hospital's history, although there are many and varied administrative documents at The National Archives, and probably at the Hampshire County Record Office as well. Rumour has it that all the paperwork was carted off at the demolition, and used for building rubble under a local motorway flyover.

Philip Hoare's book 'Spike Island' is a good general history and reminiscence, and has many references to 'D' Block, and his notes also contain ideas for further reading.

Sue

Thank you! You wouldn't know the name of the museum, would you?

Regards,

Pat

check with the nearest main libary as they may have coroners records with inquests in their records

Thank you, sir. I'll try to find it online.

Regards,

Pat

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Michelle Young

It is called the Heritage Centre

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-country...istory-rvcp.htm

Regards, Michelle

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bootneck

You could also try the Hospital Records Database on the National Archives database. It says some material, including patient records, up to the 1890s, is held by the Wellcome Institute.

The Army Medical Services Museum at Keogh Barracks, Ash Vale, GU12 5RQ, Tel: 01252 868612, email: armymedicalmuseum@btinternet.com and website: www.ams-museum.org.uk might be able to help.

regards,

Bootneck

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ianw

Can I put in a word urging everyone to visit Netley if they can.

The main interest for me is the cemetery which is hidden away across a sort of causeway. It is full of interest - and I suppose contains the graves of any suicides - perhaps including the grave of an RAMC Colonel who died very soon after his son at Ypres.

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leanes-trench

Many thanks for all of the suggestions. I have visited the website, and learned a bit, and already knew of the cemetery. Several Gallipoli casualties in there, though from what I can tell, all are from wounds. Can anybody tell me the name of the local newspaper? Perhaps an archivist could help with my quest.

Thanks,

Pat

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Will O'Brien
Can anybody tell me the name of the local newspaper? Perhaps an archivist could help with my quest.

Thanks,

Pat

I think the Southern Daily Echo covers Netley

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DianneDB

Can I put in a word urging everyone to visit Netley if they can.

The main interest for me is the cemetery which is hidden away across a sort of causeway. It is full of interest - and I suppose contains the graves of any suicides - perhaps including the grave of an RAMC Colonel who died very soon after his son at Ypres.

He didnt commit suicide, I have his death certificate, he died at Queen Alexandra Military Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth of exhaustion and heart disease, the death of his son though was probably a contributing factor !!

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grantmal

Pat, If you're still out there, just been reading Read's 'Military Psychology in Peace and War', in which he gives various stats for 3000 consecutive patients admitted to Netley in 1917, while he was overseeing 'D Block'.

"Among my 3,000 Expeditionary cases 105 had attempted suicide, and 3 were successful in thus ending their lives in the War Mental Hospitals to which they were transferred."

Nowhere does he state that any patients committed suicide while at Netley, but he goes on to say:--

"The majority of suicides that occurred in my cases were among those who were in the depressed phase of manic-depressive insanity, and many also among the acutely hallucinated paranoiacs who, driven to desperation through the continuous accusing voices, sought seemingly an end to their existence. A few occurred in quite temporary confusional states, where one could trace no previous mental depression or evidence of mental conflict. The act was sometimes premeditated and sometimes not, and amnesia for the act itself was extremely frequent. Such memory gaps are common enough when certain antisocial acts are performed....."

To me 'suicides' reads as those who attempted suicide, ie the 105, because their state of mind etc. at the time of the attempt is alluded to -- "the act was sometimes premeditated and sometimes not".

Patients were at 'D' Block only 5 or 6 days on average, before being sent on to one of the dedicated mental hospitals, as it "was purely a Clearing Hospital, and only had 124 beds available.."

Anyway, Read's interesting book is here: http://www.archive.org/details/militarypsychiat00read

Good on you,

Grant

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seaJane

If you are still trying to trace records, details of the Southampton City Archives are here:

http://www.ancestor-search.info/CRO-Hampshire.htm

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Stoppage Drill

Most of the "mental" cases in D Wing in it's latter days were alcoholics.

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jemm

Brought this home to scan last night, appropriate to this thread so thought I would share. Although I have a feeling I may have done so a while back :)

post-4696-0-66108000-1341583396_thumb.jp

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hunter1

MY great uncle died in Mossley Hill Military Hospital Liverpool - in 1928 but I assume it was from his injuries sustained in the War - haven't found his war records yet, although I have his brothers records who died in France during WW1

I understand there is still a hospital on the same site, or stilll int he area.

Does anyone know anything about the about the Military hospital or how to get records etc

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scaryman690

I was There ... it did exsist.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I served briefly in the 1970s and was discharged from the unit around 1976 ,.there were many rumours around as to what happened to some patients there both at the time and during its history,

The section  was mainly used for alcoholics and alcohol abuse,Why i was placed here i will never know as I had  had back pains that they failed to diagnose,Three prolapsed Discs.

We were kept separate from  the hard cor  damaged and were not allowed to mix or communicate,the unit was based in a old Victorian building at the back of and separate to the area were the main hospital had been  ,the naffi and main admin block were separate to us and close to the gate which was down a restricted drive which came out close to a small railway station from which I made my way home after my discharge from service.

 It was only recently I recalled this as life had nearly removed many memories of this period from me on a visit to the area mt wife and i stumbled over the Royal Victoria Park  which brought a flood of memories back,and a lot of unanswered questions which I am still searching for as the records os this unit seem to have vanished along with a number of other things.

 

 

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tullybrone
32 minutes ago, scaryman690 said:

I was There ... it did exsist.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I served briefly in the 1970s and was discharged from the unit around 1976 ,.there were many rumours around as to what happened to some patients there both at the time and during its history,

The section  was mainly used for alcoholics and alcohol abuse,Why i was placed here i will never know as I had  had back pains that they failed to diagnose,Three prolapsed Discs.

We were kept separate from  the hard cor  damaged and were not allowed to mix or communicate,the unit was based in a old Victorian building at the back of and separate to the area were the main hospital had been  ,the naffi and main admin block were separate to us and close to the gate which was down a restricted drive which came out close to a small railway station from which I made my way home after my discharge from service.

 It was only recently I recalled this as life had nearly removed many memories of this period from me on a visit to the area mt wife and i stumbled over the Royal Victoria Park  which brought a flood of memories back,and a lot of unanswered questions which I am still searching for as the records os this unit seem to have vanished along with a number of other things.

 

 

 

Hi,

 

You may not be aware that MOD will release your service papers on application.

 

https://www.gov.uk/get-copy-military-service-records/overview

 

 

Steve Y

Edited by tullybrone

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Roddew

Greetings all, I'm new here but I can contribute recent information to add to this long running thread.

My grandfather, Private Anthony Hanks 76718 was in D Block and is buried at Netley.  I have recently learnt from a newspaper cutting that he committed suicide. The Coroner's Inquest states that he died on 12th February 1920 and gives a verdict of "suicide whilst of unsound mind"  He survived cutting his throat with a piece of glass but actual cause of death is given as "septic pneumonia" from a self inflicted wound.

I am probably the first member of my family to uncover this history....my grandmother never visited his grave or spoke about his death. Different times with a huge stigma surrounding such an event....the explanation I heard as a child was that he died of meningitis.

The chronology suggests that there may be more to the story which will probably never be known, but if there is any way that I could discover any further information, any help would be most welcome. Image preview

 

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Dave66

Funnily enough, this evening I watched an interesting documentary covering Netley.

“WW1 at home-royal victoria hospital” it was on bbc4 at 7.30 so will be on iplayer.

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b04685bf/world-war-i-at-home

 

Dave.

Edited by Dave66
Link added

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sotonmate

Roddew

 

Welcome to the Forum !

Not sure how Coroner's archives can be accessed ! Maybe,because you are a relative, you may be able to see more detail of this matter ?

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