Thursday, 28 April 2016

Discovering the names of those who served in the Red Cross in Eltham during the Great War

I have moved just a little closer to some of the men and women who served during the Great War.

And it comes from an exciting new project by the Red Cross which is putting on line its records from the Great War.

Even before the war started the Red Cross had made preparations for coping with the large numbers of wounded who would be returning from the battlefields.

So when the conflict did begin voluntary hospitals were estchalished across the country.
Some were in school halls, and others in private houses and relied on the voluntary support of the local community.

Until recently I knew little of the men and women who served in the hospitals.

I had one list for the first year of the war of those who worked at one hospital, a few names from newspaper correspondence and the odd record of some of the administrators.

But the Red Cross records will bring them out of the shadows, for along with their names and addresses there are brief details of what they did.

Some are more detailed than others so those for Eltham in south east London describe particular duties. So I know that Miss Ada Fanny Boultbee, assisted the “sick & wounded, did  convoy duty. Well Hall Station any time day and night at 1. 1/2 hours notice. tea. Coffee, milk, ready.”

And provided a wealth of detail
“August 5th 1914. Struck Divisional Camp at Chichester. 7. 1914. Organizing Hos: cores: Soldiers & Sailors Institute Woolwich. 30th. 1914- Accepted responsibility of sick & wounded Convoy Duty Well Hall. Col: Stephenson with request for same from Col. Simpson. Herbert Hos:- Sept. 7th. 1914 First Convoy. 3/4 hour notice. All ready. 16 -1914 Mobilized by Col. Stephenson at "Cathay" Eltham. S.E. B.R.X.S. Brassard No.7. A.M.S. July - 1917 Demolized. Col: Simpson' of opinion that that Sick & Wounded Convoy Duty at Well Hall Station was no longer rec. under altered conditions of transport. Ada St.John. Boultbee. Hon. Comdt L /26.”

In time it will be possible to find out much more about their backgrounds and what happened to them after the war which in turn will throw light on the degree to which Eltham did its bit


Pictures; doctors and nurses and men from the Red Cross Hospital of Wood Lawn in Didsbury circa 1915, courtesy of Rob Mellor


*British Red Cross,  http://www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Who-we-are/History-and-origin/First-World-War

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