They were the product of prewar planning, were opened in our cities, towns and villages and most disappeared within months of the Armistice.
The buildings were returned to civilian use, the equipment ranging from beds to blankets and typewriters were auctioned off and the memory of the hospitals faded from memory.
Today I doubt that many people will know of the existence of these hospitals near to where they live and yet they were supported by local people who cared for the sick prepared meals and did the washing and regularly raised funds for these voluntary hospitals.
In fact pretty much all our suburbs would have had at least one hospital.
Some were in private homes, others in Sunday Schools and in some in church halls.
All of which leads me to David Harrop’s latest acquisition which is a postcard of the Red Cross Hospital in Sale in 1915.
Now I have no idea where it was but someone will.
Already when David posted the image of facebook my old friend Neil was quick off the mark with suggestions.
Sadly like many it has been demolished but I am hoping that there will be more pictures, perhaps an official document or newspaper report to tell us more.
And there is plenty in this photograph to start us off.
To our left standing beside a nurse are a group of soldiers two of whom have crutches and another who looks to be wearing “hospital blues” which were worn by many of the men recovering from wounds.
It may have just been one of those rare impromptu moments, a combination of a sunny day, a few idle hours and wish to listen to a selection of the popular “hits” of the day.
But given that all Red Cross hospitals were supported by fund raising activities we might just have stumbled on just such event.
I have to say I rather like both ideas and that seems a good point to close.
Picture; Sale Red Cross Hospital, courtesy of David Harrop