Tisbury Hospital

The Hospital & some patients
The nursing staff

(You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.)

In February 1915, the Rev. C.A. Hutchinson opened the Vicarage for a hospital for wounded soldiers. Tisbury Red Cross had been trained and planning completed by the end of 1914 according to the Annual Report presented by the Chairman Lady Mary Morrison, so they were ready when called upon. They could immediately accommodate 15 men after alterations had been made. he equipment was largely paid for by Mr Hugh and Lady Mary Morrison of Fonthill.

When the number of casualties rose, Trellis Cottage, next to the Catholic Church, was rented and equipped. According to the British Army Medical Records the two establishments housed 49 men. Mrs Miller, of Tisbury, records that, when they closed on March 17th 1919 at least 1310 British, Australian and Canadian patients had been treated. It was staffed by 50 VADs (Voluntary Aids Detachment – a temporary combination of Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance for the duration of the war) plus 3 or 4 Registered Nurses with Mrs Shaw-Stewart of Fonthill acting as Matron (Commandant). Two of her daughters donned uniforms to do their bit and one, Mary, was awarded the Royal Red Cross, the highest decoration for VADs, for her contribution. Dr H.A. Barker gave his time free as MO for the four years it existed.

Many local women helped with mending, supplying entertainment and activities for the men both in the hospital and other halls in the village.

Elsie Hannam

Elsie was typical of the VADs who staffed the convalescent hospitals which sprang up around the country. She cycled to work at Trellis Cottage from Ridge, a small hamlet close to Tisbury. As some of the young girls did, she fell in love with and became engaged to one of the Australian soldiers she nursed. When the war finished and he was to be repatriated her family were loathe for her to travel to the other side of the world. She broke off the engagement and stayed in England. She later married a neighbouring farmer’s son and lived at Fonthill Bishop.

Elsie had an autograph book in which these men wrote:

??Hotine2/5th Royal Warwicks9.4.18
Parks, R46th Can Bn14.4.18
Adams, Harry H,5 Doris Rd, Ilkerton, Derbyshire16.12.18
Hume, Kenneth S16.12.18
Hudson, A2nd Grenadier Guards22.1.18
Hennessey, W, Pte4th Grenadier Guards10.4.18
France, A.C.T., Pte7th Norfolk Regt27.2.19(wounded at Cambrai 6.10.18)
Hitchings, H.J. Pte25.2.19
Fenton, J.E. Drv5th Aust. Div. Train
New, W.F.7th Aust M Gun Coy23.1.18
Sturgers, C.H. Sgt1.1.19
McIntyre, H Pte25.2.19
Minton, A.N. PteColdstream Guards22.1.18
Joyce, J.H.Tank Corps22.1.18
Newbould, SgtM.T.R.A.S.C.7.1.19
Hutchings, Sgt8th Royal Berks
Bower, P.H.2.2.19(he drew a sketch of a young lady who might be Elsie. See below)
Hyle, G, Sgt2nd Scot …1.5.18

(special thanks to her daughter Mary Young, Cann, Shaftesbury.)

April 2014

Content last updated
9 May 2014