Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Blakeley

Is this Cosham Hospital?

36 posts in this topic

I've just acquired a copy of a photograph showing one of my relatives at a military hospital in 1915. I think it might be Cosham, but I can't be sure as I've been unable to find similar photographs taken in the same location. Can anyone give me a definitive answer?

Cosham.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't aware of a Cosham hospital by that name, but the Queen Alexandra Hospital would have been described as in Cosham and was built in the years before the great war.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Due to the absence of military nurses, this seems to be an auxiliary hospital rather than a military hospital under War Office control so can't be the Alexandra Hospital, Cosham (unfortunately never graced by the Queen :) ). Certainly a large building of some sort, and if the nurses have their hats tied with ribbons under the chin, which I can't see properly here, then likely to be a civil hospital being used in part for military personnel.

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wasn't aware of a Cosham hospital by that name, but the Queen Alexandra Hospital would have been described as in Cosham and was built in the years before the great war.

Keith

In my relative's service record it states: Posted Hosp. Cosham, but nothing more...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not Corsham, by any chance?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not Corsham, by any chance?

It's handwritten and certainly looks like Cosham, not Corsham...

Cosham.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or possibly Cossham, Bristol?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was your relative a patient at the hospital, or was he working there? 'Posted' suggests he went to Cosham on duty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was your relative a patient at the hospital, or was he working there? 'Posted' suggests he went to Cosham on duty.

He was definitely a patient.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The two books covering Portsmouth's part in the Great War don't mention any other hospitals in Cosham. The Alexandra Hospital which Sue correctly points out was it's name, sometime later in his history had the Queen attached to it, and is generally referred to by many here just as the QA these days. The local books pretty much ignore it and mostly refer to the 5th Southern General Hospital which occupied various buildings, mostly within about a mile of my home.

Alexandra was a military hospital when built before the war. The hospital has been extensively developed and is now a major modern unit. There may be some photographs of the original hospital buildings in the local archives. I'll hopefully be there sometime next week and will see if I can find them. I suspect that your relative must have been at the Alexandra Hospital which seems to have been the only one that could remotely described as being in Cosham.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the corridors of the hospital has a number of copies of photos of the hospital from the GW period. I remember one of an operating theatre and another of a ward with a sister who could probably cure infection by her looks alone.

Nigel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never seen an entry that shows a patient as having been 'posted' to hospital, but maybe someone else has. It's invariably 'admitted'. And no Keith, there were no other hospitals in Cosham, but the Alexandra did have responsibility for ten auxiliary hospitals in Hampshire. There is nothing in the photo to suggest a military hospital such as at Cosham - blowing the image up a bit seems to confirm the uniform is not even the usual VAD uniform. It would help enormously to know what else is known about this man - where was he before arriving in the UK, what were his injuries, what date was he admitted to hospital, from where, and where did he go afterwards.

There were numerous other hospitals in Portsmouth, including the use of civil hospitals at Milton Infirmary, the Royal Hospital and the Ear and Eye Hospital.

And very odd how the world seems to have forgotten the original name of the military hospital. How short memory is!

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The man's name was Michael McCarthy. I have circled him in the image.

He was wounded twice...

The first time was in the fingers of his left hand while serving with the 2nd East Lancashire Regiment at the Battle of Aubers Ridge in May, 1915. Having blown the photograph up I think it was probably taken shortly after Aubers Ridge as you can see his fingers are bandaged.

He was also shot in the hip at Salonika towards the end of 1916. I believe he was with the East Lancs then as well, and possibly the 3rd battalion. What's left of his service record is badly charred but I think the Cosham reference was probably made after the wounds he sustained in Salonika.

Unfortunately that means that this photograph could have been taken at almost any hospital, and does not have a Cosham link.

Sorry to have sent everyone down a dead end. As you know it's not always easy figuring these things out...

McCarthy.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The nurses' hats suggest that the photo was taken prior to November 1915.

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keith, you will know better than I do whether the building might be one of the forts along the top of Portsdown Hill? I don't know whether they were actively occupied at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He was also shot in the hip at Salonika towards the end of 1916. I believe he was with the East Lancs then as well, and possibly the 3rd battalion.

As far as I can see on LLT 9th Service Battalion was the only one in Salonika 3rd [reserve[ Battalion was home based

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the pic is in the UK would the wounded not have been in hospital blues?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Judging from their dressing some of the patients seem to have been wounded very recently. I can't recall seeing so many bandaged men in a group pic taken at a British hospital.

Moonraker

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Times Digital Archive July 4 1914, p.18 - Naval and Military Intelligence - Territorial Camps.

"During the present weekend the following Territorial corps are mustering for their fortnight's camp training:-

<<snip>>

... and the 1st Western General Hospital at Cosham ... "

Could it have been a training session?

The Times for Saturday Oct 3 1914 also reports "Admissions to Cosham Hospital", by which I suspect it may mean the Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, which makes a few other 1914 appearances in its pages (Admissions don't include McCarthy, I'm afraid - they seem to have given up printing admissions before 1916).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Judging from their dressing some of the patients seem to have been wounded very recently. I can't recall seeing so many bandaged men in a group pic taken at a British hospital.

Moonraker

Interesting you should say that... I see that the window on the left of the image has been boarded up. Could this be a hospital in Europe which had sustained some damage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sue

I have no intention of trying to compete with the depth of your research and knowledge of the hospitals and nursing of the Great War, I couldn't begin to even if I wanted to, but the other Portsmouth hospitals that you mention were all on Portsea Island, and surely couldn't possibly be described in any way as "Cosham". On the minor point I'll try to find out when the name of the hospital was changed, I had not noticed the original name at all, seeing only what I expected to see.

However it now seems clear from Blakely's later post that the photograph and the posting to Cosham are not directly related, so he was might well have been sent to the Alexandra Hospital, but as Blakely confirms, the photograph could be almost anywhere and if the nursing uniforms don't say anything to you, then I doubt if we will find a location for the hospital unless someone else comes up with a comparable image with a confirmed location.

Jane - I have not seen any mention of any of the forts being used either medically or for anything else, in local publications, so I suspect that they were probably still very much under military authority, and had little contact with the civilian side of life in Portsmouth. That however is just conjecture, based on the absence of references in local published sources although I have not worked through local newspapers fully as my interest has primarily been elsewhere.

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sue

I have no intention of trying to compete with the depth of your research and knowledge of the hospitals and nursing of the Great War, I couldn't begin to even if I wanted to, but the other Portsmouth hospitals that you mention were all on Portsea Island, and surely couldn't possibly be described in any way as "Cosham".

I might be many things, but competitive has never been one of them. As I never believed that it could be Cosham in the first place, I only thought it might be worthwhile mentioning the other civil hospitals in the town that were used as hospitals during the FWW.

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am currently working on the story of John Tucker Ive:

Rank: Sergeant

Regiment: 629 Labour Company, Labour Corps

Regimental Number: 287443

Death Date: 24 Feb 1919

Death Place: Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, UK

The Western Times, 04.03.1919 reports his death as being in Portsmouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a local casualty, Serjeant Thomas Beddall Newman, 23rd Royal Fusiliers, died at Queen Alexandra Military Hospital, Cosham- Cosham is on Soldiers Effects, QA is on his Probate in Ipswich, January 1919.

   Would anyone know what type of military hospital this was???  Notes for my man-plus odd references above suggest this was a main surgical hospital, doing general surgery along the lines, say, of a base hospital at Rouen on the Western Front.

  (Hope SeaJane or Keith Roberts know the answer)

 

My man died 16th May 1917 but I have a reference to him being in hospital at the beginning of March, with shrapnel wounds in the leg (wounded in France, 17th January) So, 5 weeks after being wounded in France, he was in hospital at Cosham. Could this possibly have dealt with more complex surgical cases???  My suspicion is that Serjeant Newman's condition worsened and he died of complications from shrapnel wounds in his legs..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry to say I know very little about the hospital. Initially called the Alexandra Hospital, (without the Queen bit), it was I understand built as a military hospital at a date prior to the outbreak of war. Your supposition sounds entirely reasonable, and I see that the original CWGC cemetery record describes him as "died of wounds" . QA was certainly a significant military hospital rather than an auxiliary unit used for convalescence.

 

Keith

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0