Lachlan, on 07 May 2012 - 08:02 AM, said:
My Granddad spent part of his war in a military hospital and a group photo shows him and the other servicemen, all in their hospital blue uniforms. I would like to ask when the practice of issuing these blue uniforms started, was it universal and was there any reason for that choice/design ?
Does anyone have a photo of a hospital blue uniform surviving today ?
My understanding is that Hospital Blues were first issued during the Crimean War and arose from the public outcry engendered by William Howard Russell's dispatches that brought attention to the suffering of the wounded. This is turn attracted Queen Victoria's attention and before long the special blue uniforms were issued and a large military hospital built at Netley, Southampton, for the better treatment of the wounded. The uniforms were the same blue flannel, lined in white that served their purpose throughout the Boer War, WW1, WW2, Korea and as late as the 1960s, when they were finally withdrawn and replaced by issue striped pyjamas and dressing gowns, but on a much smaller scale. These latter have also since been withdrawn (along with the military hospitals). If you look you can see that the later pattern appears to be just a cropped version (as in coat cut into a jacket) of the original. There were few sizes and most men had to turn up trouser cuffs to fit. The lapels were originally designed to be fastened at the neck and so when turned back for the white shirt and red tie also showed a portion of white lining.
There is an interesting link showing the scale of effort involved in treating WW1 wounded here: http://rusholmearchi...itals-1914-1918
And an explanation regarding the use of hospital blues here: http://wellcomelibra...oldiers-in.html