Friday, 13 March 2015

Left Flapper Slightly Dented

Woburn Abbey riding school in use as a hospital c.1916 [Z141/5]

Saturday 13th March 1915:  An article has been published in The Times describing the success of initiatives taken by the Duke and Duchess of Bedford. The Duke was responsible for setting up the training camp at Ampthill, and they have permitted the conversion of the tennis court and riding school at Woburn Abbey to provide a hospital described as “one of the most comfortable and well-equipped hospitals in the country” of which it can be said that “to anyone who needs to learn how best a war hospital should be organised and managed, a visit to Woburn is a liberal education”.  We are told that “the buildings have been transformed. Windows have been pierced in the riding school and the largest ward is here. There is a well-appointed cook house; a room full of baths with a plentiful supply of hot water; an operating-room; a dispensary; store-rooms, and, in fact, everything that can be required for the comfort of the sufferers, including a reading-room.“

The villagers themselves have also been contributing to the war effort. The girls of the Council School have given thirteen shillings and sixpence to the “something to smoke” fund. At St. Mary’s Church a collection has been taken in aid of the Mission to Seamen after the Reverend E. Eland of Antwerp reported on the work it carries out for the benefit of our sailors, whose efforts have been so vital for the country’s war effort. Woburn men are doing their bit in the forces. Arthur H. Simmons, a former employee of the Park Farm Office who left England for Canada nearly two years ago, has been wounded while at the Front with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. He has written from a hospital near Paris describing his condition as “left flapper slightly dented”.

Sources: Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette, 2nd March 1915; Bedfordshire Standard 12th March 1915

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