Monday, 18 May 2015

Hospital Evacuation Arrangements

Tuesday 18th May 1915: The Director of the Voluntary Aid Detachments for Bedfordshire is becoming increasingly exasperated over the demands made by Eastern Command and the Suffolk Red Cross that he make definite arrangements for the accommodation of sick and wounded soldiers from Suffolk in the event of an evacuation becoming necessary. Today he has sent the following somewhat sarcastic letter to his Suffolk counterpart:
Dear Sir With reference to your letter of May 9th. You are in a very happy position if you have been told that any suitable buildings can be taken if the existing Hospital accommodation is insufficient. I may at once point out that there is no existing hospital accommodation in this County and what we have to do is to extemporise some. Practically every suitable building is in occupation of the troops. The fact of being told that the troops may vacate these buildings is not quite good enough for me to give you any definite undertaking. The following buildings may be used and you can send your wounded there. I suppose you will be able to give us at least 48 hours notice. 
Luton: The Infirmary at the Union House, Dunstable Rd; Tennyson Road, County School; Coutts and Co’s Factory.
Biggleswade: Masonic Hall
Sandy: Sandy Town Hall
Bedford: Kempston School 
Ampthill: British School 
Clophill: The Schools
We would as far as possible have beds etc., but the accommodation would be and must be rough. We cannot fit up these buildings now in anticipation of what may happen and what if it does happen will come very suddenly. I will in due course directly I hear from the various Commandants give you approximately the numbers that can be placed in each of these buildings.
 Yours very truly,
Major F.A.D.Stevens
Source: WW1 Nursing Records [WW1/NU4]

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