Sunday, 24 January 2016

St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital in France

From The Halifax Courier, 22nd January 1916.



Sir,—Will you kindly permit the enclosed letters from the Lady Superintendent-in-Chief of Nursing Divisions and Corps (Lady Perrott) and the Chief Commissioner (Col. Sir James Clark, Bt.) to appear in your columns as an acknowledgment of the subscriptions collected by ambulance workers in Halifax on behalf of the St. John Ambulance Brigade Hospital in France.

The bed to which Sir James Clark alludes in his letter will be named “The Halifax Auctioneers’ Bed,” in recognition of the handsome donation given by them to the hospital.  ...our subscription list at the West Yorkshire Bank will be kept open for the maintenance of the hospital, and it is further intended to hold, if possible, our second public collection for the same object ..., relying on the help of those who recognise the value of ambulance work to enable us to again send a substantial sum for the Brigade Hospital, which we should like our subscribers to know is pronounced by experts to be one of the best equipped and best organised base hospitals at the Front, and to which we are pleased to think that one of our Halifax St. John Nursing Division has been lately appointed as one of the 20 V.A.D. nurses in services at the hospital.  Thanking you in anticipation, yours faithfully,
M. L. W. WARNEFORD (for Halifax S.J.A.B.N.D.).

From Lady Perrott:—“I do not know how to thank you enough on behalf of the St. John Ambulance Brigade Hospital for the perfectly magnificent contribution sent in from the Halifax Division.  That Halifax should have endowed 6 beds shows the enormous amount of work and trouble and organisation and generosity on the part of all concerned, and one feels that such a gift entails a great deal of self denial.”

Also from Lady Perrott:— “Will you thank the children of Halifax very much for their splendid contribution to the St. John Ambulance Brigade Hospital.  That they have subscribed enough to endow a bed is really wonderful.  I wish they could see the hospital, and realise what their money is doing.  I am sure they would like to see their bed, and the comfort and relief of some poor soldier from the front when he finds himself there.”

From Col. Sir James Clark, Bart.:  “Lady Perrott informs me that you have just paid in the last instalment of £600 subscribed from your nursing division in Halifax for the maintenance of the sick and wounded in this hospital.....

Not the least noticeable feature with regard to the funds you have collected is the raising of sufficient money, £100, by the children of Halifax to found a bed, and one of the beds which your subscription entitles you to name is called “The Halifax Children’s Bed,” and a notice of how it has been founded is attached to it.

You are now entitled to name one other bed, the beds at present subscribed for you being:  “The Walter Wright Bed,” “Halifax Children's Bed,” “In Memory of Reginald Warneford, V.C., from Halifax,” “Halifax Division, St. J.A.B.,” and “The Halifax Bed.”  I need not tell you how very grateful we all are for your most generous support.”

[The Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade were both charities; they did a huge amount of work during the war in looking after the sick and wounded, which all had to be supported by donations and voluntary activity.   In particular, I found the following account of the St John Ambulance Hospital at √Čtaples here:
The St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital in √Čtaples was arguably the most significant initiative of the British Order of St John during the 20th century. Over the course of the conflict, the Hospital received 35,000 patients. It was staffed and maintained principally at the Order’s expense, a unique and unprecedented achievement by a voluntary organisation.   ]

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