Casualties, Convalescence and Community : A new exhibition exploring Arundel’s First World War Red Cross Hospital
Jubilee Room, Arundel Museum. Entry free
Wounded servicemen enjoyed a warm welcome from the local community when they came to convalesce at the Red Cross hospital in Arundel a hundred years ago.
Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, a group of researchers from Arundel Museum has uncovered the hidden story of the hospital, which is presented in the new exhibition.
From March 1915 to December 1918, the hospital was located at St Wilfred’s Convent, London Road, (now a care home and theatre). Initially there were a dozen beds for convalescent servicemen, but further beds were provided as the war progressed and casualty rates increased.
Gwendoline, Duchess of Norfolk, who was President of the Sussex Branch of the British Red Cross Society, started the hospital. The townsfolk of Arundel and surrounding villages were involved with the daily work and management of the hospital, as well as providing equipment, raising funds and entertaining the patients.
Thanks to the discovery of photographs and a journal belonging to local residents, whose relatives were nurses who worked at the hospital, along with information from the Arundel Castle Archive and the local newspapers, the story has really come to life.
The story of the hospital is about the people who worked there: Annie Ford, the laundress, who did the cooking, George Stedman, the blacksmith, who was a ward orderly, and Winnie Bishop, a violin teacher, who was a nurse.
Winnie Bishop also kept a journal in which she collected the names of many of the servicemen who were treated at the hospital. The men came from all over the UK and fought in all the major battles, suffering many different injuries and illnesses. More information has been discovered about a few of the men, like Sgt,, H.E. Addy of the 21st Manchester Regiment and A.B W. Robertson of the Royal Naval Division, who signed their autographs and were photographed receiving the Military Medal from the young Duke of Norfolk in 1918.
Come and discover for yourself the full story of the Arundel Red Cross Hospital, the staff and the patients. It was a true community effort.