Soldiers' hospital uniform

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by seaweed, Jan 10, 2013.

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  1. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    I can dimly remember visiting my uncle in Netley hospital in 1940. What stuck in my mind apart from the stop-me-and-buy-one ice cream tricycle was the bright blue suits with red neckties worn by the soldier patients. I have later come to suspect that this was to allow the walking ones some freedom without the likelihood that they would go AWOL - but WHEN?

    This qn has been sparked by looking at pictures of a local temporary WW1 hospital with its female nursing staff and male patients grouped outside. One is dated 1914 and the men are wearing ordinary khaki. Another shows the men wearing the rig I describe. The question is when was this hospital dress introduced? The hospital was closed in 1919.
  2. I don't know when it was started, but they were being worn very early in the war (at least in Nov 1914) and the practice continued until circa 1950 (well before my time but I had a relative who wore them at Royal Herbert Hospital, Woolwich at that time)

    They were referred to as 'Hospital Blues' I did read somewhere that were supplied (via the Red Cross, presumably) for wear by British POWs in Germany during the First World War.

    As for your post re missing from the last 50, a similar thing happened to me on the Gurkha forum with this one:
  3. My Grandad avoided such things by going AWOL before getting to Hospital and going out on the lash.
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  4. The uniform was used at Edmonton Military Hospital during WW1.

    World War One: wounded soldiers and the Edmonton Military Hospital

    Could the uniforms have been of a style donated by The Red Cross? The following advert seems to suggest it:


    A letter to the Guardian in November 1914 illustrates the voluntary nature of these Red Cross auxiliary hospitals. Lady Donner of Oak Drive in Fallowfield was a member of the Fallowfield Red Cross branch and her letter appealed for any suitable materials for the Fairview hospital, viz;
    'As we earnestly desire the hospital to be suitably equipped and adequately maintained, we appeal to the charitable public for donations of money, and especially the following articles:—
    1. Surgical dressings, including lint, cotton wool, gauze, jaeconet, and bandages.
    2. Enamelled ware - suitable for dressing and nursing- purposes.
    3. Bed-rests, rubber water-bottles, wheel chairs. Bath-chair.
    4. An operating-table.
    5. Hospital suits, bedroom slippers, and pocket-handkerchiefs.
    6. Brushes and combs, sponges, nail brushes tooth brushes, tooth paste or powder, and soap.
    7. Tobacco, pipes, cigarettes, newspapers, illustrated magazines, chocolate, fruit, etc.
    8. All foodstuffs.
    Cheques and money will be gratefully acknowledged by the hon. treasurer, Fern Lea Wilmslow Road. Fallowfield, and any of the above articles will be received by Quartermaster Renshaw at the hospital.’

    Rusholme Military Hospitals, 1914 - 1918 | Rusholme & Victoria Park Archive

    Totally unrelated, I found this:

    The military hospitals in Great Britain in 1914-1918

    Dirty, dirty, dirty.
  5. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    According to the chap on this blog: cannycrafter: October 2011 patients themselves were referred to as "hospital Blues' after the uniform.

    I think this actually dates back to the post Crimea War era and may have been still in use up to the 1960s, although the design naturally enough altered. I also believe that blue arm bands were handed out during WW1.

    Attached Files:

  6. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Attached Files:

  7. One website comes up with the following

    Hospital Blues - Uniforms & Cap Badges - Great War Forum

    There's also a very good account here:

    The ‘Convalescent Blues’ in Frederick Cayley Robinson’s ‘Acts of Mercy’ | Wellcome Library
  8. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks, chaps, I knew ARRSE would come up trumps.
  9. My Grandfather spent his hospital time dressed in black and white striped PJ's, but he was in a German hospital.

    Once repatriated due to the severity of his wounds, he somehow made a remarkable recovery and was soon back to take part in the D-Day landings.
  10. Good on your grandfather of course, but it would be a breach of the Geneva Convention.

    (Not that it's one that would likely be discovered. But it's interesting to speculate what might have happened were he to be taken prisoner again and found out)
  11. I can see why you are a senior member - you must be well over 80 by now! Long may your memory serve you.
  12. Guns

    Guns LE Moderator Book Reviewer
    1. The Royal Navy

    Old?? He is so old that when God said "Let there be light" he was the duty sparky.

    He didn't know Nelson but his Dad was alright

    etc etc etc
  13. Baghdad - Dad's Bag etc??
  14. I have a vague memory (only 10yrs old at the time) of Military Hospital patients in Osnabruck walking-out wearing the standard BD (in walking-out mode, with shoes, no gaiters) - and white shirts with red knitted ties. It was quite a smart-looking rig, as I recall. This was in 1957.

  15. In the 1950s troop ships were required to carry 6 blue jackets for the use of venereal patients. Not sure if this was for humiliation or to warn the sailors.
    • Funny Funny x 1