WW1 - Treating Empire Wounded ?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Goatman, Mar 9, 2011.

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  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Another dumb question - for which I apologise in advance.

    Talking to a very nice lady in the TV trade recently about treatment of wounded perss in 1914-18 , the question of medical treatment for soldiers from the Empire came up.

    ( as far as she knew, there were no non-white soldiers in France in 1914......I spoke gently about the 200,000 Johnny Gurkha who took part, without boring her any further with other 'colonial' units such as the Indian Army.or Soldat de France : Bat d'AF....)

    Question for anyone who may be SURE of their facts: if a Gurkha or Sikh or Sudanese trooper was injured in France, would they have been treated alongside European soldiers...specifically at Military Hospitals and Recuperation homes here in Britain?

    Bearing in mind the frankly unabashed racist climate of the time, I personally doubt it. But would be interested to know for sure.If there is a source reference plse cite.

    So , if a white soldier wounded on the Western Front and following field hospital stabilisation in France was medevac'ed back to e.g Netley Hospital or Osbone House ....where did Johnny Gurkha/Subadar Singh/Rifleman Nkrumah go ? Or were they retained in France until discharged?

    verifiable answers ( not guesswork) on a postcard please.....much obliged Effendi.

    'S'Alaam u aleikum
  2. Sounds as though your 'very nice lady in the TV trade' should have paid a lot more attention during her Meeja Studies degree: she would then have known that The Royal Pavilion was a dedicated hospital for Indian soldiers from 1914 to about 1916. Over 4000 passed through its doors. Have a look here BBC News - In Pictures: Brighton Pavilion's Indian military hospital

    ...........and next time you see her, tell her to poke her benevolent racism right up her LSE-funded hoop: she is an arrogant bitch if she believes she can judge the attitudes of a century ago against the mores of today.

    Edited to add this link My Brighton and Hove | Places | Civic buildings | Military Hospitals | The First World War 'cos I've got the hump, now: these examples are just from the Brighton area.
  3. There were big differences in treatement.

    The first Indian troops to serve on the western Front arrived in late 1914. From the evidence of the graves in the dressign stations behind the la basse front at some point indian and European troops were treated in the same facilities. When possible Indian wounded were accommodated in seperate Indian hospitals whioch ca\tered for the dietary requirments of hindoi and Moslem soldiors. The best knopwn in Britian was the Brightoin Pavilliaon. Indian soldiers in England described their treatment as excellent. As men predoninantly from close to the bottom of the Indian caste system they were staggered by the care ministered to them by white female nurses. One soldier in a letter home mentioned that the nurses even carried away excreta. Othjer letters mention visits by pensioners and wives bearing gifts and a Royal Visit.

    Some of the Moslem soldiers who died in hospital in the Uk are buried in Brookwood CWC. They were oiginally buried in Woking (Monument Road) Cemetery but were re-interred in Brookwood after a sustained campaign by the national front to desicrate the graves of these men who fell for their king Emporer. I vivited the cemetery a dacade later ans could still see the NF graffiti.

    I don't think that all on europeans on the Western Front had the same expereince. The Indian army was exotic and came as combat troops. I suspect the medical arrangements for the 100,000 chinese labourers or tens of thousands of African labourers cantoned in the Pas de calais may not have been as genrerous.

    I suspect the West Indians employed as additional labour on gun positions from 1917 onwards would proabaly have been treated alongside the british.

    Canadian forces included all sorts of non europeans including afro carribeans native americans eskimos and the odd japanese. Phtopraphs show the occasional maori or aborigine in ANZAC units. As far as I can make out they were treated as any other soldier of Britians Dominions.

    You can read more in two books.

    Indian Voices of the Great War - Indian Soldiers letters 1914-18 by David Omissi

    Sepoys i9n the Trenches by Gordon Corrigen.
  4. 4ZC...It is as you say! I saw a programme that stated the pavillions Indian looking facade, was thought to be an ideal surrounding to aid in the Indian troops recovery,, whilst convalescing. The main hall was a huge ward, with many of the other rooms being used as theatres for operations. However, it didn't state if any Europeans were ever treated there at the same time? I can only assume that they were at some stage. That said, there does seem to have been a great amount of thought put into the comfort and treatment of those Indian troops at the pavillion...well done them!!
  5. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    To start finding out about Indian troops in France in 1914, look up the Lahore Division.

    For dietary, cultural and quite ordinary reasons like their recovering better in the company of their own kind (remember few Indian soldiers spoke any English) they would have had a far better deal being hospitalised separately.

    As to the rest of the Empire, just one example: 5 ORs of 7th Bn British West Indies Regt were awarded Military Medals (one of them a Bar) for extinguishing fires in the Marengo ammunition dump near Beesinghe after it was hit by an incendiary bomb in the middle of the night. For the BWIR's trials and tribulations read 'The Empty Sleeve'.

    The Meeja woman sounds like a typical stupid leftie meeja idiot to me.
  6. Near Brockenhurst is a cemetery which has a significant number of Indian casualties...

  7. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    Oh FFS another bone question, tell the stupid cow to go to a library
  8. don't let the facts get in the way of some liberal media tart's ignorance or prejudice. Just tell her that the Empire personnel were destroyed humanely by the ADAVS!
  9. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Nice rant 40C....but considering she's offering some of our VSIs paid work ( and has been no closer to any Uni let alone the LSE than I have) I will offer up the Brighton Pavilion example so thank you for that.

    Whilst I knew that many soldiers from both the British and French empires slogged it out alongside European comrades, I could not give her any concrete examples of facilities where they had been treated side by side. Might give the NAM phot archivist a shout.
  10. Ah-the delights of the 2 dimensional interweb:handy for missing the nuances of the spoken word. If she is doing Good Works, then I'll vent my spleen elsewhere.
  11. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    You should tell her about this chap: Khudadad Khan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  12. A large number of Indian troops were treated along the south coast there is a small monument to them in a village in the New Forest, where they recovered. I believe there was an Indian staffed medical unit with around a capacity of 2500...
    For more info www.hants.gov.uk/rh/archives/indiansoldiers.ppt
  13. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Before anybody else goes off on one about Gurkha VCs or similar - missing the point a bit.....that soldiers of all castes, creeds and races fought gallantly in The Sahib's War (which is the title of a Kipling short story BTW) and won gallantry medals accordingly was not the question.

    MY bone question was whether or not they were treated in the same facilities further back than the RAP.

    The answer seems to be 'some , but in like groups' .

    And as for Leftist benevolent Meeja racism....well, it was bit awkward explaining to the (black) ex RGJ soldier queuing up with me and about 200 other hopefuls that, actually, he wasn't going to be picked as an extra on 'Band of Brothers' because the US Army had a strictly enforced colour bar until the Korean War - and there weren't any black members of the 101st Airborne....er...sorry mate....just trying to get something right for once.....( best I don't mention berets then ? )

    PS Greased weasel....spotty dog .....will fwd to her as an example
  14. Not only were they treated in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, but the Sikhs that succumbed to their wounds (I think that there were 64 in all) were cremated according to Sikh tradition at a spot on the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon. A Chattri (memorial) was erected to commemorate the place as (effectively) a War Grave, which not only still exists, but a service of rememberance is held there every year by local Sikhs.

    There has been a lot of interest locally recently in the use of the Royal Pavillion as a Military Hospital (particularly in the Brighton Argus) - I'll see what I can dig out and post anything I find.
  15. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Apologies GM, I cited Khundadad Khan's award (31 October 1914) as an example to correct her belief there were no Indian Soldiers on the Western Front in 1914. Didn't want to drag the thread off course.