GREAT HORKESLEY: V.A.D. Nurse Lilian Maud Nevard’s Photographs
These photographs are reproduced with permission from/© Mr. D. Seaborn.
Written inside of the album’s front cover is the following:
“The Great Horkesley Voluntary Aid Detachment of the British Red Cross opened and fully equipped a hospital at Woodhouse, Coach Road, in September 1914.
Woodhouse was the home of Col. H. J. Lermitte and his wife (Susan Ismay), the latter was Commandant of the hospital. Col. Lermitte died 20 June 1918 aged 60.
The first wounded soldiers arrived on 22 October 1914 and the number of beds quickly rose from 15 to 60. During the course of the war no less than 1,522 wounded soldiers passed through the hospital and not one died while in care thanks to the devotion of the staff.
Woodhouse finally closed on 15 April 1919. Mrs. Lermitte was awarded the Royal British Red Cross Decoration by King George V in 1917.”
ONE ‘WOODHOUSE’ PATIENT
PRIVATE 8849 GEORGE SAUNDERS, SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT
George Saunder’s WW1 Medal Card shows that, for his services to King & Country, he was awarded the following medals:- The ’14 Star’ (awarded to men who served in France/Flanders before 23rd November 1914); The Victory Medal (awarded to men who served anywhere during the First World War); and The British Medal (awarded to anyone who served in the First World War).
George’s tour of duty in France began on 14th September 1914. From his own hand, we know that George was wounded on 20th September 1914 “on the Aisne”. At that time, the 2nd Battalion South Lancashires was attached to the 7th Brigade, 3rd Division. They took part in the ‘Battle of the Aisne’ actions, in attacking the Heights of the Chemin des Dames. The 2nd South Lancs crossed the River Aisne, close to the town of Vailly on 14th September 1914. The Battalion would have been holding the line at Rouge Maison when George was wounded on the 20th.
It is most likely that he received gun-shot wounds (some wounds resulted in amputation, if a man survived); he would have been treated in a Clearing Station Hospital, initially; and then sent back to ‘Blighty’ to convalesce – in this case, at ‘Woodhouse & Horkesley V.A.D. Hospital’, Great Horkesley. George’s autographed verse to Nurse Lily Nevard proves he was a patient at ‘Woodhouse’ on 18th January 1915. Obviously, George was considered unfit for duty eventually and was duly discharged on 06th May 1915.
We would have known so much more and/or had so much confirmed had George’s WW1 Service/Pension Record survived the World War Two bombing raids on London.
Was PRIVATE 8849, GEORGE SAUNDERS of the SOUTH LANCASHIRE REGIMENT (“wounded on the Aisne Sept. 20th 1914″), one of the 13 wounded soldiers mentioned below?
Saturday 31 October 1914, Essex Newsman [sic]:
“ESSEX WOUNDED. “Thirteen of the wounded who arrived at Colchester have been quartered at West-Wood House, Great Horkesley, the residence of Col. And Mrs. H. J. Lermitte, where a capital barn has been converted into a hospital. The charming grounds are open to those able to walk, and Col. Lermitte’s smoking-room has been placed at their disposal for mid-day meals. The Hospital is carried on under the superintendence of Mrs. H. J. Lermitte, who is the Commandant of the Essex, 46, Red Cross V.A.D., and a trained nurse. Dr. Cant, of Great Horkesley, is the hon. Medical attendant.”