History detectives appeal for names for military hospital project

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08 February 2020
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Two British researchers are appealing for help in tracing the names of thousands of people who passed through the doors of a military hospital during its 115-year history. Can you help?

Julie Green and Brenda Findlay, of Netley Abbey near Southampton, Hampshire, are independent history researchers gathering information about the past lives and times of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital (Netley War Hospital) and its cemetery.

Brenda runs the Netley Abbey Matters website while Julie manages the Royal Victoria Hospital Netley website and together they are collating the names of the staff, patients, civilians, family members and medical students who walked the corridors of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital during its lifetime, 1863-1978.

History pair hunt for thousands of names

Brenda explained: ‘Whilst there are no official registers, there are pockets of information in all manner of places – newspaper articles, family notices, trade directories, obituaries, telephone books, private and public websites, past employees’ memories etc.

‘We have trawled through hundreds of these “pockets”, and at the end of March 2019 began to publish a Summary of our findings on a dedicated page on my website. As at the end of November 2019, our full Hospital Listings database holds just over 8,000 entries.’

Given some 50,000 patients passed through Netley Hospital during the First World War alone, ‘this is a mere drop in the ocean, but it’s a start,’ added Brenda. 

Can you help?

Anyone with a personal story connected to Netley Hospital that they would be happy to share – or who know of anyone else with memories of the hospital, its patients or staff – please complete the contact form on the Netley Abbey Matters website or post a comment to the Facebook page, ‘Netley Abbey Matters – Past Times of the Village, Hospital and the Cemetery’.

The database so far can be found here.

Image: Archive photo of Netley Hospital and Red Cross Huts © www.netley-military-cemetery.co.uk

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