A Moment in Time
The purpose of writing about Wicklow Lodge Military Hospital is to record a story about the people from all walks of life from the Melton and District area who established Wicklow Lodge as an Auxiliary Military Hospital for sick and wounded servicemen in WW1. A Military Hospital which was referred to at the time as a "Splendid Institution." After the War It was the role model for the subsequent War Memorial Hospital at Wyndham Lodge, Melton Mowbray.
Firstly a bit of background
100 years ago in August 1914 the first of the young men of Melton Mowbray and District set out on what they believed was a great adventure, to a war that would be over by Christmas which in fact lasted 4 years and devastated families and communities
for this was a war which friends and neighbours all joined up together in local Battalions and subsequently to go on to fight and die together mostly in Northern France and Belgium.
These boys of ours endured the hardships of mud and water filled trench warfare, gas, bitter winters and living, eating and dying in horrendous conditions for 4 long years.
The sick and the wounded were brought back from France by Ambulance Train to Hospitals set up in England, Scotland and Wales to take care of them.
At the outbreak of the war plans were implemented to set up what were called Base Hospitals of which Leicester was one, it had two large hospitals and also a chain of Auxiliary hospitals which could deal with the less serious cases.
Wicklow Lodge was one of these Auxiliary Hospitals in Leicestershire to which the sick and wounded soldiers would be transferred from Leicester.
When researching into Wicklow Lodge I have found there is very little that has ever been written about it being a Military Hospital. I was under the impression as with many others that the Military just came in took over the Lodge to set up a hospital and everyone got on with life. My research highlighted a very different story which I believe should be told.
It is about Melton people in August 1914 coming together under the leadership of Richard Dalgleish and setting up an Auxiliary Military Hospital which treated 1484 sick and wounded soldiers from January 1915 to April 1919 and subsequently was the role model for our War Memorial Hospital located at Wyndham Lodge on Ankle Hill.
I have endeavoured to record names where ever possible to show that as a community these were the people from all walks of life who provided the help and support and also where possible the people who took care of those sick and wounded soldiers.
The prime sources have been the Melton Times archives, County Records Office at Leicester and The Order of St John of Jerusalem Minute Book.
I have been able to locate an Autograph Book belonging to Cecilia Webb who was part of a Voluntary Aid Detachment at the hospital from 1916 to 1919. This has been the basis of my research into the patients and subsequently where possible what happened to them.