Staff Nurse Edith Mary Cammack, Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS), died at the 4th Southern General Hospital in Plymouth on 1st March 1918 as a result of dysentry and malaria contracted whilst on duty in Salonika with 30 Stationary Hospital.
On 26th February 1918, Acting Matron Katy Beaufoy lost her life when HMHS Glenart Castle, the hospital ship on which she was serving with Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, was torpedoed by German submarine UC56 ten miles west of Lundy Island. The ship was making her way from South Wales down the Bristol Channel, bound for Brest, France, and was clearly displaying hospital ship markings, including lit Red Crosses and being painted white with green stripe on the sides. The torpedo hit the no. 3 hold at 03:47am, destroying most of the lifeboats in the process, and the ship sank within eight minutes. Only 32 people survived, with 162 losing their lives.
Berkswell Rectory was used as an Auxiliary Hospital during the First World War. These hospitals for wounded soldiers were administered by the British Red Cross Society, and were used as convalescence hospitals – a stepping stone between treatment at a general hospital and discharge home.
The Red Cross had set up Voluntary Aid Detachments (V.A.D.) in each county to provide supplementary aid to the Territorial Forces Medical Services in the event of war. Members came to be known as ‘V.A.D.s’ and were all trained in first aid and nursing.
In 1909, the British Red Cross was tasked with helping the Territorial Forces Medical Service in the event of war. It set up local units called ‘Voluntary Aid Detachments’, and members were trained in first aid and nursing.
Auxiliary Hospitals, attached to military hospitals, were established – the following are known to have operated in Solihull: