Today I received a wonderful message from Australian, George Cochrane, whose father fought in the First World War and after being injured, was attended to at Caldergrove House, right on the boundary of Blantyre and Cambuslang.
For those not aware of Caldergrove, it was a large detached villa in its own grounds by the Rotten Calder River not far from Priory Bridge. Whilst initially a house, during World War One it gave over it’s use as a local hospital, helping many soldiers recuperate and get better. The staff and doctors are pictured during WW1.
Now, the reason I post this today, is that George is celebrating something today, for 13th December 1917, exactly 100 years ago to the day, was the year his father was discharged from Caldergrove and able to go back for Christmas leave. A celebration of life, return to loved ones and counting oneself lucky for making it through those harrowing times.
Celebrating the discharge is actually the end of several celebrations for George and his family, who all through this year marked specific dates and landmarks, exactly 100 years on, honouring their family all this time later.
George’s message in full is as follows:
“Hi Paul, I emailed you last year when I found your site in my search for information on Caldergrove House, the WW1 Auxilliary Hospital which my father was transferred to from Springburn following his wounding by shellfire in France in August 1917. You kindly replied that you had heard that the nursing standard was very high.
This year I decided that I would commemorate two events in my father’s service. On both occasions very good friends attended. In April we marked the opening of the Battle of Arras and followed the course of his battery into action on that day, noting that it was still in the field east of Athies when he was wounded four months later. We began with pate, soft cheese, smoked salmon and good wine, ie officers’ fare but dined on Machonachies, unsliced bread and jam, closer to that received by the ordinary soldier.
Commemorating August 10 and my father’s wounding we met again, this time to follow his evacuation, using a power point and 20 slides from that field in France, westward to le Treport where 3 General Hospital was, to Rouen, Hospital Ship St George to Southampton and then British hospital trains to Glasgow. Incredibly, the internet provided the safe working for staff at the siding as hospital trains came across the main lines to enter Stobhill area and Springburn Woodside Hospital. The presentation ended with two photos from your site; Caldergrove WW1 with staff and patients and Caldergrove house, stark on the hill. From those photos we agreed to meet again next year, for the Armistice.
It seems fitting to contact you today and to recognize your assistance in my own small efforts. 100 years ago today, 13th December 1917 my father was discharged to Christmas furlough from Caldergrove House, medical category A2. When he reports to Catterick on 28th December he will be promptly readmitted to hospital, medical category B3.
As I commented last year your site is absolutely first rate and a wonderful credit to all those who have put in the effort, very often to remember the lives of ordinary folk whose time was so much harder than ours. Australians also died a plenty in colliery disasters, the worst being Mt Kembla in 1901 and the least necessary in Queensland in the 1970’s where basic measures such as stone dusting haulage ways was still not practiced.”
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