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Turin Personnel

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Turin Personnel

Walter Frederick Becker © L Edmonds

It was the wealthy British philanthropist, Walter Becker, who was responsible for the establishment of a military hospital in Turin during the First Word War. Walter Becker and his wife, Delphine, had founded a ‘Maternity and Rescue Home’ in Turin, according to his entry in ‘The county families of the United Kingdom by Edward Walford’ (Spottiswoode, Ballantyne & Co. Ltd, 1919 p.92). This facility was later adapted and expanded in order to accommodate the hospital. From May 1917 – April 1918, Becker provided the equipment while the British Red Cross Society in Italy provided the staff. From April 1918 the hospital was handed over to the British Army and it became the 29th (B) Stationary Hospital. The 29th (A) Stationary Hospital was in Cremona.

The personnel required to run the hospital would have included a variety of different roles, many being undertaken voluntarily, whilst others would have been paid. From various surviving records it has been possible to identify a few of those known to have been connected with the hospital:

 

Name and role: Annandale, Sister Robina; Trained Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: 1917 – 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’; also see photograph in the Turin Album

 

Name and role: Berry, Miss Louisa Harriet; Territorial Force Nursing Sister

Date(s) at hospital: Arrived for duty from No 11 General Hospital on 20 April 1918

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Conway, Miss Bedelia Agnes; Nursing Sister

Date(s) at hospital: 2 March 1918 – June 1918

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Cummins, Miss Violet Mary; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital:  21 January 1918 – 12 May 1919

Notes: September – October 1918, she took part in concert parties with patients; also see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Dennis, Miss; Staff Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: She left Cremona on 10 July 1918 for temporary duty in Turin

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Eliot, Miss Iris Vere; Laundress, in charge of the laundry

Date(s) at hospital: 26 July 1917 – 28 June 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’ 

 

Name and role: Field, Miss Dorothy; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital:  1918

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’; her diaries and papers are at the ‘Imperial War Museum’

 

Name and role: Field, Miss Elsie; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: 3 December 1918 – unknown

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Gore, Dr William Crampton; Medical Officer with British Red Cross and Captain in RAMC

Date(s) at hospital: ‘Officer in Charge’ in early April 1918

Notes: see British Red Cross Personnel Records ; mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary; also he was an eminent landscape, interior, portrait and still life painter

 

Name and role: Hacking, Miss Ann Kathleen; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: 4 December 1917 – 10 June 1918

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’ ; she married Dr Cecil Francis Nicholas in 1919

 

Name and role: Haven, Dr Richard Barnard; Surgeon

Date(s) at hospital: 12 June 1917 – 21 March 1918

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’; also see photographs in the Turin Album

 

Name and role: Heath, Miss Caroline Jane Francis; Trained Nursing Sister

Date(s) at hospital: She left the hospital and departed for Genoa on 1 June 1918

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’ ; mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Hodgkinson, Miss Dorothy; Driver with Motor Ambulance Convoy

Date(s) at hospital: 5 August 1918 – August 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Johnston de Lavis (Trafford), Dr Marcus Antonius; Senior Medical Officer

Date(s) at hospital:  1918

Notes:  see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Kelly, Esther Frances Mary: Driver with Motor Ambulance Convoy

Date(s) at hospital: 1918 – 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Kenyon, Dr James Douglas; Lieutenant in RAMC

Date(s) at hospital: He arrived for duty at the hospital from A section (Cremona) on 22 May 1918

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary; he became an eminent physician in the field of homeopathy

 

Name and role: Knowles, Rev Tom: Ambulance Unit Convoy Leader

Date(s) at hospital: 1917 – 1918

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’; also see photograph in the Turin Album

 

Name and role: Marsh, Miss (Mary) Theodora; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: 3 December 1917 – 1 March 1919

Notes: October 1918, she took part in a concert party with patients; also see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Maydon, Dr William George; Major in RAMC

Date(s) at hospital: He took over command of the hospital from Captain Gore on 15 April 1918

Notes:  Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Mayes, Miss; Matron with the British Red Cross

Date(s) at hospital: She returned to the hospital from leave on 28 April 1918

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Moore, Miss; Staff Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: She left Cremona on 10 July 1918 for temporary duty in Turin

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Mudie-Cooke, Miss Olive; Driver with Motor Ambulance Convoy

Date(s) at hospital: 1918 – 1919

Notes: Sketched: ‘Turin: hospital and garden at night’

 

Name and role: Neale, Miss Mildred; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital:  June 1918 – 28 February 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Nettleship, Miss Ethel; Driver with Motor Ambulance Convoy

Date(s) at hospital: 1918 – 1919

Notes:  see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’  and  ‘Lives of the First World War’

 

Name and role: Nicholas, Dr Cecil Francis; Captain in RAMC

Date(s) at hospital: He arrived for duty from 51st Stationary Hospital on 18 April 1918; was temporary ‘Officer in Charge’ for part of July 1918

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary; he married VAD Nurse Ann Kathleen Hacking in 1919

 

Name and role: Power, Dr Alfred William; Captain in RAMC

Date(s) at hospital: He was detailed to the hospital from Cremona on 23rd July 1918; was temporary ‘Officer in Charge’ for part of July 1918

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Salvesen, Miss Veronica; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: June – December 1917

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Seaman, Miss Hilda de Martelly; Driver with Motor Ambulance Convoy

Date(s) at hospital: 13 March 1919 – 15 August 1919

Notes: Delphine Becker’s niece; also see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Stansfield, Miss Mary Eliza; Staff nurse with QAIMNS Reserve

Date(s) at hospital: 27 July 1918 – 21 August 1918

Notes: Mentioned in 29 Stationary Hospital War Diary

 

Name and role: Stark, Miss Freya Madeline; VAD Nurse

Date(s) at hospital: unknown

Notes: ‘Traveller’s Prelude’, by Freya Stark p.228-230; a British travel writer

 

Name and role: Stonor, Miss Mary Clare; Canteen Worker

Date(s) at hospital: June 1917 – January 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Tavella (née Stewart), Signora Lena Helen; Secretary

Date(s) at hospital: 1917 – 1919

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Name and role: Tavella, Lieutenant; Italian Red Cross medical officer

Date(s) at hospital: 1917 – unknown

Notes: named in La Stampa article (17 November 1917) regarding an official visit to the hospital 

 

Name and role: Turnure, Miss Margaret; VAD Member

Date(s) at hospital: 8 June 1917 – 4 December 1917

Notes: see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

 

Working parties and work depots

Delphine Clotilde Therese (née de Martelly) Becker © L Edmonds

During the First World War, local Red Cross working parties organised the supply of hospital clothing including socks, shirts, blankets and belts for soldiers. They also made essential hospital equipment such as bandages, splints and swabs. Work depots were established to collate and despatch items from the working parties and these were then supplied to the local hospitals. Delphine Becker was responsible for the Turin Work Depot 4928, which employed local staff in addition to those from overseas. Some of the staff known to have worked there include:

Auteri-Newton, Mme

Blanchart, Mme L

Bruno, Signorina

Calvert, Miss

Castagna-Gedda, Signorina J

Castagna-Gedda, Signorina K

Frisby, Miss E

Glennie, E

Neville Bagot, Mrs

Ridley. Miss

Schalck, Mrs E

see ‘British Red Cross Personnel Records’

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