Where the wounded were tended to...

Today we visited the site of Brindley Hospital, Staffordshire, a military hospital in WWI. We followed a map showing where the wards, medical officers, nurses, and church were originally located. Some of these blocks of concrete (on which the huts were built) are slowly being claimed by the moss and disapppearing, but the general areas can still be easily made out. Of special interest were the isolation wards - the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade soldiers now buried at Cannock Chase CWGC ended up here, the victims of the pandemic influenza of late 1918 / eary 1919. Although the area is now a peaceful one, with the birds singing in the trees and the sun casting shadows across the area, I could feel the memories of those who spent their last days and hours here

After the war the area was used as a convalescent hospital for injured and shell shocked soldiers. When the area was no longer used as a hospital, the local people commandeered the wards and huts as places to live - in fact there was a very tight-knit community here until 1956, when tlhe local council moved the people to better and more modern living. Afterwards we went to some practice trenches that still remain on the Chase that troops used to train for the Western Front. From the trenches we walked over to an area that has huge mounds of dirt used for training troops at capturing strong points. There was also a very very long rifle range which we walked along, which has so many spent bullets in the ground that hardlly any vegetation grows. We walked along the top of the rifle range - which even today has several pieces of wood in its side - remnants of targets.

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