During the Great War period Keighley had four war hospitals plus two others at Skipton, which were part of the local hospital cluster.
They were listed in the hospital magazine 'War Hospital Echoes.' A copy of this magazine from December 1917 is held at Keighley Local Studies Library in the Herbert A. France archive, box 424.
This particular issue lists the staff of the hospitals at that time.
Record of the Town’s Four Military Hospitals.
“Many at home drew double pay and cursed if their train was crowded or their war-time bread was brown, while these scions of the Anglo-Saxon race bled and died or suffered and lived, with a cheery word to hide the gnawing horrors of a bloody and needless war... We who saw them beheld the granite against which the massed battalions of the Hohenzollerns dashed themselves in futile fury – the steel which death and hell might bend but could not break”
- Lt Col William Scatterty R.A.M.C Administrator of Keighley War Hospital and its Auxiliaries.
Morton Banks War Hospital:
Seventeen months after the outbreak of hostilities, on Jan 12th 1916, the Keighley and Bingley Joint Hospital Board unanimously agree to offer to the War Office the joint hospital at Morton Banks for the accommodation of sick and wounded soldiers, conditionally upon arrangements satisfactorily to the Local Government Board being made for the reception of fever cases in the Board’s district during the period of the war. By January 21st the Local Government Board has expressed provisional approval, and meantime negotiations had been opened with the Skipton and Shipley Fever Hospital Authorities. Provision to satisfactory to the Local Government Board having been assured, formal steps were at once taken to place the Morton Banks Hospital at the disposal of the military. The terms were accordingly laid before Surgeon General W W Ke...... (Northern Command) and by him communicated to the War Office on March 10th 1916.
On April 5th 1916 the Army Council signified its grateful acceptance of the offer, the terms being that the premises should be handed back in the same condition as received and that during occupation by the Military Authority the Hospital Board should be relieved of all rates and taxes. As the hospital accommodation of 200 beds was far too small to meet the ambitions of the district, or the needs of the military authorities, it was resolved that Mayor W A Brigg should make a public appeal for funds to extend the number of beds to 400.
To serve this result, and meet an estimated expenditure of £7000, the Mayor invites a number of influential gentlemen representing the borough, Bingley, Oakworth, Haworth and Keighley Rural district to a conference at the Town Hall on March 24th. The meeting was addressed by Sir Berkeley Moynahan, the Mayor and others and within a few minutes a good proportion of the required amount was promised. Subsequently the following War Hospital Extension Committee was appointed:- W A Brigg, Chairman; W R Atkinson, Bingley; Jas Bairstow, Sutton; John Barrow, Keighley; F N Binns, Keighley; Percy Clough, Keighley; Sam Clough, Steeton; Thos Ovenden, Haworth; Norman Hacket, Bingley; J E Haggas, Keighley; Harry Smith, Keighley; Ineson Taylor, Lees; W Scatterty, Lt Col. Keighley.
A few days later the Committee visited the 2nd Northern General Hospital, Beckett Park, Leeds and the Huddersfield War Hospital; plans and estimates were prepared by Mr Jabez Crabtree for the necessary hospital additions and after approval by the War Office the contract was let to H V Robinson Ltd. On June 1st 1916 Capt Scatterty was gazetted administrator of the War Hospital, with the rank of Major, and H S Brander M.A, M.D as Registrar with the rank of Captain; and on June 23rd the administrator reported that the hospital would be handed over to the military authorities on July 1st fully equipped and staffed and ready for the immediate reception of 400 sick and wounded soldiers. On July 3rd Sir Berkeley Moynahan, Consulting Surgeon to the Northern Command, inspected the various arrangements and expressed himself highly pleased with the site, the buildings, equipment and arrangements generally.
On July 6th 1916 formal approval was given for the following appointments:
Administrator Wm Scatterty Major, RAMC
Registrar and Surgeon H S Brander Capt, RAMC
Surgeon J N Dobie Capt RAMC
Physician J M Crocker Capt RAMC
Eye and Ear Specialist A Little M B Bradford
Anaesthetist J C Crawford
Radiographer O H A Maggs
Quartermaster T Starkie Lieut RAMC (succeeding Capt T E Oliver RAMC)
Matron A Hill R R C
Medical Orderlies J P O’Connell, K Marriner, J E H Scott, W P Young
At the time the subordinate personnel consisted of 11 sisters, 20 staff nurses, 29 VAD probationers, 18 female orderlies and scrubbers, 2 cooks, 8 general service, 16 RAMC. With the civilian staff the total was brought up to 118. As the establishment grew to 720 beds the subordinate staff increased to 144 compared with 180 authorised for other hospitals of a similar size.
The opening ceremony, which took place on July 18th 1916, in beautiful weather, was an impressive function, largely attended, and in the course of an address Mayor W A Brigg made by the people of Keighley, Bingley and district. After Lt Col Littlewood (Leeds) had spoken the Mayoress (Mrs Cecil Sharpe) formally declared the hospital opened.
The military authorities pressed for increased accommodation before many months had passed and the new Mayor (Mr F W L Butterfield) on April 3rd 1917 at a preliminary meeting held in the Mayor’s Parlour and attended by Gen Bedford. The Mayor said that during the past year £12,500 had been raised for hospital purposes, while £15,000 had been spent. Within a very few minutes nearly £4,000 of the £7,000 required was forthcoming Mr J J Brigg, Mr Leolin Brigg and Mr W A Brigg each promising £500. Building operations were immediately pressed forward. Mr Ireson Taylor (Leeds) being the contractor and on Sept 1st 1917 General Bedford took over the extension on behalf the War Office.
Mr W A Brigg stated that the extension consisted of a new ward to accommodate 120 patients inside and 60 on the verandah. General Bedford characterised it as a magnificent and timely gift: Col Littlewood said Keighley’s work had been a continuous record of work well done; Sir John Clough observed that the splendidly equipped war hospitals were a credit to Keighley. Lt Col Scatterty stated that since the opening of the hospital 15 months previously, 3300 patients had been admitted and over 2000 had been sent back to the fighting line. Referring to a vote of thanks, General Bedford said the valley was redolent with spontaneous energy, patriotism and generosity.
On June 3rd 1919 the cases left in the war hospital were transferred to Huddersfield and the last ward was empty.
Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital:
The war had only been in progress a fortnight when the Corps Surgeon and Corps Supt of the local corps of the St John’s Ambulance Brigade discussed the possibility of running an auxiliary hospital by its local members. Men and women of Keighley had for many years been qualifying to render first and nurse sick and wounded their motto being “Pro Humanitale”. At a meeting of the local division took up the matter with enthusiasm: the search for a school suitable for the accommodation of 50 patients was instituted, and eventually the Corps Surgeon (Dr Scatterty) prevailed upon the trustees of the Spencer Street Congregational School to sanction the use of the school – newly decorated though it had recently been in the hope that its past record of usefulness as a Sunday School might even be surpassed by its record as a hospital.
Beds and tables quickly took the place of desks; classrooms were transformed into wards; operating theatre day rooms, kitchens, cloak rooms, nurses’ rooms, etc were all arranged for and equipped and even a recreation room was not forgotten. The equipment of 50 beds, provided by the Joint Hospital Board, the guardians and a few personal friends quickly followed; trained nurses were engaged together with V A D probationers and on October 1st 1914 the expected telegram came 104.from the County Director York – “Prepare to receive convoy”. But for weeks no convoy came. Yet the hospital was kept ready and May 6th 1915 arrived before the first contingent arrived – 30 wounded who came on from Leeds in 10 motor cars and 1 motor ambulance.
Keighley News 8th May 1915 page 5 (group photo is on 15th May 1915 page 3):
NAMES OF THE WOUNDED.
The following is a full list of the patients: -
4468 Sgt. J. Yardley, first 6th South Staffs (T.)
6073 Cpl. M. Toole, 2nd Dublin Fusiliers.
8122 Pte. F. Litchfield, 4th Hussars.
1386 L-Cpl. H. S. Harrison, 4th London Regiment.
9933 Pte. G. Holt, 2nd West Yorkshire.
43 Pte. F. Holdsworth, Army Veterinary Corps.
1648 Pte. H. Gill, West Riding ASC Leeds.
3870 L-Cpl R. McLeish, 1st Royal Scots.
7021 Pte. M. Nicholson, 1st Connaught Rangers.
19644 Pte. G. D. Hanley, 4th King's Liverpool.
14613 Pte. Wilcox, 4th King's Liverpool.
2143 Pte. Buckler, 2nd London Regiment.
4376 Pte. M. Reilly, 4th Connaught Rangers.
1863 Pte. T. A. Kershaw, second 7th West Riding.
6242 Pte. C. McCoy, 1st Canadians.
18995 Pte. J. W. Cook, 2nd Gloucester.
51382 Pte. R. Pearn, Princess Patricia's Canadian L. Inf.
2175 Pte. N. McCashel, 9th Royal Scots.
9123 Pte. Meigh, 3rd Royal Fusiliers (London Territorials)
13821 Pte. J. Morgan Royal Irish Fusiliers.
12415 Pte. Edward Burns, 3rd East Yorkshire.
3707 Pte. H. Kibbler, second 6th West Yorkshire.
6197 L-Cpl E. Gough, 1st Connaught Rangers.
1817 Pte. A. Fourster, 7th Northumberland Fusiliers.
6417 Pte. R. Marksby, 1st Royal Irish Regiment.
2144 Pte. Robert Cooper, 4th East Yorkshire.
165 Sgt. W. R. Kinneade, South Irish Horse.
7778 Pte. F. Foley, 2nd Connaught Rangers.
1095 Pte. A. Ridge, 1st Manchester Regt. (Indian Contingent)
90559 Driver J. McHale, 366th Battery R.F.A.
Note: None of these men are listed in the Keighley War Hospital Register of Patients.
The excellent work was continued at the hospital right down to its closure on May 6th 1919, and in the four years 861 patients were admitted while hundreds of prisoners and out patients also received medical, surgical and massage treatment.
The staff engaged more or less permanently during the four years occupation were:- officer in charge (1915-16) Dr Scatterty; Commandant (1916-19) Mrs Scatterty MBE.
Surgeons Dr H S Brander and Dr J N Dobie
Physicians Dr Villy, Dr Young, Dr Brand
Sister in Charge Miss ..... A R R C
Masseur Mr Rhodes Grace
Masseuse Miss Ashton
Secretary Mr J A Jowett
The maintenance grant paid by the War Office was 3/- subsequently raised to 3/3 per head per day. Many friends contributed weekly food, luxurious cigarettes etc. Mr Sam Clough loaned a full size billiard table and others notably Mrs Sam Clough and Mrs T H Haggas contributed for Christmas and other festivities.
The splendid work done in the Spencer Street Auxiliary Hospital evoked a spontaneous desire on the part of Keighley people to extend the care of the wounded and in the autumn of 1915 a proposal was mooted for adapting the Victoria Hospital for the reception of military cases. The Mayor (Mr W A Brigg) headed a movement for the renovation of the older disused portions of the hospital and a sum of £3000 was quickly forthcoming. The civilian patients were transferred to the renovated block and the newer portion was devoted entirely to military cases.
The first batch of cases arrived in Nov 1915. Up to the reception of the first two convoys the Victoria Hospital had been affiliated to the Leeds War Hospital but with the opening of the War Hospital at Morton Banks the Victoria Hospital became an auxiliary to Morton Banks Hospital. The demand for beds rapidly increased and after an attempt had been made to meet this demand by the erection of several huts and marquees a more ambitious scheme was entered upon. On April 21st 1917 the Mayor (Mr F W L Butterfield) issued an appeal for £10,000 for extensions under the new scheme and steps were taken to utilise Highfield Senior and Infant Schools for hospital purposes. Accommodation was found for the scholars in Temple Street and Devonshire Park Sunday Schools and at length the number of beds available for military patients at Victoria Hospital was raised to 230.
The principal members of the staff – the medical and surgical staff was a voluntary one – during the greater part of the military occupation were:-
Surgeons Dr J G Moffat, Dr H G Ling, Dr J N Dobie and Dr H S Brander
Physicians Dr J C Crawford and Dr J E H Scott
Anaesthetist Dr J C Crawford
Matron Miss Garner A R R C
Secretaries Miss Grace, Miss Hoyle
A large recreation room with billiard tables was erected from funds placed at the disposal of the Victoria Hospital Committee by the War Hospital Extension Committee. Here concerts, whist drives and entertainment of all kinds were held nightly and numerous gifts were made by the public to the soldiers.
Counting both direct cases from overseas and transfers from the Central Hospital 1997 patients were treated at the Victoria after its affiliation to the War Hospital. It was finally closed on April 5th 1919. The first maintenance grant was 3/3 which was subsequently raised to 3/9 per head per day.
St. John's Hospital, Fell Lane:
In the early part of 1917 the Keighley Board of Guardians offered to provide 80 beds, the block being opened on April 5th 1917, and later they again came to the rescue until by skilled and judicious management the total accommodation reached 185 beds at the Fell Lane Institution. Here as at the other hospitals, splendid work was done and when it was closed on 15th February 1919, 1052 military patients had been dealt with.
An excellent recreation room was erected at the Victoria Hospital from funds raised in response to Mayor Butterfield’s appeal, and this being the only hospital in that quarter of the town the patients were extremely well cared for by the residents of the west and south wards.
The staff chiefly concerned with the military patients were:-
Surgeon Dr Villy
Physician Dr W P Young
Matron Miss Williams
Clerk Mr Sam ......
Steward Mr J Sharp
The readiness to provide hospital accommodation was scarcely less marked in Skipton than in the Keighley district. Twenty five beds were provided at the Skipton and District Hospital and from the date of affiliation with the Keighley War Hospital – Aug 17th 1916 – to its closure on February 15th 1919, 274 soldiers were treated. The maintenance grant was originally 3/3 and was subsequently raised to 4/- per day. The medical staff were – Drs R Fisher, W Liversedge, N McLeod, H Robinson, H ..... and the Matron Miss F Eggins.
The continued urgency of the demand for beds led to the opening of the Gargrave Road Auxiliary Hospital, Skipton on May 14th 1917, and here 717 military patients were treated up to the closure on January 31st 1919. This was an effort by the Skipton Board of Guardians. “Many a short sighted optimist” said Dr Scatterty, had declared that the Spencer Street Hospital would never be needed. Yet here was the fifth auxiliary comfortably filled and still there was need for more. The two Skipton Hospitals were jointly staffed, in a great measure, the principal officers being:- Dr H Robinson (Officer in Charge), Fisher, Liversedge, McLeod and Teague: matron Miss F Eggins.
The provision made for the convalescent ‘Tommy’ at the Keighley War Hospital could hardly have been excelled in any hospital in the country, thank very largely to the effort of the Recreation Committee of which Mr Norman Hackett was Chairman. A commodious and well equipped recreation room 95ft by 60ft with stage, dressing rooms, cinema room, verandah etc was erected and a very convenient annexe formed a small but compact canteen managed by Mrs Longsdon, while opening off the main building was a billiard room 30ft by 30ft containing two full sized billiard tables. First class concerts by principals from Leeds, Huddersfield, Manchester etc and quite a number of local ladies and gentlemen were given from time to time; the resident chaplain, the Rev H ... Peck organised by weekly cinema entertainment thanks to the kindness of the “Cosy Corner” management – Mr Needham in particular; dramatic and variety performances were through the kind offers of the Hippodrome management given weekly by professional artists and lectures, recitals and debates made up the weekly programme. The billiard room was provided by Mr M H Merrall (Haworth) and the tables were the gifts of Sir James Roberts and Mrs S A Foulds (Bingley). Boating on the canal which ran past the bottom of the hospital grounds, was also a popular form of recreation both with the patients and the staff and for this provision the patients were indebted in the first instance to Mr Eustace Illingworth who started the prospect with a gift of a motor boat. Other boats were the gifts of the Hospital Extension Committee the total number eventually reaching about a dozen.
Attached to the recreation room was a library of 2000 volumes. Nor did this provision exhaust all the educational facilities, for Mrs J E Haggas, Mrs Arthur Sillers and other ladies instructed patients in embroidery and crochet work, while Alex F Smith gave instruction in wood carving and some who were able to visit the town took lessons in bookbinding and various technical subjects. In a chapel erected by private subscription collected by the chaplain and capable of accommodating 250 persons addresses were given by many notabilities including the Chaplain General to the Forces (Bishop Taylor Smith), the Bishop of Ripon and the Bishop of Richmond. The use of the chapel was not restricted to Church of England patients and services for Nonconformists were often conducted by chaplains of other denominations. Further the Keighley and Bingley YMCA, the Temperance Societies etc made welcome all soldiers desirous of sharing the benefits of their institutions and free passes were often given the patients by the proprietor of places of amusement in Keighley. On the whole discipline was excellent. During the whole three years among nearly 15,000 soldiers only one crime calling for Court Martial had to be investigated.
One of the happiest features of the work associated with the care of the wounded was the motor transport system which involved ambulance stretcher bearers motor ambulance and special police, officered by Mr Sam Clough and Mr Jowett (ambulance men) Sir Harry Smith KBE (ambulance motor) and Mr J C Dawco and later Mr T C Broster (Special Police). On seventy three occasions during the hospitals’ existence the work of transferring the wounded from the ambulance trains to the waiting motors, and from the motors to the hospital wards, was carried out cheerfully and expeditiously by these voluntary workers – many times in heavy rain, blinding snow or fog. Many times there were as many as 150 men and on this duty with 50 stretchers. There passed through the hands of these heroic workers the Northumberland ...., the killed folk, the little tough Cockney, the Dublin Fusilier, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Rhodesians, Dukes’ son and Cooks son and to these thousands were distributed at the railway station by Mr Tom Crabtree and Mrs Scatterty over one million cigarettes. Fourteen private motor cars had been converted into ambulances and to the drivers and attendants belonged the splendid record of carrying over 10,000 Tommies safely and comfortably without a hitch or shadow of disaster over narrow bridges to the selected hospitals.
A word or two is necessary concerning the Comforts Committee and associated organisations. As it should have been, the bulk of Keighley’s generosity was directed to the wounded and here the generosity and organisation of Keighley and District were a distinguished feature even for the wealthy and proventially generous West Riding. In the first place £25,000 was raised for providing hospital accommodation. Then the Surgical Supply Depot run by prominent ladies in the town provided 108,796 articles such as bandages, pneumonia jackets, swabs, etc at a cost of £1,653 raised by subscription.
The Wounded Soldiers’ Comforts Committee formed early in 1916 provided also gifts of eggs, vegetables, extra delicacies for breakfast and tea, tobacco cigarettes, writing paper and envelopes all of which were divided between the various hospitals. Again the Wounded Soldiers’ Welfare Committee, started in June 1917 and closed in May 1919, gave two teas per week to all the patients the teas being organised by Mrs Fred Spencer who had the assistance of 440 voluntary lady workers. It is interesting to record that the necessary funds were raised by a voluntary house to house collection throughout Keighley and district by a band of young ladies who maintained unabated interest in the work right down to Armistice Day. Another agency of splendid value was the administrator’s fund established to meet the extra military claims of soldiers and their friends – the payment of expenses over and above half travelling fares where the patient was dangerously ill – and altogether a sum of 1000 guineas was available for this great work.
By cricket matches the Special Police raised £650; hospital convalescents provided £150; private subscriptions yielded £105 and the sale of magazines and papers £100. All these things apart, there were countless gifts such as pianos, gramophones, clocks, bath chairs, garden seats, cigarettes, etc.
The first to die in the hospital at Morton Banks and also the first person to be laid to rest in the new Morton Cemetery almost under the shadow of the War Hospital was a brave young lad from the Fijian Islands. By his side lay 19 other soldier boys and over them rears its head a suitable memorial erected at a cost of £500 and unveiled by the Bishop of Bradford.
In the same cemetery not very far away is a memorial to 42 German soldier victims of the influenza epidemic which broke out at Skipton early in 1919. This memorial was erected by subscriptions raised by the German prisoners. Their graves were all moved to Cannock Chase Cemetery in Staffordshire. in the 1960s.
The Keighley War Hospital was a centre where American Surgeons could see the latest developments in military surgery and some 30 American Red Cross surgeons attended lectures by Dr Brander and saw demonstrations and heard clinical discourses on methods dealing with the more interesting and obscure results of modern warfare by Majors Dobie and Brander. Early in January 1919 the hospital was selected by the War Office as one of the dispersal hospitals in the Northern Command. On June 3rd 1919 the cases left in War Hospital were transferred to Huddersfield and the last ward was empty. Visits were paid by Surgeons General Bedford Price and Thompson and the G.O.C in Chief Sir John Maxwell and Lady Maxwell. A fine spirit of camaraderie existed among the medical staff and among them and the nursing staff and the VAD nursing and general service staff and RAMC good fellowship in work, the welfare of the patients and the honour of the hospital were the predominant feature in a rivalry of friends.
Col Scatterty wrote in his “Recollections of the War Hospital (Keighley) and its auxiliaries” Even men home from the muddy trenches in Flanders were impressed by the real endurance and cheerfulness which these delicate girls (the nurses) exhibited day after day and night after night. If no other praise were given, the appreciation of these unbiased judges is in itself the highest and most graceful testimony to service cheerfully and devotedly performed.”
Admission to Hospitals:
Overseas convoys 10235
United Kingdom troops 518
Local admissions 658
Transfer from other hospitals 148
Admitted for dispersal 1196
Out patients 299
German prisoners of war 105
Classification of cases:
Medical cases 5911
Surgical cases 5547
Gassed cases 156
For dispersal 1196
Out patients 299
German prisoners of war 105
Result of Treatment:
Discharged to duty 1258
Discharged to Class I duty 2455
Discharged to Class II (Command depot) 2193
Discharged to Class III (Employment) 2235
Discharged unfit for service 673
Transferred to other hospitals 1367
Transferred to dispersal canteens 116
Pending admission to Roehampton 87
Outpatients and pensioners 354
Germans to internment camp 63
Germans died 42
Operations under anaesthetic 2169
The final balance sheet of the Keighley and District (with Bingley) was Hospital Extension Fund is interesting as showing the immense generosity of the public and their keen desire to assist in this important work. The receipts were –
Sales by auction £8,874-12-3
Sundry sales £242-10-0
Making a total of £33,253-12-9
The payments comprised –
War Hospital (Morton Banks) £22,340-15-2; Victoria Hospital £703-13-8; Fell Lane Auxiliary Hospital 132. £411-17-1 and other payments £174-19-7, making a total of £25,631-5-6.
There remained to be allocated at the close a sum of £8,194-5-1 and Keighley Hospital received 83.7269 and Bingley Hospital 16.2731 the respective amounts being £6,860-15-11 and £1,333-9-2. As Keighley Hospital received the recreation hut etc its final amount was £5,764-7-1. These grants were invested by trustees for the benefit of the respective institutions.
The maintenance of over 13,000 soldiers involved an enormous expenditure as will be seen from the following figures:-
From Commencement in 1916 to March 31st 1917 £14,433-19-5
From April 1/1917 to Mar 31/1918 £34,065-6-5
From April 1/1918 to Mar 31/1919 £38,146-4-11½
From April 1/1919 to close Sep/1919 £13,708-17-0½
The amounts received by Lt Col Scatterty, Major Brander and Major Dobie (together) were £1,330 (9 months); £2,066 (1 year); £2,655 (1 year); £1,809 (6 months) and in addition they received bonuses at the close.
Herbert A. France Archive BK424 at Keighley Library.
'Recollections of the War Hospital (Keighley) and it's Auxiliaries' by William Scatterty.
Keighley News archives at Keighley Library.
Transcription work of The Herbert A. France diaries was carried out by Sue Oakley and Angela Speight in 2014. Some minor additions and corrections by Andy Wade 2022. Please note there are some words which it was not possible to transcribe due to the rather 'florid' handwriting.
We would like to thank Anne Buckley of The University of Leeds, who helped with the information on German prisoners of war at Raikeswood Camp in Skipton and their graves in Morton Cemetery.