OTTERMEAD AUXILIARY MILITARY HOSPITAL, OTTERSHAW CHERTSEY
The Ottermead Auxiliary Military Hospital opened in December 1914. Ottermead, the Surrey seat of the Earl of Meath, starting with 12 beds which was later increased to 25.
The building had been lent by the Countess of Meath for the duration of the war as a hospital. She was born Lady Mary Jane Maitland and married Reginald Brahazon, 12th Earl of Meath on 7 January 1868.
Local people were generous in giving or lending the new hospital many useful articles and within two months they received the following items.
Bagatelle table, crutches, deck-chairs, piano, mowing machine, chickens, jam, tea and sugar, cornflour and marmalade, knife machine, hammock, books, magazines, kitchen swobs, cups and saucers, soiled linen basket, cigarettes and sweets, eggs, vegetables and fruit, (via: Surrey Advertiser Saturday 17 July 1915 Page 5).
There was occasional entertainment for the men and staff at Ottermead and in November 1916 Mr J.C. Greenleaf of Chertsey organised a concert. The local paper stated that the ‘soldiers heartily appreciated the excellent programme of vocal and instrumental solos and recitations’ (Via: Surrey Advertiser – Saturday 25 November 1916)
At Christmas that year the 24 wounded men in the Hospital found their stockings filled with presents and other gifts were given to them at the breakfast table. Turkeys and Christmas puddings had been given to the hospital. Friends were invited to tea and there was music, games and songs. On the following Wednesday evening a concert was given and the programme included a violin solo and dances. (via: Surrey Advertiser Saturday 30 December 1916)
In 1917 four nurses from Ottermead were among the many names which were brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War for Valuable Services rendered in connection with the war. The four nurses were Mrs G. Clenshaw, Matron, Miss E. Ashmole, Sister, Miss D.A. Power, Nurse and Miss I.H. Wood, Nurse (via: Surrey Advertiser Monday 29 October 1917)
Miss D.A. Power, Nurse – Dorothy Ada was born 3 March 1887 Walton on Thames. Her parents were Edward and Annie Elizabeth, She had sisters Ethel Annie, Amy and Fanny and two younger brothers Arthur E. and Ronald. Dorothy died 20 Dec 1974. Her brother Arthur joined the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. Her youngest sibling Ronald was in the British Army – Royal Flying Corps No 1 Aircraft Deport Rank was Air Mechanic 2nd class.
Miss I.H. Wood, Nurse –– Ida Hamilton was born 30 July 1868 in Bengal. Her parents were William and Julia Anne. She was mentioned in Despatches – Ida Wood died on 27 December 1918 and her name is on the Surrey Red Cross V.A.D. memorial in Guildford (Farnham Road)
In July 1918 Ottermead Hospital had a garden fete which raised £50 for the hospital funds. The band of the South African Light Infantry played during the evening and the R.A.M.C. Pierrot Troupe also gave a concert. Trays of fancy goods, including necklaces and charming designs made by patients were sold by members of the staff and patients. (Via: Surrey Advertiser – 24 July 1918)
On 29th January 1918, the War Office published a list of the names of ladies whose names had been brought to the notice of the Secretary of State for War as having rendered valuable services in connection with the establishment maintenance and administration of war hospitals, and convalescent homes for sick and wounded soldiers. Mary, The Countess of Meath was amongst the ninety-one published. She received a handsome illuminated card, relating to the Ottermead hospital that she had established. This card of thanks was published by the Government and ran as follows:
“During the Great War of 1914-1918 this building was established and maintained as a Hospital for British Sick and Wounded. The army council, in the name of the Nation, thank those who have rendered to it this valuable and patriotic assistance in the hour of its emergency, and they desire also to express their deep appreciation of the whole-hearted attention which the Staff of this Hospital gave to the patients who were under their care. The war has once again called upon the devotion and self-sacrifice of British men and women, and the Nation will remember with pride and gratitude their willing and inestimable service”
(Ref: “Memories of the Twentieth Century” by Reginald, 12 Earl of Meath, K.P. pp. 270-271) (SHC ref: 728.8 OTT p)
When the Countess of Meath died in 1918, her Will stated that the land was to be given to the Ministering Children’s League, of which she was a founder, but her husband could lease it back for his own use until his death. On the Earl’s death eleven years later it was sold by the Trustees of the Ministering Children’s League. In 1936 it changed hands again when it was purchased by The Wantage Sisters who ran it as a home for girls until 1965.
(Via Chertsey museum) (SHC Ref: 7386/4)