Join us for Eastleigh Remembers - a special FREE family event paying tribute to Eastleigh's role in the First World War, including a re-enactment of the field hospital located in the Leigh Road Rec.
Eastleigh Remembers also features vintage military vehicles and entertainment from WW2 plus a host of entertainment running throughout the day including:
- Dame Vera Lynn tribute artist Diane James
- Romsey Old Cadets Carnival Show Band
- World War One Field Hospital
- Military Services and Community Stalls
- 14th Eastleigh Scout and Guide Band - The Spitfires
- Hampshire Youth Dance Company
- The Lindy Club Swing Dance
- Semaphore Signalling
- Knitwear through the ages
- Family Activities
Join us to pay tribute to all those individuals who have played their part in protecting our futures.
Check out our Facebook event page for updates
Did you know that Eastleigh contributed to the war effort (WWI) tending to wounded soldiers...?
Eastleigh Clearing Hospital was opened in July 1915…
(later renamed Eastleigh Military Hospital and then Eastleigh Casualty Clearing Station)
…it had 1280 beds and handled 72,000 wounded soldiers until it closed in March 1919. It had about 220 staff. It was commanded by Lt Col George Twiss RAMC. With the exception of the cooks and dispensers, all the staff were Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) personnel. (They were initially recruited from Southampton St Johns Ambulance.) It was located in several locations across Eastleigh, including the Leigh Road Recreation Ground.
Its job was to look after lightly wounded soldiers arriving at Southampton Docks. A typical stay was 5 days. During that time a soldier would have a bath, be given clean hospital uniform, have a session with a doctor, following which travel arrangements would be made for him to transfer to an appropriate hospital. “Entertaining the wounded” was a major occupation in Eastleigh during the war. An event for this purpose was held nearly every day while the hospital was open.
WW1 Soldier’s account, with references to Eastleigh Clearing Hospital...
Corporal R Derby Holmes, 22nd London Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Holmes was wounded Monday 8 October 1916, Butte de Warlencourt on the Somme and arrived in Eastleigh Friday 13 October 1916
He started the attack in command of his platoon when he was wounded in the arm and shoulder by a shell burst. He crawled away before being picked up by stretcher bearer, but the stretcher party were hit by another shell and one of the stretcher bearers was killed.
Holmes managed to stagger on to “cough drop” advanced dressing station. Then he travelled by light railway flat car and an ambulance to a Casualty Clearing Station. He went by ambulance train to General Hospital No 12 at Rouen. He was there for 4 days and then went on a train to Le Havre which took him directly to the hospital ship, Carisbrook Castle. The quarters were good, — “real bunks, clean sheets, good food, careful nurses. It was some different from the crowded transport that had taken me over to France”.
“There were a lot of German prisoners aboard, wounded, and we swapped stories with them. It was really a lot of fun comparing notes, and they were pretty good chaps on the whole. They were as glad as we were to see land. Their troubles were over for the duration of the war. Never shall I forget that wonderful morning when I looked out and saw again the coast of England, hazy under the mists of dawn. It looked like the Promised Land. And it was. It meant freedom again from battle, murder, and sudden death, from trenches and stenches, rats, cooties, and all the rest that goes to make up the worst of man-made inventions, war. It was Friday the thirteenth. And don’t let anybody dare say that date is unlucky. For it brought me back to the best thing that can gladden the eyes of a broken Tommy. Blighty! Blighty!! Blighty!!!
“BLIGHTY meant life, — life and happiness and physical comfort. What we had left behind over there was death and mutilation and bodily and mental suffering. Up from the depths of hell we came and reached out our hands with pathetic eagerness to the good things that Blighty had for us. We steamed into the harbour of Southampton early in the afternoon. Within an hour all of those that could walk had gone ashore. As we got into the waiting trains the civilian populace cheered. I, like everybody else I suppose, had dreamed often of coming back some- time as a hero and being greeted as a hero. But the cheering, though it came straight from the hearts of a grateful people, seemed, after all, rather hollow. I wanted to get somewhere and rest. It seemed good to look out of the windows and see the signs printed in English. That made it all seem less like a dream. I was taken first to the Clearing Hospital at Eastleigh. As we got off the train there the people cheered again, and among the civilians were many wounded men who had just recently come back. They knew how we felt. The first thing at the hospital was a real honest-to-God bath. In a tub. With hot water! Heavens, how I wallowed. The orderly helped me and had to drag me out. I’d have stayed in that tub all night if he would have let me. Out of the tub I had clean things straight through, with a neat blue uniform, and for once was free of the cooties. The old uniform, blood-stained and ragged, went to the baking and disinfecting plant. That night all of us newly arrived men who could went to the Y. M. C. A. to a concert given in our honour. The chaplain came around and cheered us up and gave us good fags. Next morning I went around to the M. O. He looked my arm over and calmly said that it would have to come off as gangrene had set in. For a moment I wished that piece of shrapnel had gone through my head. I pictured myself going around with only one arm, and the prospect didn’t look good. However, the doctor dressed the arm with the greatest care and told me I could go to a London hospital. I arrived at Fulham Military Hospital in London on Tuesday.”
He did not return to France but was given various jobs including one at a PoW camp at Winnal.