From The Times History, Volume 6
The private hospitals that were sent to South Africa numbered nine in all, and played an important and admirable part in the medical arrangements.
1. The first suggestion of their formation was due to a letter in The Times from Dr. George Stoker, who, with considerable previous experience of military hospital work, urged the sending out of self-contained independent units acting under the military authorities, but with their own staff, equipment and transport. The idea was at once taken up by Mrs. Bagot (wife of Captain Bagot, M.P. for South Westmoreland) and resulted in the formation of the Portland Hospital, the chief contributors being the Duke of Portland and residents in the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland. It was organized as a hospital of 100 beds by a Committee of Management, in consultation with the Army Medical Department of the War Office, with Major-General Hon. H. P. Eaton as Honorary Secretary. It was opened as a section of Ho. 3 General Hospital at Rondebosch in January, 1900, was sent to Bloemfontein in April, and finally closed in July.
2. It was followed by the Langman Hospital, presented by Mr. Langman, who had acted as Hospital Honorary Treasurer of the Portland Hospital. This was organized on similar lines, opened in Bloemfontein in April, 1900, went to Pretoria in August, and was eventually given to the Government by Mr. Langman as a free gift in November.
3. An American citizen, Mr. Van Alen, equipped and took out a section of a field hospital, which went to hospital Kimberley in March, 1900, and accompanied Lord Methuen in his operations north and west of that town in April. It was subsequently handed over to the military authorities at Paardekraal in July, 1900.
4. Lord Iveagh was the donor of a hospital, called the Irish Hospital, of 100 beds, equipped as a stationary hospital but with a special transport of its own. Part of the latter on arrival in March, 1900, when the hospital was sent to Naauwpoort, accompanied Lord Kitchener’s expedition to Prieska. It was not until April that the hospital was opened as a whole in Bloemfontein. A part of it accompanied Lord Roberts to Pretoria, and eventually the whole hospital, as already noted, developed into a large hospital in the Palace of Justice there. In October it ceased to exist as a private hospital, and all its stores and equipment were handed over to the military authorities as a free gift.
5. A 100-bed stationary hospital was given by Mr. Alfred Mosely and called the Princess Christian Hospital. It took a number of huts with it, and was opened at Pinetown, Natal, in April, 1900. In July it was placed at the disposal of H.R.H. Princess Christian, who presented it to the Government.
6. A committee of ladies and gentlemen associated with Wales organized the Welsh Hospital, also of 100 beds, which was attached to No. 3 General Hospital at Springfontein in June, 1900, its personnel having been distributed amongst military hospitals in Cape Town and Bloemfontein until its equipment was got up. It was transferred to Pretoria in August, and handed over as a free gift to Government in November, 1900.
7 and 8. Two hospitals were organized in Scotland; the Edinburgh Hospital, in Edinburgh and the East of Scotland, by a committee under the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, and the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital, in Glasgow and other parts of Scotland, by the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association. The former was a hospital of 100 beds. It opened at Norval’s Pont in May, 1900, and worked there till the following October, when it was presented as a free gift to Government. The latter was commenced as a hospital of 100 beds, but eventually expanded into a general hospital of 520 beds. It went out to South Africa in three sections, and was opened at Kroonstad in June, 1900. It was handed over to Government in October.
9. The Imperial Yeomanry Hospital and its branches were organized on a larger scale than the other private hospitals, although they partook of the same character. The idea of providing special hospitals for the Yeomanry in South Africa originated with Lady Chesham and Lady Georgina Curzon (Countess Howe), and eventually took the form of a large general hospital, which was established at Deelfontein, near De Aar, in March, 1900. It continued open for a year. It was followed by a Yeomanry field hospital and bearer company, which accompanied various columns between August, 1900, and March, 1901. When Pretoria was occupied, a branch was organized and sent there by the representatives of the London Committee in South Africa. It was opened in August, 1900, and closed in September, 1901; it assumed the dimensions of a general hospital during that period. Three minor establishments were also formed in South Africa by the representatives of the London Committee, namely, a hospital of 100 beds at Mackenzie’s Farm, Cape Town, a convalescent home for officers at Johannesburg, called the Chesham Home, and a small hospital at Elandsfontein. The first of these minor schemes was continued from August, 1900, to March, 1901, the second from May till October, 1901, and the last from June till December, 1901.