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Lunatic wards in general hospitals 7 months 3 weeks ago #68586

  • BereniceUK
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Are there any figures on the number of men on either side who were classed as lunatics whilst on active service? And did all general hospitals in South Africa have a lunatic ward? I'm aware of men being sent to asylums in the UK after their return home and discharge, but what was the Army's procedure for dealing with anyone classed as 'lunatic' (which undoubtedly included what we now know as shellshock), while on active service?

"A local member of the Medical Staff Corps, writing from 5a, General Hospital, Field Forces, South Africa, on April 11th, says: -
The work here is tremendous. We average about fourteen hours a day, and then in addition we have night duty once every three nights, which means we go on night duty just as we come off day duty, and work through the night, so you can imagine what it is like. There are something like 600 patients here wounded, and there are some fifty wounded Boers also, and they get equally well looked after. Yesterday we buried three of them, and on average we bury ten a week. I am writing this in the lunatic ward, after doing a night's duty in the same. They are all harmless. One of them devotes his time to putting little bits of silver paper on the hall, and fancies they are pictures, and feels quite proud. Another is always asking for a match; and another, when all is quiet, will chime out with a song."

Southport Visiter, Tuesday 8th May 1900

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