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East London Military Hospital 7 months 1 day ago #79402

  • Smethwick
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The Smethwick Telephone of 2nd March 1901 has the following paragraph in its “Local and District News” section:
“A welcome letter has been received by Mrs Lawrence of Queens Street from a superior officer connected with the St John’s Ambulance Brigade in South Africa, referring to her son, who is a member of the staff. He is evidently serving in a military hospital at East London, and the way in which he has always attended to his duties has gained him a high respect. The work has been arduous, and at times rather dangerous, but he has been favoured with good health.”

The son in question was WALTER ERNEST LAWRENCE (born 1881). He was to play a prominent part in the political life of Smethwick. He became a member of the Town Council and in the 1920’s he became leader of the Smethwick Labour Party. He had to deal with the difficult incumbency of Oswald Mosley as Smethwick’s Labour MP from 1926 to 1931. When Mosley defected to his newly formed New Party, Walter stood as the Labour Candidate for Smethwick in the 1931 General Election – there was a massive national swing to the Conservatives and Walter lost. A few years later Walter’s health began to fail and he retired from political life, passing away in 1937 aged only 56.

Is there any information or photographs available regarding the Military Hospital in East London or about the contribution the St John’s Ambulance Brigade made to the Boer War?
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East London Military Hospital 7 months 12 hours ago #79421

  • Rob D
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East London was the site of No 2 Stationary Hospital and No 7 Stationary Hospital.
There is information on these, and on the St John's Ambulance, in:
Healers, helpers and hospitals (volumes 1 and 2) by J C (Kay) de Villiers. Protea Boekhuis. 2009. ISBN 978-1-86919-277-8.
The Wellcome library in London has a copy, they are a short stroll from Euston or Kings Cross stations, and they are usually extremely happy to assist visitors / readers wellcomecollection.org/visit-us

The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past.
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