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Preparedness

In respect of preparations, even up to the two army corps standard, the Royal Army Medical Corps was weak in numbers. Barely sufficient in its personnel even for peace requirements, it possessed no organisation for expansion in war. The establishment of officers was designed to provide for the bearer companies and field hospitals of two army corps and a cavalry division, with seven stationary and three general hospitals on the lines of communication. This only allowed for under 3 per cent, of the troops having beds in general and stationary hospitals. Without withdrawing officers from the colonies, (The establishment for India is distinct) the aid of 99 civil surgeons would be required. These gentlemen were to be selected when their services were needed, but as there was no registered list, no claim on the service of anyone could be exacted. When the field army was provided for, the home hospitals were entirely denuded of personnel. The work was carried on by retired officers and civil surgeons. The establishment of non-commissioned officers and men was designed only for peace purposes, and beyond the reserve there was no estimate for additions in case of war. A state of war was to be met by civilian assistance, increased employment of women nurses, and active recruiting. An increase of establishment which had been proposed for the estimates of 1893-4 and successive years had gradually obtained complete sanction by 1898 (An increase of 212 was asked for, and was obtained by successive grants). The increase of the army as a whole and the known weakness in South Africa caused demands for yet larger numbers in the estimates of 1899-1900. The Army Board were not disposed to recommend more than a portion of these additions (The estimate was for 400 of all ranks, and 150 were granted. The balance was granted in November, 1899, and the men were of course untrained). The difficulty of obtaining sanction for expenditure on measures of greater urgency required that that which was considered of less importance should be dispensed with, so the hospital orderly had to be rejected in favour of the soldier to fill the ranks-To provide the general and stationary hospitals that accompanied the First Army Corps with complete personnel, it became necessary to denude the bearer companies and field hospitals of the Second Army Corps. It is not surprising, therefore, that "war having been declared, and practically the whole available personnel having been swept off to South Africa with the first demands, it became necessary to seek for other means of supply." (Statement by Surgeon-General Jameson, Royal Commission on South African Hospitals.). Hospital equipment was dealt with by the Director-General of Ordnance, but with surgical and medical stores the Army Medical Department was itself concerned. Funds to replace the old-fashioned instruments then in use were asked for in 1896, and between that date and the outbreak of war great improvements had been made. The change, however, had not been universally completed, and on the outbreak of war a few instruments of comparatively antiquated type were still to be found in South Africa. A similar argument to that which prevailed against the increase of personnel met the several requests for storage room. It was represented that the indifferent storage available deteriorated the instruments and made the drugs worthless. On the other hand, the perishable nature of drugs renders it inadvisable to keep a large amount in store, besides which, ample supplies can always be purchased in the market. The subsequent experience went to prove that there was no difficulty in this matter. Throughout the war the department was wonderfully well equipped as regards drugs and instruments, and no branch was more successful than that concerned with medical supplies.

Source: 'History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902' by Major General Sir Frederick Maurice, Volume 1


 This page contains information on the types of hospitals in use during the Boer War.  The information is taken from 'History of the War in South Africa 1899-1902' by Major General Sir Frederick Maurice, Volume 4, Appendix 7.

Types of hospital:

 

General Hospitals

 

 

Stationary Hospitals

 

 

Temporary Hospitals

 

 

Civil Hospitals

 

 

Field Hospitals

 

 

Bearer Companies

 

 

Field hospitals

Name

Attached to

Ship

Departing port

Date

Notes

1st  Corps Troops Div

 

Arawa

Southampton

7 Nov 99

 

1

1" Inf Brig

Nobia

Southampton

21 or 23 Oct 99

 

2nd Corps Troops

 

Cymric

Liverpool

1 Jan 00

 

2  Divisional

2nd Div

Cephalonia

Southampton

24 Nov 99

 

3

2nd Inf Brig

Roslin Castle

Southampton

20 Oct 99

 

3rd Divisional

 

Orient

Southampton

23 Dec 99

 

4

 

Majestic

Liverpool

13 Dec 99

 

4  Divisional

 

Bavarian

Southampton

13 Jan 00

 

5th Divisional

 

Brittanic

Southampton

7 Jan 00

 

6

2nd Cav Brig

Cephalonia

Southampton

24 Nov 99

 

7

1st Inf Div Troops

Gascon

Southampton

21 Oct 99

 

8

 

Canada

Liverpool

30 Nov 99

 

8th Divisional

 

Tintagel Castle

Southampton

17 Dec 99

 

9

4th Inf Brig

Servia

Liverpool/Queens

4 Nov 99

 

9th Divisional

 

Avondale Castle

Southampton

2 Dec 99

 

10

3rd Inf Brig

Mongolian

Glasgow

21 Oct 99

 

11

1st Cav Brig

Mohawk

Royal Albert Dock

22 Oct 99

 

11 British

 

Henzada

Calcutta

20 Sep 99

 

12

 

Kinfauns Castle

Southampton

30 Sep 99

 

13

 

 

 

 

 

14

 

 

 

 

 

15

5th Inf Brig

Bavarian

Liverpool/Queens

8 Nov 99

 

16

3rd Inf Div Troops

Cheshire

Liverpool

9 Nov 99

 

17

6th Inf Brig

Oriental

Southampton

23 Oct 99

 

18 British

 

Ellora

Bombay

20 Sep 99

 

19

 

Goorkha

Southampton

4 Jan 00

 

20

 

Sicilian

Royal Albert Dock

17 Feb 00

 

21

 

Gaika

Southampton

17 Mar 00

 

22

 

Gaika

Southampton

17 Mar 00

 

23

 

Gaika

Southampton

17 Mar 00

 

24

 

Orotavo

Birkenhead/Queens

25 Feb 00

 

24 British

 

Ellora

Bombay

20 Sep 99

 

26 British (Sections A & B)

 

Lalpoora

Bombay

18 Sep 99

 

Native

 

Nevassa

Bombay

27 Sep 99

 

Imperial Yeomanry

 

Winkfield

Royal Albert Dock

13 Mar 00

 

 

General hospitals

Name

Location

Beds

First
Return

Last
Return

Notes

1 General Hospital

Wynberg

773

20 Oct 99

31May 02

 

2 General Hospital

Wynberg
Pretoria

-
672

8 Dec 99
22 Jul 00

1 Jun 00
31 May 02

 

3 General Hospital

Rondebosch Kroonstadt

-
592

22 Dec 99
1 Jun 00

1 Jun 00
31 May 02

 

4 General Hospital

Mooi River

520

12 Jan 00

31 May 02

 

5 General Hospital

Cape Town

940

30 Mar 00

31 May 02

Preceded by Base Hospital, Cape Town, from 13 Oct 99

6 General Hospital

Naauwpoort Johannesburg

-
822

2 Mar 00
27 Jul 00

13 Jul 00
1 Oct 01

 

7 General Hospital

Estcourt
Pretoria

-
692

13 Apr 00
9 Nov 00

26 Oct 00
31 May 02

 

S General Hospital

Bloemfontein

814

27 Apr 00

31 May 02

 

9 General Hospital

Bloemfontein

553

20 Apr 00

31 May 02

 

10 General Hospital

Bloemfontein
Norval's Pont

-
520

4 May 00
18 Jan 01

7 Jan 01
31 May 02

 

11 General Hospital

Kimberley

600

18 May 00

31 May 02

Preceded by Town Hospital from 20 Oct 99

12 General Hospital

Springfontein

500

11 May 00

31 May 02

Formerly Section No 3 General Hospital

13 General Hospital

Wynberg Johannesburg

-
520

20 Jul 00
3 May 01

1 Feb 01
31 May 02

 

14 General Hospital

Newcastle

520

10 Aug 00

31 May 02

Took over from No 4 Stationary Hospital

15 General Hospital

Howick

536

20 Jul 00

31 May 02

 

16 General Hospital

Elandsfontein

536

1 Feb 01

31 May 02

Formerly No 2 Stationary Hospital

17 General Hospital

Standerton

520

1 Feb 01

31 May 02

Formerly No 4 Stationary Hospital

18 General Hospital

Charlestown

520

8 Feb 01

31 May 02

Formerly No 1 Stationary Hospital

19 General Hospital

Pretoria

201

15 Jun 00

31 May 02

 

20 General Hospital

Elandsfontein

600

1 Mar 01

31 May 02

 

21 General Hospital

Deelfontein

800

5 Apr 01

31 May 02

Formerly Imperial Yeomanry Hospital

22 General Hospital

Pretoria

520

20 Sep 01

31 May 02

Formerly Imperial Yeomanry Branch Hospital

 

Stationary Hospital

Name

Location

Beds

First
Return

Last
Return

Notes

 

1 Stationary Hospital

Frere and Modder   Spruit
Charlestown

-

-

12 Jan 00

27 Jul 00

13 Jul 00

1 Feb 01

 

See No. 18 General Hospital

2 Stationary Hospital

East London
Johannesburg
Elandsfontein

-
-
-

22 Dec 99
20 Jul 00
28 Sep 00

8 Jun 00
24 Sep 00
25 Jan 01



See
No. 16 General Hospital

3 Stationary Hospital

De Aar

370

1 Dec 99

31 May 02

 

4 Stationary Hospital

Frere and Chieveley
Newcastle
Standerton

-
-
-

5 Dec 99
15 Jun 00
31 Aug 00

8 Jun 00
10 Oct 00
25 Jan 01



See No. 17 General Hospital

5 Stationary Hospital

Bloemfontein

219

6 Apr 00

31 May 02

 

6 Stationary Hospital

Greenpoint

6

10 Nov 99

31 May 02

 

7 Stationary Hospital

East London

250

1 Dec 99

31 May 02

No. 2 Stationary Hospital from 22 Dec 99 to 8 Jun 00

8 Stationary Hospital

Port Elizabeth

200

1 Dec 99

31 May 02

 

9 Stationary Hospital

Queenstown

60

23 Mar 00

31 May 02

 

10 Stationary Hospital

Naauwpoort

377

13 Jul 00

31 May 02

From Section No. 6 General Hospital

11 Stationary Hospital

Winburg

150

1 Jun 00

31 May 02

 

12 Stationary Hospital

Wakkerstroom

150

7 Sep 00

31 May 02

 

13 Stationary Hospital

Pinetown Bridge

250

20 Apr 00

31 May 02

Formerly Princess Christian Hospital

14 Stationary Hospital

Pietermaritzburg

150

13 Oct 99

31 May 02

Formerly General Hospital, no number

15 Stationary Hospital

Heidelberg

150

13 Jul 00

31 May 02

 

16 Stationary Hospital

Mafeking

150

10 Aug 00

31 May 02

 

17 Stationary Hospital

Middelburg

400

17 Aug 00

31 May 02

 

18 Stationary Hospital

Krugersdorp

250

27 Jul 00

31 May 02

 

19 Stationary Hospital

Harrismith

350

24 Aug 00

31 May 02

 

20 Stationary Hospital

Waterval Onder

120

7 Sep 00

31 May 02

 

21 Stationary Hospital

Machadodorp

125

12 Sep 00

31 May 02

 

22 Stationary Hospital

Pietersburg

100

19 Apr 01

31 May 02

 

23 Stationary Hospital

Warm Bath

75

5 Apr 01

31 May 02

 

24 Stationary Hospital

Aliwal North

225

30 Nov 00

31 May 02

 

25 Stationary Hospital

Johannesburg

100

4 Oct 01

4 Apr 02

On closing of No 6 General Hospital

26 Stationary Hospital

Beaufort West

100

3 May 01

31 May 02

 

27 Stationary Hospital

Burghersdorp

90

28 Dec 00

31 May 02

 

28 Stationary Hospital

Worcester

60

31 May 01

2 May 02

 

29 Stationary Hospital

Heilbron

120

15 Jun 00

31 May 02

 

30 Stationary Hospital

Lindlev

180

17 Jan 02

31 May 02

 

31 Stationary Hospital

Ermelo

86

20 Dec 01

31 May 02

 

32 Stationary Hospital

Klerksdorp

100

22 Jun 00

31 May 02

 

33 Stationary Hospital

Zeerust

100

2 Nov 00

31 May 02

 

34 Stationary Hospital

Ladvbrand

40

29 Jun 00

31 May 02

 

35 Stationary Hospital

Potchefstroom

100

2 Nov 00

31 May 02

 

36 Stationary Hospital

Barberton

200

5 Oct 00

31 May 02

 

37 Stationary Hospital

Lydenburg

125

5Oct00

31 May 02

 

38 Stationary Hospital

Rustenburg

100

12 Oct 00

31 May 02

 

39 Stationary Hospital

Riefontein

100

19 Oct 00

31 May 02

 

40 Stationary Hospital

Dundee

100

12 Oct 00

31 May 02

 

41 Stationary Hospital

Ficksburg

143

8 Feb 01

31 May 02

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes.
No. 10, Naauwpoort. Left behind when No. 6 General Hospital was moved to Johannesburg.
No. 14, Pietermaritzburg. The original Station Hospital, Pietermaritzburg, was increased to form a general hospital, which was not numbered, and which was reduced again when the pressure ceased in Natal.
The first five Stationary Hospitals were sent out from England; the remainder were formed in S. Africa. Many had been in existence for some time before being given a number, hence the sequence of numbers is not according to dates of opening.
The actual accommodation varied considerably from time to time. The number of beds shown is that available on 2nd November 1901, in the case of the hospitals that were open on that date. In the case of the hospitals that had been closed before that date, the number shows the accommodation that had previously been available in them.

 

Temporary Hospitals

Name

Location

Beds

First
Return

Last
Return

Notes

 

Field Hospital

Eshowe

16

13 Oct 99

31May 02

 

Palace Hospital

Simon's Town

67

20 Oct 99

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Naauwpoort

20

20 Oct 99

3 Nov 99

 

Convent Hospital

Estcourt

100

10 Nov 99

15 Jun 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Nottingham Rd

12

1 Dec 99

8 Dec 99

 

Temporary Hospital

Putters Kraal

30

1 Dec 99

8 Dec 99

 

Temporary Hospital

Brynvilla Camp

5

15 Dec 99

29 Dec 99

 

Temporary Hospital

Stellenbosch

9

19 Jan 00

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Sterkstroom

107

16 Feb 00

6 Apr 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Klip Drift

16

23 Feb 00

16 Mar  00

 

Temporary Hospital

Modder River

50

23 Mar 00

1 Jun 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Orange River

40

23 Mar 00

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Prieska

22

30 Mar 00

31 May 02

 

Sanatorium

Claremont

50

30 Mar 00

7 Jun 01

Originally opened Dec 1899

Temporary Hospital

Thabanchu

20

11 May 00

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Boshof

40

18 May 00

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Norval's Pont

75

25 May 00

15 Oct 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Smithfield

25

1 Jun 00

3 Aug 00

 

Race Course Hospital

Pretoria

60

15 Jun 00

31 May 02

 

St Andrew's College Hosp

Bloemfontein

61

15 Jim 00

4 Jan 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Rouxville

5

15 Jun 00

14 Sep 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Dewetsdorp

60

29 Jun 00

29 Nov 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Wepener

26

29 Jun 00

25 Jan 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Kroonstadt Hotel

14

29 Jun 00

13 Jul 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Lindley

120

6 Jul 00

27 Jul 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Viljoen's Drift

20

20 Jul 00

14 Oct 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Senekal

80

20 Jul 00

28 Aug 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Vereeniging

40

20 Jul 00

12 Oct 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Pienaar's Poort

16

24 Aug 00

13 Aug 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Edenburg

25

24 Aug 00

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Verde

100

19 Oct 00

15 Mar 01

 

Railway Rest Hospital

Pretoria

 

3 Aug 00

17 Jan 02

No further returns. Stayed open till end of war

Temporary Hospital

Otto's Hoop

4

26 Oct 00

28 Dec 00

 

Temporary Hospital

Lichtenburg

50

7 Dec 00

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Ventersdorp

50

4 Jan 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Rouxville

5

21 Dec 00

4 Jan 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Vryburg

27

11 Jan 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Bulawayo

45

18 Jan 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Carnarvon

32

4 Jan 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Graaff Reinet

61

4 Jan 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Griquatown

5

4 Jan 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Frankfort

100

12 0ct 00

1 Feb 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Komati Poort

60

22 Feb 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Eerstefabrieken

10

17 Aug 00

3 May 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Daniel's Kuil

11

26 Apr 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Aberdeen

17

21 Jun 01

7 Mar 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Kuruman

14

7 Jun 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Cradock

50

12 Jul 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Koffyfontein

18

2 Aug 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Calvinia

37

21 Jun 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Tarkastad

25

31 May 01

10 Jan 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Christiana

18

22 Nov 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Schmidt's Drift

5

23 Aug 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Douglas

5

13 Sep 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Ladysmith

16

4 Oct 01

14 Mar 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Matjesfontein

25

17 Jan 02

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Greytown

24

4 Oct 01

1 Nov 01

 

Temporary Hospital

Vryheid

50

25 Oct 01

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Krantz Kop

18

8 Nov 01

3 Jan 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Pienaars River

81

20 Sep 01

24 Jan 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Tiger Kloof

40

24 Jan 02

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Port Nolloth

50

18 Apr 02

31 May 02

 

Temporary Hospital

Ladysmith

30

13 Oct 99

31 May 02

 

Notes.
This list includes only those temporary hospitals which maintained an independent existence. Those which afterwards became numbered stationary hospitals, or which were merged in other hospitals, have not been included as, for example, the second hospital at Naauwpoort, which was merged in No. 6 General Hospital on its arrival in Naauwpoort.

On the other hand, several of these temporary hospitals were in existence before the dates shown, but they were then staffed by certain field hospitals and the patients in them were accounted for in the returns from these field hospitals. For example, Modder River Hospital was first opened about the end of December 1899, but only rendered separate returns from the date shown, when the field hospitals which had staffed it moved into Kimberley and it was furnished with a separate staff. The hospital at Orange River was actually opened in September 1899, by a detachment from a Cape field hospital, but only entered on an independent existence with a fresh staff after the advance in the OFS, when all the field units were required.

Bearer Companies

Name

Raised

Ship

Departing port

Date

Notes

1 BC

18 Co London

Gascon

Southampton

21 Oct 99

 

2 BC

12 Co Woolwich

Idaho

Chatham

3 Nov 99

 

3 BC

1 Co Aldershot

Aurania

Southampton

23 Oct 99

 

4 BC

2 Co Aldershot

Roslin Castle

Southampton

20 Oct 99

 

6 BC

6 Co Portsmouth

Dilwara

Southampton

2 Dec 99

 

7 BC

18 Co London

Braemar Castle

Southampton

4 Jan 00

 

8 BC

16 Co Cork

Bavarian

Liverpool/Queens

8 Nov 99

 

9 BC

14 Co Dublin

Servia

Liverpool/Queens

4 Nov 99

 

10 BC

8 Co York

Tintagel Castle

Southampton

17 Dec 99

 

11 BC

9 Co Colchester

Ismore

Birkenhead

4 Nov 99

 

12 BC

17 Co Curragh

Catalonia

Liverpool/Queens

5 Nov 99

 

15 BC

10 Co Chatham

Simla

Southampton/Queens

26 Nov 99

 

16 BC

7 Co Davenport

Gaika

Southampton

22 Dec 99

 

17 BC

11 Co Dover

Doune Castle

Southampton/Queens

24 Dec 99

 

19 BC

Aldershot

Brittanic

Southampton

7 Jan 00

 

20 BC

Aldershot

Armenian

Southampton

8 Feb 00

 

21 BC

Aldershot

Gaika

Southampton

17 Mar 00

 

22 BC

Aldershot

Aurania

Southampton/Queens

 

 

IY BC

 

Winkfield

Royal Albeit Dock

13 Mar 00

 

 

Civil hospitals

Name

Location

Beds

First
Return

Last
Return

Notes

Edinburgh Hospital

Norval's Pont

150

18 May 00

18 Jan 01

 

Imperial Yeomanry Hospital

Deelfontein

1000

23 Mar 00

29 Mar 01

 

Imperial Yeomanry Hospital

Pretoria

530

24 Aug 00

13 Sep 01

 

Imperial Yeomanry Hospital

McKenzie's Farm

-

24 Aug 00

29 Mar 01

 

Imperial Yeomanry Hospital

Elandsfontein

138

19 Jul 01

20 Dec 01

 

Irish Hospital

Bloemfontein

100

20 Apr 00

29 Jun 00

 

Irish Hospital

Pretoria

-

15 Jun 00

9 Nov 00

 

Langman Hospital

Bloemfontein

180

13 Apr 00

20 Jul 00

 

Langman Hospital

Pretoria

-

3 Aug 00

26 Oct 00

 

Portland Hospital

Rondebosch

160

-

 

No returns

Portland Hospital

Bloemfontein

-

27 Apr 00

21 Jul 00

Sick included in No 3 General Hospital

Princess Christian Hospital

Pinetown Bridge

200

20 Apr 00

-

 

Scottish National Hospital

Kroonstadt

300

8 Jun 00

12 Oct 00

 

Welsh Hospital

Springfontein

200

8 Jun 00

3 Aug 00

 

Welsh Hospital

Pretoria

-

17 Aug 00

24 Sep 00

 

Van Alen American Field Hospital

 

 

 

 

 

The actual accommodation varied considerably from time to time. The number of beds shown is that available on 2nd November 1901, in the case of the hospitals that were open on that date. In the case of the hospitals that had been closed before that date, the number shows the accommodation that had previously been available in them.


 

Isolation tent
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IY Hospital, Pretoria
gallery1
Hospital ship, Maine
gallery1
Operating theatre
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Parent Category: Other information
Category: Hospitals and medical
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