H09521 — St. Anne’s Red Cross Hospital Group, 1917

Box 56


Image 2: H09522 — St. Anne’s Red Cross Hospital Group, 1917


‘Letter from Iris’ — Kathryn Tollervey, Digital Archivist, Edward Reeves Archive

Audio transcript at bottom of page


Casualties cared for in military hospitals had to wear ‘Convalescent Blues’ — a blue flannel suit, white shirt and red tie — but kept their own caps. Uniforms from the front were often filthy and lice-infested. The hospital uniforms helped maintain cleanliness and prevent infection and disease. They also indicated that the wearers were soldiers and not civilians who had evaded conscription.


Related stories: Lightbox 2, Lightbox 17, Lightbox 51 & Lightbox 55


Iris Hotblack was a 20 year old living in Lewes, in her letters to her future husband Alan Morton, she describes the “two week invasion” of Lewes in the summer of 1914 when 10,000 men were sent to Lewes for training.


Iris Hotblack’s letters are in the Liddle Collection, Leeds University Library


“One can’t possibly stay at home and live this dull existence at this sort of time. Even the much despised local Red Cross are on their dignity and refuse to take even probationers. Helen and I want to get into some London hospital together. Of course, we should only have to scrub floors and make beds. No such luck as nursing. I wish to goodness I could nurse a few wounded soldiers and try and help by being bright and cheerful. It’s about the only thing I can do.”