As we remember those who perished fighting the war, SLHHP would like to specifically remember those who were brought from the front line to the Guildford War Hospital, Warren Road.
In 1916, Warren Road Hospital was taken over by the military to treat wounded soldiers from the front.
Australian soldiers were also treated here….some never came returned home. One such soldier was Private Francis Arthur Boyle of Queensland Australia. Boyle signed up to the 17th Battalion on the 18th January 1916 and fought in Belgium and France in the same year. By November, he was severely wounded – gut shot wound – and brought to the War Hospital here in Guildford. Sadly, he died of his injuries on Sunday 31st December 1916 and was buried at Stoughton Cemetery four days later. The sister in charge of the ward where Boyle lay was Linda Bell, and he’s what she said of his last days:
” He was unconscious for days before his death and died quite peacefully, his sister-in-law present. He was buried with full military honors in the Stoughton Cemetery, his sister-in-law attended. As I hope to leave for Australia and come from the same town as the late Pte Boyle, I intend to call and see his people…”
Her letter shows the compassion shown by the nursing staff at the hospital. Bell, herself was an Australian national, had seen her own share of tragedy when, on her way to Cameroon in 1915, the ship she was sailing on sunk at sea, drowning her colleague. Bell was saved but she lost everything. Despite this, she courageously sailed again soon after. An article which appeared in the British Journal of Nursing (April 1915) detailing her tragic voyage, stated “She evidently possesses the qualities necessary for war nursing,” and we’d have to agree.