Monday, October 29, 2012

Bluebirds & Hillingdon House Canadian Convalescent Hospital


Hillingdon House, Uxbridge, Middlesex was a large rambling mansion set in its own park, close to what is now Uxbridge town centre.

The mansion was built in 1845 and belonged  to Colonel Cox of the famous Banking Institution, His family put the mansion and its 50 acres of grounds up for sale in 1914 and it was acquired by the British government.
The British Government initially considered the property and its grounds ideal for a Prisoner of War Camp. However after opposition from locals the site was acquired on behalf of the Canadian army as the Hillingdon House Canadian Convalescent  Hospital,  which officially opened on the 21st September 1915.
The original hospital catered for 115 Canadian military patients housed in the main buildings and another 400 in the sixteen “Salonika” huts which had been erected in the extensive grounds.
In total 500 Canadian patients could be catered for at any one time.
In October 1915 the Hospital admitted 87 patents, in November 308 and December 307.

Conditions at the hospital were sparse with “only five antiquated baths” no lights in the huts, lighting was initially by  candle light and had few toilets".
The hospital personnel were drawn from the Canadian No5 General hospital and No2 Field ambulance unit.

(below French Canadian nurses WW1)

The nurses at the Canadian hospitals wore blue dresses and white veils on their nursing caps, and were known by the Canadians as "Bluebirds". 

The Nurses lived in the Nurses Home at  “Dragonfield “ High Street, Uxbridge.

A serious measles outbreak March 1916 led to 32 staff being quarantined.
The Hillingdon Canadian hospital had its own Cricket team who played against against Canadian hospital teams at Hounslow and Southall. The hospital also boasted a Baseball team which played by 1916 in a league which including baseball teams from Taplow, Pay & Record Office and London American, 
One important luxury was the Bovril and Milk Coca drinks proscribed by Nursing Sister Miss MacCallum

On 27th December 1917 Hospital Diary reports that all nurses are to report to D.M.S. as quarters taken over by RFC

The hospitals equipment was shipped to Bexhill Candaian Hsospital and the Pay Office to Bushy Park.
On the 13th January 1918 the unit and detachment left Uxbridge at 7am arrived at its destination Bexhill at 3pm
Uxbridge and Ramsgate hospitals consolidated at Bexhill.
Personnel of Uxbridge Unit absorbed into the Princess Patricia, Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Cooden camp, Bexhill.
Hillingdon Canadian Hospital
Sisters in Charge 1915-1917

Jean Stronach
Brenda Florence Mattice
Florence Elizabeth May Mc Callum
Mary Elizabeth Fletcher
Harriet Tremaine Meicklejohn

Nursing Sister Florence McCallum was born 24th May 1890 , the daughter of Sarah Hutton, Barrifield, Ontario. She enlisted at le Touquet, France
Nursing Sister: Brenda Mattice of Quebec, enlisted in Quebec

Nursing Sister: Harriet Tremaine Meiklejohn, Mother, 155 Maple Avenue, Quebec, enlisted London

Nursing Sister: Jean Stronach daughter of Catherine G. Stronach, 173 Stewart Street, Ottawa, Ontario; Enlisted Quebec

Nursing Sister: Mary Elizabeth Fletcher: Mother A Fletcher, Paisley, Bruce county, Ontario



Canadian Nursing Sister buried at Uxbridge (Hillingdon)

Nursing Sister: Adrienna or Adruenna “Addie” Allen Tupper
Canadian Army Medical Corps
Born Yarmouth Nova Scotia 13th October 1870
Daughter of Mrs Mary E Trefry of Bridgend, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Addie Tupper from Bridgewater Nova Scotia
Enlisted Quebec

UPPER, Addie Allen (Adruenna), Royal Red Cross (RRC
Graduated General Hospital Concord, New Haven
  No. 2 General Hospital, Le Treport, France

Died of illness 9th December1916 aged 46

Buried at  Uxbridge (Hillingdon) Cemetery, Middlesex, England plot UC: 8