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An ambulance arrives at a New Zealand General Hospital and medical orderlies unload wounded soldiers. Around them are wounded men in various states of recovery – note the number of walking sticks and amputees. All of the patients are dressed in “hospital blues” – a uniform worn by all hospital soldiers in the United Kingdom. Under the Defence of the Realm Act it was forbidden for Public Houses to sell liquor to a soldier in hospital blues.
Can you help us identify the hospital? We know it is a New Zealand General Hospital, so it is either Brockenhurst or Walton-on-Thames. Please contact us if can you help us.
First English hospital for wounded Kiwis
The New Zealand Military Hospital at Walton-on-Thames was the first English hospital to be established for Kiwi soldiers during the First World War. It was officially opened on Saturday 31 July 1915, in a ceremony attended by “one of the largest gatherings of New Zealanders that has ever assembled" in the UK. (Evening Post, 24 September 1915, p.4)
This film clip shows NZ High Commissioner Thomas Mackenzie and William Lord Plunket at the hospital’s official opening ceremony on 31 July 1915. Lord Plunket was a former Governor of New Zealand and the chair of the NZ War Contingent Association, formed on London at the outbreak of the war to support wounded NZ troops. The Association helped to select the hospital premises, and its members later visited convalescing patients.