Exeter Temporary War Hospitals – final unveiling at the Bishop’s Palace

Exeter Temporary War Hospital No 6, the Bishop’s Palace, now the Cathedral Library is the site of the last in the series of 5 plaques around the city, commissioned in partnership with Devon Remembers, Exeter Civic Society and the Devon History Society on 13th November 2018

The Dean and colleagues were present at the unveiling, and we thank the cathedral staff for all their help in making the arrangements.

Hospital No 6 opened in 1917 when there was an urgent need for more beds to meet the needs of increasing numbers of the wounded. Part of the palace had been used as a sick bay for Red Cross staff from early in the war, but in 1917 the new Bishop, Lord William Cecil, offered the use of the palace as a hospital, keeping back only the large ground floor reception rooms for diocesan use.

       Cllr Roger Croad, Dr Julia Neville, Vanessa McDonnell, Dean Jonathan

The hospital had 100 beds, including some in temporary huts on the lawn, but it also had a special role. It was the electrotherapy and massage centre for all the hospitals in the city. In this capacity it was handed over in 1919 by the Ministry of Pensions as the Palace Gate Hospital. Patients went on being treated here until the Second World War.

We were pleased to have present Minou and John Baxter, relatives of Edith Stoodley, one of the nurses who worked here. Also Vanessa McDonnell, great-niece of Phyllis Dearman, who drove one of the ambulances that provided patient transport for Exeter War Hospitals and who often came here. Vanessa kindly unveiled the plaque.

John Baxter and Vanessa McDonnell, relatives of staff based at Temporary Hospital no. 6 during the First World War.

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