Oaklands Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital, Elton Road, Clevedon
Part Three: Life at hospital
Soldiers from around the world stayed at Oaklands, the first being the wounded from the retreat from Mons including members of the Belgian Forces and by May 1919 over 3500 in total had been treated.
Not only were there soldiers from the various fronts but also the many that were billeted in the town and received treatment for various fevers and fractures etc.
Amongst them was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, Sergeant Harry Cator, of the East Surrey Regiment, who was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery during the Battle of the Somme 1916, and the Victoria Cross for his services on Easter Monday, 9th April 1917 during the Arras Battle.
He was badly wounded three days later by high-explosive shrapnel, which broke both his upper and lower jaws. He was first admitted to Beaufort Hospital and then to Oaklands.
The hospital was renowned for its entertainment both by visiting performers, local artists and the patients themselves. The Oaklands Concert Parties proved a very great success and greatly lessened the monotony of hospital life, producing beneficial mental and physical results, as well financial support.
Messrs JN and V Cox very generously granted free admission at all the Picture House Matinees as well screening announcements of various activities to raise funds free of charge, they also supplied the electrical equipment required to re-charge the various batteries used at the hospital.
The hospital was subject to regular visits and inspections by Royal Army Medical Corps officers, as well as BRCS chief officials. All spoke very highly of their satisfaction with every department, and stated that Clevedon could well feel proud of its history during the war in the care of those who suffered.
The Armistice was declared on November 11th 1918 and to celebrate, the next day the patients assembled in full force to be the guests of Mr. & Mrs. F House of The Towers Restaurant for tea and an evenings entertainment, it is reported that the sumptuous repast was given full justice and that the entertainment was full with frequent encores.
Mr. House gave a speech thanking the boys for their great efforts and by special request the evening concluded with " Keep the home fires burning" followed by the National Anthem.