Ambulances

Ambulances

The transportation of patients from other hospitals in the UK to the auxiliary hospital was a very important part of the wartime operation. It meant soldiers could receive treatment in more remote locations thus freeing up beds in major hospitals for more acute cases. Trains were used for the main part of the journey. Ambulances or motor cars were used for the shorter distance from the railway station to the auxiliary hospital or, in the case of Mount Stuart, a short ferry crossing too.

Patients were transported from Stobhill Hospital by train to Helensburgh where they were met at the station by a detachment of the ambulance corps who took the injured men to Hermitage House in motor cars.

At first the cases had been brought by the Medical Officer of the ambulance train from Edinburgh as far as Mount Stuart and handed over there but this was found to hold up the return of the train. From June 1916, the Medical Transport Officer transferred the cases only as far as Wemyss Bay, and the Senior Medical Officer of the hospital was made Assistant Medical Transport Officer responsible for the transport of cases from Wemyss Bay to Mount Stuart.

A stretcher party was formed by local men unfit for general service and this was registered with the War Office as Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Bute 1. They went across to meet the ambulance train and carried the cases on to the steamer and again unloaded them into the ambulances in Rothesay. Initially the patients were transported in vehicles supplied, lent or hired by Lord and Lady Bute. Later, they were given three ambulances by the St. Andrew’s Ambulance Association, the Admiralty and the Transport Office to meet the demands for transport on admission days.

Ambulance station staff at Helensburgh.