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During the first World War Slindon House was turned into an Auxiliary Military hospital, Lady Beaumont was the Commandant.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem combined to form the Joint War Committee to pool resources under the protection of the Red Cross emblem. Because the British Red Cross had secured buildings, equipment and staff, the organisation was able to set up temporary hospitals as soon as wounded men began to arrive from abroad.
Cost of 3s. 8.78d. per patient per day for maintenance, and .83d. for administration, a total average cost per day of 3s. 9.61d.
The buildings varied widely, ranging from town halls and schools to large and small private houses, both in the country and in cities. The most suitable ones were established as auxiliary hospitals.
Auxiliary hospitals were attached to central military hospitals, which looked after patients who remained under military control. In all, there were over 3,000 auxiliary hospitals administered by Red Cross county directors. They were usually staffed by:
- a commandant, who was in charge of the hospital (except for medical and nursing services)
- a quartermaster, who was responsible for the receipt, custody and issue of articles in the provision store
- a matron, who directed the work of the nursing staff
- members of the local voluntary aid detachment, who were trained in first aid and home nursing.
In many cases, ladies in the neighbourhood volunteered on a part-time basis, although they often needed to supplement voluntary work with paid labour, such as in the case of cooks. Medical attendance was provided locally and voluntary, despite the extra strain that the medical profession was already under at that time.
The patients at these hospitals were generally less seriously wounded than at other hospitals and needed convalescence. The servicemen preferred the auxiliary hospitals to military hospitals because they were not so strict. Also, auxiliary hospitals were less crowded and the surroundings more homely.