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World War Two Hospital Trains

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:52
by euryalus
I don't know how much research has been carried out in relation to WW2 ambulance trains, but a certain amount of work has been undertaken on UK trains, which were formed around the time of D-Day to convey British and Allied casualties to the network of military hospitals that had been created. Retired railwaymen recall one or two wartime ambulance trains working over the line to Overton-on-Dee (near Wrexham) before and after the D-Day landings on 6th June 1944 - the earlier trips being useful test runs for the "real thing", once the cross-Channel invasion force had landed in Europe.

Former Great Western Railway driver, Jack Wilkinson, recalled taking two light engines to Whitchurch, where an ambulance train had arrived from the Southern Railway. The GWR locomotives then worked the special on to Overton-on-Dee, where the casualties were unloaded and taken to Penley and Halston Hall hospitals by road transport (he also recalled a similar emergency hospital at Oatley Hall, just outside Ellesmere).

Ken Southern, another former GWR driver, remembered "firing" on one such special working in the period before D-Day, when a long train of passenger vehicles, which he assumed was filled with wounded soldiers, turned up at Whitchurch. On reaching Overton-on-Dee the train crew asked an American military policeman or "snow drop" (so-called because of their white helmets) what had happened to "that lot behind"; the MP laughed and said "wait till you see them". At that juncture the passengers started to disembark, and within minutes the lengthy platforms at Overton-on-Dee station were thronged with a seething mass of highly-pregnant young women!

Re: World War Two Hospital Trains

Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2014 18:26
by sirjahn
Well in looking at the Hospital Trains station in England I come up with the following list and locations.

Code: Select all

  Town                  Unit                      County
Sherborne          1 Hospital Train             Dorset
Batsford          10 Hospital Train             Gloucestershire
                  12 Hospital Train
                  13 Hospital Train
                  15 Hospital Train
Fairford          16 Hospital Train             Gloucestershire
Whitchurch        18 Hospital Train             Shropshire
Redgrave Park     20 Hospital Train             Suffolk, East
Bournemouth       21 Hospital Train             Hampshire
Overton           22 Hospital Train             Flintshire
Newbury           23 Hospital Train             Berkshire
                   7 Hospital Train
Westbury          24 Hospital Train             Wiltshire
                  44 Hospital Train
Prestwick         25 Hospital Train             Ayrshire
Nocton Hall       26 Hospital Train             Lincolnshire
Westbury           3 Hospital Train             Wiltshire
Exeter             4 Hospital Train             Devonshire
Bournemouth       43 Hospital Train             Hampshire
Bath              45 Hospital Train             Somerset
Malvern Wells      5 Hospital Train             Worcestershire
North Mimms       55 Hospital Train             Hertfordshire
Taunton            8 Hospital Train             Somerset

Re: World War Two Hospital Trains

Posted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 13:31
by euryalus
I think the US army requested 10 hospital trains for use in the UK prior to D-Day, so the above list must include two "spares" (?). The missing stabling points for trains 12, 13 and 15 were Newbury (Nos.12 and 13) and Westbury (No.15), though in the event No.15 was sent to Dunbridge because the siding facilities at Westbury were not ready in time.