• COULTER HOSPITAL, 5 Grosvenor Square, London

The Coulter Hospital was founded in September 1915 by Mrs Charlotte Herbine, an American psychic who named it in honour of a ‘Dr Coulter’ from the spirit world. Established in the former home of the Duke of Manchester, which was lent to her by Sir Walpole Greenwell, it was funded by donations from American friends and large contributions from the Earl of Sandwich, a spiritual healer who was guided by ‘Dr Coulter’. Lord Sandwich also gave over his residence at Buckingham Gate as a home for the nurses employed in the hospital. Although of a semi-private nature, the 100 bed hospital came under the supervision of the war office, and was run by Lady Juliet Duff as Commandant, with Mrs Cyril Ward as Secretary, and Lord Sandwich as President. The matron Miss May Baxter and resident surgeon Dr Rupert Reynell were both Australians, and had previously served at the Australian Voluntary Hospital in France. Miss Ethel Woodward, one of three Australian sisters who nursed at the hospital in 1915, stated that it “was furnished in a sumptuous manner by some rich Americans, and some rich Australian ladies in London as a hospital for Australian soldiers, and the nursing staff desired to have Australians there, but the arrangements were mismanaged in some way, and the Australians were sent to Harefield, Manchester, and other large public hospitals, while this hospital received wounded “Tommies” and Highlanders. Some of these had fought in Gallipoli, but the majority of the patients came from the battlefields of France. These patients were always admitted at night time or early in the morning, because the hospital ships would not cross the Channel in the daytime through fear of a submarine attack.” Another Australian Red Cross worker wrote: “We have an Australian room at the Coulter Hospital, 5 Grosvenor-square. The house belonged to the Duke of Manchester, and the rooms are large and lofty. We have an Australian resident surgeon and five Australian nurses, besides six English nurses and ten voluntary aid girls. We take from 80 to 100 soldiers. Some of the beds were given by Australian donors. Our consultants and honorary staff are mostly from Guy’s and Middlesex hospitals.” Nurse Lorna Macpherson of Queensland described the first Christmas at the hospital: “I like my work immensely, and find the work not at all hard. When Christmas morning dawned most of us felt rather homesick; we seemed to realise more keenly the distance that separated us from our dear ones. However, we soon pulled ourselves together, remembering what an awful time the men had had in the trenches, and that we must make it a happy day for them, and we succeeded, for they nearly all said it was one of the happiest they had spent. The wards were beautifully decorated, there was a Christmas tree laden with gifts, a most generous dinner with everything nice as could be, the plum puddings were lighted in the kitchen, and carried in by the V.A.D.’s in a procession, while the men cheered. Nor were the nurses forgotten. It was kind and sweet of Lady Duff and Mrs Ward to think of them. We each got a silver chain bag purse and silver pencil, with “Coulter Hospital, Christmas 1915,” on it. Isn’t it a nice memento to have.” And in regard to the Australian ward she said: “you will be interested to hear that the eiderdowns on the beds were given by the “Brisbane Courier” Patriotic Fund. The Brisbane Y.M.C.A. has sent hundreds of pillow slips. The first floor ward is the show one; it used to be the reception room, and the walls and ceilings are most gorgeous in white and gold, but of course unsuitable for a hospital. We got a fresh convoy in from France last night but none very seriously wounded, mostly suffering from trench feet.” Private Stanley Maurice Clapton of Bendigo was admitted to the Coulter Hospital on the 26/7/1916, and wrote to his mother as follows: “Well, just fancy mother, me living in Grosvenor-square, London! That is where the hospital is that I am in. It is a fine place, too. The matron and several of the sisters are Australians, but so far I am the only Australian soldier in this hospital, so I get treated real well. One of the sisters actually comes from Bendigo. Her name is Sister Woodward. ………………………………………………….. …………., and when we reached the hospital, ‘Oh, an Australian! Take him into the Australian ward,’ came the order, and there I had everything done to make me as comfortable as possible. As soon as I was settled down a dinner of baked rabbit and cabbage and potatoes, topped up with beautiful baked rice pudding, was brought to me. It seemed as though I never tasted such delicacies before. Then I had all the Australian women in to have a look at me, and they inquired what part of Australia I hailed from. For the time I forgot absolutely there was a war on, but I am looking forward to a much more glorious time when I can walk about.” The Coulter Hospital continued to operate throughout the war and into 1919. Australians who served at the Coulter Hospital: ANDERSON, Norah Grace Laing ANDERSON, Rhoda BAXTER, May – Matron (also AVH) *BADOCK, Daisy May Angelo BELL (Miss) BELL (Miss) BODY, (Mrs Malcolm) BOWMAN, M BUCKLAND-TAYLOR, Isabel St Clair COHEN, Nina Debb CURRIE, Lorna Maude Inez DOWLING, Ruth Marion (also AVH) HARGREAVE, Ethel Mary (Effie) – QAIMNSR HUGHES, Cicely Mary (Mrs CURTIN) HUGHES, Mary Winifred KINSELLA, Eileen LETHBRIDGE, Agnes (Mrs) MacPHERSON, Lorna Rutherford McDOUGALL, Mildred McKENNA, Nellie (Ellen) – AANS MORRELL (Mrs C) NORMAN, Olive Hay NOTT, (Mrs) RAWSON, MARY (also AVH) RENSHAW, (Mrs G) REYNOLDS, Linda Mary (Mrs) ROBERTSON, Violet Ann ROBINSON, Dorothy (Mrs FAY) ROBINSON, Ellen Hillman (Mrs R.C. PHILLIPPS) ROBINSON, Muriel SAMUEL, Vera SMITH, Olivia / Olive (b. Corona Olivia Senior) WADDY WARDEN, Marjory (Mrs, nee WINDEYER) WOODWARD, Adelaide May – AANS WOODWARD, Ethel Mary WOODWARD, Madeleine (Madge) Walter Rupert REYNELL (Dr / Capt, RAMC) – resident surgeon, previously on staff of AVH Heather 'Frev' Ford
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