Indian Army wounded dressed in
outfit in the Dome, Brighton
We know there were many more than those who died, but have no fixed number. Their injuries and return from fighting is well documented, but how can we even begin to understand the immensity of change in the lives of people living in, or patients staying in Birmingham?
A first glance at resources already available at the Library of Birmingham gives some idea of the depth and quality of information available on World War One generally, and also the absence of the wounded in more 'mainstream' histories - very much the purpose of our untold stories project.
|The Great Hall University of Birmingham in 1916|
By Spring 1919, some 130,000 military casualties had been treated in the Birmingham hospitals. The majority had suffered wounds or sickness on the Western Front, but this total included men coming from all of the theatres of war, plus Belgian and Serbian troops, men from the navy, and prisoners of war.
Birmingham had a population of half a million - the arrival of so many wounded soldiers changed the city. It is no coincidence Birmingham still has a major military presence at QE hospital, and specialises in surgery & critical care.
We wanted to find out:
- Where were the hospitals and convalescent homes?
- What information is there about the patients and staff?
- What happened to the men after they were discharged?
- How did the city look after them?
- How did local residents react to injured soldiers?
- How did attitudes towards serious physical and mental injury change as a result of the Great War?
Our first step was to find the hospitals and convalescent homes of Birmingham in World War One (see map below).
Untold stories learning resources will be publicly launched 13th September 2016 6:30 to 8pm at Highbury Hall - join us to find out more.
Following official launch resources will also be available via this website.