Saturday, 2 April 2011

A Complaint from Beechwood

To the Editor of the South Wales Argus:-

Sir, - We desire the public to understand that we Beechwood 'Tommies' have 'done our bit' and are worthy of recognition, as well as our pals in other military hospitals. it is foolish to think there is any danger in visiting us although unfortunately we have contracted the germs of TB while serving in HM Forces. If the institution had been for German prisoners they would probably have been allowed the whole of Beechwood Park for their recreation, but for us 'Tommies' confinement seems to be our portion. Do the public realise that we are fenced in, and only allowed to walk around the hospital?
Yours etc... Fair Play Indeed, Beechwood Park TB Hospital, Feb 10th 1916.

Beechwood House was used as a TB Hospital during the Great War. As the letter in the Argus shows, patients were not allowed to walk the beautiful grounds. The less than sympathetic response from the Editor was to say that the park surrounding the house was not a hospital and that the patients would recover faster by staying indoors. In the days before penicillin TB was a real killer and was truly feared so the response is unsurprising. However, it is easy to understand the frustration of the soldiers. Returning to Britain from the trenches to face virtual imprisonment in hospital was far from the welcome home these men had imagined.

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