Base Hospital No. 41 collection
Scope and Contents
- 1905 - 2009
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
After the United States entered World War I, Dr. William H. Goodwin contacted the Red Cross in Washington D.C. in regard to organizing a base hospital at the University of Virginia. The authority to organize a hospital was granted, and UVa President E. A. Alderman recommended the appointment of Dr. Goodwin as director. On June 23, 1917 the hospital was assigned number 41. Dr. Goodwin learned he would need to recruit all the supporting staff of the hospital as well as its doctors and nurses. It was also his responsibility to acquire funds to purchase the supplies for the hospital as the War Department had determined that only fully equipped and supplied hospitals would be accepted for active service. Dr. Goodwin contacted the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the U.S, which had collected from its members a substantial amount of money to be used as a war relief fund. The Elks agreed to furnish all of the needed funds and deposited the money with the Red Cross.
Well-qualified officers were selected as well as 149 enlisted men, 49 of them UVa alumni or students. On March 5, 1918, the detachment entrained for Camp Sevier, South Carolina, where it was organized by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Julian M. Cabell and no longer considered a Red Cross unit. Two months later after intensive training, Cabell reported to the Surgeon General that the unit was ready for overseas duty.
Finally on July 26, 1918, the Base Hospital No. 41 unit arrived in St. Denis, France, near Paris at the park of l'Ecole de la Legion d'Honneur. The hospital was established in the building used for schooling children of the members of the Legion of Honor. Secured for Base Hospital 41 by the American Red Cross, it was a stately eighteenth century building in a lovely park setting. The school dormitories were converted into hospital wards, and by August 12th Base Hospital No. 41 was ready to receive patients, meaning that the wards, operating rooms, laboratories, and ancillary services were set to function.
The first convoy consisted of 136 patients who were treated promptly and efficiently. The capacity of the building was soon reached and new tent wards were constantly being pitched in the park. Eventually the hospital was equipped to care for 600 patients in the building and another 2200 in the tent wards. One of the most stressful periods was from 4 PM on October 19, 1918, to 10 AM on October 22, 1918, when 693 patients were admitted to an already full hospital.
Base Hospital No. 41 had to contend with the influenza epidemic of 1918. A considerable percentage of both personnel and patients were attacked, and four staff members died of pneumonia following flu. Although not at the front, the unit also suffered from several air raids.
When the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, nearly three thousand patients were in the hospital. Two and a half months later, all the patients had been evacuated, and the hospital ceased to function. The unit was demobilized on May 1, 1919.
1.66 Linear Feet
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Processed by:
- Historical Collections Staff
- A Guide to the Base Hospital No. 41 Collection, 1905-2009
- Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
- Language of description
Part of the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library Repository
Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
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