Belton Park Military Hospital
From September 1914, bell tents were erected within Belton Park for the temporary accommodation of thousands of soldiers about to go through basic training. However, by April 1915, a small town had been built for around 20,000 men of Kitchener’s Army with churches and YMCA huts plus a separate military base hospital.
Belton’s First World War military hospital, run by the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) was purpose built within the parkland. Similar in size and structure to hospitals close to the Western Front, it was built to care for men returning from active service.
Belton Park Military Hospital was the penultimate stop on a soldier’s journey home after being wounded on the front lines. However, given the size of the Belton Park camp, the hospital was also kept busy with medical needs of the soldiers in training.
From early 1915, the RAMC doctors, supported by the nurses, were seeing patients. With several wards, operating rooms, an X-ray room and dispensary, this modern hospital could hold 670 patients at a time.
For many of the women who served in the medical services during the First World War, it was a chance to prove their worth and professionalism. Here in Belton’s parkland, nurses and masseuses helped soldiers’ rehabilitation with new techniques in physiotherapy, supported those suffering from shellshock, were x-ray technicians and much more.
Share their stories
Most of what the Belton team knows about Belton Park Camp and its First World War heritage has centred around the Machine Gun Corps and its soldiers.
However, the Military Hospital, the women who worked there, and those who volunteered in the YMCA Huts played a significant part of this history.
If you have any information about the hospital or any of the women who served at Belton Park in the First World War, please do get in touch by email or call 01476 542974.