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Connaught Hospital


The history of the former Army Chest Unit which treated those soldiers with Tuberculosis and was located in the Connaught Hospital near Hindhead in Surrey


Connaught Hospital, the Army Chest Centre, was located near to Queen Alexandra Barracks at Hindhead and Liphook, the QA Centres.

Located on the main Portsmouth Road this tuberculosis sanatorium was originally built in 1939 to accommodation a Battalion of soldiers and then used as a hospital for the Canadian Army. Post World War Two the huts with their adjoining corridors became a general hospital. It was then used as a 200 bed tuberculosis and chest disease hospital. There were also Nissan huts and brick buildings. The Military opened an Army Chest Unit in October 1953. Though the buildings were of a less traditional hospital it was beautifully surrounded by well-maintained lawns where croquet was played, flower beds and pinewoods.



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The Drummer Boy The Drummer Boy continues the adventures of QARANC nurse, Scott Grey, who has the special gift of seeing military ghosts. In this novel he is haunted by the ghost of a Gordon Highlander Drummer Boy from the Battle of Waterloo. It is based on the legends of the Tidworth Military Hospital Drummer Boy.


Chapters take place in modern day Aberdeen, at the Noose & Monkey bar and restaurant as well as His Majesty’s Theatre and Garthdee. Other scenes take place at Tidworth and during the Napoleonic War where I describe battlefield medical care of this era.


Read the first three chapters for free on most devices.


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Eighteen members of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps served there alongside six National Service medical officers of the RAMC (cited in Soldier Magazine March 1960 which also has photographs of the staff, patients, building and wards). They cared for serving soldiers, many were Ghurkas, and their families.

Treatment would mean that the soldiers would be an inpatient for about 12 to 15 months. They were then discharged to their unit on drug therapy for another year.

Whilst patients, and still serving soldiers, the Ghurkhas were taught by the Royal Army Medical Corps to become ward orderlies. This included their 24 procedures, first aid and even radiography positions and working in the laboratory. Educational classes included English language and many attained the St. John Ambulance Association preliminary and senior certificate in first aid. It was thought that this level of first aid would help them to treat their comrades in Nepal who may not have benefited from treatment in the UK.

Partial resection thoracic surgery was performed at Connaught Hospital on soldier's lungs to remove diseased tissue. The St Thomas's Consultant who travelled to Surrey to perform these life-saving operations was Mr Kent-Harrison who was a Major in the RAMC in WWII. By coincidence the anaesthetist was also ex-RAMC.

From the the 1950s Ghurkhas were routinely screened for TB by X-ray, given vaccination and the army policy was that any who were found to be suffering from this disease would have a history taken so that any other soldiers who have been in their close proximity, such as on jungle patrol or sleeping in the same room, could also be screened. They would also be X-rayed every three months for two years and upon return from leave in Nepal. This was all in sharp contrast to previous policies which included the Ghurka soldier being discharged from the Army and returned to his native homeland, often to die from TB.

Please note that the Connaught Military Hospital in North Camp Aldershot was similarly named and more can be read about this on our CMH Aldershot page.

If you would like to contribute any info, photographs or share your memories of Connaught Hospital and the Army Chest Unit then please contact me.


I was a ward sister at the Connaught during 1959 before a posting to the Far East. I represented the QAs at tennis and played on the hard courts here. This is where I first met and nursed Gurkha Infantry riflemen. Happy days! Jan O'Leary




Forces War Records

Forces War Records are a genealogy site where you can find military records of over 6 million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments, Bases and Ships. This link includes a free search and a special discount of 40% off membership offer for visitors who use the discount code AF40 if they decide to become a member.
Search Now. A unique feature is their WW1 Soldiers Medical Records section.







If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.



Official QARANC webpage.

QA Association website.

In The Company of Nurses Book.


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The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital Novel - a Book by CG Buswell


The Drummer Boy Novel


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