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Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital QEMH Woolwich
Information, photographs and the history of the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital QEMH Woolwich
The Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital (QEMH) was located at Stadium Road in Woolwich. It was built on the land that formerly housed the Shrapnel Barracks, a veterinary hospital and stables for army horses. The QEMH was built to replace the QAMH Millbank and the nearby Royal Herbert Hospital on Shooters Hill which was falling into disrepair being build over 100 years earlier.
The QEMH took five years to build at an estimated cost of £16 million. The foundation stone was laid in 1972.
The military hospital was named after Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. She officially opened the army hospital on the 1 November 1978, though the hospital had been up and running since 1977. The QEMH was a 400 bed capacity hospital.
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My PTSD assistance dog, Lynne, and I have written a book about how she helps me with my military Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression. I talk about my time in the QAs and the coping strategies I now use to be in my best health.
Along the way, I have had help from various military charities, such as Help for Heroes and The Not Forgotten Association and royalties from this book will go to them and other charities like Bravehound, who paired me with my four-legged best friend.
I talk openly about the death of my son by suicide and the help I got from psychotherapy and counselling and grief charities like The Compassionate Friends.
The author, Damien Lewis, said of Lynne:
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This beautiful QARANC Poppy Pin Badge is available from the Royal British Legion Poppy Shop.
For those searching military records, for information on a former nurse of the QAIMNS, QARANC, Royal Red Cross, VAD and other nursing organisations or other military Corps and Regiments, please try Genes Reunited where you can search for ancestors from military records, census, birth, marriages and death certificates as well as over 673 million family trees. At GenesReunited it is free to build your family tree online and is one of the quickest and easiest ways to discover your family history and accessing army service records.
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Though the QEMH was operational since 1977 the accommodation for the QARANC was not completed for some time and QAs were accommodated across Woolwich Common in the Royal Academy buildings.
The Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital was predominately a military hospital for the care and treatment of soldiers and their families. However the hospital also treated National Health Service (NHS) patients from the local community such as those living in Woolwich, Bexleyheath, Eltham, etc. The nearest NHS hospital at the time was in Greenwich.
The QEMH also treated Chelsea Pensioners and Far East Prisoner Of War Survivors (FEPOW).
The hospital was large with several medical and general surgical wards as well as orthopaedic, psychiatric and rehabilitation wards. There was a paediatric department and ward in the early years but this had closed by the 1980s and forces children were treated at the twin teaching hospital of the Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot.
Though the QEMH had no active emergency or casualty department there was a large intensive care unit and several operating theatres. There was also a burns unit and oncology ward.
The QEMH had a large outpatients department which included a sexual health clinic. Other departments included X-ray, cardiac rehab, pathology and full laboratory facilities.
Former Royal Air Force Regiment Gunner Jason Harper witnesses a foreign jet fly over his Aberdeenshire home. It is spilling a strange yellow smoke. Minutes later, his wife, Pippa, telephones him, shouting that she needs him. They then get cut off. He sets straight out, unprepared for the nightmare that unfolds during his journey. Everyone seems to want to kill him.
Along the way, he pairs up with fellow survivor Imogen. But she enjoys killing the living dead far too much. Will she kill Jason in her blood thirst? Or will she hinder his journey through this zombie filled dystopian landscape to find his pregnant wife?
The Fence is the first in this series of post-apocalyptic military survival thrillers from the torturous mind of former British army nurse, now horror and science fiction novel writer, C.G. Buswell.
Buy the Paperback.
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.
Army School Of Nursing
In conjunction with the CMH the QEMH had a school of nursing and trained 100s of student and pupil nurses each year. Most QARANC nurses at the time will have been posted and trained at the QEMH either as a student or undergoing post qualification training as a staff or enrolled nurse.
The hospital was self contained for the army personnel with accommodation for single junior ranks, sergeants and officers messes location at the rear of the hospital. The hospital had its own NAAFI (Naval Army and Air Force Institute), coffee shop, Red Cross facilities and canteens. Married personnel such as doctors, nurses, radiographers, etc had housing in nearby houses and flats which included the many floored Alanbrooke House.
Noel Edmonds Hospital Visit
On the 21 July 1980 Noel Edmonds made a hospital visit to ward 4 of the QEMH to see Captain Trudy Furness. She was a big fan of Noel Edmonds and his visit was arranged during her stay on the ward as a patient. The book Sub Cruce Candida: A Celebration of One Hundred Years of Army Nursing has a photo of Noel Edmonds hospital visit along with QAs Capt Furness and the ward manager Major Finlay. The Assistant Matron Major Clements is also in the photograph.
The following photographs of the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital Woolwich and the QEMH photo at the top of this page, which was taken from the top of the Officers Mess, have been kindly provided by Phil Basford (Maj Retd RAMC):
The Officers Mess:
The Officers Mess at night:
The QEMH Woolwich had excellent ladies and men's orienteering teams during the 1980s. Pictured below are the QEMH Orienteers Ladies Champions who were from left to right Captain Hazel Blackstone; Major Margaret Russell; ? name of nurse; Capt Ruth Ligett, Captain Ellie Stephens and Maj Miriam Freeman who was an anaesthetist.
The photo below of orienteer Major Margaret Russell on her run in to the finish.
Dressed in the QEMH Orienteers top is Major Jane Arigho who was the team coach and later became Director Army Nursing Services (DANS) and Colonel Commandant of the QARANC.
Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital Closed
The Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital was closed on the 29 September 1995 as part of the defence cuts and rationalisation of a more mobile Army Medical Services. The QEMH was rebuilt and became The Queen Elizabeth Hospital which now serves the locals of Woolwich, London. It is part of the Greenwich Healthcare Trust.
The last Matron of the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital was Colonel M M Slattery RRC.
The last Commanding Officer of the QEMH, Brigadier Guy Radcliffe L/RAMC, handed over the key to the hospital to Mr David Astley the Chief Executive of the Greenwich Healthcare Trust in a ceremonial handing over of the keys on the 27 Sep 95. The Union Fag was lowered and the Last Post was sounded.
A final company photograph of the staff of QEMH Woolwich was taken and appeared in Vol 11 No 2 of The Gazette of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps Association. If you have a copy of the photo that we could use on this page then please contact qaranc.co.uk
Front cover of the last Corps Sunday Order of Service 26 March 1995 held in the chapel.
QEMH Ghost Sightings
Unusually for a modern hospital the QEMH has had many ghost sightings. So many that I've had to put them on a separate page. Read about them, if you dare(!) on the hospital ghosts page. If you have experienced any supernatural activities then feel free to e-mail me details.
I had a very great honour and pleasure to work in a civilian capacity at the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital Woolwich, I made many friends there from the QARANC, RAMC and civilian staff. I had a most enjoyable there or so years there. It was a wonderful way to end one's working life. There was a florist who had a stall in the hospital who fancied herself as a psychic and was always telling people there was a ghost behind them. She was a charming and lovely lady. The Red Cross were wonderful, they would receive families whose loved one was very seriously ill and perhaps dying and they would support them to the end, even visiting the mortuary with them if their loved one died. They were brave and smashing people.
There was a man who was always in the hospital. His name was Ronald (Dusty) Miller. At Christmas time he would bring fruit, nuts and chocolates for the patients paid for by Lloyd's of London I think. He arranged for as many patients as possible to go to the Lloyd's of London function room for a slap up meal and a cabaret act. For those patients who could not go he had the meal and cabaret brought to the hospital. He was also very good at talking to patients , even those who were dying. Sadly in time he died but we gave him a good send off at the Garrison Church which was packed to standing room only. I could not go as I was involved with the transport office so I had to sit by the phone.
David H Cutler
I served in Woolwich Barracks from September 1977 till August 1981. I was in the Garrison Military Police Dog Section and part of our patrol was the Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital. Sometimes in the early hours we would (we being me and my dog) detect movement but nothing was there. Very spooky! My dog at the time Hit would not move and other dog handlers had the same experience. The very spooky area around the QEMH was the old playing field, where Arsenal once played, and by the QEMH NAAFI. Some of the dogs would not like patrolling there.
The night staff would always feed and supply hot drinks for us. I think it was the dogs that were a hit and not us. I did however have two romances both of whom were very nice ladies. I did teach them the game of chess and introduced them to Everton Football Club, my big passions. I was a patient in the QEMH on two occasions and had a fabulous time, especially when my mates who were on duty turned up with a Chinese meal for me and the night staff. (Don't let Matron catch us). The ward sister when I was in hospital gave me a job to do while I was bedded down: I had to bull -shine her shoes. A lot of shoes did appear over the 10 days I was in hospital.
The death of the Brotherhood will be avenged.
RAF gunner Jason Harper and a team of Special Air Service operators are enraged after the death of their brothers by a terrorist drone strike. They fly into south-eastern Yemen on a Black-op mission to gather intelligence and avenge the death of their comrades.
Can they infiltrate the Al-Queda insurgents' camp, stay undetected, and call down their own drone missile strike and get home safely?
Will they all survive to fight another day?
Operation Wrath is a free, fast-paced adventure prequel to the non-stop action The Fence series by military veteran author C.G. Buswell.
Download for free on any device and read today.
This website is not affiliated or endorsed by The Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) or the Ministry of Defence.
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