Amongst the archives at the Somerset Heritage Centre are guest books for Hinton House Red Cross Hospital.
Hinton House was lent to the Red Cross by Earl Poulett early in the war. Its’ first patients, 15 wounded Belgians, were received on 18 October 1914. By December 1915, English soldiers began to arrive.
The hospital closed between February 1916 and July 1916, but reopened for soldiers injured during the Somme offensive, and remained operational until the end of the war.
The guest books are signed by patients, often listing their names, regiments, details of their injuries and giving thanks to the nursing staff for their kindness. The patients saw service in France, Belgium, the Dardanelles, Egypt, Salonkia, Palestine and Mesopotamia, with injuries such as trench fever, lumbago, frost bite, shrapnel wounds and unspecified ‘wounded’.
At times the soldiers got a bit creative.
The final guest book has also been signed by soldiers in the Second World War, who were billeted at the Old Malt House, Hinton St George from September 1939 to February 1940.