Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Kaiserina's Hospital Train...Sepia Saturday 180

This photo is the Sepia Saturday prompt this week. We bloggers try to follow the theme, in some vague way, as a seed in our thoughts. Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. Click here to learn more.

Nice train Jenny !! 

The Kaiserina....
Auguste Victoria Friederike Luise Feodora Jenny von
(Courtesy Wikipedia)

But vee Brits can do better !!

My nursing great aunt spots a British train !!...........

Yes... as an army nurse in Alexandria, Egypt, 
Mabel Smith photographs a camel train of the Camel Corps.
(Own Collection)

The Imperial Camel Corps Brigade (ICCB) was a camel-mounted infantry brigade, raised in December 1916, by the British Empire, for service in the Middle East, during the First World War. 
From a small beginning the brigade eventually comprised four battalions, one battalion each from Great Britain and New Zealand and two battalions from Australia. Support troops included a mountain artillery battery, a machine gun squadron, Royal Engineers, a field ambulance, and an administrative train.

And if the soldiers can ride can the nurses!
(Own Collection)

And we send our injured boys home, or to Malta, by ship.....

....with good food.....and a stuck up pig.

The Dunluce Castle, at Alexandria Docks, by Nurse Mabel Smith.
(Own Collection)

Diary of John Evan Adlard 1915-1918 (Driver & Lieutenant)
 5th Reinforcements 1st Divisional Ammunition Column,1st Australian Field Artillery - 2nd, 3rd And 16th Batteries
Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force 
10/10/15 Parade 1000 for clothes and 1330 for departure in motor, a drive for some miles past everlasting stone walls and cuttings and small harbours, shops, houses and goats, thro' an arch allowing about 3 inches each side to spare to the main dockyard and then aboard a Hospital Ship. BOUND FOR ENGLAND. Note: routine 'S.S. Dunluce Castle': 0700 Breakfast - eggs, porridge, 0900 Doctor 1100 Medical Officer in charge Inspection (a stuck up pig this Major), 1200 Lunch - soup, meat, pudding, 1700 Tea - eggs, bread and butter, tea, 1900 Supper - cocoa, bread and butter 2030 in bed 2100 lights out.

Back in England vee do it by bus Jenny !! 

My grandmother Mary Barnes takes her patients for a bus trip.
 Compton, Ashbourne, outside Lloyds Bank.

(Own Collection)

Jenny...Your chef looks like he cooks a good hock on the train.....

........but here at Christmas we have plenty of turkey for our patients.

Christmas lunch.
Devonshire Hospital, Buxton, Derbyshire.
(Own Collection)

We loved it on the beach in Alexandria.......
(Own Collection)

....but our tents were a little rough !
(Own Collection)

Our patients get a fresh copy of the Times of Egypt each day.
(Own Collection)

And Jenny.....vot was your daughter's gift to the troops?.....
(Tin. Own Collection)

Decorative brass tin sent by Princess Mary to members of the British, Colonial and Indian Armed Forces for Christmas 1914. Over 426,000 of these tins were distributed to those serving on Christmas Day 1914. The tins were filled with various items including tobacco, confectionery, spices, pencils, a Christmas card and a picture of the princess. The idea was the initiative of Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary.

Princess Mary, daughter of George V.
(Public domain)

Princess Victoria Louise of 
Prussia,  daughter of Kaiser 
Wilhelm II.
(Public domain)

My grandmother Mary Barnes with patients, Devonshire Hospital, Buxton, Derbyshire.
(Own Collection)

.....and again at the Red Cross Hospital, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
(Own Collection)

Howard is recovering,
but he should put out the Black Cat.

(Own Collection)

Red Cross Hospital, Duffield, Derby.
(Own Collection) 

Nurse Mabel Smith (left), at the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.(Own Collection) 

We are bowled over by all the good care !!
(Somewhere in/near Derby) (Own collection)
postcard format by Frederick J. Boyes of 22 & 24 Osmaston Road, Derby

Goodbye Jenny....take good care of your train, you will be needing it.

(The following text courtesy of Wikipedia):.......

On November 10 1918, Kaiser Wilhelm II--now Wilhelm Hohenzollern, private citizen, crossed the border by train and went into exile in the Netherlands, which had remained neutral throughout the war.

The Weimar Republic allowed Wilhelm to remove twenty-three railway wagons of furniture, twenty-seven containing packages of all sorts, one bearing a car and another a boat, from the New Palace at Potsdam.

Now you are just like us Willie !!....a taxi to the station.....

......wait for the train....late again...... vee go !
(Train images courtesy of, and full story at )

Upon the conclusion of the Treaty of Versailles in early 1919, Article 227 expressly provided for the prosecution of Wilhelm "for a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties", but Queen Wilhelmina refused to extradite him, despite appeals from the Allies. King George V wrote that he looked on his cousin as "the greatest criminal in history", but opposed Prime Minister David Lloyd George's proposal to "hang the Kaiser". President Wilson rejected extradition, arguing that punishing Wilhelm for waging war would destabilize international order and lose the peace.

Wilhelm first settled in Amerongen, where on 28 November he issued a formal statement of abdication and released his soldiers and officials from their oath of loyalty to him, thus formally ending the Hohenzollerns' 400-year rule over Prussia. He subsequently purchased a country house in the municipality of Doorn, known as Huis Doorn. This was to be his home for the remainder of his life. He died there in in 1941.

The Kaiserina: In 1920, the shock of exile and abdication, combined with the breakdown of her son Joachim's marriage and his subsequent suicide, proved too much for the Kaiserina. She died in 1921, in Huis Doorn, Netherlands. The Weimar Republic allowed her remains to be transported back to Germany, where they still lie in the Temple of Antiquities, not far from the New Palace, Potsdam.

The End


 Major Charles Sydney Smith M.C
The brother of Mabel Smith was Charlie Smith about whom I have written before. The following letter was written by him complaining about matters after his term in hospital at Machine Gun HQ, Belton House, Grantham, between April and September 1918.

Sadly he died of infuenza at the same hospital on November 28, 1918, just a few days after the war ended.

Belton Military Hospital. Machine Gun Corps. Complaint letter.
(Own collection)


  1. The photo of the camel riders in front of the pyramids is most impressive.

    1. Yes, you are right. I looked very carefully wondering if it is a screen due to the excellent composition, but no, the pyramids and Sphinx all seem to be in the correct position. I noted there was a number marker on the ground in the photo, which suggested an organised photographer. Some weeks ago a Sepian posted a cabinet card image of a US photographer who also had a studio in Alexandria, I remember following a link or a search about him, but for the life of me I can't remember the name, it was Germanic I think. I wondered if it could be this photographer, but the image is originally unmounted hard glued in the album so I cannot look at the back for markings.

  2. Outstanding collection of photos. Educational too--I never knew what happened to the Kaiser after the war. I wonder how many of those Christmas tins are still around--it would be fun to have one.

    1. Like everything those days, they were made to last, and I imagine every soldier that made it home alive brought one home as a souvenir. Judging by the number for sale on Ebay, I just looked, and the relatively modest prices, most probably still exist somewhere. They were the ideal place to store those little souvenirs, the odd photo and the bullet out of Uncle Frank's leg etc.

  3. How wonderful to have so many fitting pictures from your own collection. However, it was Charlie's letter which I found really fascinating. I was sorry to hear that he died of influenza after the end of the war; my own great uncle suffered the same fate.

  4. What a great collection of photographs and so apt for this week's theme. Very interesting indeed.

  5. I bow to the master!

    That letter is so very interesting with the details of such horrible conditions, especially in a hospital.

  6. Your post is so multi faceted that I don't know where to begin. I had read a biography about Wilhelm's Mother (forget her name but she was the daughter of Queen Victoria). Wilhelm was so mean to her - what a creep he was. I'm sorry that he was able to live out his life in relative peace. He should of at least been imprisoned as a war criminal or better yet as a really bad son.

  7. Very interesting. I've become interested in this period, specially hospital trains.

  8. A wonderful combination of pictures with informative text. I enjoyed your post very much.

  9. A full 10 marks, Nigel, for hitting the center and every corner of the Sepia theme. And camels too! At least 14 or more. The photos of the hospital staff and patients are not the usual images of the Great War. I have one of those tins too, a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, an Oxford historian of German history.

  10. A fantastic collection of photos, Nigel. I never knew what happened to Kaiser Bill. I've learnt a lot today.

  11. An excellent collection of photos. I especially liked the Egyptian photos, particularly the Alexandria Hospital tents.

    How lucky you are to have this collection. How I would love that tin!

  12. I had to spend a careful time savoring each photo but the nurses on the camels is my favorite of all. This is an excellent historical array. Thanks for posting it all inclding the letter. Treasures.

  13. Fascinating. What a treasure of family photos. The photo with the camels an immediate favourite with me too ... It beats a yet un-blogged one I have of my great-aunt Gerda, also in front of the pyramids - but on a donkey, no sphinx, and probably WWII (or between wars) rather than WWI. Maybe there should be a Sepia Saturday with Egyptian theme?