ANGLO-SAXONS AND RIVER VALLEY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCE
held Saturday 30TH APRIL 2016 at Romsey UK.
Click to Read the Report Personal Reflections by Jean Brent
USA Hospital built in Romsey
Letter from America:-forwarded by the grand daughter Kathy Smith
"During World War 1 I was in the 9th Construction Co ASSC Aviation Section of the Signal Corps) We left N.Y. on the Aquitania on April 2, 1918 and landed at Liverpool, England. We build U.S. Base Hospital #34 at Romsey England, which replaced a base hospital in tents. The new brick building took care of 1000 patients, but during the flu epidemic there were 3000 in the hospital, which was partly finished, with the roof about half on. We worked on the roof over their heads and put in the windows and doors around their beds. We returned on the Adriatic on Dec. 1st 1918 and arrived in N.Y. on the 11th. Romsey Abbey was a large church in Romsey about five miles from Camp Woodley. signed Walter T Pontsford"
A further letter has been received from Marian 'Maya' Pontsford Shortridge. (mother of Kathy Smith and daughter of Walter. T. Pontsford.)
“My father was Walter T. Ponsford and he served in Romsey, England during World War I. I remember Daddy speaking of “Pitch” (sp?) quite often. “Pitch” could be a nickname or a shortened version of his full name, I’m not sure. He was Daddy’s commanding officer in or near Romsey, where their outfit was to build a military hospital. It seems to me that Pitch was a Captain in the army. He knew nothing of construction so he turned the job over to Daddy.
Henry T. Ponsford, my grandfather, was the founder of the construction company, H.T. Ponsford and Sons. He was the contractor for many El Paso landmark buildings, as well as many other buildings throughout the southwestern states in the U.S.. From the time he was very young, Daddy had been his father’s right hand in the family construction company, so Daddy was well versed in the building business.
Dad and Captain Pitch became very good friends. Pitch and his wife visited mother and Daddy in El Paso several times. Mom and Dad also visited them in the northeast, either New Hampshire or Vermont as I recall. For several years they sent us local maple syrup of the highest quality.”
-Marian “Maya” Ponsford Shortridge ( daughter of Walter. T. Pontsford.)
An America military hospital was built in 1918 on land now known as Woodley Estate, (formerly Jane's Estate) - bordered by Winchester Road and Brashfield Road, it catered for U.S casualties and later coped with the great influenze pandemic**.
CAMP HOSPITAL NO. 34
Camp Hospital No. 34 came into existence on March 20, 1918, when the camp infirmary at the American rest camp, Romsey, England, was designated Camp Hospital No. 34. This infirmary had been in operation since December 26, 1917, the personnelto operate it being detailed temporarily from organizations passing through the camp. At first, the hospital consisted of a small permanent building and four British hospital tents, of a capacity of about 14 beds. In the fall of 1918, 300-bed hospital was being constructed. During its existence as a camp hospital,
it received 1,748 surgical and medical cases; largest number of patients admitted in one month was 433, in September, 1918. Camp Hospital No. 34 ceased to function November 30, 1918,
its personnel being reassigned.
cThe statements of fact appearing herein are based on the "History, Camp Hospital No. 34, A. E. F.," Romsey, by the commanding officer of that hospital. The history is on file in the Historical Division, S. G. O., Washington, D. C.-Ed.
For more information and copyright restrictions click on link below:-
Note:- As well as Camp Hospital 34 in Romsey there was also U.S. Camp Hospital No 35 in Winchester, U.S. Camp Hospital No 36 in Southampton, U.S. Base Hospital No 33 in Portsmouth, U.S. Base Hospital No 204 at Hursley Park near Winchester and other U.S. Hospital Units that passed through the Rest Camp at Winnal, Winchester. The spoon and original letter have since been sent to us for display at King Johns House Museum
Photos of USA Military Hospital at Romsey 1918
Click Photos to enlarge or show more pictures
Copyright of US Army Medical Department History of Medicene
** Pandemic Infuenza 1918 To maintain morale, wartime censors minimized early reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States; but papers were free to report the epidemic's effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII), creating a false impression of Spain as especially hard hit—thus the pandemic's nickname Spanish flu
A group of LTVAS members involved in the Anglo Saxon Project were recently given a private tour around the grounds of Mottisfont Abbey by NT guide Howard Green.
The circular walk and talk took in the artesian font spring, hydraulic pump and site of the old mill before proceeding over sodden paths through a wooded area to a private fisherman’s hut on the bank of the Test River.
Just off the raised boardwalk, the remnants of a unique spiral maze - now a filled in water channel - was discovered hidden in the undergrowth, its purpose unknown, but possibly to do with game fishing or duck hunting.
A number of rectangular duck ponds bordered the water meadows adjacent to the leat stream flowed close by the Abbey buildings down to the site of the old mill. Photos and text by Alec Morley Jan 2016
Visit to Motisfont
Graffiti & Artifacts
A project to record the graffiti and a photographic inventory of Romsey Abbey is now well underway by LTVAS member Roy Romsey, assisted by Alec Morley and Terry Proctor. So far some 8,000 photographs have been taken along the passageways of the clerestory and much of the ground floor.
Location references have been allocated and digital editing and labelling is currently being done. A method of creating a data base has not yet been solved.
It is hoped that someone with knowledge of creating searchable data bases suitable for use on websites will step forward to help with this.
Could you be that person?
Visit to the National Archives
During the last year members of the Anglo-Saxon project have spent a lot of time pouring over maps, both modern and old. We discovered that the National Archive Office at Kew (TNA) held the original notebooks and sketch maps made by Ordnance Survey surveyors when they were recording the parish boundaries.
Although they only date from the 19th and early 20th centuries we hoped that they might include some local details, which would throw light on the situation in Saxon and Medieval times.
We therefore arranged to visit the National Archive and invited others to help fill the coach who might have their own research to pursue or want to visit Kew Gardens.
The exterior of Romsey Abbey is decorated with over 400 carved stone corbels, some dating back many centuries; often with tales to tell.
They have been photographed by retired photographer Roy Romsey. He has produced a website which showcases the complete photographic collection, along with background information where possible.
If you can add further information we would welcome it. - Please Contact Roy Romsey -
Joy Knowles was awarded an honorary membership of LTVAS for the valuable work she has done, both as a long standing member of our committee and for taking charge of all our catering requirements.
She has given a number of delightful talks over the years, including a particularly memorable one on costumes complete with models dressed up and parading an imaginary catwalk in the Town Hall.
Joy is a worthy recipient of this award and althoungh less able to attend meetings these days, we look forward to keeping in touch with her.
Awarded to Joy Knowles
at Romsey Abbey
Iron ore produced in
Archaeologists have discovered evidence of iron smelting in Romsey in the Newton Lane car park area and possibly on the western side of the Market Place. This took place In the Roman period, (3rd/4th centuries) and in the mid Sason period - 7th/8th century.
So far as we can see, raw iron was extracted from local mineral deposits and ... More...
Town and Abbey
Posters illustrating lesser know fact about the history of Romsey Abbey and of the town have been distributed to 23 local schools to encourage pupils' and students' interest in local history.
Additional copies have been made available at the Romsey Tourist Office.
Would you like to help with any of these projects?
or call into the basement of Romsey Town Hall.
or Tuesday evenings
We are re-arranging and cataloging our collection of records, and would welcome extra help.
We retain copies of documents that help us know more of the history of Romsey and its district with original old manuscripts sent to Hampshire Records Office for safe keeping.
We also have a large collection of old maps and photographs, and a small library of books about Romsey .
Teams of volunteers are carefully cataloguing our large collection of digital images, which came to a halt after the room was flooded in 2013.
The work entails identifying the image, placing it in the right group and then entering it in our computerised catalogue.
It is painstaking work, but it means that in future we can find images and topics more quickly.