307th Station Hospital / 826th Convalescent Center Unit History
Introduction & Activation:
The 307th Station Hospital was activated at Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia (Medical Replacement Training Center, Quartermaster Replacement Training Center, and Army Service Forces Replacement Training Center –ed), on 15 April 1943, by the Commanding General, Third Service Command, per authority contained in Letter: “Activation and Inactivation of Medical Units”, File AG 320.2 (3-19-43) OB-I-SPOPU-M, from The Adjutant General’s Office, dated 23 March 1943.
The organization was created by the inactivation of the 223d General Hospital, stationed at Camp Lee, which was accomplished on 14 April 1943 under the same directive mentioned above. The 223d Gen Hosp had previously been activated at Camp Lee, Virginia, on 17 June 1941, per Paragraph 1, General Orders No. 38, Headquarters Camp Lee, and had served as a General Hospital Training Unit at the same Post until time of its inactivation. During this period it had trained the Enlisted personnel for the 47th Station Hospital and the 45th General Hospital and was building up another hospital staff at the time of its inactivation (Camp Lee MRTC was activated 16 January 1941 under command of Brigadier General William R. Dear as the 1308th Service Unit, but due to limitations in long term expansion, the War Department concluded that it would be better to transfer the MRTC to Camp Pickett in Virginia. Medical trainees began a 3-day march over the 42 miles separating the two camps, while training aids, supplies, and equipment were transferred by truck. The Camp Lee MRTC officially closed on 19 June 1942, re-opening at Camp Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia, where it continued to operate until October 1943 –ed).
At the time of activation of the 307th Station Hospital all of the personnel and equipment of the 223d General Hospital, which included 10 Officers and 52 Enlisted Men were transferred into it! This personnel consisted of the Administrative Staff of 3 Medical Corps Officers – 2 Quartermaster Corps Officers – and 5 Medical Administrative Corps Officers, assisted by the original Training Cadre of 52 EM.
Colonel Herbert H. Price, MC, O-9110, a Regular Army Officer had been the Commanding Officer of the 223d Gen Hosp since 18 July 1942, and remained as the first CO of the new unit.
Requisitions were immediately submitted for the total allowed strength of Officers – Nurses – Warrant Officers – and Enlisted Men, but it took some time before these were received. Enlisted strength began to arrive as from 19 May 1943 on, with more groups arriving in the following order:
19 May 1943 > 97 men from MRTC, Camp Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia
4 June 1943 > 129 men from MRTC, Camp Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia
5 June 1943 > 22 men from MRTC, Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois
9 June 1943 > 44 men from MRTC, Camp Pickett, Blackstone, Virginia
10 July 1943 > 98 men from MRTC, Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois
By 10 July 1943, the unit had 414 EM (some had been rejected), and reached its maximum strength on 25 August with 416 EM. During the last week of September 1943, overall strength was reduced to 396, and later in October 1943, aggregate strength reached 387 Enlisted personnel.
In compliance with Letter, Headquarters, Third Service Command, Subject: “Control of Hospital Units”, File 32.2 (5-26-41) dated 11 June 1943 and Paragraph 7a & b, Training Memorandum No. 7, Headquarters, Third Service Command, dated 13 January 1943, an inventory was made of the Administrative and Professional subdivisions of a 750-bed Station Hospital, and T/O 8-560, dated 22 July 1942, with Changes 1 and 2 used as a guide authorizing 40 Officers – 75 Nurses – 1 Warrant Officer – and 392 Enlisted Men.
Starting with the original cadre of 10 Officers and 52 Enlisted Men the 307th Station Hospital’s T/O strength reached 40 Officers and 1 Warrant Officer on 3 October 1943. On 2 November 1943 the organization had its T/O authorized strength in all grades present for duty. It is important to note that neither the Nurses nor the 3 ARC workers were permitted to join the unit before the 307th moved to its Staging Area!
The Officer Staff of the unit consisted of the Administration and Training Personnel (limited) only until all the Enlisted Men had completed both Basic and Technical courses of training. During this period the following offices were filled by the staff, resulting in many members holding at least two (or more) positions. They grouped:
Commanding Officer + Recreation Athletic & Special Service
Executive Officer + Sick Call and Outpatient Officer
Adjutant + Sanitary Inspector
Personnel Officer + Outside Police Officer
Plans & Training Officer + Protestant & Catholic Chaplains
Security & Intelligence Officer + Provost Marshall
Training Battalion Commander + Mail Officer
Mess Officer + Unit Billeting Officer
Supply & Utilities Officer + Unit Air Raid Observer
Transportation Officer + Unit Medical Instructor
A, B, C, Company Commanders + War Bonds & Insurance Officer
Unit Military Training Officer
From 15 April 1943 up to 3 October 1943, the 307th Station Hospital operated with an average of 10 Officers on duty who directed both the administration and technical training. By 23 December 1943, the unit consisted of the following 40 Officers:
1 Colonel (MC) – 2 Lieutenant Colonel (MC) – 1 Lieutenant Colonel (DC) – 6 Major (MC) – 1 Major (DC) – 1 Major (MAC) – 7 Captain (MC) – 1 Captain (DC) – 1 Captain (ChC) – 8 First Lieutenant (MRC) – 1 First Lieutenant (DC) – 5 First Lieutenant (MAC) – 1 First Lieutenant (SnC) – 1 First Lieutenant (ChC) – 3 Second Lieutenant (MAC).
The above Officers had received special training for the positions they filled in the organization. They went through Medical Field Service School – OCS Camp Barkeley, Abilene, Texas – OCS Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia – Officers Mess Management School – School for Bakers & Cooks, Camp Barkeley, Abilene, Texas – Motor Transport School, Camp Barkeley, Abilene, Texas – and Motor Transport School, Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia. The unit’s dental office only opened after arrival in the ETO. There was never a Veterinary Officer in the unit, but an Enlisted Technician rated as a Meat & Dairy Hygienist was assigned 1 July 1943 to join the 307th.
On 2 November 1943, the full T/O strength of female personnel had been reached. This consisted of 75 ANC Officers – 1 Dietitian – 1 Physical Therapy Aide – and 3 ARC workers.
By 3 November 1943, 1 Warrant Officer was present for duty. He was trained as Assistant Registrar.
The Enlisted Men were divided into sections that functioned in different fields as Headquarters – Medical Technical Training – Sick Call – Unit Supply – Personnel – Transportation – Military Training – Finance – Sanitation – Medical Supply – Detachment Headquarters – 3 Training Companies Headquarters – Utilities – Mess – 1 Training Battalion Headquarters.
Starting with the original 52 EM on 15 April 1943, requisitions were filled and underwent fluctuations. All of the men received had finished the regular 13-week Basic Military Training prior to join the 307th. The original cadre (52 EM) as well as several trained key personnel obtained from various local sources conducted both Technical and Tactical Training.
Upon activation of the 307th, vehicles on hand were those reflected under T/E 8-550. In order to comply with T/E 8-560 for a 750-bed unit, excess vehicles were turned over to Holabird Quartermaster Depot, Baltimore, Maryland (established in 1917, active in assembly of all motor vehicle equipment from 1918 until summer of 1942, when responsibility was transferred to the Ordnance Department –ed) and substitutions made by the Sub Motor Pool, Richmond, Virginia. The organization had the following vehicles (all turned in to the Quartermaster Motor Pool, Camp Lee, 5 October 1943 –ed):
In addition to the special training each Officer had received prior to joining, all of them received practical Training in Administration and Recruit Training of a tactical numbered hospital in the Zone of Interior by being assigned to 2 or more positions, before being transferred from one position to another so that each became proficient in the duties required in several positions. On 3 October 1943 a single Company was formed of Officer personnel only and given a 4-week period of intensive Basic Military Training (additional training away from the unit was further organized between 15 April and 31 December 1943 –ed).
The 75 Nurses, the PTA and HD did not join the unit until after it had reached its Staging Area. However, it was found that all had already received some basic instruction, especially in military drill, discipline, and march formations prior to this time.
Between 15 April and 19 May 1943, the cadre were given intensive training as Instructors. When the first group of 97 EM arrived from the MRTC at Camp Pickett, Virginia, it was found that their Basic Military Training had been completed, this was also the case for subsequent groups which joined later. Moreover, many of the Enlisted personnel had received Specialized Training in various Medical Department Technicians Schools.
Arrangements were made with the Post Surgeon and the Commanding Officer, Camp Lee Station Hospital, to assign men to all departments of the Station Hospital for training. In addition to the men who were assigned to the various administrative departments and clinics, the 307th Sta Hosp took over 8 medical wards and 2 convalescent surgical wards. A Master Training Schedule was prepared for a 13-week period using MTP 8-10 as a general guide. Training films, calisthenics, physical training, and infantry drill, in addition to Technical (medical) Training were also included. Great improvements were made in military courtesy, physical fitness, and pride in the wearing of the uniform.
During the initial phase it was discovered that some Enlisted Men displayed no aptitude for their original assignment and others showed latent abilities which were not evidenced on their classification cards. Furthermore, a select group displayed intelligence, understanding, cooperation, and leadership, which marked them as NCO material. Based on these findings several re-distributions of assignments were effected. By mid- July 1943, another 10 surgical wards were taken over for operation by the 307th Station Hospital. Inspections were held daily to check the efficiency of the personnel and improvements were introduced as need for them was discovered.
Much of the training at the time was devoted to Field Training. Various echelons of the Medical Department were studied and examples set up in the field. These included the duties of Litter Bearers, Battalion Aid Stations, Collecting Stations, Clearing Stations, Ambulance Loading Points, and operation of the Station Hospital. Assimilated patients were collected and evacuated through all of the respective echelons. Ward, medical supply, and administration tents were set up and duly camouflaged in order to reproduce a vivid picture of the way the Medical Department functioned in the field. Night hikes and forced marches were given in addition to those held during daytime. Lectures and field exercises were also devoted to defense against chemical attacks, defense against aerial warfare, field sanitation, and instructions in the treatment of gas casualties.
On 1 October 1943, all Enlisted personnel was recalled from TDY at their various assignments at the Camp Lee Station Hospital. From this date until 28 October 1943 (when the unit left Camp Lee for its Staging Area), an intensive training program in Preparation for Overseas Movement was conducted. It included:
Road and field marches with full field equipment
Rolling of the pack as required for overseas movement
Gas mask inspection and gas chamber tests
Inspections of clothing and equipment
Heavy tent pitching (wards & shelter halves)
Practice in loading and unloading of troops on troop trains
Going over ship side with landing nets (3 times)
Routine housekeeping duties
Policing and thorough cleaning of hospital area
On 28 October 1943 the 750-bed 307th Station Hospital received marching orders to leave Camp Lee, Petersburg, Virginia, and proceed to its Staging Area at the New York Port of Embarkation (Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey –ed).
While at the Staging Area, personnel were instructed to settle all financial matters and make all allotments desired. By this time, the total strength of EM had reached 387, with nearly every T/O position filled. While at Camp Kilmer training was continued including:
Complete exchange of gas mask with inspection and test in the gas chamber
Hikes and road marches
Infantry drill and athletics
Inspection of clothing and equipment
Life saving drill by jumping in deep water wearing life preserver or by catching a barracks bag full of air before striking water
The 307th Sta Hosp was to remain at its Staging Area from 29 October to 4 November 1943, on which day it boarded a troop transport for an overseas destination. The main group finally left New York harbor 5 November 1943 sailing on the USAT “Brazil” (NY 516, shipment #0588-D) and arriving in the United Kingdom on 17 November 1943.
Upon arrival in the United Kingdom the complete unit proceeded by train the next day to a prepared British Station Hospital establishment located at APO # 646 “somewhere in England.”
An Advance Detachment of the unit consisting of 2 Officers and 3 EM had already departed from Camp Lee on 24 September 1943, and was to proceed to either New York or Boston POE, to effect a permanent change of station with shipment 0588-DX APO # 4940 N.Y. per War Department 370.5 (9-3-43) OB-S-E-SPMOT-M, dated September 7, 1943 (c) Amended readiness date September 15, 1943, per WD 370.5 (9-16-43) OB-S-E-SPMOT-M dated September 17, 1943 (c) to arrive September 26, 1943 per Letter from Headquarters New York POE, dated September 11, 1943. It eventually departed from Camp Lee, Virginia, 24 September 1943. The Advance Detachment sailed from New York POE 1 October 1943 on the RMS “Aquitania” (NY 230) and arrived in the United Kingdom 10 October 1943. The party was in charge of much of the organic unit equipment when the main body arrived.
On arrival in the United Kingdom (17 November 1943) the unit was assigned to a British BCC Station Hospital area built on British plans for their own station hospital setup. The hospital was not complete on arrival as the contractors were still building floors and installing doors and windows. The first patient was formally admitted to the 307th Station Hospital on 18 December 1943 and from that date until the end of 1943 only 26 patients were admitted to this organization, and all were from command! Since about 25 December 1943, the 307th was undergoing a re-organization of personnel and T/O incident to a transfer from a 750-bed Station Hospital to a new Convalescent Hospital (later Convalescent Center) and this accounted for the fact that no outside patients were ever sent there for admission.
Buildings and grounds were satisfactory and a water system was already installed and functioning in the area, having its source from deep wells and being pumped to elevated water reservoirs. Bathing was not so adequate as all ranks had to use detached bath houses at uncomfortable distances from quarters. Laundry was taken care of in London by contract which required 7 days delivery; dry cleaning required 3 weeks between delivery and return. A prophylactic station was available in the hospital area and in almost all of the surrounding cities and towns.
Food was on no occasion purchased from civilian sources but remained adequate and well-balanced. Storage facilities were good resulting in less waste of foodstuffs. Since there were never enough patients to crowd the mess halls, both the patients’ halls and kitchen were used by the Enlisted Men while Officers and Nurses messed together in the Nurses’ mess hall (the existing Officers’ mess was never used by the unit as it seemed superfluous –ed).
Immediately after the unit arrived at its overseas destination, an orientation course was initiated to instruct the men and women in the functions and the channels of the European Theater of Operations. A general defense plan was also worked out for the protection of the unit and its patients against any chemical attack, air raids, and fire. Personnel were given adequate training in their duties in case any of these emergencies should arise. Soon after arrival in England, the medical supply department was already functioning by the advance party and about 85% of the allowed stock of supplies was on hand.
Upon arrival in the ETO the following vehicles were supplied in accordance with T/E 8-560 on 10 October 1943. The delivery point was Depot O-643.
¼-ton Willys Truck – US Registration No. 20328232-S
¼-ton Willys Truck – US Registration No. 20335275-S
¾-ton Dodge Ambulance – US Registration No. 727014-S
¾-ton Dodge Ambulance – US Registration No. 726889-S
¾-ton Dodge Ambulance – US Registration No. 726468-S
¾-ton Dodge Ambulance – US Registration No. 727171-S
¾-ton Dodge Ambulance – US Registration No. 727281-S
¾-ton Dodge Ambulance – US Registration No. 726477-S
¾-ton Dodge Weapons Carrier – US Registration No. 279813-S
¾-ton Dodge Weapons Carrier – US Registration No. 279780-S
¾-ton Dodge Weapons Carrier – US Registration No. 282093-S
½-ton Dodge Command & Reconnaissance Truck – US Registration No. X-21691
1½-ton Chevrolet Dump Truck – US Registration No. 3122621-S
2½-ton GMC Cargo Truck – US Registration No. 4142263-S
2½-ton GMC Cargo Truck – US Registration No. 4151708-S
Evolution from Station Hospital to Convalescent Center:
During the continuous buildup in the United Kingdom, Hospital Commanders were encouraged to adopt any measures for pooling hospital resources and designate units to specialize in particular types of cases. The medical service specialized institutions included a growing number of units dedicated to rehabilitating and reconditioning convalescent patients. Creation of these ‘specialized’ facilities was the work of Colonel Rex L. Diveley, MC, Senior Consultant in orthopedic surgery. Being genuinely impressed by the effectiveness of the Convalescent Rehabilitation System operated by the British Forces, he became convinced that carefully controlled and gradually intensified mental and physical training, begun while the patient was still in bed and culminating in hiking, drill, and general military instruction at special reconditioning camps would speed a soldier’s recovery from wounds or illness. Moreover such training would reduce the high rate of hospital re-admissions among casualties newly returned to duty.
In fall of 1942, Lt. Colonel Diveley already outlined a plan to establish a Convalescent/Rehabilitation Center for United States Forces in the European Theater. His proposal included the establishment of a center where sick and wounded military personnel could be sent as soon as they reached the convalescent stage and were no longer in need of active surgical and medical attention in the hospital where they were treated. The intended program was to include supervised physical, educational, military, and recreational activities which could help restore a patient to his former physical and mental capacity. The plan was approved by the United States Army Chief Surgeon and orders for implementation issued.
Definition: Rehabilitation Center
The aim of the Rehabilitation Center was to prepare convalescing military personnel for further military service or for discharge (depending on the nature of his wounds and disability). The patient was accepted from the hospital where he was being treated as soon as possible after he had reached the convalescent stage. He was then subjected to a specific physical therapy or remedial exercises as well as general reconditioning and hardening, which reduced the convalescence period to a minimum and preparing the soldier to return to duty as soon as possible in a strong and able physical condition. His physical ability and mental attitude were important factors to complete his rehabilitation (the average duration of stay for a convalescent patient in a Convalescent Center represented approximately 18½ days). The Rehabilitation Center tried hard to avoid any mental or physical deterioration of the patient that occurred while he was in the hospital. The theory was that the longer he was hospitalized, the more permanent his deterioration became.
A first unit and site were selected, leading to the establishment of Rehabilitation Center No. 1 at the All-Saints Hospital, Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, England. A provisional T/O & E was prepared by the Office of the Chief Surgeon, based upon personnel and equipment of a 150-bed Station Hospital (later expanded to a 750-bed unit), and 5 Officers and 6 EM with the proper qualifications were trained at the British 102d Convalescent Depot at Kingston and the British Army School of Physical Training at Aldershot.
On 7 April 1943, the 150-bed 16th Station Hospital (activated 16 Mar 42, embarked for England 3 Jun 42 –ed), was ordered to Bromsgrove, England, on 17 March 1943, as a cadre composed of 2 Officers and 24 Enlisted Men. On 7 April 1943, the unit with a final staff consisting of 9 Officers and 37 EM, augmented by specially trained personnel, opened Rehabilitation Center No. 1 in the All-Saints Hospital, with Major Clayton H. Hixson, MC, as Commanding Officer.This was the FIRST organization of its type in the US Army and a true experiment for the United States Army Medical Corps in the reconditioning of soldiers discharged from other hospitals before returning them to their military duties.
Rehabilitation Center No. 1 – United Kingdom
Major Clayton H. Hixson, MC – Commanding officer
Captain Erik Gullingrud, MC – Executive Officer
Major Frank E. Stinchfield, MC – Chief Orthopedic Services
Captain Marcus J. Stewart, MC – Orthopedic Service
Second Lieutenant Gerald F. Seeders, INF – Director Physical Training
Second Lieutenant Paul E. Hall, MAC – Director Military Training
The facilities at Bromsgrove soon proved insufficient to handle the Theater convalescent patient load (431 patients admitted by 1 Sep 43 –ed) and it was therefore judged that additional units had to be set up. Consequently, a general hospital site was secured at Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, APO # 640, and the 16th Station Hospital was re-designated 8th Convalescent Hospital on 27 September 1943, as the unit now operating Rehabilitation Center No. 1. The new center opened 5 October 1943 under command of Major Frank E. Stinchfield, MC.
By December of 1943, the census of patients had already reached 1,300 and in the meantime orders had been received to release the 8th Convalescent Hospital for assignment to a field Army (it was sent to France 9 Feb 45 –ed). The unit was henceforth gradually replaced by the 750-bed 307th Station Hospital with key personnel from the 8th being retained and Major Frank E. Stinchfield, MC, O-407393, still in command. The complete exchange was finalized on 24 December 1943. Census early January 1944 showed 1,700 Officers and Enlisted patients/trainees.
By June-July 1944, the patient load had increased tremendously and following the D-Day assault on the continent, a further expansion was deemed necessary. On 19 June 1944, an extra piece of land was released by the British Ministry of Works which allowed for an expansion of 700 patient beds, increasing overall capacity of Rehabilitation Center No. 1 to 3,700 patients/trainees. By 31 January 1945, the newly-designated 826th Convalescent Center (APO # 514-A) strength amounted to:
59 Medical Officers
2 Physio-Therapy Assistants
1 Hospital Dietitian
383 Enlisted Men
The total number of admissions for 1944 was 19,928 patients, with the number of dispositions reaching 16,413 men.
As per AG 322 (10-5-44) OB-I-SPMOU-M orders dated 9 October 1944, the 307th Station Hospital was to be disbanded at the earliest practical date at station within the European Theater of Operations (read United Kingdom Base –ed) and personnel and equipment of the disbanded unit was to be disposed of as directed by CG ETO instructions. The organization was effectively disbanded on 22 November 1944 per radio, Headquarters, ETO, Paris, France to the War Department, Zone of Interior, dated 27 November 1944.
Evolution & Re-Designation of Rehabilitation Center No. 1
16th Station Hospital, APO # 651, United Kingdom (7 Apr 43)
8th Convalescent Hospital, APO # 640, United Kingdom (27 Sep 43)
307th Station Hospital, APO # 640-A, United Kingdom (24 Dec 43)
826th Convalescent Center, APO # 514-A, United Kingdom (22 Nov 44)
Note: as from 1 May 1944 the location of the 307th Station Hospital / 826th Convalescent Center was also designated United States Army Hospital Plant 4167.
Initial facilities at Stoneleigh Park, England, involved the additional completion and operation of 62 Nissen huts, 1 large modern British-type kitchen, a Post Theater, an American Red Cross recreation hall, storage huts, administrative offices, and sanitary facilities. In order to accommodate more patients in the area, a number of pyramidal tents were erected. Training and entertainment films were shown for all personnel, recreational and instructive lectures given to patients/trainees, and live shows organized by the USO and ENSA. Music, dances, religious services, pool, ping-pong, painting, carpentry, decoration, and reading, were amply provided. Even Spanish and French languages classes were held, including English writing and reading for those who wished to improve their skills.
The overall plan and program for the care, treatment, and general Rehabilitation of the patients remained the same: “the purpose being to return as many men as possible to fighting fitness in the shortest possible time.”
The professional services assumed complete responsibility for the medical diagnosis, treatment, physical rehabilitation, and review of basic military training for the patient/trainee. After the latter had been admitted, he was given a thorough medical examination at which time his admission diagnosis was either confirmed or revised any necessary laboratory procedures or X-rays ordered. The patient was then placed in one of the 5 grades. The least physically fit were placed in “E” grade, while the more physically fit were placed in corresponding grades “D” – “C” – B” – and “A” respectively; which were then formed into grade companies. In each grade the patient/trainee was required to perform a specified amount of physical activity and remedial exercises to improve his condition, which would allow him to move on to an ‘improved’ and higher grade.
Military Training and Physical Training, including calisthenics, remedial exercises, and recreational activities were aplenty.
Weekly parades and reviews for all patients/trainees, including the presentation of awards, medals, and battlefield promotions took place, part of a program to improve morale. The 87th Army Ground Forces Band under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer Peter Blackwood, was attached to the organization, which added considerably as another morale building factor.
A donation of £ 800 to the “Coventry and Warwickshire Hospital Building Fund” was made by the members of 826th Convalescent Center to help Coventry build a new hospital destroyed in the Blitz of 1940. The money was obtained through the proceeds of a football game played between the US Navy team and a team representing the 826th Hosp Ctr.
In order to improve its local facilities the Center established its own Optical Laboratory and set up an Orthopedic Shoe Repair Shop to handle foot disorders.
More about Rehabilitation and Reconditioning Centers
Having decided that it would be better to segregate Officers and Enlisted Men, Rehabilitation Center No. 2 was activated at All-Saints Hospital with a detachment of trained personnel from the 307th Station Hospital (advance party arrived in England 10 Oct 43 + main group arrived in England 17 Nov 43 –ed) assigned to operate this new facility assisted by extra personnel pertaining to the 1st Auxiliary Surgical Group, temporarily quartered at Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Later, when the 77th Station Hospital (re-designated 231st Sta Hosp 3 May 44 –ed) had been made available for the Rehabilitation Program, a detachment relieved the men from the 307th Sta Hosp on 23 February 1944 (Rehabilitation Center No. 2, Officers, was later run by the 123d Station Hospital, and eventually re-designated the 833d Convalescent Camp in December 1944 –ed).
As the incoming patient load continued to increase, experience indicated that certain patients only needed general exercises or body hardening to improve their physical condition (reconditioning), while others required more specific exercises in addition to general reconditioning (rehabilitation). Accordingly, a certain diversification had to apply and an additional unit was requisitioned to establish a Reconditioning Center. A general hospital site was secured at Erlestoke Park, near Devizes, Wiltshire, England that could accommodate approximately 1,500 convalescent patients/trainees. The staff of the 77th Station Hospital (already committed at the Rehabilitation Center No. 2 for Officers therefore first completed a training and indoctrination course before moving to Erlestoke Park) eventually began to operate Reconditioning Center No. 1 in March 1944. A military site was secured at Packington Park, near Coventry, for expansion, with an advance party of the 77th Sta Hosp moving in to this extra facility on 5 July 1944.
Following the increased flow of patients from continental operations, it became apparent that additional beds for rehabilitation would be required. The 313th Station Hospital (arrived in England 14 Jan 44 –ed) was selected for conversion into a 3000-bed Rehabilitation Center. Since the site where it operated was not suitable it was only used on a temporary basis being re-designated Rehabilitation Center No. 3 and accepting its first patients on 20 July 1944. A suitable site was finally obtained at Warminster Barracks, Warminster, Wiltshire, which opened after some adaptation works on 21 December 1944.
With all centers about filled, there was need for an additional Rehabilitation Center. The 314th Station Hospital operating a tented-hospital at Truro, Devonshire, was selected and after training moved to Honiton-Heathfield to set up Rehabilitation Center No. 4 with a maximum capacity of 3,000 patients/trainees. The facility opened on 13 September 1944.
As the first Rehabilitation and Reconditioning Centers were operating it became clear that the selected T/O & E for a basic 750-bed Station Hospital did not provide for sufficient personnel with the appropriate qualifications to operate such a large Rehabilitation Center. Therefore new Tables of Organization and Equipment were created for 1,000-bed Reconditioning and 3,000-bed Rehabilitation Centers with assistance from ETOUSA G-1 (personnel & administration) and G-3 (operations & training) and forwarded to the War Department for comments and approval. (Tables approved 23 June 1944 –ed). Conversions started early December 1944 with 5 Station Hospitals being disbanded, converted, re-activated, and designated as follows:
The old 77th Station Hospital (Reconditioning Center No. 1) was re-designated 825th Convalescent Center with a 3,000-bed capacity; the old 307th Station Hospital (Rehabilitation Center No. 1) was re-designated 826th Convalescent Center with a 3,700-bed capacity; the old 313th Station Hospital (Rehabilitation Center No. 3) was re-designated 827th Convalescent Center with a 3,000-bed capacity; the 314th Station Hospital (Rehabilitation Center No. 4) was re-designated 828th Convalescent Center with a 2,300-bed capacity; and the old 123d Station Hospital (Rehabilitation Center No. 2) with limited resources was finally re-designated 833d Convalescent Camp with a 400-bed capacity.
On the continent, the 7th Convalescent Hospital (established at Etampes, Seine Base Section, France) with a capacity for handling 1,700 patients/trainees and the 8th Convalescent Hospital (initially established at Barneville, later at Valognes, Normandy Base Section, France) with a capacity for treating 2,000 convalescent patients, were operating under Communications Zone control. After an inspection tour by Colonel R. E. Diveley, it was recommended to assign additional Physical and Military Training Instructors to render operations more efficient.
At 31 December 1944, approximately 31,500 beds were available to convalescent patients/trainees in the European Theater of Operations (United Kingdom + Continent). Between 7 April 1943 and 31 December 1944 34,761 patients were discharged, and overall dispositions from all convalescent facilities located in the United Kingdom and on the Continent totaled 40,440 (86.5% returned to duty in the ETO).
In order to simplify administration and control of the largest geographical clusters of General Hospitals, the Chief Surgeon activated 3 Hospital Centers in 1944. They were regular medical units designed to coordinate the work of a variable number of General Hospitals in the United Kingdom Base. 2 of them arrived in Great Britain in March 1944, and another was set up with medical personnel available in the Theater in June 1944. They were designated: 12th Hospital Center (Great Malvern) – 15th Hospital Center (Cirencester) – 6810th Hospital Center, Provisional (Whitchurch) later re-designated 804th Hospital Center).
The 4 Convalescent Centers and the one Convalescent Camp were later attached to the 12th Hospital Center established at Great Malvern which controlled the nearby cluster of hospitals located in Bromsgrove, Stoneleigh Park, and Erlestoke. Each Hospital Center, would eventually include some 30 Medical Officers and 230 Enlisted personnel, operating a Headquarters, a Service Company, a Convalescent Camp, and a Laboratory. The Commanding Officer of the 12th Hospital Center was Colonel Asa M. Lehman, MC.
By mid-July 1944, the 12th Hospital Center (which had arrived in the U.K. in March 1944) controlled 7 General Hospitals and about 9,500 beds.
In order to improve the skills of the Officers’ Staff at the Convalescent Centers, a number of them were selected and sent to the Army Athletic Staff School, US Army University Center, APO # 887, Paris, France. A complete program was set up for a duration of 6 days, including a number of lectures addressing different topics as well as a list of instructors and guest speakers. After attending the numerous lectures some of the Officers were to be appointed Athletic Officers in their respective units.
The advent of the new Rehabilitation Centers brought along a number of VIPs, including notables and inspecting General Officers or other dignitaries all keen to view the work of the organization. Records of the organization listed visitors such as; Lieutenant General James J. Doolittle (CG, Eighth Army Air Force); Lieutenant General Omar N. Bradley (CG, First United States Army); Major General Paul R. Hawley (Chief Surgeon, ETO); Major General Norman T. Kirk (Surgeon General) accompanied by Brigadier General Malcolm C. Grow (Chief Surgeon, United States Strategic Air Forces) and Lieutenant Colonel Rex L. Diveley (Rehabilitation Division, AdSec, ComZ, ETOUSA); General Carl A. Spaatz (CG, United States Strategic Air Forces); the Congressional Military Affairs Committee, accompanied by Major General Harry B. Vaughan, Jr. (CG, United Kingdom Base, ComZ, ETO); Lieutenant General John C. H. Lee (CG, SOS, ETOUSA); and others including; Walter Lippman (Political Columnist) and Clare Booth Luce (US Congresswoman)…
Personnel Roster (incomplete):
|Abady, Abraham||Lyons, Boris|
|Aldrich, Robert||McEvelly, James P. J.|
|Allen, Benjamin L. (Capt)||Michaels, Robert|
|Anderson, Phillip S. (1st Lt)||Monti, Gilbert|
|Baker, Fred||Mooney, Thomas J. (1st Lt)|
|Baldwin, Forrest||Moore, Ray|
|Banducci, Joseph||Moured, Karim|
|Bell, John||Newman, Alvin L. (Capt)|
|Bellew, Vincent||Nickerson, Jack|
|Bennin, Morris||Noskin, Eugene|
|Berkel, Benedict||Nugent, Robert E. (T/Sgt)|
|Bewley, Leo (1st Lt)||Parks, Harold|
|Bienkiewiz, John||Peterson, Paul L. (Maj)|
|Boyer, Charles||Policoff, Leonard D. (Capt)|
|Buckner, Walter||Prugel, James|
|Calligan, Harold L. (2d Lt)||Purcell, Carl|
|Capolla, Michael T., Jr. (Maj)||Quigley, Richard|
|Cavallero, William||Rector, Carroll R. (Maj)|
|Charnas, Sidney||Reynolds, Victor D. (1st Lt)|
|Chase, Bernard||Ridout, John|
|Chmielewski, Joseph||Robedeaux, Clifford (Capt)|
|Conover, James||Russo, Carmine|
|Conrad, Maynard||Salera, Ernest E. (1st Lt)|
|Cymerman, Henry (Capt)||Sapienza, Joseph|
|Deck, Waldo (1st Lt)||Schultz, Erwin M. (1st Lt)|
|Del Beccaro, Edward (Capt)||Schwartz, Roland (Capt)|
|Domickis, John||Seeders, Gerald F. (Capt)|
|Donovan, Daniel O. (Capt)||Senti, Gene|
|Edmonson, John K. (1st Lt)||Sher, Julius|
|Feeherry, Anthony||Shippy, Laurel|
|Ferguson, Owen||Southerland, John|
|Fleischman, Justin (Capt)||Sterling, Julian|
|Griffin, John||Stewart, Marcus J. (Maj)|
|Hall, Charles||Stinchfield, Frank E. (Col)|
|Hasenfratz, Carl||Tellers, Richard|
|Heery, Ralph||Timmerman, Johannes|
|Hennell, Kenneth (1st Lt)||Travers, Frank|
|Hostein, Aaron||Travis, Irvin|
|Hughes, Harry J. (Capt)||Ukena, Maynard|
|Johnson, Joseph||VanDiver, Virgil|
|Kalp, Karl (1st Lt)||Wages, Coleman (Capt)|
|Kirchner, Wilbur||Walcher, Everett|
|Klein, Royal||Wegman, Luther|
|Krivi, Andrew||Wessmiller, John (1st Lt)|
|LeBaron, Francis (Capt)||Whitney, Bernard (Tec 4)|
|Leslie, William||Zusman, Herman|
|Aitcheson, Catherine||McFadden, Barbara|
|Ashbaugh, Glenna||Miller, Alberta|
|Baillies, Jean||Mitchell, Clare|
|Bell, Marguerite||Mucci, Cristine|
|Breland, Hazel||Muck, Magdalene|
|Bryer, Carolyn||Penn, Sarah|
|Cohen, Diane (ARC)||Price, Carla|
|Cueto, Marguerite||Ripple, Alice|
|Davies, Elsie||Ryan, Rita|
|Elmore, Mildred||Shuham, Margaret|
|Gaul, Dorothy||Stewart, Margaret|
|Gordon, Naomi||Storer, Florence|
|Gowin, Vivian||Thurneau, Neola A. (1st Lt)|
|Harden, Laura||Tucker, Georgiana|
|Kornfeind, Helen||Vance, Catherine|
|Kurutz, Katherine||Van Den Bogaert, Ragnhild|
|Kushlan, Helen||Van Jura, Mary M. (1st Lt)|
|Martin, Jane||Welch, Esther|
|McClanahan, Lucille||Wisniewski, Wanda|
The MRC Staff are very much indebted to Isabel Cymerman, daughter of Captain Henry Cymerman, MC (O-499838) who served with the unit in the European Theater during World War Two. Isabel spontaneously provided them with copies of vintage reports relating to the 307th Station Hospital / 826th Convalescent Center which were a tremendous help with editing this concise Unit History. Our sincerest thanks for her kind assistance.