34th General Hospital Unit History
Early History & Activation:
Pursuant to War Department Letter, dated 1 March 1942, 1 Officer and 25 EM stationed at Fort Ord, Monterey, California (Landing Vehicle Board and Army Ground Forces Training Area; acreage 28,690; troop capacity 51,253 Men –ed), formed a cadre which was earmarked for the 34th General Hospital. All Enlisted personnel had received intensive training at the Fort Ord Station Hospital prior to being selected.
Per Paragraph 6, General Orders No. 54, Headquarters Third United States Army, Smith-Young Tower, San Antonio, Texas, dated 23 May 1942, signed by Brigadier General Alfred M. Gruenther, GSC, Chief of Staff and further to instructions contained in War Department Letter AG 320.2 (4-18-42) MR-M-GN, dated 29 April 1942, Subject: Organization of Medical Units in July 1942, the following units were to be activated on 25 July 1942, at the station indicated below:
8th Evacuation Hospital – Camp Carson, Colorado
34th General Hospital – Camp Carson, Colorado
36th General Hospital – Camp Carson, Colorado
49th General Hospital – Camp Carson, Colorado
71st Evacuation Hospital – Camp Carson, Colorado
On 22 July 1942, pursuant to Special Orders # 177, Headquarters, Fort Ord, California, dated 20 July 1942, the above cadre accompanied by its Officer left Fort Ord and proceeded by train to Camp Carson, Colorado Springs, Colorado (Army Division Camp; acreage 68,355; troop capacity 2,707 Officers and 44,240 Enlisted Men –ed).
The original cadre consisted of the following personnel:
|First Lieutenant Frederick A. Olson, MC||O-310572|
|Sergeant Christian L. Bechtold, MD||6946368||MOS 052|
|Sergeant Lester T. Brolliar, MD||19010606||MOS 186|
|Sergeant William R. Deere, MD||6373482||MOS 124|
|Sergeant Arthur R. Ramey, MD||6931874||MOS 055|
|Technician 4th Grade Frank A. Payrow, MD||19049887||MOS 225|
|Technician 4th Grade Jerome Wallerstein, MD||39086639||MOS 149|
|Technician 5th Grade Victor Simonsen, MD||39007011||MOS 264|
|Technician 5th Grade Ralph C. Winn, MD||19049626||MOS 225|
|Private First Class John E. McKitterick, MD||7032789||MOS 409|
|Private First Class Victor M. Parodi, MD||39007189||MOS 186|
|Private First Class Harry J. Williamson, MD||20252247||MOS 060|
|Private James J. Bruschera, MD||39089049||MOS 149|
|Private Stanley V. Chelgren, MD||39079513||MOS 409|
|Private Roy Coe, MD||39305519||MOS 405|
|Private Edward P. Davis, MD||39089176||MOS 225|
|Private James S. Hancock, MD||20213725||MOS 060|
|Private Ray Laughton, MD||39007143||MOS 160|
|Private Herbert LeRoy, MD||39007337||MOS 405|
|Private Eugene L. Tenney, MD||6550604||MOS 405|
|Private Arnold J. Sept, MD||19020247||MOS 409|
|Private Harry Stokes, MD||6583525||MOS 067|
|Private Joaquin Torres, MD||19049895||MOS 067|
|Private Mike N. Tarasoff, MD||39076391||MOS 409|
|Private Coy B. Wright, MD||19013244||MOS 264|
The 34th General Hospital was activated 25 July 1942 at Camp Carson, Colorado, by the above-mentioned cadre. The unit’s total strength upon activation was 8 Officers and 188 Enlisted Men. Colonel Rollo P. Bourbon, MC, was assigned and assumed command of the unit on 3 August 1942.
The cadre activated both the 34th and 36th General Hospitals (36th GH affiliated to Wayne University, Detroit Michigan –ed), and trained the attached 50th General Hospital (affiliated to Seattle College, Seattle, Washington –ed) and was furthermore active in starting the Station Hospital (at Fort Ord) at which place the EM were trained in surgery, pharmacy, x-ray, medicine, and general ward work under guidance of the cadre. On 3 September 1942, the 50th General Hospital (Seattle College, Washington) joined the unit and was attached. 56 Medical Corps Officers, 1 Medical Administrative Officer, and 1 Chaplain, were joined by the new Unit Commander, Lieutenant Colonel T. T. Buckner, MC, of Seattle, Washington. On 4 September, Colonel R. P. Bourbon, was transferred to the 50th General Hospital and assumed command. 1 Officer and 159 EM of the 34th were also transferred, leaving the unit with very limited manpower. The same day, Captain Joseph R. Rebillot, MC, O-361891, took over temporary command (he was the only senior MC Officer still present). The new CO was assisted by the following Officers; First Lieutenants Farrell (Plans & Training Officer), Hatfield (Supply & Mess Officer), Olson (Adjutant & Personnel Officer), Sharbough (Chaplain), and Toburen (Chaplain).
On 14 September 1942, Chaplain Sharbough was transferred to Randolph Field in Texas. Meanwhile the unit’s aggregate personnel number reached 4 Officers, and 44 Enlisted Men. On 1 October 1942, the remaining Chaplain, First Lieutenant Toburen was transferred to Puyallup, Washington. 3 EM joined the unit before end September. On 6 October 1942, Second Lieutenant Hansford A. Cole, QMC, O-1578285, joined the unit. More EM were assigned and joined the 34th on 8 October, increasing the unit with 65 men, and on 14 October, a further 16 men arrived. On 27 October 1942 however, the 34th consisting of 6 Officers and 30 Enlisted Men were attached to Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colorado, for reorganization and training, pursuant to Letter, Headquarters, Camp Carson, Colorado, dated 27 October 1942, File No. 370.5, Subject: Movements. 2 MAC Officers joined at this date (Fitzsimons General Hospital, designated US Army General Hospital by WD GO # 40, dated 26 June 1920, multi-story permanent brick building, opened 13 October 1918, bed capacity 3,417 –ed).
On 2 November 1942, Colonel Thomas B. Murphy, MC, O-16974, was assigned and assumed command of the 34th General Hospital, relieving Captain J. R. Rebillot.
Another permanent change of station followed and with Special Orders No. 306, Headquarters, Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colorado, dated 22 November 1942, the 34th General Hospital was transferred at the existing strength of 8 Officers and 60 Enlisted Men, from Seventh Service Command to Ninth Service Command with station at Bushnell General Hospital, Brigham City, Utah. Movement was to be effected by rail on or about 30 November 1942. The unit departed for Bushnell General Hospital for its formal MTP 8-10 training in administration, parallel hospital assignments, and requisition of personnel shortages. Movement was completed in order to start training (Bushnell General Hospital, designated US Army General Hospital by WD GO # 64, dated 24 November 1942, two-story permanent brick building, opened 10 October 1942, bed capacity 3,377 –ed).
The formal training period was initiated on 14 December 1942. Its purpose was to qualify the organization for duty in any branch of the Army Medical Service, except for tactics and logistics peculiar to units other than a numbered General Hospital in a Communications Zone. Per VOCG Ninth Service Command, dated 16 December 1942, Colonel T. B. Murphy was relieved of command and subsequently retired from active duty. He was replaced by Captain Joseph R. Rebillot, MC.
During training at Bushnell there was time to fill the Tables of Organization of MAC Officers and Enlisted Men. Over 600 EM were undergoing intensive training in the wards, clinics, motor pool, mess, and supply functions of the Bushnell General Hospital under the direction of Colonel Robert Hardaway, MC, Commanding Officer on alternate days. Further to this program, intensive field training was conducted by 8 MAC Officers and 2 QMC Officers for those members not on duty at the hospital.
Another change in command took place on 12 January 1943, when Colonel Walter L. Richards, MC, O-5385 was assigned per War Department orders to take over the unit. Formal inspections took place during February and 6 additional MAC Officers reported for duty in the same period. On 28 February 1943, a Medical Hospital Ship Platoon was activated and 1 Officer and 9 EM were transferred from the 34th to the new unit. A DC Officer reported for duty early March.
The formal 13-week training period was concluded 13 March 1943. After the organization was alerted and committed for movement overseas, training, administrative and supply inspections were further conducted by Ninth Service Command, with all personnel being restricted to the immediate area.
More inspections followed in March, and on 1 April 1943, Major General James C. Magee (The Surgeon General –ed) visited Bushnell and the 34th General Hospital.
The organization’s strength on 10 April reached 533 Enlisted Men. Another MC Officer was assigned and joined the unit mid April. On 20 April 1943, Company A, proceeded to Logan Canyon for a week bivouac.
Per Letter, Commanding General, Ninth Service Command, dated 27 May 1943, the 34th General was ordered to select 1 Officer and 33 EM to activate the 31st Portable Surgical Hospital. On 7 June, a newly organized Malaria ward (# 26) was staffed by personnel of the 34th General. A QMC Officer reported for duty during the month. More inspections followed. On 14 July 1943, Colonel Butler of the Inspector General’s Department visited the organization. A new obstacle course was built and completed in the same month. A Warrant Officer (JG) reported for duty with the unit.
During the summer, the 34th General Hospital was alerted and de-alerted at frequent intervals. All personnel were in suspense anticipating early assignments to an active Theater of Operations. Meanwhile practice training continued with 75% of all Enlisted personnel assigned to either the pharmacy, surgical wards, dental clinic, EENT clinic, x-ray department, and utilities. During their stay at Bushnell, the organization lost over 200 well-trained men in activating Portable Surgical Hospitals, Medical Hospital Ship Platoons, and to essential medical industry, the Enlisted Reserve Corps, Officers Candidate School, Army Specialized Training Program, and due to discharges authorized for personnel over 38 years of age. Fortunately between July and August of 1943 several Officers (4 DC, 1 ChC, 4 MC, 90 ANC, 1 HD, 2 PT) as well as 80 Enlisted Men were assigned and joined the 34th to compensate for the losses.
On 27 August 1943, the entire unit received orders to proceed to Spadra, California to take over operation of the 13th General Hospital. The organization, consisting of 24 Officers, 98 Nurses, 2 Physio-Therapy Aides, 1 Hospital Dietitian, 1 Warrant Officer, and 543 Enlisted Men, entrained for Spadra on 4 September, to assume operation of a hospital of the Desert Training Center. The men and women detrained at Pomona, California at 2030 hours from where they traveled by motor convoy to Spadra. The trip took 27 hours. Upon arrival the organization began to bivouac in 92 pyramidal tents in the hospital area pending the departure of the 13th General Hospital. The operation consisted in running the hospital plant with a patient census of 1,640 as from 11 September, and in fact consisted as the ‘test period’ for all hospital personnel. The installation was operated on a simulated ‘combat mission’ policy, furnishing rear echelon medical treatment and care to approximately 100,000 troops during maneuver periods, and at one time was the only General Hospital in medical support of the Desert Maneuver Area force. On 24 September 1943, 15 MC Officers and 3 ANC Officers reported for duty on DS with the 34th from the Desert Training Center; they were intended to supplement the regular T/O strength for a 1000-bed numbered General Hospital. The new Surgeon General, Major General Norman T. Kirk and Staff visited the organization.
With the addition of some newly-assigned Officers, the strength of the unit on 28 September was 45 Officers assigned, 21 Officers attached, 106 ANC Officers assigned, 3 Nurses attached, and 579 Enlisted Men assigned, and another 21 EM attached.
In October, patient convoys were organized with casualties being dispatched to William Beaumont General Hospital, El Paso, Texas (Beaumont General Hospital, designated US Army General Hospital by WD GO # 40, dated 26 January 1920, two-story tile with stucco permanent building, opened 1 July 1921, bed capacity 4,000 –ed); Bushnell General Hospital, Brigham City, Utah; Bruns General Hospital, Sante Fé, New Mexico (Bruns General Hospital, designated US Army General Hospital by WD GO # 67, dated 14 December 1942, wood and asbestos shingle cantonment, opened 19 April 1943, bed capacity 1,575 –ed).
On 15 October 48 EM comprising the 151st Quartermaster Laundry Platoon from Vancouver Barracks, Washington were attached to the 34th to handle the hospital laundry. Between October, November and December 1943 personnel changes were numerous; people were assigned, some were transferred, others were released from duty, affecting total strength, which reached 57 Officers (+ 10 attached), 103 Nurses (+ 2 attached), and 603 Enlisted Men (+ 59 attached) by end October. More inspections followed. 11 EM from Company A, 744th Military Police Battalion detached from Pomona, California, were attached for temporary duty. On 3 December 1943, after evacuating many casualties, 688 patients still remained in the Hospital. On 11 December total Officer strength had fluctuated again now numbering 64 Officers, 1 Warrant Officer, and 105 Nurses.
During the operational and test period a great many lessons were learned by the ‘trial and error’ method before a fluid, efficient performance was achieved. Orienting all personnel to the full military scheme, all pretense of luxury, adequate supplies, and ordinary comforts were relegated to the background. Duty personnel subsisted on field rations, were housed in temporary barracks or in canvas tents, folding cots were furnished without mattresses and only two blankets provided. Leaves and furloughs were cancelled and only short passes issued.
On 13 January 1944, an Emergency Medical Unit to cover catastrophes arising in civilian communities (CAMA Zone) was activated. This time the required 4 Officers and 40 EM were supplemented by an alternate unit of equivalent personnel. During January a Mosquito Control Program was instituted to prevent early mosquito breeding. General Officers continued to inspect the 34th General Hospital throughout the period. Air Raids and Gas Alarms exercises were held on a regular basis.
In February a formal review and retreat were held to honor some distinguished guests from Pomona, California. As part of the general ceremonies, Good Conduct Medal ribbons were awarded to 44 members of the Hospital by Colonel W. L. Richards. An estimated 500 visitors attended the occasion. More lectures were given on Bacillary Dysentery and Tropical Medicine.
On 26 February 1944, Colonel W. L. Richards (CO) was put on temporary duty and leave, with Lieutenant Colonel William B. Schaefer, MC, O-290659 assuming command. A driving rainstorm damaged the roofs of 13 wards and barracks necessitating the evacuation of patients to undamaged hutments and tentage. Hospital grounds were turned into a quagmire. Personnel belonging to the Emergency Medical Unit were alerted to respond to expected flood control duty in adjacent communities.
On 29 February 1944, Colonel Harmon, MC, Ninth Service Command and Colonel Matlock, MC, Surgeon, ComZ, CAMA, inspected the Hospital. Inspection and survey were conducted for an anticipated turn-over of the hospital installations to other Service Command medical organizations. A retreat parade was therefore held the same day and 56 Good Conduct Medals awarded. The event attracted nearly 1,000 visitors. Training was completed in the following disciplines; malaria control, aircraft identification, mental conditioning, infiltration course, censorship, physical fitness, chemical warfare, and map and aerial photography reading.
Colonel W. L. Richards was back on 4 March 1944. Further discharges, transfers, and assignments continued to take place. On 19 March 1944, 22 Nurses were transferred to the 98th Evacuation Hospital and 2 Officers and 3 NCOs were sent to complete Chemical Warfare School courses at San Bernardino, California. On 25 March, the 34th discontinued admission of patients.
|Synopsis of operations at Spadra, California
(11 September 1943 > 25 March 1944)
|Number of patients on 11 September 1943||1,056|
|Number of patients on 25 March 1944||743|
|Total admissions during period||6,620|
|Total dispositions during period||7,383|
|Total patients treated||8,126|
|Number of minor operations||1,033|
|Number of major operations||261|
|Number of patient days||187,911|
|Number of deaths||5|
|Number of courts martial of patients||16|
|Officer Personnel transferred to and from the organization
(5 September 1943 > 25 March 1944)
|Number of Officers and Nurses joined||77|
|Number of Officers and Nurses transferred||58|
|Enlisted Men transferred to and from the organization
(11 September 1943 > 25 March 1944)
|Number of Enlisted Men joined||135|
|Number of Enlisted Men transferred||149|
|Number of promotions||162|
|Number of demotions||46|
|Number of courts martial||46|
|Number of Good Conduct Medals awarded||120|
|Number of Company punishments||53|
|Special Services Events
(11 September 1943 > 25 March 1944)
|Number of parades||3|
|Number of USO shows||8|
|Number of movies||112|
|Number of Officers dances and parties||2|
|Number of Enlisted Men’s dances||2|
Early April 1944 morale of the unit was high in anticipation of prospects for finally fulfilling a mission in an overseas Theater. This was often evidenced by the enthusiastic participation in strenuous physical activity and positive response to training in other non-medical skills.
Separations, transfers, and assignment continued throughout the period, with Officers attached from the 22d General Hospital and the 297th General Hospital.
A grand B-B-Q was organized on 12 April with approximately 1,500 persons attending. 4 Officers were relieved from assignment, and 2 Officers joined. 2 Nurses were discharged due to unsuitability for military service. A number of Officers went on DS to various installations. By 20 April 1944, patient census had dropped to 0.
On 20 April, all supply accounts were closed and records delivered to Headquarters, ComZ (patients records consisted of about 12,000 ‘201’ files). Over 1,000 surgical operations had been performed, more than 9,000 patients had been admitted, treated, and disposed of. The motor pool had accumulated road mileage of nearly 1,000,000 miles without major accidents. Hospital buildings and area were policed thoroughly for an anticipated change of station.
On 21 April 1944, an advance party consisting of 1 Officer and 9 Enlisted Men proceeded by train to England General Hospital, Atlantic City, New Jersey (England General Hospital, designated US Army General Hospital by WD GO #57, dated 21 September 1943, multi-story permanent brick construction, opened 15 August 1943, bed capacity 3,650 –ed).
The remaining personnel entrained at Spadra, California, for Atlantic City, New Jersey, at 1300 on 26 April 1944 utilizing two troop trains, and arrived in Atlantic City at 2330 hours, 1 May 1944. The orders stated that the 34th General Hospital was on its way for extended field operations and preparation for overseas movement (POM). The organization’s selected and highly qualified personnel consisted of 37 Medical Officers, 5 Dental Officers, 11 Medical Administrative Officers, 2 Quartermaster Corps Officers, 1 Chaplain Corps Officer, 1 Warrant Officer, Junior Grade, 83 Army Nurse Corps Officers, 3 Hospital Dietitians, 2 Physio-Therapy Aides, and 503 Enlisted Men, who were to receive refresher courses, new clothing, individual equipment, and instructions for preparation of overseas movement under the direction of Colonel Robert C. McDonald, MC, Commanding Officer, England General Hospital.
The necessary vaccinations were completed, leaves and furloughs granted, and minor reorganizations effected in personnel to meet the T/O 8-550 and changes in requirements. 5 American Red Cross personnel were assigned to the unit at this station. Nurses were quartered in Colton Manor, Officers in the Dennis Hotel. The unit operated its own mess, subsisting on type “A” rations, in the Dennis Hotel. The Nurses participated in the England General Hospital garrison mess. The Detachment, Medical Department, was organized into Companies, Platoons, and Sections with an Officer in charge of each Section. Training schedules were planned and organized. Training inspections were conducted by Officers of the Second Service Command and in general, remarks were excellent, with some minor deficiencies. Overall morale of the unit was very high, with only one man going AWOL.
Towards the end of May, promotions were made, some people were transferred or released from assignment, and a few more personnel were assigned and joined the 34th.
From 29 May to 1 June 1944, the Detachment and all the Officers participated in a field exercise and bivouac at Brigantine Field, New Jersey. Training consisted among others of CWS problems, defense against air attack, pitching tents and refresher courses in MTP 8-10 subjects. Good Conduct Medals were awarded to 80 Enlisted Men. No unusual events occurred except that the personnel were marched back to quarters in a heavy rain, and 3 casualties were attributed to sunburn.
On 6 June 1944 all female personnel of the organization moved to Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey (Staging Area for New York Port of Embarkation –ed), as per Paragraph 1, Special Orders No. 153, Army Service Forces, Second Service Command, England General Hospital, Atlantic City, New Jersey, dated 1 June 1944. Based on Paragraph 9, Special Orders No. 158, same Headquarters, dated 6 June 1944, all male personnel moved to the same destination on 11 June 1944. Experience at the Staging Area somewhat dampened the overall enthusiasm of all personnel. Cooperation and sympathetic understanding of the problems confronting personnel embarking on their first overseas assignment was lacking, Officers and soldiers alike had the impression that they were merely intruders, not part of the services embarking on a mission that they had trained for through many painful months. Processing was furious with schedules often overlapping. It was noted that all previous preparations were considered as non-existent and that all instructions complied with previously were either not required anymore or considered obsolete. Reception was not cordial, Officers were belittled in front of their men, some of them were insulted by lower ranks. There appeared to be boredom and insolence in the attitude of all ranks at Camp Kilmer below field grades toward units being processed for overseas assignment. The 34th General was bewildered by schedules and inspections involving up to 20 hours out of every 24.
On 14-15 June, all personnel departed for Brooklyn, New York, pursuant to Movement Orders, Army Service Forces, New York Port of Embarkation, Camp Kilmer, Stelton, New Jersey, dated 13 June 1944, File CKCB 370.5 (# 145), to embark on ship number NY 802, “Athlone Castle”, and to sail for overseas.
All Officers, Nurses, and other female personnel embarked at approximately 1600 hours, 15 June 1944, for the ETO. 4 Medical Officers were detailed on another ship in the convoy for professional duty. The remainder of the unit departed at about 0245, 16 June 1944.
The trip was totally uneventful and morale high. No apprehension or anxiety was manifested. Officers and Nurses were quartered in cabins, while the Enlisted personnel were housed in troop compartments. Meals for Officers and Nurses were satisfactory, those furnished the EM were not. Diarrhea broke out involving 60% of the men, nobody however got seasick, as the ocean was very calm, and the weather ideal during crossing.
Debarkation was effected at Liverpool, England, during the night of 28 and 29 June 1944 and movement from port of debarkation to Northwood House, Sparsholt, was effected by train in two sections. Officers were quartered under bivouac conditions at Northwood House and all female personnel were sent to quarter with the 48th General Hospital at Stockbridge under tentage, with messing at the Hospital’s facilities. An orientation course was given by the 48th GH to welcome the new unit with emphasis placed on overall security.
On 17 July 1944, the entire organization regrouped at Stockbridge, Hampshire, England, and assumed operations and command of US Army Hospital Plant No. 4123, at 0001 hours. The installations were those vacated by the 48th General Hospital commanded by Colonel Emery E. Alling, MC. The new site was located approximately one mile east of Stockbridge and approximately eight miles west of Winchester, Hants. The 34th General Hospital was situated on the south side of the Stockbridge-Winchester main road on the so-called Stockbridge Downs. The area itself consisted of forty acres of grounds bounded on the west side by a branch road leading to Somborne crossing, on the south side by hedgerows, and on the east side by a timbered area belonging to the Bathhurst Estate.
The Hospital was tasked with definitive medical and surgical treatment of combat casualties, with station hospital and medical dispensary service plus consultations to all transient units and to static troops in the immediate area.
The change-over was accomplished with a minimum of disruption of operational functions in spite of recent losses of essential personnel (sick or on TD with another unit). In fact the constant shift of personnel from inception through advanced training periods and movements created a problem that severely taxed the ingenuity of the Plans and Training Officer. Absorption and take-over were carried out by infiltration of key personnel in all administrative and professional departments prior to independent operation. The movement caused losses of 1 MAC Officer, 1 Chaplain, 10 cooks, 5 ambulance drivers, 5 ambulance orderlies, 1 clerk, and 2 more NCOs to the organization. 1 pharmacist was evacuated to the ZI (malaria) and 1 truck driver was still hospitalized in Liverpool.
Effective strength of the 34th General Hospital amounted to (17 July 1944):
34 Medical Corps Officers
5 Dental Officers
7 Medical Administrative Officers
2 Quartermaster Corps Officers
2 Sanitary Corps Officers
1 Chaplain Corps Officer
83 Army Nurse Corps Officers
1 Warrant Officer
3 Hospital Dietitians
2 Physio-Therapy Aides
5 American Red Cross Staff Workers
492 Enlisted Men
Patient census at this day was 955 (surgical and medical) of which 198 were open ward NP patients due to battle fatigue and extreme exhaustion. Permanent UK Post personnel consisted of a 4-man sanitary detail, a 5-man fire and maintenance detail, 4 switchboard operators, 2 seamstresses, and 1 British NCO in charge of fire control and prevention. Definitive treatment status with a 180-day Theater evacuation policy was instituted after opening. The current rehabilitation section was enlarged 50% and direct return through Replacement Centers emphasized. Direct admission of patients from Ports of Debarkation was equally promulgated, bypassing former transit medical installations in the chain of evacuation (as used during and after D-Day).
The facilities occupied on the Post were of a permanent construction consisting of 32 brick wards, 22 canvas ward tents (with concrete floors) and essential clinics and utility buildings. Barracks and quarters were of brick type construction, with adequate cement roads providing satisfactory access to the different wards, barracks and clinics. The 22 permanent brick buildings were used to house the morgue, chapel, laboratory, theater, garage, water steam plant, physio-therapy, and ablutions. Three messes were operated (Officers, Patients, Enlisted Men). The ARC occupied a building of its own. 51 temporary fabric and plastic buildings were available for quarters, recreation, offices, and unit medical supplies. 40 other miscellaneous tents were set up to house the overflow and any attached personnel. 11 miscellaneous type structures included sentry posts, coal bunkers, and other supplies. A concrete apron provided the motor pool with excellent facilities. The area was generally clean with the exception of long grass throughout. Sewage disposal facilities and grease traps were not satisfactory due to structural flaws, and there was an acute shortage of water which severely restricted its consumption. Mess halls and dayroom had to be repainted and a temporary parking lot was constructed adjacent to the main road to accommodate patient convoys and excess visiting vehicles
The 186th Medical Battalion and Detachment B, an ambulance unit of the 181st General Hospital were attached to the unit for quarters, rations, and administration. They helped with the evacuation of patients (40 ambulances manned by 1 MAC Officer and 41 EM).
On 20 July 1944, the unit was inspected by Major General Norman T. Kirk, US Army Surgeon General; Lieutenant General Sir Alexander Hood, British Army Surgeon; and Major General Paul R. Hawley, Surgeon ETOUSA. On 29 July, the organization was visited by 18 inspectors, including Generals Faith and Kennedy, IGD. Between July and August 1944 a total of 70 inspections of the Hospital took place.
Some temporary duty assignments were received including 2 MC Officers, 1 DC Officer, 1 MAC Officer, 10 ANC Officers, and 10 EM, all detached from the 48th General Hospital. Personnel of the organization were sent to attend fire prevention courses and treatment of gas casualty classes. Nurses were placed on DS with the 36th General Hospital to study NP nursing. More people were placed on DS with the ETO School of Nursing for a period of four weeks, with some going on TD with the Advance Section, XVIII District Headquarters, United Kingdom.
In August the unit responded to 2 aircraft crashes in the vicinity. Light fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft tentatively identified as ‘Mosquitoes’, ‘P-38s’, and ‘Beaufighters’ continued to maneuver at dangerously low altitudes over the hospital area, a real cause for some concern due to the negative effect it had on battle exhausted and NP patients, and the danger of accidental crashes and subsequent injury to patients and personnel alike. Daily movies and weekly USO shows were conducted for both patients and duty personnel.
Some minor re-organizations took place on 9 September 1944, whereby the VD section was transferred from the Surgical Service and put under control of the Chief of the Medical Service. During the same month limited assignment Enlisted personnel were assigned to the organization thus replacing 34th General personnel transferred to combat organizations. 1 Medical Officer and 10 Enlisted Men were designated as a guard unit for the premises and the buildings formerly occupied by the 38th Station Hospital in Winchester. United Kingdom Southern Base inspection teams visited the Hospital to review and survey its activities.
Between July and August 1944 the average daily patient census was 1,000. Patient days represented 73,106 (US Army), 323 (US Navy), 143 (British Army), 43 (Canadian Army), 606 (Free French Forces & French civilians). Admissions totaled 2,487. Only 6 deaths occurred. Surgical Service admissions numbered 60% of the totals, the remainder being received at the Medical and Neuro-Psychiatric Services. Approximately 80% of the surgical cases were orthopedic in nature. The construction of acrylic eye prosthesis was initiated in the same period by the Dental Service.
Procurement of necessary supplies and equipment was excellent with minimum stock levels maintained and property exchange of convoys satisfactorily controlled. Individual clothing and equipment for 300 men were always carried in stock to provide adequate protection and comfort to the patients prior to their return to duty. Ordnance items such as rifles, sidearms, and ammunition were withdrawn from patients’ effects and directly shipped or delivered to appropriate depots within 48 hours of admission.
A total of 333 Good Conduct Medals were awarded to members of the 34th General Hospital. 750 Purple Hearts and 30 OLCs were awarded to patients, in a period of less than three months. As unit T/O & E did not provide for enough organic transportation, begging and borrowing through and from both US and British contacts often became the only way to improve vehicle performance.
By mid October 1944 50% of certain MOS General Service personnel were replaced by limited assignment men in compliance with current ETO policies (60 EM were exchanged sofar). The exchange however did not improve the efficiency of the unit as most of the replacements were physically or emotionally inferior and not capable of replacing aggressive and well-trained soldiers who had been with the unit for over a year.
4 tent repairmen were continuously making minor and major repairs on ward tents. Acute shortage of water (still affecting the installation) caused considerable inconvenience. The average consumption was 65,000 gallons per day, up to maximum of 84,000 gallons.
On 27 October, written instructions were received governing the Theater policy for evacuation of patients to the Zone of Interior, whereby the period was reduced from 180 days to 120 days required hospitalization. On 31 October 1944, it was proven that the organization had reached its peak of efficiency, and would be able to perform its mission in any and all conditions satisfactorily. It was reported that the professional staffs were exceptionally well-qualified and worked harmoniously. All administrative personnel seemed well-trained and versed in the official Army procedures. On 8 November the ETOUSA evacuation policy changed once more, now being reduced from 120 to 90 days. A survey was therefore conducted to study the impact of the new measure and bring these patients before the Disposition Board.
On 11 November 1944, the Hospital Plant was assigned to the II Hospital Group (Provisional). As per normal seasonal conditions, the weather continued to be damp, nasty, and cold, causing some discomforts in the ward tents, which had not yet been winterized. On 16 November, 3 Officers pertaining to the Surgical, Medical, and Rehabilitation Services were placed on 2 days TD to observe the disposition and medical aspects of patients being discharged to duty at the 10th Replacement Depot.
During its operation in the United Kingdom from July 1944 until November 1944, the following large units were given outpatient and medical consultant services: 84th Infantry Division – 90th Infantry Division – 95th Infantry Division – 101st Airborne Division. Two more formal inspections took place during November.
On 26 November 1944, an important change of status was effected whereby the 34th General Hospital changed into a ‘Transit’ Hospital.
Another outfit, the 69th Infantry Division was afforded outpatient and medical consultant facilities on 27 November. The same service and support was also afforded the 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 513th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The first mass admission by aircraft took place during the ‘Transit’ period, with assistance provided by Medical Officers and Enlisted Men from the 69th Infantry Division’s 369th Medical Battalion. During a 7-day period, starting at 0001 hours, 26 November 1944, to 0001 hours, 3 December 1944, a total of 2,458 patients were processed (one every 4 minutes) for the entire period. The cases consisted of:
1,586 litter cases
726 ambulatory cases
144 non-evacuable cases
The total number of patients processed by weeks during the same period amounted to:
26 Nov to 2 Dec 44 > 9 Hospital Trains – 5 Ambulance Convoys – 1,596 litter cases – 726 ambulatory cases – 146 remaining cases
3 Dec to 9 Dec 44 > 12 Hospital Trains – 3 Ambulance Convoys – 3,436 litter cases – 813 ambulatory cases – 750 remaining cases
10 Dec to 14 Dec 44 > 3 Hospital Trains – 7 Ambulance Convoys – 1,117 litter cases – 160 ambulatory cases – 137 remaining cases
15 Dec to 24 Dec 44 > 3 Hospital Trains – 6 Ambulance Convoys – 753 litter cases – 712 ambulatory cases – 120 remaining cases
25 Dec to 31 Dec 44 > 5 Hospital Trains – 9 Ambulance Convoys – 1,220 litter cases – 1,332 ambulatory cases – 108 remaining cases
Officer Roster – 34th General Hospital (31 July 1944)
|Richards, Walter L.||Colonel||O-5385||MC||Commanding Officer|
|Jared, Myron S.||Major||O-231039||MC||Executive Officer|
|McElligott, George P.||Major||O-321634||QMC||General Supply Officer|
|McLaughry, William G.||Captain||O-1694236||MC||Recreation & Education Officer & Registrar|
|Richton, Reinold H.||Captain||O-1541018||MAC||Adjutant|
|Ward, Thomas E.||Captain||O-285744||MAC||CO Detachment of Patients|
|Bussler, Ralph G.||1st Lt||O-1534932||MAC||Mess Officer|
|Dorsen, Maurice||1st Lt||O-1534955||MAC||Medical Supply Officer|
|Graham, Harrold E.||1st Lt||O-1541665||MAC||Special Services Officer|
|Kershaw, Alvin F.||1st Lt||O-1535009||MAC||CO Detachment Medical Department|
|Andre, Leon B.||2d Lt||O-1578116||QMC||Transportation Officer|
|Bjonberg, Carl A.||2d Lt||O-1541821||MAC||Personnel Officer|
|Heller, Martin J.||2d Lt||O-1545491||MAC||Asst Medical Supply Officer|
|Chewning, Reginald D.||WO (JG)||W-2127497||USA||Asst Co Detachment of Patients|
|Schaefer, William B.||Lt Colonel||O-290659||MC||Chief Surgical Service|
|Basham, Charles E.||Major||O-357249||MC||Chief General Surgery Section|
|Beck, Harold J.||Major||O-326735||MC||Chief Genito-Urologic Surgery Section|
|Hathcock, Alfred H.||Major||O-272140||MC||General Surgery Officer|
|Iseman, Joseph W.||Major||O-1686880||MC||Septic Surgery Officer|
|LeDage, Leo H.||Major||O-273047||MC||Chief Septic Surgery Section|
|Steele, Frederic H.||Major||O-316809||MC||General Surgery Officer|
|Born, Ernest A.||Captain||O-474958||MC||Chief Orthopedic Section|
|Cushman, Joseph B.||Captain||O-447649||MC||Anesthetist|
|Bonney, Robert T.||1st Lt||O-360516||MC||Orthopedic Surgeon|
|Capus, Bertram||1st Lt||O-384655||MC||Ophthalmologist|
|Entzminger, Lindell B.||1st Lt||O-466282||MC||Othorhinolaryngologist|
|Fox, Saul L.||1st Lt||O-284787||MC||General Surgery Officer|
|Johnson, Nicholas J.||1st Lt||O-1747081||MC||General Surgery Officer|
|Powell, James H.||1st Lt||O-376330||MC||Orthopedic Surgeon|
|Rountree, James E.||1st Lt||O-359705||MC||Septic Surgery Officer|
|Satinsky, Victor P.||1st Lt||O-528041||MC||Proctologist|
|Strance, John G.||1st Lt||O-526008||MC||Orthopedic Surgeon|
|Blumberg, Max M.||Major||O-342912||MC||Chief Medical Service|
|Seibly, Robert C.||Major||O-381394||MC||Rehabilitation Officer & Dispensary Officer|
|Epstein, Nathan I.||Captain||O-527827||MC||General Duty Medical Officer|
|Kent, Donald F.||Captain||O-1692125||MC||Chief Contagious Section|
|Loiacono, Felix P.||Captain||O-337827||MC||Venereal Disease Section|
|McCreary, James H.||Captain||O-381542||MC||Chief Venereal Disease Section|
|Revell, Samuel T. R. Jr.||Captain||O-403449||MC||Chief General Medical Section|
|Russomanno, Raymond L.||Captain||O-1692030||MC||Chief Gastro-Enterology Section|
|Schwimmer, Samuel||Captain||O-513416||MC||Chief Neuro-Psychiatric Section|
|Motto, Salvatore A.||1st Lt||O-443231||MC||General Duty Medical Officer|
|Sands, George W.||1st Lt||O-1717581||MC||Neuro-Psychiatrist|
|Schaberg, Frank J.||1st Lt||O-530603||MC||Neuro-Psychiatrist|
|Spano, Anselmo V.||1st Lt||O-528854||MC||Communicable Disease Officer|
|Young, Ellis W.||1st Lt||O-528868||MC||Chief Cardio-Vascular Section|
|Rose, Kyle L.||Major||O-250229||DC||Chief Dental Service|
|French, Willard F.||Captain||O-482883||DC||Prosthodontist|
|McAmis, Leon C.||Captain||O-426726||DC||Oral Surgeon|
|Warren, Edwin M.||Captain||O-471705||DC||Dental Officer|
|Allen, Ellsworth M.||1st Lt||O-1785056||DC||Dental Officer|
|Chamberlin, William B. Jr.||1st Lt||O-527047||MC||Chief Laboratory Service & Pathologist|
|Cox, Ardis T.||1st Lt||O-529716||MC||Bacteriologist|
|Blumenthal, Albert I.||2d Lt||O-530474||MC||Serologist|
|Bennet, Dwight G.||Captain||O-488757||ChC||Chaplain (Protestant)|
|Haynes, Mary E.||Captain||N-701986||ANC||Principal Chief Nurse|
|Francisco, Themla L.||1st Lt.||N-736634||ANC||Asst Chief Nurse|
|Allen, Alberta I.||1st Lt||N-736244||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Andersen, Frances M.||1st Lt||N-783068||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Christy, Roberta A.||1st Lt||N-736650||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Handy, Barbara E.||1st Lt||N-736442||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Kynaston, Barbara M.||1st Lt||N-737097||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Schmits, Mae L.||1st Lt||N-737570||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Stitzer, Dorothy L.||1st Lt||N-736866||ANC||Administrative Nurse|
|Adams, Dorothy E.||2d Lt||N-783014||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Aho, Helen J.||2d Lt||N-737573||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Allen, Harriet L.||2d Lt||N-737221||ANC||Neuro-Psychiatric Nurse|
|Allen, Hazel R.||2d Lt||N-737720||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Armstrong, Mary H.||2d Lt||N-737918||ANC||Neuro-Psychiatric Nurse|
|Arndt, Emilie||2d Lt||N-736712||ANC||Communicable Disease Nurse|
|Attwood, Evelyn||2d Lt||N-737547||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Bacior, Agnes||2d Lt||N-737362||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Barrnicoat, Ethel L.||2d Lt||N-783346||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Bellante, LaVerne G.||2d Lt||N-783417||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Bostrom, Martha C.||2d Lt||N-783263||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Bronson, Ruth R.||2d Lt||N-783228||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Burke, Mabel J.||2d Lt||N-737009||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Burton, Barbara B.||2d Lt||N-737520||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Byrne, Rita B.||2d Lt||N-783391||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Chambers, Monta M.||2d Lt||N-737387||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Clark, Betty H.||2d Lt||N-783174||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Clymer, Flora L.||2d Lt||N-759930||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Collins, Jeraldine R.||2d Lt||N-771242||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Collins, Jessie W.||2d Lt||N-771206||ANC||Communicable Disease Nurse|
|Cowan, Frances P.||2d Lt||N-737355||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Doe, Marguerite A.||2d Lt||N-737884||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Fischer, Iona L.||2d Lt||N-737844||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Folsom, Aileen||2d Lt||N-737693||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Fulton, Nora E.||2d Lt||N-783067||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Gentry, Madalene||2d Lt||N-737247||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Gisimo, Lillian E.||2d Lt||N-737397||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Gosselin, Edna M.||2d Lt||N-731168||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Grover, Allene E.||2d Lt||N-757033||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Gunnell, Emma B.||2d Lt||N-783788||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Hale, Freddie L.||2d Lt||N-783526||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Hearn, Ruth F.||2d Lt||N-783072||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Hogan, Hazel||2d Lt||N-783458||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Hoghland, Fern||2d Lt||N-783856||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Hoyme, Kathryn E.||2d Lt||N-736507||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Johnson, Anna G.||2d Lt||N-731888||ANC||Neuro-Psychiatric Nurse|
|Johnson, Mary L.||2d Lt||N-731776||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Kell, Edna L.||2d Lt||N-736134||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Kettel, Margaret K.||2d Lt||N-737739||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Longenecker, Dorothy G.||2d Lt||N-737900||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Lund, Elsie C.||2d Lt||N-731913||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|MacGready, Jean A.||2d Lt||N-783173||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Markee, Edith||2d Lt||N-737183||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Matheny, Mary||2d Lt||N-737436||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|McTagus, Edith B.||2d Lt||N-737887||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Minshall, Patricia A.||2d Lt||N-737575||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Moore, Marguerite E.||2d Lt||N-737666||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Musmert, Regina||2d Lt||N-736076||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Myers, Edith G.||2d Lt||N-729844||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Neff, Leah L.||2d Lt||N-731135||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Nichols, Margaret M.||2d Lt||N-737189||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Norrie, Jean E.||2d Lt||N-751824||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|O’Connor, Kathleen E.||2d Lt||N-783281||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Olsen, Edna M.||2d Lt||N-737135||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Olson, Rose E.||2d Lt||N-737834||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Pickthorn, Lily M.||2d Lt||N-783117||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Porter, Anna Belle||2d Lt||N-737808||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Potts, Frances J. B.||2d Lt||N-737500||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Radovich, Naida V.||2d Lt||N-783918||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Reese, Dolores C.||2d Lt||N-783586||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Rice, Lucille M.||2d Lt||N-737196||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Shurtliff, Eula B.||2d Lt||N-783040||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Smout, Phyllis M.||2d Lt||N-736717||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Soto, Lila D.||2d Lt||N-737199||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Steward, Norma L.||2d Lt||N-736692||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Throndsen, Gertrude A.||2d Lt||N-737802||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Tompers, Geraldene E.||2d Lt||N-783683||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Valenzuela, Carrie||2d Lt||N-783206||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Van Rossum, Clover||2d Lt||N-737872||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Viger, Myrtle H.||2d Lt||N-783189||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Watters, Mary L.||2d Lt||N-737027||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|White, Beverley M.||2d Lt||N-783152||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Wilbur, Pearl||2d Lt||N-736982||ANC||Operating Room Nurse|
|Young, Marjorie M.||2d Lt||N-744578||ANC||General Duty Nurse|
|Anderson, Bettie A.||2d Lt||M-803||PT||Physical Therapy Aide|
|Dykins, Dora||2d Lt||M-796||PT||Physical Therapy Aide|
|Campbell, Mary C.||2d Lt||R-769||HD||Hospital Dietitian|
|Queneau, Marguerite J.||2d Lt||R-715||HD||Hospital Dietitian|
|Waddell, Irene H.||2d Lt||R-286||HD||Hospital Dietitian|
|NCO Roster – 34th General Hospital (31 July 1944) incomplete|
|Kauffman, David S.||1st/Sgt||35318800||MD||First Sergeant|
|McLaughlin, Arthur V.||M/Sgt||32181528||MD||Sergeant Major|
|Wille, Leonard P.||M/Sgt||36331152||MD||Chief Clerk|
|McCully, Robert S.||T/Sgt||36332476||MD||Chief Clerk|
|McGuire, Loran B.||T/Sgt||39532369||MD||Plant Electrician|
|McMorrow, James M.||T/Sgt||32424399||MD||Supply Noncommissioned Officer|
|Mullins, Paul W.||T/Sgt||32447782||MD||Mess Sergeant|
|Payrow, Frank A.||T/Sgt||19049887||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Sprenger, Alfred C.||T/Sgt||37298381||MD||Supply Noncommissioned Officer|
|Smith, Alvie E.||T/Sgt||35433526||MD||Motor Sergeant|
|Wooster, Harlan L.||T/Sgt||14082686||MD||Dental Laboratory Technician|
|Forsman, Nels G.||S/Sgt||37275635||MD||Chief Clerk|
|Hallberg, Bruce E.||S/Sgt||31149142||MD||Supply Noncommissioned Officer|
|Kessin, Sol J.||S/Sgt||32417878||MD||Chief Clerk|
|Koester, Glenn G.||S/Sgt||35334824||MD||General Clerk|
|Lemke, Melvin A.||S/Sgt||37178465||MD||General Clerk|
|Logue, Bernard||S/Sgt||31159255||MD||Mess Sergeant|
|MacDonald, Ernest M.||S/Sgt||36514042||MD||Chief Clerk|
|McKoon, James U. Jr.||S/Sgt||34353161||MD||Duty Noncommissioned Officer|
|Miller, James M.||S/Sgt||35661152||MD||General Clerk|
|Palphrey, Paris A.||S/Sgt||15118446||MD||Chief Clerk|
|Scheer, Raymond G.||S/Sgt||12168053||MD||Chief Clerk|
|Schwartzott, Richard H.||S/Sgt||32381229||MD||General Clerk|
|Zahasky, James W.||S/Sgt||38181482||MD||Chief Clerk|
|Dale, Thomas W.||Tec 3||39453845||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Daniels, Joseph W.||Tec 3||36521344||MD||Medical Laboratory Technician|
|Drummond, Robert P.||Tec 3||39098074||MD||Optician|
|Edmonds, Donald R.||Tec 3||35333596||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Justmann, Roland A.||Tec 3||36230865||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Kostenko, Peter A.||Tec 3||37308302||MD||Medical Laboratory Technician|
|Lane, John B.||Tec 3||37192412||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Leonardini, Raymond E.||Tec 3||39836525||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Martin, George C.||Tec 3||35409849||MD||Surgical Technician|
|McColl, Douglas||Tec 3||36504856||MD||Dental Technician|
|Myers, David W.||Tec 3||36062671||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Saeugling, Dean B.||Tec 3||17108384||MD||Pharmacist|
|Simonsen, Victor L.||Tec 3||39007011||MD||X-Ray Technician|
|Stendler, Robert W.||Tec 3||36223429||MD||Medical Laboratory Technician|
|Threatt, Leslie L.||Tec 3||34247587||MD||Surgical Technician|
|Leonard, Paul V.||Tec 4||36268678||MD||Surgical Technician|
Overview of 1945:
On 3 January 1945, the Hospital was reorganized under T/O & E 8-550, dated 3 July 1944 (1,000-bed capacity, personnel: 55 Officers, 83 Nurses, 1 Warrant Officer, 450 Enlisted Men, 20 vehicles and 8 trailers –ed). A change took place on 28 October 1944 reducing authorized strength to 51 Officers, 63 Nurses, 1 Warrant Officer, and 362 EM.
As per VOCO, 802d Hospital Center, United Kingdom Base, a roster of surplus personnel, Officers and Enlisted Men, was submitted for reassignment to Army Ground Forces. The above instructions greatly affected the efficiency of the organization and by 6 January, 68 general assignment highly-qualified personnel had already been transferred.
On 13 January 1945, the 759th, 808th, 821st, and 905th Medical Hospital Ship Platoons arrived at the Post to supplement the Officer and EM personnel during mass admissions and evacuations (they were released from assignment on 8 February). Transfers, reassignments and other personnel changes continued throughout the first months of 1945. Due to inclement weather and above all heavy fog, aircraft were grounded and transit operations were therefore proceeding very slowly.
As per VOCO, 802d Hospital Center, received 22 January, the 34th General Hospital was reorganized as a 500-bed Holding Hospital, and a 664-bed Transit Hospital.
The first heavy snowfall of the year arrived on 26 January 1945. On 29 January the following Separate Medical Hospital Ship Platoons arrived on DS for organizational and functional duty; they included the 28th, 451st, 452d, and 453d Platoons.
The 477th Medical Collecting Company arrived at the station at 1320, 13 February 1945, to supplement the unit’s personnel. It consisted of 5 Officers and 93 Enlisted personnel directly transferred from the Zone of Interior. After following a special training program and an intensive orientation course, they effectively participated in operations with the 34th until 3 March. A number of proposed promotions were confirmed, involving both MC and ANC Officers.
Works were initiated in March for construction of a crossroads and improvement of existing roads with crushed rock and gravel surfacing. A PW enclosure was also under construction, complete with barbed wire surrounding a tented area formerly used for quarters by the rehabilitation of patients unit. The project was under the supervision of a Platoon of the 1332d Engineer General Service Regiment (activated 25 May 1944, arrived in England 7 January 1945 –ed).
The total number of patients processed by weeks during the first three months of 1945:
10 Feb to 16 Feb 45 > 0 Hospital Trains – 6 Ambulance Convoys – 365 litter cases – 108 ambulatory cases – 484 remaining cases – 473 non-evacuable cases
17 Feb to 25 Feb 45 > 2 Hospital Trains – 13 Ambulance Convoys – 741 litter cases – 912 ambulatory cases – 489 remaining cases – 489 non-evacuable cases
26 Feb to 3 Mar 45 > 9 Hospital Trains – 12 Ambulance Convoys – 2,083 litter cases – 1,092 ambulatory cases – 376 remaining cases – 465 non-evacuable cases
4 Mar to 9 Mar 45 > 7 Hospital Trains – 10 Ambulance Convoys – 1,898 litter cases – 708 ambulatory cases – 304 remaining cases – 462 non-evacuable cases
15 Mar 45 > 1,228 transit patients processed
26 Mar 45 > 2,433 transit patients processed
31 Mar 45 > 867 transit patients processed
At 2030 hours, 24 March 1945, Detachment A, 8290th Labor Service Company (German PW personnel) consisting of 100 captured sanitary personnel arrived at the Post. After arrival supervision and control was taken over by the 1360th Labor Supervision Company consisting of 2 Officers and 8 Enlisted Men. Prisoner of War personnel were housed in tents in a barbed wire enclosure constructed by the 1332d Engineer General Service Regiment (Colored), and was flood-lighted, guarded by sentries armed with cal. 30 M1 carbines and two elevated MG nests.
During the first quarter of 1945, 6 Officers were lost and 4 gained; 2 Nurses were transferred and 3 joined; 62 EM were lost and 27 gained. A total of 36 promotions were confirmed and effectively carried out. British civilian employees numbered 7 for operations and 18 for maintenance.
Over 40 RAMPs (ex-US PWs) were routed through the 34th General on 31 March 1945, all suffering from severe malnutrition.
7 Apr 45 > 1,022 transit patients processed
14 Apr 45 > 2,231 transit patients processed
21 Apr 45 > 2,229 transit patients processed
28 Apr 45 > 1,995 transit patients processed
7 May 45 > 1,096 transit patients processed (“Transit” Hospital status terminated at this date)
On 8 May 1945, 3 Officers and 101 Enlisted Men of the 705th Medical Sanitary Company were attached for rations and quarters pending station assignment. 36 EM formerly attached to the 6th Field Hospital at Chibolton, Hampshire, were also attached for rations, quarters, and duty, pending future assignment. They brought with them 25 ambulances which were welcomed with enthusiasm.
The official cessation of hostilities (V-E Day) was observed with a special retreat ceremony, including awards of Purple Hearts and Good Conduct Medals. Following the ceremony, reclassification of personnel was begun with a view of possible redeployment to other Theaters or the Zone of Interior. There was much conjecture and anticipation of future developments with personnel ‘on edge’ and keenly anxious to get moving.
On 10 May, 7 Enlisted Men over 42 years of age were transferred to a Reinforcement Depot for eventual processing and return to the United States for discharge. During the current period, all personnel were scored (ASR) for the necessary “points” under the Readjustment and Redeployment Program (RR-1). Physical examinations were conducted as well. The process led to the scattering of personnel over the United Kingdom on DS at various installations including the 186th Medical Battalion. Meanwhile equipment was being recorded and all excess winterized tentage dismantled and returned to supply depots. The overall bed capacity was reduced to maximum 1,000 beds following orders from the 802d Hospital Center.
As per instructions and in order to keep the staffs alert and in condition, Medical Officers were sent to attend weekly seminars at the 802d Hospital Center, extensive athletic programs were set up, baseball and softball teams were organized, volleyball competition was started, and orientation and specialized lectures were conducted. Some Officers and EM were lost due to physical disabilities and returned to the ZI.
Although no longer a “Transit” Hospital, 750 patients were admitted from the 827th Convalescent Center for final processing and reporting for Zone of Interior air evacuation.
On 10 June 1945 the 1360th Labor Supervision Company left the Post. Guarding and supervision of the German PWs was now in the hands of the Provost Marshal.
A 15-hour per week training program was initiated 18 June 1945 under direction of the Operations and Training Officer (S-3). They consisted of South Pacific Area orientation, organization of the Japanese Army, malaria, and basic subjects as first-aid in the field and tropical medicine. Transfers and assignments continued throughout June, with personnel gains and losses.
On 30 June 1945, Movement Orders No. 2296, Headquarters, United Kingdom Base, dated 28 June 1945, were received. They directed the organization to move from Stockbridge, Hampshire to Blandford, Dorset, on or about 13 July 1945. The unit was to be quartered at the assembly area of the 140th General Hospital for staging purposes prior to redeployment through the United States. The following day the first elements of the 315th Station Hospital started infiltrating to the Post with orders to take over and assume command of US Army Hospital Plant # 4123 from the 34th Gen Hosp.
Unit Field Day was held on 4 July 1945 on the Stockbridge Downs, and despite a steady drizzle and fine mist during the day, active participation by all was noted. Various field events were organized and valuable prizes awarded which caused quite some enthusiasm and was favorable for morale. Reorganization and reclassification of personnel was still in process. On 7 July, a first echelon of 100 EM departed for the Blandford staging area. The remainder of the unit followed on 13 July. After assembly, the organization was quartered in the wards of a building formerly occupied by the 125th General Hospital. After being duly inspected by the IGD, United Kingdom Base and the CO of Camp Blandford, Dorset, the 34th was found qualified for redeployment through the Zone of Interior!
On 24 July 1945 an advance party of 3 Officers and 7 Enlisted Men departed for Scotland, pursuant to Confidential Letter, Headquarters, USFET, AG 370.5 (OpGC) (94), Subject: Movement Orders, Shipment 10313, dated 5 July 1945. On 25 July, the unit left for the staging area at Tidworth, Dorset, for final staging preparatory to sailing. Personnel departed for Greenock, Scotland to board ship with destination the United States on 3 August, arriving in the morning of 4 August 1945. The same day, the 34th General Hospital boarded RMS “Queen Elizabeth”. The ship left the United Kingdom on 6 August and arrived in New York harbor 11 August 1945.
(the authors traced the 750-bed 34th GH as being activated and assigned to the 80th Medical Group, effective 15 December 1946, with an authorized aggregate strength of 480. There is proof that the unit later served in Seoul, Korea, in 1946-1947 –ed). The initial 34th General Hospital was formerly designated in 1917 as Base Hospital No. 34 at the Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Its actual birth as a military organization took place on 7 September 1917, when it was officially mobilized under its present designation as the 34th General Hospital. During WW2 and postwar, the unit previously served in France, the United Kingdom, Korea and Okinawa. In 1950, service in the Far East was interrupted when the unit was recalled to the continental United States and inactivated. In 1952, the 34th GH was reactivated and again ordered to Europe where it continued to service US troops, first in France, later in Germany).
Basic unit documents used for editing above history were generously donated by Lynn F. McNulty. His continuous support and assistance to the MRC Staff are very much appreciated. We are still looking for evidence related to the 34th General Hospital’s service in the Asia/Pacific Theater after serving in the ETO. Any additional information relating to the above as well as an Enlisted Men’s Roster will be thankfully received.