Tuesday, August 5, 2008

WW II - when Ullenwood was home to 32nd General Hospital, US Army

I remember being told many years ago that Ullenwood had served as a base for a US Army hospital during World War II. 32nd General Hospital Collection, ca.1918-1997, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, University Library, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, 32nd General Hospital reveals part of Ullenwood's history:

"The 32nd General Hospital began when Willis Gatch, dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine, asked Drs. Cyrus J. Clark (son of Edmund Clark of Base Hospital 32) and Charles F. Thompson to organize a hospital unit late in 1941. On 13 May, 1942, 47 doctors and dentists and 72 nurses were formally inducted into the United States Army during a special convocation held on the grounds of the IU Medical Center in Indianapolis.
The unit was officially activated on 15 January, 1943 at Camp Bowie near Brownwood, Texas under the command of Lt. Col. Frank Alexander, a career Army officer. The doctors and dentists from Indianapolis arrived at Camp Bowie on 18 March and were joined by the nurses on 5 May. The enlisted personnel assigned to the unit came from all parts of the United States. Lt. Col. Cyrus Clark was named chief of medical service, Lt. Col. Charles Thompson became chief of surgical service, and 1st Lt. (Later Maj.) Aurelia Willers served as chief nurse.
The outfit trained at Camp Bowie until August, 1943 when it received orders to move to England. The medical officers and enlisted men sailed from New York to Swansea, Wales aboard the S.S. Borinquin. The nurses first sailed from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia on the S.S George S. Simmons and then to Scotland aboard the Queen Mary. The unit then reassembled at Fairford, Gloucestshire.
The 32nd General Hospital remained at Fairford from 16 September, 1943 to 9 May, 1944. From 28 September, 1943 to 20 January, 1944, a group of doctors and nurses from the unit, designated as Detachment A, operated a station hospital at Ullenwood, Gloucestershire under the command of Lt. Col. Clark. On 31 January 1944, Lt. Col. Alexander was transfered to the 68th Station Hospital, and Lt. Col. Clark assumed command of the 32nd General Hospital. The unit was stationed at Minchinhampton, Gloucester from 9 May to 27 July, 1944, then shipped out for France.
The 32nd General Hospital was the first Allied general hospital to arrive in France after the D-Day landings. Stationed at La Haye du Puits in Normandy, the unit handled 5,350 patients between 17 August and 22 November, 1944. The 32nd was then placed on inactive status and transferred to Belgium, where it remained until early 1945. During this time, 3 officers and 27 enlisted men of the unit were slightly injured by V-1 and aerial bombings.
The unit became the first U.S. Army general hospital stationed in Germany when it moved into a civilian hospital in Aachen, Germany early in 1945. From 5 March to 30 July, 1945, the hospital treated 41,797 patients. The hospital was closed on 30 July and moved to Mourmelon, France on 12 August, 1945. Most of the personnel then left France at Marseilles aboard the S.S. Marine Angel on 3 October and arrived in New York 12 October, 1945. Other members of the unit sailed from other ports, and some of the officers flew back to the United States. The officers and enlisted men were discharged from the Army at Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh, Indiana in late October, 1945 and the 32nd General Hospital was officially deactivated."

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