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AS the anniversary of the end of the First World War looms it is fitting more and more memories of those who gave everything to the effort are being remembered.

During that conflict many Home Hospital were created in the mid and north Essex areas - affiliated to and serving the General Military Hospital in Colchester.

One of those was the Woodhouse and Horkesley Hospital which was created at a private house, called Woodhouse, in the village's Coach Road.

It was run by the Great Horkesley Voluntary Aid Detachment Red Cross Group, known as Essex 46.

When the First World War began the auxiliary homes like this one were set up in preparation for the wounded and ill men arriving from the front.

The buildings were usually free of charge and included schools, there was one at Hamilton Road, Colchester, vicarages as in Stanway and village halls as was the case in Earls Colne.

They also set up in hotels, the Rock Hotel in Frinton was among them, convalescence homes and on actual hospital wards which were set aside.

Financial help filtered down to establishments but in many cases, a property’s wealthy owner would completely fund the Hospital.

Historian Heather Johnson who has researched the subject explains Woodhouse belonged to Colonel Henry James Lermitte, of the Essex Yeomanry, and his wife Susan Ismay.

A barn at Woodhouse began to be fitted out as a hospital in September 1914 and the first wounded soldiers arrived on 22 October 1914.

The hospital started with 15 beds and rose to 60 very quickly.

The Woodhouse grounds were put at their disposal of the soldiers and Colonel Lermitte’s Smoking Room was where the walking-wounded enjoyed their lunchtime meals.

Susan Lermitte became the Commandant of ‘Woodhouse’, in charge of everything apart from the medical and nursing services.

Heather says : "It was a role that was often automatically assigned to the “lady of the house”.

"At each hospital, there was also: a Quartermaster, who was responsible for the provision store ,receiving; storing; and distribution of all items, "A Matron, who supervised all members of the nursing staff; usually a trained nurse with three years’ training, to meet War Office standards and V A D nurses,” says Heather.

V A D stood for Volunteer Aid Detachment and these nurses had been in existence since 1909 when it was felt, following the Boer War, important to have trained people on stand-by to volunteer their nursing services in the field.

There were also important non-nursing roles to be filled at the hospitals such as cooks, ward maids; cleaners; porters etc. Even people who mended clothes were valued, says Heather.

one of the V A D nurses at Woodhouse was Lilian Nevard who had been a teacher nearby.

Born in October 1888, Lily as she was known had been born in Brighton but her parents were both from Essex and by 1901 the census shows they had returned to run the Grocer’s Shop at The Causeway, Great Horkesley.

When Woodhouse Hospital closed, Mrs. Lermitte presented photograph albums to her loyal staff and these images are included here.

Great Horkesley native, Mrs. Pauline Taylor, recalled: “I remember her very well, and when my son was a baby she used to love to see him and to tell him that she had taught both of his grandparents.

"My parents both remembered her being their teacher at the village school although neither of them went there for very long, but she taught my aunt for longer.”

Heather's research has show Lily founded the Women's Institute in the village and probably it's Mother's Union.

Pauline adds: “Lily and husband Godfrey lived in the road between Eley's Corner and Boxted - the village tennis court was behind their house so villagers had to go and ask for the key to the gate, when they wanted to play tennis.”

Woodhouse closed on 15 April 1919 – it is reported 1,522 soldiers passed through the hospital and no-one died “thanks to the devotion of the staff” says Heather.