In towns and cities across the country, local buildings were turned into wartime hospitals to treat the thousands of injured soldiers returning from the Front.
When Chippenham’s VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) was mobilised in September 1915, the Town Hall was quickly converted into an Auxiliary War Hospital.
Three wards were opened on 5th November 1915, accommodating 40 patients. As the number of injured soldiers grew the hospital later extended to the Neeld Hall in 1916, providing a further 104 beds.
The two largest wards were named ‘Unity’ (Town Hall) and ‘Loyalty’ (Neeld Hall) after the motto on the Chippenham town crest. The two smaller wards were named 'Evelyn' and 'Geoffrey', after Commandant Wilson's sons who were both killed in action.
When the hospital finally closed on 8th April 1919, it had treated 1,872 casualties
Images: Copyright Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre - CHIYH:NN