Queen's visit to military hospital chatham 1855

March 5th, 1855, Queens visit to Military Hospitals at Chatham

The Queen was first introduced by Lord HARDINGE to the wounded men beneath the corridor. Each held a card in his hand bearing his name and regiment, with descriptive particulars of the actions in which he had fought, and the wounds he had received. Her Majesty spoke with great kindness to several of these poor fellows, and inquired as to their present condition and comfort.

The first man her Majesty saw was Daniel ATKINS, a private of the 95th Regiment who lost an arm at Alma. A grape shot had struck his breastplate and, glancing off, shattered his right arm above the elbow, leaving the ball embedded in the muscle. The poor fellow exhibited the battered plate and shot in his remaining hand.

William RODWAY a private in the 55th, who lost his leg at Alma, next engaged the attention of the Queen, who inquired with much kindness of manner, whether he was still suffering.

Entering the hospital her Majesty was introduced into various wards. In the first Robert MONAGHAN, a private of the 33rd wounded at Alma attracted the royal attention, from the remarkable character of the wound he had received. A musket-ball had entered just below the right orbit, and taking an oblique direction, made its exit in front of the right ear. Notwithstanding the terrible character of the wound, the young man had quite recovered and was in excellent spirits.

In the same ward Patrick DOOLAN, a private in the 8th hussars, one of the survivors of the terrible charge at Balaklava, was introduced to her Majesty. This is, perhaps one of the most remarkable cases on record. While riding at full speed, DOOLAN was struck down by a ball which, entering the right cheek near the root of the jaw, passed completely through the mouth, and came out on the opposite side of the face. The wounds were not quite healed on Saturday, but in other respects the poor fellow is quite well.

In another ward in the same hospital her Majesty saw Thomas JONES, aged only 20, a private in the Rifle Brigade, who at Inkerman, was shot through the head with a Minie rifle ball, and wounded in several places by a bayonet. In this case the ball had entered the cheek close to the ear, and made its exit in the same spot on the opposite side of the face. He had lain insensible for 14 days after receiving the wound, but has now recovered, with the exception of a slight contraction of the jaw, and almost total deafness.

Before leaving for Pitt, her Majesty ascended to one of the upper wards, to see George HAYWARD, a veteran of 95, who has passed the last 30 years of his life in hospital. There are some strange stories told of old George, among the rest, one that he severed his ham-strings in the Peninsula, to avoid being present at Waterloo. Be this as it may, the late Duke of York found him begging in London, in the year 1827, with paralysis of the lower limbs, and by his Royal Highness’s interest, he was admitted to Fort Pitt, where he still remains, in full possession of his faculties.

On taking her departure from Fort Pitt the Queen descended the hill to Chatham and proceeded to the temporary hospital at Brompton Barracks, through which her Majesty was conducted exactly as she had previously been at Fort Pitt. The most remarkable case seen here by her Majesty was that of William BARRETT, a private of the 19th Foot, who, at Alma, received an iron canister ball, weighing four ounces, in his face, and had carried it there up to within a fortnight ago, when it was skilfully extracted by Mr PARRY, at Fort Pitt Hospital, after having baffled many experienced surgeons for 5 months, and occasioned the most terrible suffering to the man.

On leaving Brompton Barracks the Prince Consort expressed to Dr DARTNELL, her Majesties great satisfaction at the clean and comfortable state in which the hospitals were kept, and the pleasure the Queen had derived from seeing her wounded soldiers so well cared for. Her Majesty then took leave of the medical staff and was escorted back to the railway station by Colonel EDEN and the other military authorities.

The royal party left Strood at 20 minutes to two and returned to Buckingham Palace to luncheon.


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