Deccan British War Hospital Postcard

In the First World War it became clear that for troops injured seriously in the fighting against the Ottomans in places such as Mesopotamia, the journey back to England was too great. The authorities decided that India was a better place to evacuate soldiers to and a number of hospitals were set up on the subcontinent. Tonight’s postcard depicts one of these, the Deccan Military Hospital:The rear of the card captions the image and dates this picture to 1918:Pushkin Sohoni, writing in the Pune Mirror, describes the history of this building:

On Ganeshkhind Road (University Road), at the intersection of Ferguson College Road is the College of Agriculture, which was founded in 1907. The main building is set about half a kilometre inside from the main gate. While it continues to serve the function for which it was built, few know that between 1916 and 1919, it was transformed into a hospital serving convalescing soldiers from the theatre of war in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) during World War I. The patients came from the front by ship and were treated in multiple hospitals across British India, including the 34th Welsh Hospital at Deolali and the Deccan British War Hospital in Pune. The latter was the main building of the College of Agriculture, which was expanded to have over a thousand beds serving soldiers and prisoners of war. The doctors and the orderlies were English, but interestingly, the nurses came the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS)…

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