Caring for the Wounded

"When he came home, he didn’t go outside. He stayed in his room." Recollections of Desmond Jagger-Parsons, 2014, about his great-grandfather who returned to Hibbs Cove after the war

Those returning from overseas were often wounded or ill and many suffered deep mental distress. New and existing hospitals were dedicated to veterans and their recovery which was not always possible. War’s assaults on veterans’ bodies—trench conditions, poison gas, horrific wounds—often meant a life of worsening health or early death.

Captain Philip Jensen

Canadian Royal Highlanders Regiment

Newfoundlander Captain Jensen, serving with the Canadian Army, was gassed and badly wounded at Ypres. Treated at a Red Cross station, he credited the staff with saving his life. Back in Newfoundland, he travelled the province talking about his experience and raising money to open Jensen Camp, a tuberculosis hospital.

Jensen Camp: Tuberculosis Hospital

"A ward to hold ten beds was then erected with a sun sitting-room." “An Account of the Jensen Camp”
Evening Telegram, St. John’s, July 31st, 1917

Many soldiers contracted tuberculosis from overseas living conditions. In 1916, a sanatorium—“Jensen Camp”— opened in St. John’s to isolate and care for those with the disease. During their “rest cure,” patients read, knitted or made crafts. It was named for Captain Philip Jensen of Harbour Breton, its fundraising leader.

Hospitals: A New Need Arises

"In every hospital in St. John’s are lads . . . waiting for health to come back." “An Appeal to the Women of St John’s”
Evening Telegram, St. John’s, June 12th, 1919

The return of wounded and sick soldiers created a need for more hospital and respite care. More than a dozen new and existing facilities treated veterans with missing limbs, “shell shock,” wounds, disfigurement and diseases. As soldiers recovered, returned home or died, many of these facilities closed.

Private Allan Tetford

Royal Newfoundland Regiment #3549

Allan Tetford from Laurenceton suffered gunshot wounds in 1918. In the 1950s, chest pain sent him to hospital in Botwood. This chest x-ray revealed a bullet, undetected for years. Doctors decided not to operate and the bullet remained in Allan’s chest until his death in 1973.

Lance Corporal Albert Chaffey

Royal Newfoundland Regiment #2337

Gunshot wounds cost Albert Chaffey his right leg and damaged his left. Fitted with one prosthetic leg, he was sent home to Musgravetown with this wheelchair. Because it was unsuitable for outport roads, Albert used crutches instead. He also modified a 1930 Model A Ford so he could drive it.

Private Frederick (“Fred”) George Roberts

Royal Newfoundland Regiment #440

Fred Roberts lost his arm when shot at Beaumont-Hamel and returned to Change Islands with this prosthetic. His father’s will requested that “all his brothers . . . do all in their power to compensate him for the loss of his arm, and to assist in making his life pleasant.”

Private Edward White

Royal Newfoundland Regiment #1084

Edward White from Twillingate was wounded in Gallipoli. One leg was amputated above the knee. Dis- charged as medically unfit but keen to play a role in the war effort, he re-enlisted as a recruiter in Newfoundland. According to family, White moved energetically on his prosthetic leg throughout his life.

Beaumont-Hamel and the Trail of the Caribou