Staff and patients marked Salisbury District Hospital’s historical links with the US military on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings with a ceremony on the Green in the presence of Colonel Christopher D. Reed the Senior Liaison Officer for the US Army Training and Doctrine Command.
Representatives from the Salisbury branch of the Royal British Legion provided standard bearers. The hospital honoured all servicemen and women who played their part in the liberation of Europe and reflected on all those who were involved in providing care and treatment through prayer by hospital chaplains Kim Stephens and Frances Canham.
Colonel Reed reflected on the significant contribution both US and British servicemen played during this key stage in the Second World War and the important link that continues between the two countries, which was reflected in the hospital and the ceremony itself. Both US and British national anthems were played and the US flag raised to mark the occasion.
Dr Nick Marsden, Chairman at Salisbury District Hospital said: “This was such a mememorable occasion and a fitting way to mark both the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings and our historic links with the US military. We are enormously grateful to the Royal British Legion for all their support and honoured that Colonel Reed was able to join us for this significant moment in our own history.”
Dr Marsden added: “While this year marks 21 years since the new Salisbury District Hospital was built, the provision of healthcare on this site goes back much further. Odstock Hospital was originally built by the American Military Services to receive casualties from the D-Day landings and, in acknowledging our links with U.S. services, we have continued to raise the American flag on The Green at the hospital to mark key dates in the American calendar.”
The initial hospital on the site was built in 1942 by the US Army to support the Salisbury General Infirmary in receiving casualties from the D-Day landings in 1944. On December 12, the 5th General Hospital transferred the hospital structures, together with 361 remaining patients to a new location in Salisbury (the current site), where it was known as the 158 General Hospital, US Army. While some of the buildings were brick built, many were Nissen huts. Originally planned to take 600 beds, it was expanded to 1,000 beds.
At the end of the war the hospital was handed over to the NHS and since then health services and facilities on this site have been expanded and improved over time to become the modern NHS hospital that it is today.
This year marks the 21st anniversary of Salisbury District Hospital. The hospital has been holding a number of events for staff, patients and visitors to showcase the work of NHS staff and celebrate the achievements that have taken place over the years.
Gracious God, We thank you for the combined endeavours of our Nation and of our Friends and Allies in the service of humanity and the cause of freedom. We honour the dedication, skill and compassion of the doctors, nurses and other health care professionals who served in this hospital during Operation Overlord and its aftermath. We remember all who were cared for, those who recovered and those who died. We pray for those who continue to suffer as a result of war. Inspire us to seek peace between peoples and for the healing of the nations. Amen
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Tel: 01722 425170