Site Last Updated   May 2017

Home

Shipwreck Lists

Harbour History

River Steamers

Irish Naval Service

Royal Navy in Cork

US Navy in Cork

USN Air Service in Cork

Killeagh Airship Station

Cruise Ships in Cork

Views Past and Present

Sources

Links

Sealife of Cork Harbour

Lough Mahon Lighthouse

Martello Towers

Training Ships in Cork Harbour




United States Navy Base Hospital No 4,
Queenstown,(Cobh) Co.Cork, Ireland

1918 to 1919

In Autumn 1918, World War One was drawing to a close.   Europe was devastated, and the  Allies prepared for victory. The massive industrial and military might of the United States had tipped the balance in their favour

In Ireland, which at that time was still part of the United Kingdom, the seas were finally being controlled by the Royal Navy with the overwhelming support  of the united Sates Navy.

Cork, on the south coast of Ireland, had become the hub of operations against the marauding u-boats in the western Atlantic. The British naval forces had been augmented with American destroyers, submarines, submarine chasers, naval aviation forces, and a battleship force.

In October 1918, a conservative estimate of the numbers of US naval personnel in Cork alone, can be put at a staggering 9,013. This figure is based on:

23 Destroyers
2   Destroyer Tenders
3   Battleships (Nevada, Utah, Oklahoma)
30 Subchasers
US Submarine Force (Berehaven)
USNAS Aghada
USNAS Whiddy
USNAS Berehaven (Kites)

2415
721
2729
780
347
1500
418
103

The presence of so many US personnel put the existing medical  infrastructure in the Cork Harbour area under great strain. From the arrival of these forces in May 1917, healthcare facilities had been shared between the British Naval Hospital in Haulbowline and the local hospital in Queenstown (now Cobh Community Hospital). These facilities were only barely able to cope with the increase in serving personnel, as well as injured seamen and civilians from the war at sea.

The destroyer tender USS Melville based in Cork Harbour from 1917 to 1918, had a hospital service on board, and treated many US seamen, but it was not equipped or able to deal with contagious diseases such as influenza.

At a present count, over 185 US Naval personnel, based in Cork, Ireland,  lost their lives between May 1917 and April 1919. Causes varied from accident or illness, to enemy action. Casualty list Here


Royal Navy Hospital, Haulbowline Island,  in Cork Harbour. (pre-war view)

In December 1917 Charles Minor Blackford, serving on USS McDougal, was taken ill with influenza. He was sent to Queenstown General Hospital, run by the Bon Secours nuns, which he described as "a grim stone building topping the ridge overlooking Queenstown". Conditions in this institution were poor, with constant cold, and toilet facilities of the 'long drop' type.

There was only enough hot water for one shower for every 12 men per day. This was combined with poor food and (in American eyes) substandard medical care. The US Navy was charged one British Pound per day for each patient. By early 1918, the British military hospital at Haulbowline Island was extended, and US patients were moved there.


The former Queenstown Hospital - now Cobh Community Hospital.

With the expansion of US Forces in 1918, it was clear that a dedicated hospital was needed for US naval personnel. The British War Office acquired White Point House and twelve acres of land, opposite Haulbowline Island, under the Defence of the Realm Act.


Some of the victims of the USS Manley tragedy, in 1918, are brought ashore.


Site of Base Hospital No 4 shaded in red.

The entire hospital was prefabricated and shipped from the USA. The materials arrived in Queenstown on the 24th of May 1918, and work quickly began.

The construction consisted of 50  hutment units, from which the hospital buildings were made. Construction was undertaken by naval forces with no civilian contractors used.

Obtaining clean water was problematic, and several well bores were run without success Eventually Admiral Sir Lewis Bayley, Commander in Chief of Western Approaches, gave permission for the Haulbowline water supply, from Spy Hill reservoir , to be tapped.

As freshwater was in short supply, salt water was pumped from the sea at White Point into holding tanks for latrines and fire fighting services.

The hospital consisted of :

7 Main wards. 128 feet x 20 feet. One ward contained 40 beds, two toilets, two shower baths and a urinal. All hutments had electricity, and central heating radiators. Total capacity of the hospital was 250 beds.

Two operating pavillions, each consisting of operating,room, etherizing room, and sterilizing room.A cluster of five 50 candle power lamps under a reflector furnished illumination.

Mess room

Hospital corps barracks

Chapel

Red Cross Room

Brig

Various store rooms.

The YMCA provided a building containing a barber shop, reading and pool room,a canteen, and a stage

There was accommodation needed for  the 30 nurses stationed at White Point.  Mrs C.Hathaway, wife of the American Consul, and Mrs P.C.McFarlane, supervised the refurbishment of White Point House as a nurses home. When complete it only had a capacity of 18, the other nurses were accommodated in a hutment nearby.


The staffing of the hospital was accomplished by drawing from the Providence, Rhode Island, Navy Red Cross, and the personnel were firstly trained in the naval hospital Newport, Rhode Island. This was organised under the direction of Lieutenant Commander G.A. Matteson MC, USNRF. When in operation, the hospital was to have a staff of 149, which included 30 nurses.

The unit of 38 nurses sailed for Europe on the 23rd of September 1918, under the charge of chief nurse Grace McIntyre. They travelled on the Union-Castle Line steamer RMS Briton. The passengers also included 2200 American troops, destined for war service. There was an outbreak  of influenza on board. It spread quickly, and soon there were 160 stricken soldiers. The nursing staff volunteered their services, and brought the situation on board under control. They were commended by the Officer in Charge, Colonel Ottwell. The nurses landed in Liverpool and were transferred to Ireland.


RMS Briton

Queenstown hospital opened on the 11th of October, and the first task for the nursing staff was dealing with the injured men from the collision between the USS Shaw and the Aquitania, two days previously. After this the main business at hand in the hospital was dealing with the influenza epidemic of 1918 and 1919 which was at it's height. It struck mainly young fit able bodied people, and the military life of close proximity living, provided an ideal means of spreading the disease.   From the beginning, the hospital was operating at capacity. Two nurses were detached for duty to Berehaven, for treating those servicemen too ill to travel to Cork.  Two more were sent to assist the staff at the British Naval Hospital on Haulbowline Island, in the harbour.

Base Hospital No 4, Whitepoint, Queenstown. (Picture downloaded from US National Archives)

White Point House in 1918

The same house today - much remodelled

The hospital was under the command of Captain Dudley N. Carpenter, Medical  Corps, USN. He was later awarded the Navy Cross, for his services in Ireland.  Staff at US Navy Base Hospital No 4, Queenstown,  included:

Lieut.-Commander Lucius W.John son, Medical Corps, USN
Lieutenant George A. Eckert, Medcal Corps, USN
Lieutenant Thomas D.Baxter, Medical Corps, USN
Lieutenant Rodney J. Youngkin, Medical Corps, USN
Ensign H.T.C. Welsh, Pay Corps, USNRF
Pharmacist Fred C.Duncan, USN


ARTIFICER BRANCH

William E. Lucas   CMM   USNRF
Alfred Buckley, Jnr.  CMM   USNRF
Robert Lucas   CMM   USNRF
Norman Thorpe   CMM   USNRF

Peter L. Thompson  Eng 1C   USN
George C.Greene  MM 1C   USNRF
John Rhodes   S.Fit 1C   USNRF
Thomas P. Clark   S.Fit 1C   USNRF
Harold E.Peck   El 1C   USNRF
Sante Moise   MM 2C   USNRF
Don E. Whittier   MM2C   USN
William M. Kelos  El 2C   USNRF
Ellsworth E. Nance  CM 2C   USNRF
Edwin Anderson  CM2C   USNRF
Elmer O.Johnson  F 1C   USNRF
Max
L. Strong   F 1C   USN
Frank Till   F 1C   USN
William C.Chambers  F 2C   USN
Maurice E.Irish   F2C   USN
Heber B.Moore   F3C   USN


HOSPITAL CORPS

Alfred F.Brisson   CPM  USN
Elmer Schwinn   CPM  USN
John P.Bennett   PhM2  USN
Wallace R.Boren  PhM2  USN
Lewis T. Brookshire  PhM2  USN
Guy W.Holly   PhM2  USN
Thomas R. Mc Carthy  PhM2  USN
Thomas A.Pariseau  PhM2  USN
Elven W.Scott   PhM2  USN
Josiah Shropshire  PhM2  USN
John G.Sinclair   PhM2  USN
Robert E.Van Clief  PhM2  USN
Stephen Bauer   PhM3  USN
John Bennett   PhM3  USN
Floyd G.Desch   PhM3  USN
Elmer V.Eckland   PhM3  USN
Charles G.Goold  PhM3  USN
Paul A.Haring   PhM3  USN
Rupert B.Hinton  PhM3  USN
George W.Jackson  PhM3  USN
Albert R.Nisely   PhM3  USN
Edgar C.Perkerson  PhM3  USN
Kenneth L. Pugh  PhM3  USN
Gradye L. Welborne  PhM3  USN
Nathan S.White   PhM3  USN
Paul H,White   PhM3  USN
Armour D.Wright  PhM3  USN
Twig Henderson  HA1  USN
Sidney L.Johnson  HA1  USN
Frank P. Kern   HA1  USN
Russel R.Roberts  HA1  USN
Harry E.Sprankle  HA1  USN
William Suter   HA1  USN
Fay A.Sweet   HA1  USN
Valdes A. White   HA1  USN

Harland A.McCarthy  CPM  USNRF
Paul C.Dickert   PhM2  USNRF
Harry B.Murray   PhM2  USNRF

Robert M.Aylsworth  PhM3  USNRF
Linton B.Brown   PhM3  USNRF
Harry V.Byrne   PhM3  USNRF
John R.Cheetham  PhM3  USNRF
Alfred Fox   PhM3  USNRF
Wilfred M.Hamill  PhM3  USNRF
Harry A.Noel   PhM3  USNRF
Edgar J.Staff   PhM3  USNRF
Frederick E.Walker  PhM3  USNRF
George H.Bristol  HA1  USNRF
Byron A.Cole   HA1  USNRF
Charles D.Flagg   HA1  USNRF
Robert W.Nelson  HA1  USNRF
Edmund J.Tanner  HA1  USNRF
James F.Lavery   HA1  USNRF

YEOMAN BRANCH

Stephen E.C. Kendrick  Chief Yeoman  USNRF
William J. Hammond  Chief Yeoman  USNRF
Arthur J. Xavier   Chief Yeoman  USNRF
John C. Moran   Yeoman 1C  USN
Worley M.Arwood  Yeoman 1C  USN
John A.Ripp   Yeoman 1C  USNRF
Paul V. Costello   Yeoman 1C  USNRF
Sidney W. Wray   Yeoman 1C  USNRF
Leo K. Hill   Yeoman 1C  USNRF
Jules H.Rosenberg  Yeoman 1C  USNRF
Jesse O. Sandlin   Stkpr 1C  USN
Christopher T. Nolan  Yeoman 2C  USNRF
Theodore J. Copelof  Yeoman 2C  USNRF
George L. Howe   Yeoman 3C  USNRF
William L. Downey  Lds Yeo   USNRF


COMMISSARY BRANCH

Walter H.Kelly   CC Std   USN
Clarence R.Lewis  Bak 1   USN
Rodger O’Mott   SC1   USN
Frederick A.Tucker  SC1   USN

Peter A.Carr   SC1  USNRF
William F.Durvin  SC1  USNRF
Peter A.Carr   SC1  USNRF
Peter H. Mitson   SC1  USNRF
Joseph Mori   SC1  USNRF
John P.Ormond   SC1  USNRF
James P. Duffy   SC2  USNRF
Frank D.Hurley   SC2  USNRF
Michael Moretti  SC2  USNRF
Archibald M.Morrison  SC2  USNRF
Lawrence H.Smith  SC2  USNRF
William T.Cashin  SC3  USNRF
Joseph E. Donahue  SC3  USNRF
Edward V.Kilduff  SC3  USNRF
Edward A.Madden  SC3  USNRF
Ralph L.Smith   SC3  USNRF
John R.Oneal   SC3  USNRF
William H.Ward, jnr.  SC3  USNRF
Charles H.Jones   W.R.Std  USNRF
Philip Houle   M. Att1  USNRF



RED CROSS NURSING STAFF
(From Providence, R.I.)

Grace McIntyre - Chief Nurse

Ruth E.Anthony,
Ada Gertrude Ayers,
Rose V. Basso,
Marilla Berry,
Corine L. Bouchard,
Annie Bovair,
Ethel E.Briggs,
May Bright,
Reba Alice Brown,
Ruth Carter,
Eva May Clement,
Gertrude E.Craig, Deery,
Anna T.Degnan,
Claire E.Du Brau,
Margaret G.Evans,
Ruth Graham,
Janie Grant,
Mary Jenkins,
Mabel B.Johnson,


Red Cross Nursing Staff (continued)

Olga D.Johnson,
Constance Martin,
Juliana J.Murphy,
Mary Agnes Murphy,
Ella M.W.McCanna,
Annie McCaughey,
Margaret D. McCaughey,
Mary R.McIntyre,
Hilga S.Nelson,
Mary E.Olding,
Esme Ruth Peckin,
Nellie B, Rippen,
Margaret E.Ross,
Thelma Selfridge,
Isabel Tait,
Maria Eiisia Trimble,
Alma E.Ulrich,
Rugh M.Wallen,
Alice L.Ward,

(Nursing Staff Names Courtesy of Jean Shulman R.N.)


By the Armistice, in November 1918, hospital spaces for US Naval personnel in Cork Harbour  had expanded, and consisted of:

USN Base Hospital No 4, Whitepoint.

USS Melville,

USNAS Aghada

Royal Naval Hospital, Haulbowline.

On the 3rd of January,1919, Admiral Sims, Commander of US Naval Forces in Europe visited Whitepoint Hospital. A number of the patients, who were deemed fit enough, were removed to the mother-ship USS Melville, which left ireland on the 6th of January, for Boston.

The United States Navy vacated the hospital in  March 1919. The British War Office immediately took over the area. With the departure of the United States forces, some  the huts were quickly taken down and sold off locally.  A number of huts were retained by the British Forces, and used to billet troops. The unique feature of central heating made them far preferable to the Belmont Hutments, in the east  of the town.  

By November 1919, the British War Department was advertising for grazing on the 12 acre site.  In 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, the Cameron Highlanders were stationed at Whitepoint.

Today much of the area of White Point land has housing on it. White Point House is still there, but there has been much work done to both the interior and exterior since 1918.


Top view of Whitepoint hospital in 1918, bottom is much the same view today.


Another view of the hospital site , with Whitepoint  House visible in background

Battleships

Fleet List

Subchasers

Submarines

Destroyers

Flying Boats


Casualties






corkshipwrecks.net

Info@corkshipwrecks.net

Site first uploaded 24th September 2002