The Wildgoose Chase

I met Chelsea Pensioner Walter Wildgoose in 1977 when he was 87 and I was 26. Through a series of letters written over the last year of his life, he passed along his life story - the workhouse children's home, a life in the British Army witnessing the opening battles of World War I and life in India, a remarkable family surviving the bombs of World War II London. This blog will document my research and progress on the novel I'm writing about this amazing man.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Sunstroke and the Army's exit process

I'm still digging around to get a handle on what happened to John Wildgoose while he was in the Punjab with the Queen's Bays in the mid 1890s. I know he suffered sunstroke, it paralyzed him on the left side, he was invalided out of the army, and the entire family sent back to England.

  • Was sunstroke a common occurance for the British military in India? The obvious answer is yes, though I'd've thought that by the late 19th century the powers that be would've been ever-watchful to prevent it. Where can I find statistics on sunstroke casualties for the British Army in India in the 1890s? I did find this from the 1911 Encyclopedia: "Sunstroke has been chiefly observed and investigated as occurring among soldiers in India, where formerly, both in active service and in the routine of ordinary duty, cases of this disease constituted a considerable item of sickness and mortality. The increased attention now paid by military authorities to the personal health and comfort of the soldier, particularly as regards barrack accommodation and dress, together with the care taken in adjusting the time and mode of movement of troops, has done much to lessen the mortality from this cause."

  • What was the procedure for invaliding professional soldiers out of the military? Were they given any sort of compensation or pension? (I mention this since John had to go to the workhouse infirmary in Sheffield to live out his days, while the family was scattered from Sheffield to Folkstone and, possibly, Whitley Bay.)

Answers to these questions would be helpful as I put the pieces together.

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posted by MaryB @ 10:10 AM  


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