Glasgow & West Scotland

Scottish veterans charity Erskine celebrates 100 years

Media captionErskine hospital, originally Princess Louise hospital, was set up in 1916

A Scottish charity that cares for military veterans is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Erskine Hospital has cared for more than 85,000 ex-service personnel since it was founded at a public meeting in Glasgow City Chambers on 29 March 1916.

The charity also led early work in developing prosthetic limbs, some of which were made in Clydeside shipyards.

Paisley town hall will host a civic reception later where documents from the charity will be on display.

Erskine chief executive, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Conway, said: "I think it is fitting that this year we pay tribute to all those staff and volunteers who have cared for over 85,000 veterans to such a very high standard and also thank all our supporters, past and present, that enable us to continue our work.

Image copyright Erskine
Image caption The charity led early work in developing prosthetic limbs for wounded veterans

"I hope as many people as possible will be able to join us at our events to learn a little more about our history and join us in our celebrations."

Public donations

The public meeting where the charity was established in 1916 came about following a proposal to establish a hospital in the west of Scotland for amputees wounded in battle during World War One.

Led by Scottish brain surgeon Sir William Macewen, it was initially named the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, with £100,000 raised by the public to support its work within a few weeks.

Sir William's care plan galvanised support across Scottish society and drove the project to convert Erskine House - now Mar Hall Hotel in Renfrewshire - into a hospital.

Image caption Erskine began helping wounded soldiers returning from battle during the First World War
Image copyright Erskine
Image caption Erskine limb making workshop

The first patient was 29-year-old Corporal James Ritson of the 1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers, who suffered 22 wounds at Gallipoli.

After a month of treatment, he recovered and returned home to Troon, South Ayrshire, with an artificial arm fitted.

By the end of the WW1, more than 3,450 men had been admitted and 2,697 wounded ex-servicemen like Corporal Ritson were fitted with artificial limbs.

Since then, Erskine has cared for tens of thousands of ex-service men and women, and more recently their spouses.

Image caption A carved hand made by a patient is on display at Mar Hall, now a luxury hotel

The charity also led work in developing prosthetic limbs, many of which were made by workers from the nearby Clydeside shipyards.

The centenary is being marked with a civic reception in Paisley town hall in Renfrewshire, where documents including the first admissions book from 1916 are on display.

A specially-commissioned book - A Century of Care - is also being released to mark the occasion.

The charity said it tells Erskine's story through staff and patients and captures the development from a hospital to four care homes that provide nursing, respite, palliative and dementia care.

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