Horton Hospital War Memorial


Horton Chapel Interior
The Horton Chapel Interior
Photograph courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007

The Torch Above Roll of Honour
The Torch Above Roll of Honour
Photograph courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2011


On 9 February 1915 the decision was made that Horton Asylum would become a war hospital. The incumbent mental patients were sent to various other asylums, and between 12 March and 8 April 1915, 2,143 patients were relocated. On 9 April the hospital came under military control under Lieutenant Colonel Lord.

Adapted for military use, Horton had a capacity of 2,532 beds for the wounded. The first batch of 72 wounded servicemen arrived on 20 May 1915, and the war hospital finally closed on 17 October 1919.

Horton's tenure as a war hospital saw 44,613 servicemen admitted, of whom 351 died. The CWGC plot in Epsom cemetery saw the burial of 94 of these men, the other 257 presumably being returned to their home towns. (Of the other 54 burials in the CWGC plot 19 died at Long Grove, 30 at Manor and the other 5 at various locations).

Within the chapel at Horton are two memorial panels commemorating those who worked at the hospital and died during the war. One is to staff of the hospital when it was an asylum, and the other to staff who worked in the war hospital. The memorials were dedicated on 11 November 1922.

The following article appeared in the Epsom Herald dated 17 November 1922:
HORTON HOSPITAL MEMORIAL -------- UNVEILING CEREMONY -------

     The Horton War Hospital was one of the largest hospitals established in the country during the time of the great national emergency. Here were brought continuous convoys of men who had been battered and torn by the merciless conditions of warfare. Altogether 45,686 of the men of all lands which float the Union Jack, including Indians and Maoris, were patients here. Science and devotion to duty on the part of doctors and nurses worked marvels, and what only a few years ago would have been considered miracles; and the percentage of deaths was remarkably low. The Army Council, in the name of the nation, thanked the staff, at the head of which was the medical superintendent, Lieut.-Col. Lord, for their valuable assistance in the time of the country's need, and there has been written a history of the hospital which will bear witness to the labours and personnel of a fine institution. This has passed away with the war, and the buildings have reverted to their former use as a mental hospital. But on Saturday afternoon there were proceedings, which appropriately took place on Remembrance Day, for the dedication of a memorial to the men and women of the War Hospital staff who died during the war, and also to the members of the Horton Mental Hospital staff who joined up prior to or soon after the mental hospital had become a war hospital.
     The memorial takes the form of a stone chancel screen in the hospital chapel. The screen, designed by Lieut.-Col. Lord, is in keeping with the correct Corinthian architecture of the interior of the chapel, and adds considerably to the appearance of the church. The work has been carried out under the supervision of Mr. Clifford Smith, O.B.E., and the Horton builder's foreman Mr. W.H. Frost, has superintended hospital men employed in erecting the memorial. Below the columns of the screen is on the north side, a bronze tablet bearing the Mental Hospital Roll of Honour and the London County Council coat of arms. The names of the men on the tablet are;-- Arthur Alderton, Pte., 14th London Scottish; Walter Bell, Lance-Corpl., 1st South Wales Borderers; Arthur Ernest Bennett, Lance-Corpl., 12th East Surreys; William Clifford, Gunner, R.G.A.; Henry Frederick Coombes, Pte., Dragoon Guards; Lewis James Friday, Pte., R.A.M.C.; Percy Walker Hepworth, Stoker, H.M.S. "Hawke"; George Albert Jenkins, 10th Royal Lancers; Ernest Ralph Johnson, C.S.M., 7th K.R.R.; Ernest Solomon Mott, Rifleman, 3rd Rifle Brigade; Henry Oliver Tichener, Driver, R.F.A.; Frederick Arthur Toseland, Pte., 1st H.L.I.; Henry William Turner, Gunner, R.G.A.; Edwin James Weall, Staff-Sergt., Armourers, R.A.O.C.
     On the south side of the chancel screen is a tablet bearing the names of the members of the Horton War Hospital staff who died at the hospital or on service elsewhere, viz.: Annie Mary Bell, probationer nurse; Mary Jane Davies, housemaid; Lydia Trower Foyan, probationer nurse; Norman Kesson Foster Capt., R.A.M.C.; Philip Ferguson, Capt, R.A.M.C.; Annie Harrower, Principle Sister; David Jenkins, Chaplain, Church of England, 4th class; Grace Libby, Women's Land Army; George Adams Macfarland, Capt. R.A.M.C.; Daisy Emily Martin, staff nurse; Bessie Howe Stevenson, probationer nurse. The names are flanked by the flag of the London County Council and the Union Flag crossed.
     The memorial cost £260, and has been met by a grant from the Soldiers' (War Hospital period) Canteen Fund, and by subscriptions by members of the staff and friends of the War Hospital patients. Above the entrance to the chancel is an interesting bronze sanctuary lamp. There is an oak leaf design and the inscription "Pro Rege Pro Patria."
     To the dedication service on Saturday there had been invited all who worked at or showed a kindly interest in the hospital, and in the congregation were 20 boys and 20 girls from Epsom County School. The scholars at this school sent many generous gifts to the men at the hospital, and their wish that some of them should be present at the service was most readily granted. Mr Henry Willis, who took a kindly interest in the wounded and sick soldiers, was present, as were, among others, Mr H.J. Greenwood , D.L., J.P., chairman of the Hospital Committee, Mrs Northey, Major-General Sir Edward Northey, K.C.B., the Rev. Neville Stiff, Mr. A.W. Aston, J.P., and Mrs. Aston, and Mr. H. Myers. The Epsom St. Barnabas' choir led the singing, Mr Edgar Bradley being at the organ. The surpliced clergy were the Revs.J. Hockly (chaplain of the hospital), A.E. Fraser (Vicar of St. Barnabas) and L.L. Butcher. The processional hymn was "O God, our help in ages past," the Psalm chanted was the 5th. and the lesson read by the Rev. R.S. Holmes (Nonconformist minister) was Wisdom, 3rd c., 1-6 verses. Following the singing by the choir of the anthem, "What are these that are arrayed in White Robes" (Stainer), the memorial was unveiled by Mr. H.J. Greenwood, and the Roll of Honour was read by Lieut-Col. Lord, who was in military uniform and was wearing the C.B.E. decoration.
     The Bishop of Guildford then performed the ceremony of dedication in these words;--- "In the faith of Jesus Christ, we dedicate this memorial to the glory of God and in memory of all those , and particularly of the members of staff of this hospital, who gave their lives in the Great War. In the name of the father and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."
     "For all the Saints who from their labours rest" having been sung, and prayers offered commending to "Thy Fatherly Hands" those who "died in the service of their country," and giving humble thanks "for the salvation of our country and Christendom from tyranny and destruction," there was sung "On the Resurrection morning."
     In a short address, delivered from the chancel steps, the Bishop of Guildford said he would best serve those present if he tried very briefly to say what he thought to be the main purpose for which they were assembled. It was for a simple act of thanksgiving first, then a solemn act of remembrance, and then once more to dedicate themselves to carry on to fulfil the high trust imposed upon them. They wanted to acknowledge that it was of His mercy that all the wonderful things were done for them during the war. They could boast of a very beautiful Homeland, and could claim a great place of honour and prestige among the nations of the world, and a long and splendid record, but after all, the greatest wealth, the most precious, was the character that came out in time of emergency. It was found not here and there among conspicuous people, but in the rank and file, among the average men and women. They wanted to put on record their acknowledgement of the wonderful things that went on there while that place was being used as a hospital under the Red Cross. They did not want to forget it. Some of those present could recall what the men and women were, When the call of urgency came they rose to the call. Let them think of them not, he trusted, as dead - they knew that was not true - but as still linked with them, and still concerned with what they did, and "we should acknowledge the debt we owe not only to them, but to our country, by trying to carry on those tasks which they so magnificently began."
     The concluding part of the service consisted of the singing of "God of Our Fathers, known of all," the Benediction, the National Anthem, and the recessional hymn, "Lift thy song among the nations."

Click on a name Alderton, A Bell, W Bennett, AE Clifford, W Coombes, HF Friday, LJ Gaunt, G Hepworth, PW Jenkins, GA Johnson, ER Moth, ES Toseland, FA Turner, HW Tichener, HO Weall, EJ
Caution some names are out of order on the monument.
The Horton Mental Hospital Roll of Honour
To read more about an individual please click on their name.
Photograph courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007


Click on a name Bell, Annie Mary - Probationer Nurse Davies, Mary Jane - Housemaid Foyan, Lydia Trower - Probationer Nurse Foster, Norman Kesson - Captain RAMC Ferguson, Philip - Captain RAMC Harrower, Annie - Principal Sister Jenkins, David - Chaplain 4th Class Libby, Grace - Women's Land Army Macfarland, George Adams - Captain RAMC Martin, Daisy Emily - Staff Nurse Stevenson, Bessie Howe - Probationer Nurse
The Horton (County of London) War Hospital Roll of Honour
To read more about an individual please click on their name.
Photograph courtesy of Clive Gilbert 2007



Memorial Summary

Address of Memorial : The Chapel, in the grounds of the former Horton Hospital Epsom Surrey
Location of Memorial : In the Chapel
OS Map Ref : TQ196620
Type : Tablet
Physical Description : Metal Tablets
Number of Names : 15 (1914-18 Mental Hospital) 11 (1914-18 War Hospital)
Access : Restricted
UKNIWM References : 51741 (1914-18 War Hospital)    51742 (1914-18 Mental Hospital)    51743 (1939-45 Mental Hospital)