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An ambulance arrives at a NZ General Hospital and medical orderlies unload wounded soldiers. Around them are wounded men in various states of recovery, note the number of walking sticks and amputees. All of the patients are dressed in “hospital blues,” a uniform worn by all hospital soldiers in the UK. Under the Defence of the Realm Act it was forbidden for Public Houses to sell liquor to a soldier in hospital blues.

Year:1917

LocationUK – either Brockenhurst or Walton-on-Thames

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An ambulance arrives at a NZ General Hospital and medical orderlies unload wounded soldiers. Around them are wounded men in various states of recovery, note the number of walking sticks and amputees. All of the patients are dressed in “hospital blues,” a uniform worn by all hospital soldiers in the UK. Under the Defence of the Realm Act it was forbidden for Public Houses to sell liquor to a soldier in hospital blues.


Year: 1917

Length: 0:22

Production Company: Pathe Gazette

Credits: Camera: Tommy F. Scales

Source: Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Catalogue Reference: Pathe Gazette no.463A, New Zealand Hospital Walton-on-Thames and Oatland Park. New Zealand Hospital Brockenhurst, 1917


Location: UK – either Brockenhurst or Walton-on-Thames

Tags: Hospital Blues

Subject: World War 1914-1916, New Zealand, Defence of the Realm Act (1914), Hospitals


The Hospital Blues uniform was worn by those patients who could get out of bed. They were a flannel type material of Oxford blue hue with a single breasted suit and trousers. Each had a white lining. The tie would have been red and the shirt white. Regimental caps were worn and medals were displayed on the left breast. Those with missing limbs would have had their arms and trouser legs of the missing limbs carefully folded up and pinned back. Those lucky enough to still have feet, wore either both boots, highly polished or just a sad lonely one. The Hospital Blues uniform were also known as the blue invalid uniform or convalescent blues. Sizing could be hit or miss and this is why in some photographs the inner linings can be seen.

“This is the single surviving fragment of a number of films taken by Tommy Scales showing the work of New Zealand hospitals and convalescent homes in the United Kingdom during the First World War. The New Zealand War Contingent Association under its Chairman Lord Plunket opened a civilian hospital at Walton-on-Thames in 1915 to care for New Zealand wounded from Gallipoli. In 1916 with the move of the New Zealand Division to France, the NZ Medical Service of the NZEF set up its base in the UK with Colonel W H Parkes as DMS [Direction of Medical Services]. Walton-on-Thames Hospital became No.2. NZ General Hospital, and No.1. NZ General Hospital was established at Brockenhurst in the New Forest and consisted of three hospitals totalling 1100 beds; Lady Harding's hutted hospital at Brockenhurst, the 200 bed Balmer Lawn Hospital and the 200 bed Forest Park Hospital, both of these formerly being hotels. In October 1916 there were 300 NZ wounded a week arriving in the UK.  At the end of 1916 there were 1,764 patients in the NZ hospitals, 1,473 in the Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch and 3,449 in the Codford Depot. By 1918 NZ hospital bed strength had increased to 6,495. In March 1918, there were 1,084 New Zealanders in British hospitals and 4,646 in New Zealand hospitals in the UK - a total of 5,730. The care of New Zealand sick and wounded was of intense interest to the NZ public. Our Wounded Heroes was a popular theme and Scales as NZEF Official Cameraman in the UK made several films on the topic.” — Information supplied by Dr Christopher Pugsley