When the War Hospital first opened the Bath Tramway Company gave free rides into the city from Weston. By 1917, due to the expansion of the hospital, shortages of labour and reduced services, the company felt it was unable to continue this practice, and Alderman Henshaw established a fund to pay fro the soldiers rides. He promised that all donations would be acknowledged, no matter how small because ‘the small subscription would be as welcome as the large one’. A list of subscribers published in the Bath Chronicle on 15th December 1917 showed donations ranging from 100 shillings from the Chronicle to a gift of 1 shilling from a soldier’s widow.
Image from The Bath Chronicle 29th December, 1917 showing the cartoon drawn by Sergt. Jack Waring that was auctioned to raise money for the fund.
It is worth mentioning here that, whilst all the wounded soldiers enjoyed their trip into the city, it would seem that the Australian Anzac’s caused quite a stir in their distinctive uniforms. Kathleen Ainsworth mentions the Australians being particularly cheeky and in one of her letters home writes:
‘They break nearly every rule in the hospital, they get grumbled at and scolded and hauled before the Colonel and various Sisters and Hospital Authorities say ‘those dreadful Australians”. But in spite of all their sins everyone loves them and they are more missed than any of the others when they go. I don’t quite know why but I think it is that though they may be wild they have big hearts and they give us nurses more real affection than any of the other soldiers, or at least they show it more’.
Image from the Bath Bun ‘On Combe Down – Who wouldn’t be an Anzac.’