Here we can see a soldier being operated on by doctors searching for a bullet. It appears that the soldier is being given some sort of anaesthetic through the breathing tube in his mouth, and that the doctors are searching in his leg for the bullet. The Kitchener Indian Hospital in Brighton was one of several buildings used to treat wounded Indian soldiers returning to the UK from fighting in France. It had previously been the Brighton Workhouse, and after the First World War became Brighton General Hospital, which still exists today.
The Girdwood Collection
This series of several hundred photographs recording the contribution of Indian soldiers to the Allied war effort was produced in 1915 by the Canadian-born photographer Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood (1878-1964). As a professional photographer Girdwood had an early connection with India, photographing the Delhi Durbar of 1903, the royal tour of 1905-06 and the Delhi Durbar of 1911. In 1908 he set up a photo agency called Realistic Travels, specialising in stereoscopic photography.
With the outbreak of war in 1914, Girdwood returned from India and in April 1915 was given permission by the India Office to photograph the work of the Indian military hospitals in Bournemouth and Brighton. From July to September 1915 he worked in France as an official photographer to record Indian and later British troops in the field. In the later part of his time in France he also made ciné film of the campaign (which later appeared under the title With the Empire’s Fighters.
- Full title:
- Operation Room, Kitchener Hospital [Brighton], searching for a bullet in a wounded Indian sepoy. Photographer: H. D. Girdwood.
- Charles Hilton DeWitt Girdwood
- Held by:
- British Library
- © Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland
- Photo 24/(7)
- Article by:
- Jenny Tobias
- The war machine
Jenny Tobias explores the work of the Red Cross in World War One, from the provision of essential relief for sick or wounded soldiers and civilians, to the establishment of the International Prisoners of War Agency.