Representatives from the Dorset Regiment recently met with Dorset County Hospital’s Arts in Hospital staff to see a refurbished plaque which was originally presented to the hospital nearly 100 years ago.
On 15 January 1925 the large bronze engraved plaque was presented at the County Hospital site in Princes Street, Dorchester. It was unveiled by the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Lord Lieutenant, in the presence of Lord Ellenborough who was Chairman of the Hospital Committee.
The bronze engraved plaque, now proudly redisplayed at Dorset County Hospital, commemorated the re-equipping of the hospital, in 1925, with 40 new beds, and the virtual rebuilding of several wards. It was all part of the Dorset’s War memorial to the 4,000 members of the Regiment who had fallen in the Great War. Funds had been provided by public subscription.
Nearly 300 soldiers of the 2nd Dorset’s came over from Aldershot for the unveiling and were supported by soldiers from the Dorchester Depot. A Colour Party was provided by the 4th Battalion. A large crowd enjoyed the elaborate ceremony although the weather was not helpful.
When the new Dorset County Hospital was opened on its current site by HM The Queen in 1998, this plaque was installed in its present position, near the hospital’s Bereavement room. In the last 25 years the plaque’s condition had deteriorated and in late 2022 this was brought to the attention of the Regiment. Captain Mick Jarrett took up the case, and with the help of DCH Arts in Hospital Manager Suzy Rushbrook, arranged for careful refurbishment to be carried out. This was done by local craftsman Chris Groves who achieved a splendid result.
At the meeting Nick Speakman gave a short presentation on the history of the plaque and its importance to the Regiment and its long heritage.
Mr Speakman thanked Chris for the high quality of his work and the hospital for continuing to give the plaque the space and respect it deserves.
AiH manager Suzy Rushbrook said,
“It was a privilege to meet past and present members of this historic local regiment and to understand more about the significance of the commemorative plaque. We would be honoured to be part of a small ceremony in November as an act of remembrance and thanks for those who served in the first and second world wars.”
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