Blind and limbless men arriving in Portsmouth
were too shocking for many

The walking wounded arrive in Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton, in October 1914. Bugler Clark of the Dorset Regiment (centre) carries a German helmet as a trophy.
The walking wounded arrive in Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton, in October 1914. Bugler Clark of the Dorset Regiment (centre) carries a German helmet as a trophy.
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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With the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War a week away, today’s pictures are devoted to Portsmouth during those cataclysmic years.

They are taken from historian John Sadden’s intricately-researched book Portsmouth and Gosport at War (Amberley £14.99).

JPNS-09-10-12 RW wounded soldiers rep co''Wounded soldiers take the air with the help of members of the Portsmouth Town Guard. The Evening News set up an appeal for bath chairs for the wounded ENGPPP00120120928151926

JPNS-09-10-12 RW wounded soldiers rep co''Wounded soldiers take the air with the help of members of the Portsmouth Town Guard. The Evening News set up an appeal for bath chairs for the wounded ENGPPP00120120928151926

The 5th Southern General Hospital was an umbrella term covering hospitals in the Portsmouth and Gosport area which had come under military control on the outbreak of the war.

It originally comprised the Alexandra Military Hospital at Cosham (QA), the infirmary at Milton (St Mary’s) and the converted girls’ secondary school in Fawcett Road, Southsea.

In addition, the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, was given extra facilities on Whale Island, in Flathouse Road and at the Brodrick Hall in Clayhall Road, Gosport.

The 5th Southern expanded as more and more blinded and limbless men were deposited on platform 2 of Fratton railway station to await a police ambulance to Fawcett Road.

The walking wounded were met with cheers from onlookers in Goldsmith Avenue and Fratton Bridge.

But while the returning hero with his arm in a sling was an acceptable image of war, the scenes of men, hardly recognisable as such, were profoundly shocking.