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The Royal Hospital Chelsea at War

27 September 2023, 3.00pm

Bomb damage at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1945
Bomb damage at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1945
Bomb damage at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, 1945
27 September 2023, 3.00pm

The Royal Hospital Chelsea at War

The Royal Hospital and its resident Chelsea Pensioners fought for their survival as Blitzkrieg rained over London. Martin Cawthorne chronicles the Hospital at war.
 £10.00 (Concessions: £8.00)

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About the event

As a home for former soldiers, the Royal Hospital Chelsea has always been associated with warfare. Yet the Second World War represents a unique chapter in the history of the institution, as the Hospital itself was in the line of fire.

Despite plans to evacuate the Royal Hospital’s Chelsea Pensioner population in the event of an emergency, when war came in September 1939 only around 50 of its 500 residents were relocated to the relative safety of the countryside.

For the remainder – many of whom were veterans of the First World War – the next few years would bring hardship and suffering as the Hospital fought for its very survival in the face of the London Blitz.

Martin Cawthorne uses previously unseen archive material to chronicle the story of the Royal Hospital and its resident Chelsea Pensioners as they faced the horrors of war, while displaying a stoicism and bravery ‘worthy of the highest traditions of the British Army’.

About the speaker

Martin Cawthorne began volunteering at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2014, working on a project to digitise part of the institution’s archive collection. In 2020, he completed a master’s degree in Historical Studies at the University of Oxford, for which he researched the Royal Hospital’s wartime history.

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27 September 2023
3.00pm - 4.00pm
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Royal Hospital Chelsea (State Apartments)
Royal Hospital Road
London, SW3 4SR United Kingdom