As I post this short note, we have come to the end of a day Commemorating the Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. It’s been a time for reflection and a time to remember.
Four thousand members sadly lost their lives during the First World War, with many more returning home injured. Archive material suggests that 124 out of every 1,000 soldiers suffered a range of chest diseases including consumption.
With 24,000 serving members, the Society and hospital resources were stretched. No conference could be held in 1915 but at the 1916 conference it was agreed to change the Society name to the Post Office Sanatorium Society (POSS) to try and help recruitment. In 1918 a difficult decision was made to increase subscriptions to three shillings a year. This lift in subscription, resulted in 1,300 members leaving in protest.
Despite the difficulties of war and the challenge of managing member funds, the supporters of the Society worked tirelessly to raise funds. Events were held, including an Evening Concert on 20 May 1916.
Benenden survived the pressures of war and continued to grow through the years. On 4 March 2017, we can celebrate 110 years of caring for members at our Hospital.