William Yonge Radcliffe – Remembered at Salisbury Infirmary


Salisbury Infirmary, with the memorial balcony. Credit: ArtCare, Salisbury District Hospital
Salisbury Infirmary, with the William Yonge Radcliffe memorial balcony. (Credit: ArtCare, Salisbury District Hospital)

One of the many victims of ‘The War to End All Wars’ was William Yonge Radcliffe, the only surviving son of Arthur Radcliffe, former rector of the village of Rockbourne. Second- Lieutenant Radcliffe died on 19th August 1915 in Gallipoli. Feeling the need to memorialise him his grieving parents made a donation to Salisbury Infirmary to build a large balcony on Radnor Ward. The balcony enabled recovering military patients to enjoy fresh air and sunshine. The rather frail looking structure served its purpose for many years and was finally dismantled around 1963.

The plaque installed at the Infirmary as a memorial to William Yonge Radcliffe. (Credit: Alan Doel)
The plaque installed at the Infirmary as a memorial to William Yonge Radcliffe. (Credit: Alan Doel)

Incredibly a letter survives, in The Imperial War Museum archives, from Private Papers of AG Scott written to the parents of 2nd Lieutenant William Yonge Radcliffe.  It describes in detail the death of their son at Gallipoli in August 1915 in one of the offshoots of the Sazli Beit Dere, Sari Bair. A party of their regiment, the 5th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment (40th Brigade, 13th Division), including both Scott and Radcliffe were trapped between the lines following the Turkish counter-attack on Chunuk Bair on 10 August for fifteen days. Scott was able to get help, giving details of the party’s privations, encounters with Turkish patrols and the suffering and death of most of the wounded. Together with copies of Radcliffe’s obituary in the Roll of Hounour and the DSO citation of Captain J W Greany who led the rescue  party following Scott’s return both of which corroborate the events described in the letter.

A hand-coloured photograph entitled The Infirmary, Salisbury, showing a rear view of the main building, gardens and the Radcliffe balcony. (Credit: Salisbury Medical Society.)
A hand-coloured photograph entitled The Infirmary, Salisbury, showing a rear view of the main building, gardens and the Radcliffe balcony. (Credit: Salisbury Medical Society.)

 

This story was kindly donated by Lesley Meaker of ArtCare, Salisbury District Hospital.


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