The Great War

With the outbreak of the Great War, many of the men on the Asylum staff volunteered for the services, creating very great pressures on the staff who remained. Dr. Shaw (who succeeded Dr.Havelock in 1914), remained single-handed throughout the war, and because of the shortage of men, female attendants had to be transferred to care for male patients.

The greatest problem arose from the requisitioning of Hospital accommodation elsewhere in Scotland by the War Office, with the result that during the war years, Montrose was required to accommodate about 150 additional patients sent from Bangour, Dykebar, Edinburgh and Murthly Asylums which had been taken over by the military. Needless to say, the space regulations had to be relaxed for the duration. Seven of the Asylum staff who joined up lost their lives, and a memorial to them was subsequently erected in front of the Main Building. It is also recorded that a former member of the Asylum artisan staff, Sergeant Ripley, was awarded the V.C.

The War Effort

The Hospital did its bit for the war effort by contributing to the supply of munitions. The military in return provided concert parties, notably from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who were stationed at Hillside.

The additional patients did not return immediately after the war ended, and as late as 1922, there were still 110 patients from Bangour at Sunnyside. This brought the total numbers up to around 780, cared for by 24 male and 39 female day attendants, with 6 males and 13 females at night.

The Hospital Block
Nevertheless, some things had to be continued, among them, lectures to nurses by medical staff and "practical instruction by the Matron and her assistants". While it was regretted that very few of the male attendants applied to take the examination for the Medico-Psychological Association's certificate, one attendant, David Durward was awarded, in 1915, the "Morrison Prize for Meritorious Attendance on the Insane, the highest honour obtainable by members of the staffs of Scottish Asylums". The same prize was won, in 1921, by male nurse Milne, and though others subsequently were awarded it, the fact that Montrose had 2 holders of the prize on its staff at the same time was noted with some pride.