Fire Drill

The Second World War

With the crisis in Europe in 1938, arrangements were made for gas proofing and sandbagging basement windows. One hundred yards of trench, 6 feet deep were dug in the field opposite the main gate. A.R.P. training was started, fire fighting appartus was overhauled, and gas masks issued. "No less than 170 members of staff passed through a gas filled chamber wearing the official masks".

All this effort was not wasted. On the 2nd of October, 1940, five high explosive bombs fell on the Hospital. One missed the Main Building by 12 feet, breaking glass, but causing no casualties. Another hit the kitchen area of Northesk Villa, injuring two nurses. One of them, Nurse Reid, although injured herself, managed to attend to her colleague, Nurse Simpson, and then "proceeded to comfort and calm her patients". Her devotion to duty was such that Nurse Reid was recommended for a decoration, and was awarded the George Medal, the first in Scotland.

War Evacuees

As in the previous war, patients were evacuated from other Hospitals which were required by the War Office, and Montrose had once again to accommodate as many as 220 additional patients and their staff from Stirling. At a later stage, patients from Aberdeen were also accommodated, due to bomb damage at Aberdeen Asylum. The number of resident patients thus topped one thousand for the first and only time, (1052 on 12th June, 1940).

 Recreation Hall 1939

As a result, the newly opened Angus House had to be used for the visitors, and was not used for its intended purpose until after the war. As was to be expected, staff during these years was, as before, greatly reduced, by 50% in the case of nursing staff, and 30% in the case of medical and domestic staff.