In Bulletin 393 Rosemary Christophers wrote about fund-raising during WW2 in Woking and some other parts of Surrey in aid of Stalingrad Hospital.

Another volume of the Stalingrad Hospital Fund album has now been found in the British Library: this, like the first volume, is self-contained and differentiated by the first only by two small gold stars on the spine.

This includes some further contributions from societies and firms in the historic and present counties of Surrey, particularly from Croydon.  Those listed from Croydon are: Citizens of the Borough (one wing), Bryce and Co Ltd, Hackbridge (four beds in that wing), Industrial Insurance Collectors (three beds), Workers of Creed and Co (two beds), Croydon Electricity Department, International language Club, Croydon Municipal Officers’ Association, Powers Accounting Machines, Kennards Ltd, Croydon Engineering Company, Licensed Victuallers of Croydon, South Suburban Co-operative Society, National Union of Railwaymen, no. 1 Branch (one bed each).  Elsewhere in the County there are beds and wards from 15 other bodies, namely: from Epsom and Ewell (10 beds for a ward) [Horton Emergency Hospital Epsom (4 beds), Wardens (District 4) Civil Defence Service (3 beds), Staff of First Aid Post, no. 3, Civil Defence Service (one bed), Local residents and organisations (2 beds)]; Borough of Camberwell Anglo-Soviet Aid Committee; Farnham (6 beds); Southwark Anglo-Soviet Committee (3 beds); Feltham Women’s Anglo-Soviet Committee; Lambeth British-Soviet Committee (2 beds); Leatherhead and District Joint Committee for Soviet Aid (1 ward); Inhabitants of Staines and district; Staines County Hospital; workers at Lagonda Works, Staines; workers at Vickers-Armstrong Ltd, Torpedo Works, Staines; patrons and licensee of the Woodstock, Sutton (one bed each).  The gift certificates all bear uplifting messages from the donors to Stalingrad in the somewhat progressive tones of Soviet propaganda.

Having reported this to the Museum at Volograd, we then had an enquiry as to whether we knew anything of Russian pilots being trained at the aerodromes at Waddon and Beddington (later Croydon Airport) during WW1.  There is one post-war memorandum from the foreign pilots trained in the UK in the National Archives, but other archives seem silent on this matter and there is no mention of these pilots in Bob Learmonth and Joanna Nash’s The first Croydon Airport (Sutton Libraries, 1977).  So any information on both the local fundraising efforts for the hospital in WW2 and the pilots of WW1 would be most welcome, particularly in Volgograd.


Rosemary and Richard Christophers