Hospital to mark military links

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SALISBURY District Hospital will mark its historical links with the American military during the 70th anniversary of DDay today.

Odstock Hospital was built by the American Military Services to receive causalities from the Normandy beaches.

Some of the Nissen huts built ahead of the 1944 offensive still stand today.

Representatives from the Salisbury Branch of the Royal British Legion will provide standard bearers for a service to honour the men and women who played their part in the liberation of Europe.

The service, to take place on the hospital’s green near Entrance B , will also reflect on the Salisbury doctors and nurses who treated and cared for the injured.

The ceremony will include prayers, two minutes’ silence and the raising of the American flag.

Hospital chairman Nick Marsden said: “With the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings we are holding a small, informal gathering for our staff which will give us an opportunity to mark this important part of our history and to reaffirm our links with the American military.”

“It also gives us an opportunity to honour all those who fought so bravely for this country, and others associated with the Allied cause, and to praise all those who were involved in providing care for service personnel and their families.”

Work started on the hospital site in 1942 in anticipation of the large number of casualties expected from France.

It was originally planned that the hospital would have 600 beds but that was expanded to 1,000.

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