File: American Hospital in Britain

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 PLA/8/1/5
  • Dates of Creation
      1939-1941
  • Physical Description
      Dimensions: 15 x 20.5 cm. 40 pieces including 5 b/w photographs. Condition: some water damage, a number of pieces torn.

Scope and Content

File of papers relating to the American Hospital in Britain, a group of American surgeons who came to England during the second world war to support the medical services. The Hospital was formed in New York in 1940 as a result of the efforts of the American surgeons Robert Osgood and Philip D. Wilson, who were both personal friends of Platt. Platt, as consultant adviser to the Ministry of Health, was a key figure in negotiations between the American surgeons, the Ministry of Health and the British Medical Association. It was important that the Hospital was under a civilian government department as relations with the armed forces would have had implications for American neutrality. The first unit of the American Hospital in Britain, led by Wilson, landed in England in September 1940, and stayed for a few days in Manchester before settling at Park Prewett Hospital in Basingstoke, Hampshire, and later at Oxford.

The bulk of this file comprises correspondence relating to the setting up of the Hospital and its staffing, including letters, copy letters and telegrams between Platt, the Ministry of Health, the BMA, Charles Bradford and Philip D. Wilson. It also contains some non-correspondence material, including five black and white photographs of the advance guard in Manchester in 1940, an offprint and notes on meetings and correspondence. The file contains important material relating to the provision of surgical care during the second world war, relations with American surgeons.

Separated Material

According to a letter in the Fairbank correspondence (PLA/7/13), Platt sent his main file of papers on the American Hospital to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, but retained this file.