Shellshock ?

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sandy
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Shellshock ?

Post by sandy » 11 Nov 2012, 20:46

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this but I just thought I'd ask. . . .
As part of a family tree I have been looking at Eric Harvey Rae who was a resident in Parkside Hospital ( asylum) Macclesfield from 1926 till he died in 1947. He was addmitted to the David Lewis Colony, Warford, Alderly Edge and stayed there for 11 days before being moved to Parkside. The David Lewis Colony was trying to understand and treat Epilepsy which Eric suffered from, he was moved after a committing an attack on his mother and an attendant and had to be restrained by 8 people.
He was in the First World War and said he had been in the Scots Fusiliers, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Black Watch, he was wounded twice and was in an Army hospital for observation for Epilipsy, ( during his medical inspection at Parkside he was in good health, just a bit hard of hearing ) He recieved the Victory and the British medals and fought in Belgium.
While in Parkside he was Morose and prefered his own company and did not mix, he would spend time reading the daily newspapers, he was prone to suddenly hitting someone nearby for no apparent reason, they could just be walking past and not talking to him.
Sometimes he would speak to himself and to things/ people that were not there, this appeared to get worse over the years as did his fits.
What I was wanting to ask is could he have been suffering from shellshock as it may not have been understood or he could have had a psychiatric problem which had got worse as if he had had violent tendences before he went into the Army surely it would have been picked up ( at some time ) and he would released from Army service ?
He joined the Argyll and Sutherand Highlanders but they have no record of him, I have only learnt of his connection with the Black watch and the Scots Fusiliers, I have yet to contact them and then perhaps I can find out where he was serving.

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Stanley
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Re: Shellshock ?

Post by Stanley » 12 Nov 2012, 04:55

That's a sad story Sandy.... I'm no expert in mental health but it seems probable that if he had some marginal condition before his service it wouldn't be improved by being under fire and wounded. So little was known then about battle trauma and what resources there were went more to the officer class than the 'Poor Bloody Infantry'. This was of course the root of the fact that we shot so many innocent men for 'cowardice'. Not a good time to be unstable, who knows, he might have been lucky. He avoided being shot by his own side!
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sandy
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Re: Shellshock ?

Post by sandy » 12 Nov 2012, 09:33

but it seems probable that if he had some marginal condition before his service it wouldn't be improved by being under fire and wounded.

Thanks Stanley, the same crossed my mind but I dont know the effects of shellshock and not a lot about WW1, Erics records from Parkside are in Chester Archive and I visited them a week or so ago, it was suggested that I contact Manchester Archive and ask about records from the David Lewis Colony ( although I don't know it there are any) as he was only there for 11days and I know the date he went to Parkside.
I know a head injury can cause epilepsy, perhaps he got a crack on the head during an attack in the war, or as you mentioned perhaps it was something that was there already and came to the surface brought on by his experiences.
I just thought I'd ask incase someone had any ideas, perhaps a WW1 forum would be worth a look during a dark evening.
Thanks Stanley :cool4:

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Re: Shellshock ?

Post by Tizer » 12 Nov 2012, 10:23

Sandy, you might get some help and suggestions from the Great War Society:
http://www.thegreatwarsociety.com/
I agree with Stanley that Eric would have had any pre-existing mental condition made worse by serving in the army in WW1. The stress must have been unbearable even for the fit, let alone those with any mental problems. Also, the army was probably not very choosy about who it took into the infantry - they were losing thousands of men and had to grab whoever passed by. One of my ancestors had breathing problems due to asthma, possibly related to his work in a mill, but like many men he wanted to `do his bit' and offered himself for service. They took him in but he was lucky - the East Lancs rejected him before he got across the Channel.

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Re: Shellshock ?

Post by Stanley » 13 Nov 2012, 05:13

My dad was even luckier. He caught a massive dose of Clap from a business lady in Glasgow as soon as he landed and effectively spent the rest of his service in hospital being treated for it. I wrote it all up and published it in 'An Australian Life'.
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Re: Shellshock ?

Post by Tizer » 13 Nov 2012, 09:31

Occupational hazard for a soldier! :wink:

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Re: Shellshock ?

Post by Stanley » 14 Nov 2012, 05:07

Probably the best thing that ever happened to him! We kids have realised since our research uncovered all this that if it hadn't been for that lady we probably wouldn't be here.
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