Established the Canadian Field Hospital at Dinard
Dr Duckworth Barker had been a doctor in Bexhill for many years and according to reports in the Bexhill Observer he was much loved and respected by his former patients.
During the War he was asked by the French Minister of War to establish a Canadian hospital at Dinard. He was accompanied by eight London hospital nurses. The location designated for the new hospital was the Hotel Crystal, and when Dr. Duckworth Barker arrived it was still full of visitors! The hotel was quickly cleared and in less than a week he had successfully installed a hospital of 200 beds, two operating theatres and dressing rooms on each floor and every department was thoroughly equipped. He was assisted by another English doctor and nurses from the French Red Cross. The hospital quickly became one of the most important hospitals in France.
The hospital was located in a district where there were 35,000 wounded soldiers, plus a further 5,000 in the town of Dinard. Wounded soldiers continued to arrive day and night. Following a visit from a consulting surgeon from Paris, who was making a tour of the various hospitals in the area, he was so impressed with Dr Duckworth Barker’s abilities that the hospital was reserved for the treatment of the worst cases. It also became the official hospital allocated by the French Government for the treatment of wounded Canadian troops in that part of France. Dr Duckworth Barker expected to treat mainly English and Canadian troops; however his patients also included French, Belgian, and African troops.
In December 1914 Dr Duckworth Barker received a visit from an old friend and patient, Mrs Neville from Jameson Road, Bexhill. The purpose of her visit was to deliver a donation of dressings and drugs for use in the new hospital. Many of the items were supplied by Mr. R. W Robbins, a Chemist in St. Leonards Road, Bexhill. A large quantity of chloroform had also been sent from Mr Robbins pharmacy. As well as his Bexhill patients, Dr Duckworth Barker’s London patients also took a generous interest in his hospital, donating over £200 worth, approximately £8,600 in today’s money, of dressings and drugs. On her return to Bexhill Mrs Neville provided the Bexhill Observer with a full update of Dr Duckworth Barker’s work in France.