Mary Fisher, 10 Feb 05: My father was stationed at Prestwick
Air Force Base from 1954-1956. Both of my parents and I have found
some old 'get wel'l cards that were addressed to my mother from
June of 1955. They are addressed to Ballochmyle Hospital, J.B. Ferguson
Ward. Can you help me with what kind of hospital this was and what
was the J.B. Ferguson Ward? I am trying to track my family history
and am just curious about this unexplained hospital stay.
From Gayle Turner, 21 Feb 05: I am currently reaserching
the history of Ballochmyle house so far there isn't very much information,
it sort of stops, if anyone could help it would be much appriciated.
I would like to hear stories see pictures and soon before it is
totaly torn to shreds.
From David Gibson, 29 Mar 05: Ballochmyle Hospital
was built at the beginning of the second world war. I supervised
the demolition of it in 2001, however some of the remains are still
on site. It was built as an A&E hospital but was later used
as a burns unit for service personnel.The mansion house which dominated
the site is where Robert Burns met The Bonny Lass of Ballochmyle
and is presently being reconsructed to luxury flats. Photographs
of the hospital during the war are available on the Mauchline Web
From David Thom, 18 June 05: 'Ballochmyle' was
one of about 8 'Emergency Medical Services' hospitals constructed
at the outbreak of WW2. They were intended to treat casualties from
possible bombing raids on nearby Towns & Cities, with the supposition
that the respective Town & City Hospitals could also be victims
of any aerial blitz. The expected massive civilian casualties did
not materialise and these Emergency Medical Service (EMS) hospitals
were quickly adopted as military hospitals, receiving wounded servicemen
from a widespread theatre of war. [It is fair to say that most of
them also treated members of the civilian population when this was
called for). They also treated servicemen (and women) for lesser
emergencies (appendicitis) & 'routine' procedures (hernia repair).
They were all built to a similar standard Government pattern, single
story brick & timber 'huts' joined by open spine corridors,
laid out in units within the site, to minimise the spread of fire.
Roofing varied and both corrugated iron & corrugated asbestos
sheeting was used; also, some of the walls were of asbestos sheeting.
Designed (and built) to last for 10 years, these hospitals were
taken over by the National Health Service in 1948 and continued
in use (as civilian hospitals) for another 30 to 40 years! Apart
from Ballochmyle Hospital, the others were : Peel Hospital (Galashiels),
Bangour Hospital (West Lothian), Killearn Hospital (Dumbartonshire),
Bridge of Earn Hospital (Perth & Kinross), & Raigmore Hospital
(Inverness), [I'm uncertain about Aberdeen]. Ballochmyle specialised
in Burns & Plastic Surgery, and the associated Maxillo-facial
surgery, as did Bangour, & Bridge of Earn. Killearn & Bangour
specialised in Neuro-surgery. These war-time necessities were continued
after the cessation of hostilities and the main centres now operating
in Glasgow, West Lothian, & Dundee can trace their roots back
to these old EMS hospitals. The world renowned Plastic Surgeons
Sir Harold Gillies & Sir Archibald McIndoe visited these centres
on a regular basis and taught & instructed the 'drafted-in'
surgeons (many of them local) the principles of plastic surgery.
Each visit continued enhancing their skill & knowledge and most
became, very soon, competent plastic surgeons. The staff in these
units had a fierce pride in their hospitals & work and many
long lasting friendships were struck between staff & patients.
Sadly, the pride went when these units closed and the modern replacements
never felt the same to work in. Hope this is of interest, D. Thom.
[I worked (post-war) in the Burns, Plastic Surgery & Maxillo-facial
unit at Bangour Hospital, until its closure & removal to a modern
From Mary Gallacher, 10 April 2006: I'm looking
for pictures of Ballochmyle Hospital. It's dear to my heart because
I trained to become a nurse in the early sixties and will retire
with memories of my first love of Ayrshire.
From David McClure: See Ayrshire & Arran:
an illustrated historical guide by Rob Close (RIAS, 1992),