The image shows a group of soldiers who are convalescing in Hastings being trained by instructors opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel, St Leonards. According to the article in the paper “Their smart action drew many favourable comments from onlookers”. Hastings and St Leonards had several auxiliary hospitals during WW1. These were; Old Hastings House in the Old Town, St John’s on Holmesdale Road, West Dene on Hollington Park, Bannow on Quarry Hill, St Leonards and Filsham Park in Dane Road. These housed soldiers who were recovering from their wounds, either for preparation of life carrying their injuries or for return to the Front.
The way that the seafront looked in 1916 changed considerably when Sidney Little started his refurbishment, but I found it interesting that the building that was previously there lines up precisely with the raised promenade.
The Original Image from the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser dated 30th November, 1916.
The two photographs used to create the image, and the final combined image are below. You can view the top image full size on my Flickr page by clicking on it.
This image is part of a continuing series of Then and Now images I’ve created for East Sussex Council’s World War 1 commemoration website. The website is focused on the contribution that the men and women of East Sussex made towards the war effort.