More news on Private Bertrand Kinsell

I’ve received some more information about an American Great War serviceman buried in Portsmouth, who I am trying to research.

Private First Class Bertrand Kinsell, from Illinois, was serving with the 343rd Infantry Regiment, in the 26th Division. He died on 29 September 1918 and is buried in Kingston Cemetery in Portsmouth.

The Cemeteries Department in Portsmouth tell me that Private Kinsell died in the ‘American Military Hospital, Milton’. They have never heard of this particular hospital, nor had I. There were three hospitals in the Milton area at the time – St James Hospital (known then as the lunatic asylum) opened in 1879. An infection diseases hospital opened near Milton Cemetery in 1884, and St Marys Hospital opened in 1898.

My (educated) guess is that part of one of these hospitals – possibly a room or two, maybe a ward – was taken over by the American Army in order to treat wounded doughboys from the Western Front.

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8 Comments

Filed under Local History, World War One

8 responses to “More news on Private Bertrand Kinsell

  1. John Erickson

    There’s one other possibility, James. I’m not sure how far back the concept of the “MASH” goes. It’s possible there was a tent-based hospital unit set up there. I’ll chase through my US sources, see if I can find anything on my end.

  2. James Daly

    According to wikipedia the first MASH was set up in 1945. All the same, there could still have been a similar tented hospital there…

  3. I think you will find it was St James Hospital in Locksway Road [ used to be called Asylum Road ] The Americans took it over for minor injuries and burns of their American Soldiers. My father has a picture of the entrance being guarded by US army taken about 1918 .

  4. James Daly

    Hi Julie, funnily enough I’ve just got hold of a copy of W.G. Gates ‘Portsmouth in the Great War’ and there is a section about the American hospital. I think the picture you mention is in that book too.

  5. Hi James
    Myself and my father have been trying to establish a list of all the Amercian Soldiers who died in The Amercian Hospital in Portsmouth . We are pretty sure it is St James Hospital and my father has plans to ask the council to errect a momument in the hospital to commemerate these brave lads . Obviously I have tried to research Bertrand and my father went to the cemetery and located a grave of Bertram Kinsell born Portsmouth 1891 [ parents William & Georgina ] he laid some flowers upon the grave but I think he may have gone to the wrong grave ;)
    Could you give me any details of American Servicemen who died in ‘ Milton Hospital ‘ Portsmouth . I am quite interested in learning about Bertrand … perhaps you would know his parents ?

  6. James .. I think my fatehr may have had the correct grave ! I have just checked for a death for Bertram Kinsell born Portsmouth 1891 and there is no recorded death . The only one that comes up is Bertrand Kinsell born 1890 died Sept quarter 1918 . Coudl it be that a Portsmouth lad lied about where he was born because Bertrand says he was born Illinois but Bertram was definately born Portsmouth . I love a good mystery . More research needed :)

  7. Does anyone have the death certificate of Bertrand ?

  8. James I think you will find that Bertrand is indeed Bertram Kinsell from Portsmouth . In the war grave with him [ unusual because I have never known of other people buried in a War Grave ] is A William & Georgina Kinsell and this ties in with Bertram Kinsell .
    Bertram must have joined up The American Army in Portsmouth .

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