The Friends of Hylands House

Registered Charity No 1059969

A Belgium Patient at Hylands in ww1 (1914)
' On 4th November 1914, Private Karel Louis Joseph Steylemans of 1st Grenadiers, Belgian Army, was admitted to Hylands Military  Hospital suffering from shrapnel wounds in the hand '
Karel Louis Joseph Steylemans
On 4th November 1914, Private Karel Louis Joseph Steylemans of 1st Grenadiers, Belgian Army, was admitted to the hospital suffering from shrapnel wounds in the hand. At the inquest, following his death, Mary Winifred Rosling, sister-in-charge, said that he had remained at Hylands for eight weeks before being transferred to the House of Prayer, Pleshey, in the hope that the proposed amputation of a finger would not be necessary.
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Whilst at Pleshey he suffered from many bouts of influenza. During one of these bouts, a nurse taking his temperature left the room, and on her return he said that he had bitten the end of the thermometer and swallowed it. The nurse was unable to find any trace of the bulb part, and Private Steylemans treated it as a joke. She washed his mouth out and reported the incident. He frequently suffered from fevers and placed cold bandages on his forehead. He developed a harsh cough, but he was ‘very full of jokes and pranks’, so little notice was taken. On 10th February he returned to Hylands Hospital where he was due to have his now useless finger amputated. However his temperature continued to soar and his cough worsened and he complained of a deeply-seated pain under his breastbone. At the post mortem it was discovered that he had a small abscess on the trachea plus inflamed glands around it, but no trace of the foreign body. It would have been impossible to diagnose this abscess. The inquest decided that death was due to blood poisoning from an abscess, the result of some foreign body.
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Tuesday 13th April 1915

The funeral of Private Steylemans took place with full military honours. The coffin, covered with the Belgian flag, had rested in the Roman Catholic Church overnight. Many people attended the funeral, including several convalescent Belgian soldiers, who afterwards followed the cortege to the Borough cemetery where the interment took place. The Glosters Royal Field Artillery band played the funeral music; their buglers sounded The Last Post, and the Warwickshire Royal Artillery provided the firing party, and escort. Wreaths were sent from Sir Daniel and Lady Gooch and hospital staff.
His headstone can be seen in the cemetery in Writtle Road.