American soldier outside Harvard Hospital buildings

Harvard Hospital

The building erected during World War 2, with funding from US Red Cross, was to be used by the US Army and Harvard University for the study of topics that arose from war time conditions including epidemics, nutrition, sanitation and psychology of shell shock.

Tragic beginnings

This plaque at the American Red Cross in Washington acknowledges the public spirit of Harvard University and the dedication of the staff of the American Red Cross.   The ship ‘Maasdam’ left Halifax on 11 June 1941 with a crew of 48, plus 32 passengers, including 17 American Red Cross nurses and 11 US Marine Corps personnel. They were being sent to the Harvard Field Hospital Unit in the summer of 1941 to deal with the potential outbreaks of communicable diseases.

Unfortunately the ‘Maasdam’ was hit by a torpedo and nursing staff were reported missing and presumed drowned.
Ruth Breckenridge – Housemother, Nancie M. Pett,  Phyllis L. Evans, Maxine Loomis, Dorothea L. Koehn, Dorothy C. Morse are all remembered.

On 22nd September 1941 the portable buildings arrived from America.

The site was chosen due to the proximity of the southern headquarters of the US Army as well as Salisbury railway and supply connections. It was a very short distance too from the 158th Hospital site (present day Salisbury District Hospital) As seen in the aerial photograph from the early 1980s below. Harvard Hospital is seen top left across the fields on the horizon.


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