World War I Soldiers Remembered: Bland Selden Hobson Goddin

7 Jun

Not all who served in World War I were soldier or male. Once such Goochland who served her country in a different way was Bland Selden Hobson Goddin.

Bland Selden Hobson0002 adj post

Bland Selden Hobson was born December 9, 1893 to John Cannon Hobson and Annie Camp of Howards Neck in Pemberton, Virginia. Bland was a stenographer at Gibson, Moore & Sutton in Richmond, Virginia. As the war clouds began to appear, Bland enlisted with a hospital unit in Richmond. This unit would eventually be turned over to the War Department under the command of Dr. Stuart McGuire and became Base Hospital 45.

On August 24, 1918, Bland boarded the “Adriatic” in New York City, bound for Liverpool, England, where she arrived on September 3, 1918. The next day, she boarded the ship “Gloucester Castle” in Southampton, England and sailed for Le Havre, France. From Le Havre she traveled to Paris and then finally to the site of the Base Hospital #45 in Toul, France. The Base Hospital that Bland was assigned to as a stenographer was very close to the front. According to Bland’s war record, she “was stationed in a hospital eight miles back from the firing line”. Base Hospital 45 was located in the advance zone and was rarely empty. The St. Mihiel offensive which happened shortly after the camp was opened would see 8,000 wounded go through the camp in four days. In October of the 1918, influenza brought in another 4,000 patients. About her experience overseas, she wrote “I saw only the result upon the wounded boys brought in for attention and they were always cheerful and plucky except in cases of shell shock which were pitiful in the depressive effect upon the minds of the boys” and “It has made me see the blessings of American citizenship.”

The Armistice was signed in November of 1918 but Bland was not among the group that left early. She stayed with the hospital and is listed among some of the last to leave, arriving back aboard the “Agamemnon” at Hoboken, New Jersey on March 11, 1919.

Bland married shortly after arriving back in the U.S. On November 25, 1919, she married her pre-war sweetheart, Alfred Parker Goddin. Bland passed away on July 26, 1950 at the age of 56 and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia.

If you have any photographs of World War I service men and women from Goochland, please contact the Goochland County Historical Society. We would love to scan your photographs and add them to the World War I Commemorative Collection. Contact us at 804-556-3966 or at goochlandhistory@comcast.net.

To read more about U.S. Army Base Hospital 45, visit the VCU Libraries Gallery: U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 45 in the Great War

To read more about Bland Selden Hobson Goddin, read Goochland County Historical Society Magazine Vol. 21 “A World War I Memoir” by Bland Hobson Goddin and Vol. 48 “Home Front, Overseas Letters” (3 letters).  Available for purchase at the Historical Center and online: Vol. 21, Vol. 48.

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