Grey lady ghost
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Aldershot's 'Haunted' Military Hospital: Who Is The Grey Lady?

Even before the famous Cambridge Military Hospital was abandoned, accounts had starting spreading about a mysterious 'grey lady ghost' on...

Grey lady ghost

Opened on 18 July 1879, the famous Cambridge Military Hospital in Aldershot Garrison built up a wealth of history during its time treating injured troops.

Bearing in mind the building's age and the death seen during its long time in service - medical staff there cared for casualties of the Boer War (1899-1902) all the way until the first Gulf War (1990-1991) - perhaps it's unsurprising that stories of hauntings began to emerge.

Even before it was abandoned, passing into its current state of disrepair, accounts had starting spreading about a mysterious 'grey lady ghost' on the upper floor.

But who is the Grey Lady?

 

Ghostly woman
How Aldershot's Grey Lady might look

Numerous sightings of grey lady ghosts have been reported over the years throughout the country, commonly in old, historic buildings such as manor houses or hospitals.

This type of spirit has been described as a 'ghostly apparition', appearing most often at night, with witnesses seeing a ghostly image briefly flit past.

The Cambridge Military Hospital's ghost is said to haunt the upper floor between wards 10 and 14, often accompanied by the smell of lavender.

The story goes that the ghost was a member of the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, who threw herself off the upper floor walkway after giving a soldier a fatal, accidental drug overdose.

Syringe

It's been speculated that the Grey Lady could be attempting to perform her nursing duties in death, helping the dying move on to the next life, as sightings always seemed to coincide with a very ill or dying patient.

Either way, witnesses often reported the corridor being freezing cold - no matter how high the heating was turned up - with one policeman reportedly having said that the hairs on the back of his head always stand on end when he patrols the now-empty hospital.

Nurses and car assistants on night shifts in years gone by reportedly took the stairs and walked between certain wards to avoid the spooky section of corridor, meanwhile.

Want to hear about the Grey Lady from some of the patients and personnel who worked at the hospital? Take a look below at some of the tales recounted to www.qaranc.co.uk, which deals with matters of interest to the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC).

A uniform from a different time

 

US Navy nurses, 1908
Military nurses in their uniforms, shortly after the turn of the 20th century

"It was 1986 and I was in Ward 9 or Ward 10 (not sure which) on the top floor overlooking the back of the hospital, having had a hiatus hernia op.

"Being quite ill, I was in the first bed on the right next to the nurse's station and was propped up with several pillows as I could not lie down. This made sleep difficult, although I did doze off and wake up again every 15 minutes or so. I still recall it felt like sleep deprivation. 

"On one of my many moments of wakefulness at around 02:00 I observed a woman in uniform standing by a bed three down from me on my side of the ward and I genuinely thought she was the duty officer doing her rounds, but was a bit confused by her uniform, which looked a bit dated as the skirt was very long and the had a stiff, starched collar.

"Her head-piece... was also starched and very wide in a diamond shape and it came further forward over her forehead. more than those which are clipped onto the back of the head. I noticed she was also wearing stiff white cuffs on her sleeves and a cape - but it was grey and not red. 

"The most unusual aspect was that I could not see her face. That is, I could see it, which was oval, but she seemed to have no features but I put this down to the fact that I was extremely tired and my eyes may not have been focusing." 

"When the nurse came round in the morning, delivering washing bowls to those of us unable to get out of bed, I asked her who the QA officer had been.

"She said that no-one had visited the ward that night, not even a duty officer and asked why I wanted to know, so I told her about the old-fashioned uniform, which looked very smart but a bit out of place. 

"She turned white and her eyes opened wide as she said... 'Oh my God. You have seen the Grey Lady'."

"She then went on to very helpfully explain to a very ill patient that anyone who sees the Grey Lady will die.

Thankfully I am not particularly superstitious and I told her that this was nonsense, as how would anyone else know that a patient had seen the Grey Lady if they were dead? She reluctantly agreed but her shock was tangible. 

"The crux of the story is that the fellow in the bed three down from me, the bed at which I had seen the Grey Lady standing... was found dead when they brought breakfast round a few minutes later..."

Something not quite right...

 

Ghostly woman

"I went up the stairs and just as I went through the door into the section where the chapel chairs were, I saw a figure moving in between the rows of chairs.

"She had a veil on, similar but not quite the same as the Nursing Officers, not as starched. But I thought it was because there was only minimal lighting on.

"I didn't say anything or walk forward but when she walked around the end of the chairs I couldn't see her feet." 

"Her dress stopped mid calf and there was nothing below that level. As I started walking forward she just disappeared.

"The doors at either end of that section of corridor did not move. I turned round and went back down the stairs walked along the main corridor to the next flight of stairs went up and told my friend what I had seen.  "One of the senior nurses there, who knew the history of the building said that the original floor had been 12-18 inches lower, which would explain the missing feet."

Nursing from beyond the grave?

 

Water jug

"When I was on Ward 2 a young soldier during the night asked the ward sister for a fresh jug of water.

"She said she would get one shortly [as] she was tied up with a terminally ill patient.

"A while later she returned to the young man with a jug but he already had one. When asked he said the other sister got it for him.

"There was no other sister on that night, and his description of her uniform was very different to what the sister was wearing that night.

"The terminally-ill patient died that night. "

Want to see for yourself? This evening Forces Network will be running a live stream from the abandoned hospital to try to catch a glimpse of the Grey Lady.

There's even been books written about her - click below to find more...