USUALLY a place of tranquility, sun worshipping and sport, but in 1956 Mayflower Park looked like a battleground.

The space was transformed on May 26, 1956, when mobile units of the National Hospital Service Reserve from the Western Area, South West Metropolitan Regional Hospital Board, competed for a highly-prized trophy.

Eight teams took part and for the first time the trophy was won by Southampton with 454 points out of a possible 500. Next were Portsmouth with 432, and Salisbury were third with 404.

Other teams competing were Bournemouth and East Dorset, West Dorset, Winchester, Chichester and Isle of Wight.

Judges at the competition were the Matron of Chippenham and District Hospital Miss A Bennett, and Dr Beale Gibson and Dr I McCath, both of the British Red Cross Society.

Points were awarded for time taken to deal with ‘casualties’ efficiency, method and gentleness.

Each team, consisting of doctor, trained nurse and eight nursing auxiliaries, had to set up a first-aid unit in a house and then deal with casualties after a bomb explosion.

Praise was given to those who prepared the casualties - they looked highly realistic.

Alderman Mrs VF King, chairman of Southampton Group Hospital Management Committee, introduced and thanked the Mayor Alderman Mrs KE Cawte, who opened the competition.

The Mayor paid tribute to the fine voluntary work done by the groups.

Col. C. Chieveley Williams, chairman of the Western Area Committee of the Regional Hospital Board, presented the awards and complimented the teams on their turn-out.