During the Great War the boys’ and girls’ schools were converted to the headquarters of the Fifth Southern General Hospital to provide for wounded servicemen including, in the early part of the war, German soldiers. In the Information Resource Centre there is a panoramic photograph of the large staff contingent of the hospital in the familiar military and nurses’ uniforms of the period. On the wall of the Head’s room, next to the picture of Miss Hitchcock, there is a certificate signed by Winston S Churchill, then War Minister, which commemorates the use of the school as a hospital. To free the school buildings, conveniently near Fratton Station, the boy and girl pupils were based for the duration of the war in Lyndhurst Road School.
As the war continued, the space between beds steadily diminished while the number of converted classrooms multiplied. By 1916 the provision of 500 beds had been doubled.
The first soldiers to die at the hospital were buried with full military honours at Highland Road cemetery. Eventually the numbers dying became so large that the formalities were largely dispensed with. After the war, the buildings were returned to their original use as schools.