Surgical Ward, Base Hospital No. 8, Savenay, France
Surgical Ward, Base Hospital No. 8, Savenay, France

DEVENS -- Still photos and film clips recreate what America's Base Hospital No. 8 was all about as its medical staff tendered the wounded and sick in World War I at Savenay, France. A compilation of all this photography has been combined in a French documentary to be shown at Fort Devens Museum on Saturday, Aug. 18, starting at 1 p.m.

It's a feature of the day as the Museum opens its doors to visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Authorities located Base Hospital No. 8 in the large Normal School of Savenay and kept adding temporary buildings around it. This hospital alone had an almost 2,500-bed capacity, but it was part of a cluster of hospitals forming a center hospital at Savenay with a normal capacity of 8,000 beds.

By contrast, today's Massachusetts General Hospital has just over 1,000 beds licensed. The documentary is a comprehensive look at what was an immense medical treatment center. Savenay is located halfway between the French cities of St. Nazaire, a major debarkation point for American soldiers in World War I, and Nantes.

Fort Devens Museum is on the third floor of 94 Jackson Road and is wheelchair-accessible. Its focus is on preserving and sharing the history of the over-100-year-old Camp/Fort Devens and the stories of those who trained, worked, and lived there. No charge is made for admission to the museum itself or to this program, but a generous donation would be gratefully appreciated.

For more information please email