Special units

Count Radetzky Hospital

Detecting the background of hospital badges is always very difficult. I haven’t found a regular record of military hospitals similar to military units yet. There are secondary sources, especially about specific institutions. So the names on the badges don’t always help with the investigation. That’s how the Count Radetzky Hospital appeared for a long time. Beautiful badge, clean design, real masterpiece. But where was this hospital?? According to the Hungarian inscription of the badge, it must have been placed in Hungary. But while most badge names refer to some civilian institution, or perhaps the palace of an aristocratic family, Radetzky refers to who, to what? We know well that Field Marshal Radetzky was one of the most famous and respected generals of the Monarchy. He received a monument in Vienna. A hussar regiment had been named after him. But how does that relate to a military hospital?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot until, as usual, I’ve accidentally found the clue. Last week, parts of the façade of a building under demolition smashed some parked cars in Budapest city center. This building is located in Bem Square, and I already knew that it was a barracks until 1944. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident, but there were long articles about how the old barracks building would be turned into a hotel. And in these articles, I could read in detail about the history of the building. It’s not just that during the Monarchy, the 4th pioneer battalion was placed here. But also that during the Great War, there was a military hospital in the building. In the mid-1800s, warehouses for the supply of the Buda Castle were built on the plot. These were further expanded into barracks in 1897. And here came the key information. The new barracks were called Radetzky Barracks! The name, and the fact that during the war a hospital was installed in the building gave the answer to the old question. Radetzky Hospital could be the name of the hospital deployed in the pioneer’s barracks.

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