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Thomas Calder, a lieutenant in the 1st Surreys, was sent back to England in autumn 1917 after being injured during the Battle of the Somme. He spent a week or so in a conventional military hospital in France, but his wounds were primarily psychic rather than physical, so he was sent back to England, and to Sandilands.
Sandilands had by that time come under the directorship of Dr. K. J. Ravichandra. Ravichandra was marked out by his universally acknowledged skill, and by his advanced and humane ideas. Before his advent, Sandilands had effectively been a torture chamber for men who were considered weak and cowardly, in need of being shocked or bullied back to obedience. Whatever our modern opinion of Ravichandra’s approach, there can be little doubt that his informal and conversational style represented an improvement on treatment through freezing cold water, or electric shock, or cigarette burn. The men who came under Ravichandra’s care at Sandilands - an Elizabethan manor in East Anglia, bought by the government and converted for use as an Army psychiatric hospital - generally showed great improvement. Calder turned out to be something of an exception.