They often don’t go hand in hand soldiers and doctors, but no one can argue the benefits of having the Royal Army Medical Corps involved in British Operations!
In tandem with our research into the Royal Army Medical Corps we have been over to Aldershot and Keogh Barracks to visit the Army Medical Services Museum and network with their collections curator.
It was a highly informative experience and our guide Ceri was a clear expert in her field, even with a Military History degree under my belt I have learnt heaps! Our research was concentrated on the equipment of RAMC Hospitals and Casualty Clearing Stations and Ceri showed us the vast set of tools a Hospital would have been equipped with, from surgical and dentistry to drugs and “Iron Lungs”.
The museum was filled with displays from pre-napoleonic medicine which looks absolutely brutal, right up to the Afghanistan War which, thanks to modern technology and materials, is still equally as brutal! You would be surprised how little medical equipment has changed since the First World War, it simply looks “nicer”. But combined with our immeasurably increased knowledge of how the human body works, modern drugs, anti-biotics, the dangers of infection and the like the “brutality” is lost.
Here’s a sampling of the pictures we took focussing on WW1 displays:
Equally as brilliant as the displays was the library of documentation the AMS has collated. They have books on RAMC regulations, the history of the corps all sorts and we were privileged to have been show some fascinating documents about No. 7 General Hospital on the Western Front in the First World War.
You would also not believe the amount of medals that have been kindly donated to the museum. This includes one of the finest collections I’ve ever seen that of Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Martin-Leeke VC, FR, CS. He was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1902 for service in the Anglo-Boer war and was awarded a bar to his VC in 1914. Only 3 VC recipients have also been awarded the Bar, two of those being RAMC personnel.
We highly recommend a visit if you are looking for something to do on days when this British Spring/Summer is more fitting for Winter… Or just in general anyway! Please be aware however that the museum is located on an active RAMC Barracks site so you will have to bring a form of ID with you like a drivers license or passport.
Please check the AMS museum website’s FAQs for all the details about visiting. Ceri was very accommodating in our visit and I’m sure that is representative of all the staff working there.
Did any of your ancestor's serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps? Tell us about it today and if you have a diary written by your ancestor we'd love the opportunity to publish it, with a free Years Membership to Forces War Records on offer!