Stretcher Bearers

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by liverpool annie, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Advancing troops were not allowed to stop and care for wounded soldiers. All men carried an emergency field-dressing and if possible attempted to treat their own wounds. The wounded soldier then had to wait until the stretcher-bearers arrived. There were only four stretcher-bearers per company and so it was often sometime before they received medical help. Some dragged themselves into a shell-hole for protection, but this was dangerous as many sank into the mud and drowned. One man with a broken thigh spent two days dragging himself backwards with his hands, until he reached his own trenches. Another soldier who had been shot in the chest, lasted eleven days in No Man's Land before the stretcher-bearers found him

    In good conditions two men could carry a wounded man on a stretcher. However, after heavy rain it took four men to lift a stretcher. The men not only had the problem of dragging their feet out of the mud after every step, they also had to make sure not to rock the stretcher as this would increase the pain of the wounded man. The pain of shattered bone ends grating together was so intense that the wounded man was likely to die of shock. One stretcher-bearer working in the mud in 1916 reported that: "as one carried a wounded man you got stuck in the mud and staggered. You put out a hand to steady yourself, the earth gave way and you found you were clutching the blackened face of a half-buried, dead soldier."

    Once he had been picked up by the stretcher-bearers, the wounded man would be taken to the regimental aid post that was usually based in the reserve trenches. After the wounds had been cleaned and bandaged the injured man was taken to the Casualty Clearing Station where surgery was carried out.
  2. scrimnet

    scrimnet New Member

    I think it pertinent to point out that SBs were ordinary soldiers of the battalion and NOT members of the RAMC. Thus they only had a very rudimentary knowledge of First Aid which was augmented by the assistance given to the MOs.

    They were basically "scoop and run" as the ambulance service of this country were until a large train disaster in the 1950s (I forget which one but it was pretty famous..I think Harrow in 1952) when an American unit stationed nearby, assessed the injured, gave immediate and life saving aid on the spot before evacuation. This re evalued the Ambulance service in this country, and the "Golden Hour" was bought into civilian life.

    RMA (Regimental Medical Assistant Classes 1,2 and 3) Training was introduced at some point (I'll get a date for this at home laters) for the Bns / Sqns, but higher standards were used for the RAMC.

    There are several contemporary books on this and the standard RAMC Trg manual used was published in 1911.

    I'll do a full thing tonight for your edification and entertainment...

    Sorry if I went a bit "off topic" but this is (for some reason ;) :D ) a subject close to my heart!!

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