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Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association Annual Bisley Lecture 20th August 2011 Robert Davidson “Medical Aspects of ...
 
 
Boer Afrikaner Dutch-speaking South African
Facts and figures Boer population  220,000 Boer burghers 46,000
New medical organizations  <ul><li>Royal Army Medical Corps 1898 </li></ul><ul><li>Red Cross </li></ul><ul><li>Nursing ser...
Medical progress <ul><li>antisepsis   </li></ul><ul><li>Anaesthesia </li></ul><ul><li>bacteriology   </li></ul><ul><li>X-r...
British: when wounded… “ the immediate symptoms in many patients were amazingly slight” <ul><li>company had 1 medical N.C....
 
“ The erect position and small group necessary to bear off a wounded man at once draws a concentrated fire, if fighting is...
“ it is necessary to gather up the wounded before nightfall if possible.”
Volunteer stretcher bearers at Spion Kop
Volunteer stretcher bearers at Spion Kop
Coming down from Spion Kop
Natal  volunteer  stretcher  bearers
 
Dressing station, Modder river
“ The one period of danger is that of transport”
 
“ A stretcher party in my experience easily outstripped the wagon. Both the Indian dhoolie-bearers and the hastily recruit...
 
British Army organization <ul><li>Field Hospitals - mobile - ground sheets for ~100 patients.  </li></ul><ul><li>Stationar...
Field hospital, Natal front
Field hospital, Natal front
Australian ambulance
British ambulance
British ambulance, Magersfontein
“ Each train was provided with accommodation for two medical officers, two nursing Sisters, orderlies, a kitchen, and a di...
Stationary hospital
Stationary hospital
Stationary hospital, Bloemfontein
General hospital
General hospital
General hospital
Hospital Ships
Medicine in the Boer Republics – before the war <ul><li>Low standards </li></ul><ul><li>Few GPs </li></ul><ul><li>Only one...
Red cross armbands
 
Medicine in the Boer Republics - when war broke out: <ul><li>Official field ambulances </li></ul><ul><li>Local Volunteer a...
Dutch and Russian ambulance
 
 
Boer field hospital <ul><li>Boer field hospital </li></ul>
 
 
Boer Hospital Train
In the guerilla phase <ul><li>Initially, Boer wounded cared for in farm houses </li></ul><ul><li>Later, left for British t...
 
New types of war injury: <ul><li>THE MODERN RIFLE  </li></ul><ul><li>Smokeless </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid fire </li></ul><ul>...
<ul><li>Each soldier was issued with a first field dressing  </li></ul><ul><li>“ It was early recognised that the drier th...
 
 
<ul><li>“  We may fairly assume … 90 per cent. of the wounds to have been produced by bullets of small caliber”.  </li></ul>
.303 .577/.450   7X57  7X54  8X60R  6.5X55
 
 
Makins:  <ul><li>“ The opportunity of observing large numbers of injuries from rifle bullets of small calibre has not prev...
 
<ul><li>“  The effect of the diminution of calibre … allows the production of very 'neat' injuries - also the production o...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Humerus, 50 yds
Humerus, 100 yds
Humerus 250 yds
Humerus 1000 yds
Femur, 100 yds
Femur, 500 yds
Tibia/fibula, 1000 yds
“ Retained bullets sometimes give rise to unexpected surprises  …”
Makins: <ul><li>“  The employment of bullets of small calibre is all to the advantage of the men wounded, except in so far...
The dum-dum controversy <ul><li>“ Re: so-called expanding bullets of small calibre:  I believe that a great number of the ...
 
 
 
 
  Ratio killed to wounded 1815 Waterloo 10 killed to 33 wounded 1854 Crimean War 10 killed to 44 wounded 1899-1902 Boer Wa...
<ul><li>“ The increased distance which for the most part separated the two bodies of men, a feature no doubt accentuated b...
Wounds from shells
Shrapnel shell
Lyddite
Lyddite
Lyddite
 
 
Civilian Surgeons  <ul><li>~300 civilian surgeons appointed consultants to the army served in South Africa - Sir Anthony B...
 
“ Without unceasing passage of the hand across the part, it was impossible to keep flies from settling, and during operati...
Typhoid Among 557,653 British soldiers,  there were 57,686 cases of typhoid  8,225 died from typhoid  7,582 died from woun...
<ul><li>“  Water was often muddy, and the soldiers would take very little care what they drank unless under constant super...
 
 
typhoid
 
Intombi hospital, Ladysmith
Intombi hospital graveyard, Ladysmith
British superstition about disease “ Sunstroke was not common, and, considering the heat, it was very remarkable how littl...
cholera belt
Sun exposure
 
Spinal pad
 
Boers
Boers?
 
Cordite - eating
 
 
 
 
 
Acknowldgements : For a full account of this subject,  please consult Prof J C (Kay) De Villiers’ definitive book “ Healer...
Thank you.
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Medical Aspects of the Anglo Boer War 1899-1902

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Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) Annual Bisley Lecture 20th August 2011
Robert Davidson
www.hbsa-uk.org
“Medical Aspects of the 2nd Anglo Boer War 1899-1902”
given at the Artists Rifles clubhouse, Bisley Camp, Surrey, England.

Published in: Education, News & Politics
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Medical Aspects of the Anglo Boer War 1899-1902

  1. 1. Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association Annual Bisley Lecture 20th August 2011 Robert Davidson “Medical Aspects of the 2 nd Anglo Boer War 1899-1902” given at the Artists Rifles clubhouse, Bisley Camp, Surrey, England.
  2. 4. Boer Afrikaner Dutch-speaking South African
  3. 5. Facts and figures Boer population 220,000 Boer burghers 46,000
  4. 6. New medical organizations <ul><li>Royal Army Medical Corps 1898 </li></ul><ul><li>Red Cross </li></ul><ul><li>Nursing services </li></ul>
  5. 7. Medical progress <ul><li>antisepsis </li></ul><ul><li>Anaesthesia </li></ul><ul><li>bacteriology </li></ul><ul><li>X-rays </li></ul>
  6. 8. British: when wounded… “ the immediate symptoms in many patients were amazingly slight” <ul><li>company had 1 medical N.C.O. and 2 stretcher bearers to take wounded to dressing station (= Medical Officer + medical N.C.O.) </li></ul><ul><li>From the dressing station taken by stretcher bearers, from the bearer company under the care of a M.O. and two medical N.C.O.s, to a collecting station </li></ul><ul><li>Then they were transported by ambulance to a field hospital. </li></ul>
  7. 10. “ The erect position and small group necessary to bear off a wounded man at once draws a concentrated fire, if fighting is still proceeding”.
  8. 11. “ it is necessary to gather up the wounded before nightfall if possible.”
  9. 12. Volunteer stretcher bearers at Spion Kop
  10. 13. Volunteer stretcher bearers at Spion Kop
  11. 14. Coming down from Spion Kop
  12. 15. Natal volunteer stretcher bearers
  13. 17. Dressing station, Modder river
  14. 18. “ The one period of danger is that of transport”
  15. 20. “ A stretcher party in my experience easily outstripped the wagon. Both the Indian dhoolie-bearers and the hastily recruited Colonial bearer companies were most successful ..”
  16. 22. British Army organization <ul><li>Field Hospitals - mobile - ground sheets for ~100 patients. </li></ul><ul><li>Stationary Hospitals - along the lines of communication - ~100 patients on stretchers (expanded if necessary). </li></ul><ul><li>General Hospitals –initially at bases - later moved forward. Like civilian hospital; 250 -500 patients. </li></ul><ul><li>Private Hospitals </li></ul>
  17. 23. Field hospital, Natal front
  18. 24. Field hospital, Natal front
  19. 25. Australian ambulance
  20. 26. British ambulance
  21. 27. British ambulance, Magersfontein
  22. 28. “ Each train was provided with accommodation for two medical officers, two nursing Sisters, orderlies, a kitchen, and a dispensary, and each carried some 120 patients”
  23. 29. Stationary hospital
  24. 30. Stationary hospital
  25. 31. Stationary hospital, Bloemfontein
  26. 32. General hospital
  27. 33. General hospital
  28. 34. General hospital
  29. 35. Hospital Ships
  30. 36. Medicine in the Boer Republics – before the war <ul><li>Low standards </li></ul><ul><li>Few GPs </li></ul><ul><li>Only one military doctor (Dr Lillpop) </li></ul><ul><li>1896 Transvaal Red Cross </li></ul>
  31. 37. Red cross armbands
  32. 39. Medicine in the Boer Republics - when war broke out: <ul><li>Official field ambulances </li></ul><ul><li>Local Volunteer ambulances e.g. medical students, Jewish, etc… </li></ul><ul><li>14 Foreign volunteer ambulances: </li></ul><ul><li>French, Dutch, Netherlands Indies, Russian, Belgian-German, Irish-American, Swiss, Scandinavian… </li></ul>
  33. 40. Dutch and Russian ambulance
  34. 43. Boer field hospital <ul><li>Boer field hospital </li></ul>
  35. 46. Boer Hospital Train
  36. 47. In the guerilla phase <ul><li>Initially, Boer wounded cared for in farm houses </li></ul><ul><li>Later, left for British to capture and care for </li></ul>
  37. 49. New types of war injury: <ul><li>THE MODERN RIFLE </li></ul><ul><li>Smokeless </li></ul><ul><li>Rapid fire </li></ul><ul><li>Long range </li></ul><ul><li>THE MODERN RIFLE BULLET </li></ul><ul><li>Small calibre </li></ul><ul><li>High velocity </li></ul><ul><li>jacketed </li></ul>
  38. 50. <ul><li>Each soldier was issued with a first field dressing </li></ul><ul><li>“ It was early recognised that the drier the dressing the better, and hence anything like a mackintosh layer was carefully avoided”. </li></ul>
  39. 53. <ul><li>“ We may fairly assume … 90 per cent. of the wounds to have been produced by bullets of small caliber”. </li></ul>
  40. 54. .303 .577/.450 7X57 7X54 8X60R 6.5X55
  41. 57. Makins: <ul><li>“ The opportunity of observing large numbers of injuries from rifle bullets of small calibre has not previously been afforded to British surgeons.” </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  42. 59. <ul><li>“ The effect of the diminution of calibre … allows the production of very 'neat' injuries - also the production of remarkably prolonged tracks (which) were impossible with the older and larger projectiles. “ </li></ul>
  43. 67. Humerus, 50 yds
  44. 68. Humerus, 100 yds
  45. 69. Humerus 250 yds
  46. 70. Humerus 1000 yds
  47. 71. Femur, 100 yds
  48. 72. Femur, 500 yds
  49. 73. Tibia/fibula, 1000 yds
  50. 74. “ Retained bullets sometimes give rise to unexpected surprises …”
  51. 75. Makins: <ul><li>“ The employment of bullets of small calibre is all to the advantage of the men wounded, except in so far as the increased possibilities of the range of fire may augment the number of individuals hit.” </li></ul>
  52. 76. The dum-dum controversy <ul><li>“ Re: so-called expanding bullets of small calibre: I believe that a great number of the injuries which were attributed to the employment of these missiles were produced either by ricochet regulation bullets of small calibre, or by large leaden bullets of the Martini-Henry type.” </li></ul>
  53. 81.   Ratio killed to wounded 1815 Waterloo 10 killed to 33 wounded 1854 Crimean War 10 killed to 44 wounded 1899-1902 Boer War 10 killed to 47 wounded
  54. 82. <ul><li>“ The increased distance which for the most part separated the two bodies of men, a feature no doubt accentuated by the mode of warfare adopted by the Boer, and his strong sense of the folly of close combat on equal terms, tended to efface one of the chief characters, velocity of flight, on the part of the projectile. The want of effectiveness of the small calibre bullet as an instrument of serious mischief also kept down the mortality.” </li></ul>
  55. 83. Wounds from shells
  56. 84. Shrapnel shell
  57. 85. Lyddite
  58. 86. Lyddite
  59. 87. Lyddite
  60. 90. Civilian Surgeons <ul><li>~300 civilian surgeons appointed consultants to the army served in South Africa - Sir Anthony Bowlby, Sir George Makins, Sir Lenthal Cheatle, Watson-Cheyne, Cuthbert Wallace, Sir William McCormack and Sir Frederick Treves. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle … </li></ul>
  61. 92. “ Without unceasing passage of the hand across the part, it was impossible to keep flies from settling, and during operations the nuisance was much greater.”
  62. 93. Typhoid Among 557,653 British soldiers, there were 57,686 cases of typhoid 8,225 died from typhoid 7,582 died from wounds.
  63. 94. <ul><li>“ Water was often muddy, and the soldiers would take very little care what they drank unless under constant supervision; hence a great quantity of very undesirable water was drunk. </li></ul><ul><li>The men would often go and fill their water-bottles amongst the animals' feet rather than take the trouble to walk the few necessary yards round. ” </li></ul>
  64. 97. typhoid
  65. 99. Intombi hospital, Ladysmith
  66. 100. Intombi hospital graveyard, Ladysmith
  67. 101. British superstition about disease “ Sunstroke was not common, and, considering the heat, it was very remarkable how little the men suffered from this condition. This was no doubt in part attributable to the absence of the possibility of getting alcoholic drinks”
  68. 102. cholera belt
  69. 103. Sun exposure
  70. 105. Spinal pad
  71. 107. Boers
  72. 108. Boers?
  73. 110. Cordite - eating
  74. 116. Acknowldgements : For a full account of this subject, please consult Prof J C (Kay) De Villiers’ definitive book “ Healers, helpers and Hospitals - A History of Military Medicine in the Anglo-Boer War Volumes I and Volume II” 
 ISBN: 9781869192777
Publication year: 2009
 Pages: 772 (Volume I) and 324 (Volume II) 
 Publishers: Protea Book House, Pretoria
  75. 117. Thank you.

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