, 14 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
#DDay75: the role of the British & Commonwealth Medical Services in the #Normandy campaign is an important part of our understanding of events that summer 75 years ago. [thread] 1/14
#DDay75: When a soldier was wounded on the battlefield the first level of medical treatment was from Regimental Stretcher Bearers. These were infantry soldiers posted to the Stretcher Bearers section. As such, despite the myth, they were not Conscientious Objectors. 2/14
#DDay75: Regimental Stretcher Bearers were well trained & well equipped. Their task was to stabilise a casualty, clean & dress a wound, and then evacuate them to a place of safety. 3/14
#DDay75: The place of safety was a Regimental Aid Post (RAP) located on or near the battlefield. Sometimes a hedgerow, more usefully a building like this at Caumont in July 1944. Here casualties could be treated further before being passed to the Royal Army Medical Corps. 4/14
#DDay75: The RAP was often also the 'Jeep Head' the point at which wheeled transport could go no further. Stretcher Jeeps were on hand here to transfer casualties to the next stage of treatment at a RAMC Field Dressing Station (FDS). 5/14
#DDay75: The Field Dressing Station (FDS) was manned by personnel from the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). Here there were medical officers & more specialised personnel. It was away from the battlefield, often in a large building, & proper treatment could be offered here. 6/14
#DDay75: At the FDS casualties would be treated & stabilised, wounds re-dressed & then sent on to Field or General Hospitals for further, and in some respects proper treatment away from the battlefield. This is 79 General Hospital at Bayeux & was tented like many here. 7/14
#DDay75: The General Hospitals were also a casualty's first encounter with Nurses. The General Hospital was the front line for women from Britain & the Commonwealth: seen here are Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMS) personnel at Douvres in June 1944. 8/14
#DDay75: After treatment at the General Hospital, casualties would be evacuated to England as quickly as possible. Airfields like this one at Bazenville enabled ambulances to take wounded direct to the aircraft. 9/14
#Day75: On board the Dakotas evacuating the wounded were medical & nursing staff to care for the casualties en-route. Here Leading Aircraftwoman Pearl Bradburn, a WAAF nursing orderly from Sale, writes out the casualty cards for the wounded. 10/14
#Day75: If aircraft could not be used then ambulances would take casualties to the Mulberry Harbour for evacuation by Hospital Ship. From D-Day to the end of July over 50,000 soldiers were evacuated via these two routes of air & sea. 11/14
#DDay75: On D-Day 6th Airborne went into Normandy with it's own Parachute Field Ambulances. These were taken in by glider as they had specialist kit & vehicles like Jeeps with trailers. They set up facilities in Ranville which remained open for the rest of the campaign. 12/14
#DDay75: Although losses on D-Day were much lower than expected, Infantry casualties in the Normandy campaign were high. Recent research puts them on a par with Third Ypres in 1917 but because of the medical arrangements fewer men died as infection could be treated quickly. 13/14
#DDay75: The professional, well organised & technologically advanced medical arrangements in Normandy saved thousands of lives. Men could be wounded in the morning and in England by nightfall. The role of them in 1944 is an important part of our understanding of Normandy. 14/14
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