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be out of the question to maintain such Sir W. MacCormac, Mr. Treves, Sir a permanent establishment of the R. A. W. Stokes, and others who have gone M. C. as would be sufficient to meet to South Africa, are those of princes in all the duties which now lie before it. their great calling, and England owes Like those of other nations, our mili- a deep debt of gratitude to such men, tary medical department has always who, forsaking their great positions and had to contemplate the necessity, when largely-paid practices at home, have an emergency arose, of appealing to the gone forth on their errand of mercy. It medical profession at large for assist- is no confession of weakness on the ance. The appeal has now been made part of the R. A. M. C. that it should by the Director-General, and most nobly welcome the advice in grave cases of and enthusiastically has it been an- scientists whose reputation is pre-emswered. Thousands of the most highly- inent. The credit of its officers, gained qualified men in our islands, represent- brilliantly in peace and war, puts it ing all the great medical schools, have beyond any such suggestion; but there applied for employment, and the only is no doubt that it is often more difficult difficulty has been to choose from the to decide whether a serious operation multitude the few hundreds that have is advisable than to perform the operabeen required. It is understood that tion itself, and it must be of the greatthese civilian surgeons are to receive est satisfaction to the patient, to the the same pay and allowances during patient's friends at home, and to the their term of employment as the regu. surgeon, that the propriety of any lar officers; but no such temptations, course of action should be supported nor indeed any temptations whatever, and fortified by an opinion of unqueswere necessary to secure their services. tionable weight and value. If they These gallant volunteers were only anx- had gone from England for nothing else ious to practice their noble profession but to inspect and report upon the R. A. in their country's service, not in mere M. C. work in the field and in hospital, commonplace hospital work, but in the presence of the consultants in Afthe most advanced posts, where ex- rica would have been an immense satisposure and hardship are greatest, and faction to the English people. No men the enemy's bullets are flying most know better than they what surgery thickly. So far it has not been con- and nursing should be, and when, as sidered desirable to gratify their very independent critics, they can and do laudable ambition to the utmost, as pour forth unstinted praise upon every their lack of military experience and detail that has come before them, we knowledge of military routine might can bless the arrangement that has present some difficulties, but they are given us their opinion. In employing finding ample employment in the base these distinguished men, England is and stationary hospitals. It is by no only doing what all great Continental means improbable, however, that the nations propose to do in the case of time may come when some of them war; but even in our own history we may find themselves in situations have seen a leading London surgeon which will very fully try their nerve hurry to the scene of a great camand hardihood.

paign:In addition to the regular working staff of our medical organization for

The fact may not inappropriately be

recalled that Sir Charles Bell acted as war, our soldiers are also having with

a volunteer consultant to the forces them some of the greatest British sur

after Waterloo. In his "Letters,” pubgeons as consultants. The names of lished by his widow, it is stated that

362

LIVING AGE.

VOL. VII.

when, on June 22, 1815, the news of are very fully imbued with the military the great battle reached London, Bell virtues of discipline and devotion to exclaimed to his brother-in-law, Mr.

duty. We know well how in the comJohn Shaw, afterwards surgeon to the

batant ranks good officers can by their Middlesex hospital: "Johnnie! How

leading incite their men to deeds of can we let this pass? Here is such an occasion of seeing gunshot wounds

chivalry and heroism, and, in like man. come to our very door. Let us go." ner, the unfailing, scientific coolness, They set off at once, the only passports resource, presence of mind, and entire they thought of being surgical instru- forgetfulness of self shown by the offiments; these Shaw shook in the faces cers of the R. A. M. C. are constantly of the officers, who thereupon let thein

emulated by the men who serve with pass without making any difficulty. On

them. There is no doubt that in the their arrival at Brussels they found

line nearest the enemy, where work things in some confusion. Bell writes on July 1: "It was thought we were

must inevitably be, to some extent, prepared for a great battle, yet there rough and ready, when grave danger is we are, eleven days after it, only mak- hovering near, and a hospital must, as ing arrangements for the reception of it were, "come into action" with the utthe wounded."

most rapidity, and not always under

the most favorable surrounding cirSir Charles Bell appears to have cumstances, the men of the R. A. M. C. given his great skill principally to the are the best possible nurses. It has French wounded, though he was con- been suggested that some lady nurses sulted by General Adam, Sir Edward should be attached to the field hospiBarnes, Sir Henry Hardinge, and other tals; but the consensus of opinion among officers.

those who are responsible that the work After all, surgery and medicine are is well done, and among the poor Tomnot everything in the treatment of a mies who form the cases, is that the case, but careful and tender nursing ladies would be quite out of place so takes a very important part. The near the battlefield, and that it is much medical officer cannot always remain better to rely entirely on the men who by one bedside, and if his directions have always proved themselves to be are not minutely carried out during the so good and efficient. It is obvious, too, long hours when he is employed else- that if a lady nurse falls sick it would where, his best skill will be but of par- be impossible in a field hospital to tial avail. It does not appear to be provide that she should have the care usually known that the men of the R. and privacy due to her sex. A. M. C. are not only stretcher-bearers, But in the case of our sick and but are also highly-skilled and experi. wounded soldiers there is still a very enced hospital attendants, and are di- important place for lady nurses. Imvided, according to their capabilities, mediately after the first shock of a into various classes. The orderlies of wound, the patient's thoughts are still the first class are thoroughly-trained full of the excitement of the fight, or "nurses," while the others are employed else he is nearly unconscious of suras compounders, cooks, etc. Probably rounding influences. So long as he is nowhere is the responsibility of nursing attended to, there is little room for the more felt than it is by the orderlies in sway of the mind over the body; but a military hospital. Quite irrespective when he finds himself in a stationary of the sympathetic feeling which we or base hospital, during the long-drawn. believe that most Englishmen have to- out days while he is slowly progressing wards helplessness and suffering, they to convalescence, or when, perhaps, he is fading out of life, the gentle touch of ful eye is kept upon the sources of a woman's hand, and the soothing tone water-supply, the food, and all matters of a woman's voice, are to him of in- that can possibly affect the well-being estimable value. Good and attentive of the men. How thoroughly sanitaas male nurses may be, their care lacks tion is attended to is shown by the exsomething which is supplied by that of cellent general health of all the troops, the “ministering angels." This has although typhoid fever is known to be been recognized for some years, and a very prevalent in South Africa during corps of ladies called the Army Nurs- the autumn and summer. The only ing Service has been formed for hospi- places where there have been any serital duty in England and the Colonies, ous outbreaks are among the beseiged India being provided for by the Indian garrisons and one or two camps close Nursing Service, which is a separate to the enemy, and their conditions are, body. The sisters of the Army Nursing of course, beyond the control of any Service all go through a course of in- sanitary science, however perfect and struction at Netley, and there become however energetic in action. accustomed to military ways and mili- A very ill-advised commander in the tary discipline. A large number of English army once said, not so very them are now in South Africa, and how long ago, that the medical corps “were admirably their work is done will be not soldiers, but only attendants upon told by the invalids who are now re- soldiers.” It may be, perhaps, difficult turning to England. As the Army Nurs- to define what special qualifications or ing Service would be unable to meet all employments make a man a soldier, the calls upon it, it is supplemented by but if entire self-abnegation in the sisters from the Army Nursing Re- cause of duty, if patient endurance of serve, an organization managed by a fatigue and hardship in the course of committee of which Princess Christian

military operations, if the

prois president, and into whose benevolent foundest disregard of danger in work she has thrown her whole energy.

the battlefield, if the fact of their The followers in the footsteps of Flor- officers and men being large sharence Nightingale are now many. The ers in the death and injury that good work that she initiated has now

smite the personnel of an army, are any become a commonplace of warlike or- of the conditions that mark a true solganization, the difficulties that she dier, the R. A. M. C. can say, “No men found in her path have passed away are more of soldiers than we.” This forever, and all the world recognizes

must be iterated again and yet again; the noble practicalness of her aims. for, in the face of these very palpable

Some comment has been made on facts, there can be no doubt that in the omission of special sanitary officers certain military quarters, and those, from the staffs of our armies. The fact so far, very influential quarters, there is, however, that such officers are now is still a deep-rooted feeling of animosin no way needed. Every officer of the ity against the medical service. Or is R. A. M. C. goes through a course at it possible that the feeling is rather Netley on all matters connected with one of jealousy because that service has sanitation, and is perfectly competent been so eminently equal to a great octo advise in every such detail. The casion, when the purely combatant admedical officer attached to each unit is ministration has, to say the least, not responsible to the principal medical been too successful? Specific army officer of the division for the proper status has been granted to the medical condition of his camp, and a most care- department, but this has not apparento

ly always carried with it the recogni- wounded, because in no other way tion that is due. For a salient exam

could I have learnt the care taken of the ple of what is meant it may be pointed

wounded; and there was nothing off

cer or private soldier required that was out that the name of the principal

not provided at once, and the medical medical officer of the last Soudan ex

officers never tired in their endeavor to pedition was omitted from the other

alleviate suffering. wise comprehensive list of those to

1 whom the thanks of Parliament were

The despatch also contains the foltendered. The record of special acts

lowing mention: "He (Colonel Paget) of gallantry performed by our officers

draws attention to Captain Moores, R. and men in South Africa is somewhat

A. M. C., who, although wounded in the slow in reaching us, and what has come

hand, said nothing, but continued his has been wanting in fulness. Perhaps

duties." it is only the despatches of successful

From other sources we know that, generals that can be expected to con

while our soldiers have behaved, withtain eulogies of subordinates, however

out exception, in accordance with the well they may have served, however

noblest traditions of the British race, brilliant an example they may have

when one of the few bright elements given. But, though we have yet to

in the campaign's history is the knowllearn officially the details of many

edge that all ranks have quitted them. deeds of heroism, the commanders of

selves like men, the R. A. M. C. bas the most important forces hitherto em

specially distinguished itself, and we ployed have spoken generally in the

cannot help feeling our blood stirred most laudatory terms about the work

by tales of what it has done. Mr. done by the R. A. M. C. General Bul

Treves tells of poor Lieutenant Robler says:

erts's death:

One of the Natal papers is attacking the military hospitals, and, as some of the false and ridiculous statements may cause anxiety at home, I think it right to say that Mr. Treves assures me that there is no possible ground for complaint, and that I may rest satisfied that all the medical arrangements are completely satisfactory to him. I pressed him if he could suggest improvement, and he said he could not. I have given the matter every consideration, and can oply express iny admiration of the arrangements made by Colonel Gallwey and the Royal Army Medical Corps, and Mr. Treves assures me that he entirely agrees with me.

Before he was brought in he had been lying for seven hours in the sun in a donga. Here he was attended by Major Babtie, R.AM.C., who rode into the donga through a hail of bullets, and whose horse was killed under him. Major Babtie kept by the wounded men in the donga until the battle was over, and as he alone had water in his water-bottle he doled out water to each man in a minim measure, one drachm to each. The courage and daring of Major Babtie on this occasion call for some recognition from the medical profession, if not from the military authorities.

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Then

the Morning Post's Lord Methuen thus concludes his despatch after the Modder River fight:

spondent, writing of the battle of

Magersfontein:-Again I call attention to the splendid hospital arrangements, for at 4.45 p. m. It is most necessary here to say a on the day after the fight all my

word in praise of the Army Medical wounded were on the way to Cape- Corps, who faced a hot fire all day town. I am glad to have been slightly long, going close up to the firing-line to bring back our wounded. It seems al- But, here's to the man of the R.A.M.C. most incredible that during the day 500 Buzzing about on the field like a bee, wounded men should have been Tending the wounded where lead's flybrought back by the Medical Corps, ing hot, though to get them back stretcher- Biting his lip when he gets hisself shot; bearers and searchers had to cross and Brave as the best of us, hurt and not recross a zone of fire nearly a mile tell, wide.

Doctor he may be--he's soldier as well.

Il Writing of the same battle, the Daily

And besides their chivalrous courage Telegraph correspondent says:

and readiness in the actual battlefield,

; the R. A. M. C. have given examples When the ambulance was brought up

of the most extraordinary endurance in about noon, the Boers would not allow carrying out their duties after the acit to come nearer than 500 yards. En. tual fighting is over,--an endurance so sor, however, went on alone within 300

much beyond the ordinary capacity of yards of the enemy and brought back

human powers that it can only be aca wounded man, although a heavy fire

counted for by believing that they are was directed on him by the Boers. Cap

stimulated by the noblest professional tain Probyn, attached to the Gordon Highlanders, walked erect up and zeal and the most eager and high-minddown the firing-line attending to the ed philanthropy. After the battle of wounded officers and men under a hail Magersfontein the medical men worked of bullets.

incessantly for thirty-six hours. After

i the battle of Colenso Mr. Treves And so on and so on.

writes:Several officers of the R. A. M. C. have met a soldier's death on the field.

Some 800 wounded

passed The first to give his life for his country through the field hospitals and dealt was Major Gray, who fell while minis- with by sixteen surgeons. Those who tering to the wounded at Elandslaagte. harshly criticise the Medical Depart

ment should have seen the work done Then Captain Hughes, one of the most

on the memorable Friday on the Naval brilliant young English scientists, died

Hill before Colenso. No work could by Buller's side at Colenso. Even that

have been done better. The equipment unemotional commander telegraphed,

was good, the arrangements elabor“We had all learned to love him;" and ated, and the officers worked on hour it has been written of him in a great after hour without rest or food under professional journal, “His untimely

the most trying possible conditions. No death is a loss not only to the Royal greater strain could have fallen upon

a department, and all concerned met Army Medical Corps, but also to the

the brunt of it valiantly and well. One profession at large as well as to medi

could not be other than proud of one's cal science.” And, alas! there

profession. others.

And be it remembered that the men A very spirited ditty has come before who did this great work--work which us. It was published in the Morning involved as much toil to the brain as it Post, and it is no discredit to it to say demanded the utmost skilfulness of that it is evidently inspired by the hand-did not come to it fresh and unstudy of Rudyard Kipling. Its last fatigued. Many of them had had a lines seem to sum up very perfectly weary march, many of them had been all that we think about the R. A. M. C. present and employed during the long in the field :

and bitter action. The temperature

were

are

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