This book examines the role of the doctor in war, with reference to the Western front 1914-1918. It examines the system that was developed for recruiting medical officers, highlighting the tensions between civil and military needs, and the BMA’s determination to protect the interests of the profession. Separate chapters deal with the position of medical students and the contribution of women doctors. The book looks at the training of doctors for war, and the differences that existed between military and civilian medicine. The Army’s utilisation of doctors is assessed in the context of contemporary accusations that its organisation was wasteful and ignorant of the requirements of medical science. These issues are addressed through a discussion of evacuation procedures, the development of wound therapy and the provision for preventing and treating the diseases of war.
DOCTORS IN THE GREAT WAR
A substantial work of considerable importance to our understanding of the Great War, centred on the Royal Army Medical Corps and The Western Front. By July 1915 a quarter of British doctors had joined up, one tenth having done so in the opening months of the war. The BMA acted as a channel for transmitting army requirements, persuading any sceptics of the validity of military needs, out-and-out mobilisation of the profession was feared as a possible first step to a post-war salaried service. Failure to enrol for the RAMC incurred liability for compulsory combatant service, although appeals were allowed.