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Remembered Today:

Medical Services tour


BJanman
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Hi

Has anyone been on or know of a tour that concentrates on the Medical Services in places like Rouen, Harve, Le Treport, Etaples etc? I have been going to the battlefields now for nine years but have never been where the hospitals were situated, and would love to go there as the Medical Services it is the area I enjoy researching.

Or can anyone advise if it is easy to go to these places by ferry and then train? I am happy to go on my own but have never driven on the other side of the road, I don't want to cause a major accident :blush:

Thanks for any advice.

Barbara

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I know Simon Jones, who works as a guide for Holts, was working on a tour based around this. He is a member here so will hopefully see this.

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Hallo Barbara

I did a Holt's tour a couple of years ago which revolved around Chaplains and Doctors. You have to bear in mind that these are done as a commercial enterprise, and have to appeal to a wide range of people who don't have the same depth of interest in the subject. The tour I did (and I'd done others before) was very good, but still very limited in what was included in the time available, and naturally had to concentrate on things that still exist in France/Flanders, which is not very much.

My next trip after that was to Etaples with a couple of friends, and like visiting any other part of the Western Front, the joys of being a free agent are immense - it was possible to wander round pieces of scrub land, building sites and sand dunes searching for tiny remnants of what remains, which is simply not possible on an organised tour. There is very little left to see in most of the towns. The hospital sites at Havre have been well and truly concreted over, and the same is true of Rouen on the whole, though the town itself is so lovely that it's well worth a visit in its own right. Etaples has nothing really, but with a good contemporary map it's at least possible to walk in the steps of where it all happened. Camiers was the most unchanged, and easy to imagine what life was like there. Le Touquet is ... well, Le Touquet, and again, what was pine forests once is now ring roads and new buildings. Le Treport is quite a good place to go as there's a lot of interest in the WW1 hospitals there, and several locals who research and write about them.

But to me the joy is just being able to wander around these places, and to stand where nurses and doctors stood before - exactly the same really as wandering around fields of the Somme or Ypres. I would say that a tour is a good introduction, but would never give the satisfaction that going it alone would. But it would probably give you the confidence to go back with a car yourself the next year - any room for a passenger? :lol:

Sue

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Thanks for the plug Paul!

Barbara

I ran a tour for Holts called Behind the Lines this summer with Andrew Poole who is an ex-RAMC medic which focused on the Ypres Salient, Poperinge, Cassel and St Omer and which included a lot on the medical services, plus chaplains and general entertainment and welfare. We will hopefully run a tour on medics next year which will focus on the Somme. I don’t yet know if we will spend as much time behind the lines but we may well spend half a day on a tour of Amiens. If you keep an eye on the Holts website the new tours should appear in a month or so – I don’t advertise them on the forum as it is against the rules but sometimes you can deduce from the questions in my postings what is in the pipeline!

Simon

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Thanks Sue for the advice. I haven't been to these areas before so I agree it would probably be better to go on a tour first. Going with a map and maybe extracts from a war diary or personal diary really appeals to me, I would love to do that and would make loads of room for a passenger with the same interest. It's strange really because the people I know who have a good knowledge of the Great War are not overly interested in the Medical Services, and the people I know in the Medical Services do not really have a big interest in the Great War, so it would be great to travel with someone who is interested in both.

Hi Simon. Trust me to miss a tour called Behind the Lines, it sounds exactly what I am looking for. Anything on medics will be of interest to me though so I will keep an eye out on the Holts website. Thanks for letting me know.

Barbara

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I ran a tour for Holts called Behind the Lines this summer with Andrew Poole who is an ex-RAMC medic

And an excellent tour it was too. The input from Andrew put the medical services in context with the practices of today in Iraq & Afghanistan which gave a good insight into how the service has changed and how much of the basics from WW1 are still in place today. I would thoroughly recommend this tour if it is run again.

Peter

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The input from Andrew put the medical services in context with the practices of today in Iraq & Afghanistan which gave a good insight into how the service has changed and how much of the basics from WW1 are still in place today. I would thoroughly recommend this tour if it is run again.

Peter

There was a programme on the TV not very long ago about the doctors working in a military hospital in Basra. It showed regular army doctors working alongside Territorial Army doctors and NHS doctors who had volunteered to help, and although I appreciate that medicine is much more advanced now and we live in a different world, it did give an insight into how they may have worked together back then. I really enjoyed the programme, I hope they do another one.

Thanks for the thumps up on the Holts tour.

Barbara

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