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Remembered Today:

Wounded in Action But Remained On Duty


Stansman
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Hello all, I have an Australian soldiers service record part of which states "Wounded in Action But Remained On Duty 15th of April 1918" I'm interested in finding out exactly what means, was the soldier just lightly wounded, treated and remained on the frontline? or would he have gone to a behind the lines hospital but stayed in the combat area. Any input is much appreciated.

Stan

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Stan,

From a War Diary.

29th November 1918-While firing a rapid "fire" competition C S M Dickman & L/C Tomkins were wounded through a defective cartridge shattering the bolt head of L/C Tomkins' rifle.

Casualties during November 1918

Other Ranks

Wounded (Acc.) (At Duty) 2

To Hosp. Sick 17

George

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I think we've had this before. As I remember it meant the soldier was patched up and stayed in the line with his unit but possibly doing lighter duties (such acting as a local messenger say being a task for a man with an injured finger who couldn't use his rifle). Walking lightly wounded as it were. Given the date (in the middle of the German spring offensive) I would imagine men were being kept with their unit so long as they could do something useful.

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Hello Stan

It means he didn't leave his unit for an RAMC unit, whether Field Ambulance (Advanced Dressing Station), Casualty Clearing Station or Hospital.

Think of it as being treated by his GP (the battalion MO) rather than having to go to hospital, even as an out-patient.

Ron

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Presumably a man who was lightly wounded could make representations that he wanted to stay with his mates rather than be sent back to a dressing station behind the lines - with unit medics and officers/NCOs making the final decision. German casualty stats certainly have a category for 'lightly wounded, remained with unit'. The man would have to be at least capable of performing front-line duties (albeit perhaps not his own usual duties) and defending himself. Things like graze wounds, minor cuts, dislocated fingers, that could be treated with available 'first aid' resources.

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Thanks for all the input, its much appreciated, I thought the wound this soldier suffered was likely a light one but bad enough to warrant mention on his record, there is probably an interesting story there even if the wound was a minor one.

Stan

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Hi Stan. I think you are right. The fact of him remaining on duty was recorded and would be an official statement that he was in the front line but not capable of or liable to certain tasks. It would also stand him in good stead later on if NCOs or officer candidates were being sought.

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This is, perhaps, a consequence of having wound stripes. You have to create an official record of every wounded soldier no matter how trivial their injury. Of course lawyers today would argue that without an official record of the wound then any later claim for compensation for long term consequence would be difficult. It's interesting that today the Brtish Army doesn't record wounds if the man or woman remains on duty and is just treated by the company medical orderly, they take the view that medics have better things to do that fill out forms (there was a claim a few months ago to the effect that in 6 months in Helmand perhaps 40 - 50% of a rifle company were wounded, but those recorded as wounded were only a handful). However, I think the Australian Army records all wounds and obviously the Canadians do because they've re-introduced wound stripes. The point is lots of wounds are nowhere near life threatening, this is why crude medical statistics have to be treated with caution.

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