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Two questions about the UK homefront


Puddinhead
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I've been writing a fiction novel about my favorite war since March. Wrapping things up now and I need a little help. I've spent hours resesarching this and have come up with nothing. If you could just point me to a website or two, I'd appreciate it.

1. Where was the RAMC headquartered in England (specifically in 1917)? Anything I could get on a physical location would be greatly appreciated. In addition, if you know even more specific information, that would be great. I am looking into the changing attitudes regarding blood typing during the war. The war department wasn't crazy about blood typing at first and gradually changed their mind as the war went on. I'm interested in how that change would come about in a practical sense. If you've got any insight, it would be cherries on the cake of my day. But just knowing the physical location will help a great deal.

2. One of my characters was a farmer before the war. After suffering a head injury, he's going to be reassigned to ... (here is where I need your help) ... that department which would help the country determine which items farmers need to grow to best support the war effort. What would that department have been called in WWI? (And if you have an idea of where it was, I might actually bake that cake and send it to you!)

Thanks for any help.

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Sadly I have to say I know little on your questions, but think they are excellent ones and look forward to following this post.

Chris

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Me too Chris! :thumbsup:

Also, for clarification on the blood typing thing, I've already researched both Lawrence Robertson (for blood typing) and Oswald Robertson (for his work with blood storage). It's really interesting stuff and here is a link if anyone is interested: http://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/16749867/1630286699/name/Blood+Transfusion+in+World+War+I.pdf

What would be terrific to understand is how that change would come about from the top down to the base hospitals. I understand it's a really complex question so even fuzzy explanations are welcome.

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"Sussex in the First World War" (ISBN 085445 056 4) has a brief chapter on the rural economy which appears to draw heavily on"British Agriculture in the First World War" by P. Dewey (1989).

In the former, there is reference to the Central Harvest Committee, Ministry of National Service (May 1918).

I believe that there were two tiers of control; locally there were the County War Agricultural Committees, which in the latter part of the war became increasingly subject to interference from Ministry level.

Phil

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I think Ripon was a major training depot for the RAMC, puddinhead.

I imagine you have consulted the Wellcome Collection.

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As Phil indicates, at local level, there was the county agricultural committee which, in the later years of the war, was pretty much directed by the Board of Agriculture. I'm not sure what staffing, if any, the committee had so don't know if your man has a job there. Might be best to have him at the MoF, presuming he's the sort of middle class farmer who will fit in with the bureaucrats.

When your man gets his feet under the table in his new job, he'll find the decision about what crops to grow has been pretty much taken. Potatoes. More potatoes. And even more potatoes.

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The Internet encyclopaedia records the HQ of the RAMC in the Great War as Queen Alexandra Hospital, Millbank (now gone). The RAMc lost 743 officers and 6130 soldiers killed in WW1

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Surprisingly there was no direction to farmers until after October 1915 when County War Agricultural Committees were established to advise local farmers as to the best use of resources. Unfortunately they were under the control of the Board of Agriculture run by Lord Selbourne who has been described as the most incompetent of the "covey of incompetent administrators which was the parting gift of the old world of Edwardian England" and there was much muddle and little done until after mid 1917 after which War Agriculture Executive Committees which replaced them were given strong powers of direction. They could tell farmers what to grow. Prices for produce were fixed. Land could be removed from inefficient farmers and transferred to efficient ones. The WAECs owned most farm tractors and directed their use, often arranging for drivers to be available etc. There was no appeal from their decisions.

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See Chapter 1 in Farming and Forestry on the Western Front 1915-19 by Murray Maclean – chapter 1 covers the Home Front and refers to a Food Production Department, with County Agricultural Committees, development and deployment of some 3,500 tractors in private hands by end of 1917 and a further 1,500 government tractors in UK.

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The Internet encyclopaedia records the HQ of the RAMC in the Great War as Queen Alexandra Hospital, Millbank (now gone).

Next door to the original Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain). It closed as a hospital in the 70s and as the college of military medicine/surgery in 1999. Most of the buildings have been preserved and the site/buildings have been divided between the Tate and Chelsea College of Art.

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See Chapter 1 in Farming and Forestry on the Western Front 1915-19 by Murray Maclean – chapter 1 covers the Home Front and refers to a Food Production Department, with County Agricultural Committees, development and deployment of some 3,500 tractors in private hands by end of 1917 and a further 1,500 government tractors in UK.

The Food Production Department was not established until 1917 and the War Agriculture Executive Committees which I mentioned above were its responsibility. The County War Agricultural Committees set up in 1915 reported directly to the Board of Agriculture. Whilst the Board of Agriculture under Selbourne remained responsible for the Food Production Department in terms of 'pay and rations', it took its instructions from the Ministry of Food under Lord Devonport effectively becoming its delivery arm.

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Haha! Wow, you guys are so terrific Seriously, I owe cakes to all! I've spent so long looking for this stuff and you just whipped it right out. I have to add that as a Yank, I am terribly frustrated by the libraries here. Even though the US was in the war, well, you know how long, the books on US involvement outnumber "the entire rest of Europe" about 3 to 1. This website has been invaluable! Cheers you all!

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Incidentally although one has the impression of the USA in general being somewhat suspicious of governments and government control the Federal government was much faster at getting its act together in organising US agricultural production in WW1 and its control in the war period was much tighter than was Britain's over hers. There was probably no Secretary or Senator Selbourne to bumble around. However compared to both countries Germany's control over agriculture appears chaotic as no one seems to have managed to create a centralised organisation - individual states doing it their way if at all.

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the books on US involvement

A fascinating read about a small American town's time during the war is "Andover in the World War", Claude Fuess, 1921. That's Andover, Massachusetts. Very much a community effort rather than government involvement.

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Old Sweats, re the US being suspicious of a centralized govt heading up things. I think you hit it dead on. We used to be quite chill about that kind of thing. If you look at what was going on right after the Great Depression and all of Roosevelts works programs, Eisenhowers federal highway stuff. It all seemed to start turning in the 1980s with Reaganism. Never really understood why that took hold. But you make a really good point.

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Old Sweats, re the US being suspicious of a centralized govt heading up things. I think you hit it dead on. We used to be quite chill about that kind of thing. If you look at what was going on right after the Great Depression and all of Roosevelts works programs, Eisenhowers federal highway stuff. It all seemed to start turning in the 1980s with Reaganism. Never really understood why that took hold. But you make a really good point.

I'm Centurion not Old Sweats which is merely a grouping of members with a certain number of postings

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