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Remembered Today:

Ambulance Trains - Composition and Organisation


green_acorn
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Yesterday whilst searching AWM collection for something else, I found a model of Ambulance Train No#43's Pharmacy and Treatment Coach. I thought the description of an ambulance train from the Australian Official History of the Medical Services during WW1, would be useful for many GWF Pals:

..........

This model represents the later development of British Hospital or Ambulance Trains, achieved in the final two years of the war, where a series of coaches became, in effect, a travelling hospital designed to meet the emergency needs of active operations. In the Official History of the Australian Army Medical Service (Vol 2, pp 393-4), Colonel A G Butler notes that by the end of the war on the Western Front, "there had been specially constructed ... between 40 and 50 ambulance trains. At the end of 1917, the general organisation of a standard train was ...composed of 16 bogie coaches... heated by steam from the engine, and were fitted with electric light and fans. No 1 coach was a brake van and lying infectious ward; No 2 a staff car with lavatories, dining and sleeping rooms for sisters and medical officers; and No 3 a kitchen and 'sleeping sick officers' car'. The following 8 coaches were 'ward cars' with 36 beds in each. The remaining coaches were pharmacy and treatment car, sitting infectious car, kitchen and personnel mess car, personnel car (other ranks), brake van and store car."

In total, such trains could carry 306 lying and an average of 60 sitting patients, and between 36 and 40 medical personnel.

A total of twelve full hospital trains were built at the Great Western Railway's Swindon Railway Workshops (Wiltshire), many of the coaches being converted from passenger types in the coach works department, which were managed by Frank Marillier, who was also chairman of the technical committee for ambulance trains in England, France, and the United States. Marillier was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) post-war for this work, and for developing the adjustable cots (seen in this model of a pharmacy coach), which allowed for a combination of both sitting and lying patients, thus improving comfort.

......

For those interested in the model and its full description here is the link.

I have posted it here in "Units and Formations" as Ambulance Trains were a distinct unit.

Cheers,

Hendo

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Thanks Hendo

There is also a fairly long section on ambulance trains, including drawings of their composition, in one of the four General volumes in the British Official History of the Medical Services. I think it is in Volume 4 but my copies are not readily to hand.

Ron

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Has anybody visited the IWM recently, I was there in Feb 2014, not long after the refurb.

Was not overly excited with the new layout....anyone have any knowledge as to where all those magnificent models went to.

I understand that Duxford is a repository for IWM exhibits, perhaps they are in storage there....any info ?????

George,

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  • 1 year later...

I am led to this topic as a result of a search for a thread of over a year ago which asked for any info on the colouring of a typical ambulance train carriage, for accurate modelling purposes. I can't find it , but this thread will do to declare a finding made in the above book yesterday whilst seeking info on a Hospital Ship.

 

Appendix P. A "NETLEY COACH" of an Ambulance Train. Exterior colouring.

French Grey top panels. Khaki on lower panels and fascias, latter being picked out with yellow and fine-lined with red. Two Geneva crosses on each side of each coach with the Royal Arms emblazoned on one of the French Grey panels. "War Department Ambulance Coach" was painted on the lower portion of the coach side.

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  • 8 months later...

Good evening I have a considerable amount of information on WW1 ambulance trains. Photos and specs If they are of use to you willing to share with you. See you are in Hythe I am in Fareham so not far apart. l  will ATT sample.    Regards Mike Homer 

DSC06066.JPG

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  • 6 months later...
On 29/04/2017 at 10:48, sotonmate said:

I am led to this topic as a result of a search for a thread of over a year ago which asked for any info on the colouring of a typical ambulance train carriage, for accurate modelling purposes. I can't find it , but this thread will do to declare a finding made in the above book yesterday whilst seeking info on a Hospital Ship.

 

Appendix P. A "NETLEY COACH" of an Ambulance Train. Exterior colouring.

French Grey top panels. Khaki on lower panels and fascias, latter being picked out with yellow and fine-lined with red. Two Geneva crosses on each side of each coach with the Royal Arms emblazoned on one of the French Grey panels. "War Department Ambulance Coach" was painted on the lower portion of the coach side.

Thanks for the info on the Netley coach colour scheme.  I was really looking for a definition of the hues so that I could source the correct paint.  It was an enquiry to farrow and ball, and t hen to a paint historian which produced the details.  The colours used can be seen in my model of the coach on the centenary thread of this forum. The remaining coaches are being finished off at the moment, 

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On 22/08/2015 at 13:17, Ron Clifton said:

Thanks Hendo

There is also a fairly long section on ambulance trains, including drawings of their composition, in one of the four General volumes in the British Official History of the Medical Services. I think it is in Volume 4 but my copies are not readily to hand.

Ron

 

Echoing Ron's lead, there is a lot in the OH.

 

I don't have the exact ref to hand, but I've labelled this diagram as coming from Medical Services Vol II, p.54, so Volume II would be a good place to start ...

1147808494_AmbulanceTrainoperationsschematic(OH-MedicalServicesIIp.54).jpg.bbab0dc72dc2e46cf009bc508fa90614.jpg

 

There's also loads of great stuff on ATs at the National Railway Museum - e.g.Ambulance-train-17-NRM-1024x787.jpg.3df98bda1e52b385c5a2afd9d5834c9a.jpg

 

Mark

 

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Reunited with library, I can confirm Ron was correct about Vol IV.

 

See pp.628-652 in Chapter XXIII Ambulance Transport during the War of OH - Medical Services General History Vol.IV - Medical Services in Gallipoli, Macedonia, Mesopotamia & Persia, East Africa, Aden, Russia. Ambulances (WG MacPherson, 1924)

 

The material in Vol. II is more specific to the Western Front and is in pp.51-55 of Chapter II Medical Units in Army Areas of OH - Medical Services II - Medical Services on Western Front 1914-15 (WG MacPherson 1923) with references to specific ATs and specific battles throughout.

 

Mark

 

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In response to Model Maker, the dreaded IWM doesn't seem to 'do' models - always amongst my favourite things there. They are wrongly fixated on the youngster market and computerised do-dadery, tea rooms, school trips and a selling area of tatty souvenirs. Knowing their careless disposal record I wonder if they even bothered to hang on to models and superb dioramas that gave me so much pleasure.

Edited by David Filsell
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