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Waddell

AAMC attached to Artillery question.

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Waddell

Just trying to get my head around a few aspects of a soldier’s service.

 

I am curious as to how an AAMC attachment to a unit worked in reality. I have been researching a local soldier who enlisted with the artillery in Australia and arrived in Egypt in January 1916. In March 1916 he was transferred to AIF HQ in Tel El Kebir AAMC attached for two months, which I assume was when he was trained as a field ambulance man.

 

He left for France in June 1916 with the 10th Field Artillery Brigade and in September 1916 was transferred from the 10th FAB to the 4th field ambulance ‘as a supernumerary and attached for duty to 10th F.A.B’. He spent the next eleven months with the artillery.

 

Looking at the 4th Field Ambulance War diaries they are sparse and mainly record officer movements.

 

Can I assume that he was one of a section of men from the 4th Field Ambulance who were permanently attached to the artillery batteries of that brigade? By that did they move when and with the artillery men, independent of the officers of the 4th Field Ambulance, who merely allocated them to areas of the 4th Division?

 

In effect did they spend their days with the artillery men or only when the artillery were deployed?  

 

Also, was it more common generally for older men to apply for service amongst the field ambulance?

 

Thanks,

 

Scott   

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Waddell

Have researched a bit further into this and believe that this soldier was moved from the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade to the 10th Field Artillery Brigade during the expansion of the AIF in early 1916. This probably gave him the opportunity to switch to the role of stretcher bearer among the artillery men he had enlisted with. He was quite old.

 

Looking at Andrew Rawson's 'British Army Handbook', he describes that within a British infantry  battalion 'the battalion's RAMC officer ran the regimental aid post, aided by 2 orderlies and 16 stretcher-bearers; his supplies and equipment were carried in a cart. The medical officer set up his aid post either in a dugout or the cellars, near the battalion H.Q so he could keep in close contact with the commanding officer'. 

 

Can someone confirm the number of orderlies and stretcher bearers that the RAMC would have attached to a divisions artillery? I suspect it is less than that of an infantry battalion.

 

An old page of the LLT has at Brigade HQ 1 RAMC officer, 1 Corporal and 3 privates for water (sanitation) duties. 

 

Scott 

Edited by Waddell
Added more.

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Chris Henschke

In 1916, the establishment of an A.I.F. Field Artillery Brigade had six A.A.M.C. attached ; one officer and five other ranks, which included personnel for water duties. Two men (one an acting bombardier) trained to the duties were placed under the orders of the medical officer.  

Medical equipment was carried in a Maltese cart with two draught horses. The driver (a gunner) was also the medical officer’s orderly.

They formed part of the F.A.B. Headquarters.

A.A.M.C. were attached to an F.A.B. after medical training and were part of the establishment, as they were in A.I.F. battalions. 

 

Chris Henschke

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Waddell

Thank you Chris.

 

Got it now.

 

Scott

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Ron Clifton
3 hours ago, Chris Henschke said:

Two men (one an acting bombardier) trained to the duties were placed under the orders of the medical officer.

Small technical point: in the British Army these two men were part of the parent unit, not of the RAMC. I don't know if the same was true of the Australians (and Canadians etc) but I think these two men would have been RAFA rather than AAMC.

 

Ron

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Auimfo

Don't know if it's of any use to you now but my Grandfather was 4th Field Ambulance and at times they were sent for duty at Regimental Aid Posts.  His diary at Messines recorded:

 

Thursday 7th June, 1917

Gas alarm just after 1 a.m., soon over. Our guns put up barrage about 2 a.m. Reveille 6.30, on parade 7 a.m., roll call, dismissed. On parade 9 a.m., roll call and orders then went for swim. Had to hurry back, pack up and went out by motor to Kandahar Farm. Left again on foot at 6.15 p.m. and reached Reg. Aid Post, Spring St. about 7.15, dressing wounded till midnight.

Friday 8th June, 1917

Busy dressing till 3.30 a.m., when lay down and slept till 7.30 a.m. Dressing wounded till dinner time. After dinner went up with bearers to Messines Aid Post, had to go through fritz's barrage fire, very hot time. Brought back wounded chap and busy dressing again for rest of day. Five of our chaps killed and some wounded. Our guns all round us going continuously. Fritz shelling our way all the time. Tremendous barrage fire this evening from both sides.

Saturday 9th June, 1917

Dressing all night. Fritz counter attacked last night but was driven back, still shelling us. Lay down about 9 a.m. and had nap till about 12 noon, dressing again all afternoon and till midnight. Fritz put some gas shells over near us. Capt. Wynn wounded. One of our planes shot down, and a Fritz. A little quieter this evening.

Sunday 10th June, 1917

On all night till 7 a.m. when lay down till dinner time. Took boots off for first time and had wash and shave. Shelled us heavily today. Up for dinner and on duty again, wounded still coming in at midnight.

Monday 11th June, 1917

Quietest night since have been here but still had good number through. Fitz put gas shells over about 3 a.m. Chlorine pretty strong for about half hour, also he put H.E.'s all round us. Had breakfast and lay down about 9.30 a.m., slept till 4.30 p.m. Best sleep since have been here, have not had my clothes off yet. On duty after tea, tear shells put over by fritz about 6 p.m., shelling us all the time. Very busy up to midnight.

Tuesday 12th June, 1917

Busy till 6.30 a.m., had breakfast 8 a.m. Saw plane come down on fire. Turned in for nap 10 a.m. and up at 12 noon. Quiet till 6 p.m. when fritz started shelling us very heavily with big H.E.'s. Made it a very hot shop until we were relieved by Tommies at 8 p.m. when went back to Kandahar farm arriving about 9.15 p.m. thoroughly tired out but otherwise well. Had drink of cocoa, got stretcher and undressed before turning in for first time since went up.

 

Cheers,

Tim L.

 

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Waddell

Thanks for that Tim. 

 

Had forgotten about those diaries of your grandfather. 

 

Scott

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Auimfo

No problems Scott, I wasn't sure if they were going to be of any help but I'm really glad this popped up.  It made me do a bit of hunting for Capt Wynn (wounded) and the five men (killed) mentioned by my GF.

 

I discovered that Capt Winn (correct spelling) lost his foot but was awarded the MC on this day for leading a small squad of stretcher bearers through an intense German barrage to clear the wounded congregating at an advanced aid post.  I then found the Red Cross files for two of the bearers killed and they had been part of this small squad.  One had been seriously wounded himself at the aid post and just as the others started to carry him back, a shell landed between them and killed the patient and one of the carriers, while a couple of the others were wounded.  

 

But what became apparent when reading my GF diaries is that he was clearly also one of this squad of stretcher bearers.  Now I know that's not anything earth shattering but sometimes it's just being able to pinpoint an actual event and the specific actions of a relative, particularly one I remember so well, that make the most impact.  It just confirms that the 'little things' are still important.

 

So thanks for bringing this topic up Scott.  By doing so you've helped me uncover another personal snippet of my Grandfather's war.

 

Cheers,

Tim L. 

Edited by Auimfo

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