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Croix de Guerre

La Chapelle Color Coding

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Croix de Guerre

I had so much success with my first query I thought I would give it another go!  Thanks again Charlie!  

 

The great railway freight station at the Gare du la Chapelle was transformed into a receiving center for the distribution of wounded that arrived by rail, to the numerous hospitals scattered about Paris.  Finding first hand accounts or descriptions of the station, (at least in English) are difficult to find.  Of the accounts I have found, the writers speak of a number of buildings that were constructed along the center of the main loading dock of the station.  They were each painted a different color denoting their particular use, the colors were red, blue, brown, ochre, etc..  One was designated as an office for the medical staff assigned to the station.  One was a surgical ward, another was reserved for wounded German prisoners, another reserved for wounded French muslim soldiers, etc.  The remainder I believe were reserved for patients assigned to specific hospitals or at least were designated to house wounded of a particular type of wound.  By 1915 several of the hospitals in Paris began to specialize in the treatment of different wounds, for instance the American Hospital of Paris, located in Neuilly at the Lycée Pastuer, had a dental surgical ward and consequently became the defacto destination for wounded with head or facial injuries.    Motor ambulances attached to the various hospitals would arrive at the station and the drivers would be given a slip of paper with the name and information of their assigned wounded and the corresponding color or the building they were to be found.  What I am hoping to find is a definite explanation of the color coding system.  All I have now are several vague references.  I have three original French wound tags, each one a different color denoting the severity of the wounded "Blessés.  I wonder if they have a connections?  Any help would again be most appreciated!

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charlie962

Glad to have helped on your Quenu post.

I cannot help on the colour coding of hospital services but I did read that when the French Medical Services found themselves totally overwhelmed in 1914 they brought in a classification system to prioritise allocation of limited resources.

 

Something like:

Those wounded who are going to die anyway.

Those seriously wounded needing extensive treatment but likely to live.

Those who if treated promptly can be returned at some point to active service.

 

I might not have recalled it correctly but it was on those lines. Your 3 colour coded wound tags might be as basic as this ?

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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Croix de Guerre

Thanks again Charlie for all your help.  Attached are example of the wound tags I mentioned.  These were found in a scrapbook made by a volunteer American ambulance driver.  

Wound Tags.jpg

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Martin Bennitt

Charile is talking about the triage system at its most basic, but it applied to cases all along the line. Found this in an article on the net which refers specifically to the colour coding of wound tags and includes relevant photographs. I assume you have a good knowledge of French, Croix de Guerre, to be doing this research. If not I can translate for you.

https://www.cairn.info/revue-societes-et-representations-2008-1-page-233.htm#

Relevant extract:

Le triage devient, dès lors, une spécialité médicale à part entière. Il permet d’organiser rationnellement les évacuations vers des structures sanitaires adaptées aux pathologies des blessés et des malades.

Les évacués arrivent souvent à destination sans les papiers administratifs et médicaux qui consignent leur passé médical (billet d’hôpital, fiches d’observation clinique, feuilles de température, épreuves radiographiques, etc.). Cette lacune peut être partiellement comblée si la fiche d’évacuation attachée aux vêtements est correctement remplie. Ce document fait office de passeport pour l’Arrière pourvu que la mention « évacuable » y soit apposée. Outre l’état civil du soldat, ce document comprend une description sommaire de la blessure ou de la maladie, les injections de sérum antitétanique reçues et les observations médicales que le ou les médecins jugent bon de faire figurer. À partir de 1917, ces fiches sont progressivement normalisées et des couleurs les différencient : rouges pour les porteurs de garrot, bleues pour les blessés à opérer d’urgence, blanches pour les blessés légers à évacuer et jaunes pour les contagieux....... Ces fiches sont le témoin de cette prise en charge médicale.

Cheers Martin B

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charlie962

I see you've posted on 'pages14-18' and I also see there's an old thread here on said forum about labels. But it didn't provide answers. However perhaps you could post your illustrations on that thread ?

 

What is on the back of these labels ?

 

Charlie

 

edit- good find Martin. Porteur de garrot- tourniquet- sensible to have its own colour !

Edited by charlie962

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Croix de Guerre

Thank you Charlie962 and Martin for your help.  Martin, unfortunately I do not speak French but though the miracles of the internet, I am able to translate things primarily using Google Translate.  Charlie, I'll have to dig them out to see what is written on the backs.  If I recall, the previous owner (the ambulance driver) wrote the severity of each one in light pencil on the backs.  I am hoping one of the fellows over on the 14-18 forum might be able to shed some light on the subject.  Logically I assume it must be something similar to the color coding on the wound tags.  The number of hospitals in Paris precluded each one having its own little sorting barracks in the train station.  The particular ambulance hospital I am researching is the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris, which was situated in the Lycée Pastuer building at Neuilly-Our-Seine.  It primarily was only sent French wounded but early on (in 1914 and early 1915) a fair number of British soldiers and officers were sent there as well.  The photo below is how the building appears today.  If you notice the rather large third floor roof.  The interior is quite cavernous and open from end to end.  This was where the volunteer ambulance drivers were quartered.  They referred to it as the "Zeppelin Hanger".

Lycee-Pasteur_0081-copie4.jpg

This is how it appeared in 1916

thumb_Lycee Pastuer (1).jpg

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Croix de Guerre

I have still had no luck deciphering the specific color code of the barracks inside the train station at La Chapelle.  The assumption is that the color of the barracks corresponded to the particular wound or illness of the soldier.  But, we as historians cannot work based upon assumptions or conjecture.  I am certain, that somewhere, there is a specific reference and explanation of the color scheme used in the La Chapelle train station.  I have has enormous success using the "Newspapers.com" web-site.  Does anyone know if there is a French equivalent?  

 

Cheers,

Thomas

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charlie962
Posted (edited)

Here is one source:

 

BNF (French National Library)

 

 

I note this museum shows a couple of photos of the station c 1916. Maybe they have further records ?

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962
Posted (edited)

Here is another:

 

Retronews, which is linked to BNF. It needs a sub to get at sophisticated search criteria but you can still get to see the pages and there is an optical transcript on the left. Heres what I got for    Gare de la Chapelle and Blessés

 

This article courtesy RetroNews is from Excelsior,31/12/1916 and gives gives a taster:

 

37408901_GWFGaredelaChapelleNewspaper31Dec1916.JPG.83ba7e7f33c479bb0d55c453ac3e4f9d.JPG
 

And this is how the transcript appears, which you can run through your translator having done a couple of corrections?

Les installations sanitaires de la gare de la Chapelle

M. JUSLÍll Godart, sous-secrétaire d'Etat du service -de santé, accompagné de M. Bergeron, directeur de son cabinet, a inauguré hie-r matin les nouveaux bâtiments installés par l'ambulance américaine, pour la réception des blessés en gare de la Chapelle.

M. Justin Godart, .reçu par M. Benet, président du comité de l'ambulance, qui tint à affirmer que « l'aide .américaine en faveur de nos blessés est l'expression 1la .plus pure de l'amitié que les EtatsUnis portent à la France », a chaleureusement remercié le haut personnel et les membres de la formation sanitaire.

La nouvelle installation, placée en bordure du quai où accostent les trains-militaires, comporte une surface couverte -d'environ 5,000 mètres carrés divisée en deux parties séparées par un couloir.

La première partie comprend une salle de réception .pour les officiers, avec tables et tréleaux pour recevoir les brancards. Un ha'll contigu est aménagé de manière à abriter 850 blessés.

Edited by charlie962

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Croix de Guerre
The sanitary facilities of the Chapelle station

Mr. Justin Godart, Under-Secretary of State of the Health Service, accompanied by Mr. Bergeron, Director of his cabinet, inaugurated yesterday morning the new buildings installed by the American ambulance, for reception of wounded in the station of the Chapel.

Mr. Justin Godart, received by Mr. Benet, chairman of the ambulance committee, who insisted that the American aid for our wounded is the purest expression of the friendship the United States to France, warmly thanked the high staff and members of the Holy Formation.

The new facility, located on the edge of the wharf or berthed with military trains, has a covered area of about 5,000 square meters divided into two parts separated by a corridor. The first part includes a reception room for the officers, with tables and trellises to receive the stretchers. An adjoining hail is laid out in order to arbiter 850 wounded.

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Croix de Guerre
Posted (edited)

It appears that the American Hospital of Paris, founded it own "wing" at the train station at Chapelle in 1916.  

 

Edited by Croix de Guerre

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charlie962

Just a slight correction of translation of second half:

 

The new facility, located beside the platform where the military trains dock, has a covered area of approximately 5,000 square meters divided into two parts separated by a corridor.

The first part includes a reception room for officers, with tables and trellises to receive the stretchers. An adjoining hall is built to house 850 wounded.

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Croix de Guerre
2 hours ago, charlie962 said:

Just a slight correction of translation of second half:

 

The new facility, located beside the platform where the military trains dock, has a covered area of approximately 5,000 square meters divided into two parts separated by a corridor.

The first part includes a reception room for officers, with tables and trellises to receive the stretchers. An adjoining hall is built to house 850 wounded.

Thanks Charlie!  The reason I am so keen to decipher this code is it is part of a book I am writing.  The number of descriptions of the workings of La Chapelle are very uncommon and none explain in enough detail for my satisfaction.  In the great scheme of the world, understanding the nature of the color codings of the barracks inside La Chapelle really does not matter a great deal and admittedly would not propel my writings any further however, my innate curiosity compels me to discover it.  

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