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Remembered Today:

Original 1914 X-Ray plate and Contact Print


brimacombe

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Hoping this is the correct place to post this (Admins please accept my apologies if not, and feel free to move to a more appropriate place)

Good afternoon to you all.  I haven’t posted anything for a few years but I’ve been meaning to get around to posting something which must be a little unusual, and, considering its fragility, an amazing survivor….

It’s an original plate glass X-Ray plate, and developed photo – difficult to photograph, so please forgive me for the images.

The plate and photo relate to Private Charles Edward Matthias, 8174, 1st Bn, D.C.L.I., who arrived in France on 21 August 1914 and was wounded early September of the same year.

Returned to the UK, he was admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital Netley, Southampton on 21st September 1914 and, it is assumed, that is the origin of the X-Ray Plate.

The plate retains its original identifying label – “8174 Pte Mathias, Shrapnel to back, Fractured Ribs R(ight)”

Difficult to photograph to best effect (combined with the gradual fading of the image), in ‘real life’ the evidence of the shrapnel can be clearly seen on the plate. (It’s a little clearer on the contact photo)

I’m assuming it’s a rare survivor – has anyone seen anything similar?

Hope it’s of interest guys!

20230104_123349.jpg

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20230104_123359.jpg

20230104_123449.jpg

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2 hours ago, brimacombe said:

The plate and photo relate to Private Charles Edward Matthias, 8174, 1st Bn, D.C.L.I., who arrived in France on 21 August 1914 and was wounded early September of the same year.

Returned to the UK, he was admitted to Royal Victoria Hospital Netley, Southampton on 21st September 1914 and, it is assumed, that is the origin of the X-Ray Plate.

The plate retains its original identifying label – “8174 Pte Mathias, Shrapnel to back, Fractured Ribs R(ight)”

Nice find - thanks for posting.

The good news is that he survived the war- but seemingly not with 100% health

Charles Edward MATTHIAS can be found as Charles Edward MATHIAS, 8174 DCLI and as Charles Edward MATHIAS, 276487, RASC, on disability pension cards at WFA/Fold3 [same MoP reference of 8/MM/2538 and other details linking]

One RASC card has a note of Re-Enlisted Man

To Army Reserve Class Z from RASC - got a disability pension of 5/6 pw from 23/5/19 to 26/6/19 [a 20% degree of disability rate for a Class V / Pte soldier] and a further pension from 27-6-19. 

Recorded as discharged 29.5.19.  YoB 1885, Address 2 Fry St, Holsworthy - claimed for a GSW Rt Lung

He was still receiving a 20% disability pension until at least 4/12/23 [by which time a wife and one child are visible on the pension ledger pages and he was also getting something for them too - so must have been married before service & discharge]

Two MIC as C. MATTHIAS, 8174, DCLI, [1914 Star - no sign of a clasp there though] and Charles E MATHIAS, 8174, DCLI [BWM & VM]

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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Thanks for the added detail Matlock!  I'm guessing the plate and contact print were a sort of souvenir, brought back home to Holsworthy (where the object remains to this day).

S

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Fantastic.  As is the way in GWF I have followed your interesting items as far as the internet would take me and have to conclude the Plate and Photo together are indeed very, very rare survivors.  Of the (probably) many, many thousands of similar (with their lead and arsenic base components ...... wash your hands!) most now reside in landfill therefore this pair are most unique........even the IWM does not seem to have similar.

I was particularly intrigued by the "Hut G.III" reference.  I have found a Netley plan that suggests that this is a part of the "Welsh Hospital".

Of course, I stand by to corrected!

Welsh Hospital.jpg

 

Edited by TullochArd
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13 minutes ago, TullochArd said:

Of the (probably) many, many thousands of similar (with their lead and arsenic base components) most now reside in landfill

Silver and the glass was recycled from old xrays, so old films  would probably end up being destroyed  that way.
Glass had long given way to celluloid  shortly after the great war, and celluloid gave way to safety film well before the Second World War.
I started in the medical trade nearly 50 years ago, and I've never seen a glass plate X-Ray.

Surviving Great War era glass X-Ray plates must be extremely rare.
Thanks for showing.

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2 minutes ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Surviving Great War era glass X-Ray plates must be extremely rare.

..... and with an original paired photographic image commensurately rarer?

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12 hours ago, TullochArd said:

..... and with an original paired photographic image commensurately rarer?

Yes indeed, it was never that common to print a positive print as it would have added significantly to the costs. But I wonder if this was done with patients being repatriated as it was easier and more reliable than transporting glass plates.

Now you can see them on your phone...

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Hi,

as I have specialised a bit on German medical and ambulance staff/personnel of WW1 and before, I can add that photographic prints of x-rays are rare and glass plates even rarer of German military personnel, too.

Here is an example from my collection.

And I added a photo of a (staged) situation in the x-ray room in a large hospital in Warsaw. Particularly interesting (at least to me) is the presence of a female x-ray assistant. These assistants were trained at a private school for young women in Berlin, called Lette-Verein. This school to this day offers vocational education and is among the most renowned institutes for teaching photography and also x-ray personnel  in Germany. When the war broke out, they were prepared to send 87 female x-ray assistents to the hospitals in the back areas of the Western and Eastern fronts, as they had started courses to train them in 1914.

GreyC

1255088802_RontgenaufnahmeKopie.jpeg.0aae4b014aea2108fbb0595c49d93fd1.jpeg

1937138620_RontgenschwesteroderArztinSanitaterSanitatsbeamterKopie.jpg.85f44ff1ba7bf3584a5daaeb1844b230.jpg

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No lead aprons or gloves then! I remember a radiographer, 60 years ago, who had multiple skin grafts on the backs of her hands where skin cancers had been removed. I don't know when it was first realised that staff in an X-ray department needed protection.

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The apparatus in GreyC‘s photo looks as though it could have come from Dr. Frankenstein‘s lab! 
@GreyC is there any indication as what body part is shown in the print?
What is the purpose of the sausage shaped bags?

Charlie

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1 hour ago, Michael Pegum said:

I don't know when it was first realised that staff in an X-ray department needed protection.

1896 at the latest...
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3520298/

Likewise I can recall an elderly consultant radiologist locally in the early 1980s with severe chronic dermatitis supposedly the result of over exposure in his early years.

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Hi Charlie,

I presume it´s an elbow. Dai could have answered it with a higher degree of expertise, but he seems to have choosen not to. The bags were probably used to fixate the limbs at the prescribed position to facilitate an optimal image. The presumed elbow seems to have belonged to a soldier by the name of Neumann, the name scratched inti the negative.

Thank you for your interest, Charlie!

GreyC

Edited by GreyC
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8 minutes ago, GreyC said:

I presume it´s an elbow.

Sorry, I didn't realize it was a question...

Yes, it is an elbow, humerus at 4 o'clock position, radius and ulna at mid-day.
Severe comminuted fracture of humerus just above elbow, and severe comminuted fractures of the shafts of both radius and ulna below the elbow.

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13 minutes ago, GreyC said:

The bags were probably used to fixate the limbs at the prescribed position to facilitate an optimal image.

Yes, small sand bags, still in use today.

Not those particular bags of course, although with the current chaos in the NHS...

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On 06/01/2023 at 23:52, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Silver and the glass was recycled from old xrays, so old films  would probably end up being destroyed  that way.
Glass had long given way to celluloid  shortly after the great war, and celluloid gave way to safety film well before the Second World War.
I started in the medical trade nearly 50 years ago, and I've never seen a glass plate X-Ray.

Surviving Great War era glass X-Ray plates must be extremely rare.
Thanks for showing.

You have almost 30 years on me and I have never seen one either, despite once helping to catalogue some hospital historic artifacts. 
very very rare, and an amazing survivor - fascinating to see!

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3 hours ago, GreyC said:

I presume it´s an elbow

 

3 hours ago, Dai Bach y Sowldiwr said:

Yes, it is an elbow

Many thanks GreyC & Dai

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For those interested here another photo of an x-ray apparatus of WW1 times with a patient with a skull injury. To the right a civilian doctor contracted by the army, hence in uniform. In the middle a Sanitäts-Inspector, a leading hospital administration rank and to the left a member of the voluntary ambulance service:

322328624_xRontgenVertragsarztLazarettinspektorHusarKopie2.jpg.1a24edce9c0f4a1f29b2a388edd5aa8b.jpg

 

Edited by GreyC
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Prompted into drifting around the internet on this subject on seeing this interesting item I came across an article on a compensation claim to H Henry an x-ray operator at Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital, Millbank (NA Catalogue reference: T 1/12518/13598).  It rings true with the photos posted by GreyC which further illustrate the glaring lack of protective equipment for operators early War.  The text reads:

"Compensation was given to workers after the war who suffered the effects of working with radiation constantly, such as in the case of Harry Henry. Harry worked as a radiographer at Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital from 1900, with an increased work load through the war, and by 1919, he was suffering from dermatitis and cellulitis as a consequence. As the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1906 was not found to be applicable, Henry was instead awarded money from a Compassionate Fund"

 

Extract from a compensation claim by H Henry an x-ray operator at Queen Alexandra’s Military Hospital, Millbank (catalogue reference T 11251813598).jpg

Edited by TullochArd
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have my grandfather's x-ray on his return to Exeter No 2Hospital  from Gallipoli. I'll find it and post! This is so interesting - thank you. 

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