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ly progressing to convalescence, or when perhaps he is fading out of life, the gentle touch of a woman's hand and the soothing tones of a woman's voice are to him of inestimable value. Good and attentive as male nurses may be, their care lacks something which is supplied by that ministering angels."
of the R.A.M.C. are constantly
But in the case of our sick and wounded soldiers there is still a very important place for lady nurses. Immediately after the first shock of a wound, the patient's thoughts are still full of the excitement of the fight, or else he is nearly unconscious of surrounding influences. So long as he is attended to, there is little room for the sway of the mind over the body; but when he finds himself in a stationary or base hospital, during the longdrawn-out days while he is slow
This has been recognised for some years, and a corps of ladies called the Army Nursing Service has been formed for hospital duty in England and the Colonies, India being provided for by the Indian Nursing Service, which is a separate body. The sisters of the Army Nursing Service all go through a course of instruction at Netley, and there become accustomed to military ways and military discipline. A large number of them are now in South Africa, and how admirably their work is done will be told by the invalids who are now returning to England. As the Army Nursing Service would be unable to meet all the calls upon it, it is supplemented by sisters from the Army Nursing Reserve, an organisation managed by a committee of which Princess Christian is president, and into whose benevolent work she has thrown her whole energy. The followers in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale are now many. The good work that she initiated has now become a commonplace of warlike organisation, the difficulties that she found in her path have passed away for ever, and all the world recognises the noble practicalness of her aims.
Some comment has been made
on the omission of special sanitary officers from the staffs of our armies. The fact is, however, that such officers are now in no way needed. Every officer of the R.A.M.C. goes through a course at Netley on all matters connected with sanitation, and is perfectly competent to advise in every such detail. The medical officer attached to each unit is responsible to the principal medical officer of the division for the proper condition of his camp, and a most careful eye is kept upon the sources of watersupply, the food, and all matters that can possibly affect the wellbeing of the men. How thoroughly sanitation is attended to is shown by the excellent general health of all the troops, although typhoid fever is known to be very prevalent in South Africa during the autumn and summer. The only places where there have been any serious outbreaks are among the besieged garrisons and one or two camps close to the enemy, and their conditions are of course beyond the control of any sanitary science, however perfect and however energetic in action.
A very ill-advised commander in the English army once said, not so very long ago, that the medical corps "were not soldiers but only attendants upon soldiers." It may be perhaps difficult to define what special qualifications or employments make a man a soldier; but if entire self- abnegation in the cause of duty, if patient endurance of fatigue and hardship in the course of military operations, if the profoundest dis
regard of danger in the battlefield, if the fact of their officers and men being large sharers in the death and injury that smite the personnel of an army, are any of the conditions that mark true soldier, the R.A.M.C. can say, "No men are more of soldiers than we." This must be iterated again and yet again; for, in the face of these very palpable facts, there can be no doubt that in certain military quarters, and those, so far, very influential quarters, there is still a deep-rooted feeling of animosity against the medical service. Or is it possible that the feeling is rather one of jealousy because that service has been so eminently equal to a great occasion, when the purely combatant administration has, to say the least, not been successful? Specific army status has been granted to the medical department, but this has not apparently always carried with it the recognition that is due. For a salient example of what is meant it may be pointed out that the name of the principal medical officer of the last Soudan expedition was omitted from the otherwise comprehensive list of those to whom the thanks of Parliament were tendered. The record of special acts of gallantry performed by our officers and men in South Africa is somewhat slow in reaching us, and what has come has been wanting in fulness. Perhaps it is only the despatches of successful generals that can be expected to contain eulogies of subordinates, however well they may have served, however brilliant an example
they may have given. But, though we have yet to learn officially the details of many deeds of heroism, the commanders of the most important forces hitherto employed have spoken generally in the most laudatory terms about the work done by the R.A.M.C. General Buller says:—
"One of the Natal papers is attacking the military hospitals, and, as some of the false and ridiculous statements may cause anxiety at home, I think it right to say that Mr Treves assures me that there is
no possible ground for complaint, and that I may rest satisfied that all the medical arrangements are completely satisfactory to him. I pressed him if he could suggest improvement, and he said he could not. I have given the matter every consideration, and can only express my admiration of the arrangements made by Colonel Gallwey and the Royal Army Medical Corps, and Mr Treves assures me that he entirely agrees with me."
Lord Methuen thus concludes his despatch after the Modder River fight:
Again I call attention to the splendid hospital arrangements, for at 4.45 P.M. on the day after the fight all my wounded were on the way to Capetown. I am glad to have been slightly wounded, because in no other way could I have learnt the care taken of the wounded; and there was nothing officer or private soldier required that was not provided at once, and the medical officers never tired in their endeavour to alleviate suffering."
The despatch also contains the following mention: "He (Colonel Paget) draws attention to Captain Moores, R.A.M.C., who, although wounded in the hand, said nothing, but continued his duties."
that, while our soldiers have be-
"Before he was brought in he had been lying for seven hours in the sun in a donga. Here he was attended by Major Babtie, R.A.M.C., who rode into the donga through a hail of bullets, and whose horse was killed under him. Major Babtie kept by the wounded men in the donga until the battle was over, and as he alone had water in his water bottle he doled out water to each man in a minim measure, 1 drachm to each. The courage and daring of Major Babtie on this occasion call for some recognition from the medical profession, if not from the military authorities."
Then the Morning Post's' correspondent, writing of the battle of Magersfontein:
"It is most necessary here to say a word in praise of the Army Medical Corps, who faced a hot fire all day long, going close up to the firingline to bring back our wounded. It seems almost incredible that during the day 500 wounded men should have been brought back by the Medical Corps, though to get them back stretcher-bearers and searchers had to cross and recross a zone of fire nearly a mile wide."
Writing of the same battle, the 'Daily Telegraph' correspondent says:
"When the ambulance was brought up about noon, the Boers would not allow it to come nearer than 500 From other sources we know yards. Ensor, however, went on
And so on and so on.
alone within 300 yards of the enemy actual battlefield, the R.A.M.C. and brought back a wounded man, have given examples of the although a heavy fire was directed on him by the Boers. most extraordinary endurance Captain Probyn, attached to the Gordon in carrying out their duties. Highlanders, walked erect up and after the actual fighting is down the firing line attending to the over,-an endurance so much wounded officers and men under a beyond the ordinary capacity of hail of bullets." human powers, that it can only be accounted for by believing that they are stimulated by the noblest professional zeal and the most eager and high-minded philanthropy. After the battle of Magersfontein the medical men worked incessantly for thirty-six hours. After the battle of Colenso Mr Treves writes:
Several officers of the R.A.M.C. have met a soldier's death in the field. The first to give his life for his country was Major Gray, who fell while ministering to the wounded at Elandslaagte. Then Captain Hughes, one of the most brilliant young English scientists, died by Buller's side at Colenso. Even that unemotional commander
telegraphed, "We had all learned to love him"; and it
has been written of him in a great professional journal, "His untimely death is a loss not only to the Royal Army Medical Corps, but also to the profession at large and to medical science." And, alas! there are others.
A very spirited ditty has
"But, here's to the man of the R. A. M.C.
Doctor he may be—he's soldier as well." And, besides their chivalrous courage and readiness in the
"Some 800 wounded were passed through the field hospitals and dealt with by sixteen surgeons. Those who harshly criticise the Medical Depart
ment should have seen the work
done on the memorable Friday on
the Naval Hill before Colenso. No work could have been done better.
The equipment was good, the arrangements elaborated, and the officers worked on hour after hour without rest or food under the most trying possible conditions. No greater strain could have fallen upon a de
partment, and all concerned met the brunt of it valiantly and well. One could not be other than proud of one's profession."
And be it remembered that the men who did this great work, work which involved as much toil to the brain as it demanded the utmost skilfulness of hand, did not come to it fresh and unfatigued. Many of them had had a weary march, many of them had been present and employed during the long and bitter action. The temperature was over 100°, and the atmosphere was permeated with dust. Truly a marvellous feat!
Something has now been
said of our Army's Medical Service in the field, of its marvellously perfect organisation, of the individual initiative, cool courage, skill, endurance, and sense of duty shown by its members in the most trying tests that can well be conceived; but it must be remembered that there are other officers of the R.A.M.C. who, though they are not serving in the field, have to discharge duties as essential to the efficient working of the department. A long succession of most able, experienced, and practical men have built up the present system of administration and execution, and it has been the good fortune of Surgeon-General Jameson, the present Director-General, to see how admirable in every respect is the result of the labour done
by himself and his predecessors. He has within the last few months had to face a gigantic task, and to face it at the head of a service which is miserably undermanned. Complaints have, in one or two instances, been made of so-called shortcomings in the department that he controls, but they have been the outcome of profound ignorance as to real facts, and in no single case have they been justifiedindeed they have always been triumphantly refuted. The strain has been terrible, but in no detail has the medical service given way. Surely there is here a combination of science, of business capacity, of patriotic feeling, of profound sense of duty, which our nation should be proud to see in servants of the State. Surely it should not be ungrateful.