Zulu Dawn: General Lord Chelmsford: For a savage, as for a child, chastisement is sometimes a kindness. Sir Henry Bartle Frere: Let us hope, General, that this will be the final solution to the Zulu problem
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 Medical services in the AZW

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Posts : 20
Join date : 2014-02-20
Age : 71
Location : Newark, Delaware

PostSubject: Medical services in the AZW   Sun Mar 30, 2014 12:39 am

I have some questions regarding the treatment of wounded and sick in the AZW.

What was the Medical set up during the Zulu War? I understand that the  Regimental Bandsmen acted as stretcher bearers, what was behind them. Did each Battalion have a surgeon and "hospital" attendants or was that an Army responsibility. If so what was backing them up.

The famous drawing of the burial of the dead at Isandlwana shows a wrecked ambulance in the left foreground. Would that have been assigned to the 2/24th? My understanding is that the RAMC did not exist at the time but that there was a Army Hospital Corps but, based on what I've read, it seems as though the ambulances were driven by Army Service Corps personnel, so what were the duties of the Army Hospital Corps

After the wounded were treated at the local level what was the structure that got them back to the base hospitals, (presumably there were such things with some sort of sizable staff assigned to them?) and then back to the UK if necessary.

I may be hopelessly off track with my train of thought here but its does seem to have been a fairly rudimentary process.
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Frank Allewell


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PostSubject: Re: Medical services in the AZW   Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:19 pm

Hi Northbank
The Senior Medical Officer was Surgeon General John Woolfreys. He established a number of base hospitals Durban PMB Ladysmith etc. Forward from there were individual units attached to each column. Chelmsford had two, each with a Surgeon and a detachment of orderlies. The ambulances were converted waggons, double storied racks installed for stretchers and extra seating for walking wounded.
The Isandlwana column camp unit was under the control of Surgeon Major Peter Shepherd, he also established a unit at Rorkes Drift under Surgeon Reynolds. Helpmakaar was established later after Isandlwana
Killed at Isandlwana were Shepherd, Surgeon FW Buee, Lt A Hall, Sgt Cane and around ten orderlies.

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PostSubject: Re: Medical services in the AZW   Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:30 pm

Northbank, you will love this book, I have read it twice, and still browse now and then. It gives a Wonderfull insight into the treatment of wounded soldiers during the Zulu and Boerwar. Some on the wounds received during the defence of RD are mentioned quite graphic in places.  agree 

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Join date : 2014-02-20
Age : 71
Location : Newark, Delaware

PostSubject: Re: Medical services in the AZW   Tue Apr 01, 2014 2:34 am

Thanks to both of you.

The modified wagons presumably explains the ASC drivers.

The medical account by Blair Brown is fascinating. He treated both Allen and Hitch and his accounts rereally show how surgeons attempted to save soldiers lives and limbs and were not just hacking off wounded arms and legs.

It is also interesting to read his opinion that the conical Martini Henry ball was not as effective a man stopper as the larger round ball of earlier days. Not what we have come to believe, although the fact that the MH was shooting at 5-600 yards presumably more than made up for that shortcoming.
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Age : 62
Location : Melbourne, Australia

PostSubject: Medical Services In The Zulu War   Sun Apr 06, 2014 8:36 pm

Hi Northbank
What you need to get is a copy of Surgeon Woolfrey's report on the Zulu war , I have it , but not sure where I got it from , it cost me about 20 GBPs and they also threw in the Reynold's report of Rorke's Drift . I think it came from the medical services archives of the army , I did get it a long while ago and it will give you every detail you need , from what equipment was used , and the number that was to accompany the column / columns .
cheers 90th
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