Friday, 18 September 2015

Army Medical Department

Army Medical Department Report for the year 1871
House of Lords Paper 1873 vol. 34
Whilst working on the House of Lords Parliamentary Papers the overwhelming impression is the amount of detailed information in each report.  The amount of work to collate all the tables and material when there were no computers to help is quite staggering and must have been so time consuming.
In this report there are 6 pages of contents, starting with the health of the troops serving in the United Kingdom in 1871.
One example of this is “Of Infantry Regiments the 2nd battalion 16th, at Canterbury and Aldershot, had the highest ratio of admissions, the excess being chiefly in cases of febricula, bronchitis and tonsillitis, gonorrhoea, skin diseases and accidental injuries; the 82nd Regiment at Portsmouth and Aldershot, the highest ratio of deaths.”
They are also detailed accounts of the health of the troops overseas such as China, Japan, India and Mauritius to name a few.
An account from Japan states “local diseases – there was a reduction in the prevalence of diseases of the circulatory and digestive systems, and a very marked one in cases of gonorrhoea, included with diseases of the urinary system; and there was a moderate increase in diseases of the respiratory and cutaneous systems.”
I particularly like the written examinations held at the Army Medical School, Netley.
Questions range from subjects such as medicine, surgery, botany, languages and military hygiene such as :
“What are the chief points to which you would direct your attention in examining whether the ground, round and under any habitation, is likely to be injurious to health?”
And “what are the methods of examining air?”  What amount of air should be given per hour to a healthy man?  On what principle is this rule based and how is the amount attempted to be given in barracks in England?”
This is just a tiny sample of the amazing and detailed amount of information that can be found in the reports from the House of Lords Parliamentary Papers.