The First World War acted as a catalyst for technological changes. It led to innovation and advancements, even if some of these changes were morally questionable. Both sides deployed new methods of fighting, including poison gas, flamethrowers and tanks, how the resulting injuries were treated had to evolve with the utmost urgency and behind the front-line huge advances were made to treat the ever-growing numbers of casualties.
Medicine, surgery and patient treatment was a key area of change and advancement, as the war evolved so did the innovations, such as the ‘Thomas traction splint’ and the mobile X-ray machine, introduced by Marie Curie for the French army. Serving alongside the men of the Royal Army Medical Corps on the Western Front were thousands of women who served as nurses. The units included the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service, The Red Cross VADs and the FANY’s along with the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. We will follow the route of a medical evacuation and explore the stories of those who dealt with those who needed care as we discuss how medical changes were made, how they evolved during the war years and how they had a long-term impact on military and civilian emergency care procedures in the years following the war.
Stories of doctors and stretcher-bearers as well as nurses will be brought to life – all non-combatants who were essential in the support and help to those injured and dying.
The battles would claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of men from all sides. Millions more would return home with injuries that had changed their lives and mental health, how and in what condition they returned will also be addressed.
Key Subject Knowledge
- Medicine and medical evacuation
- Women and the First World War
- Diversity and the range of troops that served and where they came from
- Technology and how it changed over the war
- The Pals Battalions
- Daily life in the trenches
- The relationship between the Home Front and the Western Front
- Propaganda and communication
- Commemoration and legacy
Also available supporting elements of wider Humanities (geography, English, social sciences and citizenship)
- The battlefield and the physical landscape
- War poetry and war artists
- Decision making in the British Armed Forces and the relationship between politicians and Generals
- The different faiths that were in the British Forces