The field ambulance

Here’s something I didn’t know. In the Great War, they weren’t ‘Field Hospitals’, at least not at first.

I would like to recommend a marvellous and very detailed account of one doctor’s war which gave an important insight into the workings of a Field Ambulance (FA, as they referred to them). This account, written by Travis Hampton MC in 1951 and edited by his grandson Travis Philip Davis fifty years later, can be found at:

For geographical background, I also used the memoirs of my grandfather Captain (later Brigadier) AG Hewson of the Royal Horse Artillery who saw early action at Mons and established a battery at Le Cateau in August 1914.

Both accounts (sadly, my grandfather’s account is not available on-line and only a few copies were distributed among family members) give an interesting overview of the logistics in getting men, equipment, horses, armaments, etc. across the Channel and into northern France. At that stage of the Great War, the armies had yet to ‘dig in’ and set the trenched stalemate that would persist for the next four years.

Field Ambulance attached to the Infantry Brigade provided one or more Advance Dressing Stations in reasonable proximity of the front (

Great War photos – taken by Gen Henry Horne

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