Published By John Davies
Poelcapelle. 56 Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. 19-22 Oct 1917.
Field Ambulances were mobile front line medical units responsible for the care and evacuation of casualties from the battle area. Casualties were evacuated down a chain medical facilities from Regimental Aid Posts at the front line and relayed back through Advanced Dressing Stations and then to Casualty Clearing Stations, Main Dressing Stations and eventually back to the base hospitals. Each Field Ambulance would be made up of doctors, ‘first aiders’ /medics but mainly comprised stretcher bearers – their main task was to get the casualties back to where they could have the most appropriate treatment.
56 Field ambulance was attached to 18 Division. During Thrid Ypres they were operating in the area around Langemark and Poelcapelle. There were about 55 stretcher bearers operating daily tours in the forward area and bringing wounded in to the aid posts. With the number of wounded coming in the organisation was rearranged; the Advanced Dressing Station, initially at Essex Farm, was moved on 19 October to Minty Farm with other sections at Gwala Farm and Irish Farm, a sub section was also sent to Rudolph Farm where there were increasing numbers of local casualties. The regimental Aid Post was also relocated to Pheasant Farm moving along duckboards and avoiding the exposed Poelcapelle Road.
Casualties for the 4 days – 19-22 October – were 10 wounded 7 of which were due to gas, and 5 KIA.
References and Sources WAR DIARY 56 Field Ambulance RAMC
B&O 1917. Third Ypres. Poelcapelle. 56 Field Ambulance, RAMC. 19-22 Oct 1917.