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Caring for our Wounded

Over 3,000 Australian nurses volunteered during the First World War, working in hospitals, including hospital ships and trains, and in field stations closer to the front line.  This film shows scenes of Allied forces medical staff and stations taken throughout the Western Front, 1916-1918: “No words can describe the awfulness of the wounds. Bullets are nothing. It is the shrapnel that tears through the flesh and cuts off limbs”

Year:1916 - 1918

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Caring for our Wounded

Over 3,000 Australian nurses volunteered during the First World War, working in hospitals, including hospital ships and trains, and in field stations closer to the front line.  This film shows scenes of Allied forces medical staff and stations taken throughout the Western Front, 1916-1918: “No words can describe the awfulness of the wounds. Bullets are nothing. It is the shrapnel that tears through the flesh and cuts off limbs”


Year: 1916 - 1918

Length: 2:32

Production Company: Topical Film Company

Credits: Topical Film Company

Source: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Catalogue Reference: NFSA title 532542


Tags: Australia, troops, medical, wounded, nurses

Subject: medical


The quote is from Sister Claire Trestrail.

A battlefield casualty was likely to receive initial medical attention at an Aid Post, in or close to the front line. Aid Posts usually consisted of a Medical Officer, orderlies and men trained as stretcher bearers. The Field Ambulance provided stretcher bearers and men with first aid training along the evacuation route in the trenches, often under fire, to Dressing Stations.   

Dressing Stations were set up wherever there was any small protection from fire, either in existing buildings or underground dugouts and bunkers. The Dressing Stations were generally manned by the Field Ambulances of the Royal Army Medical Corps. After treatment there, wounded soldiers were moved by wagon, motor vehicle, rail or on foot to a Casualty Clearing Station. These were well equipped and could care for the wounded who were unfit to travel further, return those with minor injuries or evacuate men to Base Hospitals. 

This footage is from a British film made in 1918, from scenes taken during 1916-1918 of Allied forces medical staff and stations throughout the Western Front. The Australian Imperial Force Divisions 1 and 2 were among those being filmed, but it is not clear whether any of the soldiers seen here are Australian.

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Caring for our Wounded

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  • 0:00

    Medical team attends to wounded troops

  • 2:20

    Nurses attend to troops in field a hospital

  • 3:05

    Surgical team perform an operation