The Army Health Service
Chain of evacuations and first aid for the wounded
With battle raging across the front line and the number of wounded soldiers growing, an evacuation chain was quickly put in place by the Army Health Service.
As explained perfectly by Alain Larcan and Jean-Jacques Ferrandis in their book Le Service de Santé aux armées pendant la Première Guerre mondiale: "The Regimental Health Service collected the injured who were walking or fetched immobilized injured soldiers from the battlefield. The service prepared them for evacuation. The divisional Health Services loaded the injured into ambulances or automobile health sections. The army corps health service managed evacuations and kept operational resources - i.e. ambulances - close at hand, for those who could not be moved and those with very minor injuries. Evacuations were carried out to the Staging Zone, either to hospitals in the rear-guard, or to the interior of the country. These evacuations were performed using hospital trains. The operating conditions of the chain were, however, different with regard to the distances to be travelled during warfare and stabilization of the front."
Types of hospital in Seine-et-Marne
- Civilian hospital : sick soldiers could be sent to civilian hospitals in towns without garrisons or to those whose military force was less than 300 men.
- Mixed hospitals : several civilian hospitals became mixed - i.e. they could take both injured civilians and the war wounded.
- Annex hospitals : under the authority of the Mixed Hospitals. They were established in requisitioned areas (mansions, castles, schools, private homes etc.).
- Additional or temporary hospitals : managed exclusively by the Army Health Service and deployed in the interior. They were often open during the arrival of casualties in times of intense fighting. They were also known as temporary hospitals.
- Convalescent hospital units : health facilities in charge of the medical-legal situation of soldiers leaving treatment hospitals.
- Auxiliary hospitals : health facilities set up by different associations: Military Causalities Relief Society, Women's Union of France, French Ladies Association. They provided intensive care and used treatment equipment when the budget was sufficient.
- Temporary hospitals : set up by the Red Cross during a large influx of wounded soldiers.
- Volunteer hospitals : were established through private initiatives or donations (local councils, convents, local landowners, private schools or committees). They themselves administered and received the military health service at a fixed daily rate.
- Injured soldiers assistance establishments : reserved for seriously injured soldiers such as the disabled, tuberculosis sufferers, malaria patients and victims of gassing.
Documents / references
Document shelf numbers enable the documents to be consulted in the reading room of the Seine-et-Marne Departmental Archives.
- Chantal ANTIER, "Le Service de Santé militaire et l'organisation des hôpitaux en Seine-et-Marne, 1914-1918", In La Grande Guerre magazine, n°33, 2001. Shelf mark : 100J1285
- Michel COUVE, Les hôpitaux militaires de Fontainebleau, Société philatélique de Fontainebleau-Avon, 2008, 61 p. Shelf mark : 4AZ855
- Jean-Jacques FERRANDIS, "Le Service de Santé aux armées durant la guerre 1914-1918 et son fonctionnement en Seine-et-Marne. L'exemple de Meaux", In Sciences et médecine en Brie des origines à nos jours, Acte du colloque, Meaux, octobre 2012, Société Historique de Meaux et de sa région, Meaux, 318 p. Shelf mark : 8[8116
- Alain LARCAN et Jean-Jacques FERRANDIS, Le Service de Santé aux armées pendant la Première Guerre mondiale, Paris, LBM, 2008, 596 p.
- François OLIER et Jean-Luc QUENEC’HDU, Hôpitaux militaires dans la guerre 1914-1918, Répertoire général. Marques postales sanitaires. Indice de rareté hopmil, Paris-France centre-Est, Tome II, YSEC, 2010, 301 p. Shelf mark : 4[3500/1