RMR Gets Their Shots

28 Aug 14

Receiving inoculation against typhoid, Valcartier, 1914

THIS DAY IN RMR HISTORY – 28 August 1914 – British and Empire soldiers of the First World War received the “T.A.B” inoculations (Mixed Typhoid, Paratyphoid A and Paratyphoid B) and Cholera (sometimes in 2 doses). By comparison German and Austrian soldiers received 3 vaccinations against Typhus, Cholera and Smallpox.

Although many soldiers and officers at Valcartier tried to avoid receiving their “shots” the authorities insisted that every man receive the shots regardless of rank.  Many Canadian recruits received their first inoculation at their place of enlistment, while others received both the first and second inoculation at Valcartier. These shots were administered by 10 officers and 20 other ranks of the C.A.M.C.  A number of the troops receiving these inoculations suffered severe reactions which kept them from training routine for days at a time.   Apart from the series of inoculations administered at Valcartier, some inoculations were given later to the troops while aboard ship enroute to England, although some men reached France without having their shots.

When the Canadian medical services assembled at Valcartier it was found necessary to reorganize them along British lines. “Sufficient medical personnel were found in camp to form the required units, which in addition to the three divisional field ambulances, included a casualty clearing station, two stationary hospitals (each 400 beds), and two general hospitals (1,040 beds each).  The casualty clearing Station and No. 1 Stationary Hospital took over from N.P.A.M. units the operation of the two camp hospitals in Valcartier.  Hospital admissions for the whole period until embarkation numbered only 856, for in general the health of the troops was excellent.” [2]

 

[1] Brig.-Gen. W.O.H. Dodds, CMG, DSO, (J. A. Millar), Photographs relating to the Great War 1914-1918; from The Montreal Daily Star, Sept. 5, 1914, pg. 17.; Special Collections, University of Victoria Libraries, B.C;     http://spcoll.library.uvic.ca/Digit/WOD/all_images.htm
[2]Col. G.W.L. Nicholson, CD., Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force 1914-1919,  Ottawa, Duhamel, Queens Printer, pg. 23.

 

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