Book of wound tags, England, 1900-1918
The First World War generated huge numbers of casualties and during a battle first aid posts and casualty clearing stations could be overwhelmed with men experiencing a huge range of injuries. But amid the chaos there were attempts to administer order when dealing with the wounded. These wound tags were part of the system whereby injured men were prioritised – a process known as triage. They would give information about which soldiers required emergency treatments, and which might be classed as the ‘walking wounded’. The tags would be attached to the uniforms of injured men and included vital information such as wound and treatment, name or serial number, rank and regiment. It was essential to accurately record what treatment had already been given, especially when using morphine for pain relief as an overdose could be lethal.
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Glossary: wound tag
Glossary: field hospital
A temporary hospital set up near a combat zone to provide emergency care for the wounded.
A painkilling drug derived from opium. Morphine is used in hospitals around the world due to its relative lack of side effects.