23rd June 1917 Saturday
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In the sequence of casualty clearing for the injured were main hospitals known as Base Hospitals. These were categorised as either General Hospitals or Stationary Hospitals. The sequence would typically be: stretcher bearers on the field would be the first aid, in many cases men could be left for many hours in the open waiting to be retrieved. Hopefully they would then be taken to the nearest field ambulance before being taken to an Advance Dressing Station, then to a Casualty Clearing Station. From there to an ambulance train or barge they would be taken to a Base Hospital. These would be usually a large building like a hotel or casino and needed to be near a place of repatriation often a seaside resort, port or rail hub.
Douglas now found himself on the way to the inland, No. 4 Stationary Hospital in Arques, just east of St.Omer.
“On the 23rd June I joined the 124th Company Royal Engineers as Medical Officer. I went in an ambulance car to Arcques having lunch at St Omer, en route. Arcques was full of troops of the 51st (Scottish) and Irish Divisions. I had dinner that night at No. 4 General Hospital, and collected some stores there. I had a grand sleep at night undisturbed by shells or bombs! – and in a very comfortable billet.”
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