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Guest JasonS

Royal Edward and RAMC

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Hi

Did the RAMC treat the injured whenever The Royal Edward stopped?

So before departing again on the Royal Edward - did the RAMC stop to help any casualties at locations such as Egypt?

I've searched long and hard for this answer and I can't find anything.

The soldier I'm researching (enquiring what life was like for him) is W. Fisher (RAMC private 437).

Thanks so much

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Mm, not sure just what you're getting at here Jason. Royal Edward was a troopship which sailed from Avonmouth 28/29 July 1915. Stopped at Malta and Alexandria. Sailed for Mudros (the support base for the Gallipoli operation) and was sunk on 13 Aug by uboat UB14 with the loss of over a thousand lives.

Such a large number of men would have required a medical team on board to support them, either an RAMC unit, or ship's doctor, etc. It was unlikely for her to be carrying wounded sailing towards the theatre of operations. If wounded were on board, there would have been staff to tend them, again either RAMC or ship's company.

Once sunk however, any shipboard activities obviously cease. Survivors would have been taken either to Alexandria or perhaps Mudros, and there would have been treated by the local medical units (for example, there was a Military General Hospital in Alexandria).

Info on Royal Edward gleaned from the internet.

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Jason,

Have you a particular interest in the Royal Edward?

My grandfather was lost on her. See page Lest We Forget on http://www.helstonhistory.co.uk/

- http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~hel...olglasepage.htm

There was a ship's doctor: R.D.Neagle from Cardiff who survived.

The R.A.M.C. men were simply members of the troops being transported.

Kath.

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And a doctor who didnt survive:-

NAME: CHARLES BERTRAM MARSHALL

RANK: Captain

NUMBER:

UNIT: 3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps

DATE OF DEATH: Friday, 13 August 1915

CEMETERY OR MEMORIAL: Helles Memorial, Turkey

AGE: 27

OTHER INFORMATION: (updated February 2004)

Charles Marshall had been born on 13 October 1888 in Nottinghamshire. His parents, William and Sarah, lived at Greenwood Lee, The Park, Cheadle Hulme. William Marshall was employed as the Public Analyst for the Borough of Hyde and had his laboratory on Ladybrook Road. Charles had studied medicine at Manchester University and, after qualifying, worked as house surgeon at Bradford Royal Infirmary. For four years, he had been engaged to a Miss Hook, who was also training to be a doctor at Guys Hospital, London.

Charles’ unit should not be confused with the modern usage of the word “ambulance”. A Field Ambulance in the Great War was usually based only a few hundred yards behind the front line. It dressed wounds and carried out some emergency operations, before passing wounded soldiers further to the rear. Charles’ Ambulance had been formed in Manchester and was attached to 42 Division (which included the Manchester Regiment Territorial battalions) at Gallipoli.

At the time of his death, he was working on the troopship HMS “Royal Edward” which was torpedoed in the Aegean Sea. Charles Marshall’s body was never recovered and identified and it is presumed he drowned.

Later a Lieutenant Wilson wrote to his father “They struck a mine coming from Alexandria and spent 3 or 4 hours in the water, before being picked up by a hospital ship and a destroyer. Am much afraid that Marshall who was with them went down with the ship. After seeing all his men off the ship and encouraging them, he was last seen leaning on the rail of Captain’s bridge, looking down quite calmly at them. He was so very tough and so much at home in the water, that we have not lost hope that he was picked up by some other vessel. It was very characteristic of him to get all the men off in the way he did and then to stem any panic among them by calmly standing about the bridge. It helped them a lot because several men have told me that after seeing him so calm they were led to look on the whole thing as more or less of a joke. He would fight for his life like a fiend when he got in the water.”

Lieutenant F B Smith of the Ambulance wrote in a letter home. “Of the 50 men of our Ambulance, only 3 are lost. I have not told you what a corporal of our section has told me, that he saw Capt. Marshall, long after he himself was in the water, still on the highest deck with the captain of the ship, revolver in hand, encouraging and controlling the men. He had no need to use his weapon because discipline was splendid. The men knew his worth and not one but has spoken to me sadly of our loss. Such a cool courageous “sticking to duty” was characteristic of the man he was.”

Cheadle Hulme War Memorial

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Basically I want to know if a soldier I'm researching actually treated anyone before drowning. If it is likely that he did treat anyone or was involved in some kind of medical activity when visiting Egypt - then this would have particular implications for my research.

Thanks so much for all your replies.

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ID: 6   Posted (edited)

Jason,

Reading Greenwoodman's reply, and considering that the ship was en route to a theatre of operations, rather than evacuatuing wounded, the only medical activity on board would have been incidental treatment of any individuals on board reporting sick, or having some accident or other. That must remain as speculation, but it seems unlikely that any wounded from previous actions would have been on board and requiring medical treatment.

Whether your man was involved in medical treatment in Egypt, prior to sailing on the Royal Edward - you will need to see his service record, if it still exists.

Ian

Edited by ian turner

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Jason,

expect you know this:

FISHER, Pte. William, 437, age 19, son of Mr. A.E. and Mrs. E.J.Fisher

of 30 Aqueduct St. Ancoats, Manchester.

bn. Ancoats enlisted. Manchester.

See: http://www.1914-1918.net/heroes/royaledward.htm

A book has been produced by Dennis OTTER & Andrew MACKAY: BURNLEY & THE ROYAL EDWARD DISASTER - The Story of "Callums Own".

This gives a good idea of life on board the Royal Edward on her last trip. The 2nd/2nd ELFA went for a route march through Alexandria.

Kath.

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Jason

SS Royal Edward arrived off Alexandria 10th August and set sail for Mudros on the 12th. She had a compliment of 31 officers, 220 crew and 1335 troops made up of various units, mainly reinforcements for 29 Div. and RAMC.

UB14 spotted her at about 9 a.m. on 13th when she was about 400 miles north of Alexandria and around 7 miles west of Kandeliusa (Nisyros) Island. She fired off one torpedo which struck the Royal Edward in the stern. Within 3 minutes she began to settle by the stern and in another 3 her bows were in the air.

'Soldiers Died' records the following: 2/Hampshires 207 o.r's+5 officers, 1/Essex 174 o.r's, RAMC 143 o.r's+4 officers, RASC 119 o.r's+2 officers, 1/Border Regt. 59 o.r's, 2/SWB 53 o.r's, 1/KOSB 48 o.r's, RE 1 o.r and 1/Lancs. Fus. 27 o.r's+ 1 officer (Temp. Major Cuthbert Bromley, one of the 6 VC's before breakfast).

Whilst researching a Norfolk soldier who went down in the Royal Edward it appears that 172 of the 174 drowned 1/Essex troops had transferred from the Norfolks.

It seems likely that the man you are researching was with the RAMC detachment on its way to Mudros.

Keith

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I have read so much material, including the book Callum's Own, pertaining to the Royal Edward.

But I just can't find anything that says the RAMC treated casualities whenever they left the ship, before departing again. All I have found is that they did general things like marching whilst the ship had anchored.

Thanks very much for your help...

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But I just can't find anything that says the RAMC treated casualities whenever they left the ship, before departing again. All I have found is that they did general things like marching whilst the ship had anchored.

Hi Jason,

I can't give you any further information, however, I feel that it is highly unlikely that any of the RAMC men would have been asked to treated casualities while ashore. I do not know the timings of when the Royal Edward docked or embarked, but even the logisitics of getting almost 1600 men off and back on again would have been problematic. I'm sure the senior officers would have been more worried about getting the new men acclimatised etc to the new conditions.

Just my opinion. Hope you find out something more conclusive.

Stuart

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Hi Kath,

where can I get the Burnley book? I haven't heard of it before.

cheers

Dave

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Dave, just seen this. Will pm as book got from private address.

Kath.

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JasonS,

Following up on PPCLI's response, troops did go ashore in Alexandria. A report I've seen somewhere says 'some troops were waiting on deck for a foot inspection following a route march the day before in Alexandria, when the torpedo struck they rushed to get their lifebelts which were stored below and many were trapped as the ship went down'.

I think the 'Edward' made landfall in Alexandria on 10th August and set sail for Mudros on 12th. I would imagine a foot inspection would be carried out by Unit officers but would RAMC be involved?

Keith

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Following up on PPCLI's response, troops did go ashore in Alexandria. A report I've seen somewhere says 'some troops were waiting on deck for a foot inspection following a route march the day before in Alexandria,

Hi Keith,

I wasn't saying that no-one went ashore (or mean to imply it), but merely that if newly-arriving RAMC men did leave the troopship it would not be in order to help out at local hospitals, but rather to get used to their new climate conditions; this is supported by your mention of the report about men who took part in a route march in Alexandria.

I think the 'Edward' made landfall in Alexandria on 10th August and set sail for Mudros on 12th. I would imagine a foot inspection would be carried out by Unit officers but would RAMC be involved?

The query was about whether "the RAMC treated casualities whenever they left the ship, before departing again." As it happens I think from the lack of any further response from JasonS we probably don't need to clarify our statements.

Cheers,

Stuart

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