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Army Dentists in WW1


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#1 Ian Bowbrick

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 06:39 PM

Can anyone point me in the direction of a website or publication dealing with Army Dentists in the War?
Ta
Ian
rolleyes.gif

#2 Greenwoodman

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 08:00 PM

Wouldn't it be easier to see a local one, Ian? biggrin.gif

#3 Ian Bowbrick

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 08:06 PM

Ho ho ho - nice one Richard laugh.gif
I once had the experience of an appointment with a Russian Army Dentist - I swear he was ex KGB or GRU!!
huh.gif
Ian

#4 ianw

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 09:04 PM

Quite a few refs in the literature to dentistry e.g Robert Graves -which seemed to consist of rapid extractions. I seem to recall that they were commissioned as Lieutenant rather than Captain as for M.O's but I can't recall where I picked that up.

#5 stevebecker

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Posted 10 May 2003 - 09:55 PM

In the AIF there were only one or two Dentist attached to a General Hospital in 1914-1915. (I beleived following the British example?

It was soon found that more Dentists were needed in January 1916 the AIF formed thirty Six (36) Dental units.

These were formed of four men (1 Dentist, two Staff Sgt Dental assistants and a clerk). These units were then attached to every Feild Amblance and Hospital unit in the Army. (Many of these personal had enlisted as privete soldiers in many AIF units).

As the need and AIF grew larger so did the Dental units and I show some 118 in service at the end of the war.

I hope this helps

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#6 Kate Wills

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 01:21 AM

Ian,

The only book that springs to mind is "My Dearest Mamma and Papa..." the war letters of Octavius C Moore Haines. 'Ott' was an RAMC medical orderly 1916-18 with 27 and 25 CCSs, both of which had dental facilities (i.e. a dentist in a tent) during service in Cairo and Salonka. Haines divided his time as batman / medical orderly / dental assitant/mechanic and poulty keeper, and qualified as a dentist after the war, practising in Pontypool. During his Salonika days he assisted dental surgeons Lt Cox-Moore and Lt A T Anderson, both RAMC (there being no Army Dental Corps until after the war).

The dental stuff is smattered throughout the book including photos of a surgery (Dentist, assistant and patient opening wide) and dental lab, along with plenty about Egypt and Macedonia. In June 1916 he writes "I am feeling fine, busy tho' all surgical work, about 120 dental cases have been treated already. It is a good thing for the men..."

#7 Ian Bowbrick

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 07:54 AM

Thanks everyone. I am trying to reconcile a diary entry with fact!
Ian smile.gif

#8 HERITAGE PLUS

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 10:00 PM

Ian

I don't know of a web site however alhough the Army Dental Corps did not come into being until 1921 (Royal in 1946) its museum does cover Army Dentistry before 1921.

If you contact them they may be of help for your query

see thi site
http://www.museums.s...armydental.html

#9 matchless

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Posted 11 May 2003 - 11:34 PM

Ian,
the world war one document archive has a bit on dentistry in the medical section of the site if it helps http://www.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/

#10 Pete Wood

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 09:26 AM

I recently helped out with some caption writing for the Illustrated London News, which is digitising its photographic collection.

There are some great photos of a mobile dental surgery. A large van (or small lorry) with drills, vice, adjustable chair, sink etc.

It was in the issues dated January/February 1916. If you want a copy, it shouldn't be too long before the photos are available online. Keep an eye on http://www.ilnpictur...&start=1&cat=30 over the next few months

#11 manxman

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 10:09 AM

"Bravest of hearts" - Liverpool Scottish history carries a picture of a sergeant, who is described as a dentist. It says that he was seconded to one of the base camps for the duration. All dentists not necessarily commisssioned? or perhaps were were differing levels of qualification?

#12 jhill

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 05:51 PM

QUOTE (Ian Bowbrick @ Sat, 10 May 2003 12:39:33 +0000)
Can anyone point me in the direction of a website or publication dealing with Army Dentists in the War?
Ta
Ian

The ever useful on-line Canadian War Diaries might be worth a look, at the usual place, here:

http://www.collectio...02015202_e.html

The Canadian Army Dental Corps was established in 1915. The Diary of the Director of Dental Services for April, 1917 includes a report on the establishing of the Corps, part of the first page of which is below.

Although the Canadian and Imperial organizations may have differed somewhat, most of the set up of the dental service must have been very similar.

Attached Files



#13 Tom Tulloch-Marshall

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Posted 14 July 2004 - 06:21 PM

QUOTE (Ian Bowbrick @ Sat, 10 May 2003 21:06:40 +0000)
I once had the experience of an appointment with a Russian Army Dentist - I swear he was ex KGB or GRU!!

......... an Army Dentist once told me that dentistry in the Forces was all a case of mind over matter ............. They didnt mind and you didnt matter ohmy.gif

#14 Edward_N_Kelly

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 08:10 AM

My father was a dental technician just prior to WW2. He joined the 2nd AIF and was posted to Fortress Engineers as a sapper (go figure). Eventually transferred to infantry (and just missed on being a reinforcement to 8 Div) and then was "discovered" by the Army and posted to AADC.

One of his COs was a dentist from WWI ("a re-tread" as all those with WWI experience were called by the less kindly) and he tells the tale of one camp hospital (attached to an Infantry Brigade) they were attached to in the Northern Territory....

"It was a particularly long sick parade one morning and the first patient who was complaining of sore gums and loose teeth was presented to the dentist. He took a look and thought of local infections and prescibed a mouth wash ("come and see me in the morning" smile.gif ). Next patient, same problem, same solution but dentist looked pensive. Third patient, same problem, dentist worried. Walked out of tent and asked the lineup who was complaining of similar symptoms - most were. Closed the Sick Parade, grabbed the members of the dental unit and headed for the communal kitchens. He inspected the first cooker (old style boilers a la film Zulu - they were still in use when I was in the Army in the 1970's!) and turned it over and instructed his men to do so to every other one (shades of Zulu!).

He had seen and diagnosed Vincent's Angina a bacterial disease of the gums and mouth (and upper respiratory tract) which results in sore gums, lose teeth and a choking sensation from the ulceration of the mucous membranes of those areas.

The cooks were heating and reheating water used in "dixie bashing" and even washing in those boilers. One person had had the infection and by contact with utensils through the water it to infect many members of the Brigade. Apparently rended many temprorarily unfit for duty....

He had seen it in WWI - it was also known as "trench mouth".

Edward

PS The dental units (unofficial) motto - to give every person 16 fit pairs of opposing teeth (own or artificial) so that if they run out of bullets they could at least bite the enemy!

#15 Pete Wood

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Posted 15 July 2004 - 10:26 AM

You made me smile, Edward. smile.gif

Thanks.

#16 Marc Thompson

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Posted 17 July 2004 - 07:42 PM

Found quite a few references to dentistry and oral hygiene in Army Council Instructions today (WO 293).

The ACI's for August 1914, as well as including the call for volunteers to increase the size of the army also had an ACI instructing that soldiers should be instructed in how to darn as too many soldiers were walking round with holes in their socks.