Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
alf mcm

Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps

Recommended Posts

alf mcm

I have a couple of questions regarding A.P.M.M.C.

Were masseuses fully trained before they joined, or did the Corps train them?

Were all masseuses initially nurses, who trained as masseuses as a speciality?

What would a masseuse's title be? Nurse? Masseuse?

I am particularly interested in the masseuses at Bangour War Hospital, apparently there were 30 of them at one time, under a Sister.

Any information would be appreciated.

Regards,

Alf McM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

Massage was the forerunner of today's physiotherapy, and there was an official training scheme which led to the certificate of the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses. It was most frequently taken up by women who had no previous nurse training, and was seen as a rather more respectable way to earn a living for a middle-class young woman. Some of these women later went on to train as nurses (and conversely some nurses took the ISTM training). But the majority of masseuses during the Great War were not trained nurses. To join the Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps women already had to be certificated. Massage departments also employed VADs as assistants/helpers, some of whom had previous training. Masseuses, as far as I know, would be referred to as 'Miss/Mrs ....' but not as 'Nurse'. This image shows a nursing sister of the TFNS sitting on a ward with a masseuse of the APMMC.

Sue

post-416-0-74860600-1329081902.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
alf mcm

Thanks Sue,

I guessed you would have the answers!

Regards,

Alf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

I'm just transcribing some information about the service from 1918/1919 which I found this morning, and will put it on my website later today and leave a link here.

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
tintin1689

It is a very long time since I have properly visited the forum and was amazed on my first real return visit to find something I could actuallyhelp with! Here are some notes I made on the Military Massage Corps which I hope you will find helpful. Sir Alfred Keogh was the Director-General of Army Medical Services.

The Military Massage Corps

Origins

Massage and remedial gymnastics (today grouped together as Physiotherapy) had been increasingly recognised as aiding recovery of many patients since the end of the 19th Century and some professional bodies had come into existence to regulate standards of training. Sir Alfred Keogh was keen that his four new Convalescent Camps should use the latest methods.

Enlistment and Training

Within weeks of the outbreak of war 50 trained masseuses were recruited and set to work at the first Centre in London where 150 treatments were given each day. Eligibility requirements for enrolment in the Corps were 2 years at Physical Training College or a Certificate from the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses or six months of satisfactory work experience. By the Armistice the Corps had a strength of 2,000 and in 1919 was renamed the Military Massage Service. 3,400 passed through the Corps ranks during the course of the war. The Corps Secretary was Miss Eleanor Essex French, daughter of Sir John French. Dr Florence Barrie Lambert was the senior medical officer in the Corps.

Treatments

Each Convalescent Camp had a Massage Institute where massage, physical exercise, muscle extension, heat treatment, vibrational treatment and electrical and chemical treatment were administered.32 masseuses would treat 25 patients each per day, attending to 4 patients each simultaneously. The most common treatments were bathing, massage and special exercises for trench foot, electric shock treatment and Swedish exercise for functional paralysis resulting from shell shock and daily exercise for those recovering from gassing. Corps members also changed dressings. It must be remembered that these were the days before penicillin and septic wounds were a grave problem, the Corps conducted experiments with electric currents it being believed the bacteria might gravitate to the positive pole.

Uniform

The Corps service dress uniform was navy blue comprising ankle length skirt, jacket and felt hat. A white shirt and black tie were worn and the Corps badge was embroidered on the jacket. The ward uniform was white with the Corps badge on the headress.

The founder

When General Keogh decided to include massage in the regime of his Convalescent Camps he sought the aid of Mrs Almeric Paget, wife of the MP for Cambridge, a member of the Anglesey family, and daughter of George C.Whitney former US Secretary of the Navy. Mrs Paget loaned her London home, 39 Berkeley Street, to act as Corps Centre. The Pagets bore the expense of equipping and maintaining the Corps Centre. Mrs Paget had not enjoyed good health for some time and died at the early age of 41 on 22nd November 1916 from a heart attack at Esher, Surrey. Her funeral was at Hertingfordbury near Hertford, the cortege being led by the band of the Eastbourne Convalescent Camp which she had helped set up, supplying the instruments. She left £200,000 in her will. Her husband continued to support the Corps and in 1918 was ennobled as Lord Queenborough.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

And here are three short accounts which include some of the information above. I think the third one might help as it will certainly give a hint as to what went on at Edinburgh War Hospital which was in all likelihood similar.

Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
alf mcm

Thanks Tintin and Sue,

Thats great information. I really appreciate it. These masseuses were certainly kept busy!

Regards,

Alf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nepper

Fascinating, but what happened to the Military Massage Service? Did it end up being absorbed by the RAMC?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sue Light

The connection with Almeric Paget ceased soon after the end of the war, and in 1919 the service was taken under the auspices of the War Office and renamed 'The Army and Pensions Massage Association' (abbreviated to M.M.S.) and working mainly in the Ministry of Pensions Hospitals which continued after the closure of the wartime military hospitals. How exactly it evolved after that I'm not sure, but post-WW2 it was a service of male physiotherapists who were NCOs in the RAMC, and female civilian physios. Presumably the men are commissioned today, but whether there are still women about I don't know. And it's started me wondering what ever happened to my good friend Diana Montgomery who was a physio at BMH Iserlohn in the 1970s. :)

Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
auchonvillerssomme

Questions were asked about training

MILITARY HOSPITALS (MASSAGE).HC Deb 18 July 1916 vol 84 cc827-8 827

12. Mr. TYSON WILSON asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that, although the examination that the members of the National Association of Trained Masseuses and Masseurs have to pass is of a higher standard than that the members of the Almeric Paget Massage Corps have to pass, the members of the first named association find it almost impossible to get employment in military hospitals; and whether, in view of the demand for the services of these people and to help so far as possible the sufferings of our soldiers, he will give the same recognition to this association as is given to the Almeric Paget Massage Corps?

828

§ Mr. FORSTER The information in possession of the War Office does not confirm the statement made in the first part of the question. When the association originally asked that their diploma might be recognised as qualifying its members for work in military hospitals, it was found that the amount of instruction given to the members was not equal to the minimum required by the schedule of the Almeric Paget Massage Corps. The standard of instruction has, I understand, subsequently been brought up equal to that of the Almeric Paget Massage Corps. I may, however, inform the hon. Member that arrangements have been made for an official inspection of the schools connected with the association at an early date, and until the results of that inspection are available it is not possible to make any statement on the point raised in the second part of the question.

Mr. WILSON Will the hon. Gentleman let me know the result of the inspection?

§ Mr. FORSTER Oh, yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kjharris

I believe that not all the masseuses in the Almeric Paget Massage Corps were British. Australian masseuses who served with the Corps had to have completed a two year course sanctioned by the Australian Massage Association, usually conducted by a university in conjunction with a hospital.

In 1916 an accelarated course of 15 months for war masseuses was introduced at the University of Sydney.

cheers Kirsty.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
alf mcm

Thanks to Auchon.. and Kirsty,

It's really amazing what you can find out on this forum.

Regards,

Alf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bairbre

Winifred M Letts (1882-1972), novelist and poet was a masseuse. On June 22nd 1917, the Register of Members of The Incorporated Society of Trained Masseuses shows that she trained under A. Hogg at the Dublin School of Massage. An address at 13 Peak Hill, Sydenham, (London) S6 is given, along with her permanent address in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. Her Medical Electricity certificate was achieved in November 1917 and she was elected to the Society on Feb 22nd, 1918. A Royal Charter was granted to the I.S.T.M. in 1920 and the name was changed to The Chartered Society of Massage and Medical Gymnastics. Letts is listed in its Register of Members for July 1st 1920 – July 15th 1921 with the designation M.E. (Medical Electricity) after her name.

A March 1916 letter from her is addressed Military Hospital Whitworth Street Manchester; a Jan 1917 letter with her Blackrock home address on it states that [she] doesn't write much nowadays for though [she] has left the Military Hospital [she] is doing massage work for soldiers and sailors; March 1918 her letter states she is working in a Massage Military Camp(?) in Manchester; by May 1918 her address was Sisters' Quarters, Alnwick Camp, Northumberland; by Nov 1918 she was working in the Orthopaedic Hospital in Blackrock, Co. Dublin. In 1922, she asks the Yale Review (which had printed much of her work) if reminiscences of massage among soldiers would be of interest to readers. In May of that year, she told Mr Cross (editor) by letter that she had taken his advice and stopped that article at once - 'til soldiers are popular again'.

Her poem 'The Connaught Rangers' was apparently used on the dinner menu at the final break-up of the regiment.

The British Journal of Nursing (June 21st, 1913) reported on ‘The Professional Ideals with regard to Massage Workers’ as discussed at that month’s Dublin Conference of The National Council of Trained Nurses of Great Britain and Ireland. Good physique and health were, naturally, indispensable qualities for the masseuse. ‘The perfect hand for massage should be soft, dry, smooth, somewhat plump, and warm …’. Punctuality was vital as a ‘long train of evils followed unpunctuality’. Other necessary qualities included ‘Intelligence, shown in carrying out the instructions of the doctor’ and ‘[h]appiness and cheerfulnesss … but an aggressive form of optimism which was apt to irritate and even infuriate a nervous patient must be avoided’.

I read somewhere (but haven't got the reference to hand) that only members of the Incorporated Society of Trained Masseurs were eligible for membership of the Almeric Paget Massage Corps which, by 1915, was the official body to which all masseurs and masseuses engaged for service in military hospitals belonged.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fizzio1

Hi everyone. This is my first post on this topic. I am a physiotherapist and medical historian specialising in the history of physiotherapy. I have a great deal of research information that I would be willing to share with anybody who is interested

Ex students from Teacher Training Colleges were eligible to join the APMMC. In 1885 Martina Bergman Osterberg founded the first training college for women in Hampstead. She trained at the Central Gymnastic Institute in Stockholm founded by Per Henrik Ling in 1813. Ling's 'Method' included Remedial Gymnastics and he considered massage to be a form of passive therapy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John-B-Rooks

Fizzio,

Although he was an osteopath rather than a physiotherapist, you might find some information relevant to your research in 'From Mons to 1933' by Captain Gerald Lowry, FRGS, Simpkin Marshall Ltd, 1933, with two reprints into 1934. During the retreat, Captain Lowry was blinded and the book is his story of rehabilitation and training to provide himself with a career despite his disability.

Cheer ho

John.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Fizzio1

Thanks John

Another personal account of APMMC war work can be found in Under My Thumb by Olive Millard. Christopher Johnson publications 1952

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×