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Lessons from the past to guide the future: The RAMC at 125
  1. Oliver O'Sullivan1,2
  1. 1Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation, DMRC Stanford Hall, Loughborough, UK
  2. 2Academic Unit of Injury, Recovery and Inflammation Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Maj Oliver O'Sullivan, Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation, DMRC Stanford Hall, Loughborough, LE12 5QW, UK; oliver_osullivan{at}

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The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) was established on 23 June 1898, from the amalgamation of the Hospital Staff Corps and Army Medical Staff,1 and 2023 marked its 125th anniversary.2 A study day was arranged by the Museum of Military Medicine at the National Army Museum to mark this, with a variety of speakers, ranging in rank and backgrounds (online supplemental file 1), joined by the Colonel-in-Chief, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester KG GCVO, to provide a whistlestop tour of the Corps’ illustrious history.3

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The establishment and early years of the RAMC were introduced, highlighting the importance of the Boer War and subsequent Royal Commissions in shaping the need and role of the Corps, including the need for appropriate numbers of personnel and equipment (clearly, this battle has raged since time immemorial!). The creation, and importance for corporate memory, of the Journal of the RAMC and its first publication in July 19034 was discussed, as was the morphing of role from metaphysical and philosophical musings or parish notices, to articles of high(er) scientific rigour.

The lingering influence of the Boer conflict on World War I, ‘fighting of the last clinical war’, was the next topic. This included conservative management of a single small arms gunshot wound in a clean South African environment not translating well to the Western Front, with advances in artillery and machine guns causing mass casualties, broken limbs and multiple …

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  • Contributors OOS attended the study day, drafted the manuscript and acts as the guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.