Witley, April 21, 1917

Saturday          Fine & warm (AM medical lecture) Afternoon off. Slight headache.|
9 pm feeling good

Medical lectures could cover a host of topics. “The proper steps to be taken to preserve the health of all ranks is made a part of the training given to every member of the forces.” (1)

Or as the Field Service Pocket Book (2) put it:

sanitation field service manual.JPG

There were, of course, other medical concerns: Major Collins opined that “by far the most deadly of diseases as far as loss of efficiency to the army is concerned are the venereal diseases,” but he was confident that the “prevention of these diseases can best be accomplished by lectures on the risks which are run by illicit intercourse, and by explaining the necessity of immediately reporting to the Medical Officer when infection is discovered, coupled with rigid control of all known loose characters.” (1)

Despite the warnings, there were over 66,000 cases of venereal disease among Candian troops overseas, a rate of 158 per thousand and  “for syphilis alone 4.5 per cent or 45 per
thousand.” (3)
I might have a headache if I’d spent the morning being warned about the “far-reaching effect of these diseases” (1) and the ulcers, sores, and rashes that were their symptoms.

(1) Collins, Major G.R.N. “Medical Services in the Field: Sanitation and Hygiene.” Military Organization and Administration. 1918.
(2) Field Service Pocket Book. 1914. 51.
(3) MacPhail, Andrew. The Medical Services. Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919. 1925. 287.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”
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