Witley, May 15, 1917

Tuesday          The weather has become much cooler & dull inclined to rain[.] A.M. cleaned up after yesterday In the afternoon started to strip F sub gun & muster parade for pay[.] health good except teeth

teeth.JPGCamp nutrition can’t be good for the men’s teeth. Archie went to Guildford to see a dentist on April 23 (1), and the May issue of O.Pip asks, under the heading “Things we would like to know,” “Why so many fellows are making appointments with Guildford dentists?” (2)

The dental chart is from the Canadian Army Dental Corps. Founded in 1915, the Army Dental Corps had a presence at Canadian training camps in England, where every soldier was inspected and treated as necessary before being sent to France. (3) To judge from O.Pip, Witley men took themselves to civilian dentists, many of whom were unregistered, and “confined themselves narrowly to the specialty of pulling teeth.” (4)

In France about this time, there were fewer than 500 dentists in the Dental Corps, assigned to Field Ambulances, Casualty Clearing Stations, hospitals and base camps. By the end of the war, there will be 849, and they will have performed over 2.25 million operations. (5)

(1) Wills, Archie. Diary. 4: 39. April 23, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria.
(2) The O.Pip. 2 (May 1917): 9
(3) MacPhail, Andrew. The Medical Services. Official History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War 1914-1919. Ottawa, 1925. 227.
(4) MacPhail, 225.
(5) MacPhail, 225-226.

Copyright 2017. See “More about this project.”
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