In a Field Hospital Stereoscope Card

This week’s image is a stereoscope card rather than our usual postcard and depicts a nurse tending a patient during the Boer War:

The image is entitled ‘In a Field Hospital on the Tugela River’ and is copywriter 1900. Although it is clearly a staged photo, the image crops up in other places and I suspect it was genuinely taken at a Field Hospital, even if the nurse and patient are playing it up,for the camera. The nurse can be seen holding the soldier’s head whilst giving him a drink. From other versions of this picture it can be seen that the magazine he holds is a copy of Punch:

In the foreground can be seen his uniform and white sun helmet. Conditions in a field hospital during the Boer War were far from pleasant, but the press were keen to highlight how efficient they were, such as this account from ” With the Flag to Pretoria” published in December 1899:

Within the tents the surgeons plied their work of merciful cruelty. “Each of the three operating tents,” says Sir William McCormac, “contained two operating tables, and as fast as a patient was taken off the table another took his place. Awaiting their turn, the wounded were lying outside in rows, which were being continually augmented by the civilian bearers coming in from the field. As each wounded man reached the hospital he was served with a hot cup of Bovril, large cans of which were boiling outside the tents. The way in which the wounded had been dressed in the field, and each man ticketed with the nature of his wound, name, and regiment, was excellent, and was very useful for identification. This also saved much time at the field hospitals, because the seriously wounded could be at once discriminated from the more trivial cases…

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