World War One Style First Field Dressing

The jury is still out on today’s object. I have had differing opinions on the authenticity of these first field dressings. Some have said that they are replicas from the 1980s, whilst others have suggested that they are an early post-WW1 contract for a either a civilian user or a country such as the Irish Free State. Either way they are a good exemplar of World War One dressings so worth considering:

Each field dressing packet contains two individual dressings, one to cover the entry wound and another to cover the exit wound from a bullet:

These are packaged within a printed cloth wrapper:

A cloth tape is provided at one end to allow the stitching to be ripped apart to access the bandages within:

What makes these dressing different from the Second World War models is that between the two bandages is a small cardboard tube containing a glass ampule of iodine, protected by a small piece of horse hair:

This cardboard tube is wrapped in grease proof paper and printed under this are instructions in using the iodine:

The first field dressing dated back to the Boer War and the Iodine was included early in the war, but was later dropped

Iodine ampoules containing 30 minims of tincture of iodine were introduced in the early days of the war for use in conjunction with the first field dressings which contained gauze impregnated with 2 per cent. to 3 per cent. by weight of double cyanide of mercury and zinc. In July 1917, however, it was represented from France that the consulting surgeons there were of the opinion that the addition of iodine to the first field dressings served no useful purpose, and caused blistering of the skin in many cases when used in conjunction with cyanide gauze. Consequently, after careful consideration of the whole question in all its aspects by the consulting surgeons at home and abroad, it was decided to abolish the use of the iodine ampoule in conjunction with the first field dressing.

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