Indian Army First Field Dressing

In 1941 India was facing difficulties procuring many items of military equipment. Great Britain, its usual supplier, was diverting as much material as possible to its own army and so the Indian authorities needed to harness the countries natural resources and population to produce as much as possible. One of these areas was in field and shell dressings. By 1941 though factories were being set up and production was expected to quickly reach large daily targets:

A “Shell Dressing” factory has recently been started in the Madras Presidency under the Government Medical Stores Department. The outturn of the factory will ultimately be 30,000 shell dressings per day. Practically all the raw materials are obtained in India.

Previously I have covered the shell dressing, and I have been looking for the matching first field dressing for quite some time so I am pleased to have added this example to the collection:

The instructions on the front are the same as that on other Commonwealth field dressings, but across the bottom is the details of the maufacturer, Bengal Chemical of Calcutta and Bombay and the Indian Medical Services:

There is also a large ‘/|\’ over ‘I’ Indian Army ownership mark stamped on the packaging:

These first field dressings were dated, with a stamp in purple indelible ink. Sadly the stamping on this example is very poorly done so I can’t make out the yeaar of manufacture:

Inside the package are two seperate small bandages, one for a bullet’s entry wound and the other for the exit wound. These are not marked with any indication of the manufacturer or company of origin and instead look just like those from any other country.

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