A couple of years ago I looked at an example of the No15 Large Wound Dressing here. That example was produced in a paper packaging. This was fine for most situations, but in the field the paper would not have survived very long and if it were to become damaged the bandage would become soiled and useless. It is therefore unsuprising that the dressing was also produced in a standard cloth package, just like the shell dressings and first field dressings we are so used to:
The dressing consisted of a large absorbant pad attached to a length of bandage that allowed it to be applied in a sterile manner and then secured around the patient. Instructions on how to use the dressing are stamped onto the cloth and indicate that this dressing was manufactured in December 1943:
TJ Smith & Nephew was founded in 1856 by Thomas James Smith of Kingston upon Hull who went into business as a dispensing chemist. A few months before his death in 1896, Smith was joined by his nephew, Horatio Nelson Smith, and the business became known as T. J. Smith and Nephew. In the 1920s it became the British manufacturer and distributer of Elastoplast and by World War II was one of the leading medical supply companies in the country. The company is still in existence today and is a leading multinational manufacturer of medical equipment and consumables.
These No15 dressings are not particularly rare, however far fewer were manufactured than shell dressings or first field dressings which were issued to every soldier.These dressings were instead issued to medics and in dedicated medical kits. As such there were fewer of them to start with and they are consequently a little scarcer now on the collectors’ market.