RAMC Grouping Postcard

This week’s postcard is a splendid view of a group of Royal Army Medical Corps soldiers, probably taken in India between the world wars:

This splendid image shows a wonderful range of uniform, headgear and insignia. Most of the men are wearing woolen service dress with peaked caps such as the two sergeants seated at the front who have large red cross badges above their stripes of rank:

The figure stood at rear left wears the tropical KD dress with a Cawnpore style pith helmet:

The others wearing tropical helmets wear the Wolseley version of this headdress with their woolen service dress. It is hard to tell from the postcard, but I think they also have cherry red regimental pieces of cloth in the puggarees of their helmets:

I believe that this image was taken in India as their are a couple of native sepoys on the bottom right of the image:

Kenneth Hulbert was an RAMC officer who served in India during the Second World War. He kept a diary from which these extracts came:

4th May
I took over the care of a ward full of Indian patients. A lot of them are Gurkhas who never moan about anything, however ill or in pain they are. So I am now fully extended and very busy indeed.

21st May
“Another large convoy of patients arrived today. The Africans have certainly livened things up. At first, we wondered what they would eat, as we have to be so careful never to give Hindus beef or Moslems pork. We were told that they ate anything — and they did. At breakfast they would have porridge, bacon and egg, all mixed up together. The other evening a group of them were sitting in a circle outside the ward tent chattering away. When the ward sister asked what they were talking about all this time, one of them said, “Sister, we are having an argument. If I was in a boat crossing a river with my mother and wife, and the boat went down in a storm, who would I try and save? He says his wife and I say my mother because you only have one mother and can always get another wife”. One of them with a plaster on kept us all amused by saying, “Dem bones him all broken, smal, small”. If one patient has a clean plaster on, the others all sulk. The sister once said to one of them, “If you do not stay in bed I shall smack you”. He answered “Sister, if you smack me I shall just sit here and cry like this”. He proceeded to cry so much that he had all the others laughing “.

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