Royal Warwickshire Regiment 
Re-enactment Group

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2ND BATTALION  ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT

"STRETCHER BEARERS!"

 

A terrible cry that no man wanted to hear, meaning that a man lay injured, desperate for medical assistance. The men of the stretcher bearer section would be sent out to provide rudimentary triage and then evacuate the casualty to a place where medical attention could be provided (by the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) attached to the unit from the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and his Non-commissioned officers 1 Sergeant and 5 corporals.


Within the regiment, there would have been a total of 20 Regimental Stretcher Bearers (RSB’s) these men were ordinary soldiers who received  basic First Aid and stretcher handling training, provided by the RMO and his NCO’s. During the Normandy landings 4 RSB's and a RAMC Corporal would be assigned to each of the 5 companies of the Battalion. 

The RSB's role, either working in pairs or groups of four per stretcher, was to retrieve and evacuate the wounded men often during the height of the fighting, and usually doing so unarmed. On arrival their primary tasks were “Arresting Hemorrhage, Treating the Wound and Preventing Shock”.

Stretcher Bearers would apply the 3 B’s Breathing, Bleeding and Bones

Breathing: If the man wasn’t breathing they would move to the next one.

Bleeding: If the man was breathing any bleeding would be treated by applying shell dressings.

Bones: Broken bones would be dealt with if time and circumstances allow


Nothing more complicated was expected.  For example in the event of a bad leg wound, a shell dressing would be put over the wound and a bandage applied. Only if time allowed would the leg be secured using a rifle as a splint. The soldier would be removed from the battlefield and got to the Regimental Aid Post (RAP) as quickly as possible. 


In the event that it was not possible to evacuate the wounded from the battlefield; the RSB would administer First Aid and then note the exact location and map reference of the casualty. Each casualty would be classified and reported back to the RMO for later evacuation when the objective had been taken. Men could be grouped together in “nests” of casualties to be picked up after the fighting had stopped, this was often just a ditch or a hollow to try and keep them as safe as possible

On the stand we aim to tell the story of the RSB's and their brave work which often took them into harms way. Our display lays out just what these man carried (in ADDITION to all their own equipment!) and what situations they might find themselves in. The members portraying this impression are trained using the same training leaflets given to RSB's of the time and during our battlefield demonstrations will perform medical triage and recovery (where possible) on any 'wounded soldiers'. As far as we are aware this is a unique impression within the UK and we are proud to include them as part of the Warwicks impression.

If you're interested in learning more about this impression (or joining it!) head over to our 'Contact Us' page and ask to speak to Private Drake.