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. This would be undertaken 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.
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.