Page:Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition, v. 2.djvu/646

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

separate wards are allotted to the different regiments and corps, and their sick are kept as far as possible distinct, and under the immediate attendance of their own medical officers and orderlies. The hospital staff consists of the medical officers attached to regiments at the station, a certain number of medical officers specially attached to the hospital, the officers and men of the Army Hospital Corps, and the hospital sergeants and orderlies of the regiments at the station. At small stations a building or block is specially fitted as a hospital, and is under the charge of the medical officer of the regiment or corps. When an army is organised for service in the field, field hospitals and ambulances are formed. The latter consist of a number of ambulance waggons, light waggons specially constructed for the carriage of sick and wounded, with a sufficient staff of medical officers and attendants, and a company of "stretcher bearers," provided with stretchers ; these are charged with the immediate removal of the wounded from the battle-field, their first dressings, and conveyance to the nearest field hospital. The field hospitals are pro vided with large hospital tents, beds, and all the require ments of an hospital, and a sufficient staff of medical officers and attendants, and either accompany the army in its march, or establish themselves in suitable places in rear. The ambulance waggon commonly used is four-wheeled, weighing 16 cwt., drawn by two horses, and constructed to carry eight wounded (two lying down and six sitting), besides a water keg, stretchers, and other medical appliances.

For care of sick and wounded in war, see article War.

The general health of the army has greatly improved of late. The disasters of the Crimean war first drew attention to the importance of proper sanitary arrange ments in the field; but what, perhaps, aroused public attention still more strongly was the report of the Royal Commission of 1858, by which it appeared that the mortality in the army generally was twice as great, and in the foot guards three times as great, as in the corresponding classes of the civil population. Since then, improved barracks, better meals, gymnasia, recreation-rooms, and out- of-door amusements provided for the soldier, have reduced the death-rate to one-half; while the Contagious Diseases Act, severely attacked as it has been, has materially lowered the sick-rate at those stations where it is in force. The admissions from causes under its control have, within five years, been reduced to less than a third at some of the large stations; while a comparison of 14 stations at which the Act is in force, with 14 to which it has not been extended, shows 54 5 cases per 1000 men at the former, and 113 3 at the latter. The annual death-rate in the army generally averages about 14 per 1000. In 1870 Gibraltar, Malta, and Canada were the healthiest stations, showing a death-rate of only 8 7 per 1000. The United Kingdom came next, with a rate of 9 -5; while in India the death-rate rose to 2 2 8. But to appreciate the improvement that has been effected in the health of the army, it is necessary to turn back to the fifteen years pre ceding the Crimean war, when the death-rate in the United Kingdom averaged 17 - 5, and that of the army generally 33 per 1000; while the death-rate in India averaged 62 per 1000 between 1837 and 1853, and 81 per 1000 in the twenty years preceding 1837.

Veterinary Department.

7 Staff Veterinary Surgeons 1 1 rising to 130 35 Veterinary Surgeons, 1st class... 1 J 6 ,, 100 70 2d class... 10 17 6 112

A limited number of acting veterinary surgeons are employed at the discretion of the Secretary for War.

Staff veterinary surgeons are employed to supervise districts or great military stations, the others are attached to cavalry regiments, horse and field artillery, &c. The unifo rm of the staff surgeons is blue, similar to that of officers of hussars, but with cocked hat and red plume; the veterinary surgeons attached to regiments wear the uniform of the corps, with cocked hat and red plume.

Chaplain's Department.

The Chaplain s Department is under the Chaplain- General at the War Office. Chaplains to the forces are appointed by the Secretary for War ; they must previously be in holy orders, and belong either to the Church of England or Ireland, to the Presbyterian, or to the Roman Catholic Church, and must serve six months on probation before their appointment is confirmed. They are divided into four classes, the first ranking as colonels, the second as lieutenant-colonels, the third as majors, and the fourth as captains. Promotion is governed by length of service, chaplains being promoted to the third class after ten years, to the second after fifteen years, and to the first after twenty years ; but for distinguished services any chaplain may be promoted to the next higher class without regard to length of service. Chaplains are entitled to retirement after twenty-five years service. The establish ment (1873) and rates of daily pay of the several classes are as follows:—

10 Chaplains, 1st class 1 rising to 126 20 ,, 2d class 17 6 30 ,, 3d class 15 20 ,, 4th class 10 ,, 12 C 80

Of these, fifteen are Roman Catholics and six Presby terian. Chaplains are not attached to particular regi ments or corps, but are stationed at the principal gar risons and military stations at home and abroad. Gar rison chapels, used also in many cases as schools, exist at all the large stations. At smaller stations the troops attend divine service at the parish churches, and an allowance is made to a local clergyman for attending the troops, performing special services when necessary, and visiting the sick.

Education Department.

The educational establishments for the army consist of the military colleges, a staff of instructors for officer, 1 * serving with their regiments, and army or regimental schools for the instruction of the non-commissioned officers and privates of the army and their children. The super vision of the education of the army rests with the Director- General of Military Education at the War Office.