How were the wounded treated on the battlefield and on ambulance trains?

Background Information

During the First World War there were new advances in technology and warfare. This resulted in new types of injuries which required different treatment processes.

Ambulance trains were key in the fast treatment and evacuation of the wounded away from the front. Only casualties that were fit to travel were loaded onto ambulance trains. If a soldier had life threatening injuries they would not board the trains and would continue to receive treatment nearer enemy lines.

The aim of these resources is to help your students to explore how the wounded were treated in the First World War. The resources offer an observation into the people and treatment post battle.

Teachers’ notes

How to use these resources

  • use them as discussion points for learning about how wounded soldiers were treated on ambulance trains and back at home during the First World War
  • encourage your students to explore and interpret the resources
  • make comparisons to the way battlefield treatment works today

Talking points

What is the content of the pictures/letters?
Why might these moments need to be captured?
What do these resources tell you about how wounded soldiers were treated?
Does anything in these resources surprise you?
How do you think these conditions would affect the recovery of the troops?
What do these photographs not tell us?
How do we deal with battlefield casualties today?
What questions do you need to ask about these resources?
What other types of sources of information do you think you need to look at to find out the answers to these questions?