Where was information about a British soldier's blood group kept?

Discussion in 'Service Records' started by Justin History, May 31, 2014.

  1. Nuggets of information here on how the British used blood and plasma during the war. It seems for shock that whole blood transfusions was best. It also mentions that field surgeons had to be educated to take advantage the advances that took place in the storage and distribution of blood and plasma. Before this change took hold US field surgeons were said to be sparing in their use of blood in surgery. The US also apparently learnt from British experiences/ideas in all of these areas:

  2. Anthony Cotterell in his 1945 book R.A.M.C. says on p. 113 when discussing the work of a parachute surgical unit in North Africa:

    'Treatment was orthodox, though, of course, some modifications were necessary. Blood for transfusions was obtained from the parachutists themselves who had been grouped for the purpose beforehand. This old-world method of bringing blood to the battle saved a lot of space.'

    Another variant on what has been discussed.

  3. To add further to the above, from Peter Lovegrove's 1952 short history of the R.A.M.C. 'Not Least In The Crusade' (pages 59 to 60):

    'The Army Blood Transfusion Service had by then become an essential part of forward surgery. Urgent research made soon after the hostilities [he means WW1] began to find durable substitutes for whole blood had produced dried plasma and serums, which were easy to handle and transport, and kept in good condition for long periods. These were flown from the United Kingdom to the Base Transfusion Unit in Cairo, which itself organised supplies of whole blood and liquid plasma from local resources. A regular flow of supplies was directed to the Desert battle areas through forward distributing sections to units attached to each division and casualty clearing station, and no wounded man was ever denied the advantage of this life-saving measure.'
  4. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    During our early days in Italy a call went out for units to supply blood.

    The method of "volunteering" was quite clever.

    The whole battery was lined up on parade and the request for blood was made as follows:

    "We are looking for volunteers........ anyone who is not willing to give a pint , one pace forward march !

    I looked in vain for a reference in my records to this clever con. :)

  5. Just to add to this thread an entry I read recently from the war diary of the 1st Battalion Manchester Regiment (based at this time in Singapore - the Battalion had been in Singapore since October 1938, following 1935-1938 in the Middle East & 1934/5 in the West Indies) from 17.6.41 (so just under 6 months before the beginning of the campaign in Malaya & Singapore):

    'Blood Grouping of the battalion completed.'

    From WO 172/93


  6. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Even my fathers medical records when he was hospitalised during the war don't have any blood group recorded

  7. Hi Paul

    Reading back through the thread it seems all rather adhoc whether a soldier's blood group was recorded in either their pay books, by their units or not at all.

    This page from a 2015 article from the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps http://jramc.bmj.com/content/161/1/2.extract (glasses or zoom on your viewer needed unless you have a subscription) explicitly states that it was decided in 1939 not to test the whole of the British Armed Forces for their blood group by the Army blood transfusion service. Blood would be provided from the UK although later on units closer to the field conducted donor sessions as described above. Another article from 2008, written by a student from the Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London gives some detail about how the civilian and Army transfusion services developed during WW2: http://tinyurl.com/pne3tp7 .

    I suppose that it also comes down to the resources involved in performing a blood test for everyone in the Army and then recording the blood type in a way that can be easily retrieved. Donated blood would be typed/identified and it was probably relatively easy for blood to be matched before surgery took place once the casualty was out of immediate danger and further up the medical chain (away from the front line), by simply testing a small amount of blood (as in blood tests today). Presumably it was felt that to do this in advance for the whole of the Army was not a good use of medical resources as well as due to the central UK based model adopted at the beginning of the war.

    I wonder if the model of most blood coming from the UK would have applied to the Far East Theatre (not counting the FEPOWs)?



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