What was the role of a Field Dressing Station?

Discussion in 'RAMC' started by Katfort, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Katfort

    Katfort Junior Member

    My grandfather served in 11 field Dressing Station (under 3rd British Infantry division then, from March 1945, under the command of xxx corps) and I was wondering what role they played?

    Thank you in advance.
  2. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    There are a few veterans on this forum who were obliged to use the FDS during their service and I've no doubt they will be along to give you info,

    In the meantime I'll tell you what I know.

    The FDS were the first port of call on a battlefield and could provide on the spot minor surgery before passing their "patients" further back down the line to major army hospitals.

    On one occasion, while my unit was at Cassino, I went sick with a minor complaint and willy, nilly found myself at a FDS for a couple of days before being sent on a hospital train to Naples.

    Without exception, these places were life savers to anyone who was severely wounded and needed assessment and possibly surgery.

  4. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Having had the services of FDSs twice. I can tell you how I saw them. They were often set up in any place they could possibly work. Even in a bank of earth. They were often right at the "Rough" end of the action. They were the first port of call for the wounded, sometimes with men laying on the ground outside bit of canvas to give cover...In my opinion they were heroic in what they achieved. They took on both our own and the enemy wounded.

    I have seen (after a ferocious battle) German prisoners on one end of a stretcher and our men onthe other. all helping with the wounded. BUT not the SS. A lot of their duties were to quickly assess the injuries and get them sent back to the rear..Nothing major was done . Not that I can recall. Only life saving operatioins were carried out. The rest treated and moved.
  5. Medic7922

    Medic7922 Senior Member

    Field Dressing Stations (FDS) where mostly manned by RAMC Medical personnal who's job was to "TRIAGE" wounded brought back from the frontline after been treated at a RAP (Regimental Aid Post) which where manned by Infantry soldiers trained in First Aid and basic Nursing duties (Stretcher Bearers)
    RAPS also had a RAMC Medical Officer who are attached to Regiments their where also RAMC soldiers attached to the fighting units who assisted the MO and helped with the training of the Stretcher Bearers.
    Once in a FDS the wounded had there wounds checked and Re-Dressed and some minor treatment would take place i.e. Fractures stabilised and the control of haemorrhage would take place, Sometimes a Resuscitation officer may intervene and give a Blood or Plasma transfusion or ensure any Airway problems where dealt with,also better pain relief was also given at a FDS.
    Once the wounded where stabilised they could be taken by a RAMC Field Ambulance unit back to a RAMC Field Hospital for further treatment.
  6. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    There is a lot of information of Field Dressing Stations on the Trux section of this forum. You can use the portal to find Trux, then Services, then Other Services, then RAMC. 0r use the search. Enter FDS and you will find it on the second page of posts.

  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    My first stop after losing my Tank and being wounded - laying on the battlefield for about eight hours was to the RAP - Regimental Aid Post - set up in a ditch with a tarpaulin over it
    where I was obviously in shock and the first thing was was a Cdn. Seaforth Highlander Sergeant lit a cigarette and shoved it in my mouth - I didn't smoke until then .....then I was inspected for wounds and bandaged here and there set to one side as they were treating in my gunner who was in a bad way - and was sent off on a four stretcher Jeep....an hour later a fleet of Jeeps arrived and I set off with two Seaforths and a Vandoo who had lost both legs and his morphine was wearing off ....overnight we did the 50 mile back to the CCS - Casualty Clearing Centre at Ancona - for a few days being treated and assessed then onto a troopship overnight to Bari and finally Catania(Sicily) for surgery
    ..so never did see the FDS.....except when I had Gastro enteritis..from eating too many peaches !
  8. chick42-46

    chick42-46 Senior Member

  9. Trux

    Trux 21 AG

    Tom highlights what was both the strength and weakness of the Field Dressing Station. It was mobile, flexible and versatile. It could open a single section very quickly, it could have Field Surgical Units attached, it could itself be attached to a larger medical unit and it was often at the sharp end. At the same time it was often relegated to looking after people who ate too many peaches and would clog up larger units.

  10. Katfort

    Katfort Junior Member

    Thank you ever so much for your replies- I have read the information both in the RAMC journal and from Trux- really interesting and detailed, perfect! Personal memories are precious, thank you too to Sapper and Tom Canning, have you posted somewhere your stories from the war? I would love to read more.
  11. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    If you look above at Tom Cannings post, you will see this:

    Trooper Tom Canning: BBC People's War page

    Some great stories there!


    ps Not forgetting Ron Goldsteins memories either-click on his avatar and his homepage-tons of brilliant stuff there!
  12. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    When you haven't seen a peach or even a reasonable facsimile in many years - and you open a hatch and find multi peaches within your grasp - there is a definite tendency to eat them no matter they haven't been washed etc - so days later - the bill arrives- three weeks later - and 20 lbs lighter -you drag yourself back to your Tank vowing to NOT do that again.....and I didn't..!

    Archaepon likes this.

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