THE BLOODY FIELDS OF WATERLOO: MEDICAL SUPPORT AT WELLINGTON’S GREATEST BATTLE

CRUMPLIN (M.)

KT094

£39.50

272pp., colour illus.throughout, printed board covers. 2013

Michael Crumplin needs no introduction as surgeon and an authority on medical matters of the Napoleonic Wars. Despite a few anecdotes, little enough is known about the medical staff present and the challenges they faced at the Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. This study begins with a brief overview of the principal battle of the 1815 campaign, with medical commentary, where appropriate. After this, the next two chapters give a short outline of the ranking and types of medical staff are given with their responsibilities. There was one notable visitor to Brussels after Waterloo, Britain’s only (Regius) Professor of Military Surgery in Edinburgh, John Thomson, who toured the Belgium hospitals after the battle and wrote a valuable report on his findings among the wounded. The fourth chapter concerns Thomson’s visit and is annotated. This is followed by chapters containing a collection of (largely British Army) medical anecdotes relating to wounded officers and men, some better known than others. These precede an epilogue and a comprehensive list of members of the Army Medical Department who served in the battle, or who arrived later to assist with the large number of casualties in the Low Countries.