Royal Army Medical Corps: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Royal Army Medical Corps
Cap badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps
Active 1898 - present day
Country United Kingdom
Branch British Army
Nickname The Linseed Lancers;
Motto In Arduis Fidelis = Faithful in Adversity
March Quick: Here's a Health unto His Majesty (arr. J.A. Thornburrow)
Slow: Her bright smile haunts me still (J Campbell)
Anniversaries Corps Day (23 June)

The Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) is a specialist corps in the British Army which provides medical services to all British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace. Together with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Army Dental Corps and Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, the RAMC forms the British Army's essential Army Medical Services.

The RAMC does not carry a Regimental Colour or Queen's Colour, although it has a Regimental Flag. Nor does it have battle honours, as elements of the corps have been present in almost every single war the army has fought. Because it is not a fighting arm, under the Geneva Conventions, members of the RAMC may only use their weapons for self-defence. For this reason, there are two traditions that the RAMC perform when on parade:

  • Officers do not draw their swords - instead they hold their scabbard with their left hand while saluting with their right.
  • Other Ranks do not fix bayonets.

Unlike medical officers in some other countries, medical officers in the RAMC (and the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force) do not use the "Dr" prefix, in parentheses or otherwise, but only their rank, although they may be addressed informally as "Doctor".



The RAMC, like every other British regiment, has its own distinctive unit insignia.

  • Dark blue beret, the default Army colour worn by units without distinctive coloured berets. The exceptions are members of 16 Medical Regiment, who wear the maroon beret, 225 Scottish General Support Medical Regiment (previously Field Ambulance) and members of 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital, who wear the traditional Scottish Tam O' Shanter headdress with Corps badge on tartan backing, and medical personnel attached to field units with distinctive coloured berets, who usually wear the beret of that unit (e.g. maroon for The Parachute Regiment and sky blue for the Army Air Corps).
  • Cap badge depicting the Rod of Asclepius, surmounted by a crown, enclosed within a laurel wreath, with the regimental motto In Arduis Fidelis, translated as "Faithful in Adversity" in a scroll beneath. The cap badge is worn 1 inch above the left eye on the beret. The cap badge of the other ranks must also be backed by an oval patch of dull cherry-red coloured cloth measuring 44mm wide and 55mm high sewn directly to the beret. Officers do not use the backing, but have a sewn-on cloth cap badge instead.
  • Silver regimental collar pins (collar dogs), a miniature of the cap badge. Worn with the serpents heads facing inwards.
  • Stable belt comprising equal horizontal bands of (from top to bottom) dull cherry, royal blue, and old gold, reflecting the old uniform worn in the 1900s (dull cherry and royal blue), the gold depicting the royal in the title. Members of 16 Air Assault Medical Regiment stable belt is maroon with two sky blue bands.
  • Silver belt buckle with engraved regimental badge.
Regimental flag


Medical services in the British military go as far back as the formation of the Standing Regular Army after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660. This was the first time a career was provided for a Medical Officer (MO), known as the Regimental Surgeon, both in peacetime and in war. The Army was formed entirely on a regimental basis, and an MO with a Warrant Officer as his Assistant Surgeon was appointed to each regiment, which also provided a hospital. The MO was also for the first time concerned in the continuing health of his troops, and not limited to just battlefield medicine. This regimental basis of appointment for MOs continued until it was abolished in 1873.

In 1898, officers and soldiers providing medical services were incorporated into one body known by its present name, the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The RAMC began to develop during the Boer War, but it was during the First World War that it reached its apogee both in size and experience. During Britain's colonial days the RAMC had set up clinics and hospitals in countries where British troops could be found. Major-General Sir William Macpherson of the RAMC wrote the official Medical History of the War (HMSO 1922).

In modern times it has once again contracted and its main bases, the Queen Alexandra Hospital Millbank has now closed.

The military medical services are now very much tri-service, with the hospital facilities of Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy combined. The main hospital facility is now the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham, a joint military-NHS centre. The former Royal Naval Hospital Haslar in Gosport, near Portsmouth, became the tri-service Royal Hospital Haslar, however it was decommissioned in March 2007. The majority of injured service personnel are now treated in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham. Early negative press coverage [1] has largely given way to an appreciation that the care provided injured troops has significantly improved[2] and is best carried out in a large NHS Teaching Hospital environment[3].

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Friarage Hospital in Northallerton (near Catterick Garrison) and Frimley Park Hospital (near Aldershot) also have military hospital units attached to them but they do not treat operational casualties.

Before the Second World War, RAMC recruits were required to be at least 5 feet 2 inches tall and could enlist up to 30 years of age. They initially enlisted for seven years with the colours and a further five years with the reserve, or three years and nine years. They trained for six months at the RAMC Depot, Crookham Camp, Aldershot, before proceeding to specialist trade training.[4]


Order of Precedence

Preceded by:
Royal Logistic Corps
Order of Precedence Succeeded by:
Corps of Royal Electrical
and Mechanical Engineers

Successive changes in title

  • Medical Staff Corps (1855–1857) (other ranks only)
  • Army Hospital Corps (1857–1884) (other ranks only)
  • Army Medical Department (1873–1898) (officers only)
  • Medical Staff Corps (1884–1898) (other ranks only)
  • Royal Army Medical Corps (1898–present)

Gallantry Awards

Since the Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856 there have been 27 Victoria Crosses and two bars awarded to army medical personnel.[5] A bar, indicating a subsequent award of a second Victoria Cross, has only ever been awarded three times, two of them to medical officers. Twenty-three of these Victoria Crosses are on display in the Army Medical Services Museum. The corps also has one recipient of both the Victoria Cross and the Iron Cross. One officer was awarded the George Cross in the Second World War. A young female member of the corps, Private Michelle Norris, became the first woman to be awarded the Military Cross following her actions in Iraq on 11 June 2006.[6] One VC is in existence that is not counted in any official records. In 1856, Queen Victoria laid a Victoria Cross beneath the foundation stone of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, Netley.[7] When the hospital was demolished in 1966, the VC, known as "The Netley VC", was retrieved and is now on display in the Army Medical Services Museum, Ash, near Aldershot.[7]

Name Award Awarded while serving with Medal held by
Ackroyd, HaroldHarold Ackroyd Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd The Royal Berkshire Regiment Lord Ashcroft Collection
Allen, WilliamWilliam Allen Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd Royal Field Artillery Army Medical Services Museum
Babtie, WilliamWilliam Babtie Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps Army Medical Services Museum
Bradshaw, WilliamWilliam Bradshaw Victoria Cross 90th Regiment (The Cameronians) Army Medical Services Museum
Chavasse, NoelNoel Chavasse Victoria Cross
and Bar
Royal Army Medical Corps att'd The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Bar: same
Imperial War Museum
Crean, ThomasThomas Crean Victoria Cross 1st Imperial Light Horse (Natal) Army Medical Services Museum
Douglas, HenryHenry Douglas Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps Army Medical Services Museum
Farmer, JosephJoseph Farmer Victoria Cross Army Hospital Corps Army Medical Services Museum
Fox-Russell, JohnJohn Fox-Russell Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd The Royal Welch Fusiliers Army Medical Services Museum
Green, JohnJohn Green Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd The Sherwood Foresters Army Medical Services Museum
Hale, ThomasThomas Hale Victoria Cross 7th Regiment (The Royal Fusiliers) Army Medical Services Museum
Harden, HenryHenry Harden Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd 45 Royal Marine Commando Army Medical Services Museum
Hartley, EdmundEdmund Hartley Victoria Cross Cape Mounted Riflemen, SA Forces Army Medical Services Museum
Home, AnthonyAnthony Home Victoria Cross 90th Perthshire Light Infantry Army Medical Services Museum
Inkson, EdgarEdgar Inkson Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Army Medical Services Museum
Jee, JosephJoseph Jee Victoria Cross 78th Regiment (The Seaforth Highlanders) Army Medical Services Museum
Le Quesne, FerdinandFerdinand Le Quesne Victoria Cross Medical Staff Corps Jersey Museum
Lloyd, OwenOwen Lloyd Victoria Cross Army Medical Department Army Medical Services Museum
Maling, GeorgeGeorge Maling Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd The Rifle Brigade Army Medical Services Museum
Manley, WilliamWilliam Manley Victoria Cross
Iron Cross
Royal Regiment of Artillery
Awarded Iron Cross 1870
Army Medical Services Museum
Martin-Leake, ArthurArthur Martin-Leake Victoria Cross
and Bar
VC: South African Constabulary
Bar: Royal Army Medical Corps
Army Medical Services Museum
McMaster, Valentine MunbeeValentine Munbee McMaster Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps
Winning his VC during the relief of Lucknow, while serving with the 78th Highlanders
Mouat, JamesJames Mouat Victoria Cross 6th Dragoons (Inniskilling) Army Medical Services Museum
Nickerson, WilliamWilliam Nickerson Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps Privately held
Ranken, HarryHarry Ranken Victoria Cross Royal Army Medical Corps att'd King's Royal Rifle Corps Army Medical Services Museum
Reynolds, JamesJames Reynolds Victoria Cross Army Medical Department Army Medical Services Museum
Sinton, JohnJohn Sinton Victoria Cross Indian Medical Service Army Medical Services Museum
Sylvester, WilliamWilliam Sylvester Victoria Cross 23rd Regiment (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) Army Medical Services Museum

Although not serving with the RAMC, Irish born Surgeon John CRIMMIN VC, CB, CIE, VD is another military medic to win the country's highest award for gallantry. He won his medal in 1889 while serving with The Bombay Medical Service of The Indian Army in the Karen Ni Expedition. John Crimmin is buried in Wells Somerset. Other sources state the medal is held by The Army Medical Services Museum.

Trades/Careers in the 21st century

RAMC Officer Careers:

RAMC Soldier Trades:


Military abbreviations applicable to the Medical Corps

Within the military, Medical officers could occupy a number of roles that were dependent on experience, rank and location. Within military documentation numerous abbreviations were used to identify these roles of which the following are some of the most common:[8]

  • ADMS = Assistant Director Medical Services
  • DADMS = Deputy Assistant Director of Medical Services
  • DDGMS = Deputy Director General Medical Services
  • DDMS = Deputy Director Medical Services
  • DG = Director General (Medical Services)
  • DGAMS = Director General Army Medical Services (at War Office, London)
  • DGMS = Director General Medical Services
  • DMS = Director Medical Services
  • EMO = Embarkation Medical Officer
  • GDMO = General Duties Medical Officer (a junior army doctor attached to a field unit before commencing higher specialist training)
  • MCD = Military Clinical Director (a senior army Consultant)
  • MSO = Medical Support Officer (a non-clinical military officer who hold command and staff positions)
  • MO = Medical Officer
  • OMO = Orderly Medical Officer
  • PMO = Principal Medical Officer
  • RMO = Regimental Medical Officer (normally an army General Practitioner with additional training in Pre-Hospital Emergency Care and Occupational Medicine)
  • SMO = Senior Medical Officer (normally a senior army General Practitioner)

See also


  • Blair, J.S.G. Centenary History of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 1898–1998. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1998.
  • Brereton, F.S. The Great War and the RAMC. London: Constable, 1919.
  • Lovegrove, P. Not Least in the Crusade. A Short History of the RAMC. Gale and Polden, 1955.

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address