ALBERT ERWIN QUARMBY

Private 75064, 21st Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps

Died 8th October 1917 aged 21


Son of Joseph and Annie Quarmby

Lived Nunroyd, Heckmondwike


Albert was born in 1896; he was one of the three children of Joseph who was from Normanton and his wife Annie who came from South Shields.  His two brothers Leonard and William also joined the army, Leonard was killed in July 1916 but William survived.

Before the war, Albert worked as an Errand Boy in a dairy.

Albert was a Private in the RAMC which had only been in existence for sixteen years when The Great War broke out.  Prior to this the management of care and welfare for the sick and the wounded was often inadequate and confined to binding up wounds.  Many men were left neglected or were treated by untrained and unskilled individuals; several were left in the hands of the enemy, and it has even been recorded that many, who appeared helpless or unlikely to make a recovery, were killed by their own troops to put them out of their misery.  The Great War produced vast numbers of casualties all requiring treatment at the same time and it was soon evident that a man’s chances of survival depended on how quickly his wound was treated.  For this reason a system was set up known as the Chain of Evacuation.  Each section of the chain had its own tasks but the objective was the same – to deal with all medical matters, and to treat the sick and the wounded.   Albert was part of a Field Ambulance team, it was not a vehicle; it was a mobile front line medical unit.  The Field Ambulance was responsible for establishing and operating a number of points along the casualty evacuation chain, from the Bearer Relay Posts which were up to 600 yards behind the Regimental Aid Posts in the front line, taking casualties rearwards through an Advanced Dressing Station (ADS) to the Main Dressing Station (MDS).  It also provided a Walking Wounded Collecting Station, as well as various rest areas and local sick rooms.

The RAMC was not a fighting force but its members saw the full horror of the war, Officers and men performed their duties unarmed and the Corps lost approximately 6,873 personnel; of these an estimated 470 officers and 3,669 other ranks were either killed in action or died of wounds.  To date the Commonwealth War Graves Commission are still adding names to their roll of honour.
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