History of the Canadian Forces, 1914-19, Medical Services, By Sir Andrew MacPhail.


Cat No.:   CA0224:

By Sir Andrew MacPhail, Kt., O.B.E., M.D., C.M., LL.D., M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., F.R.C.S., professor of the History of medicine, McGill University. First published 1925.

While standing alone in its own right as a revealing history of this specialized and fascinating aspect of the Great War conflict, this book was also written to become a component of the comprehensive “History of the Canadian Forces in the Great War” being written and produced under the direction and supervision of Col. A. Fortescue Duguid in his position as the Director of the Historical Section, General Staff. The project was, however interrupted by the outbreak of the 2nd World War so that only this book and the first part of the overall Official History covering the activities of the first contingent of the C.E.F. (our catalogue number CA0098) were completed and published.

We first heard about this book when we were doing our research for our republication of Duguid's history, together with stories that it had created quite a flurry in official circles because of the rather outspoken and blunt views expressed in it. Having now had a chance to read it we can understand how it would have caused consternation amongst some senior staff and officials. Sir Andrew comes from the tell it as I see it school and has no hesitation in pointing out political maneuvering, errors, and downright stupidity. Now that's not to say that this entire book is just an exposé. Far from it. This is a fascinating account of how the medical sections of the allied (and occasionally the German) armies dealt with the challenges and unprecedented confluence of an unlimited, mechanized war, being fought in trenches, and a medical discipline which was in the process of transitioning from an art to a science.

Sir Andrew's writing is well planned and well implemented. He provides the relevant facts clearly, with plenty of reference to his supporting sources, and manages to explain the consequence and outcomes both at the strategic and the individual level. While it’s inevitable that such a subject would involve some of the technical language of medicine there is not so much of it that the lay person cannot follow the thread with ease.

He includes plenty of statistical analysis of the medical consequences of sending over 400,000 Canadians to fight a war in Europe as well as records of the key staff running hospitals and other important medical services. Also not forgotten are the men and women who actually brought medicine to the battlefield. Sir Andrew provides a full listing of all the awards received and of all those who gave their lives in the medical service.

We have provided a freely downloadable sampler of pages from the book including the table of contents, a random sampling of pages from throughout, and a small segment of a large and very detailed map of the allied (mainly Canadian) and German trench dispositions on 9th April 1917 showing Neuville-St.-Vaast and Vimy. Not shown in the sampler is the 24 page index provided by the original book. In addition to this index, in the actual CD we have made the whole text searchable and enabled the FastFind feature allowing you to make almost instantaneous searches for any word in the book.

This valuable book has been loaned to us by Marc Leroux. Marc has joined Chris Wight to undertake the mammoth task of making a biographical database of all the Canadians who took part in The Great War. This work will be underway for a long time, but the current data base contents have been made available and can be found at http://www.canadianGreatWarProject.com/ Please visit their site so they know their work is being appreciated.

You can also reach the Sampler by clicking on the following link Sampler

You can return to this page by closing the Sampler Page when you are ready to purchase.

No. of CDs is:  1 ;   Format is:  PDF ;   Searchable?:  YES;

FastFind:  YES;  ISBN No.:   1-897338-84-8;