Royal Army Medical Corps

Royal Army Medical Corps
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. A.J. 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 "Steadfast 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 badges (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. Some units wear a brigade stable belt, for example members of 16 Air Assault Medical Regiment wear a maroon and sky blue stable belt using the colours of their brigade's drop zone flash. This unit, which was formerly 19th (Airmobile) Field Ambulance, part of the 24th (Airmobile) Brigade, previously wore an all-black brigade stable belt.
  • Silver belt buckle with engraved regimental badge.
Regimental flag


Medical services in the British armed services 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 1873, when a co-ordinated army medical service was set up. To join, a doctor needed to be qualified and single, and then undergo a further examination in physiology, surgery, medicine, zoology, botany and physical geography including meteorology, and also to satisfy various other requirements (including having dissected the whole body at least once and having attended 12 midwifery cases); the results were published in three classes by an Army Medical School, which had been set up in 1860 and moved in 1863 to Netley outside Southampton[1].

There was much unhappiness in the Army Medical Service in the following years: medical officers did not actually have military rank but “advantages corresponding to relative military rank” (such as choice of quarters, rates of lodging money, servants, fuel and light, allowances on account of injuries received in action, and pensions and allowances to widows and families). They had inferior pay in India, excessive amounts of Indian and colonial service (being required to serve in India six years at a stretch), and less recognition in honours and awards. They did not have their own identity as did the Army Service Corps, whose officers did have military rank. A number of complaints were published, and the British Medical Journal became vocal. For over two years after 27 July 1887 there were no recruits to the Army Medical Department. A parliamentary committee reported in 1890 highlighting the doctors’ injustices. Yet all this was ignored by the Secretary of State for War. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and others redoubled their protests[2]. Eventually, in 1898, officers and soldiers providing medical services were incorporated into a new body known by its present name, the Royal Army Medical Corps; its first Colonel-in-Chief was H.R.H the Duke of Connaught.

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). Its main base was for long the Queen Alexandra Hospital Millbank (now closed).

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.[3]

Current facilities

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 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, a joint military-National Health Service 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 were treated in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham prior to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital's opening. Negative press coverage during the surge of UK military commitments in the years following the second invasion of Iraq [4] has largely given way to an appreciation that the care provided injured troops has significantly improved [5] [6].

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.


  • Royal Army Medical Corps
    • 1 Medical Regiment
    • 2 Medical Regiment - 7th Armoured Brigade
    • 3 Medical Regiment - 3rd Infantry Division
    • 4 Medical Regiment - 12 Merchanised Brigade
    • 5 Medical Regiment - 102 Logistic Brigade
    • 16 Medical Regiment - 16 Air Assault Brigade
      • 144 Parachute Medical Squadron (Volunteers)
    • 225 Medical Regiment (Volunteers)
    • 254 Medical Regiment (Volunteers)
    • 2 Medical Brigade
      • 22 Field Hospital
      • 33 Field Hospital
      • 34 Field Hospital
      • 201 (Northern) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 202 (Midlands) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 204 (North Irish) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 208 (Merseyside) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 256 (City of London) Field Hospital (Volunteers)
      • 306 (Nationally Recruited) Hospital Support Medical Regiment (Volunteers)
      • 335 (Nationally Recruited) Medical Evacuation Regiment (Volunteers)


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)

Services in Hong Kong

The Medical Corps provided non-emergency ambulatory assistance to the Hong Kong Fire Services prior to 1953.

Gallantry Awards

Since the Victoria Cross was instituted in 1856 there have been 27 Victoria Crosses and two bars awarded to army medical personnel.[7] 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[9]

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. Contrary to other sources the medal is not 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:[10]

  • 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)

Notable personnel

  • Category:Royal Army Medical Corps officers
  • Category:Royal Army Medical Corps soldiers

See also


  1. ^ London and Provincial Medical Directory, 1860, John Churchill, London; on the AMS see Hampshire and QARANC both accessed 29 November 2010
  2. ^ Commissioned officers of the Army Medical Service, W Johnston, Aberdeen UP 1917
  3. ^ War Office, His Majesty's Army, 1938
  4. ^ Muir, Hugh (2007-03-12). "Storm over injured troops' care fails to save military hospital". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group): p. 8. ISSN 0261-3077.,,2031596,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-23. 
  5. ^ "House of Commons Defence Committee Report on the Medical Care of the Armed Forces". 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  6. ^ Evans, Michael (2009-03-07). "Chain of care: from front line to Selly Oak Hospital". The Times (Times Newspapers Ltd). Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  7. ^ "The Royal Army Medical Corps". Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  8. ^ Glendinning, Lee (2007-03-22). "Historic award for female private". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group): p. 8. ISSN 0261-3077.,,2039749,00.html. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  9. ^ a b "Netley Hospital information". QARANC - Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Royal Army Medical Corps — Insigne du Royal Army Medical Corps Période 1898 aujourd hui Pays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Royal Army Dental Corps — The Royal Army Dental Corps (RADC) is a specialist corps in the British Army that provides dental care services to British Army personnel and their families in war and in peace. The Corps are a part of the British Army s Army Medical Services.The …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Army Veterinary Corps — The Royal Army Veterinary Corps (RAVC) is an administrative and operational branch of the British Army responsible for the provision, training and care of animals. It is a small but technically competent corps forming part of the Army Medical… …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Australian Army Medical Corps — Infobox Military Unit dates=1903 present day unit name=Royal Australian Army Medical Corps caption=Cap badge of the RAAMC country=Australia branch=Australian Army motto= Paulatim (Latin, little by little ) anniversaries=July 1 nickname= Linseed… …   Wikipedia

  • Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps — The Royal New Zealand Army Medical Corps is a corps of the New Zealand Army, the land branch of the New Zealand Defence Force. The Medical Corps provides for the medical needs of soldiers, such as diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries.… …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Australian Army Medical Corps — noun the medical service of the Australian Army, formed in 1903 as the Australian Army Medical Corps by combining the military medical services from each state; designated Royal in 1948. Abbrev.: RAAMC …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps — The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps (RCAMC) was an administrative corps of the Canadian Army …   Wikipedia

  • Australian Army Medical Corps — noun → Royal Australian Army Medical Corps. Abbrev.: AAMC …   Australian-English dictionary

  • Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps — (QARANC; commonly known as the QAs) is the nursing branch of the British Army and part of the Army Medical Services.In 1902, Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) was established by Royal Warrant, and was named after Queen… …   Wikipedia

  • Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps — Cap badge of the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps Active 1881 present day Country …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”