The Surgeon’s Blade: How Nelson lost his arm

September 5, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

Mick Crumplin continues his Napoleonic era medical blog by looking at Nelson’s trauma at Tenerife Lord Nelson was a leader both inspirational and impetuous in style. He would often pay a price for these traits. In the early years of the Napoleonic war, the Royal Navy was having considerably more success than the nation’s land […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: Leeches, humours and Napoleon’s piles

August 18, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

Mick Crumplin continues his medical blog by looking at the use of leeches in medicine and their use prior to the Battle of Waterloo The practice of bleeding patients was used through centuries. It was based on the Galenic theory of the balance of the four humours of the body (blood, phlegm, black and yellow […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: Transport of wounded or sick soldiers in the Peninsula

July 28, 2017 - Richard Moss

Mick Crumplin continues his medical blog by looking at Transport of wounded or sick soldiers in the Peninsula Wars Transport for supplies, casualties and sick, ammunition and equipment was a massive challenge for Arthur Wellesley in the Peninsular campaigns (1808-14). He was starting a series of movements to defend his boundaries, plan for evacuation if […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: The field tourniquet

May 12, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

The Tourniquet (any instrument or device for temporarily constricting an artery of the arm or leg to control bleeding – the word is derived from 17th C. French – a device that operates by turning, from tourner, to turn) Since around 75% of injured survivors have traditionally been wounded in the limbs, it would seem […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: The curious case of Worsley’s balls

April 13, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

These must be one (or two!) of the weirdest relics of the Napoleonic War. Lieutenant Thomas Taylor Worsley, a Yorkshireman from Hovingham, was adjutant and a junior officer in the prodigious 95th Rifles – 3rd battalion. There were only two companies of this battalion at Waterloo. They fought with General Adam’s brigade, on Wellington’s right […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: Limbless but Lucky

March 27, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

Three out of four surviving casualties in the French wars were hit on one or more of their limbs. Most were injured by small arms fire. Amputation of arm or leg would lead to a pension or sometimes, a miserable pauper’s life or even become a ‘badge of honour’ for the veteran. Lieutenant Colonel Henry […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: Mick Crumplin’s new Medical Blog

March 10, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

Mick Crumplin introduces his new medical blog for Waterloo 200 How many military historians properly understand the real sinews of war? The human aspects of conflict are some of the most fascinating, appalling and amazing in terms of what redcoats and matelots had to go through and sometimes would survive beyond all expectations. On the […]

The Surgeon’s Blade: Wellington’s Scottish Doctors

March 10, 2017 - Mick Crumplin

Many well-known doctors in the British armed services have for centuries come from Scotland. In the eighteenth century, the excellent parish school system educated many young men, who then took advantage of the generous post school educational opportunities north of the border. One such was Sir James McGrigor from Aberdeen, who worked closely with Wellington […]