Stage 4: Dividing the Wounded

Once the bearers brought the wounded to the 111th, they were moved into a First Aid Dressing Station. All the wounded brought in, regardless of their injury, saw a dressing station. Here, under the direction of Captain Charles Stahr, treatment would begin.

Tues. Aug. 20, 1988
Much damage last night.
Lots of aeroplane activity
some of #112 came up.
Packed up before going on duty. Packed
up Fads {First Aid Dressing Station} had only a few patients. Relieved
in Fads at 3:30 hauled in and to
Cohan. Crawled on a pile of denims+
slept with daylight.

First Aid Dressing Station:

The First Aid Dressing Stations were small medical camps very close to the front lines. Injured troops were sent to the stations for immediate care. Each station had bandages and a few surgical kits in stock. The staff who ran dressing stations were able to perform minor surgeries like removing bullets and stitching small lacerations. If the solder required more invasive treatment, the wound was dressed to prevent infection and to stop its bleeding while the soldier was transferred to a hospital.

Troops with minor wounds could be adequately treated at a First Aid Dressing Station. Minor wounds included bullet wounds that were not lodged in the skin or were shallow enough to be handled on site, small and shallow lacerations that could be stitched up quickly and did not require invasive surgery, and broken limbs. These injuries did not require immediate attention since the troops were lucid and well enough to get themselves to medical care, often finding their way off the battlefield alongside the bearers[2]. Minor wounds received treatment after the serious injuries had been managed and the troops were sent back to their camp or directly back into battle.


Gauze was used to clean and dress wounds at First Aid Dressing Stations. The Red Cross supplied most of the gauze used on the front lines. Because the U.S. government failed to set up a medical supply system before troops engaged in the European conflict, U.S. surgeons and battlefield doctors relied on generous donations from the home front and their British and French allies for their equipment in the first year of engagement. While the gauze was only a small piece of the medical process, it was arguably the most important. Not only did gauze stop a patient from bleeding out, it also protected severe wounds from the elements and reduced the chance of infection. Gauze bandages gave the soldiers time they needed to reach advanced medical care at hospitals.

Hollinger frequently writes about the Red Cross and First Aid Dressing Stations in his diary.



Hollinger’s Diary:

Tues. Aug 13, 1918
Crawled out at 6 + packed up to leave our 
Ads {Advanced Dressing Station} went
                        ambs {ambulances} went ahead
to St. Gilles we walked later to Courville.
4k de front. Found good wine cellar, charcouterie,[3] canned heat
bought at Fr {French} cooperative. Had a lot of champagne with
______ and every thing necessary for comfort
Assigned to Fads {First Aid Dressing Station} 9-5 am. Bombed by Boche
avions {German planes} 4 times ^at 11-1130-2-230 
(3 or 4 planes each dropping 6-9
bombs) Fads in wine cellar above ground. Shook at
enough to fall. There are two holes in ground
20 yds back of cellar. 15 ft wide 5 ft deep. Nobody in
our Co {Company} lost. Several dead + about 15 wounded
in 109 art {artillery} nearby. Detailed to 109 art [la] Fa but came back
immediately as nothing to do. Had a little scare but
no bombs when plane passed overhead. Rest of night
fairly quiet for next raid ^( about 4 am, the last) was not nearby.


Advanced Dressing Station:

Advanced Dressing Stations were similar to First Aid Dressing Stations. While First Aid Dressing Stations were equipped with the basic materials required for first aid, Advanced Dressing Stations contained more equipment and were more adequately supplied. For this reason, there were far fewer Advanced Stations on the front lines. After the troops had made their way through the dressing station, they were divided into groups based on the type of injury they had sustained in battle. This system of triaging the wounded allowed the Medical Corps to help as many people as possible. Hollinger’s unit was not normally responsible for triage.


The tourniquets that were applied in dressing stations were stronger than the field tourniquets used by bearers. It needed to remain in place for up to 24 hours, the amount of time it took to reach some hospitals. However, if a tourniquet was left in place for too long, amputation would be required. The medical staff had to consider the risks carefully before applying the tourniquet.

The tourniquet was applied around the one that was already in place, thus ensuring that the pressure remained constant. Too much loosening and retightening of a tourniquet increased the likelihood of complications during the subsequent surgery. Most of the medical equipment and procedures on the front lines were in place to increase the chance of survival without depleting resources.


Choose an injury:

Significant: Gas injuries, severe bullet wounds, shrapnel wounds. Requires transportation.

Mortal: Chest wound, abdominal wound. Survival Unlikely.


[2]Emily Mayhew, Wounded, Chapter 2: Bearers, (.

[3] Cold cut meat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close