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Shell Dressings of the British Empire

Article about: Shell dressings are a type of bandage with a gauze pad and a safety pin for fastening around the site of the injury. Introduced in 1916, these dressings were issued to personnel in the Royal

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    Default Shell Dressings of the British Empire

    Shell dressings are a type of bandage with a gauze pad and a safety pin for fastening around the site of the injury. Introduced in 1916, these dressings were issued to personnel in the Royal Army Medical Corps. The bandages were protected in a waterproof covering which, in turn, was wrapped in a cotton package. On this outer layer were instructions as well as a makers mark and date of manufacture. By the Second World War, shell dressings were made in many parts of the empire.

    GREAT BRITAIN, 1917
    Starting in May 1917, an Iodine Ampoule in a cardboard tube was included in the shell dressing. By the Second World War, the Iodine Ampoule was no longer included.
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    GREAT BRITAIN, 1938
    This shell dressing was made specifically for the Home Office Air Raid Precautions Department in the late 1930’s. They were issued to Civil Defence personnel for the casualties from the massive bombing raids expected in the coming war.
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    GREAT BRITAIN, 1939
    An army shell dressing issued by the War Office.
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    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA, 1939
    An Australian shell dressing of pre-war manufacture.
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    GREAT BRITAIN, 1940
    Another army shell dressing issued by the War Office.
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    GOVERNMENT OF INDIA, 1941
    Like many Indian-made items, this shell dressing is very rough in its construction.
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    UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA, 1941
    This South African-made dressing differs from the British pattern by opening on the side rather than the top. The instructions also lack a section on ‘use with respirators’.
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    UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA, 1941 (REVERSE)
    South African-made dressings also included a set of instruction in Afrikaans for the UDF’s Afrikaner population of Dutch-descent.
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    DOMINION OF CANADA, 1941
    The fact that this is a Canadian-made dressing is evident by its maker ‘Johnson & Johnson Limited, Montreal’.
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    COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA, 1942
    This Australian-made dressing is opened by breaking the stitches at the top rather than pulling tapes apart like the British pattern.
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    GREAT BRITAIN, 1943
    A Royal Navy shell dressing issued by the Admiralty mid-war.
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    SHELL DRESSING BAG
    This bag was carried by medics, stretcher bearers, etc. and features an adjustable shoulder strap similar to the strap used on the respirator carrier. This example is marked A.C. (Associated Cutters) and is dated 1942.
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    Last edited by karkee; 01-18-2014 at 10:40 PM.

  2. #2

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    Nice thread. Thank you.
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    Thanks Adrian! I think there was an RAF shell dressing as well...

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    I think you are correct.

    Cheers, Ade.
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    Cool Dressings. I only have a few of the more common Australian made ones.

    Did any of the British first field dressings come in a cellophane (sp) type wrapping, or was this added later?

    I have a March 1943 Dated example made by “Vernon & Co. Ltd, Preston.

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    Hey phantomguitar,

    Thanks for reading my post! Great question about the cellophane found on first field dressings, I'm not really sure when they started wrapping them. Karkee web shows a couple resealed in polythene bags for use with Pattern 1958 webbing, so I imagine the cellophane wrapping was earlier...

    Infantry Equipment, Pattern 1958

    -Michael

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    Cool, i had no idea they were sometimes recycled. Makes sense, as i am sure they had millions floating around.

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    Heres a few from my meagre collection.

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    British made (I assume) March 1943, with cellophane wrapping.
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    Australian made First Field dressing, Jan 1942?
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    Post war NATO dressing, i think its British made since it has a British (I think) Nato stock number.
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    Australian Shell Dressing, December 1942. Looks like 1962 in the picture, but its 1942

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    Hey PhantomGuitar,

    Great dressing, thanks for posting them! I especially like the one in cellophane, it's in really nice shape. I have a wrapped one, but the cellophane is disintegrating...mine looks pretty sad honestly.

  10. #10

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    Quote by karkee View Post
    Hey PhantomGuitar,

    Great dressing, thanks for posting them! I especially like the one in cellophane, it's in really nice shape. I have a wrapped one, but the cellophane is disintegrating...mine looks pretty sad honestly.
    Thanks Karkee.

    They were purchased from a variety of sources, all the Australian ones coming from “What Price Glory”, the NATO one from the Military Vehicle show at Duxford, and the wrapped one coming from an antique dealer in a little antique mall in Banbury, UK.

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