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British Army Medics examine patients during a clinic while on Exercise ASKARI SERPENT
British Army Medics examine patients during a clinic while on Exercise ASKARI SERPENT

Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC): Faithful in adversity (In Arduis Fidelis)

Surgeons, pharmacists, doctors and medics from the RAMC combine their medical training with leadership skills to help keep the Army fit and tackle major large scale medical emergencies

Ministry of Defence
Mar 22 · 3 min read

The Royal Army Medical Corps was formed on 23 June, 1898 incorporating the former Medical Staff with the Medical Staff Corps. The largest corps in the Army Medical Services (AMS), RAMC provides immediate first aid emergency care on front lines as well as routine treatment or care at health centres and hospitals.

The other Corps within the Army Medical Services are- the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, the Royal Army Dental Corps and Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

A Kenyan civilian receives dental treatment on Exercise Askari Serpent, where British Army medics worked alongside the Kenyan Ministry of Health and Kenyan Red Cross volunteers.

At the time of World War I, RAMC was not a fighting force and its personnel performed their duties unarmed resulting in the loss of 6,873 lives, many of them killed in action while treating wounded soldiers. Their motto, in arduis fidelis, means ‘faithful in adversity’.

Today, the Royal Army Medical Corps is responsible for maintaining the health of servicemen and women. It is represented wherever British soldiers are deployed, providing medical support to operations, exercises and training at home and abroad.

Run as a tri-service facility with Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy combined, RAMC’s main hospital is the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. It is run as a joint military-National Health Service centre.

RAMC regulars and reservists train to apply first aid in the field in the Midlands. When they pass this test, they will become first responders on deployment all over the world.

The Royal Army Medical Corps 9 Medical Regiments (which include support to armoured and air assault formations) and its Brigade provides deployed hospital care via 13 Field Hospitals as well as specialist medical care.

Field hospitals can be run by either Army Regulars and Reservists. Usually 200-bed facilities, these can be set up within days and can carry out life-saving operations. Since 1990, regular medical units have been deployed in the Persian Gulf, the Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq.

RAMC medical personnel carrying out medical emergency training using a simulated casualty at a Field Hospital in Jordan.

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

So exemplary has RAMC’s contribution towards the wellbeing of soldiers been that in 1945, one of the most prominent and successful British commanders of the Second World War, Field Marshal Lord Montgomery said:

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Ministry of Defence

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DefenceHQ is the official corporate news channel of the UK Ministry of Defence.

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