Shellshock in the College collections

Major Arthur Hurst
Medical diseases of war
1940, 2nd ed.

Soon after the beginning of WWI, military doctors noticed that soldiers started to show neurological symptoms like dizziness, tremor, tinnitus, amnesia, weakness and headache. In most of these cases, there was no obvious physical injury. This condition became known as ‘shellshock’ or ‘war neurosis’. Some doctors believed it was caused by hidden brain injuries or carbon monoxide poisoning, while others accused the affected soldiers of malingering.

New Donation: WW2 Internment Camp Records

This month we have received a donation of an exciting collection to the archive: the notes of Dr. D. B. Cater, Head Officer for the Public Health Organisation at Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre, an internment camp for American and Canadian prisoners of war during World War Two. The two notebooks, detailing day-to-day administration and monitoring of the infrastructure of the camp as it relates to the health of its inhabitants provides a fascinating insight into the conditions of those kept at the camp.

Post Mortem on Napoleon Bonaparte

This surprising find was amongst the correspondence of John Abercrombie.  Abercrombie was a popular doctor in early 19th century Edinburgh. His private means gave him the opportunity to pursue his academic interests and in 1828 he published 'Diseases of the Stomach, Intestinal Canal, the Liver and the other Viscera of the Abdomen'. It was probably because of his known interest in diseases of the stomach that an unknown friend or associate sent Abercrombie a copy of the post mortem.

The Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont, France 1914–1919

This is a page from a photograph album created by Mary Chapman, a nurse at Royaumont hospital during the First World War. Royaumont was operated by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals from January 1915 to March 1919 at the abbey near Asnières, 30km north of Paris.

This page shows some of the French colonial soldiers from North Africa and the Middle East. There are also three photographs that include Chapman herself with various colleagues.

Doctors on the front line: commemorating the Scottish doctors of WWI

As part of the cataloguing of our archive collections, and in commemoration of the centenary of the First World War,  the College has created an online searchable database of the Scottish Medical Service Emergency Committee.

The Committee was established on 12 August 1914 “for the purposes of assisting to meet the immediate difficulties in regard to medical practice among the civil population which have arisen” and was based within the College at 9 Queen Street, Edinburgh.