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Little Known Story of Lives Saved by the Welsh During the Boer War

The Welsh nation can be proud of their history of patriotic endeavour and sacrifice. And a little known story shows how the Welsh made sacrifices and led the way in medicine during the Boer War in South Africa – the story is published in a new book called Gallant Little Wales

At the beginning of the war 1899-1902 the fledgling Royal Army Medical Corps could not cope with the sick and wounded, so civilian forces had to be mobilised. Among these, the Welsh Hospital, a 150-bedded tented hospital funded by public subscription, travelled to South Africa and in difficult and inhospitable conditions, delivered outstanding medical, surgical and nursing care, regardless of nationality. All the staff suffered hardship and six died in service.

 By example and advocacy, their achievements made a significant contribution to standards of military medicine in the conflicts to come. The book is an inspiring, informative and compassionate account of events at that time, and the highly-readable narrative and modern image enhancement bring life and colour to the story.

 Author David Jones said: “I was fortunate in my research. Not only were medical and nursing aspects available in their respective literature, but copious, albeit unstructured records of the activities and people involved are held in boxes, files, scrapbooks and notebooks at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth. Their letters and telegrams, financial and administrative papers, newspaper cuttings and other documents all contribute to give life and personality to the story.”

 David Jones is a retired orthopaedic surgeon with a long-time interest in medical history. He is past President of the History of Medicine Society of Wales and lives on Anglesey with his wife, Una.