420: RAMC, RAVC, RADC, Army Remounts

This entry was posted by Friday, 20 November, 2015
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First World War (1914 – 1918)

Here are some key facts about our involvement in World War One.

Army Veterinary Corps (AVC)

Between August and December 1914, 90 of our 230 employees had joined the British Army.

Some were enlisted into the Army Veterinary Corps (AVC) which, when war broke out, consisted of only 109 officers, all veterinary surgeons, and 322 other ranks.

We immediately helped the AVC by sending two horse ambulances, sheepskins, waterproof rugs and 50,000 books on lameness and first aid.

We began to train 200 men, excluding our own inspectors, for enlistment in the AVC.

By 1915, over 50 per cent of RSPCA inspectors and other staff were serving with the armed forces.

By the end of the First World War, the AVC had grown to 1,300 officers and 33,000 other ranks.

Of the 2.5 million injured animals admitted to the AVC during this war, 80 per cent were treated and returned to duty, and on 27 November 1918 the AVC received Royal patronage for its outstanding contribution to animal welfare, becoming the RAVC as it is known today.

Fund for Sick and Wounded Horses

In 1914 we set up a fund as an auxiliary to the AVC to help alleviate the suffering of horses on the frontline. Over £250,000 was raised.

With the money raised we supplied some 13 AVC veterinary hospitals with an operating theatre, forage barns and dressing sheds, as well as 180 horse-drawn ambulances and 16 motor ambulances.

The AVC treated some 725,000 horses in France alone, and of these, 75 per cent were saved.

The Chief Secretary of the Society, Captain E G Fairholme, was appointed as a liaison officer between the RSPCA and the AVC, and was later awarded an OBE for his services.

The fund was closed in December 1918 and the balance invested for use in another outbreak of war, which at the time was thought unlikely.

Soldiers’ Dog Fund

We established temporary kennels at Boulogne in France for dogs belonging to men going on leave as quarantine restricted the animals’ return to the UK.

When the war ended, we set up the Soldiers’ Dog Fund to meet the cost of bringing the dogs over and keeping them in quarantine until the demobilised men were able to take them.

Five hundred kennels were specially built at Hackbridge, Surrey, to house the dogs.



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