RAMC Evolution Timeline
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Medical support to Armies is as old as those Armies themselves but it seems sensible to start off the story of the evolution of the RAMC at the Restoration of Charles II and the establishment of Britain’s Standing Army. That wasn’t a blank canvas, of course, but it is a useful start line in that there was to be a clear stable organisation thereafter to give support to, it was about the time that wider medical science and medical careers started to develop, and the great expansion of the Army to build and sustain the Empire commenced. Running alongside all this is the relationship of medical with the chain of command, which is important on two grounds, non-combatant medical status on the one hand against advice to commanders who were, and still are, the determinants of the occupation, lifestyle and environment influences on the health of the Army on the other.

The timeline shows the progress of professional development, organisation and relationships, via 60 key occurences since the Restoration, which culminated in the formation of the RAMC in 1898 but, of course, has continued to evolve to the present day. It is the story of how, in a series of steps, the officers and soldiers of the RAMC have come together over the last 360 years. It tracks the relationship between Regular and Auxiliary Forces. Whether this has meant that we have progressed and advanced every 6 years over the era, one leaves the reader to make his or her own mind up as they scroll through the chronology.



1660

Regimental Surgeons already established

Commissioned, one per regiment/battalion
1690

Purveyors appointed to fixed hospitals

From within the Staff Surgeons (until 1798) alongside Hospital Mates and Physicians
1686

Post of Apothecary General created

Apothecaries and Apothecaries Mates appointed to fixed hospitals from 1690
1756

Army Medical Board (AMB) created

For governance of the medical services, stands down 1763, under Secretary at War
1793

AMB reconvened

Composed of SG, Physician General & Inspector of Regimental Infirmaries
1797

Surgeons’ Mates commissioned

As Assistant Surgeons
1804

Hospital Mates commissioned

As Hospital Assistants, then Assistant Surgeons from 1830
1808

Army Medical Department (AMD) first described

After the 5th Report Military Enquiry (into the Medical Department of the Army), by Parliament, infers AMD established in 1793 as the AMB supported by a permanent staff from then; term AMD fully established in 1810
1810

Post of Director General (DG) created

With two Deputies; previous AMB membership, plus Apothecary General post, abolished
1854

Hospital Conveyance Corps formed

Other ranks, subsumed into the Land Transport Corps in 1855
1855

Medical Staff Corps (MSC) created

Other ranks, commanded by an Officer of Orderlies, organised into companies
1857

Army Hospital Corps (AHC) formed from MSC

Other ranks, some Officers of Orderlies
1870

AHC Reserve authorised

Changes in TOS, service split between Regular and residual Reserve service, further developed in 1877
1873

Regimental Surgeons pass to AMD

Less Household Troops; regimental hospitals abolished
1873

Apothecaries ceased

Existing ones transfer to AHC as Officers of Orderlies
1879

Reserve of AMD officers established

Through earlier retirement and residual call up liability to age 55.
1884

AHC reverts to MSC

Medical Officers of AMD grouped with QMs of the AHC
1885

Volunteer MSC formed

Includes Medical Officers as well as Soldiers
1888

Further AMS Reserve (of officers) formed

From Medical Officers of the Militia, Yeomanry and Volunteers
1891

Hybrid rank introduced for Medical Officers

eg Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel
1891

Militia MSC formed

Includes Medical Officers as well as Soldiers
1898

Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) formed

From amalgamating the AMS with the MSC, proper military rank given to Medical Officers
1902

Militia and Volunteer RAMC authorised

From Militia and Volunteer MSC
1904

AMD moves under Adjutant General (AG)

Seat on Army Council lost, Department becomes a Directorate
1908

Territorial Force (TF) formed

Incorporating Volunteer and Yeomanry RAMC plus Volunteer Brigade Bearer Companies
1908

Militia becomes the Special Reserve

Reverts to Militia in 1921 and then on to Supplementary Reserve (SR) in 1924
1914

First uniformed dental officers recruited

Dental officers leave to form an Army Dental Corps in 1921
1918

SGs retitled Major General

The 3*s become Lieutenant General
1944

Stretcher Bearer Officers established

Not medically qualified, becoming the Admin cadre - today’s Medical Support Officers (MSO)
1967

TA becomes Territorial and Auxiliary Volunteer Reserve (TAVR)

Thus incorporating AER, TAVR reverts to TA again in 1982
1976

RAMC Nurses commissionable

Remaining in role, some previously had been commissioned as MSOs
1981
1982

First direct entry MSO

Via RMA Sandhurst
1985

DG becomes SG (an appointment again) in a new Defence Medical Services Directorate (DMSD)

Absorbs AMD; SG post to rotate between the Three Services thereafter
1992

DG and AMD decoupled from DMSD

Return to under AG, DG as a 2*; SG and DMSD remain in the centre
1992

RAMC Nurses transfer to QARANC

And QARANC Support Officers convert to RAMC as MSOs
2016

Post of DG abolished

And AMD dismembered

The RAMC Association

William Boog LeishmanIn 1925, the RAMC Association was formed to further the camaraderie of WW1 Corps veterans with Sir William Leishman being the first President. There are now some 28 branches around UK with a predominantly veteran membership although most serving Corps members also are members centrally. The Association has traditionally been supported by Corps Funds and especially for the expenses of the branch standards and standard bearers.