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The list of the famous who have served in the RAMC is quite a long one and features a wide range of people from eminent scientists to actors, to sportsmen, to MPs, to authors and to artists. This short story is about an artist, Sir Stanley Spencer, who lived between 1891 and 1959.

Spencer came from Berkshire. At the beginning of the Great War he enlisted in the RAMC as a Nursing Orderly and was initially employed at Beaufort War Hospital in Bristol. In 1916 he was posted to 68 Field Ambulance that was serving in Salonika as part of 22 Division. In 1917 he was transferred to 7th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment there. He caught Malaria just before the end of the War before returning home in December 1918.

After the War, Spencer had in mind to find a large project so his art could form part of a tribute to his wartime experiences. He found benefactors for this in a wealthy couple, the wife of which had lost her brother, Lieutenant Harry Sandham, from disease in 1920. Sandham had also served in Salonika and had suffered from bouts of Malaria. And so the couple, named Behrend, built a chapel of dedication to Sandham at Burghclere in Berkshire. Spencer provided a dramatic set of 17 murals for the Chapel featuring his experiences at Beaufort War Hospital and out in Salonika. They are a striking memorial to the RAMC in the round.

Today the Sandham Memorial Chapel is run by the National Trust and is open to the public. It stands on land purchased from Highclere, the estate used for the filming of TV Serial Downton Abbey, and which, of course, itself featured a storyline of the house there acting as a War Hospital during the Great War. Spencer was appointed Official War Artist during World War 2. You will find other examples of Spencer’s work in the Tate Gallery, in the Imperial War Museum and in the Stanley Spencer gallery in his hometown of Cookham, Berkshire.

So, if you are ever passing through Berkshire, I strongly recommend a detour to Burghclere to see a quite different and fascinating tribute to our Corps and its part the Great War.

To the right on this page is a picture of Spencer, a shot of the outside of the Sandham Memorial Chapel and then a glimpse of the murals within.

Alistair McMillan
April 2020

If you have a Service connection with the RAMC, we hope that having read our web site, you will want to join the Association. The RAMC Association is maintained by Full and Associate membership which must be renewed annually. Full membership is for people who are serving or who have served with the RAMC and Associate, is, literally, for anyone who has, now or in the past, been associated with the RAMC. For example, this could include members of other corps who have served with or alongside RAMC units and wives and partners of members; it is left up to the local Branch to decide who they will take as Associate Members.

You can now join on line on payment of £5 one off admin charge. Your chosen branch may have an annual membership fee which is additional to the admin charge.

What you need to fill out the on-line join form:

1. Choose the branch you wish to join from the list below:-

England: London, Aldershot, Maidstone, East Kent, Essex, Norfolk, Bristol, South West England, Wessex, Birmingham, Coventry, East Midlands, North Midlands, Sheffield, Shropshire, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Grimsby, Durham, Newcastle

Scotland : Aberdeen, Cowal, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Highlands virtual branch
Northern Ireland
Association Headquarters’ Branch (for those that do not wish/are unable to attend meetings/overseas members)

2. Choose the type of membership

Full Membership - serving and retired members of the RAMC (regular and reserve), other AMS, and other Regiments and Corps who have had served under command of the RAMC. Associate Membership – family and friends of the above

3. Have your service details to hand

4. Have a passport photo of yourself stored on your PC

5. Have credit/debit card/PayPal details


How it is run (and the legal bits)

The RAMC Association was formed in January 1925 and became a registered charity in April 1993. In Jan 2007, after a lot of discussion, it amalgamated with the five other Corps Funds that existed at the time and a new Charity was formed, The RAMC Charity. The legal side of this is that the Charity is a Company limited by guarantee and is run by a Board of Trustees. The Association is a sub-committee of the Charity and is represented by the National Chairman who is a Trustee of the Board. The money that the Association needs to run its overall, National, affairs is allocated annually by the RAMC Charity at a Board Meeting.
At a National level, the association has a Management Committee that meets twice a year. This is composed of Regional Representatives, the web master and social media representative; it has a secretary, who is an Association member. However, what happens locally is very much run by the Branches. They set their own membership fees (these have to include the statutory amount set by the HQ) and run their own programmes, which include social events, dinners, attending local parades and looking after welfare needs.


The RAMC association is maintained by Full  membership which must be renewed annually. Full membership is for people who are serving or who have served with the RAMC and for anyone who has, now or in the past, been associated with the RAMC. Medical personnel of the Royal Navy and Royal Airforce are also eligible to join. For example, this could include members of other corps who have served with or alongside RAMC units and wives and partners of members. The Branches are responsible for the administration and process of the application forms. Members who previously took out a life membership will continue to enjoy all the relevant rghts and priviliges granted to them.
It is, also, important to know that all serving members of the RAMC are members of the Association.

Why join the Association?

Although the official way the Objects of the Association are defined (above) may sound rather dry, they are what it is all about. You will find people who have so much in common that friendships are easily made and meeting together is relaxed and good times are had; there are many occasions that will include families. One of the important parts of this is that there is a shared pride in everything that the RAMC has achieved in the past and continues to achieve.
When you join, you will be issued with a membership card and an Association badge. You may also like to think about subscribing to the Corps magazine.

Click to Enquire About Membership


The RAMC Benevolence Committee is a sub Committee of The RAMC Charity (charity no: 1129091).  The RAMC Charity is a Company Limited by guarantee and its income is derived from Pay Roll Giving and donations only.  Benevolence is allocated an annual sum of money by the Charity and it is used to deliver benevolence to those in need serving and retired, and in many cases their dependants also. The following guide is to assist those who wish to apply for benevolence or want to advise those who are in need of benevolence.  Please note that cases cannot be handled directly and, in all instances, must first go through a SSAFA Caseworker or the Officers Association.

Contact details for SSAFA and all partner organisations can be found on the leaflet.

Printed copies of the Benevolence leaflet are available.  To request a copy, please call the Benevolence Manager on 01276 41 2791..


If you have served for 7 days in the RAMC (Soldiers must have completed Phase 1 Training) you are eligible to apply. Benevolence may also be considered for those who are financially dependant upon you. You are eligible if you are an Officer or Soldier, Serving or Retired, Regular and Reserve.

Application Process

All cases must come to RAMC Benevolence via the local SSAFA Caseworker, this applies to serving and retired personnel. Officers should approach the Officers Association in the first instance and they will be advised individually. Benevolence committees are unable to consider any direct requests from individuals, welfare officers etc. If a serving individual has a temporary cash flow problem or encounters a difficulty his Unit Chain of Command should assist as this is not a benevolence matter. Long term cases in need are more complex and may require intervention and referral to other organisations.

There are SSAFA Caseworkers in every part of the country and a contact number should be held in the Unit or HQ. They can also be found in many civilian organisations and a number is listed at the end of this page. A SSAFA Caseworker will be allocated and will visit you at your convenience to discuss your case. They will need to take some detailed information from you in order to assess how you can best be helped. This will include financial information, housing and family circumstances which they will enter onto a Form A (this document is key and without it we are unable to proceed). It is most important that you provide as much detail as possible however difficult, as the end result is to provide you with as much assistance as possible in order for you to continue looking after yourself and your family independently. This information is confidential (it will not be shared with your Chain of Command under any circumstances) and when completed it is passed to the organisation that will deal with it, this could be the Royal British Legion (TRBL) the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) or the Corps Charity ie RAMC Benevolence.

On receipt a case file is set up and a case report completed by the Benevolence Manager. This can be done within 24 hours provided all the information is provided which is why the detail given to the Caseworker is vital. The case is then placed before the committee, a mix of serving and retired officers and soldiers, and the committee meet every month. A decision is made that day and if benevolence is agreed a cheque will be in the post to the Caseworker within the week. This can only be used for the specific purpose of the request and will not be made payable to an individual. It may also mean that the case is passed to other organisations that will help also.

If mobility equipment is required then it will be necessary in all cases to have a full Occupational Therapy assessment and supporting report. This is to ensure that the correct piece of equipment designed to meet your specific needs is purchased.

The committee works to a guide criteria which is flexible but it does not include the repayment of any sort of debt nor can it provide loans.

Useful Contacts:

For Welfare Officers and Chain of Command who require more detailed information:
Mrs Emma Tatman Benevolence Manager Tel: 01276 41 2791


The Royal Army Medical Corps has a wondrous and proud history that serves us all to this day. It is only through understanding what was, that we can be sure of where we are going. We continue to play our part today in creating the history of the future. The technology may be more advanced but our soldiers achieve now what they achieved then- saving lives on the battlefield.

The RAMC Association

The RAMC Association was formed in January 1925. It became a registered charity in April 1993. In January 2007 it amalgamated with five other RAMC Funds into a new Charity. The Charity is run by a Board of Trustees and the Association is a sub committee of the Charity represented by their National Chairman who is a Trustee of the Board. At a national level the day to day running of the Association is done by its Management Committee of Regional Representatives and a dedicated Secretary. Its finance is allocated annually by the RAMC Charity.

Locally, the Association has 28 branches, each of which run their own programmes of functions and events and elect their own committee.


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.