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Eleven unidentified WWI soldiers, plus two supervisors, mending boots at Oatlands Park, Surrey, England
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Eleven unidentified WWI soldiers, plus two supervisors, mending boots at Oatlands Park, Surrey, England, result 1 of 1

Item Details
Open Artstor
Available to everyone
Creator
Title
Eleven unidentified WWI soldiers, plus two supervisors, mending boots at Oatlands Park, Surrey, England
Work Type
black-and-white prints, gelatin silver prints, documentary photographs
Date
1918
Material
black and white photography, gelatin silver print on cardboard mount
Measurements
Image: 926mm (width), 632mm (height), Support: 926mm (width), 632mm (height), Secondary support: 952mm (width), 660mm (height)
Description

The details of the limbless servicemen featured in this photograph are unknown; so are the circumstances behind its production. However, we can assume that it was taken at Oatlands Park in Surrey, England, during the latter part of World War I.

Oatlands Park
At this time, Oatlands Park, a hotel, was being used as a hospital by the New Zealand Expeditionary Force for medical and tuberculosis cases and limbless men (informally known as 'limbies'). Oatlands Park was a few miles south-west of No. 2 New Zealand General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames. It was also near the Queen Mary Convalescent Hospital at Roehampton where the amputees could be fitted with artificial limbs.

World War I and limbless veterans
Thousands of Allied soldiers ended up maimed and limbless as a result of the conflict of 1914-1918. While a relatively small number of New Zealand soldiers suffered amputations (just over 1000 were listed as limbless war pensioners in 1924), over 41,000 British servicemen required the amputation of a limb.

Gas gangrene
The impact of shellfire and a condition known as 'gas gangrene' necessitated this phenomenal number of amputations. Without penicillin or surgical intervention, gas gangrene could be fatal. It occurred as infected wounds ballooned up with gas from bacteria found in the muddy quagmires of the trenches and battlefields.

Rehabilitation
The Red Cross set up vocational workshops at Oatlands Park, where men learnt new occupational skills. In May 1918, the work of New Zealand limbies was displayed in London to coincide with a conference on the 'After Care of Disabled Soldiers'. Delegates reported that the New Zealanders' work was the 'best and most practical display in the whole exhibition'.

Repository
Collection: Photography
Acquisition history unknown
Accession Number
Source
Image and original data provided by Museum of New Zealand - Te Papa Tongarewa
License
Use of this image is in accordance with the applicable Terms & Conditions
File Properties
File Name
TePapa_L01_MA_I119757_TePapa_Eleven-unidentified-WWI_full.jpg
SSID
27110507

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