The photo above shows an unidentified soldier of The Royal Canadian Regiment with a friend.
Both men are wearing the standard dress for convalescing soldiers — Hospital Blues.
Canadian Army Medical Corps
Stages of the Wounded from the Battlefield to "Blighty."
From the Report of the Ministry; Overseas Military Forces of Canada; 1918
It was the policy of the Canadian Authorities to provide beds in sufficient numbers in Canadian Hospitals in the British Isles to meet the requirements of the casualties among the Canadian Troops in France. So far as was practicable and possible, too, the Canadians evacuated from France were distributed to Canadian Hospitals. In times of stress, however, mainly to meet the exigencies of Ambulance Railway Transport in England they had, of necessity, to be distributed to both British and Canadian Hospitals. That, after severe fighting was inevitable ; but every effort was bent towards placing Canadians in Canadian Hospitals, and how successful was this endeavour is evident in the expansion of Canadian bed capacity alone. Where it was necessary, owing to the demands of the moment to place Canadians in British Hospitals, the British Authorities were prevailed on to place Canadians in Hospitals in areas most easily accessible to the Canadian Authorities and to the Canadian patients' relatives and friends.
It is interesting to glance for a moment at the progress of a casualty from the time he was hit in the Field up to the time he reached his Canadian haven of refuge in the land of respite from war, which, to the Imperial and Canadian troops alike, was known affectionately and popularly as "Blighty."
When the Canadian soldier-officer or man-was wounded in the Field he was first tended by the stretcher-bearers of his Unit who bore him back to the Regimental Aid Post, unless, of course, the casualty were what is known as a "walking wounded."
At the Regimental Aid Post the Medical Officer supplemented whatever additional treatment he could to that which had already been administered by the bearers.
As quickly after that as might be, the casualty was moved on to the Advance Dressing Station for Field Ambulances, which perhaps might be one or two miles in the rear. Sometimes, of course, it was possible for the wounded man to proceed on foot, but the more serious cases were conveyed by stretcher and at times by horse ambulance. The latter was the method most used during the Battles of Amiens, Arras and Cambrai.
At the Advance Dressing Station the patient again received every care which could be given there, and thence he was hurried on by Motor Ambulance or light railway to the main dressing station of the Field Ambulance and thence the Casualty Clearing Station. During the last 12 months of the war standard gauge trains linked the main Dressing Stations to the Casualty Clearing Stations, and the comfort of the wounded was thereby greatly increased.
At every stopping place indeed, everything that it was humanly possible to do was done for the wounded men. From the time of their arrival at the Regimental Aid Post and throughout their subsequent journey those cases which could take nourishment were amply provided with comforting drinks and food.
It was not, however, until the Casualty Clearing Station was reached, that whatever operation was necessary was performed, other of course, Than the control of haemorrhage, removal of utterly destroyed limbs, treatment of shock and the initial treatment of gassed cases. Here at the Casualty Clearing Station, teams of skilled surgeons, including specialists, worked with ordered and skilful haste. Here, too, the casualty was bathed and clothed and put into a clean bed until such time as it was considered safe to move him to the Stationary or General Hospital located on the Lines of Communication, or on the coast at Etaples, Boulogne or Calais.
From the Casualty Clearing Station to the Hospital all wounded were conveyed in a specially-equipped Hospital Train which carried Medical Officers and Nursing Sisters. At the hospital the wounded men remained until they were fit to be evacuated to a convalescent camp in France or carried to England in a floating hospital for further treatment there. Such is the bald outline of the journey towards rest of the happy warrior who had found peace with honour.
It does not, however, convey all the wonderful surmounting of difficulties during that journey out of the hurly-burly, from the Regimental Aid Post, around which the shells always fell, to the final happy refuge in one of Canada's great palaces of healing in "Blighty." Nor could any words convey the kindness, the humanity and the skilled care which eased the bodies and cheered the spirits of the men who journeyed on that pilgrimage of pain.