Sick and Hurt Office

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Sick and Hurt Office
Navy Board Flag 1832 new version.jpg
Flag of the Sick and Hurt Office shown for illustrative purposes
Government Office overview
Formed1653
Dissolved1806
JurisdictionEngland Kingdom of England
Kingdom of Great Britain Kingdom of Great Britain
United Kingdom United Kingdom
HeadquartersLeadenhall Street, City of London, (1546–1664)
Broad Street, City of London (1664–1789)
Somerset House (1789–1835) Whitehall, City of Westminster, London
Government Office executive
Parent departmentNavy Office

The Sick and Hurt Office was responsible for provision of medical services to the Royal Navy. It was separate (but subsidiary) office of the Navy Office, supplying surgeons to naval ships, providing them with medicines and equipment, and running shore and ship hospitals; they were also responsible for prisoners of war.[1]

The office was superintended by the Sick and Hurt Board.

History

The Sick and Hurt Office was established on a permanent footing from 1715 to 1806, however a series of temporary Commissions had been established prior to this date, particularly at time of war, beginning under the Commonwealth in 1653. Commissions were set up for the duration of the Anglo-Dutch Wars in 1665-7 and 1672-4.[2] The Fifth Commission for Sick, Wounded and Prisoners, inaugurated in 1702, was instrumental in setting up Royal Naval Hospitals in naval ports both at home and abroad.[3]

They office was responsible for the relief of sick or wounded seamen; at first the relief they provided was of an improvised nature. The Royal Greenwich Hospital, a home for superannuated seamen, had only a limited number of places for invalids; no naval hospitals were especially built until the middle of the eighteenth century, though hospital ships were employed intermittently from at least as early as the mid-seventeenth century. On board ship surgeons with warrant rank had been carried since the seventeenth century [4].

Between 1692 and 1702 and between 1713 and 1715 the work of this office transferred to Commissioners of the Register Office and from 1715 until 1717 by two Commissioners of the Navy Board. One Commissioner each from the Sick and Hurt Board and the Navy Board then conducted the business from the Navy Office until 1740, when at least two Commissioners of the Sick and Hurt Board were appointed during peace and up to five in wartime. This Board appointed ships' surgeons and their assistants, ensured that they were equipped and supplied with medicines, superintended the dispensers who issued medicines, supervised the furnishing and equipment of hospitals and hospital ships, examined and cleared accounts and made returns of the sick and wounded to the Admiralty and Navy Boards. In 1743 the Board was also made responsible for the care of prisoners of war. [5] .

The Sick and Hurt Office was responsible for the management of Royal Naval Hospitals and the early version of the Royal Navy Medical Service, although until 1796 it neither examined nor appointed naval surgeons. From 1740 the Sick and Hurt Office was in addition charged with the care and exchange of prisoners of war of all services, both enemy in British hands and British in enemy hands. In the Sick and Hurt Board's records both medical and prisoner-of-war business was generally mixed [6].

In 1796 responsibility for prisoners of war was gradually transferred to the Transport Office superintended by the Transport Board.[7] In 1806 the Sick and Hurt Office was wound up and its medical duties also transferred to the Transport Office under the Transport Board, which now had a medical commissioner. When the Transport Office was itself abolished in 1817, the medical side of its work, together with the medical commissioner, was transferred to the Victualling Office under the Victulling Board. Following the abolition of the Victualling Board in 1832, naval medicine became the concern of the Department of the Physician-General of the Navy. In 1843 ships' surgeons were given commissioned status [8].

Departments of the Sick and Hurt Office

Included.[9][10]
  1. Home Department (for seamen)
  2. Foreign Department (for seamen)
  3. Prisoner of War Department, (1653–1796),
  4. Royal Naval Hospital, (1753–1806),
  5. Secretary's Department

Timeline

Note: Below is a timeline of responsibility for medical services for the Royal Navy.

  • Navy Board, Sick and Hurt Board (Office of the Commissioners of Sick and Wounded Seamen), 1653–1806
  • Navy Board, Victualling Board, 1683–1793
  • Navy Board, Transport Board, 1794–1817
  • Board of Admiralty, Department of the Physician of the Navy, 1832–1835
  • Board of Admiralty, Department of the Physician General of the Navy, 1835–1843
  • Board of Admiralty, Department of the Inspector-General of Naval Hospitals and Fleets, 1843–1844
  • Board of Admiralty, Director-General Medical Department of the Navy, 1844–1917
  • Board of Admiralty, Medical Director General of the Navy, Royal Navy Medical Service, 1917–1964

Footnotes

  1. "National Maritime Museum".
  2. Tanner, J. R. (1971) [1920]. Samuel Pepys and the Royal Navy. New York: Haskell House. pp. 48–50.
  3. Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet. Swindon: English Heritage. p. 344.
  4. Archives, The National. "Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives, 1696–1988. Retrieved 2 June 2017. This article contains text from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright
  5. "Sick And Hurt Board, In-Letters And Orders – National Maritime Museum". collections.rmg.co.uk. Royal Maritime Museums Greenwich. Retrieved 2 June 2017. This article contains text from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright.
  6. Archives, The National. "Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives, 1696–1988. Retrieved 2 June 2017. This article contains text from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright
  7. Abell, Francis (1914). Prisoners of war in Britain, 1756 to 1815; a record of their lives, their romance and their sufferings. p. 4.
  8. Archives, The National. "Records of Medical and Prisoner of War epartments". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives, 1696–1988. Retrieved 2 June 2017. This article contains text from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright
  9. Cock, Randolph; Rodger, N.A,M. "A Guide to the Naval Records in the National Archives OF THE UK, (2008)" (PDF). humanities.exeter.ac.uk. University of London School of advanced study Institute of Historical Research, pp,224–232,. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  10. Enquiry, Great Britain Commissioners of Naval (1803). The First (second-twelfth) Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, Appointed by Act 43 Geo. III. (Observations, by Way of Supplement, to the First Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, on the Memorial of the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, in Answer to that Report.). London: Admiralty Office. pp. 622–624.

Bibliography

  1. Abell, Francis (1914). Prisoners of war in Britain, 1756 to 1815; a record of their lives, their romance and their sufferings.
  2. Archives, The National. "Records of Medical and Prisoner of War Departments". discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk. The National Archives, 1696–1988. Retrieved 2 June 2017. This article contains text from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright.
  3. Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet. Swindon: English Heritage.
  4. Cock, Randolph; Rodger, N.A,M. "A Guide to the Naval Records in the National Archives OF THE UK, (2008)" (PDF). humanities.exeter.ac.uk. University of London School of advanced study Institute of Historical Research, Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  5. Enquiry, Great Britain Commissioners of Naval (1803). The First (second-twelfth) Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, Appointed by Act 43 Geo. III. (Observations, by Way of Supplement, to the First Report of the Commissioners of Naval Enquiry, on the Memorial of the Principal Officers and Commissioners of His Majesty's Navy, in Answer to that Report.). London: Admiralty Office.
  6. "Sick And Hurt Board, In-Letters And Orders – National Maritime Museum". collections.rmg.co.uk. Royal Maritime Museums Greenwich. Retrieved 2 June 2017. This article contains text from this source, which is available under the Open Government Licence v3.0. © Crown copyright.
  7. Tanner, J. R. (1971) [1920]. Samuel Pepys and the Royal Navy. New York: Haskell House.