The Sick and Hurt Commissioners (also known as the Sick and Hurt Board, but formally and fully titled The Commissioners for taking Care of Sick and Wounded Seamen and for the Care and Treatment of Prisoners of War) were responsible for medical services in the Royal Navy. They were a separate (but subsidiary) body to the Navy Board, 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.
The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by the English kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were fought in the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of France. The modern Royal Navy traces its origins to the early 16th century; the oldest of the UK's armed services, it is known as the Senior Service.
The Navy Board and formerly known as the Council of the Marine or Council of the Marine Causes was the commission with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the Royal Navy between 1546 and 1832. The board was headquartered within the Navy Office.
The Commissioners were 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.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.
The Anglo-Dutch wars were a series of conflicts fought, on one side, by the Dutch Republic and later by the Batavian Republic, and, on the other side, first by England and later by the Kingdom of Great Britain. They were predominantly fought in the second half of the 17th century, mainly over trade and overseas colonies. Almost all the battles were fought at sea.
The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was a European conflict of the early 18th century, triggered by the death of the childless Charles II of Spain in November 1700. His closest heirs were members of the Austrian Habsburg and French Bourbon families; acquisition of an undivided Spanish Empire by either threatened the European balance of power.
A Royal Naval Hospital (RNH) was a hospital operated by the British Royal Navy for the care and treatment of sick and injured naval personnel. A network of these establishments were situated across the globe to suit British interests. They were part of the Royal Naval Medical Service.
They were 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.
Between 1692 and 1702 and between 1713 and 1715 their duties were performed by the 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..
The Sick and Hurt Board 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 Board 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.
The Royal Navy Medical Service is the branch of the Royal Navy responsible for medical care. It works closely with Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service.
In 1796 responsibility for prisoners of war was transferred to the Transport Board. The Transport Board was given full responsibility for the care of prisoners of war on 22 December 1799,and in 1805 the Transport Board had taken over the business of the Sick and Hurt Board. In 1806 the Sick and Hurt Board was wound up and its medical duties also transferred to the Transport Board, which now had a medical commissioner. When the Transport Board was itself abolished in 1817, the medical side of its work, together with the medical commissioner, was transferred to the Victualling Board. On the abolition of the Victualling Board in 1832, naval medicine became the concern of the Physician of the Navy. In 1835 he was renamed the Physician General of the Navy, who was responsible to the Fourth Sea Lord. In 1843 the Physician General became Inspector-General of Naval Hospitals and Fleets, and in 1844 Director General of the Medical Department. At the same time ships' surgeons were given commissioned status .
The Transport Board was the British Royal Navy organisation responsible for the transport of supplies and military. It is also referred to as the Board of Transport and Transport Office.
The Sick and Hurt Commissioners are credited with the eradication of scurvy from the Royal Navy by putting to use the ideas of Johann Bachstrom and James Lind, who believed lemons, limes or other citrus fruits could help prevent the disease. In his 1734 book Observationes circa scorbutum ("Observations on Scurvy"), Bachstrom wrote that:
scurvy is solely owing to a total abstinence from fresh vegetable food, and greens; which is alone the primary cause of the disease.
Lind's essay on the most effectual means of preserving the health of seamen appeared in 1762. It was Gilbert Blane who implemented a longer trial of citrus fruit. In an experiment in 1794, lemon juice was issued on board HMS Suffolk on a twenty-three-week, non-stop voyage to India. The daily ration of two-thirds of an ounce mixed in grog contained just about the minimum daily intake of 10 mg vitamin C. There was no serious outbreak of scurvy. The following year, the Admiralty took up the general issue of lemon juice to the whole fleet.
Note: Below is a timeline of responsibility for medical services for the Royal Navy.
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This article contains text from this sourcehttp://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C707, which is available under the [http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/ Open Government Licence v3.0]. © Crown copyright.
James Lind was a Scottish doctor. He was a pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy. By conducting one of the first ever clinical trials, he developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy. He argued for the health benefits of better ventilation aboard naval ships, the improved cleanliness of sailors' bodies, clothing and bedding, and below-deck fumigation with sulphur and arsenic. He also proposed that fresh water could be obtained by distilling sea water. His work advanced the practice of preventive medicine and improved nutrition.
A hospital ship is a ship designated for primary function as a floating medical treatment facility or hospital. Most are operated by the military forces of various countries, as they are intended to be used in or near war zones.
The post of Controller of the Navy was originally created in 1859 when the Surveyor of the Navy's title changed to Controller of the Navy. In 1869 the controllers office was abolished and his duties were assumed by that of the Third Naval Lord who's title then changed to Third Naval Lord and Controller of the Navy. In 1904 his title was changed again to Third Sea Lord and Controller of the Navy. In 1965 the office of the Third Sea Lord was abolished. The post holder is responsible for procurement and matériel in the British Royal Navy.
Sir Gilbert Blane of Blanefield, 1st Baronet FRSE FRS MRCP was a Scottish physician who instituted health reform in the Royal Navy. He saw action against both the French and Spanish fleets, and later served as a Commissioner on the Sick and Wounded Board of the Admiralty.
The Board of Admiralty was established in 1628 when Charles I put the office of Lord High Admiral into commission. As that position was not always occupied, the purpose was to enable management of the day-to-day operational requirements of the Royal Navy; at that point administrative control of the navy was still the responsibility of the Navy Board, established in 1546. This system remained in place until 1832, when the Board of Admiralty became the sole authority charged with both administrative and operational control of the navy when the Navy Board was abolished. The term Admiralty has become synonymous with the command and control of the Royal Navy, partly personified in the Board of Admiralty and in the Admiralty buildings in London from where operations were in large part directed. It existed until 1964 when the office of First Lord of the Admiralty was finally abolished and the functions of the Lords Commissioners were transferred to the new Admiralty Board and the tri-service Defence Council of the United Kingdom.
The Commissioners for the Victualling of the Navy, often called the Victualling Commissioners or Victualling Board, was the body responsible under the Navy Board for victualling ships of the British Royal Navy. It oversaw the vast operation of providing naval personnel with enough food, drink and supplies to keep them fighting fit, sometimes for months at a time, in whatever part of the globe they might be stationed. It existed from 1683 until 1832 when its function was first replaced by the Department of the Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services until 1869 then that office was also abolished the replaced by the Victualling Department.
The Surveyor of the Navy also known as Department of the Surveyor of the Navy and originally known as Surveyor and Rigger of the Navy was a former principle commissioner and member of both the Navy Board from the inauguration of that body in 1546 until its abolition in 1832 and then a member Board of Admiralty from 1848-1859. In 1860 the office was renamed Controller of The Navy until 1869 when the office was merged with that of the Third Naval Lord's the post holder held overall responsibility for the design of British warships.
Thomas Trotter (1760–1832) was a Scottish naval physician and author who was a leading medical reformer in the Royal Navy and an ardent critic of the slave trade. Trotter was born in Melrose, Roxburghshire, and studied medicine under Alexander Monro (secundus) in Edinburgh. His major work, the Medicina Nautica, was published in 1802 and provides a detailed examination of the state of naval medicine during the French Revolutionary Wars.
A naval surgeon, or less commonly ship's doctor, is the person responsible for the health of the people aboard a naval ship at sea. The term appears often in reference to Royal Navy's medical personnel during the Age of Sail.
The First Lord of the Admiralty, or formally the Office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, was the political head of the Royal Navy who was the government's senior adviser on all naval affairs and responsible for the direction and control of Admiralty Department as well as general administration of the Naval Service of the United Kingdom, that encompassed the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines and other services. It was one of the earliest known permanent government posts. Apart from being the political head of the Royal Navy the post holder simultaneously held the title of the President of the Board of Commissioners for Exercising the Office of Lord High Admiral. The office of First Lord of the Admiralty existed from 1628 until it was abolished when the Admiralty, Air Ministry, Ministry of Defence and War Office were all merged to form the new Ministry of Defence in 1964.
During the early 17th century, England's relative naval power deteriorated, In the course of the rest of the 17th century, The office of the Admiralty and Marine Affairs steered the Navy's transition from a semi-amateur Navy Royal fighting in conjunction with private vessels into a fully professional institution, a Royal Navy. Its financial provisions were gradually regularised, it came to rely on dedicated warships only, and it developed a professional officer corps with a defined career structure, superseding an earlier mix of sailors and socially prominent former soldiers.
The Glorious Revolution of 1688 rearranged the political map of Europe, and led to a series of wars with France that lasted well over a century. This was the classic age of sail; while the ships themselves evolved in only minor ways, technique and tactics were honed to a high degree, and the battles of the Napoleonic Wars entailed feats that would have been impossible for the fleets of the 17th century. Because of parliamentary opposition, James II fled the country. The landing of William III and the Glorious Revolution itself was a gigantic effort involving 100 warships and 400 transports carrying 11,000 infantry and 4,000 horses. It was not opposed by the English or Scottish fleets.
The Department of the Accountant-General of the Navy also known as Accountant-General's Department was the department charged by the British Government with reviewing all naval estimates, conducting naval audits and processing payments. from 1829-1932.
The Victualling Department originally known as the Department of the Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services or the Victualling Office, also known as the Department of the Director of Victualling was the British Admiralty department responsible for civil administration of Victualling Yards and the storing and supply of Naval Victuals for the Royal Navy from 1832 to 1964.
The Navy Office was the government office charged with responsibility for day-to-day civil administration of the British Royal Navy from (1576-1832). It contained all the members of the Navy Board and various other departments and offices. The day-to-day business of the Navy Office was administered by Clerk of the Acts from 1660 until 1796, who was responsible for the organisation of the office and management of its staff. When his office was abolished his duties were assumed by separate committees for Accounts, Correspondence, Stores, Transports and Victualling who were in turn presided over by the Comptroller of the Navy until 1832. It was one of two government offices that were jointly responsible for directing naval affairs. In 1832 following reforms of the naval service the Navy Office was abolished all of its functions and staff were merged within the Admiralty.
The Navy Pay Office also known as the Navy Treasury was established in 1546. The office was administered by the Treasurer of the Navy, and was semi-autonomous of the Navy Office. It existed until 1835 when all offices and accounting departments of the Royal Navy were unified into the Department of the Accountant-General of the Navy. The Navy Pay Office received money directly from HM Treasury.
The Sea Transport Branch of the British Board of Trade originally established as the Transport Department or Naval Transport Department that was a logistical branch of the Department of Admiralty responsible for the provision of naval transportation services. It under went numerous name changes throughout its complicated history with responsibility for sea transportation, known as the Department of the Director of Transports from 1890. According to official sources it was temporarily part of the responsibility of the Ministry of Shipping as its Transport Department from (1917-1921) though still under the auspice of the Admiralty. It was renamed the Sea Transport Department of the Board of Trade from (1921-1941). It then moved then back to the Ministry of Shipping from (1941-1946). Responsibility for naval transportation then became part of the Ministry of War Transport as its Sea Transport Department until 1946 still with co-responsibility with the Admiralty. It continued with the Ministry of Shipping until 1967 when it was renamed the Sea Transport Division and in 1970 It was transferred under the control of the Board of Trade as the Sea Transport Branch. The branch was administered by the Director of Sea Transport.