Major General JF Rowan OBE QHS
Director General Army Medical Services
In Arduis Fidelis (Faithful In Adversity)
It is a critical requirement to remember and commemorate the fallen, not merely for the sake of our own peace of mind, but for the instruction of future generations that they might recognise the price of freedom. How we choose to remember, defines us both individually and collectively.
Remembrance will mean different things to different people. As the generations that fought our two World Wars and present conflicts pass, the stories and tradition that connects us to these events fade by degrees, the duty of remembrance devolves to us.
The RAMC has a long history of delivering care and solace during conflict. The philosophy of this medical care has strong justification as even today there is a belief in military circles that the possibility of rapid medical evacuation and effective treatment is one of the most important morale maintenance factors in a modern army.
In this the centenary year of WW1 the vital role of the RAMC in the Great War is amply illustrated by the large number of awards for gallantry that were received by all ranks, including service-women; uniquely, its honour roll includes two VC's with bar. In total, there were 6501 military awards including 7 Victoria Crosses, 499 Distinguished Service Orders (25 with bar), 1,484 Military Crosses (184 with bar), 3 Albert Medals, 395 Distinguished Conduct Medals (19 with bar) and 3,002 Military Medals (199 with bar). Our people have continued to demonstrate and be awarded for their courage and tenacity in delivering care in conflict.
There is no single memorial to the RAMC on the Western Front, however many graves mark those who fell. The impressive and poignant National Arboretum where the dedication of the RAMC memorial was held this year is a peaceful place for old and young to remember. However in the north aisle of the nave of Westminster Abbey is a memorial tablet and stained glass window for those who died serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the 1914-18 and 1939-45 wars. The larger white marble tablet was unveiled on 13 July 1922 by the Duke of Connaught, Colonel in Chief of the Corps. In July 2004 the three RAMC books of Remembrance were moved from the Chapter House to the Nave of the Abbey and placed under the RAMC window.