Evacuating wounded soldiers by train

Evacuating wounded soldiers by train

Narrow-gauge light railways were often used to evacuate wounded soldiers from battlefield dressing stations to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) further behind the lines. From the CCS they might then travel to a Stationary or General Hospital in an ambulance train on a broad-gauge line.

During the disastrous battle of Passchendaele in October 1917 the 5th (New Zealand) Light Railway Operating Company evacuated more than 3000 wounded in a single night; the company later received letters of appreciation stating that 'the lives of a great number of men had been saved by the light railway'.

This photograph shows British and Belgian wounded at a dressing station at Dadizele, east of Zonnebeke, Belgium, on 15 October 1918, during the final Allied offensive.

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