Book Review
Faithful in Adversity
Faithful in Adversity - The Royal Army Medical Corps in the Second World War
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by: Fay Baker [ AWESOME_ODP ]


History has a way of making itself known, and nearly every family has a relative who fought in the Second World War. Their stories/memories have a way of keeping the story alive, but how do you keep your faith in a time when everything is telling you that there is nothing but evil in the world? This book may give you an insight…

The following is taken from the Pen and Sword website:
On 28 September 1945, Field Marshal Montgomery expressed his ‘admiration and high regard to a corps whose contribution to victory has been beyond all calculation’.

The Royal Army Medical Corps was active during all engagements in the Second World War. From the defeat in Norway in 1940 to the hell of Dunkirk and the fall of France, from the chaos of the retreat through Greece and Crete to the war’s turning point in the vast deserts of North Africa, from deep into West and East Africa to the ferocious combat of the Burma campaign, from the intensity of D-Day and the Normandy campaign to the reverses at Arnhem and the eventual liberation of the German death camps and Far East prison camps, RAMC personnel were frequently at the heart of the action, risking their lives to provide medical support to a mobile army in a highly mechanised war. For those taken prisoner by the enemy, maintaining the physical and psychological well-being of their fellow captives became an urgent necessity whilst for a small number of exceptionally brave and hardy souls, attachment to commando units saw them provide medical support for some of the most daring raids of the war. Nearly 3,000 RAMC doctors and orderlies were killed during the war as a result of enemy action or exposure to dangerous tropical diseases.

Using previously unpublished archival material and personal family papers, this book sheds fresh light on the experience of the regulars, volunteers and conscripts who gave expression to the motto of the RAMC: Faithful in Adversity.


This hard back book is written by John Broom, about his father’s experiences in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). Containing 339 pages, this hard back book is printed by Pen & Sword and priced at £25, (which may be obtained cheaper on the Pen and Sword website). The book also contains a glossy black and white photographic section showing some of those who were members of the RAMC.

The contents of this book is as follows:

List of Illustrations
Chapter 1 Recruitment, Organisation and Training
Chapter 2 Medicine in Retreat: Norway and France
Chapter 3 Africa
Chapter 4 Medicine in the Mediterranean: Malta, Greece, Crete and Italy
Chapter 5 Burma, India and the Far East
Chapter 6 Prisoners of War
Chapter 7 Medicine in Western Europe, 1942-44
Chapter 8 Medicine in Western Europe, 1944-45
Chapter 9 Homecoming, Demobilisation and Reflection
Sources & Bibliography

This publication explains how many of the medical officers and orderlies had volunteered to stay with the wounded, although some had been selected for this role. Under the Geneva Convention medical personnel were classed as ‘protected personnel’ and should not have treated as prisoners of war, this being said some medics were given extra privileges due to their status and because of this could move around the different sectors of the camps that they were in.

Medical facilities varied by camp and supervision was overseen by German doctors, but the Allied patients were treated by their own medical staff. Without these exceptional men many more would have died. This insightful book tells of the lengths that some would go to avoid working in the mining and quarrying aspects of the work details. Many men opted for voluntary circumcision, thus making them unable to work; one medical officer stated “a very useful way of getting some of the lads off work parties for a few weeks”.


This publication is littered with personal messages sent to and from the prison camps. This book will be of interest to those who are not only military, but also those who are medically minded. The result is a well written and informative book about one man’s father and his experiences during the Second World War.
Fay Baker takes a look at a book from Pen and Sword titled 'Faithful in Adversity - The Royal Army Medical Corps in the Second World War'.
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781526749550
  Suggested Retail: £25.00
  PUBLISHED: Dec 09, 2019
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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My hat is off to the brave individuals who performed these missions of mercy on battlefields around the world under the most dangerous of conditions. Definitely a worthwhile read to learn more about their brave accomplishments.
DEC 09, 2019 - 02:30 PM