18 Field Ambulance

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18 (Thunder Bay) Field Ambulance
Active 1906 - present
Country Canada
Branch

Royal Canadian Medical Service

Primary Reserve
Type Field ambulance
Role Medical service
Garrison/HQ Thunder Bay, Ontario

18 Field Ambulance is one of the 16 Royal Canadian Medical Service (RCMS) reserve medical units. Situated in Thunder Bay, Ontario, 18 Field Ambulance has a proud reputation among the Canadian Forces.

History[edit]

The 18 Field Ambulance was formed on 1 January 1906 in Montreal, Quebec. Because of the war, the Ambulace was moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba on 7 November 1914. On 14 April 1915 it left Winnipeg for Halifax via train. It set off to England via sailboat on 19 April 1915 and arrived six days later. In September of that year, the Ambulance traveled to Le Havre, France.

  • 11 November 1918: Paraded in Mons for the King of Belgians
  • 13 December 1918: Marched into Bonn, Germany
  • 25 January 1919: Stationed at the Port Arthur Armoury (Port Arthur is now a part of the city Thunder Bay), Ontario
  • 1923: Moves to Simpson Street Armoury, Fort William (Fort William is now a part of the city Thunder Bay), Ontario
  • 15 December 1939: Left Fort William for Halifax
  • 19 December 1939: Sailed to Glasgow, Scotland to be stationed at Camp Aldershot
  • 6 June 1940: Finished training at Aldershot
  • 13 June 1940: Landed in France
  • 15 June 1940: Left France after collapse of French forces
  • August 1942: Moved to Brighton to help Dieppe casualties
  • 27 June 1943: Sailed to Sicily
  • 10 July 1943: Landed in Sicily as part of the Allied invasion of Sicily
  • 6 August 1943: Prepared for the invasion of Italy
  • 7 September 1943: Landed in Italy
  • 1 March 1945: Reached banks of Senio River
  • 9 March 1945: Sailed for Belgium
  • 18 April 1945: Occupied Apeldoorn, the Netherlands
  • 8 May 1945: Left the Netherlands after German surrender
  • 2 September 1945: Returned home to Fort William Armouries
  • 1954: Renamed 17 (Fort William) Medical Company
  • 1965: Unit becomes a sub-unit of the Lake Superior Service Battalion
  • 1970: Lake Superior Service Battalion Disbanded, Medical Section moved to 138 Company RCASC (Thunder Bay)
  • 1975: Medical Service reformed as own unit and named 18 Medical Company (Thunder Bay)
  • 1980: Command passed to Lieutenant-Colonel JL Remus (Thunder Bay)
  • 1985: Command passed to Lieutenant-Colonel EC Diem (Thunder Bay)
  • 1991: Command passed to Major G Perales (Thunder Bay)
  • 1994: Command passed to Lt(N) ID Sweet (Thunder Bay)
  • 1995: Command passed to Major DP Gresko (Thunder Bay)
  • 2004: Canadian Forces Medical Service (CFMS) formed and unit renamed 18 Field Ambulance
  • 2006: Command passed to Major M Thibert (Thunder Bay)

World War I[edit]

Assigned as Medical unit for 6th Canadian Infantry Brigade and provided their medical needs at the following battles.

World War II[edit]

During World War II, 18 Field Ambulance was assigned as Medical unit for the 1st Infantry Brigade (Royal Canadian Regiment, Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, 48th Highlanders) and provided their medical needs at the following battles.

Italy, 1943-1945[edit]

Medical staff, who were involved early in the planning of the invasion of Italy, developed a plan to evacuate casualties back to the landing beaches where additional clearing stations and field surgical units, as well as special beach medical sections would be located. These would be available for the care of the casualties until they could be evacuated by landing craft to Sicily itself or to nearby hospital ships. The units which would put this plan into effect included a field ambulance accompanying each brigade, two field surgical units, a field dressing station and a field transfusion unit. Their role was to set up an advanced surgical center near the advanced dressing station in Reggio. All of the remaining divisional medical resources were to have crossed to Italy by D-Day +7. In addition, plans were made for landing strips to be made available and prioritization of those casualties who might require air transport.

Malaria treatment and prophylaxis was a high priority and many proposals were put forth to reduce the incidence rate. One such proposal was to withdraw the issue of short pants from the troops as they tended to leave these on after dark when mosquitoes became active. 4 Field Ambulance was given the task of caring for the wounded being ferried to Sicily on landing craft. This tasking was in addition to the normal duties of providing medical care.

The Canadians landed on 3 September 1943 with negligible opposition and secured their objectives by the end of the day. The first casualty to be treated by 4 Field Ambulance in Italy was on 7 September when the unit was set up in Delianuova along with No. 1 Field Surgical Unit and No. 1 Field Transfusion Unit. On 8 September the surrender of Italy was announced. At this time the Canadian axis of advance was moving mainly to the east coast road and soon Locri was in 3rd Brigade hands. By the 13th the Unit moved into Marina di Catanzaro and were joined by their rear-party with additional vehicles and equipment. This brought them up to war establishment for the first time since the original landing.

North-West Europe, 1945[edit]

Notable members[edit]

  • Lieutenant-Colonel JL Remus
  • Lieutenant-Colonel EC Diem
  • Major G Perales
  • Lt(N) ID Sweet
  • Major DP Gresko
  • Major M Thibert
  • Honorary LCon Margaret Ruth Page, C.M., C.D., M.P.H., R.N. Appointed the Order of Canada (Member) on October 23, 1997. Her contributions to nursing have been felt from the city of Thunder Bay to the continent of Africa. A former Director of Nursing at Lakehead University, she also served as Principal of the Kamuzu College of Nursing in Malawi, working with locals to improve the training program. During her term as President of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, she helped to improve working conditions for nurses and to modernize the profession, making it more responsive to changing needs. Her dedication and expertise in public health and administration have benefited both nurses and those they serve (Governor General of Canada, 2007).

References[edit]

  • National Defense (2007) 18 Field Ambulance (Thunder Bay)

Brief History from http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/18Medical_Company/18med_default.htm