Home from the war: what happened to disabled First World War veterans

Home from the Great War……how disabled veterans of the Great War coped with their disability when they came home…..

Heritage Calling

The terrible global human cost of the First World War was an estimated 9.5 million dead and 20 million injured.

In Britain alone, almost one million soldiers, sailors and airmen had been killed. Around two million came home with some level of disability: over 40,000 were amputees; some had facial disfigurement or had been blinded. Others suffered from deafness, tuberculosis or lung damage caused by poison gas. There were thousands of cases of shell shock from the horrors of warfare, diagnosed today as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Header image: A group of recovering disabled servicemen. © C.E. Morton 

A man sits on a hospital bed with his prostetic leg at his side Amputee with his prosthetic leg, Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, London.  © Historic England Bedford Lemere Archive BL24278.

There was a national debate about how best to care for disabled veterans. The majority were young men who had their whole lives before them. To avoid a future of misery and hopelessness, and an enormous…

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