In Larrey's shadow: transport of British sick and wounded in the Napoleonic wars

Scott Med J. 1994 Feb;39(1):27-9. doi: 10.1177/003693309403900109.


Dominique Jean Larrey's introduction of a 'flying ambulance' into Napoleons army was a great advance in military surgery. British arrangements for the transport of wounded and sick during the Napoleonic wars fell far short of Larrey's humanitarian vision. The efforts of eminent doctors such as Sir James McGrigor to create a formal ambulance service were frustrated by the army establishment. As a result the sick were often abandoned or carried in local bullock carts. Only sixty years after Waterloo did Britain finally follow Larrey's example and form a field organisation including a trained ambulance corps.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • France
  • History, 19th Century
  • Humans
  • Military Medicine*
  • Transportation of Patients* / methods
  • United Kingdom
  • Warfare
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy