Croix de Guerre Posted June 27, 2021 Share #1 Posted June 27, 2021 The following are photos of what at one time was probably a fairly common item, but subsequently most were discarded so that today they are very difficult to find. This is the "Red Book" of Henry Wharton who was a very wealthy socialite and "Coal Barron" from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who put aside his personal pursuits and volunteered as an ambulance driver with the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris. I need to take a moment and clarify that there was a difference between the "Field Service" of the American Ambulance, which became a separate organization known as The American Field Service and the "Paris Squad" of the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris. In a very over simplified explanation, the Hospital or Ambulance in French terminology, meaning a military hospital, was formed in 1914. By the late Fall of 1914, the American Ambulance had a number of small detached satellite squads operating outside of Paris, north in the Pas-de-Calais region helping the Brits and the French evacuate hospital trains to hospitals further inland. At the same time, the American hospital had a squad of men evacuating hospital trains that were arriving at the freight station in Paris the "La Gare du l'Chapelle" known as the "Paris Squad". In April 1915, the newly appointed director of The Field Service, (italics intended), A. Piatt Andrew, convinced the French government to allow three small sections of American ambulances to be directly attached to the French Army in the field. These "field service" sections soon became Sections One, Two & Three. During this time, volunteers were still arriving in Paris at the American Ambulance Hospital of Paris who either had no desire to serve in the field and/or who could only commit to an enlistment period of three months. Henry Wharton was just such an example. He was fairly mature at the time, (he was 49) and he could only volunteer for a period of three months. The "Red Book" was essentially a receipt booklet used as a record keeping method to keep track of where and when wounded were dropped off or picked up from various hospital in and around Paris. It must be understood that just because you were an ambulance from "Hospital A", that did not mean that you only were given wounded destined for your particular hospital. Often, particularly in times of a huge influx of wounded during campaigns, you were more likely to be given wounded to transport based upon the nature of their wounds. (Most head and facial trauma were sent to the American Ambulance for instance, but not exclusively.). Henry's "Red Book" tallys the number, date, time and destination of the wounded. The booklet came with a piece of carbon paper that was inserted in between the top and bottom copies, that were perforated to allow for easy removal and the driver's copy would receive a stamp from whatever facility he went to. There were literally hundreds of various hospitals all over Paris so it must've have been daunting to locate some of these out of the way places in the dark of night. Anyway, this is a neat little piece of esoterica that I thought perhaps a few of you might find interesting. In closing, I will make a shameless plug: If any of you (besides kanemono who has the only other one I have seen) has one of these little books, I would love to see it. I am curious to learn when they came into use. If they were issued to the driver, the orderly or the car? And what hospital's stamps it contains. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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