Massage for our wounded soldiers: Tommy has the best of everything.
Daily Sketch 5th December 1914. Imperial War Museum, Department
of Printed Books : Women's
Work Collection - Ref: BRCS 25.6/25
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The Almeric Paget Massage Corps
was started in August 1914 by Mr and Mrs Almeric Paget. The Pagets
funded 50 fully trained masseuses to be sited in the principal
Military Hospitals in the UK, beginning in early September 1914.
The service was such a success that the staff numbers were quickly
increased to over 100. The Honourable Essex French was appointed
Honourable secretary to the corps.
The work was hard, starting at 9am with a 30 minute lunch break
and a 10 minute tea break at 2.15. Each masseuse would see 30-40
patients per day and provide treatments that included massage,
hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and “… stimulating muscles
with the ‘Bristow coil’ or subjecting a limb to interrupted
galvanism, ironization or a Schee bath, diathermy or radiant
heat”. Miss Sarah Chuck, matron-in-charge at Alderhey hospital
In November 1914 the A.P.M.C. set up a Massage and Electrical
Out-Patient Clinic at 55 Portland Place, London for the treatment
officers and men, again wholly financed by the Pagets. The property
at Portland Place was loaned by Lady Alexander Paget. Throughout
the war an average of 200 patients per day benefited from the
services of the clinic.
Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps. Coat and Skirt. Imperial
War Museum, Department of Printed Books
: Women's Work Collection - Ref: BRCS 25.6/21
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Sir Alfred Keogh, Director-General Army Medical Service, inspected
the clinic in March 1915 and the service subsequently became
the model for all the massage and electrical departments in convalescent
hospitals and command depots throughout the UK. A grant to fund
the expansion was also provided and the first convalescent camp
opened at Eastbourne with over 3000 patients, 500 of whom were
The War Office officially recognised the corps in early 1915
by making it the official body to which all masseurs and masseuses
engaged for service in military hospitals should belong.
The word “military” was added to the corps’ title
in December 1916 and in January 1919 A.P.M.M.C. became known
as the Military Massage Service by Army Council Instruction.
Until early 1917 members of the corps were only required to
serve in the UK, but from that date onwards service overseas
was an option. A total of 56 masseuses served in France and Italy
1917 and May 1919.
In total 3,388 women and men served in the A.P.M.M.C., with
a peak membership of 2000 in 1919.