for FITNESS of RECRUITS for MILITARY SERVICE, 1915 - 1918
The following is
derived from MacPherson's "History of the Great War; Medical Services"
Vol. 1, Chapter XVII, HMSO
1921. Dr M. Geoffrey
In 1915 the simple medical classification for fitness was only:
A. Fit for service at home or abroad.
B. Temporarily unfit for service abroad.
C. Fit for service at home only.
D. Unfit for service at home or abroad.
In March 1916, as a result of unsatisfactory medical examinations, the classification of men called up for service was made more extensive. There were five main categories with sub-categories as follows:
"(1) Fitness for general service
(2) Fitness for field service at home;
(3) Fitness for garrison service: (a) abroad, (b) at home
(4) Fitness (a) for labour, such as road-making, entrenching and other works, and: (b) for sedentary work only, such as clerical work
(5) Unfitness for any military service."
However this was also found to be inadequate so, in mid-1916, a final Classification was again made and was widely used throughout the Empire. Each of the lettered categories had sub-numbers and were as follows:
"Category A.- Men fit for general service, i.e., able to march, see to shoot, hear well, and stand active service conditions.
(i) Men fit for despatch overseas in all respects as regards training and physical and mental qualifications.
(ii) Recruits who should be fit for category Ai when trained.
(iii) Men returned sick or wounded from an expeditionary force who should be fit for Ai when hardened.*
(iv) Recruits under 19 years of age.
[*Hardening of a man discharged from hospital to his reserve unit consisted of marching for the first week without arms for 1 mile. morning and afternoon; for the second week, 2 miles quick march, morning and afternoon; for the third week, 4 miles morning and afternoon under the same conditions; in the fourth week. full duty; in the fifth week, ready for drafts. A man discharged from a command depot or convalescent hospital to his reserve unit was placed at once in Category Ai.]
"Category B.- Fit for service abroad, but not for general service; i.e., free from serious organic disease, and able to stand service conditions on lines of communication in France or in garrisons in the Tropics.
(i) In garrison or provisional units.
(ii) In labour units, or in garrison or regimental outdoor employment.
(iii) On sedentary work as clerks and storemen only.
"Category C.- Fit for service at home only; i.e., free from serious organic disease, but only able to stand service conditions in garrisons at home. (i) In garrisons or provisional units. (ii) In labour units or regimental outdoor employment. (iii) On sedentary work as clerks, storemen, batmen, cooks, orderlies, and on sanitary duties.
"Category D.- Men temporarily unfit for Categories A, B, or C. (i) In command depots. (ii) In regimental depots. (iii) In any unit or depot under or awaiting medical or dental treatment.
"Category E.- Men unfit for service in Categories A, B, or C, and not likely to be fit within six months.
"As regards the classification of men in the sub-numbers of categories B and C, the categories Bi and Ci were intended for men able to march at least 5 miles, see to shoot without glasses, and hear well; Bii and Cii were for men able to walk not more than 5 miles to and from work, and to see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes; and Biii and Ciii for men suitable for sedentary work only."
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