Imperial War Museum North
In 1915, Robert Jones, a surgeon from Liverpool, travelled to France to show how his newly designed splints could help secure compound fractures in British soldiers on the battlefields of the first world war. Jones became director of military orthopaedics and played a key role in reducing disability among men and women in the armed services.
The recently opened Imperial War Museum North charts the impact of war through personal narratives. It describes how doctors and scientists were spurred on to develop innovative treatments by the urgency of war. We learn how orthopaedics, the use of penicillin and antimalarial drugs, and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections—“he picked up more than a girl”—were given fresh impetus in the drive to maximise the number of fighting fit. One positive legacy of war is that many treatments later became common practice.
The main theme of the museum is that war fragments peoples