The exceptional level of care provided to the casualties of the 6th Airborne Division in Normandy can be largely attributed to the dedicated efforts and bravery of a group of conscientious objectors serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). More than 100 of these individuals parachuted into Normandy alongside other RAMC personnel during the initial hours of D-day. Their significant contributions were evident as orderlies within the Parachute Field Ambulances, many serving as skilled members of Surgical Teams, or as medics attached to various Battalions.
This unique collaboration originated when, in 1943, the 6th Airborne Division was being formed. Approximately 150 conscientious objectors, initially engaged in bomb disposal work that became unnecessary with the cessation of bombings in London, found themselves without a designated role. While these men were non-combatants due to their unwillingness to take lives, they expressed a willingness to accompany soldiers into battle to provide care for the wounded.
Initially excluded from the RAMC, these conscientious objectors had volunteered for perilous bomb disposal duties. However, the pressing need for medics suitable for parachute operations prompted a reconsideration by senior officers from the Airborne RAMC. Despite their non-combatant status, these individuals were integrated into the RAMC, albeit with a restriction on promotion beyond the rank of Private Soldier. The conscientious objectors insisted on two key conditions: they would never be required to handle weapons or munitions, and they could treat German wounded on par with their own. These conditions aligned with RAMC principles and were readily accepted.
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