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Duration 00:18:41

Prosthetics and the First World War

The first episode of a Q&A series in which we talk to researchers about the records and stories they’ve uncovered at The National Archives.

In ‘Prosthetics and the First World War’, our First World War diverse histories researcher Louise Bell discusses the impact of the war on disability history through our records: from designs for lighter, more flexible prosthetics to new rehabilitation methods trialled by specialist hospitals.


  1. Dave Thacker says:

    Interesting! I am currently assisting a local historian, Sandra Bemrose in Northampton, to trace soldiers from across the Empire who were treated in Northampton War Hospital and who wrote and drew in a keepsake book of one of the nurses: Dora “Dolly” Derham. Families have been contacted in Canada, Australia as well as in the UK.
    This project grew out of Sandra’s research into the history of the hospital, an asylum before the war and a mental hospital until closure in 1995.
    My role in tracing can largely be done on line but this alerts me to the possibility of finding helpful material in the NA.
    Apart from being allowed to copy the nurse’s book as a result of her research being published locally, she received various photographs of staff and patients in the war hospital, including images of amputees being fitted with prosthetics – one is a leg amputee at hip level.
    It is intended that all the material will be made freely available on line in the near future, but any suggestions as to where it may be usefully directed as a resource for other researchers would be welcome.

    1. Carianne Whitworth (admin) says:

      Hi Dave, thank you for your enquiry. This does sound interesting! I would advise you get in touch with our contact centre who may be able to offer guidance on an appropriate means of making sure your online material can be found by researchers. The details are here:

      Best wishes,


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