Guest features explore engineering-related themes, other features appear at the bottom.

Facial Reconstruction in the First World War

The outbreak of war in 1914 saw both staff and Council members of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) join the war effort, in the capacity of providing military and medical service at home and abroad. As well as investing £100,000 in the War Loan, it lent the expertise of its staff and associates to the cause. Council members played key roles in the coordination of military surgery and the College itself was called on to advise the Government on how to deal with the medical demands of the conflict.1

Patient Records

The RCS archives include collections relating to the First World War which cover the medical and social history of the War. One of its most significant collections is the Gillies Patient Record files of British and New Zealand servicemen.2 Gillies Patient Record files detail the injuries of the patients, which ranged from gunshot wounds and shell or shrapnel wounds to burns, mainly of the face. The files are arranged alphabetically by patient's surname and each patient has been assigned a unique ID or case number; they list rank, regimental number, regiment, age, and date of wounding so that the battle in which they were wounded can often be identified. There are clinical operation and progress notes, and some of these records are accompanied by photographs or diagrams relating to their injuries and operations. Some of the diagrams were hand-drawn by Henry Tonks (Fellow RCS 1888), an artist and surgeon, and annotated by the surgeons. In some cases, there are prints of x-rays.

There are also watercolour portraits to accompany some of the files for patients from New Zealand, which show their injuries on admission to the centre. Many of the watercolours are unsigned, but identified artists include Daryl Lindsay and Herbert R. Cole, a book illustrator and portraitist. 

Sir Harold Gillies (1882-1960)

Having worked in otolaryngology, it was not until the First World War that Sir Harold Gillies (Fellow RCS 1901) began to develop maxillo-facial surgery and has since been considered by some to be the father of plastic surgery.

Gillies developed and devised independently the potential and varied applications of a new medical technique, the tubed pedicle and the twin tubed pedicle. This used grafted flaps of skin and also tissue from other parts of the body. He was distinguished for his thorough pre-operative planning clinics, which contributed to his precisely planned procedures.

Following the outbreak of the War, Gillies joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). He witnessed first-hand the horrific effects of war and the disfigurement of men caused by battle. He also worked alongside renowned dentist Charles Auguste Valadier. Gillies was inspired by Valadier’s efforts to repair jaw wounds using new skin graft techniques. He also went on to observe renowned surgeon Hippolyte Morestin, a pioneer in maxillo-facial surgery, to learn more about skin grafting. Their advances underpinned much of the work that he later did and led him to recognise the need and importance of starting special treatment in this field. He managed to persuade the War Office to allow him to set up a dedicated unit at Aldershot, Hampshire. Following the Battle of the Somme, Aldershot proved to be inadequately equipped to cope with the demand of the massive influx of casualties. Gillies pressed for a larger, purpose-built facility, devoted exclusively to plastic surgery, to replace the unit. With the help of Sir William Arbuthnot Lane, Chief Army Surgeon of the RAMC, a hospital was built at Sidcup, Kent. The Queen's Hospital opened in June 1917. It became the largest centre of its kind in the world and was developed as the War's major centre for pioneering maxillo-facial and plastic surgery. Between 1917-1921, the hospital and its associated convalescent units admitted over 5000 servicemen and completed more than 11,000 operations.

Gillies often called on the talents of artists to help him. The sculptor F. Derwent Wood collaborated with Gillies in cases when the manipulation of living tissues needed to be supplemented with modelling in an artificial substance, such as wax. In 1915 the ex-surgeon turned artist Henry Tonks, volunteered to paint portraits of men with facial injuries and helped to design their repair.

The Team

The War led surgeons to attempt ground-breaking procedures, through trial, practice and experiment. In Gillies’ case, he had the foresight to use a multidisciplinary approach, working closely with a range of medical staff such as dental surgeons and other surgeons, who formed his team of experts (also consisting of physicians, anaesthetists, nurses, and artists) and this enabled him to carry out such pioneering work. The meticulous detail of the injuries recorded in the drawings and paintings helped record his procedures. These also act as a record of the extent of the horrific injuries sustained by the soldiers during the war. Gillies’ notes highlight the importance of record-keeping, and the way in which it served to influence future generations.

Gillies and his team made a significant contribution to the First World War through his innovative treatment and the advancement of reconstructive surgery.

After the War

Gillies saw that his new specialty was still necessary in peacetime. He set up in private practice, was elected to the staff at St Bartholomew’s and was appointed consultant in plastic surgery to the Royal Navy, The Royal Air Force, the Queen Alexandra Military Hospital and, St Andrew’s Hospital, Dollis Hill, St James’s Hospital (Balham), the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary, the London County Council Hospital, and the Ministries of Health and of Pensions.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he organised plastic surgical units in different parts of the country and personally supervised the largest unit at Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke. Shortly after the war Gillies formed the British Association of Plastic Surgeons of which he was the first president. He was also honorary president of the International Society of Plastic Surgeons. He continued to train and teach people from all over the world, as well as, operating and advising. In 1920 his book ‘Plastic Surgery of the Face’ was published, setting down the principles of modern plastic surgery and becoming the leading textbook in its field.

After his death, the British Association of Plastic Surgeons created a fund in his memory to promote education and research in plastic surgery.

RCS Archive

Back to top

Corporal W McRae (artist unknown)
Watercolour portrait of Corporal W McRae, the follwoing images are from his case file.
Gillies British Patient File of Corporal W McRae

Gillies British Patient File of Corporal W McRae

by Karyn French | 03 Nov, 2016


Leave a comment
  1. Yahoo Support Canada | Nov 12, 2018
  2. Mac Support Canada | Nov 12, 2018
  3. Epson Printer Support | Nov 12, 2018
  4. Outlook Technical Support | Nov 12, 2018
  5. gmail assistance number | Nov 12, 2018
  6. Microsoft Support Canada | Nov 12, 2018
  7. マカフィーのヘルプ | Nov 12, 2018
  8. Antivirus Support | Nov 12, 2018
  9. Antivirus Telefonnummer | Nov 12, 2018
  10. Antivirus Helpline Nummer | Nov 12, 2018
  11. antivirus rückerstattung | Nov 12, 2018
  12. Rick L. Benedict | Nov 12, 2018
    thank you for your interesting infomation.voyance par telephone
  13. ASA | Nov 11, 2018
  14. Freddy S. Parrino | Nov 10, 2018
    I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
  15. Shalu | Nov 10, 2018
  16. Malcom Marshal | Nov 10, 2018
    You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. HBL is a leading supplier of batteries to the telecom and data market – with over a 100,000 sites worldwide equipped with our VRLA batteries. Operators around the world depend on HBL to supply the highest quality products and responsive service to ensure their network is secure and their customers never experience a break in service. For more details please contact your nearest sales representative.  Valve Regulated Lead Acid BatteryValve Regulated Lead Acid Battery 12VAGM Lead Acid BatteryValve Regulated Lead AcidVRLA BatteryIndustrial Battery Manufacturer USA, Industrial Battery Manufacturer in USA
  17. Theodore S. Nichols | Nov 10, 2018
    Thanks for another wonderful post. Where else could anybody get that type of info in such an ideal way of writing?Book Keeping San Dimas CA
  18. Theodore S. Nichols | Nov 08, 2018
    this is really nice to read..informative post is very good to read..thanks a lot!Granite countertops in Kansas city
  19. Jan Strauss | Nov 07, 2018
    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.local online marketing
  20. Jan Strauss | Nov 06, 2018
    Exactly, you're very kind of us about comment!.digital marketing professional program
  21. Jan Strauss | Nov 05, 2018
    That appears to be excellent however i am still not too sure that I like it. At any rate will look far more into it and decide personally!cano médio
  22. Jan Strauss | Nov 05, 2018
    I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy.go2analyse
  23. Jan Strauss | Nov 05, 2018
    Thank you very much for this great post.Danish casino guide 2018
  24. Juan E. Rainey | Oct 31, 2018
    i was just browsing along and came upon your blog. just wanted to say good blog and this article really helped me.web marketing
  25. Peter Fischer | Oct 29, 2018
    I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned. I wanted to thank you for this great seo services company
  26. max | Oct 25, 2018

    A debt of gratitude is in order for this article exceptionally supportive. much appreciated. 

    AM FM Radio Denmark 

  27. Jens Kluge | Oct 20, 2018
    This blog website is pretty cool! How was it made !agencia detectives Madrid
  28. Tom Barth | Oct 20, 2018
    I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up..agencia detectives Madrid
  29. max | Oct 19, 2018 offers a complete and comprehensive private label & wholesale service for all Matcha Green Tea related products, directly from Japan.

    matcha wholesale

  30. Andreas Fink | Oct 19, 2018
    I have already heard a lot about the beauty of the Martinhal Lisbon-Cascais Family Hotel. It looks outstanding with ceiling glass walls and lots of white and natural tones. I have decided to visit there soon, for this purpose, i will buy visit website, for completing my child's assignments.
  31. Henri Brisette | Oct 18, 2018
    Thank you for the update, very nice site..Orthotics Glasgow
  32. Robert | Oct 17, 2018
    Adidas Superstar Shoes Pandora Jewellery Lebron James Shoes Ferragamo Kevin Durant Shoes Pandora Charms Adidas Yeezy Pandora Charms Adidas NMD R1 Fjallraven Kanken Christian Louboutin Outlet Timberland Outlet Yeezy 500 Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet Pandora Jewelry Balenciaga Sneakers Asics Outlet Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet Timberland Boots For Women Pandora Bracelets Nike 270 Air Max Hermes Handbags New Nike Shoes 2018 Fjallraven Kanken Asics Shoes Asics Sneakers Asics Gel Kayano Puma Store Goyard Handbags Air Max 98 Pandora Jewelry Official Site Lebron 16 Shoes Louboutin Shoes Hermes Belt Pandora Jewelry Nike Air Max 270 Flyknit Pandora Bracelet Adidas Yeezy Christian Louboutin Outlet Balenciaga Moncler Website Nike Store Nike Air Max 270 Fila Disruptor 2 Air Max 97 Adidas Yeezy Fila Shoes For Men Asics Shoes Pandora Ring Cortez Pandora Jewelry Outlet Nike Running Shoes Ferragamo Belts Skechers Go Walk Valentino Asics Gel Nimbus 19 Fitflop Yeezy Shoes Nike Air Max 98 Fila Sneakers Yeezy Shoes Timberland Boots Air Max 270 Men Pandora Jewelry Official Site NMD Nike Sneakers For Men Pandora Jewelry Timberland Outlet Store Valentino Shoes Asics Shoes Nike KD 11 shoes Adidas NMD Yeezys Shoes Adidas Shoes For Women NMDS Nike Clearance Store Christian Louboutin Shoes Fjallraven Backpack Nike Shoes Adidas Store Air Max 95 Adidas Sneakers For Men Nike Outlet Puma Store Valentino Sandals Ferragamo Shoes Christian Louboutin shoes Jordan Retro 11 Yeezy Boost 350 V2 Adidas Originals Pandora Bracelets Vans Yeezy 500 Nike Outlet Store Pandora Necklaces Yeezy Shoes Bottega Veneta Outlet Red Bottom Shoes For Women Timberland Shoes Nike Cortez Men Nike Air Max 95 Adidas Superstar Shoes Timberland Shoes Goyard Yeezy Boost 350 Longchamp Outlet Online
  33. Roland Gareau | Oct 17, 2018
    I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike other blogs I have read which are really not that good.Thanks alot!Eyelash Salon Gilbert AZ
  34. Henri Brisette | Oct 17, 2018
    Your music is amazing. You have some very talented artists. I wish you the best of success.ppc
  35. Andreas Moeller | Oct 16, 2018
    That is really nice to hear. thank you for the update and good luck.Alex Kime Illinois
  36. Lukas Schuster | Oct 16, 2018
    I am very much pleased with the contents you have mentioned. I wanted to thank you for this great article.flower delivery
  37. Aki Saariaho | Oct 16, 2018
    Nice knowledge gaining article. This post is really the best on this valuable topic.متجر الكتروني عطور مكياج السعودية جدة الرياض
  38. Roland Charette | Oct 16, 2018
    Nice to be visiting your blog again, it has been months for me. Well this article that i’ve been waited for so long. I need this article to complete my assignment in the college, and it has same topic with your article. Thanks, great share.payday loans in connecticut
  39. Barbara | Oct 14, 2018
    Nike Air Vapormax
    Pandora Bracelet
    Adidas Superstars
    Pandora Outlet
    Pandora Charms Bracelets
    Red Bottom Shoes
    Pandora Jewelry Outlet
    Pandora Jewelry
    Balenciaga Shoes
    Pandora Jewelry
    Burberry Bags
    Ralph Lauren Outlet
    Air Jordan 8
    Air Jordan 14
    Pandora Ring
    Adidas Stan Smith
    Air Max 270 Price
    Pandora Canada
    Adidas Superstar
    Birkenstock Sandals
    ECCO Shoes For Women
    Nike Basketball Shoes
    Air Max
    Curry 5
    Nike Roshe
    NMD R1
    Nike Women's Shoes
    Kate Spade
    Disney Pandora
    Pandora Jewelry
    Nike Mens Shoes
    Fitflop Sale Clearance
    Nike Sneakers
    Adidas UK
    Jordan 11
    Nike Outlet
    Christian Louboutin
    Balenciaga Sneakers
    Nike Air Max 270
    Pandora Jewelry
    Nike Air Force One
    Christian Louboutin Shoes
    Pandora Jewelry Official Site
    Kyrie 4
    Pandora Official Site
    Nike Air Max 98
    Jordan 11
    Jordans Sneakers
    Moncler Outlet
    Nike Air Max 270
    Nike Outlet Store
    Pandora Charm Bracelet
    Louboutin Shoes
    Fjallraven Kanken Backpack
    Jordan Retro 10
    Nike Shox For Men
    Pandora Jewelry Official Site Black Friday
    Kate Spade Purses
    Jordan Shoes Retro
    Christian Louboutin Shoes
    Triple S Balenciaga
    Pandora Charms
    Nike Outlet
    Isabel Marant Boots
    Nike Clearance Store
    Fitflop Shoes
    Red Bottoms
    Kyrie Irving Shoes
    Jordan 4
    Ed Hardy
    Pandora Bracelets
    Pandora Jewelry Official Site
    Jordan Win Like 96
    Christian Louboutin Shoes
    Nike Outlet
    Yeezy Boost 700
    Pandora Bracelets
    NMD XR1
    Moncler Jackets
    Bottega Veneta Handbags
    Jordan Retros
    Pandora Outlet
    Fitflops Sale Clearance
    Yeezy 750
    Nike Epic React Flyknit
    Pandora Charms Sale Clearance
    Retro Jordan
    Air Jordan Shoes
    Louboutin shoes
    Nike Roshe
    Birkenstock Outlet Online
    ECCO Shoes
    Pandora Charms
    Jordan Retro 12
    Pandora Jewelry Outlet
    Pandora Jewelry Outlet
    Adidas Yeezy
    Nike Outlet
    Air Max Plus
    Timberland Outlet
    Pandora CZ Charms
    Pandora Jewelry
    Nike Air Force 1
    Kate Spade Outlet
    Nike Shoes
    Vans Sneakers
    Ferragamo Belt
    Goyard Bags
    Nike Vapormax
    Nike Vapormax Plus
    Human Races Shoes
    Jordan Shoes For Men
    Moncler Sale
    Pandora Charms
    Pandora Official Site
    Pandora Jewelry Official Site
    Air Jordan
    Yeezy Boost
    Ferragamo Outlet
    Valentino Shoes
    Goyard Bags
    Pandora Jewelry
    Longchamp Bags
    Jordan 9
    Bottega Veneta
    New Jordans 2019
    Nike Store
    Moncler Jackets
    Cheap Nike Air Max
    Air Jordan Shoes
    Birkenstock outlet
    Nike Presto Women
    Birkenstock Shoes
    Birkenstock Sandals
    Adidas NMD
    Adidas NMD
    Nike Outlet Store Online Shopping
    Kate Spade
    Fitflop Sandals
    Pandora Charms Sale Clearance
    Fitflop Sandals
    Jordan Sneakers
    Birkin Bag
    Nike Clearance
    Fjallraven Kanken Backpack
    Pandora Jewelry Official Site
    Pandora Bracelet
    Kate Spade Handbags
    Nike Air Max 270
    Pandora Jewelry
    Christian Louboutin Shoes
    Jordan 11
    Adidas Yeezy
  40. pepe | Oct 14, 2018
    Thanks for sharing, check this site if you want to buy cool stuff and awesome things:
  41. kate | Oct 14, 2018
    Thanks for sharing, check this site [goto=]cool things to buy[/goto]
  42. Lisa | Oct 13, 2018
    Vans Shoes Timberlad Boots Air Max 2018 KD 10 Harden vol 1 Coach Outlet Yeezy 350 V2 Kate Spade Outlet Jordan 11 Yeezy Beluga 2.0 Pandora Outlet North Face Outlet Pandora Charms Sale Clearance Coach Factory Outlet Pandora Jordan Retro 11 Red Bottoms Shoes Lebron 15 Ralph Lauren Outlet Online Birkenstock Shoes Nike Air Force 1 Red Bottom Shoes For Women Louboutin Shoes Longchamp Nike Vapormax Coach Factory Timberland Boots Vapor Max Pandora KD Shoes Yeezys Birkenstock Sandals For Women Adidas Shoes Nike Outlet Ralph Lauren Outlet Jordan 11 Red Michael Kors Canada Adidas Shoes Christian Louboutin Shoes Pandora Bracelets Nike Air Max 90 Louboutin Shoes Puma Shoes Curry Shoes Fenty Puma Christian Louboutin Shoes Ralph Lauren Nike Shoes For Men Pandora Jewelry Nike Cortez Moncler Jimmy Choo Shoes Pandora Rings Nike Air More Uptempo Pandora Charms Yeezy Kyrie 3 Moncler UK Nike Huaraches Curry 4 Ralph Lauren Outlet Adidas Outlet Skechers Women Kyrie 4 Shoes Goyard Handbags Yeezy Boost 350 Birkenstock Longchamp Outlet Sale Kyrie 3 Michael Kors Canada Clarks Shoes Longchamp Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Online North Face Jackets Birkenstock Outlet Online Ralph Lauren Outlet NMD R1 Adidas Outlet Online Nike Outlet Nike KD Shoes Pandora Official Site Yeezy Blue Tint Nike Lebron 15 Air Max Air Jordans Yeezy Soccer Shoes Adidas NMD Nike Air Max Adidas Yeezy Pandora Kyrie Irving Shoes James Harden shoes Pandora Jewelry Adidas NMD Womens Lebron Shoes Pandora Rings Kyrie Irving Shoes Air Max 90 Vans Outlet Store Adidas Yeezy Nike Air Max 2018 Jordan 11 Space Jam New Jordans Louboutin Shoes Adidas Ultra Boost Pandora Jewelry Pandora Charms Outlet Yeezy boost Nike Air Max 95
  43. Aki Saariaho | Oct 13, 2018
    Thank you very much for this great post.123movies 123
  44. Stefan Meister | Oct 12, 2018
    Great Information sharing .. I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this
  45. Sauli Suomi | Oct 09, 2018
    This type of message always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content, so happy to find good place to many here in the post, the writing is just great, thanks for the post.cbd wax
  46. Aki Saariaho | Oct 09, 2018
    I am definitely enjoying your website. You definitely have some great insight and great stories.plastic injection molding parts
  47. nani | Oct 07, 2018
    [url=]happy new year 2019 facebook status[/url]
  48. nawi212 | Oct 05, 2018
    link 5Distributor plat besi hitamDistributor plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan bentuk tasDistributor plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton interworld steel isundangan pernikahan modernToko Plat Bordes KembangDistributor Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Distributor besi cnp bajajasa konstruksi bajaHarga plat besi hitamHarga plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan biruHarga plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton gunung garudaundangan pernikahan biasaToko Plat Besi HitamSupplier Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Harga besi cnp plat besi hitamJual plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan biasa sewa villa bukit danauJual plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton delcoprimaundangan pernikahan bahasa inggris islamToko Plat Kapal Bki Krakatau SteelAgen Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Jual besi cnp bajawww.pusatbesibaja.comSupplier plat besi hitamSupplier plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan bagusSupplier plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton cakra steel csundangan pernikahan cantik eleganToko Jual Besi Siku BajaToko Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Supplier besi cnp bajawww.jualbesibajamurah.comToko plat besi hitamToko plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan bermanfaatToko plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton bjkuundangan pernikahan akrilikToko Besi Unp Baja Profil KanalJual Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Toko besi cnp bajaSupplier besi beton Sni Ulir Polos polos ulirAgen plat besi hitamAgen plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan akrilikAgen plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton Sni Ulir Polosundangan pernikahan bentuk dompetToko Besi Cnp Profil Baja GordingHarga Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Agen besi cnp bajaSupplier besi beton siiPabrik plat besi hitamPabrik plat besi hitamundangan pernikahan anti mainstreamPabrik plat kapal besi bajaAgen besi beton aisundangan pernikahan coklatToko Besi HollowPabrik Pipa Besi baja Schedule Sch 40Pabrik besi cnp bajaSupplier besi beton psi Ulir PolosDistributor plat kapal besi bajaDistributor plat kapal besi bajaundangan pernikahan klub bolaDistributor besi siku bajaAgen besi betonundangan pernikahan kalenderToko WiremeshDistributor Pipa Besi baja Schedule sch 80Distributor besi unp bajaSupplier besi beton perwiraHarga plat kapal besi bajaHarga plat kapal besi bajaundangan pernikahan cetakHarga besi siku bajajasa konstruksi bajaundangan pernikahan coklatToko Besi Pipa Baja Schedule 80Supplier Pipa Besi baja Schedule sch 80Harga besi unp baja
  49. Happy New Year Greetings | Oct 04, 2018
  50. new year 2019 | Oct 04, 2018
    [url=]happy new year pictures wallpapers[/url]

    Leave a comment

    Other Features

    Archive reference: RCS-COM/5/1
    Archive reference: MS0513.This collection consists of 52 boxes and contains patient records for over 2,000 servicemen who underwent plastic surgery at the unit set up by Sir Harold Gillies at Queen's Hospital, Sidcup. The files serve as a record of how treatment was facilitated, and also help to document the development of plastic surgery at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

    (except watercolour) Gillies British Patient File of Corporal W McRae, Archive reference: MS0513/1/1/ID 1363, The Archives of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

    Watercolour portrait of Corporal W McRae (artist unknown), Archive reference: MS0513/2/2/ ID 164, The Archives of the Royal College of Surgeons of England.