Here are three short accounts of the Almeric Paget Military Massage Service.  They are undated, but the first and third seem to originate during the second half of the war; the second sometime in 1920.  The first two accounts are similar, but there is some unique content in each which might be of interest. The image above is of a nursing sister of the Territorial Force Nursing Service sitting alongside a masseuse of the A.P.P.M.C., her badge clearly visible on her left sleeve.


     On the outbreak of the War Mr. and Mrs. Almeric Paget offered the Medical Authorities of the War Office to supply and run a Corps of 50 fully trained Masseuses for work among the wounded in the United Kingdom. This offer was accepted and the Masseuses began to be appointed to the Hospitals in September 1914. The first appointments were made at the principal Military Hospitals, Aldershot, Netley, etc. The Hon. Essex French was appointed Honorary Secretary to the Corps. By the end of November 1914 the 50 Masseuses were all appointed and it became necessary to increase the Staff, which Mr. and Mrs. Paget consented to do, and they then supplied 120 Masseuses free of cost to the Government.

     In November 1914 Mr. and Mrs. Paget were approached by the Medical Authorities at the War Office and asked to open a centre in London where officers and men could receive Massage and Electrical Treatment and thus relieve the Out-Patient Departments of the London Military Hospitals. 55 Portland Place was lent for this purpose by Lady Alexander Paget and a full electrical equipment was installed by Mrs. Paget. 200 officers and men receive treatment there daily. Miss L. Patteson was appointed Matron-in-Charge, and Dr. Iredell Medical Officer-in-Charge.

     Sir Alfred Keogh, Director General of Army Medical Service kindly inspected this Centre in March 1916, and took great interest in the whole work of the Corps. After his visit he wrote to Mr. and Mrs. Paget, asking them if they would be willing to undertake the organization of the Massage and Electrical Departments of the large Convalescent Camps shortly to be opened, for the upkeep of which the War Office would give a grant. In accordance with Sir Alfred Keogh’s wishes the Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps is now running the Massage Departments at all the Military Hospitals, Command Depots and Convalescent Camps in the United Kingdom. A Medical Officer and a Matron-in-Charge is appointed to each centre.



     The Military Massage Service started its career in August 1914 under the name of the Almeric Paget Massage Corps. It was maintained by Mr. And Mrs. Almeric Paget, and then consisted of 50 fully trained masseuses, who early in September 1914 were distributed among the principal Military Hospitals in the United Kingdom, this number being increased shortly afterwards to 100.

     The next development of the work of the Corps was in November 1914, when a Massage and Electrical Out-patient Clinic was opened in London at 55 Portland Place (which was moved later to 2 Cambridge Gate) for the treatment of wounded officers and men, financed by Mr. And Mrs. Paget. During the war over 200 patients were treated in this Clinic daily. This Clinic was inspected by the Director-General Army Medical Service in March 1915 and subsequently became the model for the Massage and Electrical Departments in the Convalescent Hospitals and Command Depots throughout the United Kingdom.

     Early in 1915 the War Office officially recognised the Corps by making it the official body to which all Masseuses and Masseurs engaged for service in Military Hospitals should belong. An Advisory Committee was instituted by the War Office to advise in all matters relating to Massage in Military Institutions. This Committee laid down the standard of training and the qualifications required and formed Sub-Committees to select the candidates. Thus the admission of untrained or partially trained personnel was prevented and the interests of the patients and of the Massage profession were safeguarded.

     In December 1916 the word “Military” was added to the title of the Corps, and in January 1919 it became known as the Military Massage Service, by Army Council Instruction. It was not until January 1917 that Military Masseuses were asked for service overseas, but from that date up to six months after the signing of the Armistice 56 Masseuses served in France and Italy.

     3,388 Masseuses and Masseurs have been enrolled in the Service and there were over 2,000 actually at work on the day the Armistice was signed. The following figures will give the approximate number of Masseuses employed under the Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps and Military Massage Service on the various dates mentioned:-

January 1916 -- 900
January 1917 -- 1,200
January 1918 -- 1,500
11 November 1918 -- 2,000
January 1919 -- 2,000
January 1920 -- 600



By Sarah Chuck, Head Masseuse

     It was in October 1914 that Sir Robert Jones made a beginning at Alder Hey Hospital of what is now the Military Orthopaedic service represented by its numerous ‘centres’ throughout the British Isles. The Massage Department had its inception in February 1915 when two masseuses (Miss Smith and myself) treated daily about thirty to forty cases. At the present time the treatment staff at Alder Hey and its two Auxiliaries, Highfield Military Hospital and Dawpool Auxiliary Officers’ Hospital, consists of fifty-eight masseuses and five masseurs. The number of cases treated daily during the current week amounts to 1,540 made up as follows:-

Massage - 800
Electrical - 380
Hydrotherapy - 170
Gymnasium - 190

     In the Massage and Electrical Departments, the masseuses are instructed in the special methods adopted for treatment of orthopaedic cases, and weekly tutorial classes are held by the Officer-in-Charge of the Massage Department (Captain Broad) at which points of interest relating to Massage in its relation to orthopaedic surgery are discussed.

     Beginning her days work shortly after 9 a.m., the masseuse works either in the Massage or the Electrical Department until 12 noon when she takes a half hour’s interval for lunch. Again at 2.15 p.m. a ten minutes interval enables her to partake of a cup of tea. At 4 p.m. her days work is completed, and the careful and conscientious massage of eighteen to twenty cases certainly is a hard day’s work. In the Electrical Department, although her duties do not require so much physical effort, the masseuse has to be constantly on the alert. Whether she is stimulating muscles by the use of the ‘Bristow’ coil or subjecting a limb to interrupted galvanism, ironization (sic) or a Schuee bath, diathermy or radiant heat, her constant attention to every detail is essential, so that in this work there is required considerable mental application. It is our practice to alternate massage and electrical work, i.e. a masseuse will spend three months in the Massage Ward, and then will follow three months of Electrical Department. In addition, at the Highfield Military Hospital remedial gymnastics are undertaken by masseuses.

The personnel of the treatment department are as follows:
Captain Broad, R.A.M.C., Officer i/c Massage, Hydro-therapeutic and Gymnastics Departments.
Captain Alexander, R.A.M.C., Officer i/c of the Electro-therapeutic Department.
Miss Chuck, head masseuse.
Section masseuses in charge of departments:
Miss Stout at Highfield Military Hospital.
Mrs. Bull at Dawpool Auxiliary Officers’ Hospital.
Miss O’Kell at Alder Hey (Electro-therapeutic Department)
Miss McColl at Alder Hey (Massage)
Mr. Cook at Alder Hey, Hydro-therapeutic Department, also 50 Masseuses and 4 Masseurs.

     The only badges the masseuses wear are the A.P.M.M.C. badge on the left arm, the metal hat badge of the Corps on the front of the cap, and in the cases of the head masseuse and Section masseuses, shoulder straps are worn with two red bars for a head masseuse, one red bar for a section masseuse. Masseuses who might be specially mentioned for capable work are the heads of the various departments, i.e. Mrs. Bull, Misses Stout, O’Kell, McColl, and Mr. Cook, and also in the Massage Department Miss Holmes. All the masseuses have done good work since they have been on the staff, and I cannot speak too highly of their work here.