Stanley Spencer as Medical Orderly

This article is dedicated to all in the NHS, Care Sector and Military personnel who are working so hard for the benefit of us all in this Covid 19 pandemic.

Stanley Spencer was a Medical Orderly with the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War, initially at the Beaufort Military Hospital in Bristol and then with the Field Ambulance on the Salonika Front in Macedonia. 

 

Stanley Spencer at the Beaufort Hospital, left, labelled "Me"

At first he found the experience a great shock. The young artist was a free spirit who naturally rebelled against the military discipline and hierarchy necessary in such a healthcare regime. The work itself was often menial and exhausting which, in addition to caring for wounded soldiers, involved a lot of cleaning and housekeeping duties. Soon however, through the help of his friend Desmond Chute, Spencer was able to find spiritual meaning in every task and fulfilment in every duty.