See also, details of some individual Doctors and Surgeons.
A doctor may also be known as a Surgeon or (prior to 1873) an Assistant Surgeon. The term Medical Officer is also used. Most of this article refers to surgeons who were employed by the Bengal, Madras, Bombay or Indian Medical Service/Departments. However some surgeons in British Army regiments were part of the Royal Army Medical Corps of the British Army.
For Assistant Surgeons from 1894, refer Apothecary
On 3 April 1943, the Indian Medical Service was amalgamated into the Indian Army Medical Corps, along with the Indian Medical Department, and the Indian Hospital & Nursing Corps
This article contains many links to historical online books.
- 1 Records
- 2 Historical background
- 3 Working conditions and duties
- 4 External links
- 5 Notes
- The following records are available on the pay website findmypast (as at June 2014) as the collection British India Office Assistant Surgeons, a section of the British India Office Collection . These records are located in the category Education & work/Professions.
- IOR/L/MIL/9/358, 360-364, 366-396 Assistant-Surgeons’ Papers, 1804-1854
- IOR/L/MIL/9/397-408 Papers of Assistant-Surgeons selected by the Board of Examiners,, 1855-1881
- IOR/L/MIL/9/409 Annual list of Assistant-Surgeons appointed giving Presidency, nominating Director and date of appointment, with separate lists of rank, 1787-1791
- IOR/L/MIL/9/410 Annual lists of Assistant-Surgeons appointed giving Presidency, nominating Director, date of appointment and ship, 1791-1814
- IOR/L/MIL/9/411 Annual lists of rank of Assistant-Surgeons, Madras Bengal and Bombay, 1794-1814
- IOR/L/MIL/9/412 Register of candidates for Assistant-Surgeon posts giving address, dates of application and examination, result, and date of returning diplomas. 1865-1877
- IOR/L/MIL/9/413-418 Papers of Surgeons selected by the Board of Examiners, 1882-1894
- IOR/L/MIL/9/419 Papers of candidates selected for the Indian Medical Service, 1895-1896
- Ancestry, a pay website, in the category Schools, Directories & Church Histories has the following databases:
- "UK, Roll of the Indian Medical Service, 1615 -1930". (Released October 2016). This database consists of Index records and page images from the book of the same name by D.G. Crawford, see below under Lists of medical officers.
- "UK & Ireland, Medical Directories, 1845-1942" (Released October 2016).
- The British Medical Journal is available online from 1840 and is a source of information, particularly the obituaries. It probably has more relevance for English, rather than Scottish doctors. However, it is now only available to those who have a personal or institutional subscription. Search the archives directly or access BMJ and other online journals through PubMed Central (PMC is the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) free digital archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature). Some editions are available online at Archive.org (refer below)
- Lives of the Fellows of the Royal College Of Physicians. Search by Name. Obituaries of past Fellows [Specialist Physicians]. Royal College of Physicians, London.
There are also “detailed records of service of surgeons and assistant-surgeons, compiled at East India House” to 1858. Bengal Service Army Lists - Medical IOR/L/MIL/10/70-74 c 1765-1858 and LDS microfilm catalogue entry; Madras Service Army Lists - Medical IOR/L/MIL/11/70-72 c 1760-1858 and LDS microfilm catalogue entry; Bombay Service Army Lists - Medical IOR/L/MIL/12/85-87 1763-1858 and LDS microfilm catalogue entry. It is not known to what extent these records are included in Crawford’s book Roll of the Indian Medical Service, refer below.
Records are available on the pay website findmypast (as at June 2014) as the collection British India Office Assistant Surgeons, a section of the British India Office Collection . Refer Online records above.
Two histories of the Indian Medical Service, which also contain some biographical details are:
- A History of the Indian Medical Service, 1600-1913 (two volumes) by D. G. Crawford 1914. Volume I, Volume II Archive.org; Volume 1, Volume 2 Pdf downloads, Digital Library of India. Additionally, there are two pdf downloads, from the DLI, scanned from different libraries, where the volume is not specified: pdf download 1, pdf download 2. Mirror editions of the DLI files are also available on Archive.org.
- Surgeons twoe and a Barber. Being some account of the life and work of the Indian Medical Service, 1600-1947 by Lieut.-Colonel Donald McDonald 1950. (This book appears in the British Library catalogue under the name MacDonald). More details about the book are contained in these reviews: Review 1 and Review 2
A pdf document by the Wellcome Library lists records in the British Library relating to medicine and health, including manuscripts.
Science and the Changing Environment in India 1780-1920: A Guide to Sources in the India Office Records by Richard Axelby and Savithri Preetha Nair 2009. The guide is arranged in eleven chapters including one in respect of health and disease including medical education. Refer Research guides reading list for more details of this book.
Lists of medical officers
Two particularly useful books, listing service histories etc, are:
- An Alphabetical List of the Medical Officers of the Indian Army 1764-1838 by Edward Dodwell and James S. Miles (1839). Google Books. When viewing the alphabetical list, ensure that the viewing mode is two pages side by side, and if necessary click on the relevant icon.
- Roll of the Indian Medical Service 1615-1930 by D.G. Crawford 1930. Review in FIBIS Military Reading List. The book is available as a LDS microfilm, with this library catalogue entry. Also available with sample pages only Preview Google Books Volume One: 1615-1799, Volume Two 1800-1930.
- Ancestry, a pay website, has a database related to this book, refer Online records above, consisting of index records and images from the book.
- This book includes chapters relating to Eastern Factories 1605-1775; Sumatra or West Coast 1696-1825; St. Helena 1684-1831; China 1763-1834; Prince of Wales Island.
Other online lists:
- Lists of surgeons, and prior to 1894, Assistant Surgeons may be found in the East-India Register and Directory, published 1803-1860. The East-India Register was superseded by what was initially called The Indian Army and Civil Service List. Later these were separated, and the India Army List is the volume which contains the surgeons. Many of the East India Register and Directory are available online, together with some editions of The Indian Army and Civil Service List and other directories such as the Bengal Directory, and may be found on Directories online, which also mentions some earlier publications available on subscription websites. For details of these books and some earlier publications, in libraries or on microfilm or fiche, refer Directories reading list
- "List of Principal Medical Officers" in Madras from 1651-1800 (Google Books)
- Surgeons at Fort St George, Madras 1850-52.
- The Lancet (vol 1, 1858) lists the Medical Officers of the Bengal Medical Service who died during the Mutiny (Google Books)
- Madras Quarterly Journal Of Medical Science contains a medical directory for the Madras Presidency,commencing page i of the Appendix at the end of each volume.
- Army Surgeons in the Afghan War and on the March to Kandahar from Garen Ewing’s website The Second Anglo Afghan War 1878-1880
- Medical women in India page 104 Englishwoman’s Year Book and Directory 1899 Archive.org. There is also a list for China.
- Medical women in India page 114 Englishwoman’s Year Book and Directory 1900 Archive.org. There is also a list for China.
- "God’s Acre in North-West India" by Colonel R. H. Firth Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1914. A record of the names, the careers, and details as to the graves of, or monuments to, all the medical officers buried or memorialized in the Punjab, the North-west Frontier Province, and Kashmir. Part 1 Volume 23:3 320-333 and Part 2 Volume 23:4 415-439
- Indian Army Officers 1939-1945
- Thacker's Medical Directory of India, Burma and Ceylon, published 1913-1915. The 1914 edition is at the British Library UIN: BLL01000948664 - enquire if there are additional volumes as it is classified as a Journal, perhaps implying more than one edition. 1913 and 1915 editions appear to be available at Oxford and Cambridge University Libraries, and the National Library of Scotland.
- Thacker's Indian Medical Directory, published 1922-1924. Available at Oxford University Library and the National Library of Scotland, but this title is not listed in the British Library catalogue.
Royal Army Medical Corps and the earlier British Army Medical Services
The Royal Army Medical Corps was established by Royal Warrant on 23rd June 1898. Prior to this there had been two distinct organisations within the Army Medical Services, the Medical Staff (i.e. the officers), and the Medical Staff Corps , which were combined to form the RAMC.
For British Army medical personnel, the previously named Army Medical Services Museum's FAQs now archived page, advises that the AMSM has some details for officers who held a regular commission with the Army Medical Department and the RAMC until 1960. The museum has a small booklet available with useful advice for researching relatives who served with the AMS. Note: there has been a change of name to The Museum of Military Medicine. Also refer British Army for personnel records.
The British Library has the India Office Records: British Army in India: British Medical Officers serving in India IOR/L/MIL/15/20 1872-1912.
The book Commissioned officers in the medical services of the British Army, 1660-1960 is available online, see below.
Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps is now available online from 1903, refer below. "Since its early days the Journal also published “Corps News” which gave details of personal occurences of members of the RAMC including the promotion and postings of officers, honours and awards, qualifications gained by senior NCOs of the Corps, casualties whilst on campaign and obituaries of serving officers"  Note the "Corps News" appears to be at the back of each monthly edition, and may not be indexed.
First World War
- The National Archives’ Service Records for the First World War: women and medical personnel advises:
- Many doctors were granted temporary commissions in the RAMC. Unfortunately, as the RAMC (Temp) officers only served for the duration of the war, their service records were destroyed after 1920. Those for RAMC officers who received permanent commissions between 1871 and 1922, accessible via the index in WO 338/23, are listed in WO 339
- The catalogue entry for WO 339 advises it includes records of British reserve officers who were commissioned into the Indian Army.
- RAMC in the Great War: Researching the RAMC
- The Royal Army Medical Corps of 1914-1918 www.1914-1918.net
Historical books online
- Roll of Commissioned Officers in the Medical Service of the British Army, who served on full pay within the period between the accession of George II and the formation of the Royal Army Medical Corps, 20 June 1727 to 23 June 1898, with an introduction showing the historical evolution of the Corps by William Johnston 1917 Archive.org. Missing some introductory pages.
- Commissioned officers in the medical services of the British Army, 1660-1960 2 Volumes, in one digital file. Vol.1: 1660-1727 by A. Peterkin; 1727-1898 by William Johnston; Vol. 2 1898-1960 by R. Drew. If you read the book online, it is suggested you use full screen. There is an index at the back of the book. Wellcome Library online.
- The Story of Our Services under the Crown: a Historical Sketch of the Army Medical Staff by Surgeon-Major Albert A. Gore 1879 Archive.org
- On the Organization and Duties of the Bearer Company of the Medical Corps in War by Surgeon Major G J H Evatt, Army Medical Staff. London 1886 Archive.org
- "Native Auxiliary Ambulance Transport" page 105.
- Uniform details: A.M.S.C. [Army Medical Staff Corps] India Gouache drawing c1900. Brown Digital Repository, Brown University Library.
- Royal Army Medical Corps Muniments Collection Wellcome Library contains many digital items, some of which relate to India. For some digital items from this collection, see Doctors and Surgeons.
- With the Royal Army Medical Corps (R. A. M. C.) at the Front by E Charles Vivian 1914 Archive.org. Includes chapters on Composition and Duties, Training etc.
- Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps. An Archive from 1903. The "Corps News" may not be not indexed, but appears as a separate section at the back of each monthly edition. Note: the content of the Archive is searchable. Pdf files to access, by article.
- Other online sources: Volume 11, 1908, Index; Volume 12, 1909, index; Volume 15, 1910, Index; Volume 17, 1911, Index. Pdfs to download from the Digital Library of India.
Volume 25, Jul –Dec 1915 1 (Jul) 2 (Aug) 3 (Sep) 5 (Nov) Volume 30, Jan—Jun 1918 2 (Feb) 3 (Mar) 4 (Apr) 5 (May) 6 (Jun) Volume 31, Jul-Dec 1918 1 (Jul) 2 (Aug) 3 (Sep) 4 (Oct) 6 (Dec)
- “Early History of the Indian Medical Service”. British Medical Journal 7 February 1914, pages 317-319 Also includes names of doctors present at a medical dinner at Calcutta in 1914
- "Some old Bengal Records" by Colonel R. H. Firth, Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1915;24:2 pages 111-117
- The Wellcome Library, London has both books and archival material about the history of medicine.
- "Surgeons In India, Past and Present" "Past" and "Present,1854" The Calcutta Review v. 22 Published 1854 pages 217 and 242
- “European medicine in India from the sixteenth century” (pdf), a transcribed lecture from University College London (2004)
- "Medicine amidst War and Commerce in Eighteenth-Century Madras" by Pratik Chakrabarti, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 2006 Spring; 80(1): 1–38
- "The truth behind the legend: European doctors in pre-colonial India" by Rajesh Kochhar Journal of Biosciences 1999 Sep.; 24(3): 259-68. Alternative version.
- "Tropical medicine in nineteenth-century India" by Mark Harrison The British Journal for the History of Science [BJHS], 1992, 25 Issue 3, 299-318.
- "The Directors of Medical Services in India" by Major J. B. Neal, Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1951;97:6 471-491. They had the chief responsibility for British Military Medicine in India from 1857 to 1947.
Also see Public health
Working conditions and duties
- "East-India Medical Establishment" page 243 The Regimental Companion: Containing the Pay, Allowances and Relative Duties of Every Officer in the British Service, Volume 3 by Charles James 7th edition, considerably enlarged 1811 Google Books
- Pension situation in Bengal in 1827. Letter in Oriental Herald, Volume 14, 1827 Google Books
- Code of Regulations for the Medical Department of the Presidency of Fort St. George 1833 Archive.org
- Code of Regulations for the Medical Department of the Bengal Establishment by James Hutchinson, Secretary to the Medical Board 1838. Google Books
- Medical Advice to the Indian Stranger by John McCosh M.D. (1841). This book details the author's photographic work and Army career. He retired in 1856. Also refer Photographer. Google Books
- Handbook for Medical Officers of H.M. Service in India by Charles Alexander Gordon M.D. published 1851 (written 1846). Hints on the Duties of Medical Officers. Google Books
- Code of Regulations for the Medical Department of the Presidency of Bombay 1849 Google Books
- "Echoes of the Past: The Army Medical Service in India, 1840–53' by Lieutenant-Colonel G. A. Kempthorne Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1931 Part 1 Volume 56:3 p 220-228 Part 2 Volume 56:4 p 299-310
- Annual Report of the Medical College of Bengal: Twelfth year 1846-47, Thirteenth year 1847-48, Fourteenth year 1848-49, Fifteenth year 1849-50, Sixteenth year 1850-51, Seventeenth year 1851-52. Archive.org
- Salaries of Indian Medical Officers in Calcutta c 1860, page 324 Medical Times and Gazette, Volume 1 1860 (published London) Google Books
- A code of medical and sanitary regulations for the guidance of Medical Officers serving in the Madras Presidency Volume 1, Volume 2 by William Robert Cornish 1870 Google Books
- "The Medical Service of the British Army", with a section on India (page 435), The British and Foreign Medico-chirurgical Review Or Quarterly Journal of Practical Medicine and Surgery (1855) Google Books
- A manual of medical jurisprudence for Bengal and the North-Western Provinces by Norman Chevers MD 1856 Google Books
- Remarks on the uses of some of the bazaar medicines and common medical plants of India, 2nd edition 1874 by Edward John Waring MD , 3rd edition 1875, 4th edition 1883, (1860 edition in English and Tamil) Archive.org
- For more books on Indian medicinal plants and drugs see Scientific books online - Botany in British India
- Medical women for India by Frances Elizabeth Hoggan MD 1882. Archive.org. Reprinted from The Contemporary Review, August, 1882, and from The Journal of the National Indian Association, October, 1882
- Report and evidence taken by the Committee appointed to enquire into the pay, status, and conditions of service of the medical officers of the army : with evidence concerning the Indian Service and some of the more important appendices. April 1890 Archive.org
- The Burma Medical Manual : containing rules for the management of charitable hospitals and dispensaries and for the guidance of medical officers under the Government of Burma ; issued under authority 1898 Archive.org
- Medical Jurisprudence for India: with illustrative cases by I B Lyon, revised and brought up to date by L A Waddell, Lieutenant-Colonel, Indian Medical Service. 3rd edition 1904 Archive.org
- 7th edition 1921 by L A Waddell, Lt.-Colonel IMS (Retd). Archive.org
- Around the world via India : a medical tour by Nicholas Senn 1905. Contains chapters on India and Ceylon, including hospitals. Archive.org
- Fifty Thousand Miles on a Hospital Ship by “The Padre” [Charles Steel Wallis] 1917 Archive.org. The hospital ship that Padre Wallis joined in 1915 was most likely the 'Goorkha'. She was then an Indian Hospital Ship staffed by doctors from the Indian Medical Service, although subsequently became a British Hospital Ship.
- Their Footprints Remain: Biomedical Beginnings across the Indo-Tibetan Frontier (pdf) by Alex McKay International Institute for Asian Studies 2007 Contents page 6(of the pdf) Notes page 250 Bibliography page 286 Index page 304, part of the Digital Academic Repository van de Universiteit van Amsterdam.
- page 43, has a section in the introduction called "The Indian Medical Service and the Subordinate Medical Service". Chapter 1 (page 56) is called "Missionary Medicine and the Rise of Kalimpong"
- The Medical Profession in India by Major-General Sir Patrick Hehir  Archive.org
- I’d Live it Again by Lieut.-Col E J O’Meara, Indian Medical Service (rtd) 1935 is available as a pdf download, Digital Library of India. Archive.org version. The author is catalogued as Meara. An autobiography. He joined the IMS in 1898.
- Indian Medical Service: A Handbook by Major A. N. Chopra 1939 is available as a pdf download, Digital Library of India. Archive.org version
- Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta Volume 4 1829, Volume 7 1835 Google Books
- Madras Quarterly Medical Journal 1839 to 1844 - many interesting articles by Madras surgeons including medical reports on various regiments. Google Books
- Madras Quarterly Journal of Medical Science Google Books
- Volume 1 1860, Volume 2 1861, Volume 3 1861, Volume 4 1862, Volume 5 1862, Volume 6 1863,Volume 7 1863, Volume 8 1865, Volume 9 1866, Volume 10 1866, Volume 11 1867, Volume 12 1868, Index to Volumes 1-12, pages 409-470 of Volume 12
- The Madras Monthly Journal of Medical Science Google Books
- Volume 2 July-December 1870, Index, Volume 3, January-June 1871 Index, Volume 4, July-December 1871 Index, Google Books. 1872, Index to Volume V Hathi Trust
- Transactions of the Medical and Physical Society of Bombay Volume I, 1838, No II 1839 (2 volumes in 1), No III, 1840, No IV 1841, No V 1842, (3 volumes in 1), No VI, 1843, No VII 1844, No VIII 1845-1846 (3 volumes in 1), No IX 1847-1848, No X 1849-1850, Index Nos I-X, No I New Series 1851-1852, No II New Series 1853-1854 (2 volumes in 1), No III New Series 1855-1856, No IV New Series 1857-1858 (2 volumes in 1), No V New Series 1859, No VI New Series 1860,(2 volumes in 1) No VII New Series 1861, No VIII New Series 1862 (2 volumes in 1) No IX New Series 1869, No X New Series 1870 Google Books
- "East India and China Stations" Annals of military and naval surgery and tropical medicine and hygiene: Volume 1 for the year 1863 1864 Google Books. (There were no further editions published).
- The Indian Medical Gazette Volume 3, 1868 Google Books, Volume 4, 1869, Archive.org Volume 8, 1873,Index Hathi Trust, Volume 39, 1904 Archive.org
- The following Journals may be read online on the Digital Library of India website
- Indian Annals of Medical Science Volume 12 1867
- The Calcutta Journal of Medicine , in an incomplete series ranging from Volume 8, 1876 to Volume 35, 1916
- The Indian Medical Record Volume 14 January-June 1898 and Volume 20 January-June 1901
- Scientific Memoirs by Medical Officers of the Army of India. Broken range of volumes from 1884 to 1897. Archive.org
- Scientific Memoirs by Officers of the Medical and Sanitary Departments of the Government of India. Broken range of editions from New Series Volume 1 1902 to New Series Volume 60 1913. Archive.org
- A broken range of editions of the British Medical Journal 1862-1923 is available at Archive.org including the First World War years
1914:1 1915:1 1916:1 1917:1 1918:1 1919:1 1920:1 1921:1 1922:1 1923:1
- Rules for appointment in 1848 from The Oriental Interpreter and Treasury of East India Knowledge: A Companion to "The Hand-book of British India by Joachim Hayward Stocqueler (1848) page 297 (Google Books)
- Entrance requirements c 1872, page 172, Index Scholasticus: Sons and daughters. A guide to parents in the choice of educational institutions, preparatory to professional or other occupation of their children by R. Kemp Philp 1872 (Archive.org)
- Regulations for appointment to the Indian Medical Service in 1905 in the India Office List (Google Books)
For appointment procedures, refer to the Individuals section Doctors and Surgeons and George Aldred.
William Lewis M'Gregor, a surgeon himself, writing in his The history of the Sikhs (Vol 1, 1846), describes the work of a regimental surgeon during the 1st Sikh War and calls for field hospitals to be used in future conflicts. "The Loodianah Field Hospital, With Remarks On The State of The Army Medical Department in India" by John Murray, M.D., Field Surgeon, page 158, Medical Times (published in 1849) is an account of a Field Hospital after battle in 1846, including medical details, with the slightly wounded carried out on elephants. "Field Arrangements in India" from Army Hygiene by Charles Alexander Gordon M.D. (1866) describes the Logistics of a Field Hospital, including details of the number of camels required.
Civil Surgeons, it seems, led demanding and frustrating lives although the pay was better than in the Military and the range of professional duties greater.
- "Civil Surgeons in India The Indian Medical Gazette Volume 3, page 272 1868. Google Books
- History of Medicine in India, page 168 by Chittabrata Palit 2005. Preview Google Books
- "Growth of the Civil Side of the Indian Medical Service -Since 1885". Report written 1 October 1912 by C. P. Lukis, Surgeon General, Director- General, Indian Medical Service. Link to a pdf download, DSpace website of Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (GIPE), Pune.
Assistant Surgeons, and sometimes Surgeons, in civil employment were often Superintendent of Jails.
Some surgeons were engaged in work which today would be regarded as scientific or senior administrative roles. Most of the botanists in the earlier years were surgeons, see botanists and naturalists for more information. WCB Eatwell MD was ‘First Asst. and Opium Examiner. Board of Customs, Salt and Opium’. He was the author of “Report no.1: On the Poppy Cultivation, and the Benares Opium Agency” from Selections from the Records of the Government of Bengal (1851) Google Books.
“Doctors as Civil and Political Officers” by Lieut-Col D G Crawford I.M.S from The Indian Medical Gazette, Volume 39, 1904, page 1.
- Medical History of British India - National Library of Scotland
- Button: Indian Medical Service , from the time of George V (1910-) or George VI (1936-). indiannumismatics.com
- "Early decades of Madras Medical College: Apothecaries" by R Raman and A Raman Natl Med J India. 2016 Mar-Apr;29(2):98-102. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
- Photograph: Hospital Shwebo [Burma] with Different Descriptions of Ambulances, 1887 – 1897 by Felice Beato. Wall Street Journal. This photograph was included in an exhibition at the J Paul Getty Museum 
Historical books online
- A voyage to India : containing reflections on a voyage to Madras and Bengal, in 1821, in the ship Lonach : instructions for the preservation of health in Indian climates and hints to surgeons and owners of private trading-ships by James Wallach, Surgeon of the Lonach. 1824 Archive.org
- Notes on the Wounded from the Mutiny in India : with a Description of the Preparations of Gunshot Injuries contained in the Museum of Fort Pitt by George Williamson 1859 Archive.org.
- "Transportation of Sick and Wounded" page 240 Military Surgery by George Williamson 1863 Archive.org. Includes details of conveyances used in India.
- [Catalogued as] Indian Medical Service Report 1912 Archive.org
- The British in India Collection British Library Help for Researchers
- The British in India Collection British Library Help for Researchers
- Archived JRAMC webpage.
- frev. Norwegian Matron on Indian Hospital Ship Great War Forum 3 October 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- Felice Beato: A Photographer on the Eastern Road, photograph 114, exhibition at the J Paul Getty Museum