Infantryman from the 23rd line infantry regiment in combat uniform, France, 1918.
Almost 73 million men we called up during the war, and more than 21 million were wounded. Equipping thousands of disabled veterans was one of the major challenges in the immediate aftermath of the war. Many doctors, scientists and even amateurs looked at the issue, developing devices and prosthetics that ranged from the simple to the highly sophisticated.
In June 1916, the creation of centres to equip and rehabilitate maimed veterans helped support them in returning to civilian life. These centres combined the provision of prosthetics and functional rehabilitation of amputees.
When they arrived, they received a simple prosthesis to use as they waited for their final limb to be made in leather or wood, like this articulated prosthetic hand. The homeland was grateful and the psychological aspect was not ignored. A book was issued to the recipients, entitling them to the replacement of their artificial limbs for life.
Prosthetic forearm with an articulated hand, known as an “American prosthesis”, leather, metal, plant fibre, L. 39 x D. 9 cm. Inventory no.: 2006.1.6541