4077th MASH in Korea – conceived during the Spanish Civil War?
Henry Norman Bethune had been training to become a doctor but in 1914 volunteered during WWI to go to France, where he was wounded and hospitalised in Britain. He returned to Canada to qualify in 1916. He joined the British Royal Navy in 1917 and worked post-WWI at Great Ormond Street.
Later on returning to Canada he contracted tuberculosis and was soon disenchanted with medical institutions. In 1935 he became a member of the Canadian communist party.
During the Spanish Civil War in 1936 he volunteered to join the International Brigade as head of a Canadian Medical Unit based in Madrid. The International Brigade attracted many left wing thinkers to come to the aid of the Republican forces.
While in Spain he developed the precursor of Mobile Army Surgical Hospital – a MASH unit. The unit had supplies enough for a hundred operations and the dressing of five hundred wounds. He also created a blood transfusion service that saved many lives.