4077th MASH in Korea #history

4077th MASH in Korea – conceived during the Spanish Civil War?

Excerpt from ‘1492 and all that!’


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.

HenryNormanBethune2Later he organised the same approach in support of Chairman Mao’s National Revolutionary Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1938.



See also:

James Fitzjames – the 1st Duke of Berwick

Rioja wines

Iberian culture

Mithra and sacred bulls

Here be dragons – and gorillas?

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