WORLD WAR ONE US NAVY MEDICAL DEPARTMENT FIELD
SURGICAL INSTRUMENT POUCH – CARRIED BY THE NAVY SURGEONS
ATTACHED TO THE US MARINE CORPS WHILE IN THE FORWARD
POSITIONS WITH THE MARINES – A SCARCE WELL MARKED
COMPLETE SET IN EXCELLENT CONDITION: This World
War One era US Navy Medical Officer’s Instrument Pouch
has survived in excellent condition with all of the
original instruments intact and showing very little
use. Larger than the U.S. Army’s Medical Officer’s Belt
Instrument Pouch, this US Navy Medical Surgeon’s pouch -
measuring 7” long - was intended for the doctor to carry
in his pocket while on the front lines or when advancing
with the Marines into a forward area.
This pouch is equipped with a fairly comprehensive set
of instruments – two full, four blade scalpel sets in
steel cases, two pair of scissors, a set of forceps, a
complete catheter set, an selection of smaller
instruments, and three paper packets containing
surgeon’s needles, silver wire sutures, and silk
ligatures. These basic instruments equipped the doctor
to provide immediate life saving care to the wounded
Marine before he was evacuated to the battalion aid
station or field hospital.
This pouch is in excellent condition, with a legible
“MEDICAL DEPARTMENT US NAVY” ink stamped on the front
cover. The exterior of the pouch shows some soiling
from being carried, but the web body and binding are all
intact with no wear points, loose stitching, or heavy
staining. The interior of the pouch is quite clean.
The closing buttons retain all of their brown “OD”
colored enamel finish and both snaps function properly.
The instruments are in excellent condition showing
little sign of use, all having an overall bright finish
with no corrosion and no damage. Most of the
instruments are marked with the maker’s name or company
logo as can be seen below in the photographs.
Far smaller in size than the US Army Medical Department,
the US Navy Medical Department served in the field with
the US Marines in France, and the number of these
instrument sets produced and issued was much smaller
than those produced for the Army. In addition, due to
the utilitarian nature of these sets, it is quite likely
they were taken into the doctors’ civilian practices
after the war and were consumed through the years of use
on his rounds – which probably adds to their scarcity
today. This is an excellent set to add to a World War
One Medical collection, or a collection focused on the
Marine Corps of World War One.