The metrics from World War I are horrific. In all, there were 37 million military and civilian casualties — 16 million dead and 21 million wounded. Never before had a conflict brought such devastation in terms of death and injury. In response, during the four years of the war, military surgeons developed new techniques on the battlefield and in supporting hospitals which, in the war’s final two years, resulted in more survivors of injuries that would have proved mortal in the first two.

On the Western Front, 1.6 million British soldiers were successfully treated and returned to the trenches. By the end of the war, 735,487 British troops had been discharged following major injuries. The majority of the injuries were caused by shell blasts and shrapnel.

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