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No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station

The Western Battle Front,” in Nelson's Map Book of the World Wide War [ca. 1914-1918]
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 “The Western Battle Front,” in Nelson's Map Book of the World Wide War [ca. 1914-1918], (pages 2-3). Military Records collection, F 895, Archives of Ontario, I0073460


Canadian Casualty Clearing Station (C.C.S.) No. 2

- Aire (France) – January 31, 1916
- Remy Siding (Flanders) – August 10, 1916
- Esquelbecq (France) – April 15, 1918
- Remy Siding (Flanders) – September 16, 1918
- Leuze (Flanders) – November 16, 1918
- Huy (Flanders) – December 5, 1918
- Bonn (Germany) – December 21, 1918 (Closed February 7, 1919)

 “It was marvellous what he and his staff did there under the most terrible conditions.”

- Letter from Mr. James Kerr-Lawson to Mrs. Bruce Robertson,1923


For almost two years Bruce was stationed at No. 2 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station (C.C.S.) at Remy Siding. In the 1917 campaign alone, 30,000 casualties were brought from the nearby front lines to be treated at the Clearing Station. Bruce often remained on duty for 16 hours and sometimes for as long as 24 to 36 hours.

One veteran wrote that “the strain on [Dr. Robertson] was very great and I suppose it was his intense concentration on his job that enabled him to carry on for such a long time – this, coupled with the very tough fibre that was so characteristic of the Canadians in general.”

View of the C.C.S [Casualty Clearing Station] from across the road, [ca. 1916-1918]
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View of the C.C.S [Casualty Clearing Station] from across the road, [ca. 1916-1918]
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0050297

Caption on the back reads: “View of the C.C.S. from […] across the road. It will be noticed that the C.O was a very keen gardener and succeeded in making the bare fields done presentable”. Another photo’s caption says this is the most presentable part of the C.C.S. and that the flower seeds were provided by various people at home.


Image Slideshow. Click to enlarge the image and select the “next” button to view the images below as a slideshow.

Medical staff [L Bruce Robertson at centre back], Feb. 1917
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Medical staff [L Bruce Robertson at centre back], February 1917
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0050278
Dug out for nurses, 50 feet from where a bomb exploded, ca. 1916-1918
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Dug out for nurses, 50 feet from where a bomb exploded, [ca. 1916-1918]
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0050295
Operating theatre with slings from the ceiling to hold up legs and arms while operating, ca. 1917
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Operating theatre with slings from the ceiling to hold up legs and arms while operating, [ca. 1917]
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0050301
Sitting room of officers’ ward, [ca. 1916-1918]
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Sitting room of officers’ ward, [ca. 1916-1918]
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0052166

English, Scotch, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian patients at C.C.S., [ca. 1916-1918]
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English, Scotch, Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian patients at C.C.S., [ca. 1916-1918]
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0052165
Tents for extra accommodation, stained for camouflage, ca. 1916-1918
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Tents for extra accommodation, stained for camouflage, ca. 1916-1918
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0050302

Casualty Clearing Stations were the closest facilities to the front lines that could provide surgical treatment. They cared for patients until they could be further evacuated to a General Hospital by Ambulance Train.

Wounded being lifted from the C.C.S. trucks to the Ambulance Train
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Wounded being lifted from the C.C.S. trucks to the Ambulance Train, [ca. 1914-1918]
L. Bruce Robertson fonds, F 1374, Archives of Ontario, I0052164

In this Exhibit -