Canada & The South African War, 1899-1902

Canadian South African War Insigna
Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0M8
Tel. (819) 776-8600
toll-free 1-800-555-5621


10th Canadian Field Hospital

Boer War Photo, Interior of a ward at a military hospital in South Africa. PA-124925
Interior of a ward at a military hospital in South Africa.

The third Canadian contingent was the only one to take a field hospital with it to South Africa. The 10th Canadian Field Hospital (10 CFH), which departed Canada in January 1902, was quite small, numbering only 61 all ranks and 29 horses. It was organized into a hospital staff of five officers, a ward section of 35 other ranks, and a transport section of 21 other ranks to pick up and transport the wounded. The hospital was based on British practice with Canadian innovations, including improved tenting, ambulances, water trailers, and an acetylene gas lighting system. Many among the members of 10 CFH were veterans of previous tours in South Africa.

In South Africa a section of the unit accompanied the 2nd Regiment, Canadian Mounted Rifles into the western Transvaal. The remainder moved to Vaalbank, 60 kilometres away on the Lichtenberg blockhouse line. Here it received sick and wounded from the columns operating in the area. This section of 10 CFH remained at Vaalbank until 18 June 1902 during which time it treated over a thousand patients, British, Boer and Black South African. 10 CFH ambulances evacuated patients for longer-term care to Klerksdorp. By all accounts, the 10th Canadian Field Hospital provided outstanding medical services during its stint in South Africa.