Facial Wounds from Shrapnel Strike in WWI

Lt. William Spreckley, a British soldier fighting in Ypres, Belgium—the place where John McCrae wrote "In Flanders Fields," the still-famous WWI poem—sustained a disfiguring injury to his face in 1918.

His nose was essentially obliterated.

Sent to Queen Mary's Hospital in Sidcup, where Dr. Harold Gillies was performing plastic surgery on patients who'd been injured in the fighting, Spreckley spent more than three years under the care of physicians and nurses. 

In this series of images, mostly from the Royal College of Surgeons, we see Spreckley's original injury together with the progress he made while under Dr. Gillies' care.

On the right side of this series, we see William Spreckley as he appeared about three decades after being released from Queens. He had made a remarkable recovery.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Feb 11, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Nov 11, 2016

Media Credits

Images of Lt. William Spreckley from the Royal College of Surgeons (left to right, images 1 through 4) and FindMyPast.co.uk (image 5); online via the BBC. Fair use for educational purposes.


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"Facial Wounds from Shrapnel Strike in WWI" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 11, 2016. Jan 25, 2020.
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