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Helping the wounded

10216719The use of new and incredibly destructive weaponry, such as the machine-gun, caused unprecedented damage to soldiers’ bodies in the First World War.

It was estimated that as many as 250,000 British soldiers lost limbs with one million casualties worldwide.

The job prospects for men now adjusting to their new identity as a “cripple” were less than hopeful. The British government provided help by offering free artificial limbs. The Illustrated London News published articles on the prosthetics available to soldiers, such as those designed by the Carne Artificial Limb Company, to make their lives easier. One British report, however, suggested that men who had lost a leg or legs preferred to use crutches or a peg leg than an artificial limb provided by the state, which were often bulky and cumbersome. Of course, better quality prosthetics were available to people who could pay for them but generally they were out of the price range of the average British soldier.