Army Veterinary Corps in the First World War

This Corps was responsible for the medical care of animals used by the army; predominantly horses, mules and pigeons.

Before the war

In August 1914 the Corps was comprised of the following:

  • AVC Depot (Woolwich)
  • No 1 Veterinary Hospital at Aldershot (made up of Nos 1 and 2 Sections AVC)
  • No 2 Veterinary Hospital at Woolwich (made up of Nos 3 and 4 Sections AVC)
  • No 3 Veterinary Hospital at Bulford (made up of Nos 5 and 6 Sections AVC)
  • No 4 Veterinary Hospital at the Curragh (made up of Nos 7 and 8 Sections AVC)
  • No 9 Section AVC at Pretoria (South Africa)
  • No 10 Section AVC at Potchefstroom (South Africa)
  • No 11 Section AVC at Colchester
  • Nso 12 and 13 Section AVC at Woolwich
  • A detachment at Shorncliffe
  • A detachment at Cairo (Egypt)
  • Territorial troops of the AVC serving with Divisional Veterinary Sections

During the Great War

The Corps reorganised to provide a Mobile Veterinary Section as part of each Division that went overseas. They are shown in the table below. Each went overseas with the rest of its division unless stated.

Base Depot Rouen
1st MVS 1st Cavalry Division
2nd 1st Division
3rd 2nd Division
4th 4th Division
5th 5th Division
6th 6th Division
7th 5th Cavalry Brigade (then 2nd Cavalry Division)
8th 1st Cavalry Division (then 2nd Cavalry Division)
9th 1st Cavalry Division (then 2nd Cavalry Division)
10th MVS 1st Cavalry Division (then 2nd Cavalry Division)
11th 3rd Division
12th 7th Division
13th 3rd Cavalry Division
14th 3rd Cavalry Division
15th 8th Division
16th 27th Division
17th 28th Division
18th 29th Division
19th 63rd (Royal Naval) Division March 1915-Feb 1916; then 42nd (East Lancashire) Division
20th MVS 3rd Cavalry Division
21st 9th (Scottish) Division
22nd 11th (Northern) Division
23rd 12th (Eastern) Division
24th 13th (Western) Division
25th 10th (Irish) Division
26th 14th (Light) Division
27th 15th (Scottish) Division
28th 37th Division
29th 17th (Northern) Division
30th MVS 18th (Eastern) Division
31st 19th (Western) Division
32nd 20th (Light) Division
33rd 21st Division
34th 22nd Division
35th 23rd Division
36th 24th Division
37th 25th Division
38th 26th Division
39th ?
40th MVS 30th Division
41st 31st Division
42nd 32nd Division
43rd 33rd Division
44th 34th Division
45th 35th Division
46th Guards Division
47th 16th (Irish) Division
48th 36th (Ulster) Division
49th 38th (Welsh) Division
50th MVS 39th Division
51st 40th Division
52nd 41st Division
53rd 63rd (Royal Naval) Division from 18 June 1916
1st North Midland MVS 46th (North Midland) division
2nd London MVS 47th (2nd London) Division
1st South Midland MVS 48th (South Midland) Division
1st West Riding MVS 49th (West Riding) Division
1st Northumbrian MVS 50th (Northumbrian) Division
1st Highland MVS 51st (Highland) Division
1st Lowland MVS 52nd (Lowland) Division
53rd (Welsh) MVS 53rd (Welsh) Division. Did not sail with Division. rejoined it in 1916.
54th (East Anglian) MVS Joined 54th (East Anglian) Division 11 April 1916
1st West Lancashire MVS Joined 55th (West Lancashire) Division 5 January 1916
1st London MVS 56th (1st London) Division
57th Joined 57th (2nd West Lancashire) Division in France September 1916
58th MVS Joined 58th (2/1st London) Division 21 November 1915
59th MVS 59th (2nd North Midland) Division
59th MVS ? Joined 74th (Yeomanry) Division in Palestine 13 April 1917
60th MVS Joined 75th Division in Palestine 3 July 1917
2/2nd London MVS 60th (2/2nd London) Division
2/1st South Midland MVS 61st (2nd South Midland) Division
2/1st West Riding MVS 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division

A number of Base Veterinary Hospitals were established in the theatres of war (this list is work in progress):

  • No 1 at La Chapelle-aux-Pots until November 1917 when it moved to Italy
  • No 2 at Le Havre
  • No 3 at Boulogne
  • No 4 at Calais
  • No 5 at Abbeville
  • No 6 at Rouen
  • No 7 at Forges-les-Eaux
  • No 8 at Forges-les-Eaux
  • No 9 at Dieppe, later Abbeville
  • No 10 at Neufchatel
  • No 12 at Neufchatel
  • No 13 at Boulogne
  • No 14 at Gournay-en-Bray
  • No 22 at Abbeville
  • Canadian at Le Havre
  • Indian at Rouen (formerly 7, 19 and 20 Sections AVC)

In late 1918 the “Royal” prefix was added to the Corps’ title.


Other Regiments and Corps

What was a Mobile Veterinary Section?

Order of Battle of Divisions

Army Medical Services Museum