12 (Vancouver) Field Ambulance
12 Field Ambulance is a Canadian Forces
Canadian Forces
The Canadian Forces , officially the Canadian Armed Forces , are the unified armed forces of Canada, as constituted by the National Defence Act, which states: "The Canadian Forces are the armed forces of Her Majesty raised by Canada and consist of one Service called the Canadian Armed Forces."...

 Primary Reserve medical unit in Vancouver, British Columbia.


This unit has a long and distinguished history that lives up to the medical corps tradition of being faithful in adversity. It is the latest in a line of Vancouver army medical units dating back to 18 Field Ambulance
18 Field Ambulance
18 Field Ambulance is one of the 16 Canadian Forces Medical Service reserve medical units. Situated in Thunder Bay, Ontario, 18 Field Ambulance has a proud reputation among the Canadian Forces.-History:...

 of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...


World War I

It started out initially as a local militia unit. In World War I, the field ambulance was sent to the 5th Canadian Division
5th Canadian Division
The 5th Canadian Division of the Canadian Corps was formed during World War I. The 5th began assembling in Britain in February, 1917, but was broken up in February of 1918 before it was fully formed...

 and stationed with the Seaforth Highlanders for a period of time. After the war, it was set up as a reserve unit and renamed 12 Field Ambulance. The unit was called to active service in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 in 1939.

World War II

In 1942 the unit, now known as 12 Canadian Light Field Ambulance (the term "light" indicated that it was equipped to be particularly fast moving and so able to keep up with a swiftly advancing armoured division), sailed to England with the 4th (Canadian) Armoured Division. Providing medical support to the Division as they participated in operations within Europe. One of the unit's most significant action was in support of the 4th Armoured Division during the battle of Hochwald Forest.

12 Field Ambulance made Canadian medical corps history becoming the only field ambulance to engage the enemy in combat. This occurred one morning in April 1945 in the German town of Sogel
Samtgemeinde Sögel is a Samtgemeinde in the district Emsland in Lower Saxony, Germany.The following towns are situated in Sögel:...

. German soldiers approached, and fired upon the casualty treatment facility under cover of darkness. The Commanding Officer quickly organized two platoons, and placed them at the approaches to the dressing stations. They held off the enemy for two hours; with weapons borrowed from the wounded -at the time medics didn't carry weapons- until a squadron of tanks arrived to relieve them. During the fighting the dressing station continued treating patients. The Commanding Officer, LCol A.D. MacPherson received the Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

 for his leadership in this action; Cpl F.F. Thompson was awarded the Military Medal
Military Medal
The Military Medal was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land....

, and Capt Harry Jolley received the Member of the Order of the British Empire.

Post-World War II to 1999

After the war, 12 Field Ambulance was reverted back to the Army Reserve (Militia) and moved to Jericho Garrison in 1947. The unit was then renamed 24 Medical Company following another move to Bessborough Armoury
Bessborough Armoury
Bessborough Armoury is a Canadian Forces armoury located at 2025 West 11th Avenue in Vancouver, British Columbia.- History :Construction of the armoury began in September 1932 and was completed in the following spring. The architect was Richard T. Perry, who was also the Commanding Officer of the...

. In 1969, the medical unit became attached to 12 Vancouver Service Battalion. In the early 1970s, the unit was disbanded along with all militia medical units across Canada. After existing as a medical station at 12 Service Battalion for several years, the unit was raised as 12 (Vancouver) Medical Company in 1980 and is relocated back to its present location at Jericho Garrison later that year. During this period, the unit has participated in numerous peace keeping missions around the world.

2000 to Present

12 Field Ambulance have been involved with local operations ranging from G8 Security in 2002 to fighting BC Forest Fires in the year 2003. Recently, the unit has been awarded with the Freedom of the City from the city of Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

 in 2007. In addition to domestic operations, the unit has participated in operations overseas, most recently in Operation Athena in Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 and have members that are currently training for further deloyments.

World War II

  • Capt Palmer - After meeting with Willem Johan Kolff
    Willem Johan Kolff
    Willem Johan "Pim" Kolff was a pioneer of hemodialysis as well as in the field of artificial organs. Willem is a member of the Kolff family, an old Dutch patrician family. He made his major discoveries in the field of dialysis for kidney failure during the Second World War...

    , directed the construction of a Kolff type mechanical kidney in Vancouver.
  • Cpl FF. Thompson - Noted for being in the picture capturing a German soldier at the Battle of Sogel, where he was given the Military Medal for his actions during the sortie.

Post World War II–1999

  • L.Col. Grasset - Proposed Militi Succurrimus (We hasten to aid the soldiers) as the motto of the CFMS in 1976. Taken into informal use shortly thereafter, it was formally approved on 10 August 1988.


Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City
Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by some municipalities in Australia, Canada, Ireland, France, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, Gibraltar and Rhodesia to esteemed members of its community and to organisations to be honoured, often for service to the community;...

 of Vancouver was given to the 12 (Vancouver) Field Ambulance on April 14, 2007.


12 Field Ambulance has (had) members deployed in many Domestic and Foreign Operations (OP's), including:

World War II

  • Op Blockbuster
    Operation Blockbuster
    Operation Blockbuster was the completion of the larger Operation Veritable by the Canadian 1st Army, reinforced by the British XXX Corps. It took place in late February and early March, 1945...

  • Op Totalize
  • Op Tractable
    Operation Tractable
    Operation Tractable was the final offensive conducted by Canadian and Polish Army troops as part of the Battle of Normandy. The goal of this operation was to capture the strategically important French town of Falaise, and following that, the smaller towns of Trun and Chambois...

Post World War II to 1999

  • Op Calumet
  • Op Dana Ca
  • Op Echo
    Operation Echo
    Operation Echo was the codename given by the Canadian military for its activities in Bosnia in support of the NATO operation Joint Forge in 1998.Canada sent air forces to Aviano, Italy to enforce a no-fly zone over the Balkans ....

  • Op Harmony
    Operation Harmony
    Operation HARMONY was the name given to the Canadian participation in the United Nations Protection Force in Croatia and Bosnia in 1992....

  • Op Palladium

2000 to Current

  • Op Athena
    Operation ATHENA
    Operation Athena is the Canadian Forces contribution to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.-Overview:Operation Athena was a two phase Canadian Forces mission...

  • Op Grizzly
  • Op Peregrine
    Operation PEREGRINE
    Operation PEREGRINE was a domestic Canadian military operation that took place between August 3 and September 16, 2003.In early August 2003, British Columbia was overwhelmed by over 800 separate forest fires. Provincial fire services were stretched to the breaking point, and tens of thousands of...

  • Op Podium
    2010 Winter Olympics
    The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, were a major international multi-sport event held from February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University...

External links

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