Salud! reviews the enormously valuable contribution of the volunteers who left Britain to serve with the Republican Medical Services during the Spanish Civil War.
Acknowledgement is given to the immense effort and self-sacrifice made by men and women from all walks of life who, working ceaselessly in the rearguard, made it possible for the medical teams to function in Spain.
Such was the case in Britain where, in spite of the government's official policy of non-intervention, there was a campaign of fervent support for the legitimate Republican government.
The first British Medical Unit in Spain had immense political significance for the Spanish Republic.
Barely a month into the start of the civil war and this small group was the first visible sign of international support.
It would later become part of the Republican Medical Service and, within that, of the Medical Service of the International Brigades.
Not only did volunteers help to create and to maintain an emergency medical service, some of the individuals involved were also responsible for important developments that were of relevance to later military-medical practice and also to the history of medicine in general. Medical personnel generally worked in dreadful conditions, for hours and even days without rest, and with a lack of equipment and provisions of all kinds.
They were mostly young and inexperienced men and women who suddenly found themselves thrown together in desperate circumstances, with the task of salvaging something of life amidst the inhumanity and mayhem.
That they rose to the challenge is, in itself, worthy of tribute.
Published in association with the Canada Blanch Centre for Contemporary Spanish.