Catalogue description Royal Army Dental Corps

This record is held by Museum of Military Medicine

Details of RADC
Reference: RADC
Title: Royal Army Dental Corps

Reports, extracts from publications and personal papers. Relating to the history of the corps from 1921 to 2004, and dentistry in the army during the nineteenth century and 1914-1918 war.

Date: 1813 - 2004
Held by: Museum of Military Medicine, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Army Dental Corps, 1921-1946

Royal Army Dental Corps, 1946-

  • Army Medical Services
  • Health Services
Administrative / biographical background:

The Army Dental Corps was formed on 4th January 1921 but there had been some care of the soldier's teeth prior to that date. In the 17th century dental instruments were included in the surgeons instrument chests and surgeons described the treatment of facial wounds. Soldiers were required to have good incisor teeth to enable them to bite open cartridge cases. By 1857 army surgeons were requested to try to conserve teeth and not extract them and instruments were provided for the purpose. Civilian dentists were contracted to provide care during the Anglo Boer war and afterwards in the home garrisons. Eventually officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps were allowed to train as specialist in dentistry but this was not successfully established. During the First World War officers attached to the RAMC carried out the duties of dentists but there was an extensive wastage of soldier manpower due to a lack of proper dental care. This state of affairs could not be allowed to carry on.


By Royal Warrant on 4th January 1921, the Army Dental Corps was formed as a component of the Army Medical Services. Dental Surgeons were initially granted a Short Service Commission of 6 years with the opportunity for selection to a permanent commission. Servicemen joined for an initial engagement of 7 years and went initially to The Army Dental Corps School of Instruction, which was established at Aldershot. The Corps expanded rapidly during World War 2 and found itself serving in every theatre of war.


Post war there was much reorganisation and in 1946 King George VI granted the prefix 'Royal' to the Corps and a new badge was designed. Since the end of World War 2 the Corps has continued to provide a dental service to the army and has served in every campaign and theatre of operations alongside the army.

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