Old Photograph Moss Gatherers Orkney Islands Scotland

Old photograph of Moss gatherers in trucks on the Orkney Islands, Scotland. Millions of wound dressings made from Sphagnum, or bog moss, were used during World War I. Sphagnum has been used to staunch wounds for over 1,000 years. Scottish soldiers used it at the battle of Flodden in 1513. Its use for wounds waned until the 1914 to 1918 war, when it soon became obvious to surgeons that the need for dressings would be immense due to the unexpected numbers of military wounded. The propensity for the injuries to become septic and suppurating made it imperative to find sufficient quantities of a material with increased absorbency that cost less than cotton. Sphagnum met these requirements.

All photographs are copyright of Sandy Stevenson, Tour Scotland, and may not be used without permission.

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