A box of surgical instruments which belonged to William Beattie, a member of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. Beattie was a surgeon on HMS Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson was killed by a bullet fired from a French warship.
The box contains such items as a bone saw, amputation knives, bullet-removing forceps and a variety of cauteries which were used to cauterise, or sear, human tissue. The instruments indicate the crude and rudimentary nature of surgery practiced aboard British warships in the early 19th century.
Reference: RCPSG 1/12/7/28
Reproduced with the permission of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
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