Following the formation of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) Volunteers in 1902, the VMSC was reorganised into Brigade Bearer Companies with affiliation to their local Regiments.
The Brigade Bearer Companies became Field Ambulance (Fd Amb) units when the Territorial Force (TF) was established in 1908. Within the 52nd Lowland Division there were three such units: 1st and 2nd Lowland Fd Ambs (Glasgow) and 3rd Lowland Fd Amb (Edinburgh).
Renumbered during the Great War 1914 - 1918 to 156, 157 and 155 (Lowland) Fd Ambs respectively, they saw service with the Divisions in Gallipoli (1915), Egypt, Palestine and finally France (1918). In Edinburgh the 2nd Scottish General Hospital (Gen Hosp) TF was based at Craig Leith (now the Western General Hospital), from which a detachment deployed to St. Omer, France as 58 (Scottish) Gen Hosp RAMC from 1917 to 1919.
Following the 'war to end all wars' the TF was much reduced, and in 1921 renamed the Territorial Army (TA). The surviving Scottish Lowland Medical Units were in Edinburgh - 155 (Lowland) Fd Amb TA and 11/(2nd Scottish) Gen Hosp TA. The Glasgow units went into suspended animation, only to be hastily reformed in 1938.
During the Second World War (WW2) 1939 - 1945, the 11/(2nd Scottish) General Hosp TA mobilized as 23 (Scottish) Gen Hosp RAMC and served in Palestine (modern Israel), UK and finally after providing medical support teams to cover the Normandy landings in 1944, deployed to France and then Germany (near Bad Oegnhaven) as the 21st Army Group's General Hospital.
The three Fd Ambs landed with 52nd Lowland Division on the Cherbourg Peninsula in May 1940 following the evacuation at Dunkirk, soon returning to the defence of East Anglia and then began mountain warfare training in the Scottish Highlands, for possible operations in Norway. However in 1944 the 52nd Lowland Division landed on Walcheren Island in Holland and advanced across northern Germany to take Bremen. Finally they did move onto Norway to assist the German surrender there.
The TA reformed in 1947, with 2nd (Scottish) General Hosp TA and 155 (Lowland) Fd Amb TA at Edinburgh, and 156 and 157 (Lowland) Fd Amb TA at Glasgow, Hamilton and Ayr. Reductions in unit size and amalgamations followed in 1961, 155 (Lowland) Fd Amb joined the 2nd (Scottish) General Hosp in Edinburgh to form 50 (Scottish) Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) TA. In Glasgow the original 157 (Lowland) Fd Amb TA was amalgamated with 154 (Highland) Fd Amb TA to form 5 (City of Glasgow) General Hosp TA. Females joined the hospital staff for the first time but could not join the main forward medical units. (The original 156 Fd Amb was renamed 157 Field Ambulance in 1961, and was then disbanded in 1967).
The major reorganisation of the Territorial Army and Volunteer Reserve (TAVR) in 1967 saw the formation of 205 (Scottish) General Hospital RAMC (V) by the amalgamation of 5 (City of Glasgow) Gen Hosp with 50 (Scottish) CCS. The RHQ was in Glasgow with detachments at Edinburgh, Inverness and Dunoon. Their operational locations were in Dortmund, Western German in support of British Forces in Germany.
During operation GRANBY (1991) '205' was called upon to provide the command and infrastructure of 205 General Hospital Volunteers RAMC (V) at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 205 at that time had the honour of being the first of only a few Territorial Army Units to be called up for active service since World War 2. The following year the small loyal detachments at Inverness and Dunoon were closed. The "Medical Desert Rat" was modelled on the original Desert Rat motif but seen holding the Healing Staff with the Serpent, the story of which is told in the book of Numbers.
In 1995 the unit role changed under the major Army reorganisation following the end of the Cold War with their redesignation as 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Volunteers). The Regimental Headquarters and Squadrons at Glasgow, with the Edinburgh Squadron were joined by two new Squadrons. The first was formed from 252 (Highland) Fd Amb at Aberdeen; their antecedents in the 51st Highland division were 153 (Highland) Fd Amb, renamed 152 (Highland) Fd Amb when the TA reformed in 1947. The Division served in France during the Great War, and in Dunkirk, North Africa, Sicily and Italy during WW2. The other Squadrons was established at Dundee alongside the independent 225 (Highland) Fd Amb (V). The four Squadrons of '205' were now linked to those Scottish cities which had medical schools and teaching hospitals.
The Unit Tartan of 205 (Scottish) Fd Hosp (V) is the Graham of Montrose, worn originally by the Pipes and Drums of 2nd Scottish Gen Hosp from 1920 until disbanded in 1962. It was also worn behind the cap badge by 23 (Scottish) Gen Hosp. This custom was revived by '205' and now has official approval. The Unit motto is 'Cuir and dewitie', taken from the exhortation by Mary, Queen of Scots to her surgeons before the Battle of Langside in 1568, to 'do their cuir and dewitie, to the wounded of both sides this day'. The 'Medical' Desert Rat emblem dates from the Unit deployment on Operation GRANBY in 1991.
Having served in Gulf War 1, the Unit has now returned from the Gulf for a second time. The Hospital Squadron supported 3 Close Support Medical Regiment's mission in Shaibah, near Basra On Operation Telic 6. 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Volunteers) is the only TA Medical Unit to have been called upon a second time for operational service abroad since the end of WW2. The Squadron has now returned from sevice in theatre of six months. The Squadron was commanded by Lt Col IRJ Crowe RAMC.
205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Volunteers) returned from Operation TELIC 6 in Iraq on 17 November 2005, having completed a six month tour (May to November 2005), providing a Field Hospital for Coalition Forces in the south of the country. The hospital was located in Shaibah Logistic Base near Basrah and was staff by 116 personnel, principally drawn from the National Health Service in Scotland. The Field Hospital consisted of: a Hospital Management Cell, an Accident and Emergency Department, a Radiology Department providing X-ray, Computer Tomography (CT) and Ultra-Sound imagery, a Laboratory to providing a Blood Bank, Blood Grouping, Biochemistry, Haematology and Microbiology, an Operating Theatre consisting of two Surgical Teams proving General and Orthopaedic Surgery, an Intensive Therapy Unit (ITU) of 2 ITU beds and 2 High Dependency Unit (HDU) Beds. 50 General Beds divided as follows: a Surgical Ward of 15 Beds, a Medical Ward of 15 Beds, an Isolation Ward of 20 Beds, a Physiotherapy Department, a Community Psychiatric Service, a Patient Welfare Service and a Mortuary Facility.