The 24th General Hospital, commonly known as the “Tulane Unit” was made up of personnel from Tulane University School of Medicine, and was activated in July 1942. Colonel Walter C. Royals (M 1917) was the commanding officer of the Unit. Thirty Tulane medical graduates and ten Tulane faculty members were included in the complement of forty-two medical doctors. The unit served at Fort Benning (July 15, 1942 to August 8, 1943); Bizerte, Tunisia (September 8, 1943 to May 31, 1944); Grosseto, Italy (July 21, 1944 to September 15, 1944); Army headquarters near Florence, Italy (September 21, 1944- ) and Livorno, Italy (June 1, 1945 to June 11, 1945).
The 24th General Hospital spent over two years in the Mediterranean theater. In that time, this small unit of Tulane doctors, 125 nurses (many from New Orleans), and enlisted men treated 31,640 casualties with only 83 deaths. The unit received the Fifth Army Plaque and Clasp for meritorious service with the Fifth Army. Tulane also sponsored a medical unit organized by Dr. Rudolph Matas in World War I.
The S.Harvey Colvin 24th General Hospital negative collection is viewable through the Tulane University Digital Library. Digitized negatives from the Colvin collection from the 24th General Hospital, World War II have been added to the digital collections of Tulane (funded by the History of Medicine Society). The collection includes 134 scanned (.tiff) negatives taken of the 24th General Hospital (United States. Army). The sites were visited by Colonel Samuel Harvey Colvin, Jr., M.D. The negatives were a gift of Melba Colvin, 1989.
The Rudolph Matas Library of the Health Sciences has other collections related to the 24th General Hospital in WWII as part of the historic collections, such as the Col. Walter C. Royals, MD photo album and the memorabilia collections of Lt. Col. John J. Archinard, Claudia Weaver Archinard and Dr. Edward Des. Matthews.
Learn more about the Tulane Unit in this Louisiana Spotlight by The National World War II Museum.