A photo from 1830 shows the world’s first ambulance.
Social media users are sharing an archival photo along with the claim that it shows the world’s first ambulance. The posts claim that the black and white photo was taken in 1830. It shows a rectangular vehicle with one open side, and a person lying inside. A soldier rides a bicycle that propels it from behind.
The photo is not from 1830 and does not show the first ambulance. The original image is archived on Getty Images accompanied by the caption, “Ambulator: 29th July 1941: A one-man anti-gas ambulance and resuscitator, designed and made for use by the Home Guard.” An antigas ambulance was important during World War II to protect the injured against possible chemical warfare.
The soldier pictured is part of the United Kingdom Home Guard from the 1940s.
Soldiers in the 1830s wore very different uniforms.
The first recorded use of ambulances was at the well-documented Battle of Malaga in 1487. The Spanish used these vehicles to transport the injured, almost 400 years earlier than the viral posts claim. There are other, earlier documented cases of transportation for the sick and injured that date all the way back to 900, using hammock-like contraptions.