Pictures from the orthopaedic equipment centre for the war-disabled in Clermont-Ferrand, France , 1917, Unknown, Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, EI-13 (614), Public Domain Mark

Already at the beginning of the war, special institutions and schools were set up where disabled soldiers were trained to deal with prosthetics and make themselves useful again for society. Some prosthetics where designed for specific kinds of activities. If they were unable to carry out their former jobs, they were retrained based on their new, often limited capacities. The men who could no longer work at all were often compensated.

Les mutilés de la guerre / The war-disabled An article from the L'Ouest-Eclair newspaper, October 8, 1916
Les mutilés de la guerre

Original: ''Toutes les méthodes de rééducation se précisent et se perfectionnent peu à peu. Les blessés et les mutilés qui s'y adaptent, pourront, après la guerre, continuer leur métier d'antan. (...)

S'ils sont dans l'impossibilité de le reprendre par suite d'accidents qui ne le leur permettent plus, ils trouveront au moins, dans le travail le mieux approprié à leurs facultés actuelles, des ressources qui, jointes à leur pension de réforme, leur assureront une vie régulière et utile à la patrie.''

English translation: "Little by little all methods of rehabilitation are becoming more precise and perfected. The wounded and mutilated who adapt themselves to them will be able, after the war, to continue their former profession. (...)

If they are not able to resume their jobs, they will at least, in the work best suited to their present faculties, be able to secure resources which, together with their disability pension, will ensure a regular and useful life for their homeland."

French soldier Maurice Antoine Gaytona had lost the lower part of his left arm in a battle at Kemmel Hill in Belgium in May 1918.  He was provided with two types of prostheses. 

French soldier Maurice Antoine Gayton after his amputation, Unknown, Europeana 1914-1918, Louis Gayton, CC BY-SA
French soldier Maurice Antoine Gayton after his amputation, Unknown, Europeana 1914-1918, Louis Gayton, CC BY-SA
(left) Gayton's prothesis for daily use., Unknown, Europeana 1914-1918, Louis Gayton, CC BY-SA | (right) Gayton's specially equipped prosthesis, Unknown, Europeana 1914-1918, Louis Gayton, CC BY-SA

In France already from the beginning of the war many schools were created with the financial support of the Ministry of the Interior. They enable the rehabilitation of mutilated persons and their training in the practice of a new profession. One of the first institutes for the professional retraining of the wounded was created in Lyon in November 1914 under the impulse of then mayor of Lyon Édouard Herriot.  

During the war more than a hundred such schools would be set up. The range of proposed jobs was quite wide: there are training courses for accountants, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters cabinet makers, horticulturists ... and that of manufacturers of wooden toys. The apprenticeship period varied from 6 to 8 months depending on the occupation.

School of the mutilated at Lyon, workshop for making toys, Agence de presse Meurisse. Agence photographique, Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, EI-13 (2557), Public Domain Mark
School of the mutilated at Lyon, workshop for making toys, Agence de presse Meurisse. Agence photographique, Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, EI-13 (2557), Public Domain Mark

In Germany a so-called "Einarmigenschule" (school for the one-armed) in Dresden opened on 15 March 1915. The school had mainly the following tasks: psychological counselling and pastoral care, writing exercises for the remaining hand as well as mediation for workplaces and further training possibilities.

Hermann Peschel learning to write again with his prosthesis. , Unkown, Europeana 1914-1918, Brigitte Czerny, CC BY-SA
Hermann Peschel learning to write again with his prosthesis. , Unkown, Europeana 1914-1918, Brigitte Czerny, CC BY-SA

Hermann Peschel was trained to work with this equipment in the "Einarmigenschule" (school for the one-armed) in Dresden. Peschel had lost his entire left and the lower part of his right arm. After his amputation wounds were healed, he was provided with special prosthetic arms. A gripping device, fixed with straps on his torso, was controlled by movement of his left shoulder. On his right side, an artificial hand was attached.