Objects Database

Duff Stretcher

Accession Number


Object Name

Duff Stretcher




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Duff Stretcher with tubular metal base and removable skids. Green canvas cover attached by 11 canvas straps with metal buckles. Green canvas casualty retention flap.


metal, canvas


190(l) x 70(w) x 35(h) cms.

Number Of Objects



black, green


Donald Duff(1893-1968)has been described as an Officer and a Gentleman, but he was much more. A doctor, pioneer of Scottish Mountain Rescue, inventor, author, leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team (LMRT), officer in the Royal Army Medical Corps and indeed, by all accounts, a Gentleman. As leader of Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team in the late 1940's and 1950's he would be at the sharp end of rescue operations, be they on Ben Nevis, in Glencoe or elsewhere. As chief Surgeon at the Belford Hospital in Fort William he would then proceed to treat the casualties in the hospital - often still clad in his hill gear. Should the outcome of the rescue operation be rather more serious he just happened to be the local mortician!
Donald went to France immediately after graduation in 1916 where he did field hospital work on the Somme. In 1918 he was awarded the M.C. and was mentioned in dispatches. He took up climbing in 1935 and joined the Midland Association of Mountaineers. During this period, when he climbed mainly in North Wales, he became interested in the evacuation of the injured from mountains and devised and built the Duff stretcher, which later, in 1953, was taken by the successful Everest expedition for emergency use.
In 1943 he joined the First Aid Committee of the British Mountaineering Clubs(the predecessor of Mountain Rescue Committee (M.R.C.)) and served on this and the M.R.C. of Scotland, of which he was the first chairman. He wrote numerous papers on hypothermia and mountain safety, and was concious of the need to eduacate the young in all aspects of mountain safety.
Donald Duff applied for a patent for his stretcher in 1944 and his Complete Specification was accepted on August 6th 1946 No. 8289. See the Donald Duff section in our Archive for more details and photographs.
The Duff Stretcher we have in the collection was last located at Steall Hut at the head of Glen Nevis where it was used by Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team for any evacuations in the area. It was replaced with a MacInnes Stretcher around 1980 and the 'Duff' was passed on to Mick Tighe who was just beginning his collection of mountain memorabilia at the time.

Acquisition Method

Acquired from Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team.

Acquisition Date



see the Donald Duff section in our Archive


Wheel missing.

Condition Check Date


Normal Location


Current Location

on display at Glenmore Lodge


Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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