Adjusting to life after war has always been difficult. For amputees, artificial limbs are an essential requirement for attempting to get back a semblance of normality. In 1948, just three years after the Second World War, two University of Otago fifth year medical students, P. J. Dowsett and J. H. Heslop, did their public health dissertation about wartime amputees and aspects of artificial limbs.
Not surprisingly, they found that after the First and the Second World War, the need for prosthetics spiked. Before the Great War, there was little development or focus on artificial limbs. For centuries, the wooden leg was the most common example of what was possible. At the tail end of the First World War, the return of veteran amputees led to a great demand for prosthetic limbs. An estimated 41,000 returning British soldiers required prosthetics. The high demand prompted the introduction of more standardisation in the manufacturing process. During the interwar period, the metal artificial limb started to take over from the traditional wooden leg for the first time. By the Second World War, advances meant that prosthetics had become far more intricate than their basic predecessors.