When Britain entered the First World War on 4th August 1914, the Order of St John was prepared, successfully mobilising over 12,000 trained volunteers within just six months. The volunteers undertook a huge variety of roles, from stretcher bearers, nurses and ambulance drivers to mechanics, administrators and fundraisers, all working to serve the Order’s founding principle: ‘in the service of humanity’. More than 45,000 St John men and women answered the War Office’s call for voluntary aid during the First World War. Their support was essential to the war effort and enabled the regular Army to fight a prolonged, full-scale, war on multiple fronts.
To mark the centenary of the First World War, staff at the Museum, in collaboration with twelve St John Ambulance cadets from the London region, have produced an interactive learning resource and commemorative display. The learning resource tells the story of St John Ambulance volunteer Veronica Nisbet who, during the First World War, served at the St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital in Étaples, northern France, from 1917 – 1919. To find out more about Veronica, please click here.
This project has been made possible thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, Veronica Nisbet’s family, the British Red Cross Museum and Archive, the Society of Genealogists and especially the St John Ambulance Cadets:
Shankari Gnanakumar, Thomas Karam, Vidthya Kadirrajah, Joanna Street, Amie Hampsheir-Gill, Shyr-nai Davison Thomas, Chloe Peyser, Daniel Squirrell, James O’Connell, Sean Welsh, Jessie Thorne and Phoebe Sweeney.