What was going on at St John Ambulance 100 years ago?

Museum of the Order of St John Sophie Denman (Archivist)

In 1924, the St John Ambulance Association awarded 31,062 certificates in First Aid, Home Nursing, and Home Hygiene, 8,427 first aid re-examination medallions (awarded to individuals who passed three St John exams), 19,320 labels (awarded for each successful year’s re-examination), and 2,670 pendants (which identified the subject of the examinations).

A long chain of bronze, comprised of 23 small bronze medallions attached on a chain.
Re-examination Medallion with labels and pendants belonging to T.A. Bowyer (LDOSJ127)

The British Empire Exhibition opened for a year from April 1924 in Wembley Park, where a purpose-built “great national sports ground” was built (which went on to become Wembley Stadium). The St John Ambulance Brigade provided the voluntary first aid personnel, providing over 90 hours of duty per day, and the St John Ambulance Association supplied half of the drugs and dressings. A brand new motor ambulance was brought in for the event too!

The St John Ambulance Brigade had new additions, with 37 Ambulance Divisions and 21 Nursing Divisions forming this year. In total across England in 1924, there were 755 Ambulance Divisions, 384 Nursing Divisions, 58 Ambulance Cadet Divisions, and 40 Nursing Cadet Divisions, totalling 43,211 people.

A black and white photograph of two women dressed in light long dresses and light tops and seated in front of a large wooden structure on wheels. The structure is a mobile hospital, with two windows either side of the door.
The First Aid Hospital used by the Bristol Corps of the St John Ambulance Brigade.

Service Medals were awarded to 337 people within the Brigade for completing 15 years of service, and a further 151 Bars were awarded for 5 years of additional service.

A round silver medal with he side profile of Queen Victoria. It is attached to a ribbon with 5 black and white vertical stripes. Attached to the ribbon are two silver horizontal bars.
The Service Medal of the Order of St John and Bars, awarded to Edwin Ralphs (LDOSJ7047/3).

If you would like to find out more about St John’s goings-on 100 years ago, why not take a look at some of our digitised records for the year which are freely and publicly available: