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St John Ambulance WW1 nurses

On this day: public call for first aid training with outbreak of WW1

We look back 103 years ago at how St John Ambulance played an influential role in teaching the public first aid during the First World War.

4 August 1914

As the First World War took hold and the nation was fearful of what was to come, there was a huge public outcry for learning first aid. The St John Ambulance Association responded to the outcry by providing first aid and nursing classes each afternoon and evening at local Association centres. [1]

At the Regent Street Polytechnic Centre in London, large crowds of students of around 200-500 attended nursing and first aid classes, day after day. Due to the urgency of the time, the courses were completed within a week instead of the usual 5 weeks. [2]

Today

While today we might not be facing a world war, there are still situations in which we find ourselves where first aid could be the difference between a life lost and a life saved. This is why we are always campaigning to raise awareness of first aid. Still to this day, we run a wide variety of first aid courses from first aid at work to paediatric first aid, and provide free online first aid advice.


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[1] Fletcher, N.C. The St John Ambulance Association: Annals of the Ambulance Department. (Hertford: Stephen Austin & Sons, ltd. 1949), 125.

[2] Fletcher, The St John Ambulance Association, 125.