Sir John FurleySir John Furley, 1880s

Sir John Furley was prominent in the foundation of St John Ambulance. He became involved with St John in the 1860s, as its representative at the conferences held following the Crimean War. These resulted in the setting up of the International Red Cross, which aimed to have an international standard of care for battlefield victims, regardless of whose side they were on.

He became the first Director of Stores for St John Ambulance, responsible for organising a supply of ambulances and other materials. He used his practical experiences to change the design of early stretchers enabling a patient to be carried more easily and safely, without discomfort. He also designed horse-drawn ambulance carriages, and helped with the design of ambulance trains and hospital ships, used in wartime. Furley recognised that an organised system for training people in first aid for everyday life was needed. He also saw that those who had been trained could be medical reserves in time of war. In July 1877, with others he founded the St John Ambulance Association to train people in providing first aid to the injured.

Source: Museum of the Order of St John

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