Example of medals issued to St John Ambulance Brigade members who served in South Africa with the Army Medical Service
Queen’s South Africa Medal – Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902 and St John Ambulance Brigade Medal for South Africa 1899-1902 (issued by the Order of St John)
Some members would have been in receipt of the King’s South Africa Medal 1901-1902
The Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) scheme, set up in 1909 as a reserve of the Territorial Army (Forces Medical Service), was fully mobilised on outbreak of WW1. V.A.D. members, classed as ‘Mobile’ or ‘Immobile’ were, as individuals, also referred to as VADs
Exhibits – Voluntary Aid Detachment armband and uniform flashes (relative to the various roles held) together with a WW1 War Service badge
St John Voluntary Aid Detachment button (left), hat badge (right) and ‘St John’ Service Medal brooch bar (bottom).
The Military Home Hospitals Reserve formed in 1907 was a reserve for the R.A.M.C. and exclusively for male members of St John Ambulance. In 1926 “Home” was dropped but there was the commitment of working overseas with Expeditionary Forces
Exhibits – WW1 Uniform flash and armband, WW2 uniform flash and ‘St John’ Service Medal brooch bar
Personnel in the Royal Naval Auxiliary Sick Berth Reserve (1903 – 1949) was drawn exclusively from the membership of St John Ambulance. The medals are an example of those issued to a long serving ‘St John’ member.
RNASBR/St John Ambulance armband with British War Medal, S.R.A., R.N. 1914-1920; RNASBR Long Service & Good Conduct Medal with bar (denoting 30yrs service); St John Ambulance Brigade Service Medal (dated 1923) with 3 bars (denoting 30yrs service)
WW1 era lapel and uniform hat badges
A WW1 Joint Red Cross & ‘St John’ apron flash and badge
The ‘St John’ Hospital at Southport which comprised of 2 buildings – ‘The Woodlands’ & ‘The Grange’ – opened in 1915 with accommodation for 500 beds and was the largest. After the change to Primary status the Hospital received Ambulance trains direct from Southampton
Exhibits – Tribute medals showing obverse and reverse, Hospital badge and VAD Transport badge
Examples of 2 tribute medals awarded to staff at the ‘St John’ Jeffrey Hall VAD Hospital, Sunderland and named to the same person. The larger medal is relevant to the Hospital whilst the smaller one was issued to County Durham VAD members for services during WW1
Badges for ‘St John’ VAD and Auxiliary Hospitals – Cockermouth Castle, Cumbria; ‘Oatlands’, Portsmouth, Hampshire; New Hall Hey, East Lancashire
St John Ambulance members were issued with a numbered Medallion acknowledging service during WW1. Held in the collection are examples with named brooch bars for most County areas in England
In countries where St John Ambulance had previously been established the service of members during WW1 was acknowledged. Examples shown are India, Australia and Malta.
The WW1 service acknowledgement to members of the British Red Cross resembled a gold coloured tribute medal
A numbered Joint War Committee medallion issued for services during WW1
St John Ambulance non-uniform lapel badges indicating years of service during WW1
Uniform flashes for ‘St John’ & Red Cross Welfare workers many of whom were posted with Army regiments
Mobile VAD Members were available to work wherever the need was greatest, generally in Military Hospitals ‘at home’ and abroad
Immobile VAD Members worked locally and during WW2 many female members enrolled in the Civil Nursing Reserve
Air Raid Precautions flash worn on St John Ambulance uniform and Badge. In September, 1941 the A.R.P. became known as the Civil Defence.
St John Ambulance uniform flash and WW2 War Service Crosses – 1 cross for each year of War Service worn on left sleeve of uniform dress or tunic
WW2 Red Cross & St John War Organisation badges
Indian Red Cross & St John Ambulance badge together with WW2 St John Ambulance war service badges for South Africa and Canada
Joint Flag Day collections – ‘Our Day’ and ‘The Penny Fund’ flags from WW1 and remainder from WW2
WW2 fundraising flags
The 1918 Red Cross & Order of St John Pearl Appeal fundraising scheme involved all sections of society including Royalty. Ladies donated a pearl making up a total of over 3,590 which were made up into necklaces and eventually sold at auction by Christies. The proceeds were for sick and wounded.
The WW2 Red Cross & St John Penny-A-Week and Agriculture Funds were very successful fundraising schemes which raised millions of pounds for humanitarian aid.