How we began

Casualties Union began during WWII by Eric Claxton from the Surrey County Civil Defence Rescue School, which was set up in 1940 to train for bringing bomb victims out of damaged buildings.

Eric Claxton

Eric Claxton
Casualties Union origins began during WWII by Eric Claxton from the Surrey County Civil Defence Rescue School. The Rescue School was set up in 1940 to train for bringing bomb victims out of damaged buildings. Run by our Founder, Eric Claxton, it occupied ideal training premises at the bombed site of St Andrew’s Convent School near Leatherhead in Surrey. Eric Claxton was a Highways Engineer for Surrey County Council when war broke out. Here’s a link to an Old Pathe News reel that shows the Civil Defence in action in a training exercise rescuing casualties from bombed buildings.

He soon moved over into light rescue and set up the Rescue School at Redhill. At first, rescue operations were looked upon as unskilled pick and shovel work, just digging out bodies from piles of rubble. To counteract this, Eric set up a course in which acting, made-up casualties were introduced to demonstrate as vividly as possible the need for skill in reaching injured people, assessing and tending to their wounds. In 1942 the opportunity of casualty training was offered to the Surrey Civil Defence Service. Some 350 attended the inaugural meeting on 22 November, and 120 of them became involved in the birth of Casualties Union.


During the war, all members of Casualties Union were also members of the Civil Defence. Still, after the dissolution of the Civil Defence and subsequently the school in 1945, medical advisers urged Casualties Union to continue to serve the needs of peace-time first aid training. About 100 volunteers continued to develop makeup and acting techniques. It was no easy task to project the concept of Casualties Union among the voluntary aid societies in a country where all were weary with the privations of wartime conditions. But the idea had been born and was cherished by those who saw the need to bring realism to training so that real casualties would ultimately benefit.

Claxton-BooksIf you would like to read more about our foundation and early activities, our Headquarters can send you the Founder’s books @ £5 for the pair plus p&p


Making the incident feel as realistic as possible to all involved


We pride ourselves on the realism of our incident staging.


Professional makeup technique adds to the realism of the injury and training

Only the Best


Professional Quality

Decades worth of experience working on single and multi-agency exercises


Large network of Branches

We have Branches or Study Circles throughout the UK. See our contact page for more information.


Dependable & reliable service

Bringing realism to training so that real casualties will ultimately benefit.

Casualty Simulation Magazine

Since 1946 we have produced a regular magazine (originally known as the journal'. for members. It's still being published after 70 years and continues to be a source of news, updates and tips for Casualties Union members.

Read an online version of Casualty Simulation here

Contact Us

PO Box 1942, London E17 6YU

0870 0780 590 (national rates)