Casualties Union (CU) was founded by Eric Claxton on 22nd November, 1942, to provide an organization that would look after the interests of volunteers who were trained as casualties.

The CU evolved from the Surrey County Civil Defence Rescue School (SCCDRS), which was set up in 1940 to aid rescue operations after WW2 bombings.  The SCCDRS occupied ideal training premises at the bombed site of St Andrew's Convent School, Leatherhead and from the outset it was very realistic in its approach to rescue training.  This earned it the nick-name "Battle School for Civil Defence", as live casualties were always used, dummies were not allowed. 

In early 1942 rescue operations were looked upon as unskilled pick and shovel work, just digging out bodies from piles of rubble. To counteract this a course was set up for Local Authority Rescue Services where 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 and handling them gently, but with sufficient firmness.

In November 1942, it was decided to offer the opportunity of training as a casualty to the Surrey Civil Defence Service.  Some 350 attended the inaugural meeting, 120 of whom became involved in the birth of Casualties Union. 

Early in 1943, the SCCDRS took over training Civil Defence Rescue Leaders from neighbouring counties, as well as military personnel from both the British and Canadian armies. In early 1944, the SCCDRS moved exclusively to training members of the Allied Armies.   During the war all members of the CU were also members of the Civil Defence, but after the dissolution of the Civil Defence and subsequently the  SCCDRS in 1945 the necessity of the CU was questioned.  However, medical advisers pressed the CU to continue in order to serve the needs of peace-time first aid training. Unfortunately, those members who looked upon casualty duties as simply part of their war-time Civil Defence work, resigned.  But this left a dedicated nucleus of about 100 volunteers who continued to develop their techniques for use in peace-time accident training. 

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 five years of wartime conditions. But the idea had been born and was cherished by those who had made it their special care.  The principles of training the acting/reacting casualty needed to be carried forward and a satisfactory method was devised. It was, and still is, essential that the standards of realism established at its foundation should mark the continuing development of the Casualties Union.

Eric Claxton (1909-1993) O.B.E, B Sc., C.Eng, F.I.C. went on to become a major force in Stevenage Borough Council whilst still guiding the organization he had founded until his death.