Casualties Union evolved from the Surrey County Civil Defence Rescue School, which 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. 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, it was decided to offer the opportunity of training as a casualty 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, but after the dissolution of the Civil Defence and subsequently the school in 1945, medical advisers urged Casualties Union to continue in order 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.
If 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