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Casualties Union

  • Casualties Union (f.1942)
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The following is an interim description which may change when detailed cataloguing takes place in future:

The archive of the Casualty Union fall into two sections: the papers of its founder, Eric Claxton, 1940s-1980s, and the papers of longstanding member Dr Colin Dawson, 1950s-1990s.

The papers of Eric Claxton include:

  • Study circle correspondence, 1941-1982
  • Correspondence, 1942-1974
  • Council records, 1951-1959
  • Executive Committee records, 1952-1961
  • President and Vice President correspondence, 1947-1955
  • Publications and articles on the Casualty Union
  • Photographs of simulated disasters and accidents for first aid and emergency response training, 1941-1980s
  • Branches and study circle membership records
  • CU Newsletters, 1980s
  • Make up and formulate correspondence with Boots, 1945-1946
  • Instructors Courses
  • Records of overseas visits e.g. Holland visit, 1944-1945
  • Training films, 1940s-1950s
  • Senior Instructor correspondence files, 1950s-1970s
  • Branches and study circles correspondence, 1950s-1970s
  • The archive also contains the papers of Dr Colin Dawson, who was an active member of Casualties Union for 49 years, and who in that time held all the various posts within the Union. His papers include:

  • Constitution and rules, 1955-1991
  • Minutes of: General Management Committee, 1964-1986; Management Committee, 1987-1993; Executive Committee, 1961-1990; Council, 1963-1994; Finance Commitee, 1983-1993; Competition Committee, 1953-1979; Midland regional meetings, 1974-1978; Annual General meeting minutes and reports, 1953-1995; SE regional meetings, 1977-1982
  • Casualties Union newsletters, 1968-1985
  • Annual accounts, 1968-1991
  • Records of Buxton Trophy comeptitions, 1961-1986
  • CU training manual and publicity materials
  • Correspondence with overseas branches etc, 1970s-1990s
  • Dr Dawson's correspondence, 1956-1997
  • Publication/Creation


    Physical description

    4 transfer boxes 20 boxes, 1 flat photo box 5 transfer boxes

    Acquisition note

    Given to the Wellcome Library by the Casualties Union in 1995-1996, and by Dr Colin Dawson in 2003.

    Biographical note

    Casualties Union is a charity founded by Eric Claxton in November 1942 in order to provide casualties and patients for those who teach first aid, nursing and rescue. The charity's objectives are to advance for the public benefit education and training in first aid, the treatment of illness, nursing, rescue, accident prevention, care in the community and similar activities, particularly through casualty simulation.

    Casualties Union evolved from the Surrey County Civil Defence Rescue School (SCCDRS), which was set up in 1940 to aid rescue operations after Word War II bombings. The SCCDRS occupied training premises at the bombed site of St Andrew's Convent School, Leatherhead.

    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 considerately, 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 the following year 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 World War II all members of Casualties Union were also members of the Civil Defence, but after the dissolution of the Civil Defence and subsequently the SCCDRS in 1945, the necessity of Casualties Union came into question. However, medical advisers urged Casualties Union to continue in order to serve the needs of peace-time first aid training, and a dedicated nucleus of about 100 volunteers continued to develop make-up and acting techniques for use in peace-time first-aid training.

    Today, Casualties Union works with a variety of civilian, government and military organisations in a diverse range of situations, including large scale terrorist attack scenarios. Typically these exercises involve multiple agencies working together responding to a particular scenario and can involve decontamination procedures, the establishment of temporary mortuaries and mass evacuations.

    Related material

    Archived website

    This organisation's website has been archived as part of the work of the UK Web Archiving Consortium (UKWAC) and can be consulted here.

    Terms of use

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