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This organisation's website has been archived as part of the work of the UK Web Archiving Consortium (UKWAC) and can be consulted here.