Whilst Cadets were officially inaugurated into the St John Ambulance Brigade in 1922, it wasn’t until the 1930s that this new youth wing of the organisation really took off. As war became increasingly likely, many young people wanted, and were encouraged, to support one of the auxiliary organisations where they could learn a new skill and usefully support the war effort. Even today, many of the charity’s young volunteers cite their reason for joining as being inspired by a great grandparent who served their communities during this period. The desire to learn life-saving skills and make new friends remains compelling in the twenty-first century and there are now around 10,000 St John Ambulance volunteers under the age of 18.
Young people aged 10–17 can join St John Ambulance Cadets to meet new people and learn life-saving skills. Whilst their reasons for joining vary, many are encouraged to volunteer by their friends and family.
From the collection:
Schoolgirls Picture Library Comic: Lorna, Nursing Cadet, 1962
This is a rare surviving copy of a comic called the ‘Schoolgirls Picture Library’. This issue features a fictional account of the adventures of a St John Ambulance Nursing Cadet. It was published by Fleetway House in Farringdon Street, London.
Learn to Care for Others...
This Cadet recruitment poster features an Ambulance and a Nursing Cadet tending to simulated casualties with head injuries. It showcases the practical, hands-on experiences that the programme offers.
Spread a Little Happiness...
Care in the community was one of the regular activities undertaken by Cadets. In this recruitment poster, two Nursing Cadets assist an elderly lady with her shopping.
Learn First Aid and Preliminary Nursing...
The Cadets were often promoted to girls as a route into a career in nursing. Child welfare skills were also taught and in this recruitment poster, two Nursing Cadets are practising how to bathe a baby.