Andrew Hayward

Joined 1968

Exmouth Cadet Division, Devon

Listen to this interview:
Black and white photograph of a boy wearing a black uniform and looking to the camera over his shoulder. On the sleeve of his jacket are badges that read St John Devon. In the backgrouynd are windows of a house.
Ambulance Cadet Andrew Hayward, Exmouth Division, Devon, 1978 Image courtesy of the Museum of the Order of St John (PHA6678) (Picture credit: Exeter Express & Echo)
Read transcript +


Yep, got a Grand Prior badge in, um, see, gosh, twelves subjects, is that still? So, it was twelve subjects and the only one that was compulsory I think was history of the Order of St John, which seemed a bit of an unusual choice almost, but that was compulsory. Everything else was a choice of lists of different things. So, there was – we did a firefighting one, and that was good fun obviously, and that was the local fire station came in and taught that, and you got to have a go with the fire extinguisher and look at the fire engine and all that sort of thing. That was good. I do remember, yes, here we are, this is memories of things, isn’t it, once a year we went and there was, at Exeter airport at the time they had a small RAF base, and once a year there was this sort of thing about how to rescue somebody out of a crashed jet, which, you know, would be ridiculous, you wouldn’t get St John Ambulance volunteers rescuing people out of crashed RAF jets. It was interesting because it was all this stuff about how to make the ejector seat safe and things like that. I’m sure nobody ever used it, but it was done, that was a once a year thing, a trip to Exeter airport for that.

The other one, now Exmouth is on the coast, like I said, and has quite high cliffs, and goodness knows what the health and safety people would make of that these days, but we did a cliff rescue using, have you heard of a thing called a Neil Robertson stretcher? It’s like a canvas thing and you can – it’s designed for getting people out of the hulls of ships and things like that, but also can be used for getting people off of cliffs, down a rope. And, again, these days, this would be done by the coastguard or the fire service or something like that. So, no, I remember, once a year, and it was always in the summer, so it attracted sort of tourists watching, doing a cliff rescue and setting up this rope system and then some – I never volunteered for this I hasten to add, but somebody volunteered to be the patient and was strapped into the Neil Robertson stretcher and was slid down the, um, into spaces you might say across between the cliffs and the car park at the bottom. Goodness only knows what the risks involved were there, it was done and nobody ever came to any harm, but I’m also sure it was never put into actual use. But it was sort of one of those things that were done each year. I don’t suppose anybody would be able to explain why really, but they were. Yes, that was interesting.

Excerpt courtesy of Andrew Hayward