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Museum of Family War Items

Colin Rowntree's Room - WW1

August 22nd 1914

Dear Friend,

I have received your letter and entered your name upon the list of those who have made definite application for membership of the Friend’s Ambulance Unit, I want to indicate to you now, the method of training which seems most desirable,

The Unit will be organised as a Voluntary Aid Detachment under the British Red Cross Society. A condition of membership of a V.A.D. is that the applicant should hold a Red Cross Society or St. John's First Aid Certificate. This means a regular certificate - emergency courses are not sufficient - In Addition it is desirable that the applicant should hold also Male Nursing Certificate. I propose there­fore that you should take advantage, during the next two weeks, of the best instruction that you can get locally with a view to preparing yourself for the taking of these certificates in the very near future. For this purpose I recommend, in addition to classes, that you buy the British Red Cross Manuals, No. 1 (First Aid) and No. 2. (Nursing) by James Cant lie and become as fully acquainted with their contents as possible. (Price l/- per volume ).

The Friends' V. A. D, will only get work to do either at Home or Abroad if it reaches a high point of efficiency in all branches of ambulance work. It is therefore essential that members should have a period of collective training all together. It is proposed to do this collective training in camp at Jordans, Bucks or some other place if one more suitable can be found, A whole time instructor will be secured to direct the training and it is anticipated that, if a large number of hours per day are given to the work, a reasonable degree of efficiency should be acquired in about ten days.

At the end of this time the Unit would probably be examined by a competent authority; if it were not sufficiently expert, the camp period would have to be extended. For the purpose of preparing for this period of training you should buy and read, the British Red Cross Society Manual No. 3. (training) by James Cantlie.

Now there are one or two things which perhaps should be made perfectly clear in order to avoid misunderstanding later on. In the first place, it is possible that there may be more applications than can at the beginning be accommodated. At present this appears possible, though improbable. The Unit consists of 56 persons; and if there are more than 56 applica­tions, it is clear that a choice will have to be made among them on the basis of the efficiency and qualifications of the applicants. But I trust that the fact that a place cannot be absolutely promised to you will not prevent you making prelim­inary instruction and attending the camp, It is desirable that as many as possible should attend the camp: and it is certain that if the war lasts for some months your services will be required before it is over.

In the second place it is possible that the Unit may not have any work assigned to it for some time to come. This is how­ever improbable if the Unit becomes as efficient as it should and in any case it is certain to be needed within a reasonable time.

Could you let me know as soon as possible if you can attend a camp at Jordans beginning on September 7th, and lasting for ten days or a fortnight.

Yours sincerely


P.S. We want all London people to have classes together under Dr. James Cantlie himself, at the Polytechnic Regent St. W First class probably Tuesday 25th { August} at 5.pm - Exact time tomorrow. – Can you come ? - See you then I hope - PJB