• Title
    Friends Ambulance Unit (1914-1919)
  • Reference
    TEMP MSS 881
  • Date
  • Scope and Content
    Minutes of the Friends Ambulance Committee and the Executive Committee; personnel records including census forms, registration forms, information cards, registers of members, personnel record cards and sickness and leave records; newsletters; motor stores records; letters; drawings and plans; prints and photographs. Please note that the personnel record cards have been digitised and are searchable online at:
  • Extent
    1 volume, 2 drawings, 3 letters, 16 newsletters, 2 series of personnel cards, 1 plan, 1 photograph album, 459 photographs, 11 negatives, 2 glass plate negatives, 42 prints
  • Level of description
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  • Creator
    • Friends Ambulance Unit (1914-1919)
      The formation of an ambulance unit of young Friends for service in one of the Allied fronts was first discussed as early in the war as 7 August 1914 by Allan R. Baker, E. H. Gilpin, Arnold S. Rowntree and Sir George Newman. An appeal for volunteers was published in 'The Friend' of 21 August 1914. In September 1914, a training camp for those who offered their services was established at Jordans in Buckinghamshire, where about 60 men, mostly young Friends in residence at Oxford or Cambridge, assembled to prepare for active service. The course of training was comprehensive and included instruction in first-aid to the wounded, stretcher-drill, sanitation and hygiene and field-cookery, as well as physical training which took the form chiefly of route marches and long-distance treks to Reading and Cambridge. On 26 October, Philip Baker and Geoffrey Young, along with two others, discussed with Arthur Stanley (MP), the Chairman of the Joint War Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John Of Jerusalem, the possibility of an ambulance unit at Yser and his help in providing ambulance and equipment. Both were granted. The First Anglo-Belgian Ambulance Unit, later Friends Ambulance Unit, set out for Dunkirk on 31 October 1914. Headquarters were established at Hotel du Kursaal, Malo-les-Bains on 2 November. There were two sections of Friends Ambulance Unit (hereafter FAU) - the Foreign Service Section and the Home Service Section. The Foreign Service Section carried out civilian relief work in the areas of Belgium occupied by the allies and provided help to those affected by the typhoid epidemic in Ypres (December 1914 to May 1915). The FAU Ambulance Convoys played their part with French Divisions fighting in the Champagne and Argonne regions, and FAU Ambulance Trains provided relief behind the British front. FAU members staffed many hospitals in France and Belgium, including the St Pierre Hospital, Malo (1914-1915); the Sacré Cœur Hospital in Ypres (1914-1915); Château Elizabeth, Poperinghe (1915-1916); Queen Alexandra Hospital, Malo-les-Bains (1915-1918); Musée Hospital, Hazebrouck (1915-1917); the Casualty Clearing station, Poperinghe (1915); No.3 British Red Cross Hospital, Abbeville; and the Barge Hospital (1915-1917). They also worked on 2 Hospital Ships (The Western Australia and The Glenart Castle) and helped to establish orphanages at Wisques and Wizernes. In Ypres, FAU members undertook out-patient and visiting work, helped with water purification after the destruction of Ypres water supply and distributed milk and clothing to civilians. The Section also constituted the Civilian Health and Sanitary Section, Civilian Motor Work, the French Civilian Evacuation Section (later French Civilian Relief Section), the Belgian Civilian Evacuation Section (later Belgian Civilian Relief Section) and the Belgian Civilian Ambulance Section. The Home Service Section had its headquarters at 8 and 14 Weymouth Street, London. The London office was responsible for purchasing and dispatching food, petrol and medical supplies; dispatching doctors, dressers, orderlies, motor-drivers and nurses; and they dealt with applicants for service, tradesmen, parcels to be forwarded to the front, and correspondence. The Home Service Section dispatched FAU members to staff hospitals in England: Haxby Road Hospital, York (opened 1915); King George Hospital, London (opened 1916); Uffculme Hospital, Birmingham (used as a hospital from 1916); and Star and Garter Home, Richmond (opened 1916). It also co-ordinated the training of FAU members at Jordans Camp. The General Service Section was part of the Home Service Section. It was established in 1916 and was a direct result of the Military Service Acts of that year. The section organised work for conscientious objectors who for financial or other reasons could not join the FAU. Mostly, the men undertook agricultural work organised by the Agricultural Sub-Committee, but they also worked in education, welfare, building construction, surgical appliance making, forestry, flour-mills or food factories. They also undertook work for Friends’ War Victims Relief Committee, the Friends’ Emergency Committee and the Y.M.C.A. (Young Men's Christian Association). Friends Ambulance Unit was dissolved in 1919.
  • Digital reference
  • Normal location
    TEMP MSS sequence
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