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Remembered Today:

Helmets for St.johns ambulance


howard simcoe

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Hello everyone 

I'm looking  for  any information  on  st. Johns ambulance kit. 

I'm assuming that ambulance  drivers  would  have been  issued or obtained  Brodie / tin helmets  latter in the war.

For there own protection.

If so would they have marked them with the st.johns ambulance logo or just black with a  white  strip ?

I have seen  some  photos from  st.johns ambulance members in black  and  khaki uniforms 

with both  st.johns ambulance badges and red Cross  badges.

Thank you for your assistance 

Howard simcoe 

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3 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

Hello everyone 

I'm looking  for  any information  on  st. Johns ambulance kit. 

I'm assuming that ambulance  drivers  would  have been  issued or obtained  Brodie / tin helmets  latter in the war.

For there own protection.

If so would they have marked them with the st.johns ambulance logo or just black with a  white  strip ?

I have seen  some  photos from  st.johns ambulance members in black  and  khaki uniforms 

with both  st.johns ambulance badges and red Cross  badges.

Thank you for your assistance 

Howard simcoe 

Hello Howard, I don’t think black uniform was worn by St John ambulance personnel on the Western Front after 1915, although it was at home.  In France and Flanders khaki seems to have been the dress, along with brodie helmets of standard type.  However, it does seem that home patterns of uniform were worn late 1914 and into 1915 as the Army’s motorised ambulances were being supplemented during a crisis response by the Red Cross and St John, but that was before the issue of steel helmets began.  As so often with these things the uniform and equipment issued became more organised and coherent as the war progressed.

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Edited by FROGSMILE
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3 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

with both  st.johns ambulance badges and red Cross  badges.

Welcome to GWF.

I believe the Red Cross badge was the internationally recognised badge for medical services under the protection of the Geneva Convention - adopted under the Geneva Convention 1864 [Though the cross had no intended religious sentiment the Red Crescent has alternatively been used by some countries since 1876]. 

It is likely the St John Ambulance badge would not have been formally internationally recognised as such on the battlefield.

M

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18 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Welcome to GWF.

I believe the Red Cross badge was the internationally recognised badge for medical services under the protection of the Geneva Convention - adopted under the Geneva Convention 1864 [Though the cross had no intended religious sentiment the Red Crescent has alternatively been used by some countries since 1876]. 

It is likely the St John Ambulance badge would not have been formally internationally recognised as such on the battlefield.

M

To be fair M, I think that Howard was referring to discrete cap “badges” (plural) worn by the two voluntary medical organisations personnel enlisted under special arrangement early in the war, rather than the internationally recognised Red Cross armlet.  Some of them were religious objectors.  I seem to recall that there have been threads about the insignia before.

29BE3564-5638-4547-A7A9-8ECF803D5A08.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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7 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

To be fair M

To be fair FS I was being fair - just making the observation.

As a badge for a helmet the Red Cross could/should have been a better emblem to go on a Brodie helmet.

Then again, if away from the front line, perhaps 'brand loyalty' could have crept in ???

Will be interesting to see what info comes up later.

M

Edited by Matlock1418
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3 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

To be fair FS I was being fair - just making the observation.

As a badge for a helmet the Red Cross could/should have been a better emblem to go on a Brodie helmet.

Then again, if away from the front line, perhaps 'brand loyalty' could have crept in ???

Will be interesting to see what info comes up later.

M

It doesn’t appear as if the international Red Cross, nor St John badge was painted on helmets during WW1. The painting of steel helmets in that way seems to have been a feature of WW2 on the home front and the Cold War civil defence era.

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38 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

3EE5B2B9-B105-45DE-BFDC-7B4F14DEB3A6.jpeg

1 minute ago, FROGSMILE said:

It doesn’t appear as if the international Red Cross, nor St John badge was painted on helmets during WW1.

Got to admit I can't remember seeing any red crosses on helmets but the Geneva Convention also goes to explain why there was also a big red cross on this St John Ambulance's ambulance.

M

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An eldferly gentleman that I knew went out in WW1 with one of the ambulance organisations, I can't remember which one, it may have been the St J A, but because he was classed as a CO, the military autthorities wouldn't give him a helmet, he had to scrounge a French one, which I still have.  As an aside my father was St J A during WW2 and was repeatedly told off for having the cross of St John painted on his helmet, as he was told Rescuers had to be non-partisan.

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Here’s the earlier thread that I was referring to: 

 

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11 minutes ago, Matlock1418 said:

Got to admit I can't remember seeing any red crosses on helmets but the Geneva Convention also goes to explain why there was also a big red cross on this St John Ambulance's ambulance.

M

Yes, if we step beyond the steel helmets specifically asked about by the OP we could stretch this quite a long way. 

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There is a difference between a red cross emblem, providing protection under the Geneva Convention, and the various Red Cross organisations.

Like back then, both organisations in the UK , St. John Ambulance and the British Red Cross, are still considered approved first aid training providers. Their respective badges [which are considered trademarked] are thus awarded accordingly.

However, the red cross emblem was, and remains, an internationally-recognised emblem formally protected under the Geneva Convention [also then the red crescent and also now the red crystal].

It's probably no wonder that both such badges, especially the red cross emblem which had been well adopted by the military, can be seen on uniforms and vehicles of the period [not withstanding a bit of competitive parochialism of names and badges creeping in at times] - the red cross emblem commonly being sought to be the most visible for its protective value.

Mis-use/unauthorised use of the red emblems could compromise their effectiveness.  Sadly such red emblems did not guarantee safety in a war zone.

M

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Just a quick reminder of OP’s query: Howard Simcoe - “I'm looking  for  any information  on  st. Johns ambulance kit”. 

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34 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Just a quick reminder of OP’s query: Howard Simcoe - “I'm looking  for  any information  on  st. Johns ambulance kit”. 

Acknowledging that the OP is a new member: That's what was initially written but then quickly reverted to badges on Brodies and uniforms - This is the Uniforms Cap badges and Insignia sub-forum after all.

As for 'kit' =

  • Ambulances
  • Stretchers
  • First Aid Kits
  • Splints
  • etc.

Seems like there is plenty of scope to expand upon 'kit' - if the OP wants it.

Over to you @howard simcoe - I suggest in the Other Equipment [or just possibly in the Medical Services ??] sub-forum if that is desired [but don't mention badges and uniforms again there! - Best to avoid identical multiple threads which cause duplication]. There are likely to be pleny of 'kit' knowledgeable members out there.  Possibly specialists able to help you.  If you want it.

GWF always happy to assist. :)

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On 16/05/2022 at 23:26, Matlock1418 said:

Got to admit I can't remember seeing any red crosses on helmets but the Geneva Convention also goes to explain why there was also a big red cross on this St John Ambulance's ambulance.

M

It sounds  like  by asking for  help on a subject I'm not familiar with it's hit a nerve and  bothering members of this group. 

I was hoping to get  some  knowledgeable advice. 

But have been  told  not to mention the subject again !

Obviously I'm looking in the wrong  direction for help 

Thank you to the ones who did respond with what information  they had 

 

Don't think I'll ask  again  

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4 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

It sounds  like  by asking for  help on a subject I'm not familiar with it's hit a nerve and  bothering members of this group. 

I was hoping to get  some  knowledgeable advice. 

But have been  told  not to mention the subject again !

Obviously I'm looking in the wrong  direction for help 

Thank you to the ones who did respond with what information  they had 

 

Don't think I'll ask  again  

Hi Howard, I wouldn't give up on getting answers to your original question. All that's happened here is "scope creep" in the subject being pointed out by others on the forum.

Nothing to do with you bothering anyone, or your post. There are very helpful people on here who will be back to deal with your original query.

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7 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

It sounds  like  by asking for  help on a subject I'm not familiar with it's hit a nerve and  bothering members of this group. 

I was hoping to get  some  knowledgeable advice. 

But have been  told  not to mention the subject again !

Obviously I'm looking in the wrong  direction for help 

Thank you to the ones who did respond with what information  they had 

 

Don't think I'll ask  again  

Hello Howard, I have tried to answer all your specific questions in my various posts above, but if there’s anything that I’ve missed then please ask.  I thought that your inquiry was straightforward and focused my replies accordingly so as to avoid ambiguity.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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7 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

It sounds  like  by asking for  help on a subject I'm not familiar with it's hit a nerve and  bothering members of this group. 

Howard,

You are not bothering us but we are trying to get you the info you seek - and not to wander off into other realms if it is not required.

By focussing your request into a specific sub-forum(s) you are likely to get more exposure to members who have more specific interests and knowledge - for example @FROGSMILE who has answered here already is a real expert on uniforms, badges, and insignia [and a lot more including worn equipment/webbing etc.] - but there are other members here who are more into other sorts of 'kit'.

7 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

But have been  told  not to mention the subject again !

This thread on badges and Brodies will remain open so please do look out for more replies and/or post more specific questions as they arise

Just trying to steer your potential other 'kit' enquiries into zones where more specialist help may be more forthcoming.

If you are interested in other sorts of kit then please do post again.  Please let us know what you are interested in

All we ask is that exactly the same question is not asked in multiple threads in different sub-forums [so as to avoid duplication of answers which can perhaps dilute and misdirect].

7 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

Obviously I'm looking in the wrong  direction for help 

No, you are looking in the right place.

You are welcome here. :)

M

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Hello  again 

The general question  is  did the st. John ambulance brigade put  there insignia on  there helmets if issued?

By attaching there metallic hat badge or did they paint  it on ?

 

I can find reference for  ww2 

But nothing for ww1 

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3 hours ago, howard simcoe said:

Hello  again 

The general question  is  did the st. John ambulance brigade put  there insignia on  there helmets if issued?

By attaching there metallic hat badge or did they paint  it on ?

 

I can find reference for  ww2 

But nothing for ww1 

No, I don’t believe they did.  I’ve spent several hours researching WW1 photos and other imagery (contemporary paintings and press drawings) just to check thoroughly and cannot find any examples of anything other than standard, drab colour painted helmets.  That’s why I already posted in an earlier reply to you that the painting of steel helmets with insignia or special symbols was a “WW2 and Cold War” phenomenon.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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As an aside, I have catalogued some images on our archive as St. John's Ambulance. I always used the possessive form. Just shows even a pedant can be wrong :w00t:

Will have to change those ASAP.

Dave

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16 hours ago, depaor01 said:

Just shows even a pedant can be wrong :w00t:

Or right, and others wrong! :whistle:

M

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Had a thought = Might our member @Andrew Upton perhaps have some knowledge of such matters of St J A badges on helmets?? 

[This 'mention' should bring this enquiry to his attention - apologies if the finger has been incorrectly pointed!].

M

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Just now, Matlock1418 said:

Had a thought = Might our member @Andrew Upton perhaps have some knowledge of such matters of St J A badges on helmets?? 

[This 'mention' should bring this enquiry to his attention - apologies if the finger has been incorrectly pointed!].

I can only echo what's been said above - certainly done in the WW2 era, but I've never seen it done in a WW1 context.

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1 minute ago, Andrew Upton said:

I can only echo what's been said above - certainly done in the WW2 era, but I've never seen it done in a WW1 context.

Thanks for your very rapid response.  The OP is getting/has received some serious GWF opinion from FS & you. :thumbsup:

M

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