Appeal for relatives of First World War volunteer medics

St John Ambulance is appealing to the public for help tracing relatives of those named in a First World War memorial panel.

By Janet Hall
Tuesday, 4th June 2019, 9:21 am
One of the corner paintings from the St John memorial panel.
One of the corner paintings from the St John memorial panel.

The historic six-foot-wide oak panel commemorates 238 members of the Northern District of the St John Ambulance Brigade, who gave their lives to provide medical care during the Great War. It includes eight women.

Half of those named hail from County Durham, as it was in 1914, with many belonging to colliery units. Others remembered come from Northumberland and the former East and North Ridings of Yorkshire.

They are among 1,077 from across the nation who died between 1914 and 1919 as volunteers of the St John Ambulance Brigade, as the charity was then known.

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Volunteers of the modern day health charity suggested the panel – which had lain in obscurity for decades – be displayed in public to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War.

With funding from the County Priory Groups of the Order of St John in the Northeast, the panel was restored and is on view in the south transept of Durham Cathedral until Sunday.

The memorial panel features four corner paintings by 1920s artist Alfred Lambert, who also painted posters used to promote rail company, LNER.

They depict a medieval Knight of the Order of St John, a 12th century saint, a St John Ambulance Brigade female nurse in 1919 uniform and a male volunteer of the same period standing in front of St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, London, the site of the charity’s headquarters today.

Anyone with information about those commemorated on the panel – or about other St John members who gave their lives in the Great War – can contact Elizabeth Srogi on [email protected]