Edna Hindle’s St. John Ambulance Division in Nottingham joined together to fundraise for a much-needed ambulance during the war. People gave generously and the Division managed to buy a sparkling new ambulance. With pride Edna witnessed the ambulance’s unveiling, attended by HRH Princess Marina.
How did you get involved?
“I was 15 when I joined the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
I joined because [of] the job I’d just started to do. The head chemist was the chief superintendent of the St. John Ambulance Brigade.
And at the time, it was something that I wanted to do.”
Any special memories?
“We raised some money to buy a brand new ambulance. I can’t remember how we raised the money for it.
And Princess Marina [the then-Duchess of Kent] came to present it to the St. John Ambulance.
It was not long after her husband had been killed in an air crash. She was still in mourning, wearing purple and black.
As she inspected us, she stopped to speak to me. I think it must have been because I was the youngest.
I forgot to curtsey, someone behind gave me a poke in the back and I nearly fell into her.”
One way of raising money for the Joint War Organisation was through sales, which helped raise nearly £2 million. In London, auction sales were normally held at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. The first sale in London was on 8 July 1940 and lasted for 14 days. £84,000 was raised, with one diamond necklace making £11,600. Other items donated for sale included a Byron manuscript, a Raeburn portrait, a Gainsborough landscape and a sampler worked by Charlotte Brontë.
St. John Ambulance and British Red Cross members also helped to raise money for other wartime funds. For example, in 1942, St. John Ambulance nurses took part in a parade in Leeds to help raise money to build a new Ark Royal for the Navy.