test test

Caring on the Home Front - Volunteer memories from World War Two

Stories » Welfare work

Welfare work


The main aim of the Joint War Organisation was to help those who were sick or wounded as a result of the war. They played a major part in providing welfare services for both the public and those in the forces.

Volunteers helped the elderly, the infirm and the young, offering what comfort and support they could during and after air raids, and giving emotional and practical support when they were most needed.

Joint War Organisation welfare services for wounded soldiers included transport, advice and guides on the journey home. Hospital welfare workers looked after these injured heroes, contacting their relatives and reuniting families.

44Alfred Le Monnier

Jersey, St John, Welfare
‘To St. Malo’
Alfred Le Monnier remembers the days of the German occupation of Jersey. He also remembers the nights St John Ambulance members kept midnight hours, nursing at hospitals and guarding precious food stores. One task Alfred will never forget is the night he escorted British deportees to St. Malo. Read Alfred’s story

54Connie Robinson

Hampshire, Red Cross, Welfare
‘Meeting of the ages’ 
Connie Robinson and Lillian Barron tended to the elderly during the Second World War. As the war put the younger generation’s courage in the spotlight, the witnesses of earlier wars entered their twilight years. Connie and Lillian made sure life went on for them, showing interest in and care for yesterday’s heroes. Read Connie’s story

34Helen Owen

Hull, Red Cross, Welfare
‘They arrived, tired and lousy’
Helen Owen presided over the provision of first aid in Boston upon the arrival of young evacuees from Hull. Expecting knee scrapes, she found herself scrubbing down the children, the carriers of many louse. Helen’s task was repeated all over England, an initiation that evacuees still remember today. Read Helen’s story

24Kathleen Thomas

Liverpool, St John, Welfare
‘Remained on duty’
Kathleen Thomas of Liverpool spent nights on duty, at a first aid post and in a casualty ward. With the city menaced by bombs, she sacrificed her safety to provide comfort and a brave face. Even when neighbours arrived, reporting of great loss, Kathleen pushed aside her own fears to remain on duty. Read Kathleen’s story

64Sheila Grossman

London, Red Cross, Welfare
‘To the States and to Canada’
Sheila Grossman saw many English ladies off at Liverpool. Her train then went back to London, the ladies’ ship to America. Summer 1945, London was damaged, recovering, familiar. America was intact, budding, unknown. War’s end meant a new journey for all British women, no matter the geography. Read Sheila’s story

14Steve King

Derbyshire, St John, Welfare
‘That high in my life’
Steve King had stayed in Derby for much of his life. So had Olive Nanson and Mavis Burton. But war moves people, and the three volunteered to escort British soldiers from Derby to hospitals nearer the boys’ homes. For Steve, the journey satisfied a desire to help and a search for new perspectives. Read Steve’s story