The Order of St. John

Two similarities strike me between the Freemasons and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, their loves of quaint language and costume dress. How Grandad made time for all his activities is a mystery to me.

Photo of three uniformed members of St John Ambulance Brigade, Hugh Samuel King on right

The earliest records of Hugh's involvement with St. John Ambulance are a certificate in first aid from 1922 followed by successful re-examination in 1923. In 1925 he obtained a qualification in home nursing, he then became an ambulance officer in 1926. His role changed in December 1935 when appointed a Transport Officer.

Public presentation of certificates to trained A.R.P. volunteers, Southall, 1938

The Second World War was looming when, in 1938, the Borough of Southall implemented Air Raid Precautions. A presentation of certificates to A.R.P. volunteers was made at the Odeon cinema. Under the auspices of St. John Ambulance first aid posts were manned.

Photo of St. John Ambulance Brigade, No. 1 Prince of Wales District Western Area, No. 55 Southall Division

Three group photographs are interesting. The first is a real period piece, I estimate from the 1920's. The second does not include my grandfather but does show that women also participated. The third is pictorially an echo of the one thumbnailed at the right.

News clipping regarding the admission of Hugh Samuel King as a Serving Brother in the Order of St. John of Jerusalem

In 1943 Hugh was registered as a Lay Instructor, competent to lecture on first aid. In 1945 he was admitted as a serving brother. War restrictions meant there was no ceremony and his insignia was limited to a piece of black riband.

Photograph on the appointment of Hugh Samuel King as Divisional Superintendent of the Southall Ambulance Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade in 1950

By 1950 the language of the Brigade, as seen in Hugh's promotion to Divisional Superintendent, had evolved to juniors being described as subordinate, not inferior. My grandparents moved to Portsmouth in 1959. If he hadn't already ceased active service I imagine that marked the end of his work for The Brigade.

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