First Aid Post, Vaughan Road
Memories of a Red Cross volunteer in the Second World War
I have very happy memories of time spent in this building, now the library, when it was used as a First Aid Post during the 2nd World War. I was a young Red Cross volunteer, one of a number who helped to man it. The Post was manned day and night with a minimum of three members on duty at one time. We dealt with minor injuries, accidents, out patients, blood donor sessions, Army clinics etc. Occasionally we joined forces with the Civil Defence, Home Guard and other services on exercises to test our efficiency.
Training was also given on the premises, in First Aid, nursing, and dealing with Gas casualties. The showers in the Gas cleansing section were frequently used by Army personnel billeted in Harpenden. Any spare (!) time was spent making camouflage nets.
Members from the Police Station opposite (mostly Specials) often popped in to see that all was well, and to have a cuppa in the canteen.
My duty times were usually Saturday afternoon and all Monday night. On a Monday evening my friend, also a member, and I would cycle down to either the Regent or Austral Cinema and during the programme would eat our sandwiches, or whatever our supper consisted of. At the end of the programme we would cycle up to the First Aid Post for our night “on duty”. In the morning after having breakfast in the canteen we would go straight off to our work for the day.
These were very happy and rewarding times and very valuable skills were learned