Collection AR179 - Norbury Manor School First Aid Post, Commandants Log

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Norbury Manor School First Aid Post, Commandants Log


  • 1942 -1944 (Creation)

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4 items

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(1942 -1944)

Administrative history

The documents formerly belonged to Mr Percy Oswald Douglas (1888 - 1967), Voluntary Commandant of Norbury Manor School First Aid Post 1939 - 1944.

First Aid posts were established for the treatment of minor injuries and were a supplement to hospitals, freeing them for major casualties. The commandants of the posts all belonged to the British Red Cross Society or the St John Ambulance Brigade and initially left their own employment to take whole-time charge. There were usually around 20 full-time personnel at each post, both men and women who served full time or voluntarily part-time. To each post doctors were attached, who made routine visits and attended on the warning.

Norbury Manor post had windows and shutters broken and the telephone wires put out of action on April 16th 1942. During the first two years of the war, Norbury Manor post treated 50 casualties.

Percy Oswald Douglas was the tenth child of Walter Joseph Douglas, carpenter and joiner, and his wife Elizabeth. They had fifteen children, of whom thirteen lived to adulthood. For most of his life, and certainly after the death of his parents, he appears to have acted as the nucleus of the family, and its chief correspondant.

He began his career as an office boy at The Lady weekly magazine in 1903, working in th eoffice which it still occupies at 39 - 40 Bedford Street, Strand, London WC2. He eventually retired as Company Secretary of the same firm in 1956. He had a strong interest in medical and first-aid matters, dating well before 1914. When the 1914 - 18 war came, he was deemed unfit for military service, as one leg was a little shorter tha the other, the result (probably) of tuberculosis in childhood. He served nevertheless with the Red Cross on the Western Front from 1915 onwards. A few months before the end of the war he married his wife: a wonderful partnership. Perhaps in consequence of his own experience with a massive family, he had only one child.

As the Second World War approached, he was active in Air Raid Precautions (ARP) matters, and when war came he became Commandant of the First Aid Post at Norbury Manor School. This was a very large First Aid Post, and his work was entirely voluntary.

During the war, there were a great many air raid alerts, mostly at night, and quite a lot of casualties in the area, for Norbury was situated in Bomb Alley. His home was about half a mile from the First Aid Post, and he did not have a telephone - though he could have arranged for one if he had wished. Fortunately there was a public telephone very close to the house, which minimised the number of trips he needed to make on foot to the First Aid Post The commandants Log gives some idea of the work which was necessary.

Throughout his period as Commandant, he continued in all the ordinary duties of his job in London, the care of his wife and his son (and dog), his interest in his family and his garden. War or no war, he kept his garden in exemplary condition. The lawn was his special pride but it was reduced in size to permit the production of vegetables, on the Dig for Victory principle.

Archival history

Donor is the son of Mr Percy Douglas.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Accession Number: A929

Norbury Manor School First Aid Post, Commandants Log

Norbury Manor School First Aid Post: Commandants Log Books

1) 17 July 1942 - 09 March 1943

2) 11 March 1943 - 29 December 1944 when post became inoperative. The log also includes much contemporary correspondence including a note from the staff and signed by them on 30 December 1944 to commemorate their years of service under Mr Douglas.

3) 3 badges

4) Additional batch of instructions and letters received January 2009.

Item date: 1942 -1944

Accession date: 6/12/2007

Custodial history: Donor is the son of Mr Percy Douglas. A detailed biographical note has been included with the collection.

Acquisition terms: Donation

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Log books covering the period July 1942 until the post became inoperative in December 1944. Also included is much contemporary correspondence including a note signed from the staff on 30 December 1944 to commemorate their years of service under Mr Douglas. In addition There are three badges owned by Mr Douglas. Also included is a biography written by his son, Dr Roy Douglas

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  • English

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