Red Cross history recorded

AN INVALUABLE history of the British Red Cross over a period of nearly 100 years in the Woodbridge area will bring back memories for many people associated with the organisation.

AN INVALUABLE history of the British Red Cross over a period of nearly 100 years in the Woodbridge area will bring back memories for many people associated with the organisation.

Dorothy Kellogg, who has been involved with the Red Cross for more than 60 years, has compiled a 250-page history of Woodbridge and 62 villages from 1910.

The Suffolk branch of the British Red Cross Society was started by the Marquis of Bristol in 1909 and a year later the Woodbridge and district branch was founded by Robert Carthew.

Mrs Kellogg's book recalls: “Training was given in first aid as well as Home Nursing for the women and examinations set. Melton and the surrounding villages became involved and gave great support.

“The courses were difficult but they gave members the ability to work in hospitals, wearing the Red Cross emblem.

“Members could hardly have anticipated their involvement so soon when the Great War, as it was called, broke out on 2 August 1914.

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“During that first week of August 1914 the South Eastern Mounted Brigade-Royal Army Medical Corps opened a hospital of one hundred beds at the Grammar School (now the Woodbridge School).

“It will amaze us today that during the Great War the Woodbridge Detachments were involved in the heavy work of setting up, one after the other, six different hospitals. Local people donated a lot of the equipment, such as the bedding, crockery and cooking utensils.”

A diary by Murial Shipman of the Great War says: “The hospital soon began to fill with casualties from the troops stationed around and we had some very serious cases of head injuries due to falls from horses, motor cycle accidents, cuts, fractures etc.”

Mrs Kellogg spent 18 months researching and interviewing for the book and she paid tribute to numerous people who made contributions

She said the book outlined “the story of the men and women of Woodbridge Red Cross whose hearts were sound and who wished to help their fellow man”.

“There is no doubt that these early members showed fortitude, strength and endurance in their work and, though not knowing it, laid the basis for the continuing work of the Woodbridge Red Cross that has gone on until the present time,” she said.

Donors and trusts have paid for the costs of the book, and the history recognises the major contribution made to the Red Cross by the Jacob family in Woodbridge.

Their generosity included a bequest which paid for an ambulance, now an exhibit in the Ipswich Transport Museum. The family held the Red Cross fete in the grounds of their home in Cumberland Street.

Mrs Kellogg joined the Red Cross in 1939. Her roles in the organisation included cadet officer, commandant, divisional secretary, instructor and centre organiser.

She was awarded the British Empire Medal in recognition of her work in leading the Claydon Red Cross at the 1953 Felixstowe floods. The Coronation Medal and Voluntary Medical Services Medal also followed.

Mrs Kellogg, of the Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, became centre organiser in 1984 in Woodbridge after retiring from the National Health Service. She finally retired from “active service” in 2002.

The book will be on sale at the Red Cross Fete which will be held at Rock Barracks on June 30 when the Royal Engineers have their first Open Day.

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