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This certificate was given to Miss Elizabeth Harriet Edwards by the British Red Cross Society on the 7th of August 1940 to attest that she has successfully passed her examination in Home Nursing. The document is made of paper and measures 9”x7”. It is printed, with personal information and signatures handwritten, with a printed border of Greek-style columns drawn on the left and on the right, and decorative banners on the upper and lower part of the document, with botanical motifs. The upper banner includes the text “The British Red Cross Society” under a crown motif, whereas the lower banners include names of Commonwealth countries where the British Red Cross Society operated: West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Australia, Canada, and Newfoundland. The Certificate was donated to Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales in Cardiff by Miss E.H. Edwards.

Miss Elizabeth Harriet Edwards, known as Hettie Edwards, worked as a librarian first at the National Library Wales and then at the National Museum of Wales, where she worked from 1931 until 1970. She also served as Chairman of the Welsh Branch of the Library Association and was President-elect of the Cardiff Naturalists’ Society. She interrupted her work as a librarian during the Second World War, when she volunteered as a nurse in the British Red Cross Society. During her service as a nurse she was awarded several certificates for home nursing and first aid, as well as a proficiency badge for her third first-aid examination.

The British Red Cross Society and the Order of St John formed the Joint War Organisation, offering extensive services for the sick and wounded, for prisoners of war and for civilians needing relief as a result of enemy action, at home and abroad. The joint organisation created ambulance departments for the transportation of the wounded, established convalescent homes and auxiliary hospitals, sometimes in private properties across the UK. During the summer and autumn of 1940, when the German Aerial Forces launched a major aerial bombing campaign against the United Kingdom, known commonly as the Battle of Britain, the Red Cross volunteers drove ambulances, carried stretchers and rescued people from buildings that had been demolished by bombs. They manned first aid posts in the London Underground stations that were being used as air raid shelters. The Red Cross gave out food, medical supplies, blankets and clothing to people in town halls, emergency rest centres and hospitals. The Red Cross also dispatched food parcels to British prisoners of war abroad and helped to search for information on servicemen reported wounded or missing.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, F69.389/2

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