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On this day: the original St John Ambulance first aid manual and pocket guideSt John Ambulance first aid guide

We look back at some of our original printed first aid advice publications

30 October 1878

139 years ago St John Ambulance published its original first aid advice manual - Aids for Cases of Injuries and Sudden Illness [1]. It was written by Surgeon-Major Peter Shepherd for the Metropolitan Police and ambulance services, organised by St John Ambulance. The manual was extremely successful and sold more than 20,000 copies within two years.

Before his death, Surgeon-Major Peter Shepherd also wrote Aids for First Help to Injured, a "pocket aide-memoir" which was very similar to our modern day first aid advice guide. It was originally produced for troops fighting in the Zulu war. It was later reprinted again for St John Ambulance members. [2]


Today at St John Ambulance we are still producing lots of useful materials full of first aid advice. Our free first aid guide provides first aid knowledge at your fingertips. The pocket-sized guide is perfect for keeping in your wallet or handbag – you never know when you might need it. We also have a free baby first aid guide.

Our ever popular First Aid Manual is now in its 10th edition. It’s our most up to date, fully packed and comprehensive guide to first aid.



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[1] Fletcher, N.C. The St John Ambulance Association: Annals of the Ambulance Department. (Hertford: Stephen Austin & Sons, Ltd. 1949), 19.

[2] Fletcher, The St John Ambulance Association, 19.