Anne Wisla Anna Wisla, 1920s

Anne Wisla escaped from Nazi Germany to London in 1939, where she became a dedicated St John Cadet.

With the Cadets, Anne learnt skills particular to first aid in wartime, like anti-gas precautions. ‘I couldn't get into the armed forces because of my nationality at that time. And when the little newspaper cuts appeared and some of the girls at school said, “Look, they want to form a Cadet division for St John,” I was the first one there. We had to learn all the possible gases and the anti-personnel bombs and things like that.

At the various first aid posts, and de-gassing stations; they had special stations where – if there had been a gas attack or anything like that – they cleaned everybody up and made them free of gas and contamination. They had these decontamination stations all over the place where the people who had to do the decontamination could get exercise and practice on how to do these things, and so as Cadets we acted as their patients. As a Cadet during wartime, you had a common purpose with your adults and with everybody else.’

Source: Museum of the Order of St John


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