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.I LOCAL INTELLIGENCE

SHARPS AND FLATS.I

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The British Red Cross Society. MEETING AT MERTHYR. j THE S0CTUCY AND HOME DEFENCE. ("1 Tn-f-tiuy night a meeting was held at • ho Town Merthyr, at which His Worship the Mayer presided. The meeting had been called by the Mayoress (Mrs. F. T. James), with the object of hearing an address by Dr. Lynn Thomas, C.B.. of Cardiff, on the objects and aims of the R.C. Society. There was a very large and interested gathering of townspeople, The Mayor, in introducing the speaker, sa-id that the learned lecturer would lay before them the object of the meeting, and he felt sure they would agree with him that the Socidv was de. serving of their enthusiastic support, having re- gard to the fact that its aims were to relieve suffering and to assist the authorities in pro- viding means for Home Defence by helping in the new Territorial scheme. Dr. Lynn Thomas, at the outset, said it had b?en recognised in every civilised country that when an army was opNating within its own territory, the general population could mater- ially assist the fighting force. When an army proceeded abroad, it necessarily carried with it an enlisted establishment, whose function, amongst other things, was the care of the sick and wounded. Support could be usually ex- pected from the general population of the coun- try in which the war was in progress. The Territorials were maintained for hoipe defence, and he was anxious to impress upon them from the beginning that there was no difference be- tween the two forces. The sick and wounded were precisely tha same in each of them. Whether there be preparation in times of peace or not, under the circumstances connected with military operations at home, the population of the various villages, towns, and cities will be required to assist in the care and distribution of the sick and wounded in time of national danger. The exact locality in which great events would take place could not be foretold. They would take place suddenly, and would assume enormous magnitude in a moment. The conditions demanded that these events should be met, and all were agreed that a patriotic attempt should be made to meet them. There should be a perfect system, for the relief of the sick end wounded of the Territorial Force had a military as well as a hurr-anitarian value. The gene;al staff at the War Office were anxious to awake an interest among the civi por;:¡1a.t.ion of this pressing need. and the Bntish Red Cross Society had undertaken the task. The organ; ation of the Red Cross Society, like the- Terri- torials, WPS on a county system. The scheme which had been devised depended for its sue- i cess upon the sympathy, the goodwill ,and the patriotism of the people. It was proposed to establish in villages and towns Voluntary Aid Detachments, so that members of the Volun- tary Aid Detachment, having obtained an initial knowledge of first-aid and nursing could be definitely trained in the adaptation of that knowledge to the art of war. IN THE EVENT OF WAR. The lecturer illustrated his remarks with Ian- tern slides, and in a diagram showed the posi- tion and the work that would be expected of the Red Cross Society, acting with a force in the field during active operations. The R.A. M.C., as the regulars attached to the military, j would take their place and near the fighting line. The sick and wounded would be brought down and conveyed to the field hospitals, and here the Red Cross Society would take them in charge and carry out the duties of transfer- j ring them by stages to the base hospitals. This would entail a vast amount of labour and or- ganization. It was, ho said, of primary im- portance that members of the Voluntary Aid Detachments should know their work. All the plans and places for receiving sick, etc., must bs arranged beforehand. A number of car- penters would have to be attached to each section for rigging temporary shelters, etc. Women must know how to properly cook invalid foods, how to roll bandages, and pre- pare splints. The neighbouring chemists must join and give their aid and their knowledge in preparing dressings, solutions, etc. Local doc- tors must not withhold their skill, but all would depend upon training and organization. In a district like Merthyr and Dowlais, many hun- dreds passed through the admirable training of the St. John Ambulance, and all those persons were qualified to help on the work of the Society. In the event of war, the work of the St. John Ambulance Corps would merge with the British Red Cross Society. The British Red Cross Society was recognised as the re- sponsible organization for the work. All stores and equipment woulK be found by the War Offioe. and they would be mobilised on the same lines a., the Territorial Army. There was ¡ no rivalry between that splendid body, the St. I John Ambulance Association, and the British Red Cross Society. The St. John Ambulanoe furnished the best training ground possible for forming the Voluntary Aid Detachment of the British Red Cross Society. Each detachment would serve in its own district. The committee of the county branch would form the local Vol- untary Aid Detachment, and the heads of each detachment would undertake the training of the unit and the development of local plans. It must be a well-trained body; the system I would stand or fall by the efficiency of the de tachment. The learned lecturer gave an inter- I esting account of the work of the Society in South Africa, and said 3Q per cent. of our I casualties in South Africa were due to prevent- ive diseases, and lack of ambuiance organiza- tions and skill. He alluded, to the wonderful ¡ work of the Japanese in their recent war, and II the low percentage of deaths from disease in that campaign—all due to their wonderful hos- pital arrangements, and sick and wounded or- ganizationsr The lecturer shewed a number of views of different carts and wheeled vehicles used in transporting the sick and wounded, also numerous slides on the South African War, including a number illustrating- the Welch Hos- pital. LOCAL BRANCH TO BE FORMED. At the close of Dr. Lynn Thomas's address Mr. Herbert Lewis, in a clear and earnest speech, urged upon them to take the work up. training they would find necessary to fit them for joining would h ofimmenoo service to them in a district like Merthyr. They were surrounded with dangers and accidents almost daily, and if they were trained, they could at any moment render first-aid and who knew, perhaps be the means of saving life and much suffering without the horror of war ever enter- j incc into it at ail. Mr. William Griffiths, Pencaemawr, proposed that a branch of the Society be formed in Mer- thyr. lIe said he was su-re that what Mrs. James took in hand would be carried through successfully. He had much pleasure in propos- ing that a loc-iI branch be formed, Councillor H. M. Lloyd seconded, and said they oouid very well copy the Boy Scouts' motto—"Be prepared." There was a splendid field in Merthyr and Dowlais for excellent work, and a large number of the St. John Am- buJance members would, he felt sure, give it their heartv support. j The motion was carried, and the Mayor then proposed a vote of thanks to lecturer, which was seconded by Dr. H. Lewis Hughes, Dowlais.—Miss Alice Harrap was elected honor- ary secretary of the local branch.—Hearty votes of thanks were accorded to the Mayor and Mayoress for arranging the meeting, which ter- minated so successfully. It costs nothing to join the Society, but members of the detach- ment must be "qualified in first-aid or home nursing. Any person interested can Obtain a circular or leaflet from Miss Alice Harrap, the hon. secretary of the local branch.

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