By E. R. Mayhew

The historical past of the Guinea Pig membership, the band of airmen who have been heavily burned in aircraft fires, is a really inspiring, spine-tingling story. cosmetic surgery used to be in its infancy prior to the second one global battle. the main rudimentary concepts have been merely identified to a couple surgeons around the globe. The Allies have been significantly lucky in having the maverick healthcare professional Archibald McIndoe – nicknamed ‘the Boss’ or ‘the Maestro’ – working at a small clinic in East Grinstead within the south of England.

McIndoe developed a clinical infrastructure from scratch. After arguing along with his superiors, he organize a innovative new therapy regime. Uniquely all in favour of the social surroundings, or ‘holistic care’, McIndoe additionally enlisted the aid of the neighborhood civilian inhabitants. He rightly secured his crew of sufferers – dubbed the Guinea Pig membership – an commemorated position in society as heroes of Britain’s war.

For the 1st time legitimate documents were used to provide an explanation for totally how and why this outstanding dating built among the Guinea Pig membership, the RAF and the house entrance. First-person memories deliver to lifestyles the heroism of the airmen with magnificent readability.

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Extra info for The Reconstruction of Warriors: Archibald McIndoe, the Royal Air Force and the Guinea Pig Club

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It was agreed that there was no acceptable alternative to this. R. mentioned that the Spitfire was well armoured in front, and its speed made it comparatively immune to attack from astern. HURRICANE AND DEFIANT The provision of self-sealing tanks on these aircraft would involve similar large reductions of fuel capacity. ’16 The meeting had opened with a firm statement of the RAF’s commitment to the principle of providing ‘self-sealing protection for 100 per cent of the fuel tanks’ of its aircraft.

H. L. D. J. Aslin 24 September H. H. W. J. S. V. F. Day J. F. Macphail 46 Squadron 312 Squadron 257 Squadron 17 Squadron 41 Squadron 238 Squadron 229 Squadron 41 Squadron 249 Squadron Hurricane Hurricane Hurricane Hurricane Spitfire Hurricane Hurricane Spitfire Hurricane 141 Squadron 236 Squadron 603 Squadron Defiant Hurricane Spitfire1 Later, some of those pilots told of their experiences in their burning fighters, some in published memoirs, some in the pages of The Guinea Pig magazine. Early in the battle Geoffrey Page was hit by bullets from a Dornier bomber when he was separated from the rest of his formation: ‘Surprise quickly changed to fear, and as the instinct of self-preservation began to take over, the gas tank behind the engine blew up, and my cockpit became an inferno.

In addition to the designated military casualties, all four were expecting to deal with the predicted mass civilian casualties of German bomber attacks. As few of Sir Archibald’s private papers survive there is no way of knowing when he became aware of the scale of the problem of burn injuries. His tenure at East Grinstead began quietly; he arrived to inspect the hospital before the outbreak of war and installed his own nursing and anaesthesia team A special ward, Ward III, had been set aside for his patients, but it was some time before he received his first RAF casualty, William Cruickshank who had been shot down by friendly fire in December 1939 and had burns to his legs and back.

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