The St. John Ambulance Brigade, Laindon Division

These are Dave Peck's recollections of his time in Laindon

With his parents, older sister and younger brother, Dave moved to Laindon from London in 1951 to a bungalow called “Cotswold” in Buller Road. This house was later demolished to make way for the new houses that were built when Devonshire Road was further developed and extended southwards in the 1950s’.

Cotswold – Buller Road

Dave and his younger brother in the back garden

Being a new boy on the block and being encouraged by school friend Donald Tyler he joined the Laindon Division of the St. John Amulance Brigade in 1952.

      Don & Dave           Don & Dave on parade

With many other young like minded people from the area they were kept busy at the St. John Ambulance Headquarters on the A127 Arterial Road  on the London bound  side west of The Fortune of War roundabout. Dave left Laindon School in 1953 but continued involvement in his love of first aid throughout his life.

Laindon & District Headquarters on south side of Southend Arterial Rd (A127)

Ready for Inspection

Being Inspected

Inspection proceeds

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Celebrations

Many cadets from Laindon and the surrounding areas joined other cadets from around the world at the Stubbers Summer Camp in Ockendon in 1953.

Frank Price (Grays)Don Tyler (Laindon)Denis Parker (Grays)Dave Peck (Laindon)_______?
_______?_______?Barry Cutler (Laindon)

Kit Inspection

Kit Inspection

Striking Camp

Last to Leave

Dave has given us a list of people he remembers at the time he spent at The St. John Brigade here in Laindon

  • Jack Lambert –  Superintendant.
  • Ted Powell – Divisional Officer (who took over from Jack later).
  • Ron Cutler – Sergeant.
  • Ted Root.
  • John Ross – Cadet Superintendent.
  • Henry Vine – Ambulance member.
  • Tommy Brown – Ambulance member.
  • Vera & Sylvia Frost – Nursing Cadets.
  • Sheila Gregory.
  • Peter Brooks
  • David Jenkins (he lived in Victoria Road)
  • Norman Gilson.

Do you remember any more members?

Front Row

Johnny RossColonel Page?____ CareyDave Peck_______Vera Frost

Do you know what’s going on?

Elsie Finch on a cold parade

Annual Dinner we believe in 1952 at the British Legion Hall?

Dave related that driver Henry Vine and Tommy Brown were apparently the first ambulance to arrive on Canvey Island  in 1953 when the disasterous floods started. They both went on to receive a Serving Brothers Award for their assistance and bravery in the tragedy.

The St. John Ambulance staff then, as now, were called to do various duties around the county, attending Speedways, Fetes, Football Matches, Carnivals and many other public events.

Cuttings indicating St John involvement in events

Southend Carnival

Dave married Margaret Ann Camp in 1961 and went on to have two daughters and a son. Margaret’s father was Sergeant Bernard Camp stationed at Laindon Police Station. He also remembers a Police Sergeant Reid and PC Wilfred Reed serving at the same station in Laindon High Road.

Dave Peck went on to do 43 years service in total for the St. John Ambulance Brigade. He moved to the Southend Division where he rose to the position of Acting Superintendent. Over the years he enjoyed doing competitions and won many awards thoughout his time in the force. He was also a First Aid Instructor.

Dave being made a Serving Brother of St John

Press cutting of award

Among some of the duties he was involved in were:-

  • The Ilford Poll Tax Riots
  • Prince Charles and Diana’s Wedding
  • Southend Police Duties
  • Caretaker Deputy Superintendant of Southend
  • Teaching First Aid to the public and Life Boat Crews
  • Adult Industrial first aid at Chelmsford St. John Headquarters.

Dave promotion

The pictures Dave has allowed us to put on the site are from his own personal collection.

Do you have any photos from this time or know any names of the locals in any of the pictures above?

Please feel free to add any comments or memories.

Comments about this page

Add your own comment

  • Hello Dave, I was most interested in your story and the photos of the St. John’s cadets and other members. The years of service you have given are most impressive. My father like you devoted a lot of time and energy to the Brigade and recruited many new members. After his death there was a memorial plaque to him in the headquarters on the Arterial Road. You can also see him and my mother in your photo of the annual dinner 1952 right at the back on the righthand side. Thanks so much for drawing our attention to the St. John’s Ambulance Brigade and the valuable part you played in it.

    By Shakun Banfield (née Chowdhary) (31/08/2011)
  • Hello Dave, I am really delighted to see all your pictures of St John’s and amazed to find a photo of me amongst them – standing at the door of St John’s House! I have been looking for evidence of my time as a nursing cadet there, up to now with no success. I do not remember this picture being taken but it is definitely me.

    Do you have any more? Would you mind if I used that picture in a short history of my life in Plotlands that I am writing, mainly for my family? Other nursing cadets were Jenny Reed (PC Reed’s daughter) and Molly Smith. Do contact.

    Editor: My wife Patsy (née Tyler) and I are in touch with Dave and will ensure he gets your comment.

    By Pat Smith (née Franklin) (30/08/2011)
  • Hi David, What memories, here are a few more names to add to the list of SJAB members I know in time I shall remember a lot more especially after I have looked out a few photographs so how about these Eric Nash, Ken Francis, Henry Vine, Dorothy Brown née Vine, Harry Wilkes, Laurie Cuttler, Audrey Cuttler  née Hoare, Sylvia Hoare, Margaret Hoare, Barry Cuttler, Hazel Shrimpton née Cuttler, Peggy Root, Gwen Root, Jock Lynch, Bill Comber and his daughter. Perhaps you rember these?

    By Janet Gadd (née Cuttler) (30/06/2011)
  • Hi, in looking through your photos, in number 14, the christian name of the lady named —-Carey, is Alma. Her father owned a local woodyard in Laindon High Road. I was also a member of St John and spent many enjoyable duties at the Rayleigh motorbike track, and the point to point in Dunton. It was also great to be able to be on duty at the Radion Cinema, we even got a free ice cream!! Incidently, before the unit bought the St John House on the Arteriel Road, we used to meet at the hall behind the Manor Mission. Good days, they were and prompted me to become a nurse. All the best with your memories. Regards, Mary

    By Mary Saunderson (née Luton) (21/05/2011)

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