St JOHN’S AMBULANCE BRIGADE
It was in April 1882 that a Public Meeting was held at the Drill Hall in Dowlais for the purpose of establishing a centre in connection with the St. John’s Ambulance Association. Fochriw, being closely connected with Dowlais, was also involved and, it would seem, that men from Fochriw attended the classes, initially at Dowlais. However, in 1898, the Fochriw Ambulance Corps was founded by Fochriw’s doctor, Dr. Eleazer Davies
Success in competitions were reported with the Fochriw squad in August 1902 winning the chief prize of £5 out of seven teams competing at Pontypridd, and in April 1903 getting the first prize at the Mountain Ash Eisteddfod.
It was not until 23 May 1906 that the Division in Fochriw was registered with the St John’ Ambulance Association by Dr J.M. Jones, Divisional Surgeon with Mr W. J. Ballard as Divisional Superintendant.
The Divisions throughout the Rhymney Valley were often started by a local Doctor, with the majority of members working in the local pit or on the railway line. Many of the Divisions met on a Sunday morning in the waiting rooms on the station, with the Station Master keeping the fires burning solely for that purpose.
During June 1908 a new Ambulance Brigade Drill Hall was opened at Fochriw by Mr. F. A. Gray, Chief Inspector of Mines. It was a gift of Messrs Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds, Ltd., the colliery owners. The village was gaily decorated, flags and streamers floating from nearly all the houses. The hall, which was capable of seating nearly 200 people, was built by Mr. William Walters, Dowlais, from designs by Mr. Vaughan, mechanical engineer, Dowlais,
July 1911 saw the Fochriw Division well represented at the Investiture of HRH the Prince of Wales at Caernarvon, one officer and ten men having volunteered for duty. They also attended for duty at Bangor and Aberystwyth, and they were able to render first day to many who were in sore need. They were given the most responsible station at the investiture - the Castle Square - in conjunction with Troedyrhiw and Cefn sections, along with six nursing sisters, all under the superintendence of Mr. W. J. Ballard. The place was very crowded, and several people fainted, the heat being terrific. This was also the case at Bangor and Aberystwyth.
A new Ambulance Station was opened during June 1912. The Station was situated in a convenient place near the colliery and was very commodious and excellently built. It consisted of a coach-house, and a first-aid dressing room, containing all the requisites for dressing any injury. It was beautifully fitted out with baths, bowls and hot and cold supply. The rooms were well finished and furnished with table, chairs and forms for the convenience of those who accompany the