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Religions 2018, 9(5), 165;

The Friends’ Ambulance Unit in the First World War

International Relations and Graduate, University Cardenal Herrera CEU, Elche, 46115 Valencia, Spain
Received: 15 April 2018 / Revised: 6 May 2018 / Accepted: 17 May 2018 / Published: 19 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interdisciplinary Quaker Studies)
PDF [221 KB, uploaded 19 May 2018]


The Friends’ Ambulance Unit (FAU) was created shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. It was an attempt to provide young Friends (Quakers) with the opportunity to serve their country without sacrificing their religious principles. However, it was considered by some members to be in direct opposition to the Society’s fundamental religious tenets, and thus remained a cause of internal conflict throughout the war. Nevertheless, the civilian relief work that was carried out by the FAU early in the war, in the region of Flanders, aligned the unit’s activities much more closely with the religious principles of the Society. The FAU assisted thousands of civilians trapped in the besieged and battered town of Ypres, working intensively in the containment and treatment of the typhoid epidemic that swept the region, locating sufferers, providing them with medical care, and inoculating people against the disease. It helped in the purification of the town’s contaminated drinking water, and distributed milk for infants and food and clothing to the sick and needy. It helped found hospitals and orphanages, made provision for schooling, and organised gainful employment for refugees. View Full-Text
Keywords: Quaker; ambulance; pacifism; humanitarian aid; volunteers; First World War; Ypres Quaker; ambulance; pacifism; humanitarian aid; volunteers; First World War; Ypres
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Palfreeman, L. The Friends’ Ambulance Unit in the First World War. Religions 2018, 9, 165.

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