During the Second World War a group of young men – mostly RAF aircrew who survived fiery crashes – formed a social club during their long recoveries and called themselves The Guinea Pig Club, in honour of the experimental treatments of pioneering plastic surgeon, Sir Archibald McIndoe. The RAF Benevolent Fund is proud to have supported The Guinea Pig Club since its inception and has provided assistance to many of its members over the years. Here, we tell the story of the Club, the Guinea Pig Club members, and Sir Archibald.
July 20 marks the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the Guinea Pig Club, a group of mainly Second World War allied airmen who suffered life-changing burns injuries during the conflict.
Doug Vince was 22 when his Stirling Bomber was shot down by a German aircraft. He suffered extensive burns when he freed himself from the wreckage and was subsequently treated at East Grinstead Hospital by Sir Archibald McIndoe.