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The Guinea Pig Club

    The Guinea Pig Club was formed in 1941 to support aircrew who were undergoing reconstructive plastic surgery after receiving burn injuries in the Second World War. Visit our Guinea Pig Club site.

  • Plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe
    The pioneering plastic surgeon who restored the minds and bodies of Allied aircrew

    Born in New Zealand in 1900, Sir Archibald McIndoe was destined to be a gifted and talented surgeon. By the outbreak of the Second World War, there were only four fully experienced plastic surgeons in Great Britain – Sir Archibald being one.

  • Image by Guinea Pig Magazine 1983
    The Guinea Pig Club: a lasting legacy

    The Guinea Pigs were a unique band of RAF airman who paid a heavy price while serving for their country during the Second World War. Sometimes burned beyond recognition, with life-changing injuries, they battled disability and discrimination to go on to lead fulfilling lives.

  • The Guinea Pig Club enjoying a break at the RAF Benevolent Fund's respite care home
    Standing shoulder to shoulder with The Guinea Pig Club

    Since The Guinea Pig Club's founding in 1941, the RAF Benevolent Fund has stood shoulder to shoulder with the airmen who were so badly disfigured during the course of the war, providing welfare and financial assistance when needed.

  • East Grinstead statue
    The town that didn't stare

    Crucial to the recovery of many of Sir Archibald McIndoe's Guinea Pigs was the ability to walk freely into the local community without fear. Many had suffered horrific burns and disfigurements but Sir Archibald was determined that these young airmen would not be hidden away from public gaze.

  • Desmond O'Connell
    "They asked my mother where they should bury me"

    Flying Officer Desmond O'Connell was just 19-years-old when he joined the RAF as a Volunteer Reserve before the war started. Aged 21, his unit was sent to sink the Bismarck, a mission that would see him become one of the founding members of The Guinea Pig Club.

  • Andrew and Jack Perry
    Father, friend, mentor and Guinea Pig!

    Some will know Jack Perry as the youngest member of The Guinea Pig Club, but to his son, Andrew Perry, Jack is his mentor, friend and above all else, Dad!

  • Alan & Ella Morgan
    Even devastating war injuries couldn't keep teenaged sweethearts apart

    Alan and Ella Morgan met as teenagers and promised to wait for each other during the Second World War - 72 years later they are still enjoying married life.

  • Arthur John Banham with RAF colleagues
    The lucky Arthur John Banham

    Arthur John Banham joined the RAF in 1935 and at the start of the Battle of Britain flew the Boulton Paul Defiant.

  • Guinea Pigs
    Guinea Pigs gather to celebrate friendship and innovation

    Enduring friendship and camaraderie borne out of shared experiences has bound a unique group of military veterans for more than 70 years. This week they gathered at Princess Marina House for a gala dinner.

  • Guinea Pig Club members at the unveiling of statue honouring Sir Archibald McIndoe
    Statue unveiled for WWII surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe

    The RAF Benevolent Fund's Public Relations Officer Samantha Budde joined WWII veterans and HRH Princess Anne this week for a special ceremony to unveil a statue in honour of pioneering surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe and his 'Guinea Pigs'. Samantha tells us more.

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