The Eight Pointed Cross

British Order of St. John, founded in the 1830s, was inspired by the Hospitallers and used the same symbols. In 1888 the symbol was embellished by the addition of lions and unicorns. These are the supporters of the Royal coat-of-arms, and their use was a special grant by Queen Victoria, who made the Order of St. John an Order of Chivalry that year. The points were given meanings, each associated with the qualities of a good First Aider:

  1. Observant (“that he may note the causes and signs of injury”)
  2. Tactful (“that he may without thoughtless questions learn the symptoms and history of the case, and secure the confidence of the patients and bystanders”)
  3. Resourceful (“That he may use to the best advantage whatever is at hand to prevent further damage, and to assist Nature’s efforts to repair the mischief already done”)
  4. Dextrous (“that he may handle a patient without causing unnecessary pain, and use appliances efficiently and neatly”)
  5. Explicit (“that he may give clear instructions to the patient or the bystanders how best to assist him”)
  6. Discriminating (“that he may decide which of several injuries presses most for treatment by himself, what can best be left for the patient or bystanders to do, and what should be left for the medical men”)
  7. Persevering (“that he may continue his efforts, though not at first successful.”)
  8. Sympathetic (“that he may give real comfort and encouragement to the suffering”)

The colour white represents purity and each arm of the Cross represents a virtue:

  • Prudence – carefulness
  • Justice – doing the right thing by people
  • Temperance – moderate behaviour
  • Fortitude – courage