Shocked by 40,000 dead and wounded left on the battlefield of Solferino in 1859, Swiss businessman Jean-Henri Dunant set about creating a society to provide medical relief in war. In 1863, the International Committee of the Red Cross was born, with its iconic protection symbol, followed by an international agreement – the original Geneva Convention – in 1864. (The Red Crescent followed in the Russo-Turkish War.)
In response to the Franco-Prussian war, the British public formed its society in 1870. The British Red Cross was central to medical provision between 1914 and 1918, as were its services on the battlefields and during the Blitz of the Second World War, while its parcels sustained prisoners of war and its medical teams were at the liberation of concentrations camps in 1945.
Now, it provides emergency crisis support overseas and first aid at UK public events, with its teams critical in the response to the Manchester and London terror attacks and Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.