St. John Ambulance

St. John Ambulance

St. John Ambulance is the name of over 40 affiliated international organisations which teach and provide first aid and emergency medicine and are primarily staffed by over 500,000 volunteers worldwide. The associations are overseen by the international Order of St John and its priories (national branches).

The first such organisation to be founded was the St John Ambulance Association, which was founded in 1877 in England. Its first uniformed first-aiders were founded in 1887 as the St John Ambulance Brigade.

The Order of St John’s logo contains the eight-pointed Maltese Cross as the essential identifier. Like the Order, St John Ambulance associations accept members of all religions. Their geographic organisation differs from the Order, and they have to contend with the differing national laws, medical practices and cultures of countries. As a result, the role and organisation of St John Ambulance varies by country.

The first St John Centre in Zimbabwe was established in 1925 to teach first aid to railway staff in Bulawayo. In 1950, Sir John Kennedy, Governor of Southern Rhodesia, laid the foundation stone of the headquarters building in King’s Crescent, Salisbury. The Commandery was declared constituted on May 7th 1952. Not soon after, St John Ambulance Zambia began its work in Zambia.

In 1962 under the Trustees Incorporation Act of Malawi, St John Malawi was registered as a non-profit trust. It is a member of the Non-Governmental organisations in Malawi. The headquarters of St John Malawi is in Limbe, on the outskirts of Blantyre.


  • James Gavin