Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Harry’s tribute to war veterans who acted as plastic surgery guinea pigs

The Duke of Sussex paid tribute to the Guinea Pig Club (Victoria Jones/PA)
The Duke of Sussex paid tribute to the Guinea Pig Club (Victoria Jones/PA)

The Duke of Sussex has appeared on the BBC’s The One Show to pay tribute to an inspirational band of badly burned Second World War airmen and their modern day counterparts.

Harry took part in a Zoom call as part of a special film to highlight the “incredibly uplifting” tale of The Guinea Pig Club and how it inspired the Casevac Club for seriously injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.

The Guinea Pig Club was established in 1941 to support young airmen with devastating injuries and took its name from the experimental treatment they received.

The men contributed to the development of plastic surgery after going under the knife in the early days of the pioneering procedures, and they also challenged the existing perception that disabilities were life-limiting and went on to mentor new generations of burns victims.

Harry chatted to Maggie Wilson, widow of former Guinea Pig Second Lieutenant Sandy Saunders, and Andy Perry, whose late father Jack Perry was also part of the Club, as well as David Wiseman and Dave Henson, who founded the Casevac Club.

The duke, who is now based in LA, said: “Those individuals that signed up, chose to serve, then had life changing injuries, they didn’t stop there, that’s why its incredibly impressive, but yet at the same time it’s so incredibly uplifting.”

He chose to highlight both clubs when asked to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day by The One Show.

Harry
The Duke of Sussex on The One Show (Screengrab/PA)

“On days like this, that’s why it’s so important to remember the Guinea Pig Club, and to look forward to everything that the CASEVAC Club is going to achieve as well,” he said.

Mr Perry told the duke how the club created a “sense of belonging, fighting through adversity” for his father.

The flight engineer underwent 31 operations after being injured in a Halifax bomber crash in 1944.

The Guinea Pigs were treated for their burns at East Grinstead’s Queen Victoria Hospital by visionary surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe.

Dr Saunders, who was later inspired to become a GP, was badly burnt in a RAF crash in 1945.

He suffered 40 per cent burns to his face, legs and hands and needed new upper and lower eyelids, a nose and a mouth, and was sent to see Sir Archibald after his skin grafts failed.

Mrs Wilson chatted to Harry about how Sir Archibald told Sandy he would give him a new “mouth so he could kiss the girls”.

The duke also spoke to former Invictus captain David Wiseman about how they were inspired to set up the new club.

“There are guys in the Casevac Club who are walking around today, and it’s only thanks to advances in battlefield medicine that they survived their injuries,” Wiseman said.

“Again, offering our bodies up like the Guinea Pigs, we can help advance understanding about traumatic injury and help people in the future.”

The Casevac Club – pronounced cazzy-vack which is a military phrase meaning Casualty Evacuation – was set up in 2017 and Harry backed its establishment through the Royal Foundation.

The programme was broadcast on BBC Two because of a BBC News Special on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s press conference.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]