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The Duke of Edinburgh unveils Guinea Pig Club monument

Published 2 November 2016

The Duke of Edinburgh has unveiled a monument in recognition of the Guinea Pig Club - a group of  British and Allied Airmen who underwent pioneering plastic surgery after suffering devastating burns injuries during World War Two.

The monument, at the National Memorial Arboretum, will act as a permanent place for families to visit to remember their wartime contribution.

The Guinea Pig Club, established in 1941, was a social club and mutual support network for British and allied aircrew injured during World War II. Its membership was made up of patients of Archibald McIndoe at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, Sussex, who had undergone experimental reconstructive plastic surgery, generally after receiving burns injuries in aircraft. The club remained active after the end of the war, and its annual reunion meetings continued until 2007.

The Guinea Pig Club comprised of 649 patients in all, and some of 17 remaining patients still alive today attended the unveiling ceremony.