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Poster to recruit blood donors during the Second World War, England, 1943

The Emergency Blood Transfusion Service used this poster to encourage volunteers in England to give blood. The poster reads “If He Should Fall Is Your Blood There to Save Him?”. The vast numbers of casualties during the Second World War meant there was a constant demand for blood supplies for the then quite new technique of storing blood for transfusion in blood banks. By 1944, there were 900 centres set up for blood donors. The Emergency Blood Transfusion Service also collected blood to help civilian casualties of air raids. The first British blood bank had been set up in Ipswich, England, in 1937, but it was not until 1946 that the National Blood Service was established. This poster was designed by Abram Games (1914-96), a graphic designer who was appointed as official war poster designer in 1942.

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    Glossary: poster

    Notice, usually printed on paper, intended to be posted to advertise, promote, or publicise an activity, cause, product, or service; also, decorative, mass-produced prints intended for hanging.

    Glossary: blood donation

    The donation of blood for the purposes of transfusion or testing.

    Glossary: blood transfusion

    An injection of healthy, donated blood into a patient to raise his or her number of red blood cells. The blood is matched according to type (A, B, O, AB).