The Guinea Pig Club


A truly inspiring tale about the history of the Guinea Pig Club.

They called them the Guinea Pig Club: the British, Polish, and Czech airmen who were seriously burned in aeroplane fires, who braved experimental procedures that paved the way for modern reconstructive surgeries. Plastic surgery was in its infancy before the Second World War. The most rudimentary techniques were only known to a few surgeons worldwide. To the Allies’ tremendous fortune, the maverick surgeon Archibald McIndoe was operating at a small hospital in East Grinstead in the south of England.

McIndoe pioneered a new medical approach. Amid fierce arguments with his superiors, he set up a revolutionary treatment regime, uniquely concerned with the social environment — “holistic care.” His efforts rightly secured a place for him and the Guinea Pig Club as honoured heroes of the war.

For the first time, official records have been used to fully explain how and why this remarkable relationship developed between the Guinea Pig Club, the RAF, and the Home Front. First-person recollections bring to life the heroism of the airmen with incredible clarity.


The first authoritative investigation and analysis of a remarkable wartime phenomenon. . . undoubtedly a significant contribution.

Dr Paul Addison, author of The Burning Blue

Our feelings of debt to 'the Few' are redoubled by reading this marvellous story of courage, endurance and hope.

Nigel Jones, author of The War Walk

About the Authors

E.R. Mayhew

Posted by Kendra on March 27, 2018

E.R. Mayhew

E.R. Mayhew is a military medical historian and was the featured historian on a new documentary on the Guinea Pig Club, which was screened on BBC2. She was also an adviser on an award-winning Canadian documentary about the Club and a consultant on ITV’s award-winning drama Foyle’s War.