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Little Ruby Drawing

The story behind the iconic drawing of Little Ruby.

Little Ruby

St Dunstan's first Annual Report for 1915-1916 had on its front cover a drawing of a blinded soldier being led hand in hand by a small girl. The image became an iconic symbol for the charity and was used on emblems and days of commemoration.

What made this an even more powerful image was that the little girl actually existed and had a habit of leading the blinded veterans around the grounds of Regent's Park, the charity's first home.

Her name was Ruby (she became known as Little Ruby) and she was the daughter of William Smith, the Head Gardener of the estate. He was employed by Otto Khan to look after the grounds of the estate he generously loaned to  St Dunstan's, now Blind Veterans UK.

Raemaekers Little Ruby 2 Cropped (00000003)

From the age of three until she was nine, Ruby grew up as the only child among a community of young blinded veterans and sighted helpers.

Young as she was, Ruby understood the young men around her were blind and would run around the grounds befriending the nurses and blind veterans.

Ruby died on Christmas Day 2011 and to celebrate her early years of enriching the lives of blind veterans and the historic image she inspired, the Review magazine used the Little Ruby image on its March 2012 front page.

The original drawing was done by Louis Raemaekers, a Dutch cartoonist, known for his propaganda cartoons. It was later adapted into a more refined version of the drawing.

 Ruby Image