The Ryder-Cheshire Foundation was founded in 1959 by the late Group Captain Lord Cheshire of Woodhall VC OM DSO DFC and the late Baroness Ryder of Warsaw CMG OBE. Leonard Cheshire was Britain’s most highly decorated WW2 airman and a British observer at the atomic bomb raid on Nagasaki. His reaction to the war led him to undertake humanitarian work as a contribution to peace. Sue Ryder served in the Special Operations Executive in WW2 with responsibilities in Poland. After seeing the terrible destruction she set up homes in Eastern Europe to help sick, disabled and destitute people, especially those from concentration camps.
In the years immediately following WW2, separate Sue Ryder and Leonard Cheshire Foundations were thus established. Subsequently Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder married, and set up the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation. It was in 1959 that their first combined home, Raphael, at Dehra Dun in northern India, was established. The couple visited Australia in order to gain support for the new home in India, and the Ryder-Cheshire Foundation was started in Australia soon after.