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1914-18 War • Voluntary Aid Detachments

• V A D • Nursing Assistants • Ambulance drivers, Cooks, Ward-maids, Orderlies & stretcher bearers.
Voluntary Aid Detachments were formed by the British Red Cross and Order of St.John in 1909.
Red Cross armband
Nurses and Male Orderlies belonged to one of the two organizations.
They served under qualified nursing staff in hospitals both in Britain and overseas.
Of the 74,000 VAD staff in 1914 over 70% were women.

Red Cross and St John VADs had equal status.

St John armband
Both nurses wore a uniform with a white apron.
The Red Cross nurses wore a blue dress with a red cross on the apron bib. St.John nurses wore grey dresses with the St John V.A.D armband. Both wore a Red Cross Armband when on active service, this gave them protection under the Geneva Convention.
Training was given by the Order of St.John thus you may see Red Cross nurses wearing the St.Johns qualification medal from their belt.
St John qualification medal

Detachments were organized on a county basis. Male volunteers served as stretcher bearers and Orderlies in hospitals.The Red Cross Orderlies wore a similar uniform to the RAMC but had an enamel red cross cap badge and a Red Cross armband. St John Orderlies had the St John uniform. A male detachment consisted of about 48 volunteers and was allocated an odd serial number.
A Women's Detachment was comprised of about 20 Volunteers and was allocated an even serial number. Women over 23 years old could serve abroad.
The King's only daughter Princess Mary served as a VAD nurse in London.

• Both about 20 years old  • date about1917 • Estimate born 1897 ±5 years

  • LHS embossed: John M Flint Catford. SE   •  §   •   RHS inscribed: Freda as V.A.D •

Red Cross VAD OrderlyRed Cross VAD Nurse St John VAD Nurse
St John VAD NurseNurse with Red Cross VAD OrderlyRed Cross VAD Nurse