Voluntary Aid Detachment (V A D )

In 1909 the War Office issued a 'Scheme for the Organisation of Voluntary Aid in England and Wales' which recognised the need to provide medical backup in the event of war. Eventually all voluntary aid was co-ordinated by the British Red Cross and the Order of St John of Jerusalem and the organisation known as the Voluntary Aid Detachment was created. V.A.D.'s, performed a variety of duties. Some organised and ran auxiliary hospitals and convalescent homes but in most cases the work of the V.A.D. consisted of general nursing duties and administering first aid. Qualified nurses were also employed to work in these establishments. In addition, clerical and kitchen duties were performed by V.A.D.'s, and as many men were engaged in military service, female V.A.D.'s took on roles such as ambulance drivers, civil defence workers and welfare officers. There were also male VAD units - men’s units were allocated odd numbers, female even.

Lewisham men and women who served with the V A Ds :

  • Goodman, Dorothy Cranfield
  • Straw, Lacy Hipwood
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