The Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) referred to a voluntary unit providing field nursing services, mainly in hospitals, in the United Kingdom and various other countries in the British Empire.
The VAD system was founded in 1909 with the help of the Red Cross and Order of St. John. By the summer of 1914 there were over 2,500 Voluntary Aid Detachments in Britain. Of the 74,000 VAD members in 1914, two-thirds were women and girls.
At the outbreak of the First World War VAD members eagerly offered their service to the war effort. The British Red Cross was reluctant to allow civilian women a role in overseas hospitals: most volunteers were of the middle and upper classes and unaccustomed to hardship and traditional hospital discipline. Military authorities would not accept VADs at the front line.
Katharine Furse took two VADs to France in October 1914, restricting them to serve as canteen workers and cooks. Caught under fire in a sudden battle the VADs were pressed into emergency hospital service and acquitted themselves well. The growing shortage of trained nurses opened the door for VADs in overseas military hospitals. Furse was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the detachments and restrictions were removed. Female volunteers over the age of twenty-three and with more than three months' hospital experience were accepted for overseas service.
|Cast of Crimson Field|
One certainly gets a sense of history during war time in these series, and while this one is not as exciting as the Anzac, it is worth watching.
Amelia Earhart, Agatha Christie , Enid Bagnold (author of the novel National Velvet), and Freya Stark, explorer and travel writer.
Olive Dent's memoir is a fascinating period piece, a rare first-hand account of this little-known story, which will resonate very strongly with viewers of The Crimson Field.