World War One

Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter

Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter

Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter

[WWI, VAD - VOLUNTARY AID DETACHMENT, WAR MEDICINE, CANADA]. On offer here is an ORIGINAL VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) PHOTO ALBUM FOR A CANADIAN UNIT ACTIVE DURING WWI. The album measures 7.0 in x 10.75 in and has a total of 47 photographs. Laid in the rear of the album is a later red booklet titled'Active Service Canteen - Toronto 1939 - 1945'. Some of the photos in the album are annotated on the image verso and we have indicated whatever relevant information is shown.

The images seem to have been taken in both Canada and in theatre somewhere in Europe. There's even a photo of a bi-plane flying above. Shown are gunnery detachments, men in tents, etc. Most of the images seem as though they were taken in 1917 - 1918. Some of the names we've found.

Also included is a letter tipped in for a'Miss Cornielle' which accompanied some of the photographs (ostensibly) in this album. The letter closes w/'Yours HRC' a person familiar to Ms. Cornielle, but not to us. There is mention of a' Grey Nunnery' which may be of some use to a researcher.

Voluntary Aid Detachments first emerged in 1914 as Canada's Militia Department made preparations at home, in anticipation of war in Europe. They were initially intended to create an emergency reserve of trained men and women who would support military medical services in case of invasion on Canadian soil.

Later, following the outbreak of the First World War, the VAD program developed into a female volunteer nursing corps, as male recruits were quickly drawn into the armed forces. Canadian VAD units were modelled on a British system established in 1909, intended to supplement existing army nursing reserves. These reserves consisted of both professional nurses and civilian volunteers trained in first aid. While the British program utilized some 23,000 VAD nurses during the Great War, the Canadian program was more modest. Still, the number of women who enrolled as Canadian VAD members was considerable -- by the war's end, some 2,000 had trained and qualified as VAD nurses.

While the majority were limited to working in military convalescent hospitals on the home front, an estimated 500 Canadian VAD members served in British military hospitals overseas. The first Canadian Voluntary Aid Detachments were formed in Halifax, Qu├ębec City, and Saint John, because these ports were expected to be the first to receive wounded soldiers returning from overseas.

These were later followed by units in Montreal, Ottawa, and Victoria. Initially, VAD members engaged in non-nursing activities distributing comforts such as chocolate bars and cigarettes to departing troops and wishing them a safe return home. As the war progressed, however, they helped to prepare, open, and staff military convalescent hospitals. Many VADs were anxious to go overseas where the need was greatest, but it was not until September 1916 that the first contingent of Canadian VAD members left in response to a request from the British Red Cross. Although the Canadian Army Medical Corps (CAMC) refused to use voluntary nurses in its overseas hospitals, VAD nurses were welcomed into British military hospitals. John Ambulance in Canada supplied more than 360 volunteers for overseas postings, while many other Canadian VAD members financed their own passages to England and applied directly to British VAD headquarters in London. Working in the British military medical establishment, Canadian VAD nurses served as probationers (trainees) who were supervised by professional nurses. As was the case in Canadian convalescent hospitals at home, they assisted with various nursing tasks, such as making beds, preparing diets for invalids, and ensuring the overall comfort of soldiers. In some instances, VAD work approached that of trained nurses, as volunteers changed surgical dressings and performed night duty in charge of wards.

Like the military nurses under whom they served, Canadian VAD members posted in France, and more distant battle zones were exposed to frontline dangers and hardships. A number of volunteers were recognized for their bravery during enemy attacks. Both at home and in overseas operations, VAD work varied greatly depending on the location and hospital type. Detachment members performed any number of tasks, working as nurses' aides, ambulance drivers, clerical staff, and in any other auxiliary capacity required of them during the war.

VAD nurses also demonstrated their training and skill in the aftermath of the Halifax explosion in December 1917 and during the "Spanish" influenza pandemic of 1918. They provided crucial medical and nursing assistance during these two national crises. Canadian VAD nurses served for the duration of the Great War and beyond, helping to care for convalescent soldiers well after the Armistice in 1918, and were officially demobilized in October 1920.
Wwi V. A. D. Voluntary Aid Detachment Canada Photo Album Nurses + Letter