In 1909 the War Office launched a 'Scheme for the Organisation of Voluntary Aid'. Under the Scheme, the British Red Cross Society (BRCS) was given the role of providing supplementary aid to the Territorial Forces Medical Service in the event of war. In order to provide trained personnel for this task, county branches of the BRCS organised units called Voluntary Aid Detachments.
All Voluntary Aid Detachment members (who themselves came to be known simply as 'VADs') were trained in First Aid and Nursing. The outbreak of war in 1939 saw the BRCS and Order of St. John join together once more to form the Joint War Organisation. VADs again served both at home and overseas in various roles, as nurses, welfare officers, civil defence workers and ambulance drivers. Photo: VADs - Surrey/114 (Guildford) at North Road First Aid Post, 1939-1945.
The British Red Cross are a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. Anyone can volunteer - it doesn't matter how much or how little time you have to give, there will be something to suit you.