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high wood

V.A.D. nurse's Red Cross Armband

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high wood

I bought this Red Cross armband at a recent antique fair and was very pleased with it, but thought that there was little that I could do to research the original owner.

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high wood

How wrong was I. I have owned it for several weeks and was showing it to a friend yesterday. It was only then that I noticed the small pocket sewn onto the back of the armband.

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And in the pocket was the corresponding certificate.

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charlie962

Her correct name is Margaret Theresa Mort Atkinson-Willes 1894-1984. You will find a tree for her on Ancestry

Edited by charlie962

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charlie962

The frustrating thing is that the armband number does not appear on the VAD card so cannot be used as a means of tracing anyone else

 

. Excellent find. I have my grandmother's armband (but not the paperwork) from 1918 and will see if it has an individual number. Edit-or even a hidden pocket?

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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high wood

I had found the VAD card yesterday but it is very difficult to read the handwriting. The transcription wrongly states 110 Sussex rather than 110 Surrey. The spelling of Waverley Abbey Hospital appears to have the letters in the wrong order.

What I haven't yet worked out yet is that the card indicates home service only, so why was she issued with a Red Cross armband if she was not in the face of the enemy?

 

 

 

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Terry_Reeves

Highwood

 

The VADs of the British Red Cross wore the insignia as a matter of course. The VADs of the Order of St John wore a badge with the insignia of the order of St John. Non faced the enemy directly although some were killed in air raids.

 

Sue Light's article will help:

 

http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/157.html

 

TR

 

 

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high wood
3 hours ago, Terry_Reeves said:

Highwood

 

The VADs of the British Red Cross wore the insignia as a matter of course. The VADs of the Order of St John wore a badge with the insignia of the order of St John. Non faced the enemy directly although some were killed in air raids.

 

Sue Light's article will help:

 

http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/157.html

 

TR

 

 

 

Terry,

 

I am sorry but I did not make myself clear. I understand that nurses wear Red Cross armbands or more specifically, arm bands with a red cross, when in uniform on the home front. What I do not understand is the need to have the official stamps on the armband and the accompanying certificate, as per Sec. 9, Para. 3 Field Service Regulations, Part II, if the nurse is not employed in a war zone.

 

Simon

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Andrew Upton

They wore the armlet even in the UK because it was essentially a requirement of the 1906 Geneva Convention:

 

https://www.greatwarforum.org/topic/141738-ramc-personnel-at-liberty-to-bear-arms/?tab=comments#comment-1354707

Chapter III, Article 9 of the 1906 geneva Convention would suggest so:

 

"CHAPTER III.--PERSONNEL.

 

Article 9.

 

The personnel engaged exclusively in the collection, transport, and treatment of the wounded and the sick, as well as in the administration of medical units and establishments, and the Chaplains attached to armies, shall be respected and protected under all circumstances. If they fall into the hands of the enemy they shall not be treated as prisoners of war.

 

These provisions apply to the Guard of medical units and establishments under the circumstances indicated in Article 8 (2)."

 

HOWEVER, in Chapter VI it is made clear that personnel covered by the Convention must wear the red cross on a white background to show they are protected:

 

"CHAPTER VI.-THE DISTINCTIVE EMBLEM.

 

Article 18.

 

As a compliment to Switzerland, the heraldic emblem of the red cross on a white ground, formed by reversing the Federal colours. is retained as the emblem and distinctive sign of the medical service of armies.

 

With the permission of the competent military authority this emblem shall be shown on the flags and armlets (brassards) as well as on all the material belonging to the medical service.

 

Article 20.

 

The personnel protected in pursuance of Articles 9 (paragraph 1), 10, and 11 shall wear, fixed to the left arm, an armlet (brassard) with a red cross on a white ground, delivered and stamped by the competent military authority, and accompanied by a certificate of identity in the case of persons who are attached to the medical service of armies, but who have not a military uniform."

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high wood

Andrew,

 

thank you for taking trouble to answer my query with the relevant articles of the Geneva convention. I fully understand that full compliance was necessary in a war zone but the telling point in my confusion for a nurse serving on the home front is the phrase, "If they fall into the hands of the enemy". By all means wear a white armband with a red cross in a war hospital to denote that you are a nurse but, to my mind, a stamped and certificated armband, whilst essential and a legal requirement in a combat zone, is adhering too rigidly to the rules of the convention whilst based in a Surrey hospital. I can understand the need if the nurse was about to be sent to the Western front or if the enemy were at the gates. I doubt that a single nurse serving on the home front was ever asked to produce her certificate to authenticate her use of he armband,

 

Simon.

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Andrew Upton
7 hours ago, high wood said:

thank you for taking trouble to answer my query with the relevant articles of the Geneva convention. I fully understand that full compliance was necessary in a war zone but the telling point in my confusion for a nurse serving on the home front is the phrase, "If they fall into the hands of the enemy".

 

It is the phrase "shall be respected and protected under all circumstances" I believe is the key here. That includes seemingly safe UK service. Also remember that by the time this particular armlet was issued as touched on by Terry above Britain had already been subjected to naval and aerial attacks. The relevant personnel were at all times to be respected and protected, so must therefore wear the armband at all times to show that fact.

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