The Red Cross

The Wimbledon Division of the Red Cross was formed in 1909. It registered the first Volunteer Aid Detachment nurses in the county of Surrey in 1910.

The Vice-President of the division was Lieutenant Colonel Longstaff. At the start of August 1914 he believed that insufficient field equipment was available to meet the likely demand for medical care during the war. He therefore started making arrangements to advance money for the purchase of supplies. Volunteer Aid Detachment nurses were recruited and placed in a Technical Reserve with Territorial units of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

The Red Cross organised men's and women's detachments to help with the care of wounded servicemen both in local hospitals and those across Surrey. A men's detachment numbering 18 full time staff was based at Netley Red Cross Hospital and a further 7 V.A.Ds were stationed at Queen Mary's Convalescent Auxiliary Hospital, Roehampton. Nineteen Red Cross staff from the Wimbledon Division were also doing night duty at Queen Mary's to help with the transport of wounded troops and to assist hospital staff.

Red Cross V.A.Ds transported the wounded from hospital trains to Wimbledon Hospital, Thurstan Road and also arranged medical posts for the treatment of people injured during air raids.

19 members of the Wimbledon Womens' detachment were on full time duty at hospitals, both at home and abroad, including Queen Mary's Roehampton; Nelson Hospital, Merton and Wimbledon Hospital. During the war they also ran school clinics to replace nursing regulars on military service and treated minor ailments amongst troops billeted in the local area.

An Auxiliary Committee was established at Ridgelands, the headquarters of the Wimbledon Red Cross. Here much work was done to provide garments and supplies for military, auxiliary and Red Cross hospitals in Britain and overseas. 77,062 such items were distributed far and wide to British hospitals, medical stations near the conflict zones and even to Navy minesweepers.