VAD Research - Where to go next

If your questions have not been answered by the site, you may wish to find out more about the VAD and so some suggestions are listed below.


The VAD were operated by the joint committee of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance both of which have archives with material on VAD. The Red Cross particularly has some very useful background information on line.

The Library of the Welcome Institute have a large medical archive which again has some details on the VAD hospitals.

 Local Records Offices will all hold some material in VAD which included personal diaries, photos etc.

The National Archives holds records on the VAD especially in relation to members who were awarded medals as well as some great records for individual members and hospitals.

Kent VAD concentrates on Kent but contains a lot of really good material on the VAD movement in the UK including a list of Auxiliary Hospitals in the UK during the First World War.


Most books on the VAD movement are now out of print although a few may be prepared and published locally. The best source of these is likely to be the museum shop.

Online Books hold a number of old books on a variety of subjects including the VAD. These books are available for free download.

These books include A VAD in France by Olive Dent , Letters from a VAD by Mary Louisa Skinner, Verses of a VAD by Vera Britten.

The best is Britain's Civilian Volunteers: authorized story of British Voluntary Aid Detachment work in the Great War by Thekla Bowser which provided details of the life and expectations of VAD units.

Print Books

In 1921 after World War One a large Government report , 'The report of the Joint War Committee of the Red Cross Society and the Order of St John', was produced that examined the work of the VAD. This provided several appendix listing VAD hospitals and units.

This list is out of print and difficult to access although it is available at some libraries and records offices.

Amazon and other online retailers hold stocks of books, often reprints of the experience of VAD nurses during both world wars.


Many of the local activities of the VAD were recorded in local newspapers.

These can be accessed at Newspaper Offices with archives, Libraries and Local Records Offices.

Online there are several sites offering access to local newspapers such as the popular British Newspaper Archive.


There are a large number of pictures of VAD nurses, hospitals, ambulances etc available on the internet.

These can be accessed by visiting a records office or collection or simply by a Google image search.

Copyright Warning

Many pictures and books will be subject of copyright even though some will be over 100 years old.

Although there are some exceptions the basic rule is that copyright extends for 70 years after the death of the copyright holder.

This means that a photograph taken in 1914 by a photographer aged 30 who died aged 70 would be in copyright until 2024.

If you use an item that is subject to copyright then you make yourself liable to a range of penalties.