Royal Naval Museum



Drawings of Voluntary Aid Detachment Nurses

These drawings were made by Joyce Dennys, who served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse (or VAD as they became known) from 1914-1917 and are obviously based on her observations of daily life in the hospital where she worked. 

The VAD were established in 1909 to provide a body of trained volunteers who could support the military services in the event of war.   During the First World War over 90,000 women registered as VADs.  They worked as cooks, cleaners and ambulance drivers as well as providing nursing support in hospitals both at home and aboard.

In 1917, Katherine Furse, the leader of the VAD, was asked to establish the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS).  Following her lead many VAD members chose to enrol in the WRNS and played a major role in the development of the service.

 The museum purchased these two drawings in 2001. 

Accession numbers 2001.32.1 &2

ack to top