St Johns Voluntary Aid Detachment (Order of St John )
With the formation of the Joint War Committee in October 1914, members of St John and the British Red Cross were organised into Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs). VADs had first been established in 1909 to fill gaps in the territorial medical services – fulfilling a huge variety of roles from drivers, to mechanics, cooks, cleaners, and assistant nurses. In early 1914, there were 1757 female detachments and 519 male detachments. All VAD members had first aid training, some receiving further education in nursing, hygiene and sanitation, and cooking.
By February 1915, it had become strikingly apparent that there were not enough trained nurses to staff the military hospitals and VADs were therefore asked to provide support. In May, this policy was further extended as the War Office decided that single VADs aged between the ages of twenty-three and forty-three should be allowed to serve abroad. In total, 2,212 VADs served overseas.
Information courtesy of http://museumstjohn.org.uk/