Civil­ian vol­un­teers played vi­tal roles, sup­port­ing the war ef­fort abroad and on the Home Front

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ANCESTORS WW1 -

An army re­quires an aw­ful lot of sup­port to keep it in the field, and al­though much of this was pro­vided from its own re­sources a large num­ber of both men and women served abroad, fre­quently with or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the Red Cross (of­ten as Vol­un­tary Aid De­tach­ment nurses), the Young Men’s Chris­tian As­so­ci­a­tion or vol­un­teer hos­pi­tals. Other civil­ians served abroad as clerks (in­clud­ing ladies from MI5), made of­fi­cial vis­its on be­half of gov­ern­ment min­istries or worked on the rail­ways. Many be­came el­i­gi­ble for medals, and you can find a lot of records of awards on­line.

Medal In­dex Cards (MICs) for men who served abroad are avail­able on An­ces­try, and have been tran­scribed on Find­my­past. MICs for women can only been found on­line on The Na­tional Ar­chives’ web­site (there are more than 9,000 for mem­bers of the Vol­un­tary Aid De­tach­ment, for ex­am­ple). A few cards de­tail­ing rec­om­men­da­tions for gal­lantry awards are avail­able on An­ces­try and TheGe­neal­o­gist. Some non- com­bat­ants were awarded the Mil­i­tary Medal

Red Cross Vol­un­teers

The data­base of Bri­tish Red Cross vol­un­teers, avail­able for free on­, pro­vides in­for­ma­tion on 90,000 vol­un­teers in­clud­ing those who knit­ted socks! The vol­un­teers per­formed a wide range of du­ties, but most of them served on the Home Front. Find­my­past has tran­scribed the records of 17,000 Bri­tish

Red Cross vol­un­teers who served over­seas in­cluded in its mil­i­tary col­lec­tion. If your rel­a­tive is among them, visit the Bri­tish Red

Cross web­site to see the ac­tual record cards.

Bri­tish Red Cross nurses in An­ti­vari, Mon­tene­gro, c1915

The Bri­tish Red Cross web­site has an ex­cel­lent data­base

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