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The Great War in St John’s Parish: Red Cross Volunteers

World War One - Red Cross Volunteers

Many volunteered to support the activities of the Red Cross during the First World War. Well known were the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) nurses who came forward in their thousands to work in hospitals, but their were other roles that these volunteers filled and men were numbered among their ranks. From number 32 Blinco Grove there was Annie Mary Cole. She was already in 1914 a professional health visitor. Her job was to meet convoys of wounded at the station and then to escort some to the Huntley VAD temporary hospital – a large house in Herschel Road. Fred Meadows of 111 Blinco also volunteered to meet the hospital convoys. Many of the volunteers were attached to the main 1st Eastern General Hospital, but not all. Emma Micklethwait of 45 Blinco, worked as a cook in Holborn Military Hospital and then in Barnet.

The Doggett family of 28, Minhurst, Cavendish Avenue, were conspicuous volunteers. Edith served from 1915, also at Huntly VAD hospital and was awarded a service bar for the number of hours volunteered. Her older sister Hilda was initially an auxiliary nurse in Fulbourn. In 1916 she went to the military hospital in Brighton and from there to a hospital in France where she stayed until 1919. It was reported in the Cambridge Press in 1917 that Mr Doggett had been asked by his daughter if he could possibly organise the sending of a gramophone out to France.

Another resident of Cavendish Avenue, J D Atkinson, worked for the Red Cross as a searcher for missing wounded. This was probably the same role as the novelist E M Forster also took on, to interview the wounded in hospitals for information about fellow soldiers reported missing.

All those volunteers identified so far in our parish have been added to the street lists with as much information as is known about them.


More information is available on-line, in particular at the Red Cross web site:*1ar53pc*_ga*NDcxMjU3MzcyLjE2OTM0NDU1NTc.*_ga_KQQ35Y6WPZ*MTY5MzQ0NTU1Ni4xLjAuMTY5MzQ0NTU2MS4wLjAuMA..


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