Voluntary Aid Detachment (Mark this)

Voluntary Aid Detachment Recruiting Poster
Made during WWI in Canada by Joyce Dennys
Seeking women for Great Britain’s Voluntary Aid Detachment

This is an original Voluntary Aid Detachment poster (VAD) which belongs to the Canadian war museum (CWM) used from 1914-1919. This artifact was created by Joyce Dennys, an artist during WWI and after. The purpose of this artifact was to enlist women from all over Canada to help and care for the injured Canadian soldiers and allies as well. While not all VADs were trained nurses many lacked the training but still “provided medical assistance […] to patients during WWI” (“Canadian War Museum”). By the end of 1917 “more than 1800 women had become VADs and at least 500 were sent overseas”. in terms of content the poster states in bold volunteers “Are urgently needed” (“Canadian War Museum”) in red text: as the war dragged on more soldiers were becoming wounded, tired and ill (“Great War Centre”). This artifact is valuable in relation to modernity because we see the number of women that were part of VAD was a large amount who wanted to help. Another value is how important helping the soldiers and allies were to them. A limitation could be the clothing the the women are wearing in the artifact. They are wearing long nursing apron dresses and high heels which was the norm during this era. Many women would not look like this because it seems like they are wearing makeup and they are dressed very nicely, in reality there was no time to dress the best during WWI.

 During WWI (1914-1918), large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war (“World War I: 1914-1918”). This led women to be working in areas where men used to work in Canada. Since men were recruited to war more women were needed to work (“World War I: 1914-1918”). Women took the jobs that were for the men such as  Railway workers, conductors and firefighters. Over 35,000 women worked during WWI which then changed the perspective of many women fighting for gender equality. This made WWI the first modern war because the war changed the social structure.

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Greatwarcentre. “Unveiling Women in War: The Voluntary Aid Detachment during the First World War.” CCGW, Green War Centre, 21 June 2019, https://greatwarcentre.com/2018/04/27/unveiling-women-in-warthe-volunary-aid-detachement-during-the-first-world-war/. Accessed 14 Oct. 2019.

“Imperial Munitions Board.” Imperial Munitions Board | The Canadian Encyclopedia, 4 Mar. 2015, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/imperial-munitions-board. Accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Museum of Health Care. “Voluntary Veil: The Canadian Voluntary Aid Detachment in the First World War.” Museum of Health Care Blog, Museum of Healthcare, 26 Feb. 2015, https://museumofhealthcare.wordpress.com/2015/02/26/voluntary-veil-the-canadian-voluntary-aid-detachment-in-the-first-world-war/. Accessed 14 Oct. 2019.

Parks Canada. “Voluntary Aid Detachments.” Canada.ca, Government of Canada News, 1 Mar. 2017, https://www.canada.ca/en/parks-canada/news/2017/03/voluntary_aid_detachments.html. Accessed 16 Oct. 2019.

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