VAD Hospitals in Cheltenham During WW1

   LEAVING CHELTENHAM …………..and all that was dear



   Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospitals in Cheltenham


During the course of the Great War ten VAD hospitals were established in Cheltenham at various locations, but due to unsuitability of buildings and amalgamations, eight main locations were in use for much of the war.   These locations are listed below.


The purpose of the hospitals was to receive those sick and wounded from the battlefields who had travelled to the UK along the Army Medical Services evacuation chain.   Many thousands of patients passed through their doors though some succumbed to their wounds or illness, despite the best efforts of their carers.   Some of these unfortunate soldiers were taken by their relatives for burial in their home towns, but others, perhaps without close relatives or being far from home were buried in Cheltenham Cemetery.  


The best known of these are the ten Australian soldiers (one a native Cheltonian) buried close to one another in a plot near the Chapel of Rest – the plot can be viewed here.


The British Red Cross Society has issued an information paper in respect of the VAD in the First World War which can be found here.     The purpose of the paper is to provide guidance on the tracing of VAD personnel and advise on sources for useful background information on their activities. 



   The locations of the Cheltenham group of VAD Hospitals



   VAD and BRCS Staff



Miss Alice Hilda YONGE, Honorary Secretary Cheltenham Group of Auxiliary Hospitals, was granted the award of the Royal Red Cross 2nd Class in November 1917.   The award is titled Associate of the Royal Red Cross).   The ARRC is awarded “for special devotion and competency in the performance of actual nursing duties.”

This photo of Miss Yonge was published in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic on Saturday 10th November 1917.


VAD Nurses and BRCS Staff of Cheltenham who were “Mentioned in Despatches” in 1918


The Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic, published on Saturday 28th December 1918, reported that a number of Cheltenham VAD, British Red Cross Society and St John’s Ambulance Brigade volunteers had been “Mentioned in Despatches”

Further reading: 

1.   “Cheltenham in the Great War” by Neela Mann (ISBN 978 0 7509 6415 9) published in 2016, describes the considerable contribution to the war effort made by the Cheltenham Branch of the British Red Cross Society during 1914 – 1919.

2.   “VAD Hospitals in Cheltenham” from The Wilson Collection and Archives at the Cheltenham Museum can be viewed here and here.

3.   “Gloucestershire Red Cross Hospitals” can be seen here.



Page last updated:  3rd October 2017


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