Regiment Voluntary Aid Detachment
It was not only the men of Collingham who volunteered for service in the Great War.
Ida Mary Cairney was born in Leeds in 1890, but by the 1911 census date, she was living at Elmwood House in Collingham with her mother and step father, Alice and John Scheerer and an extended family. John was a musical instrument maker while Ida was working at that time as a showroom assistant.
By 1916, Ida had joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment and was working as an orderly and nurse at the Endsleigh Palace Hospital, the American Hospital No 22 and the 2nd Northern General Military Hospital, Leeds. From 26th April 1917 until the 10th June 1919, Ida worked as a nurse at the 2nd Northern General Military Hospital, at Beckett Park in Leeds.
Most of the nurses at Beckett Park were members of the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service (QAIMNS) or the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS). However, the War Office had, in 1909, made provision for the formation of Voluntary Aid detachments (VADs) to fill gaps that might occur. Ida Cairney served as a VAD (or Vedette as they were known). VADs got their preliminary training in first aid and nursing from a wartime amalgamation of the British Red Cross and the St John’s Ambulance Association and from 1915 they were allowed to join the doctors and nurses at military hospitals such as the 2nd Northern General Hospital at Beckett Park in Headingley, Leeds.
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