Long before the official declaration, the city of Bath was preparing for war. Lady de Blaquiere (Vice President of the Bath District Red Cross) saw the Red Cross as ‘serving a useful purpose for providing girls with a suitable outlet for their energies in their spare time’. The organisation was first inspected in 1913, when a field hospital was set up in Kensington Meadows, as well as a hospital in a house there controlled by the Voluntary Aid Detachment.
Men’s Detachment VAD Somerset
Consequently, ‘when the thunderbolt of war fell upon the country’ the Red Cross in Bath were ready. A hospital for wounded soldiers was opened at 9 Lansdown Place, starting with 30 beds. At first they were attached to Bristol, but this changed when the Bath War Hospital opened. When it was first suggested that Bath should have a big war hospital the Red Cross did a great deal to assist. They equipped the nurse’s hostel at a cost of between £800 – £1000, and acted as a ‘go-between’ between the public and the hospital.
Several members were attached to the hospital – Miss Amy Hill became matron, having previously been matron at Lansdown Place, and their former quartermaster was put in charge of the kitchen arrangements. There were 80 VAD members at the hospital, and another 150 working at the rest station, dispensing refreshments to the wounded on arrival, driving ambulances or working as nurses at the Red Cross Hospital. Male Vad’s worked as stretcher-bearers.