Establishing Bromley VAD Hospitals
Voluntary Aid Detachments were established in 1909 with the help of the Red Cross and the Order of St John. The role of the Voluntary Aid Detachment doctors, nurses and assistants were to provide nursing and medical assistance to injured soldiers.
The first men’s detachment was Kent/1 VAD, Dover, and the first women’s detachment was Kent/2 VAD, Ramsgate. The Chief of Staff of the Kent VADs was Dr J. Horatio Yolland, who resided at 53, Bromley Common.
In August 1914, VAD hospitals sprung up promptly in church halls, public buildings such as schools and in private houses, accommodating anything from ten to more than 200 patients. Some wealthy residents gave up their own homes for use of hospitals.
Bromley VADs 1914-1919
There were 15 VAD units in the Bromley district who operated 57 VAD Hospitals. These included; Kent/96 VAD, Beckenham’s large 240 bed at Balgowan; Kent/50 VAD, Bromley Common, hospital at Oakley and Kent/82 VAD, Hayes, 7 bed hospital at Coney Hall.
Detachments were required to meet at least once a month, and women had to work towards gaining certificates in first aid. Due to a lack of male volunteers women would also gain experience in outdoor activities such as stretcher duties.
By the summer of 1914 there were over 2500 VADs established in Britain and by the end of the war Bromley VADs had cared for 125,000 patients. This was 30,000 more than any other county in England.