- Voluntary Aid Detachment
1. in World War I, an Australian voluntary organisation, mainly of women, founded in 1915 and based on the British organisation of the same name; worked in conjunction with the Red Cross in providing aid to returned wounded soldiers.
2. in World War II, an organisation that initially provided voluntary medical workers in military hospitals in Australia and, later, in field hospitals overseas; from 1942 administered as an organisation within the army medical service, with members given rank and payment. Abbrev.: VAD
Members of the Voluntary Aid Detachment received first aid and home nursing training from the St John Ambulance Association. They were not fully qualified nurses and worked without pay in Red Cross hospitals and convalescent homes, providing nursing assistance and other supports for returned and wounded soldiers. At the start of the World War I, Australian VADs were restricted by the Defence Council from travelling overseas, so instead many joined British detachments. This policy was changed in 1916 and the first detachment of official Australian VADs to serve overseas left Australia in September 1916. Their care for ex-soldiers and their families continued after the war. From 1928–1948 the VAD became a technical reserve of the Army Medical Corps, administered under the Minister of Defence, and in 1940 its members began receiving payment for their duties, which had expanded to include positions such as clerks, ambulance drivers, storekeepers, radiographers, dental orderlies and laundry staff.
Australian English dictionary. 2014.
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