Volunteer Aid Detachment
The Volunteer Aid Detachment (VAD) consisted of semi-trained nurses
who assisted medical services overseas. At least 38
Newfoundland women are known to have joined this organization.
VAD members were at first unpaid, and had to be
self-sufficient. They had to pay for the necessary lectures and training involved
in learning first aid, home nursing, and hygiene. It
was not until 1915 that the War Office decided that VAD members
would be paid the small sum of £20 per annum.
Frances Cluett, n.d.
Courtesy of the Archives and Manuscripts Division (Coll. - 174.5.01.001), QE II Library, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. Johns, Newfoundland.
Frances Cluett decided to become a VAD member in 1916, when she was 33 years old. She was born and educated
in Belleoram, Fortune Bay, and lived there until she left on the coastal boat to Placentia to begin
the greatest adventure of her life. From Placentia she travelled to St. Johns, New York, Liverpool and
Lincoln, where she finished her training. Cluett was then posted to the military hospital at Rouen, France,
where she worked until her transfer to Instanbul in 1918. She returned to Newfoundland in 1920 and spent
the rest of her long life in Belleoram, where she taught primary school and ran a small store. She died
in 1969, aged 86.
Frances Cluetts letters home are deposited in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. With the centres
permission, extracts from these letters are reproduced on the following pages.
Updated August, 2005.