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Managing the
War Effort


Home Front

Newfoundlanders
at War


Newfoundland Regiment

Royal Naval Reserve

Forestry Corps

Volunteer Aid Detachment

Letter 1

Letter 2

Letter 3

Letter 4

Commemorations

Bibliography


A Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site Partner Project. Created under contract to Canada’s Digital Collections, Industry Canada.



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. John’s, Newfoundland.
(10 Kb)

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. John’s, 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 Cluett’s letters home are deposited in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies. With the centre’s permission, extracts from these letters are reproduced on the following pages.

Letter 1
Letter 2
Letter 3
Letter 4

Updated August, 2005.