Category: World War One

The British Red Cross played a huge role on the home front and overseas in World War One. Find out more about the many volunteers who made this possible and their achievements during the First World War.

Protecting humanity: 70 years of the Geneva Conventions

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A photograph showing the 1864 Geneva Convention document with wax seals showing where it was signed.

The 1864 Geneva Convention, © MICR photo Alain Germond

Even war has rules.

The Geneva Conventions form the basis of modern international humanitarian law (IHL). And on 12 August 2019, the four Geneva Conventions currently in force turn 70 years old.

Since the original Geneva Convention was adopted in 1864, IHL has helped to preserve humanity in times of war.

The Geneva Conventions protect those who provide medical care to wounded soldiers and sailors. They enable prisoners of war to receive messages from their families. And they facilitate humanitarian relief – such as life-saving food and water – to civilians living under military occupation.

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From World Cup to First World War hospital: the surprising history of English cricket grounds

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A group of First World War soldiers, British Red Cross nurses and other volunteers sit outside the Trent Bridge Pavilion Hospital during World War I.

British Red Cross volunteers and injured servicemen at Trent Bridge auxiliary hospital, First World War

We won! The Cricket World Cup final was this weekend and many of us gathered to watch in pubs, living rooms and even on our phones. England was hosting and England won in a thrilling match – now we can celebrate!

But 100 years ago, our cricket grounds were hosting British Red Cross hospitals instead of matches and victory celebrations.

Cricket pavilions become First World War hospitals

Cricket grounds including Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Old Trafford in Manchester and Derby’s County Ground all hosted Red Cross hospitals caring for injured WWI soldiers and sailors.

They were among more than 3,000 hospitals set up or taken over in the UK to treat the wounded during the war years of 1914 to 1918.

Some, like the Pavilion Hospital at Trent Bridge, carried on working into 1919 until the last servicemen recovered.

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Doris Zinkeisen: frontline artist who painted the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp

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A painting by war artist Doris Zinkeisen showing a huge plume of black smoke rising into a cloudy sky that depicts the burning of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The burning of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp by Doris Clare Zinkeisen, 1945. © Doris Zinkeisen’s estate. Photo, British Red Cross Museum and Archives.

Doris Zinkeisen was the first artist to enter the infamous Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp after it was liberated on 15 April 1945.

She would have witnessed the 13,000 unburied bodies and around 60,000 inmates, most acutely sick and starving.

As an artist, she had been commissioned to record what she saw for the British public. In those years before TV cameras and 24-hour news, people relied on photographs and paintings to illustrate what war was really like.

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The Red Cross saved my father’s life in the First World War

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Amanda Nicholson holds her father's First World War flying jacket to show where the bullet went through the cloth

Amanda Nicholson holding her father’s flying jacket with the bullet hole still in the back

“If it wasn’t for the Red Cross I wouldn’t be here.”

For Amanda Nicholson, the ceremonies to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War on 11 November will be especially poignant.

Her father, James Orr MacAndrew – known as Jo – was one of Britain’s first fighter pilots during World War One.

“My father came from a family of six where all three sons served during the First World War,” Amanda said.

“My father was terribly anxious that the war would end before he had a chance to enlist.”

But Jo did manage to join up in March 1918 after leaving school at the age of 17. This was just five months after his older brother, Colin, was killed in action.

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Art from the past: a dangerous journey in the First World War

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Stobart and Serbia retreat in First World War

‘Lady of the black horse’, by George Rankin

Just over 100 years ago, Mabel St Clair Stobart was forced to flee her field hospital in Belgrade, Serbia during the First World War.

One of many women who volunteered with the Red Cross, she was head of a hospital unit on the front line.

Events in the war were escalating. Serbia had been invaded – and lives and vital medical equipment were now in danger.

As head of the hospital, Mabel Stobart had to lead the sick and wounded, and the nurses, on an 800-mile escape over snow-capped mountains.

Yet most people have not heard her name – or know anything about her incredible life. More

Easy peasy cake recipe that’s 100 years old

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A young girl eats a cupcake

© PeopleImages

Let’s face it: cake is cool again.

But at the British Red Cross, we’ve been using cake to help change people’s lives for over a century.

After all, the quickest way to someone’s heart is through the stomach.

If you’re looking for ideas for your own tasty bake, here’s a delicious recipe crafted by some British Red Cross volunteers during the First World War.

They handed out this cake to soldiers on the front line, to line their stomachs and boost their spirits.

And now you can recreate it in just four easy steps.

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100 years since Passchendaele – through the eyes of Red Cross ambulance drivers

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passchendaele-3

The Battle of Passchendaele has become synonymous with the horrors of World War One and human sacrifice.

The incessant bombardment and heavy rain turned the Belgian battlefield into a quagmire. Tanks became immobilised, while soldiers and horses drowned in the mud.

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The record-breaking teenager who was the ‘Little Wimbledon Wonder’

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Black and white photo of Lottie Dod in a cricket cap

Lottie Dod © National Portrait Gallery, London

This is a story of sporty siblings, a tennis court and a formidable Wimbledon champion. But we’re not talking about Serena and Venus, or Andy and Jamie. We’re talking about the youngest person to win a Wimbledon singles title – ever. We’re talking about British Red Cross volunteer Lottie Dod. More