Dame Katharine Furse - Encyclopedia




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"DAME KATHARINE FURSE (1875-), founder of the English V.A.D. force, was born at Bristol Nov. 23 1875, the daughter of the poet and critic John Addington Symonds (see 26.286). In 1900 she married the painter Charles Wellington Furse (see 11.365), who died prematurely in 1904. On the outbreak of war in 1914 Mrs. Furse realized that the existing number of nurses would prove totally inadequate to deal with the enormous amount of work which might be expected, and in Sept. 1914 she proceeded to France with a number of assistants, these forming the nucleus of the V.A.D. force (Voluntary Aid Detachment). In Jan. 1915 she returned to England, and the V.A.D. work was then officially recognized as a department of the Red Cross organization. Mrs. Furse resigned her position in 1917, and the same year became director of the W.R.N.S. She received the order of the Royal Red Cross in 1916, and the G.B.E. in 1917.

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