Another new addition to my WW1 collection, a complete V. A. D. uniform from around 1915 onwards. Apparently you can date them from the style of head-cover - and whether it has the Red Cross on the head cover. The uniform consists of dress, stiff white detachable collar - apparently this was to make the nurses keep their heads erect at all times, white apron with Red Cross, white starched belt (27 inch waist), and white detachable lower arm covers. The uniform was supplied by 'Garrould' of London, and every piece is named to 'M Somervail.' On the arms of the dress are white 'service' stripes - which indicate service with the Joint war Committee. Red stripes indicated that the nurse was 'efficient,' Written in ink on the inside of the collar is 'Ambulance.' This shouldn't be viewed in the same way we think of ambulances in the 21st century. Back in the Great War a 'Field Ambulance' was also a dressing station at, or near the front line.
The condition of the whole uniform is quite astonishing, there is no moth - and just a slight bit of fraying to the hem of the dress. There is very slight soiling to the detachable parts, but it is obvious that this uniform was stored away with care by the owner. Perhaps an indication of the obvious pride she had in tending to wounded soldiers. Complete uniforms of this type rarely come up for sale. I know of one other currently on sale for £750. Whether it is worth that much I really do not know, but condition-wise it doesn't even come close to this - and mine was almost being given away!
I have great admiration for the way the V. A. D's looked after our fighting troops, and I only purchased this to stop it being broken up as a set if no-one showed interest in the uniform. Sadly, this happens to many uniforms these days, and it isn't the first time I have purchased such items to preserve them.