Margaret Ada Cumberbatch

Maragret Ada 'Peggy' Cumberbatch

Peggy was an unpaid volunteer for the British Red Cross. She was a ward maid at Farnborough Court Auxiliary Hospital, Farnborough, Hampshire, England between August 1916 and March 1919. She served for 2,708 hours in total and she:

Was a particularly good cleaner. Came to polish & clean & a few times as assistant cook.

British Red Cross

Voluntary Aid Detachment member

It is said that the Great War has produced no Florence Nightingale. That may be so; but it has produced a much esteemed and lovable lady, hitherto unknown in any war, who has earned for herself a reputation little less than that attained by the great pioneer of Red Cross work. She is known by the curious title of “the V.A.D.” She works as a volunteer. She is quite a new being, yet she represents the womanhood of England, the tender-hearted, unselfish, capable woman, whose sole desire is to help the wounded soldier. She seeks no glory. She has no name. She is merely a “V.A.D.”

She will work as a cook, as a housemaid, as a kitchenmaid and none will beat her. She will carry trays all day and be proud of it. She will live in a railway truck and there keep a buffet for tired men. She will tramp a station platform night and day if only she can give some comfort to a sick man in a passing train. She will nurse so far as her abilities will permit, and her abilities are considerable. She will feel it an honour to be a ward maid if only she can help to make things comfortable for the patients she scarcely sees. The men are devoted to her, and in that devotion she finds the sole reward she seeks.

Preface by Sir Frederick Treves F.R.S. in The Red Cross in France by Granville Barker 1916