11 November 2018
Press release - Never before seen photos of heroic British Red Cross WWI volunteers brought to life in full colour 100 years after armistice
For immediate release
For further information: Rehema Figueiredo, firstname.lastname@example.org, PR Officer, 0207 877 7041, out of hours, 07719 391703
- The British Red Cross deployed more than 90,000 volunteers in WWI, most of them women whose stories have never been told
- The charity has brought to life full colour photos of some of the 66,000 courageous women volunteers, 100 years after the end of the conflict
- In 2017 the charity experienced one of its most demanding years since WW1 and is calling for more volunteers to continue their great legacy
Historic photos of women volunteers in WW1 have been bought to life for the first time in stunning technicolour, to mark one hundred years since the conflict ended. The photos have been released by the British Red Cross in tribute to their service for the charity as part of its Women on the Frontline campaign.
The charity has today released 20 never before seen images of the 66,000 women who served on the frontline of its support during WWI, treating the sick and wounded in the UK and overseas.
The roles of these largely unsung heroes included providing first aid, nursing and cooking for those who had returned from the war. Many went above and beyond the call of duty, even offering their own skin for soldiers who had suffered burns and required skin grafts.
However, away from the traumas of war, the photos show a uniquely relaxed side to interactions between volunteers and soldiers – depicting scenes such as the staging of an amateur play.
British Red Cross Chief Executive Mike Adamson said: “More than 60,000 women dedicated thousands of hours volunteering for the British Red Cross in WWI, helping the sick and the wounded. They saved and changed lives, and today more than 20,000 people volunteer for the British Red Cross, helping us continue that incredible legacy.
“One hundred years on from WWI, the lifesaving work we do is still as vital and as relevant as ever. The events of last year saw one of the largest humanitarian responses in our history, and it’s only through the support of the British public, giving their time to support us, that we can continue to help people in crisis in the UK and throughout the world.”
British Red Cross Heritage Manager, Dr Alasdair Brooks, said: “These images are highly unusual for the era. Most photos we have from this period are formal and posed. These photos show that our volunteers were ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help those in crisis. Seeing them in vivid colour brings home that these volunteers could be any one of us.”
British Red Cross designer, Joanna Wheeler, explained the re-colourisation process:
“It’s been a painstaking but incredibly rewarding process. It was only when I introduced colour to the images that new details and depths started to emerge and they truly came to life.
“With the help of Photoshop image layers and masks, I manipulated dozens of colours and hues. The skin is the hardest part to get right, as it can require up to 20 layers of pinks, reds and yellows and greens to try and create a natural tone. We also worked closely with the British Red Cross heritage Team to look at colours from historic artefacts to ensure they were as accurate as we could get them.”
The charity continues to rely on the support of its volunteers, having experienced one of the most demanding years for humanitarian support in its history, following the tragic terror events and Grenfell Tower Fire of 2017.
The British Red Cross is calling for more people to show the power of kindness and help continue the incredible legacy of its WWI volunteers by signing up today at www.redcross.org.uk/volunteer
Notes to editors
Photo credit: Reproduced with the permission of the British Red Cross Museum and Archives. The red cross emblem is a protective symbol used during armed conflicts and its use is restricted by law.
Image IN4402: The harmful effects of smoking were not fully understood until the mid-20th Century. Therefore, it was not uncommon for soldiers to smoke whilst in hospital
More than 20,000 people volunteer for the British Red Cross.
In 2017 the British Red Cross experienced one of the most demanding years for humanitarian support since WWI and we need more volunteers to continue to help people in crisis
It is only through the support of the British public, giving their time to support us that we can continue to help people in crisis in the UK and throughout the world.
Show the power of kindness and help us continue the incredible legacy of our WWI volunteers by signing up today: www.redcross.org.uk/volunteer
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.