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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stamps Celebrate Centenary of British Red Cross Uniform

Guernsey Stamps is delighted to announce the release of six stamps to celebrate the centenary year of the uniform of the British Red Cross, an organisation which began in 1870.

Illustrated by Robin Cook, the collection begins with the 36p stamp which reflects the year c1911. During this time British Red Cross volunteers worked as part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) scheme and were given official uniforms such as the red dress and stiff cuffs worn by Nursing Commandants, as the stamp depicts.

The First World War saw changes to the uniform that would make them easier to keep clean in combat conditions and, as illustrated on the 47p stamp, male VADs was issued in British Army khaki green.

On the eve of the Second World War the design of the Red Cross nurses’ uniform changed to a short-sleeved, round collared dress, reducing the amount of dress material needed during a time of rationing (48p stamp).

The 1960s saw more changes to the uniform, reflecting practical requirements and fashion trends. Head veils were replaced by disposable paper caps and dresses became shorter. During the 1980s an adaptable ‘mix and match’ clothing range was introduced, more suited to the growing health and social care role of the British Red Cross, as the 52p stamp shows.

In 2001 the Red Cross uniform was replaced by work wear with the emphasis placed on clothing that was less formal and more unisex in design, including sweatshirts and fleeces. As the 61p stamp illustrates, a new roundel was introduced to be worn on clothing to give greater visibility to the Red Cross emblem.

A new range of British Red Cross work wear was introduced in 2009 which saw the first major change in clothing colour since 1911, from navy blue to red, white and grey to comply with the current Red Cross branding (65p stamp). Formal dress uniform has remained unaffected by these changes.

Dawn Gallienne, head of philatelic at Guernsey Stamps said: – “I am delighted that we have been able to capture the ever-changing style of the British Red Cross uniform over the last 100 years. It is interesting to see how this organisation has adapted its uniform to reflect the needs and demands of the time, whilst the Red Cross emblem has remained prominent throughout.”

British Red Cross Director of Fundraising, Mark Astarita, said: “We’re thrilled with the stamps which perfectly illustrate the Red Cross’ fascinating history and would like to thank Guernsey Stamps for its support. Our uniforms may have changed considerably but the marque of the Red Cross today still means the same thing: unconditional care in a crisis.”

These stamps can be viewed and purchased through WOPA under Alderney 2011 stamp issues, British Red Cross Uniforms