Rebecca Gill
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Neutrality, proficiency and the feminisation of aid
From the ‘scramble for Africa’ to the Great War
in Calculating compassion
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This chapter considers the strained, sometimes acrimonious, negotiations that attended the systematisation of voluntary aid in Britain in this period of colonial conflict and fears of an impending German invasion. The Boer War of 1899-1902 was one of a cluster of colonial campaigns at the end of the nineteenth century in which the Red Cross movement provided aid to British soldiers for the first time. South Africa in 1899 found British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War (NAS) officials reprising their role in the Sudan, particularly the provision of transport links for the evacuation of British wounded. For many, Red Cross work remained neutral by dint of its being 'above the fray': the feminisation of the British Red Cross Society (BRCS) in fund-raising and publicity images of beatific Red Cross nurses would only amplify this impression.

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Calculating compassion

Humanity and relief in war, Britain 1870–1914


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