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Dame Katharine Furse

(1875-1952), Nurse and nursing administrator; director of the Women's Royal Naval Service

Sitter in 11 portraits
A pioneer in the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs). In 1914 Furse was sent to France to lead the first VAD unit to be sent abroad and later that year she was promoted to commandant-in-chief. After becoming frustrated at her lack of reforming powers, Furse left the VADs in 1917 and took up the position of Director of the Women's Royal Naval Service. This embryo service, although disbanded after one year, established a basis upon which the full service was founded some 20 years later. After the War Dame Katharine, who had grown up in Switzerland, joined Sir Henry Lunn's travel agency and became a representative of the Ski Club of Great Britain.

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