Valentine volunteers: love stories from World War I

A Red Cross VAD nurse marries a First World War soldier in 1918

From flirting soldiers to a tragic marriage, indulge in some love stories from the First World War.

Young Red Cross nurses spent hours on the wards tending to wounded soldiers. The men’s conversations, jokes and songs must have provided a welcome relief from all the cleaning, making beds and gangrenous limbs the nurses had to deal with.

Many patients took a shine to the women who cared for them. Soldiers gave photographs of themselves to the nurses they liked as a memento.

‘A nice young lady’

First World War Red Cross nurse lights a cigarette for a patient More

Journeys of a lifetime

A Land Rover used by the Liberian Red Cross Society.What was the last important journey you made?

At the British Red Cross we make all kinds of journeys to help people in crisis. It could be to reach a community affected by a flood, or to take someone home after a visit to hospital.

Whatever the crisis, being able to reach these people is vital.

For decades the iconic Land Rover Defender has helped Red Cross volunteers reach people in crises all over the world.

So as the very last of these vehicles rolled off the production line in Solihull at the end of last month, we decided to reflect on some of the important journeys it has helped us to make.

Here are ten of our favourite photos of the Defender in action with the Red Cross.

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Meet the ‘mother of the jungle’ at Dunkirk refugee camp

Grande-Synthe-3

Roonak, pictured with her son Beshwar, centre

“The only thing that people have here is hope,” says Beshwar. “There’s no clean water. There are no showers, there aren’t enough toilets. What else do we have?”

The mud consumes everything in the dank squalor of the Grande-Synthe camp, near Dunkirk. Flimsy tents offer little protection from the rain and cold. Rats and diseases are rife. It is inhumane.

The camp is home to around 3,000 refugees, mostly Syrian and Iraqi Kurds. There are many families here, including around 300 children.

The inhabitants spend their days trying to keep warm and dry. They spend their nights trying to find an unguarded lorry bound for the UK.

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In Mongolia, beware of the dzud

Oyunbatt stands outside a snow-covered log house

Oyunbatt outside his home

No, that’s not a typo. It’s a rather dramatic weather event.

People in Mongolia are used to harsh winters. But this year the winter is even worse than usual: the country is in the grip of a ‘dzud’ (pronounced zood) – a hot, dry summer followed by a freezing, windy and snowy winter.

Temperatures average lower than -40° Celsius at night. Can you imagine?

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Zika virus explained

Red Cross volunteers in Colombia talk to a group of localsThe Zika virus is carried by mosquitoes and it is spreading through the Americas. It may be linked to thousands of babies being born without fully developed brains.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is worried that the virus is spreading far and fast. It has declared a global public health emergency. 

Here is everything you need to know about this health crisis. More

Refugee crisis: cold and alone with nowhere to go

Grande-Synthe-Aram.2Aram is 16. His parents are dead. His younger brothers are in Iraq. He is alone in France.

For the last three months he has been living in the squalid Grande-Synthe camp, home to around 3,000 refugees and migrants, near Dunkirk.

He was brought here by people smugglers, hidden in the back of a car. He had no idea where he was, or where he was going.

“I don’t like it here, it’s a crazy place,” he says in a softly spoken voice.

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Syria crisis: Escaping the snipers and bombs

Syrian refugees, Jordan

©BritishRedCross/IvorPrickett

For someone who has been through so much, Maher is exceptionally calm and dignified.

His is a tale of desperation and sadness, but it is by no means unique.

I meet him in the small basement flat that he shares with his wife, Fatima, and father. The family sleep in a tiny room that floods regularly.

They don’t seem to mind; they are just grateful to be alive.

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