voluntary aid of all kinds should be tendered to the military authorities.
We have already reviewed the agreement by which various functions for relief were assigned by the National Relief Committee to the St. John Ambulance Association and Brigade and to the Canadian War Contingent Association, and the duties undertaken by the Army Medical Corps with regard to the enlistment of nurses and other personnel.
What sphere of action was left for the Red Cross? There still remained the relief of sick and wounded and prisoners of war, in co-operation with the military and naval authorities. In the first instance, such assistance was rendered entirely to the sick of the Canadian contingents—the camp hospitals at Valcartier and Salisbury Plain being the recipients of the earliest consignments of Red Cross supplies; but it speedily became apparent that the sympathy of Canada was wider and her purse deeper than would suffice to meet merely the needs of her own, though to them first her love must flow out. The specific duty of the Red Cross was to raise the necessary funds for the preparation, transportation, and distribution of medical and surgical supplies for the sick, to supplement the hospital and ambulance accommodation supplied by Government, and to provide for prisoners of war and interned civilians necessary food and clothing.
At first sight these functions might appear to be somewhat restricted, for the public is apt to regard "hospital" work as beginning with a hospital ward and ending with a convalescent home. But a day in the office of the Central Executive of the Red Cross or an examination of its files of correspondence would speedily correct this idea.
Although the Red Cross operated strictly within the limits of its charter, the Canadian people regarded "Red Cross" as synonymous with "war relief" and therefore addressed to it countless enquiries, all of which had to be dealt with either by giving the desired information or