The photographs of Leila and Constance Armytage, Red Cross volunteers in La Havre, France

Leila Christina Armytage (1875-1965) joined the Volunteer Aid Detachment (VAD) of the Australian Red Cross at the start of WWI. She was placed at the No.52 Stationary Hospital at Le Havre, in the Haute-Normandy region of north-west France.

VAD volunteers performed the duties of a nursing orderly, assisting with general hospital maintenance and basic patient care. Stationary Hospitals such as No.52 were often small and were primarily used for clearing casualties and the care of convalescing soldiers.

Leila’s older sister Constance Caroline Fitzpatrick (Armytage) (1871-1969) joined her at Le Havre in 1916. Constance worked as an ambulance driver, transporting casualties from the battlefields. In the midst of it all, they were taking photographs, possibly encouraged by their older sister Ada Armytage (1859-1939), an avid amateur photographer. Hundreds of the Armytage family photographs are available on the University of Melbourne Archives’ online image catalogue.

  • Portrait of two women (likely to be Leila and Constance Armytage) and a man in Australian Army uniform standing on beach, c1916
  • Aerial torpedo at light railway siding, France, c1916
  • British tanks by the side of the road, France, c1917
  • Ruins of a bombed armoured train, c1916, France
  • Bapaume, France, c1916
  • Ruins of a cathedral, France, c1916
  • Three men sitting around a stove heater, No. 52 Stationary Hospital, La Havre, France, c1916
  • A group of people outside the No. 52 Stationary Hospital, La Havre, France, c1916
  • A soldier in front of a Red Cross vehicle, probably in La Havre, France, c1916
  • A group of men and a woman, probably at No 52 Stationary Hospital, La Havre, France

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