Captured Army and Navy Nurses to be Supported by Red Cross - 1918

If the Germans capture any Army or Navy nurses, the American Red Cross will support them during captivity. This decision follows closely upon the announcement that, under the law, the pay of Army nurses, if captured, can not be continued because they are not technically on duty.

The Red Cross will supply captured American nurses with food and clothing, and the necessary money to pay their board if the German prison camps treat them as officers' rank and require them to pay for board and lodging or go to work.

According to Miss Jane A. Delano, director of the Department of Nursing, in discussing this action, because the absence of a law providing for the continuance of pay during their captivity of any Army and Navy nurse might exercise a strong deterrent effect upon the enrollment of nurses for the Army and Navy Nurse Corps, it was deemed best for the Red Cross to take this action so that no nurse might hesitate to enroll for military duty for fear that if captured she would be dependent for everything upon those in charge of German prisons.

This action is merely a temporary expedient, as it is inconceivable that anything that will delay the enlistment of nurses to care for our sick and wounded will not receive the government's immediate attention.

The Army and Navy Corps are too essential a part of the military organization to permit the nurses' welfare to be neglected in any way.

The authorities will undoubtedly adjust to this situation speedily. While there is little likelihood that nurses will be captured, the Red Cross will see that any unfortunate enough to be taken do not lack material comforts or money in Germany until the technicality to pay is adjusted.

Based on the article "Army and Navy Nurses, if Captured, to be Supported by Red Cross as Long as Necessary," in The Red Cross Bulletin, Washington, DC: American Red Cross, Volume II, No. 39, 23 September 1918, p. 2.

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