Date of issue: 28 July 2011
Designer: Robin Carter
Printer: Joh Enschede
Values: 26p, 47p, 48p, 52p, 61p, 65p
Process: Offset Lithography
Stamp sizes: 37.7mm x 28mm
Paper: 110gsm unwatermarked & PVA Adhesive
Perforation: 13.75 x 14.25
The British Red Cross is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the world's largest independent humanitarian network.
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement began in 1863, inspired by a Swiss businessman, Henry Dunant. He had been appalled at the suffering of thousands of men who were left to die due to lack of care after the Battle of Solferino in 1859.
Dunant proposed the creation of national relief societies made up of volunteers who were trained in peacetime to provide neutral support in times of war. In response to his vision the founding charter of the Red Cross was drawn up in 1863.
Following the outbreak of war between France and Prussia in July 1870, Colonel Robert Loyd-Lindsay wrote to The Times newspaper calling for a National Society to be formed in Britain. On 4 August 1870, a resolution was passed that "a National Society be formed in this country for aiding sick and wounded soldiers in time of war and that the said Society be formed upon the Rules laid down by the Geneva Convention of 1864".
In 1905 the Society was reconstituted as the British Red Cross, which was granted its first Royal Charter in 1908 by HM King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
In May 1919 the League of Red Cross Societies (now the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) was established and extended the role of national Red Cross societies from its focus on wartime relief to incorporate "the improvement of health, the prevention of disease, and the mitigation of suffering throughout the world".
In the UK, the British Red Cross has provided emergency relief following events such as the Lockerbie air disaster (1988) and the devastating summer floods of 2007. Working as part of the Movement, it has provided relief to the victims of international conflicts and disasters, including the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
With special thanks to the British Red Cross Museum and Archives.
As part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) scheme, British Red Cross volunteers were given official uniforms such as the red dress and stiff cults worn by Nursing Commandants. The first World War saw changes in uniform to make them easier to keep clean in combat conditions.
47 p - Male VAD uniforms 1915
The Male VAD uniform was issued in British Army khaki green during the First World War. Women ambulance drivers wore a badge made up of the Red Cross emblem and the Maltese Cross of the Order of St.John, in a double circle and enclosing the letters V.A.D.
48 p - Nurses uniforms 1966-1978
Changes in the design of nurses' uniforms were more gradual between the two world wars. Around 1925 an embroidered Red Cross emblem was added to the centre of the head veil. The Second World War saw the Red Cross nurses' uniform change to a short-sleeved, round collared dress with a drawstring waist.
52 p - Changes reflect practical requirements and fashion trends 1981-2001
The 1960s saw more changes to the uniform, reflecting practical requirements and fashion trends. Head veils were replaced by disposable paper caps and dresses became shorter. In the 1980s an adaptable 'mix and match' clothing range was introduced, more suited to the growing health and social care role of the British Red Cross.
61 p - Uniforms change to practical wear 2001
In 2001 the Red Cross uniform was replaced by work wear described as 'pratical clothing, fit for purpose', including polo shirts and fleeces. A new roundel was introduced to be worn on clothing to give greater visibility to the Red Cross emblem.
65 p - B.R.C work wear 2011
In 2009 a new range of British Red Cross work wear was introduced, bringing the first major change in clothing colour since 1911, from navy blue to red, white & grey. The formal uniforms remains navy blue.