The Australian War Memorial holds an extensive collection of records associated with the Australian Red Cross Society (ARCS) in the First World War.

The Australian Red Cross Society was a subsidiary of the British Red Cross and followed its lead in many areas. It established its own Wounded and Missing Bureau in October 1915 in Cairo (later moving to London) and Prisoner of War Department in July 1916. Information on prisoners of war was gathered through sister organisations in enemy and neutral countries. Enquiries about wounded and missing soldiers from their families were investigated by searchers – usually employees of the British Red Cross - who examined official lists and interviewed soldiers' comrades who might be in hospital or on active service. Reports back to families were often in blunt language with graphic descriptions, and sometimes contained contradictory information. The intention was to provide as much information as possible.

The Memorial's collection also includes the Australian Red Cross Society's general correspondence and administrative files. The Australian Red Cross Society still retains many other records, for instance, relating to prisoners of war in the Second World War. Researchers should contact:

The Archivist
Australian Red Cross
GPO Box 9949
MELBOURNE VIC 3001
Website: www.redcross.org.au

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