Invalid Feeding Cup

Date / Period
1914-18 and 1939-45
Object Type
Medical Equipment
Canadian Red Cross
Community Health

The original mission of the international Red Cross movement was to provide assistance to sick and wounded soldiers in wartime. This invalid feeding cup represents Canadian Red Cross care of this kind during and after the First (1914-18) and Second (1939-45) World Wars.

During both wars, the Canadian Red Cross provided supplementary aid as an auxiliary to the official medical services of the Canadian armed forces. Although the government provided the essentials of  medical, surgical, and nursing care, many items either ran short or were desirable without being essential. The Red Cross filled this gap by providing supplementary supplies and comforts.

Red Cross comforts included items like warm socks, maple sugar, books and games, cigarettes and pipe tobacco. Red Cross hospital and medical supplies included a diverse array of items such as pyjamas, blankets, wash cloths, slings, surgical kits, bedpan covers, abdominal binders, and over half a dozen different types of bandages.

The volume of supplies provided by the Red Cross is astounding. Local Red Cross branches in British Columbia, for instance, sent 104,485 bandages and 353,715 wound dressings overseas in 1916 alone. That was only a fraction of the supplies being produced in B.C., let alone across Canada.

Although each item had a particular use, collectively their purpose was the same: to help ease the suffering and (if possible) speed the recovery of sick and wounded military personnel – and in the Second World War, of war-wounded civilians as well. This invalid feeding cup would have made it easier for nurses to feed patients broth and other liquids.

Following each World War, the government was better able to fulfill its own needs for these supplies. However, the Red Cross continued to provide comforts and moral support to convalescent veterans, either directly within Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals, or through small Red Cross recreation lodges attached to them. 

The precise date for this feeding cup, where it was used, and by whom, are unknown. It is now found at the national headquarters of the Canadian Red Cross. There it serves as a tangible reminder of the society’s aid to sick and wounded military personnel and civilians during the global conflicts of the first half of the twentieth century.

Invalid Feeding Cup

Canadian Red Cross Society Invalid Feeding Cup
Canadian Red Cross Society Invalid Feeding Cup
Canadian Red Cross hospital
Pavilion-style hospital ward (probably Duchess of Connaught Canadian Red Cross Hospital, Taplow England) ca. 1914-1918

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