Hartlebury Castle was used as a Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Hospital for such convalescence. These were more relaxed than military hospitals and considered safe havens for recovering soldiers. Those taken to the Castle to recover were offered a brief respite from the front lines. The First World War saw new roles for women, such as VAD nurses, helping to treat sick and injured soldiers. A group of determined Worcestershire women nursed them back to health.
Included amongst these women were the Gibbons sisters, Margaret and Frances who organised, ran and nursed at the Hospital at Hartlebury Castle from 1915 until the end of the War. Frances was the Commandant of the hospital, who managed the facility and oversaw its day to day running and non-medical staff. Margaret volunteered as a VAD nurse in October 1914 and served in VAD hospitals in France and Belgium before returning to Hartlebury. In 1920, the Gibbons sisters went on to found Hartlebury WI.