Debbie Robson from Australia, has been researching many of the Australian women who served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Debbie got in touch with us and together we have been building a Wikipedia page, it’s a work in progress but worthwhile. Many people around the world use Wikipedia and this is a positive step in ensuring the story receives maximum coverage on the internet.
Here is the link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Women%27s_Hospitals
Currently living in Virginia, USA. I am Scottish-American, my mother was born and raised in Edinburgh, and I visit my family in Edinburgh often. I received my Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University in Virginia, USA and my Master of Arts in History from the University of Texas at San Antonio, in Texas, USA. I will begin my PhD in Fall 2015.
As a historian, I have found the unknown stories are the best ones to share leading me to stumble upon the story of Dr. Elsie Inglis and the legacy she left in Scotland and in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is this legacy and the many stories of Dr. Inglis and the women who served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the battlefronts of the Great War that I am exploring presently.
Over the last year, I have been researching Elsie Inglis’ life and the work of the SWH throughout the First World War. This organization and the women who worked in it were unique for the time. The work they accomplished during the war is an important part of the story of WWI and it needs to be examined. Presently, I am working on a scholarly article to explain the work of Dr. Inglis throughout her medical career including the work of the SWH. This article will then serve as the starting point for a book to explain the role of the SWH during the Great War and the importance of it being an all-female organization on the frontlines at a time when the world expected women to remain in the shadows of men. These women devoted their lives to the treatment of soldiers during one of the most devastating times the world as seen, it is time for their stories to be told.
The Scottish Women’s Hospitals website is a great site for anyone who wants to learn of the many women who served with the SWH. I heard of the site recently after reading an article in the Edinburgh Evening News. The founder of the website, Alan Cumming, has worked hard to narrate the stories of the women and has pushed to create a wider public knowledge of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, helping their legacies live on.
Fiona Foster, M.A.
In Summer 2014, Alan Cumming sent me information about Dr Catherine Corbett, a former pupil of Manchester High School for Girls as part of my research into the war work undertaken by the school during World War I
Catherine Corbett was a member of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit which worked in Kraguievac in Central Serbia where there was a typhoid epidemic. When Serbia was invaded by half a million German, Austrian, Hungarian and Bulgarian troops in 1915, Catherine Corbett and her colleagues became prisoners of war in an Austrian camp. They escaped but were recaptured and forced to leave. After a few weeks in England she joined a Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit on the Russian front working mainly in Odessa, Galatz and Reni. After being caught up in the chaos of the Russian revolution she finally returned to England in November 1917.
The Manchester High School archive contains the outline of Catherine Corbett’s experiences, but I am indebted to Alan Cumming for the information which he sent to me and which was invaluable. He has also offered to send me a copy of a book which Catherine Corbett wrote about her life.
The information about Catherine Corbett is being included in a booklet I am writing about Manchester High School during World War I. It will also be used in one of the presentations which are given on Speech Day in October and will be a major part of Founders’ Day in March 2015. I am also trying to interest the media in her remarkable story.
I am very grateful to Alan Cumming for his prompt and unstinting help on my behalf.
Dr Christine Joy, School archivist
Manchester High School for Girls, Grangethorpe Rd, Rusholme, Manchester M14 6HS