I visited Dr Sybil Lonie Lewis memorial in Old St Paul’s church in Edinburgh a few years ago. Recently i was reminded of her story.
DR. SYBIL LONIE LEWIS, who died at Hull on March 1918 after a short illness, was born in 1874. She studied medicine in Edinburgh and Dublin, having previously been trained in nursing and midwifery, and obtained the TJ.R.C.P., L.R.C.S., and L.R.F.P.S. diplomas in 1905. After serving as assistant resident medical officer at the Larbert Asylum she began a practice in Hull, and held the appointment of school medical officer and the honorary medical officer ship of the Diocesan Maternity Home, the Hull Sheltering Home for Girls, and the West Hull,creche. In the spring of 1915 Dr. Lewis volunteered for work in Valjevo, Serbia. She served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She was in Serbia when the country was overrun by the enemy and the hospital staff taken- prisoners in 1915. Although a Red Cross party, they were detained in Hungary for four months, under the roughest conditions, and were not released and sent home until February, 1916. Dir. Lewis went out again in August, 1916; and worked with the Serbian army in Macedonia and among the civilian refugees till December, 1917, when she was- recalled by urgent need at home.. She received the Serbian, decoration, of the Order of St. Sava. Fourth Class, in recognition: of’ her devoted work among the Serbs. Her illness lasted only three days, but, in the opinion of the surgeon attending her, the conditions causing it were contracted abroad, and her name must be added. to the growing list of medical women who have given their lives for Serbia.
“In this spot are immured the ashes of Dr Sybil Lonie Lewis a faithful and loving member of this congregation of Christ’s church who died March 10th 1918 after working in Serbia on the start of the Scottish Women’s Hospital 1915,6,7 and of the Serbian Relief Fund 1917. Her experiences in the campaign and as a prisoner of war so undermined her health that she died shortly after her return home. In recognition of her services, HM the King of Serbia conferred on her the order of Saint Sava. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”