A-Z of Personnel

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Agnes ESTCOURT-OSWALD

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Suffolk

Born in Gipping, Suffolk in 1875. Agnes joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Doctor and Bacteriologist. Agnes worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Agnes served at the hospital between November 1915-May 1916 and again in the autumn of 1916.

Agnes died where she was born in 1965.

Ruby Maud Abbott

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Kent, England

Born in Belvedere, Kent. Ruby was raised by her parents, James and Martha Abbott. In 1901 she was living with her mother in St Mary in the Castle, Sussex. And in 1911 she had moved to Kent.

In May of 1917 she joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals and headed to Salonika. Where she joined the Girton and Newnham unit as an orderly unit January 1918. The winters in Salonika were freezing and it was common for the nurses to wake up in their tents with their hair stuck to the pillows, a contrast to the summers. Perhaps the most challenging time at Salonika was in the summer of 1916. Before the war there was no malaria in Salonika, the marshy areas up north had few travelers during that time and the mosquitoes where confined to the that area. War meant vast amounts of movement and malaria became endemic. The hospital endured around 8 deaths per week, however most of the other hospitals in Salonika were reporting huge causalities. In August the fighting began as the Serbian and French began pushing the Bulgarians back. The work load for the hospital was just unbearable, with most of the staff dragging themselves from day to day. During her time in Salonika Ruth also witnessed and assisted in saving of lives in what was know as the great fire of Thessaloniki in August of 1917 when nearly a third of the city went up in flames.

Ruth continued to support the war effort on her return home working in Cornwalls Camborne Auxiliary Hospital, Tregenna. Also in 1918 she married Frank E Gilpin. Ruby Maud Abbott died in Salisbury , Wiltshire, United Kingdom in 1982.

Evelyn Abbott

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Wales

Evelyn Margaret Abbott was born in 1883 at Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales. Her father Joseph was a Schoolmaster and as a family they tended to move around. In 1911 Evelyn was working as a Hospital nurse at Royal Free Hospital, General Hospital, Grays Inn Road, London. In 1916 Evelyn as a nurse joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont abbey, near Paris, France. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey.
Without question their most testing time came in July 1916. For anyone connected with the Battle of the Somme these were horrendous, dangerous and difficult days. Evelyn left the unit in July 1916 and returned home. Evelyn died in London 1958.

Ailsa Lesley Abercrombie

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: New Jersey, America

According to US Census returns of 1900 and 1910 for NEWARK,NEW JERSEY,Ailsa was born in New York in 1890.She was the daughter of Scottish parents,James and Sarah.In her early years and as early as her third year,Ailsa had crossed the Atlantic from USA to UK and back.In 1911,Ailsa is listed on the Anchor Line “Caledonia”.Her parents were also on this voyage to NY,giving their address as New Jersey,USA. 1922 records show Ailsa departing Southampton on “Canopic” en route to visit an aunt in Newark,New Jersey. On this occasion,Ailsa’s home address was in Reigate,Surrey. Ailsa died in Surrey,on 3/9/1965,aged 75 years old.

Ailsa joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in November 1916 as an orderly, teaming up with the strong Girton and Newnham Unit at the under canvas hospital in Salonika. Unfortunately for Ailsa the story of the unit during this spell was a time of upheaval. Although their were times when the hospital was very much in demand, it was a quieter time and tensions were building in the unit. Personality’s were clashing, the position of the hospital was in question and the x-ray truck had still not arrived. Salonika its self had in the summer of 1917 went through a horrendous time when a fire burned for 2 days, even the hospital was a one point in danger of bursting into flames. Ailsa would have been very busy in the days after, as the hospital took in victims affected by the flames and smoke. In mid-October a flash flood nearly destroyed the hospital and Ailsa would have spent days cleaning up the mud and water damage. Ailsa left the service in December 1917.

Mary Alexander

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Mary Alexander was among the first generation of Glasgow University’s women doctors. The Medical School was established in Queen Margaret College in 1890 and in 1894 Miss Marion Gilchrist graduated MB and CM, the first woman to graduate from Glasgow University. By the time Mary Alexander matriculated in Medicine in 1907 there were sixty women in the Faculty. It was still not a course for the faint-hearted and the women had to fight for an equal education.

Mary already had an MA. She was born in Glasgow on 21st November 1886. When she matriculated in the Arts faculty for the first time in October 1903, to study Latin and Mathematics, her father William, whose occupation she described as a blockmaker, was already deceased. She was sixteen. She gave her home address as the United Free Manse, Kilmallie, Corpach and in term time she was living at Queen Margaret Hall. Later, in 1909, she moved to 88 Hyndland Street.

Mary was an excellent student. In her second year, in 1905-1906 she gained a First Class certificate in Ordinary French. The following year she took third place (equal) in German. She graduated MA in 1906 and proceeded to Medicine. Each year, she featured in the prize-list, taking Second Class certificates in Anatomy, Chemistry and Surgery, First Class certificates in Medical Jurisprudence, Midwifery, the Practice of Medicine and Eye Diseases. She graduated MB ChB in 1910.

Mary Alexander was one of a number of courageous medical graduates who volunteered for war service. Edinburgh medical graduate Elsie Inglis was undaunted by the refusal of the British Government to find work for them, and, with the backing of the Scottish Federation of Women’s Suffrage Movements and the French Government, proceeded to set up the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, first in France and then in Serbia over the winter of 1914-1915. The hospitals were staffed by women. Mary Alexander served in Salonika. During initial difficulties with management, she and Honoria Keer and Barbara McGregor tendered their resignations in support of Glasgow graduate Annie McIlroy when she challenged the running of the tented hospital. The problem was solved, and Mary remained there as assistant surgeon.

After the war, Mary returned to Scotland and in 1925 was married to fellow Glasgow graduate Alexander Silver (MA, 1907). They went out to live and work in South India, and lived at the Church of Scotland Mission at Arkonan. Some time in later life she returned and the last address known to the University in 1975 was c/o Miller, 106 Comiston Road, Edinburgh.

Many thanks to the University of Glasgow for this information

Eva Alexander

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: London

Eva Ernestine Maria Alexander was born on 4 January 1882 in London. Her father Frederick John Alexander was born on 15 July 1847 in Edinburgh, Midlothian. Fredrick was an Iron Merchant. Her mother Minna Charlotte Augusta Achilles was born in October 1850 in London. She spent most of her early years living in and around London.

Eva joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in April of 1918. She served in the Girton and Newnham unit at Salonika before heading to Belgrade. Eva served as an orderly. She left the unit and Serbia in July 1919.
After the war she enjoyed travel and spent some time in Jamaica. Eva Ernestine Maria Alexander died on 19 January 1958 in Surbiton, Surrey, when she was 76 years old.

Annie j Allan

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Airdrie

Within the archive of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow there is a photograph album relating to the career of nurse Annie Allan before and during the First World War. Annie was born in Airdrie in 1888 and trained at the Camelon Fever Hospital in Falkirk before moving to the Elder Cottage Hospital in Govan. Elder Cottage Hospital consisted of thirty beds in two wards named Florence Nightingale and Sophia Jex Blake. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) represented the professionalisation and training of nurses and Sophia Jex Blake (1820-1910) was one of the first female doctors in the UK and had established in Edinburgh the first hospital in Scotland to be run by and for women. Perhaps it was the inspiration of these women that led nurse Annie Allan to join an all-women operation for her war service.

Annie served with the Girton and Newnham Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia and Salonica. The Unit had initially been established in Troyes in France, but was selected to accompany the French Expeditionary Force to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Annie set sail from Liverpool in October 1915 bound for Salonika. On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed. Following her experiences in Salonica, Annie Allan became matron of Caldergrove Auxiliary Hospital, Hallside, Lanarkshire.

After the war she became Matron of Kirkcudbright Cottage Hospital, resigning her position in November 1933 on her marriage to Mr W.M. McCall of Cannee Farm, Kirkcudbright. It was at this stage that she gave her photograph album to her successor at Kircudbright Cottage Hospital, Miss Marion McNeill who subsequently donated it to the College.

We would very much like to know more about Annie J Allan so please get in contact email: library@rcpsg.ac.uk if you do have further details about her life.

Sarah Allan

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Kelso

Sarah Dempster Allan
Sarah was born in 1889 in the village of Sprouston, Kelso. Her life over the next 102 years would take her far away from the Scottish Borders.
Between 1911-1915 Sarah was working as a nurse in the Royal Infirmary Glasgow. In May of 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to Troyes in France. She joined the Girton and Newnham unit, so called after they had funded the equipment. The success of the first unit in France at Royaumont abbey had the French appealing for more units. Located at Chateau of Chanteloup near Troyes. It was a principal station for receiving the wounded men from the front. The hospital was very different from Royaumont in that it was mainly under canvas. Ideal for the journeys ahead. In October the unit was moved from Troyes to Salonika, Greece. From Salonika the unit moved to support the Serbs in Guevgheli, Macedonia. By the end of 1915 Serbia would be forced into exile and the nation in ruins. All the women knew how bravely Serbia had fought and many were moved to tears at the outcome. Sarah and the unit were forced to evacuate the hospital and retreat to Salonika, where she continued to work as a nurse until April 1916. In 1917 she was working as a nurse in Weymouth before moving back to Scotland in 1918. In 1922 she was back in the Scottish Borders living in Innerleithen. She enjoyed her travels and headed to India and America. Working in Buffalo, America, she put down roots working at the Children’s hospital. Sarah died in 1991.

Charlotte Almond

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Musselburgh

Charlotte Katharine Jocelyn Almond was on on the 30th Sep 1892 at North Esk Lodge Musselburgh. Her father was Hely Hutchison Almond, headmaster of Loretto School ( which is still in existence). Charlotte served as an Orderly with the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont, France, between July 1918 and September 1918. Her father Hely Hutchinson Almond was Born in 1832 in Glasgow, the son of Reverend George Almond,he showed great academic promise at Glasgow College. He went on to Glasgow University and from there was elected to an Exhibition at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Snell Exhibitioner.
He was also an accomplished athlete and secured a place in the eight of the college. It was also here that he started playing rugby. His first appointment was at Loretto School in Musselburgh, Scotland, where he served as a mathematics master before in 1858 becoming a Master at Merchiston Castle School, where rugby had been introduced the year before. In the spring of 1862, Almond purchased Loretto School. Under his leadership the school became the leading rugby nursery in Scotland.
He was one of the umpires of the first international rugby match at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh in the 1871 Scotland versus England rugby union match.
Charlotte’s experiences and time spent as an orderly at Royaumont abbey certainly had an impact on her, as after living in Edzell in Angus and in Fife she moved to London and qualified in medicine, working at the Kings College Hospital as house-Physician in the Children’s Department. In 1923 she married Hugh Johnston but sadly died in 1925 in childbirth.

Charlotte Almond

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Musselburgh

Charlotte Katharine Jocelyn Almond was on on the 30th Sep 1892 at North Esk Lodge Musselburgh. Her father was Hely Hutchison Almond, headmaster of Loretto School ( which is still in existence). Charlotte served as an Orderly with the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont, France, between July 1918 and September 1918. Her father Hely Hutchinson Almond was Born in 1832 in Glasgow, the son of Reverend George Almond,he showed great academic promise at Glasgow College. He went on to Glasgow University and from there was elected to an Exhibition at Balliol College, Oxford, where he was a Snell Exhibitioner.
He was also an accomplished athlete and secured a place in the eight of the college. It was also here that he started playing rugby. His first appointment was at Loretto School in Musselburgh, Scotland, where he served as a mathematics master before in 1858 becoming a Master at Merchiston Castle School, where rugby had been introduced the year before. In the spring of 1862, Almond purchased Loretto School. Under his leadership the school became the leading rugby nursery in Scotland.
He was one of the umpires of the first international rugby match at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh in the 1871 Scotland versus England rugby union match.
Charlotte’s experiences and time spent as an orderly at Royaumont abbey certainly had an impact on her, as after living in Edzell in Angus and in Fife she moved to London and qualified in medicine, working at the Kings College Hospital as house-Physician in the Children’s Department. In 1923 she married Hugh Johnston but sadly died in 1925 in childbirth.

Modesta Amour

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Modesta Hannay Amour was born on 5 March 1887 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, to Annie McKellan, age 29, and James Hogg Amour, age 36. James was a Dairyman.

Modesta Trained as a nurse at Barnhill Workhouse Hospital, Glasgow.
Between 1912-1914 she worked as a nurse in Tunbridge Wells.
In 1914 she was working as a Private nurse in Edinburgh.
February 1915- February 1917 Modesta joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and as a nurse worked at Royaumont Abbey outside Paris.
From 1917 -1919 Modesta was living/working in Devonport.
In 1920 she was working in Glasgow’s maternity hospital.
In 1922 she was back working in Edinburgh.
In the 30’s and 40’s Modesta travelled to Singapore, Japan and Canada.

Modesta died in Edinburgh in 1942

Catherine Anderson

Date of Bith: 26 dec 1881
Place of Birth: Ceylon

Catherine Emslie Anderson was born on 26th December 1881 at Maskiliya, Ceylon. Daughter of Tea Planter, James Anderson and his wife Isabella Craib who was sister to James Craib a colonial surgeon in Ceylon.

Catherine Anderson studied medicine at Aberdeen University, qualifying in 1904. Once qualified, she is listed in the Medical Directory as having taken a diploma at the Hospital of Tropical of Medicine, Liverpool in 1905. She is then listed in 1907 at the Coombe Lying in Hospital, Dublin, at the Sheffield Union Hospital and then took position of Junior House Surgeon at Ashton under Lyne Infirmary in 1909.

She left Ashton under Lyne Infirmary in 1911 and is listed as Medical Officer at Lady Havelock Hospital for Women and Children in Ceylon. In 1914 she is listed as the New Medical Superintendent at the Lady Havelock Hospital for Women and the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children at Colombo, Ceylon.

In 1915 Catherine left Ceylon to work for the Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service and service with Dr. Mary Blair at Salonika and Corsica.They had been sent to Serbia to help with the efforts of Dr Alice Hutchison at Valjevo, however by the time they reached Salonika, Serbia had been forced to retreat. The unit worked for a few weeks in Salonika tending the refugees, the condition were horrendous, men , women and children lay at the side of the roads, starving, exhausted and many with frostbite, the Serbian retreat had been particularly brutal. Permission was granted to evacuate the serbs to Ajaccio, Corsia Catherine worked there for approximately six months. She is on Aberdeen University’s Roll of Honour for Service.

She returned to Ceylon and continued as Medical Superintendent at the Lady Havelock and Ridgeway hospitals in Colombo, Ceylon and took her FRSC at Edinburgh in 1921.

She died at sea in January 1934. The Death Report states that she went ‘Missing’ at sea whilst a passenger on the SS Strathnaver en route for Ceylon from the UK.

Valerie Bowker BA (Hons).

Many thanks to Valerie Bowker

Millicent Sylvia Armstrong

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Sydney Australia

Millicent Sylvia Armstrong (1888-1973), playwright and farmer, was born on 1 May 1888 at Waverley, Sydney, fourth daughter of William Harvey Armstrong, a merchant from Ireland, and his Tasmanian-born wife Jeanie, née Williams. Millicent was educated at Shirley, Woollahra, matriculated in French and Latin in 1905, followed her sisters Ina Beatrice and Helen Daphne to the University of Sydney (B.A., 1910) and graduated with first-class honours in English. Helen had graduated with firsts in French, English and German in 1902 and was a librarian at the Public Library of New South Wales in 1911-21. Millicent’s interest in literature had been revealed when she wrote a story for Theatre magazine under the nom de plume, ‘Emily Brown’. She left Australia for London in August 1914 with the intention of finding a publisher for her first novel, but was almost immediately involved in war-work, probably in canteens.

From 1916 Millicent was attached as an orderly to a unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service and worked from March 1917 at the ancient Abbaye de Royaumont, Asnières-sur-Oise, France. She was sent to the advance hospital at Villers-Cotterets, Aisne, which was taken over by the French military and became Hôpital Auxiliaire d’Armées No.30. There she first experimented with drama. Written partly in English and partly in French, and solely as entertainment for the wounded, her pantomimes, melodramas and variety shows were performed by staff and some of the casualties, using makeshift props and costumes. In the face of the German advance in May 1918, the hospital was evacuated to Royaumont: Miss Armstrong was awarded the Croix de Guerre for her bravery in rescuing wounded soldiers while under fire.

Returning to Australia after the war, Millicent briefly owned and operated the Amber Tea Rooms at Goulburn. In 1921 she made an application under the Returned Soldiers Settlement Act and was granted title to 1028 acres (416 ha) with a capital value of over £2600 at Gunning on land previously owned by Ina’s husband Leo Watson of Wollogorang. Helen acquired an adjoining block. In producing vegetables, flowers, pigs and wool at Clear Hills, Millicent and Helen suffered from the same chronic indebtedness which characterized Australian closer-settlement schemes, despite the size of their holding and family financial support. During her early years in the country Millicent completed at least three one-act plays which were based on her experiences: Fire gained third place in the Sydney Daily Telegraph competition of 1923; Drought was awarded the 1923 Rupert Brooke prize of £25, was performed in London and won a prize in 1934 from the International One-Act Play Theatre; At Dusk appeared in 1937 in a collection of Australian one-act plays. Two other plays, Thomas and Penny Dreadful, both drawing-room dramas, were published with Drought in a selection of her work in 1958.

Tall, slim and possessing unfeigned modesty, Miss Armstrong once described her life as being ‘too much like that of a great many other people of [her] generation’. After Helen’s death in 1939, Millicent became a grazier at Kirkdale, Yarra; by 1953 she was living at Goulburn. She died in a local hospital on 18 November 1973 and was cremated with Anglican rites. Unmarried, she bequeathed Clear Hills to her nephew John Edward Lightfoot.

by Kate Blackmore

Jessie Craib Asher

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Inverness

Daughter to John and Annie Asher.. Jessie became a Nurse and it looks like she worked in Aberdeen pre war. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1918 and head to Salonika where she joined the Girton and Newnham unit. As the Serbs pushed for home and war was over, work at Salonika began to decrease. The unit now could join the other SWH in Serbia. And in the winter of 1918, they headed up to Belgrade. The unit finished up working as the Elise Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. Jessie served with the SWH between August 1918-November 1919. The hospital in Belgrade remained open until March 1920. Jessie who was living at Glenfruin ,50.Fairfild Road Inverness before the war, returned home and died in 1964 at the same address. Jessie never married.

Elizabeth Atkinson

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Winterton, Lincolnshire

Lizzie as she was known before the war worked as a nurse in Doncaster. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in July 1915 as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Elizabeth was a nurse and there was no shortage of work. By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigor. Serbia stood alone, out gunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Elizabeth was forced to leave the hospital and other member she choose to go on the Serbian Retreat. The retreat as witnessed by Lizzie and her unit was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000′s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. She wrote “in many places the mountain track was barley a foot wide along the edge of the precipices, and we saw both men and animal fall over.” Lizzie was awarded the Serbian Cross of Mercy. A very formidable lady.

Christina Auld

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Denny, Falkirk

Born in 1883 in Denny, Stirlingshire, Christina, we think, was adopted by Isabella Auld, a 60 year old farmer. July 1915 sees Christina joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and heading to Valjevo in Serbia.After six months of hard work helping to save the lives of typhus stricken Serbia Christina was force to leave, but what an epic journey she had trying to return home.

Without question the most intense and enthralling story line from Christina’s time nursing in Serbia was joining the great Serbian retreat in November of 1915. Had the story of the Serbian retreat been purely one of adventure and super human exploits perhaps today it would be better known. Sadly today the retreat is rarely brought to our attention. In October 1915 Serbia was invaded not just by Austria and Hungary but the Germans and Bulgarians who vowed to crush Serbs, finally breaking her back. The Serbs were fractured and exhausted after months of fighting alone. Typhus epidemics and starvation had taken its toll and ammunition was down to the last. The allied command gave the orders for the Serbs to retreat to the safety of the waters of the Adriatic sea where help would be on hand to feed, re-arm and support the Serbs back into their motherland. Over the next two months soldiers, government officials , Doctors, the movers and shakers from all walks of Serbian society made the painful decision to leave their homeland. Petrified of the Austrians and in particular the Bulgarians, panic gushed into minds of the civilian population. Many fled, terrified as to what would become of them with no one to save them. And they were right to fear the worst. For many of the civilians that remained, brutality and cruelty was dished out in many of Serbia’s towns and villages. Christina, with many of her unit from Valjevo, had a simple choice – face either becoming a POW or joining the retreat. Christina, in November 1915, with a few personal belongs fused into the huge human river of despair. Under the stewardship of William Smith of Aberdeen (a clerk with the SWH) twenty five of the women headed for home. The journey would take them several hundreds of miles down through Serbia and on to the plains of Kosovo, over the mountain passes of Albania and Montenegro and down to San Giovanni de Medua on the Adriatic sea. The river gorges, deep valleys and mountain precipices would become the graves to tens of thousands of Serb men women and children as the nation funneled its way into the freezing temperatures and winds that butchered them hour after hour. Brokenhearted, destitute and a people absent of hope, the weeks of dragging themselves in the snow took its toll, dreams shattered and bodies of skin and bone, some gave up, mothers and babies starved or froze to death, the old folk perished, twenty three thousand Serbian boys never made it to the end, a catastrophe for Serbia. Christina and the other nurses were unable to help in any way, it was all they could do just to survive, to stay alive and make it home. Seven weeks after the first steps they were on a ship and heading back home. They had made it but they left their hearts with the people they came to help.

Isobel Dorothy Banks

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Dunnon

Isobel Dorothy Banks was born 9/8/1893 at Elm Bank,Dunoon. Her parents were Carnwath born Physician,John Banks and Glasgow born mother,Catherine Harvey Menzies.
1901 Census of Dunoon show Isobel,her parents and three siblings living in 10 bed roomed house at Redhurst,Royal Crescent.One of her elder brothers was a Medical Student.
1911 Census has the family still at Redhurst,Dunoon.Isobel,aged 17.

Isobel joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s in the summer of 1917 and went out to Royaumont Abbey near Paris. She served as a Chauffeur( ambulance driver). The drivers at Royuamont were in a league of their own. They had to be over the age of 24 and tended to come from well off family’s. Many owned their own cars. They had their own sleeping and living quarters and at the Abbey they were stationed in the stables. Casualties were brought in from the railway station at Creil, which was a drive of 12 miles. They were clothed in rubber boots, goatskin jackets( to help keep them warm) and steel hats as this could be dangerous work, often taking place at night and under bombardment. Isobel left the Abbey in November 1917.

Jane Corbett Barker

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Jane Corbett Barker was daughter to Henry and Frances Barker. Henry’s occupation was Classics master at Chanonry School, Old Aberdeen 1851-3, then returned to business in Glasgow. In 1862 became HM & Partner with his father-in-law. He left in 1879 and became Head of English Dept, Glasgow High School, till 1895 when he retired to Banchory. Jane, it seems follows her brother( Francis James) to London. Francis was a Doctor and was living in Grosvenor Square. Jane joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in December 1917. She was employed as sanitary inspector of what was know as the American unit. Jane joined the field hospital unit of some 200 tents, situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia. The Unit was under the command of the 2nd Serbian Army. It was called The America Unit as the money to fund it came from America and except for a few dressing stations, it was the Allied hospital nearest the front. The mainstay of Jane’s work would have been ensure proper sanitation, clean drinking water and disease was kept from the hospitals. A difficult task as these hospitals were often under attack from aircraft and artillery fire. Flies, wasps and earwigs were a constant nuisance and out breaks of malaria common place. On 30 September 1918 the unit received news of the armistice with Bulgaria and on the morning of 23 October the unit started for northern Serbia with a convoy of nine vehicles on a 311 kilometre trek. All the staff made the trip and the unit was set up in an abandoned army barracks in Vranja, Serbia. The scenes at Vranje were awful, the entire city was one huge unattended hospital, disease, soldiers requiring urgent attention and homeless women and children often dying with starvation and frostbite. Jane was greatly admired by the other members of the unit. In February 1919 Jane returned home as the hospital was due to close. After the war she became Inspector of Midwives, Corporation of Glasgow. And retired 1935. Jane Corbett Barker died in Glasgow in 1948.

Catherine Mary Barr

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Gourock.

Catherine Mary Barr was born in Gourock, Renfewshire. She lived at the family home of 7 Albert Road, Gourock. Her father Robert Barr was the local chemist. Catherine had an astonishing war with the Scottish Womens Hospital in that she served as a nurse from December 1914-October 1918. Very few in the organisation would serve in this way. Catherine, in December 1914, headed to Serbia via Southampton and Salonika. At Salonika Catherine’s orders were to en-train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The unit arrived on the 6th of January and was geared for a 100 beds but immediately had to admit 250 patients and soon after 650. Dr Eleanor Soltau was the chief medical officer and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospitals. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus, Eleanor wired to HQ for more nurses,” dire need for more fever nurses” unable to use the word typhus, the Serbs not wanting her enemis to know the fragile condition it was in. Elsie Inglis got the message and dispatched 10 more nurses. Catherine went from Kragujievac to help at a new hospital at Mladenovac under the command of Dr Beatrice McGregor. The hospital was doing a quite fantastic job supporting the Serbs. Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Catherine and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Dr McGregor, Catherine and the others made it back to the UK on the 23rd of December. They too had suffered as Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.

Catherine after a short time at home joined the SWH again and proceeded to Corsica, where she nursed the Serbian refugees who had poured out of Serbia. Many of these poor souls were completely destitute. Catherine worked at the hospital until October 1916. Catherine in 1917 joined the American unit working in Ostrovo, Vranje before moving up to Belgrade.

Catherine was awarded the Serbian Samaritan Cross, she clearly must have loved the people a great deal. Catherine died in April 1954 in Tower drive Gourock.

Katie Baugham

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Swansea, Wales

Katie Emma Baugham

Born in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales in 1880. Katie was raised by her father Joseph and mother Emma. She enrolled as a nurse at Worcester General Infirmary between 1901 – 1905. In 1905 she moved to Hackney before becoming a senior nurse in Chelsea, where she worked until 1911. In 1915 she joined a Red Cross hospital . Katie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916. Katie served in the London unit and headed to the Russian front. The unit went out in August 1916 and formed two field hospital units. These units consisted of Four doctors, two Matrons, Twenty trained nurses, Three Administrators, Two cooks, Two Laundry Supervisors, Two Medical Students, one Sanitary Inspector and Thirteen Orderlies. Katie returned in the summer of 1917. On a personal level Katie had been slightly wounded when she was hit by shrapnel during one of the retreats from the front line.
In 1918 she was nursing a friend in Sweden. She returned to London in the same year to work as a nurse. From 1920-1940 she continued to work as a nurse in London. Katie Emma Baugham died in London in 1953.

Minnie Ruth Baughan

Date of Bith: 1868
Place of Birth: Wandsworth, Surrey

Minnie grew up in the family home in Wandsworth, her father was John Baughan and mother was Ruth. Minnie entered the theatre of war in May 1915 joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Dispenser, a highly important job given the pressure the hospital unit worked under. The organisation had gained agreement to set up a new 250-bed tented hospital at Troyes, funded by the Cambridge women’s colleges of Girton and Newnham. In October the unit proceeded to Salonika under the command of the French Expeditionary Force.
On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed. Minnie remained with the unit until 1919, she would have been involved in the push to reclaim Serbia and the many battles that were fought along the way. Finally ending up in Belgrade and the end of the war.
Minnie was decorated by the French and Serbian people for a remarkable Four years at war.

Gertude Beckett

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: New Ferry Cheshire

Gertrude Evelyn Middleton Beckett was born in Cheshire in 1874, her father Fredk E Beckett was a merchant. In 1911 we find Gertude working as a nurse at Toxteth Park Workhouse. In August she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and headed to Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Gertude would have been exposed to much of the awful sights of of war including The Battles the Somme. Trains arrived at Creil from the Somme in one long stream, then the ambulances took them down to Royaumont. Their wounds were terrible..many men wounded dangerously, in two ,three, four and five places. Their work was at times unforgiving, working around the clock, a sea of men all in agony waiting to be seen, the stench of blood and chloroform. And of course the sight of men with wounds so bad no amount of treatment could help. These women had to at times battle against impossible odds. Nurse Beckett spent 18 months working at the Abbey and returned home in February 1917.

Mary Josephine Bedford

Date of Bith: 1861
Place of Birth: London

Josephine Bedford arrived in Brisbane in 1891 with her longtime friend and companion Dr Lilian Cooper, with whom she shared accommodation during their student days in England. She helped Lilian establish herself as Queensland’s first female doctor while pursuing her own interest in improving the welfare of the state’s women and children. As the city’s population rapidly grew, Josephine noticed that the inner-suburbs, with their unpaved and unsewered streets, were unsafe for children to play. This realisation, along with the help of the local Reverend, led to the creation of the Crèche and Kindergarten Association (C & K) in 1907. By 1911, four centres were operating in Brisbane and a college for kindergarten teachers had been established. On an extended trip overseas, Josephine studied the concept of ‘supervised play’ and returned to Brisbane in 1918 to help open two supervised playgrounds (in Paddington and Spring Hill).

Miss Bedford was a committee member of the Queensland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty, first provisional secretary of the National Council of Women in 1906 as well as a member of the Queensland Women’s Electoral League. Another of her interests was the Women’s Auxiliary of the Hospital for Sick Children.

Dr Lilian Cooper died in 1947, leaving all her assets to Josephine. To commemorate the work of Queensland’s first female medical practitioner and her lifelong companion, Josephine Bedford donated their historic home, “Old St Mary’s”, at Kangaroo Point to the Sisters of Charity, on the proviso that it be used to build a hospice for the sick and dying. She was awarded the fifth class of the Order of St Sava by the King of Serbia.

Clarissa Bedwell

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: Watford

Clarissa Bedwell
1876–1956
BIRTH 7 SEP 1876 • Watford, Hertfordshire, , England
DEATH 10 MAR 1956 • 5 Sunnyside Kirbymoorside Ryedale, Yorkshire North Riding, England

Born to Mary and Charles Bedwell. Clarissa spent her childhood living in Watford and later in Kent. In 1901 she was employed as a nurse at Dundee Royal Infirmary. In December 1914 Nurse Bedwell joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Clarissa worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Clarissa left Royaumont in September of 1915. Clarissa Bedwell died on 10 March 1956 in Sunnyside, Yorkshire, when she was 79 years old.

Annie, Louisa Begg

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Leeds

Born in Leeds, her father Ralph was a merchant from Dundee. Annie traveled several times in her life to Australia but she also joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on two separate occasions. She joined as an orderly under the command of Dr Blair and headed to Serbia. Unfortunately in late 1915 Serbia had fallen so the unit were unable to head up to the hospital at Valjevo. Instead they opened a station for the refugees coming out of Serbia at Salonika. The unit in December 1915 headed to Corsica however Annie for whatever the reason elected to return home.
Again in July 1916 she signed on to serve in the SWH, this time closer to home at Royaumont abbey near Paris. During July of that year, Royaumont had coped with large amounts of casualties, streams of soldiers poured in, particularly from the battle of the Somme. By the time Annie got to the abbey in late July the fighting was receding and she left the hospital in October. She, it seems wanted to be in thick of it and missed out due to no lack of effort on her behalf. Annie died in Wimbledon in 1973.

Jane Aitken Bell

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Holytown, Lanarkshire

Daughter of Duncan Bell(coal miner) and Annie Bell. Jeanie went to the local school in Newhouse but pre war she was working as health visitor of Thornton Hospital in Fife, before volunteering for Serbia. In July 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and bravely sailed for Serbia. As a nurse she headed for Valjevo. Time ran out for both Nurse Bell and Serbia as in October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigor. Serbia stood alone, outgunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Jeanie was forced to leave the hospital and in November 1915 she joined the Serbia Retreat. Jeanie wrote an article in the Hamilton Advertiser ” We climbed up high mountains and got lost in the snow. We slept in huts, barns and stables, we huddled together just to keep warm. Torrents of rain drenched us over and over again. The last two weeks were the worst they baffled all description. We were so weak and faint we could hardly drag ourselves along.” A party of 28 women were escorted out of the mountains by William Smith, a clerk with the SWH. After a 5 week epic journey from Serbia to the Adriatic sea the women finally got home at the end of December via Italy and France.

For Jeanie after the dreadful experiences on the Serbia retreat where nearly 200,000 men, women and children died or were lost in the snows. She found happiness.
‘Motherwell Times’ – Friday 17th March, 1916.
“Miss Jean Aitken Bell, one of the nurses who came through the hardships experienced by the British units in Serbia, was married yesterday to Mr John Carmichael, pharmacist, Leslie, Fife. Miss Bell, who is a native of Newhouse, Holytown, was engaged as health visitor of Thornton Hospital before volunteering for Serbia. She is the first of the plucky band of nurses to be married. The wedding took place in Glasgow.”

Jean Aitken Carmichael, other name, Bell died 1957 at Cathcart, Glasgow, aged 74yrs.

Agnes Bennett

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Sidney, Australia

Agnes Elizabeth Lloyd Bennett (24 June 1872-27 November 1960) was a New Zealand doctor, a Chief Medical Officer of a World War I medical unit and later was awarded an O.B.E. for her services in improving the health of women and children.

She was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 24 June 1872, the sixth child of W. C. Bennett, and his first wife Agnes Amelia, ne Hays. Bennett attended Sydney Girls High School, as well as Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Dulwich Girls’ High School and Abbotsleigh. She won a scholarship in 1890 and studied science at the University of Sydney (B.Sc., 1894); she was secretary of and a night-school teacher for the Women’s Association (later University Women’s Settlement).

Initially unable to find a job as a medical practitioner, Bennett worked for a time as a teacher and governess, then left Australia in 1895 to study at the College of Medicine for Women, University of Edinburgh (M.B., Ch.M., 1899). She returned to Sydney in 1901 and set up in private practice in Darlinghurst Road but although she gave free medical advice she was forced to give up her practice because of the then common prejudices against female doctors. She briefly worked at Callan Park, the hospital for the Insane before leaving in 1905 to take over the practice of a woman doctor in Wellington, New Zealand. This time the practice thrived. She was chief medical officer at St Helen’s maternity hospital, and honorary physician to the children’s ward of Wellington Hospital from 1910. In 1911 she completed her M.D. at Edinburgh.

In 1915 Agnes Bennett became the first female commissioned officer in the British Army, when as a captain she worked as a medical officer in war hospitals in Cairo. When the work came to an end she sailed for England, uncertain what to do next. Almost immediately she met up with Elsie Inglis in London who asked her to work with the SWH. On the 2nd August 1916, the America Unit, in the command of Dr Bennett, reached Southampton preparatory to embarking on the hospital ship Dunluce Castle for Salonika. The ship arrived in Salonika on the 13th August and on the 17th of that month Dr Bennett travelled by car to visit the proposed camp site.

Originally intended as a base hospital at Salonika, the unit’s status was changed. As the only hospital for the use of the defeated Third Serbian Army, it would now be situated near the front, acting more or less as a casualty clearing station. Finally on the 7th September 1916 the first vehicles of her thirty-nine car convoy (Mrs Harley’s Unit included), left Salonika on the road to Ostrovo Lake. By the 11th September, Dr Bennett was able to record of the Ostrovo Unit. “The hospital is gradually getting into being-progress slow, partly on account of labour.” By the 28th September she as wring: “We have admitted 204 patients up to today; ten of the staff are ill which means 14 off work…”

While Chief Medical Office of the Ostrovo Unit, Dr Bennett was concerned with the difficulties the unit faced being so far from the front. Far too many men were losing their lives through the delay in getting them down to her hospital.

There was also the problem of malaria. Although, Ostrovo was up in the hills and the malaria threat was not as bad as in Salonika, it still claimed lives and would ultimately end her term as CMO when she fell victim to the disease as well. Gradually as the Serbian fighting line pushed the enemy back, the hospital work eased. In late October she wrote: “Our 400th patient admitted today.” By winter conditions became more severe. Fighting died down and the roads became impassable. The hospital was nearly isolated. Cases of scurvy were brought in occasionally, for food was short in the front line. In December a site was chosen for the outpost hospital at Dobraveni and the personnel sent off.

By the new year Dr Bennett was plagued by internal problems and worry over the outpost at Dobraveni. By late winter German air raids became more frequent and the outpost was moved in March with the help of 100 German prisoners. With summer came the threat of malaria again. Dr Bennett succumbed to the disease and was forced to resign because of ill health. She was replaced by another Australian Mary De Garis.

Dr Bennet became the first president of the Wellington branch of the International Federation of University Women in 1923, and represented New Zealand at its world conference at Cracow, Poland, in 1936. She had visited Australia often since 1905, and in 1938-39 was medical officer at the hospital at Burketown, North Queensland. She returned to Wellington and in 1939 helped to form the Women’s War Service Auxiliary.

Between 1940 and 1942 she worked in English hospitals and, on returning to New Zealand, lectured to the women’s services on venereal disease and birth control. Dr Bennett was appointed O.B.E. in 1948; she died in Wellington on 27 November 1960 and was cremated with Presbyterian rites. She contributed largely to the improvement of maternal and infant medical care in New Zealand, and through example, argument and organization, did much to advance women’s status.

Many thanks to Debbie Robson for writing this biography.

Elizabeth Bertram

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Hawick

Elizabeth Bertram b.4/1/1874 at Wilton,Hawick Roxburghshire.Daughter of English born Oil Extractor,William Bertram and Hawick born mother Euphemia Turnbull.In 1881,the family were living at 7,Damside,Wilton but,by 1891, the family were residing at 2 Carnarvon Street,Hawick.In this Census return,we learn that Elizabeth,aged 17, is a Pupil Teacher.

In August 1915 Elizabeth joined the Scottish Women s Hospitals and as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Elizabeth was a nurse and there was no shortage of work. By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigor. Serbia stood alone, out gunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Elizabeth was forced to leave the hospital and with her unit headed down to Kruevac, a three day journey of over 100 miles in appalling conditions. Old men and women, young children and babies all caught in frozen wasteland. No shelter or food and the shells being dropped on them from above. At Kruevac the women were faced with a choice remain and become a POW or leave by joining the Serbian retreat. Elizabeth joined the retreat ” Crowds, of people, soldiers, oxen,guns,pack ponies, mules all trying to form a line as it were, to ascend a height of 7000ft. To add to the difficulty it was snowing hard. The 1st day we walked on until dark. The ponies and oxen slipped about, and many fell down exhausted. I cannot relate some of the sights, they were too awful” Its estimated that Tens of thousands of men, women and children died in the weeks of travel during the retreat. Certainly a monumental and sad story of ww1.

After returning home in February via Italy, Elizabeth was soon back in action again working with the Scottish women’s Hospital at Ajaccio, Corsica. The unit at Corsica began in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika as Serbia was completely overtaking by invading forces. Elizabeth and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. Elizabeth worked at Ajaccio until April 1919, making her one of the longest serving nurses in the SWH.

Mary Florence Bignold

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Rochester, Kent

Dr Mary Florence Bignold

Although born in Rochester in 1883, her upbringing was in at the family home in Wales where she was raised by her father William and mother Mary Bignold. In 1907 she was in Edinburgh studying medicine at the medical college for women, a college established by Dr Elise Inglis. She went on to qualify as a Doctor and in April 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and departed to Serbia. Mary met her new colleagues including 3 other Doctors for the first time on Cardiff docks where they were regaled to the song of “Long way to Tipperary” and boarded the SS Ceramic and headed for Salonika(Greece) where by train they would travel to Valjevo in Serbia. On board with her were Chief Medical Officer Dr Alice Hutchinson, 25 nurses, a sanitary inspector, matron, clerk, 2 cooks, four orderlies and two handymen ( the only males of the unit). The voyage took a detour and docked at Malta for around 3 weeks at the request of the Home Office. Soldiers mainly from Australia and New Zealand were pouring in from Gallipoli many with serious wounds. The unit began working immediately at the Hospital of the Knights of St John, however they were ordered by the SWH to move on to Serbia and keep on programme.
Valjevo was a small town, 80 miles south of Belgrade. Lying in a sleepy green valley Mary would have felt at home, however only a few months earlier Valjevo had looked very different. The big guns boomed day and night, men fell in their thousands, civilian’s were rounded up and often massacred and the dreaded Typhus raged through Serbia, uncontrollable and without mercy. The mortality rate in Valjevo was 70% and as a result they lost a huge number of Doctor’s and nurses.
By the time Alice reached Valjevo things were improving however there was much to be done, Valjevo had been on the front line and with the summer heat and all the rotten flesh from man and animal, the flies swarmed in their millions bringing diseases.
The hospital was under canvas, the 40 tents pitched on the hillside over looked the town and by and large up until August there were few serious cases. Their was still plenty to do, many wounds had been untended and cases scurvy and malnutrition required urgent attention. However by mid August the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. Also making an unwelcome comeback was Typhus and sadly nurse Sutherland succumbed to the deadly disease. Mary left Serbia in September 1915 and only just in time as by October the entire nation was thrown into chaos.
Dr Mary Bignods war was not over and in October 1916 she joined the RAMC and sailed to Malta where she worked as a surgeon. After a spell in 1919 working at Southampton’s university’s war hospital she moved on and was Medical Officer for child health for Brighton and Hove, later she later retired to Henfield in Sussex where she died of a stroke in 1966.

Ysobel Birkbeck

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Norfolk

Ysobel Birkbeck (married name Hunter), 1890-1973

Birkbeck was the youngest daughter of Henry Birkbeck of Westacre, in Norfolk, and enjoyed a country house upbringing with governesses and hunting. She was keen on painting from an early age, but was otherwise a tomboy, and frequently fell out with her father, who believed women should be decorative. She particularly loved the family estate of Loch Hourn, in the Scottish highlands, and was given an old keeper’s cottage there, six miles by boat from the loch-head and road. She was already starting to make a home there, driving up from London for the summer, when war broke out. She was a nurse for some time in the London Hospital, but this work was cut short by serious illness. In 1916 she joined the SWH as Driving Instructor – perhaps this was through Mrs Haverfield, who moved in the same social circles, and was also a keen horsewoman. She was involved in two retreats, and returned to England in 1917, intending to return to Russia once the roads were passable once more. Her time with the SWH is published as Forgotten Heroines (see this site) a,d an edited transcript of her diary is kept at the Imperial War Museum.
In the meantime Authority had decreed that the driving was too hard for women. Birkbeck therefore joined FANY and served in France. She was awarded the Russian medals of St Stanislaus and St George (one of these for her courage in changing a tyre under fire) and, in France, the Croix de Guerre with Bronze Star. The citation recalls ‘her service as driver with the Allied Armies during more than two year, in Russia, Romania and then in France. She had always shown energy, courage and coolness, particularly during the operations round Chateau Thierry, Noyon and Verdun, and had particularly distinguished herself on 23 and 24 October 1918, in continuing to transport wounded under violent bombardment.
The war completely changed Birkbeck’s attitude to blood sports; she never hunted again, and disapproved of her brother’s shooting at Loch Hourn. After the war, she lived alone for some time, first in a wood near Raynham, Norfolk. It may have been during this period that she founded the Westacre Village Industry Company which made dolls’ house furniture.
She met her future husband, Neil Hunter, in Tangiers. He was Resident Educational Officer in the Sudan. They were married in 1924, and Birkbeck’s coolness and courage were once again called for during the Sudan mutiny. Her Sudan diaries and paintings are held by the University of Norfolk. They had one son, Neil, born in 1925. However the climate did not agree with her, and she reluctantly returned to Britain. She had a flat in London, but spent time in Loch Hourn; she returned from there to London as war broke out, joined the Mechanised Transport Corps, and drove a light rescue car in Lambeth during the Blitz.
After her husband’s death in 1957, Birkbeck moved from London to a flat in Douglas Crescent, Edinburgh, where she spent the winter months. She migrated to her cottage at Loch Hourn as soon as the spring sun crept over the great shoulder of Ladhr Behinn and onto her side of the loch, and did not leave until the mountain hid it again. She knew every deer, fox, badger and otter on ‘her patch’, and illustrated a book of fungi. She was a local ‘character’ with many stories to her name: my favourite was where she found an otter with a broken leg, and insisted – in the absence of a vet – on the local doctor coming to set it. Her heavy clinker dinghy was called, simply, Mine.
Ysobel Birkbeck died in Edinburgh, in 1973.

Many thanks to Marsali Taylor, who put this biography together.

Jane Towers Birnie

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Jane was raised in Edinburgh, her father David was a brass finisher. in 1901 Jane was a nurse employed at Leith Hospital. By 1911 Jane had moved to Dorset and was living in Clacton on Sea, she was working as a Hospital nurse.
Jane joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals as a nurse on the first of July 1915.

April 1915 the typhus outbreak that had been under control in Serbia suddenly started to show signs of relapse. The town of Mladenovac was considered at risk and the SWH were asked to step in and provide a hospital in case of a new epidemic. Dr Elsie Inglis wasted no time in dispatching a hospital unit to Mladenovac. By July 1915 Dr Beatrice McGregor with her new recruits arrived at the hospital and took over as chief medical officer.
During the early days Beatrice and the unit ran a 300 bed hospital and with things being fairly quiet she opened a dispensary for the women and children which became very popular.
Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100′s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Mary and a band of others joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Jane and her unit was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000′s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 200,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Dr McGregor and her nurses made it back to the uk on the 23rd of December they to had suffered when Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley. Jane with a party of around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home.

Margaret Aitken Bissett

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Ayrshire

Margaret Bissett was born about 1892 in Cronberry to colliery blacksmith Robert Bissett of Closeburn and his wife Annie Aitken of Auchinleck.
She was a staff nurse at the Scottish National Red Cross Hospital at Bellahouston, Glasgow.

Margaret joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and served the unit in Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overrun by invading forces. Margaret with her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. When the unit arrived in Corsica it was a very different picture. The hospital had opened on Christmas day 1915 and instantly got to work as over three hundred refugees had traveled with them. Within days another ship with over 500 refugees arrived. The hospital closed n 1919 and did a magnificent job of caring for the thousands of Serb civilians. Many of whom were children. Margaret nursed at the hospital between 10-May-17 and 20-Nov-17.

After the war she married Arthur Hayward of London a sub-editor in 1920. She died in Buckinghamshire, aged 90 in 1983.

Agnes Forbes Blackadder

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Dundee

Agnes Forbes Blackadder, well known in St Andrews and especially its University where she became the first ever female to graduate.She was born on 4th December 1875 in Dundee, Scotland. Her father, Robert, was an architect and civil engineer who worked in Forfar.

She graduated first from the University of St. Andrews and received the degree of Master of Arts. She was the first female graduate from St-Andrews University. Between 1893-1896 she studied chemistry, latin, botany and zoology Agnes Forbes Blackadder was one of the most distinguished of a cohort of early medical graduates from Queen Margaret College for Women, University of Glasgow. She was a gifted medical student. In addition to taking first prize in Practical Pathology in 1896, she had a string of First Class Certificates in Materia Medica, Surgery, Midwifery, Ophthalmology and Insanity. .In 1901 she married Dr Thomas Savill but was widowed in 1910. Agnes would join the SWH in May 1915 and continued to work at Royaumont Hospital outside Paris till 1918. At the hospital she was in charge of the x-ray and electro therapy department. Agnes also installed the X-ray equipment at Villers-Cotterets a hospital close to Royuamont and run by the SWH. She spent hours not only working at the hospital but also teaching.Extremely hard working and contributed to the saving of many lives with her studies into gas gangrene. As a result of over working Agnes became quite ill and was sent home. After the war Agnes, who had a brilliant mind, threw herself at everything from music to the writing of books. She continued working right up into her old age , passing away in London in 1964.

Mary Alice Blair

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: New Zealand

Dr. MARY ALICE BLAIR
CMO Corsica Unit, SWH.
Born 27 February 1880, in Dunedin (New Zealand)
Dr. Mary Alice Blair was born on 27 February in 1880, to an old Scottish family in New Zealand. Her father William Newsham Blair was working as a senior public works engineer, from 1863-1890, in Dunedin (South Island). Mary was attending the Wellington Girls’ College before she entered the Canterbury College in 1898. She started her studies at the recently established Victoria College in Wellington, but completed it at the Auckland University. At that time medical studies were not available for women in New Zealand, so Miss Blair went to London to study at the London School of Medicine for Women. After completing her studies in 1907, she acquired the degrees of B. S. and M. B. She was working over 20 years at the Royal Free Hospital in London, where she was an anesthetics assistant, a hospital surgeon, and a senior assistant at the Pediatrics. Besides the private practice, first in Kensington, then in Westminster, she used to give lectures at the Civil Service Commission, as its member.
During the Great War, she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service. The SWH Unit, under Dr. Mary Blair, in October 1915, sailed for Salonika with the intention of reinforcing Alice Hutchinson’s unit at Valjevo. The SWH Committee withdrew its offer of a unit to Italy (which had been accepted), because the need of Serbia was believed to be much greater. (Leah Leneman, In the Service of Life). After the Great Retreat of the Serbian army and people many refugees came to Salonika. Because of the Great Retreat Dr. Blair and her stuff had to change the plan and they stayed in Salonika, where the hordes of refugees were pouring out of Serbia. Dr. Blair together with the British and the Serbian Red Cross travelled to some Macedonian towns, and saw lots of people in dire straits. With the help of the French government, the Serbian Relief Fund, the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and the Serbian Red Cross, the Committee was organized to look after a large number of Serbian refugees. While the SRF organized the social help, the French government provided lodgings and transportation, SWH accepted the organisation of a hospital and medical care. The first group of refugees, under the command of Dr. Blair, left Salonika by ship heading to Corsica. There were some three hundred refugees on the first ship, and soon another ship followed with five hundred people.
In December 1915, a group of weak, exhausted, and destitute Serbian civilian refugees arrived at Corsica with two members of SRF (Sir Edward Boyle and his mother Lady Boyle), and two members of SWH. According to Dr. Mary Philips, they were Dr. Mary Blair and Sister Walker. During the sea crossing one baby was born and he was named Abda, after the ship. Another baby was born on the day the party arrived, and was christened Napoleon, since Ajaccio is well-known for being the birth place of Napoleon Bonaparte. Dr. Blair’s unit landed in Corsica on the Christmas Morning in 1915. “It was the dearest Christmas that any of us have ever spent”, wrote Dr. Blair. The SWH, known as the Corsica Unit, was located in Ajaccio, while the dispensaries were working in other small places, where the Serbian refugees lived. The hospital in Ajaccio was located in Villa Miot, which had a lovely view of the sea. At first the team nursed typhoid
fever, pneumonia, appendicitis and maternity cases in one ward under extremely difficult conditions.
In Ajaccio, SWH, under Dr. Mary Blair CMO, established separate wards for men, women, and children, and later a rehabilitation ward. Since among 6,000 refugees there were a lot of families with children, and some of them were born on the island of Corsica, the children’s department was in a great need. Dr. Blair with her staff formed a mothers’ department, and even made a celebration for all the children born on the island of Corsica. Besides the medical care, Dr. Blair with her stuff, helped the refugees to overcome their suffering. The Serbian colony later opened various workshops, schools, a theatre, and a temporary Orthodox Church in Bastia.
Dr. Elsie Inglis visited Corsica in April, and was very pleased with the hospital work. Dr. Mary Phillips and Dr. Edith Hollway joined the hospital, and were very helpful as they had already had the experience working in Serbia. They spoke some Serbian, and the patients were very pleased when somebody greeted them in their native language.
Dr. Mary Blair was the CMO of the Corsica Unit of the SWH, from October 1915 until 15 September 1916. After she left, Dr. Mary Philips was appointed the CMO. The Hospital Administrator, Miss Culbard regretted Dr. Blair’s departure: “She is an exceptionally good organizer, sees so far ahead, is so straight and such a perfect little lady.” (Leah Leneman, In the Service of Life). Dr. Blair was decorated with a number of medals for her courage and humanity. Among them was the SWH badge and the Serbian decoration of the Order of Saint Sava, IV degree.

Slavica Popović Filipović

Mabel Nellie Blake

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Greenock

Mabel’s parents were Arthur Blake, married to Helen Paton, 1886. Greenock, Renfrewshire.
Her mother affectionally know as Nellie, ie Helen, was born Helen Grant Paton, 11/November/1861. High Church, Paisley. to parents Alan Paton, and Henrietta Angus Turner. Mabel qualified as a Doctor in Glasgow in 1917 and in 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals American Unit and headed to Salonika, up into Northern Greece and on into Serbia as the unit followed the Serbs back into their homeland. The euphoria the unit were feeling as they left Lake Ostrovo in Greece to support the Serbs on their homeward journey quickly turned to terror when they arrive in Vranje in Serbia. The patients at Vranje were in there thousands and with the temperatures dropping everyone was suffering from the bitter cold. Blood stained floors and dying men lay huddled together, wounds were open and untreated, maggots and lice crawled on their uniforms and hair. The hospital was the old army barracks, ideal for the unit but firstly they had to scrub the place from floor to ceiling. Mabel and the other Doctors got to work instantly attending the worst cases. One of the awful sights at Vranje were the tragic circumstances the Serbian solider found on his return, many had lost their wife’s and family’s who had either died or been killed by the Bulgarians. Some of the men found their family’s had been hung and homes raised to the ground. Nearly everywhere there was weeping, suffering and mental torture. Many of the soldiers took a gun to themselves, after three hard years of fighting there way home they found all their loved ones gone. Mabel worked at the hospital right up until May 1919. She was a fearless lady, skillful and devoted to her work. On her return home she worked at Glasgow’s Belvidere Fever Hospital. Dr Mabel Nellie Blake was awarded the Serbia Red Cross 1st degree for her work in 1918-1919. The medical School in Vranje remembers these women’s great deeds today by a plague and a new building was names after Dr Emslie Hutton.

Lucy Bolton

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Estonia

Lucy Frances Bolton was born in 1878 in Narva, Estonia. Her father Richard Willhelm Bolton was also born in Estonia and was a trader. Lucy’s Grandfather Alexander was also descended from the same place.
By 1911 Lucy was with her family living in Claygate, Surrey. Lucy was employed as a sick nurse. In September 1916 Lucy joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to France. She worked at Royaumont as a nurse until June 1917.
The Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont was a medical hospital during World War I active from January 1915 to March 1919 operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals (SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross and located at Royaumont Abbey. The Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey, located near Asnières-sur-Oise in Val-d’Oise, approximately 30 km north of Paris, France. The hospital was started by Dr Frances Ivens and founder of SWH, Dr Elsie Maud Inglis. It was especially noted for its performance treating soldiers involved in the Battle of the Somme.

The hospital was officially known as the Hôpital Auxiliaire 301 and was never affiliated with the British military or British Red Cross. The soldiers treated at Royaumont were mostly French with some Senegalese and North Africans from the French colonial troops. It was not the only facility of its kind; other female hospital units in France include the Women’s Hospital Corps established by Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray and the Women’s Imperial Service League established by Florence Stoney in Paris and Boulogne. Royaumont was the largest British voluntary hospital, one of the closest such hospitals to the front line, and the only one to operate continuously from January 1915 to March 1919.

Lucy Frances BOLTON died in March 1977 in Chichester, Sussex, when she was 99 years old.

Letitia Bowen

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Wales

Letitia Bowen was born in 1881, his father, George, was 32 and his mother, Ann, was 29. George and Ann had a total of 18 children. George was a coal miner. Working as a domestic servant in 1901
Letitia trained as nurse at the Lamberth Infirmary between 1903-1906. In 1906 she was training in Cardiff. Letitia Bowen lived in Penarth, Glamorgan, in 1901.
In August of 1915 she joined The Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to France where she worked as a Nurse until November 1915. Letitia joined the her unit at Royaumont abbey, near Paris, France. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey.

In 1916 Letitia married a Canadian soldier. The Glamorgan Gazette, 3rd November 1916 regarding the death of Sergt T E Evans of The Canadian Contingent who died of pneumonia at Shorncliffe. His widow Nurse Letitia Bowen Evans daughter of George Bowen, Oxford Street, Pontycymmer. Nurse Bowen Evans has been to the front in France attending wounded soldiers and was married four months ago. Shorncliffe was used as a staging post for troops destined for the Western Front during WW1 and in April 1915 a Canadian Training Division was formed there. It looks like Letitia married again in 1913, 2nd marriage for Letitia in Bridgend, Glamorganshire 1923 3Q , Letitia B Evans to Philip J Jones. Letitia died in December 1973 Pembrokeshire

Elsie Edith Bowerman

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Tunbridge wells, Kent

Miss Elsie Edith Bowerman, 22, was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent on 18 December 1889, the daughter of William Bowerman and his wife Edith Martha Barber. Political Union (WSPU) which campaigned vigorously for the extension of the franchise.

Although Edith had moved to Thakeham, Sussex following her marriage to Alfred Chibnall, by 1912 she and Elsie were living together at ‘Thorncliffe’ 145 London Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex.

On 10 April they boarded the Titanic at Southampton as first class passengers (ticket number 113505, cabin E-33) for a trip to America and Canada.The two women were rescued in lifeboat 6. After reaching America they did not abandon their travel plans but journeyed across the country, up to a ranch in British Columbia, to the Klondyke and Alaska.
On the 30th of August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly. Joining Elsie Inglis London unit, donations where sent from London and that’s why the name. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost 100 men. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Elsie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917.Elsie returned home on the 1st of March 1917.

After the Armistice in 1918, Elsie studied law, in which she gained an MA, and was admitted to the Bar in 1924. She practised until 1938 on the South Eastern Circuit. Elsie suffered a stroke in 1972 and died at home on 18 October 1973, aged 83. She was buried in the family grave with her parents in Hastings cemetery.
I

Bessie Dora Bowhill

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Bunkle, Berwickshire

Bessie was born in Berwickshire in 1869, Her farther Tomas had a large arable farm by 1891 they had moved to Harcarse Hill Farm, Swinton. During that time Bessie trained as a nurse at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. She took the post of night superintendent at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but in May 1900, during the Boer War, she enlisted in Princess Christian’s Army Nursing Service Reserve and was quickly posted to the 13th Stationary Hospital outside Durban in South Africa. She served for the duration of the Boer War. On her return she worked in hospitals at Falkirk, Dundee and again at Aberdeen before being appointed matron of Perth Royal Infirmary during 1909.
In May 1915 she she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Matron and headed for Serbia. On arrival at Salonika the unit were sent up to Kraguievac a city 100 miles south of Belgrade. Although the fighting at that time was minimal there was still a massive amount of work to be done, Serbia was well short of medical facilities. Bessie went out to Serbia as part of a support unit and joined her Chief Medical Officer Dr Eleanor Soltau at Kraguievac in central Serbia. Kraguievac like elsewhere in Serbia at that time was under the grip of huge typhus epidemic. The SWH itself had lost 3 members and tens of thousands of men, women and children had succumbed to this awful terror. Bessie and her skills as Matron would be tested and she was put to work straight away. However, during mid-august the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. By October 1915 Belgrade fell. The women had two choices stay put and become a prisoner of war or head off with Serbian soldiers on what was known as the ‘Serbian Retreat’ – a long and dangerous trail. Bessie with many others choose not to leave their patients and remain in Serbia for as long as possible. Bessie wrote on her return in the Haddingtonshire Courier 25 Feb 1916;“I went out last April to Kragoujevata, where we worked in hospitals until bombarded. The whole of the Serbian Military Staff and all British people were sent to Krushevatz. At that time I was away on a field ambulance attending to the wounded on the line, where a small party worked at a dressing station on the line at Markovatz. We were bombarded out of there, and at night had to leave, and walk for 16 miles, part of the time marching with the Serbian Army. We got a train in the morning about 8 o’clock; got into a truck and joined many of the refugees from Krushevatz, and others. Having travelled a short distance, which occupied the whole afternoon, we were picked up by our own ambulance, and went to another ambulance station. Had only been there two nights when we had to leave for the same reason – that the Army were coming down on us, and consequently we had to retreat in front of it. From there we travelled in bullock waggons for several days, stopping at all sorts of strange abodes, sleeping anywhere, and taking our food out of doors or anywhere we could get it. We passed through Krushevatz where all the other refugees were, and where we found arrangements were being made for British people to try and get home. After going further on we returned in about two days in a bullock cart, four sisters and myself, who wanted to get home. We joined our own staff again at Krushevatz and stayed there several days until the bombardment took place. We were away about a fortnight altogether. All that week we heard guns very near, and on 5th November learned that the Germans were only a few miles off. By this time the town was practically evacuated. On 6th November the bombardment took place. The Serbians blew up the ammunition on the railway, which gave the inhabitants of the town a great shock. They also blew up an iron bridge over the river, and with the terrific explosion just about finished everything we had, wrecking the living room of the hospital. Fortunately only two night sisters were in it, and managed to escape with but a few scratches from broken glass, etc. Aeroplanes dropped bombs over the town, and shells were fired on it. We stayed in hospital and busied ourselves carrying patients downstairs in readiness to depart. At night the Prussian Guards simply walked into the town without any fuss whatever, and took it. Dr Inglis and her staff were told to prepare beds for 50 Germans , and next morning we received orders to leave the hospital to them. Only half-an-hour was gien to us to get out, and all we were allowed to take was our beds and bedding. From there we finally went to head-quarters, and slept there for one night. We were turned out again from there and eventually reached the Serbian Military Hospital, in which there were over 900 patients. I should have said that when we were turned out of hospital we were given a small house by the Germans, where we carried all our beds and bedding, got it cleaned out, and into nice order, when in marched a lot of German soldiers and ordered us out once more into the street. Being unable to obtain any food for several days, we simply lived on what few stores we had with us, getting a few hard biscuits from the Germans – large square biscuits after the manner of dog biscuits at home. From there we left to come home on the 28th December, staring our homeward journey with a guard, in a motor-waggon, having to proceed by road on account of the bridge at Staloch being blown up. At Staloch, we entrained and went to Belgrade, where we slept one night in the station waiting-room. Again unable to get food, we made tea in the station, and went on next morning, and were taken to Semendria, where a very thorough search was made – all letters, papers, etc., being taken from us, but which were returned. The next day it was necessary to go to the Police Court, and we were again searched, but were well treated by the Hungarians. From there we were taken to Kevevana, and detained in quarantine for a few days, which was not resented at all. Met by Guards, we were marched in line and taken over at the entrance to the little town by the Head of the Police, where he gave us a room in his own house. A little straw was purchased, and we lay on the floor, twenty-one in all, in one room, but, we found the officials quite civil to us. Getting our faces washed in the morning was quite a tragic performance, starting about 6.30 and finishing about 11 a.m. It was understood we were to go straight home, but we were detained till the 6th January, and travelled with the Guards, halting at Budapest on the road for a day. We continued our journey to Bruck, the Border town of Austria and Hungary, and from thence to Vienna, after which we were allowed to go about without a guard to a distance of one kilometer beyond the town, and got bed accommodation in a hotel there – the first bed we had slept in since 28th December. At an interview with the American Consulate, we related all about the British people and prisoners we had seen on the way. Following two nights stay in Vienna, the march was continued to Waidhofen, where, on our arrival, the whole of the townspeople seemed to be out to meet us, and we were rather roughly handled by some. We were detained by the police, being provided with food, fire, light, etc., and, after being there for four weeks, were told on 6th February to leave Waidhofen at four o’clock that (Sunday) afternoon. I might mention that at Berne, where we halted, we got a fine reception, and we were taken to one of the best hospitals. It was the first place where we could get anything since 1st October, as we had lost all our belongings except in what we stood. We got a splendid send-off from there by all the English people in the place. Ultimately we arrived at London on Saturday afternoon, 12th February.”

Bessie died at York in September 1930. Bessie was awarded the Serbian Cross of Mercy .

Madeleine Browe

Date of Bith: 1863
Place of Birth: Ireland

Madeleine Eugenie Theodora Browne was born about 1863, in Balla, Mayo, Ireland, her father, James, was 53 and her mother, Emily, was 45. She had seven brothers and five sisters. Prior to ww1 she was living at Cranley Lodge Guildford. During ww1 Madeleine offered her services as a VAD at Military Hospital Canterbury 10.2.17 – 21.3.17 Chatham Military Hospital, Fort Pitt 7.5.17 – 14.6.18. In September she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and traveled to Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. Sallanches was a small village at the foot of Mont Blanc. The climate was dry but cold and not over hot in the summer, ideal for treatment. The hospital opened with 60 beds but that figure increase to over 150 in times of need. Madeleine worked at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs.The hospitals was based at the used Grand hotel Michollin and operated from Feb1918-March 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis a huge problem in Serbia at the end of the war. She left the unit in May 1919. She died on November 1, 1937, in Brentford, Middlesex, at the age of 74.

Elsie Brown

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Lancashire

Elsie Catherine Brown
Born in 1892 in Barrow-In-Furness, Lancashire, Her father George, was a ships surveyor
Joined the SWH in Jan 1917 as an orderly, she had been training to be a teacher.
Elsie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in January 1917 and served until February 1918. At that time she was living at 37 Victoria Avenue, Whitley Bay. She joined the American unit. The name “American unit” was given due to large amount of donations that poured in from America. The plan was for Elsie to travel out to Salonika and then onto Lake Ostrovo. The field hospital at Lake Ostrovo( Northern Greece) was very close to the fighting in the mountains of Macedonia. However, according to her notes in her file it seems she was in Salonika for a year. It looks like she never joined the unit intended but worked at the SWH in Salonika. A huge hospital, one and a quarter miles long and had over 500 beds. The centre gained its name as it was supported and funded by the subscriptions from that city. A vast hospital with operating rooms and an X-ray room, a dental department, massage and mecano- therapy department, a pharmacy and a bacteriological laboratory were put in place. The hospital of course has a vast amount of storerooms, tents and huts for accommodation and workshops. There was even a small farm yard, effective when food was short or expensive. By 1918 the Serbs were in the north pushing for home so the hospital was mainly supporting the French and although the hospital itself was named after its sponsors, the unit was know as the Girton and Newnham unit, so called after the college at Girton and Newnham funded the unit that not only served in Greece but also in France over a four year period.

Helen Brown

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Malta

Helen Walker Brown was born on July 9, 1872, in Malta. Her father, James, was a schoolmaster. By 1881 the family had moved to Edinburgh. In 1901 Helen was working as a nurse in Edinburgh. In 1911 she was employed as a nurse but had moved to Dorset. Helen joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916.
On August the 30th 1916 she joined the London unit as a Nurse. The unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost many men. The London unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917.

Helen Walker Brown died on 30 September 1954 when she was 82 years old.

Gladys Lieba Buckley

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Northampton

From the British Medical journal 1956.

Dr. G. LIEBA BUCKLEY died at her home at Bournemouth on July 2 after a long illness. She was 65 years of age. Born on April 2, 1891, the daughter of the late Dr. T. W. Buckley, of Thrapston, Northamptonshire, who was a greatly respected general practitioner, Gladys Lieba Buckley decided to take up medicine at the early age of 9. From St. Swithun’s School, Winchester, she entered Girton College, Cambridge, taking Part I of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1913 and Part II in the following year. She then went on to the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women to receive her clinical training. Before qualifying M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1922 she spent some time in France with the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit at Royaumont during the first world war. She obtained the London degrees of M.B., B.S. in 1923, and held the appointments of resident surgeon at the Royal Sea-Bathing Hospital, Margate, and assistant medical officer and radiologist at the Ransom Sanatorium, Mansfield, before settling at Bournemouth in 1926. She decided on a career in radiology and took the D.M.R.E. of Cambridge in 1927. She acquired a large radiological practice in Bournemouth, succeeding the late Dr. Florence Storey, who died in 1932. At the time of her death Dr. Buckley was consultant radiologist to the Royal Victoria and West Hants Hospital, Bournemouth, the Lymington and District Hospital, and the Christchurch Hospital. During the second world war she joined the R.A.M.C. and was employed in Haifa, Palestine, for two years. She continued at work in Bournemouth until 1953. A member of the British Medical Association for 32 years, she acted as one of the honorary secretaries of the Section of Radiology and Electrotherapeutics when the Association held its Annual Meeting at Bournemouth in 1934. She was also a member of the Radiologists Group Committee from 1950 to 1952. K. M. H. writes: Dr. Buckley was a woman of marked ability and many interests. She travelled as widely as the exigencies of her profession would allow, and maintained a keen interest in music and sport, especially cricket. Her devotion to duty was the mainspring of her life, and during her last year, when illness kept her from active work, she spent her failing strength in literary work in connexion with her chosen specialty and in keeping in touch, both personally and by correspondence, with the large circle of friends who will now sincerely mourn her loss.

Maud Eleanor Bullock

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: New Wandsworth, Surrey

The daughter of Rev James George Bullock and Maria Ray, Maud was another of these women that lived life to the full. By the 1900’s she was working as a Senior Nursing Sister at Chesterfield Hospital Children’s Medical Ward. She spent many a year working in Chesterfield. In 1912 she headed to the Balkans to nurse, working with Red Cross in the field of battle. Maud joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a Nurse. Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed “The Elsie Inglis unit”. On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of twenty five personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Maud joined the unit at the start and in April the work began supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian, a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the name “Dead horse camp” on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. Maud left the unit in March 1919 as the war drew to an end. The unit in the course of the year had been in Salonika, Macedonian, Sarajevo and finally up to Belgrade , Serbia. In the 1920’s Maud continued her work with Red Cross and worked and traveled all over Europe. Latter in life she moved and lived for many years in Jerusalem, from about 1932, till her death in 1945. She was buried at Jerusalem Protestant Cemetery. Also known as: Mount Zion Protestant Cemetery.

Marian Theresa Bullock

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: London

Mrs Marian Theresa Bullock was born Marian Theresa Pool. Her father Edward Pool was a cattle merchant from Middlesex, London. Marian graduated as a Doctor in 1904 studying at Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Royal Free Hospital in London. In 1905 she married William Bullock and two years later they had a daughter Ruby. In March 1918 Marian joined the SWH as a Doctor and traveled to Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. Sallanches was a small village at the foot of Mont Blanc. The climate was dry but cold and not over hot in the summer, ideal for treatment. The hospital opened with 60 beds but that figure increase to over 150 in times of need. Marion worked at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs.The hospitals was based at the used “Grand hotel Michollin” and operated from Feb1918-March 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis a huge problem in Serbia at the end of the war. Marion left the hospital in January 1919. The CMO for the Sallanches unit was Dr Matilda MacPhail and Marian was her assistant, Dr MacPhail said of Marion that she ” is a charming colleague and i enjoy my work with her-she is so steady and helpful in every way”. Marian was not everyone’s favourite but its fair to say the hospital did have many problems with heating and water supply. Marian was awarded the British war medal, the victory medal and the French Red Cross medal. Sadly for Marian in 1929 she was widowed. She continued working in and around London. In 1956 she died in Harrow.

Kathleen Burke

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: London

BURKE, KATHLEEN, Colonel, C. B. E. (Mrs. Frederick Forest Peabody), daughter of Thomas Francis and Georgina (Connolly) Burke, was born in London, England, and educated at the University of Oxford and in Paris. During the period of the World War she achieved a record attained by few only of the women whose lives were consecrated to work for the Allies. Her service was extended and diversified, for at different times she was with the British, Italian, Serbian, and American Armies. At the beginning of the War she was sent to Belgium as member of a British Refugee Commission, and worked there during August and September, 1914, until the fall of Antwerp. She escaped from Ostend two days before the arrival of the Germans, and then, proceeding to Serbia, was appointed by the French Government its only woman representative at the front. In May, 1915, she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and, as organizing secretary, visited all the scenes of their activities. She was the first woman at Vimy Ridge with the Canadian troops, and there received the gift of a German flag, captured by a Canadian. She was the only woman permitted to enter the British front lines, and was the first woman to go into Verdun. She remained at Verdun during the great siege, in the summer of 1916, and suffered a wound in the arm. Later in 1916, she came to America to plead the cause of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Her manner of speaking was direct and forceful, and her audiences were held spellbound by her gift for narration, as she recounted anecdotes of the shocking conditions which she had seen in all the war-ridden lands. In answer to her appeal she received approximately one million five hundred thousand dollars for her cause. In 1917, when the United States entered the War, she joined the American Red Cross, and made a speaking tour of the country in behalf of its campaign for funds. In 1918 she returned to France, was with the British Army at Ypres, Cambrai, Douai and Lille, and was gassed at Valenciennes. In bitterest terms Miss Burke denounces the Germans for their atrocities committed at the end as well as in the beginning of the war. During their evacuation of Douai they had filled a barracks with three thousand old women and children “for safety,” and then gassed them, in order to delay the British, who stopped to nurse these feeble and innocent victims of the Hun. Miss Burke spent the last day of the war with the American troops at Verdun, whither she went on November 9, 1918. She returned to America after the armistice to continue her work for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at their offices in New York. Large sums of money have been administered by her, but her work has been entirely on a voluntary basis, as she has accepted no salary for herself. Miss Burke is fond of outdoor sports, golf and fishing, and is an expert horsewoman. She is the author of The White Road to Verdun (1916) and Little Heroes of France, 1914-1918 (1920). Although she is of British birth, America claims her by adoption. She has been awarded the freedom of the cities of Flint, Michigan, and Fresno, California, and in October, 1918, was named Honorary Colonel of the 138th Field Artillery, United States Army. Also she has been elected a member of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Shipbuilders and Helpers of America, Local No. 6, San Francisco, and has the right of speech in all the Labor Temples of the country. She is a member of the National Chapter, Daughters of the Empire of Canada, and is an Officer de l’Instruction Publique of France. She is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a Knight of St. Sava of Serbia, and has been awarded the British Service Medal, the British Victory Medal, the [p.204] French Red Cross Medal, the Order of Misericorde of Serbia, the Serbian Cross of Charity, the Russian Cross of St. George, and the Greek War Cross. On April 5, 1920, she was married to Frederick Forest Peabody of Santa Barbara, California.

from C.Fielding:
Kathleen married Girard Van Barkaloo Hale in 1920. He was a soldier in France where she must have met him, and later, he became the Consul General to Monaco. He was also an artist. It would appear that they lived on a ranch in California and that Kathleen died three years after him.

Elizabeth Butler

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Uphall, Linlithgowshire

Elizabeth (or Lizzie) Thomson Fraser was born on 4th February 1878 in Uphall, Linlithgowshire. Her father, William, was a managing director and was still alive when Lizzie matriculated at Queen Margaret College to study medicine in 1895, aged 17. At that time she was living at Serbton, Maxwell Drive, Pollockshields. These were challenging times for women students and Lizzie was a pioneer, sharing labs and classes with some of the most gifted and determined young women of her generation, like Daisy Bennett, Agnes Blackadder and Annie McIlroy. Glasgows first woman doctor, Marion Gilchrist, had graduated just a year before Lizzie began her studies.

Lizzie was an outstanding student, graduating on 19th July 1900, with a long list of merits and distinctions behind her. In 1896 she took First Class certificates in Chemistry and Materia Medica, and a Second Class Certificate in Junior Anatomy. Over the following two years she gained First Class Certificates in Anatomy, Pharmacy and Practical Physiology, a Second Class Certificate in Embryology. In the session of 1898-1899, she thrived on her studies.

She was the medallist in midwifery, and took another clutch of First Class certificates in Surgery, Ophthalmology, Pathology, Medical Jurisprudence and Public Health, and Insanity. After graduating, she continued her academic studies, and in 1906 her crowning achievement was the award of the Bellahouston Gold Medal when she graduated MD with Honours for her thesis On the Value of the Tuberculo-opsonic Index in Diagnosis.

Just a few months before the First World War broke out, Lizzie married Frederick William Robertson Butler, a lecturer at the University of Lemberg in Austria. The ceremony was at the Grand Hotel in Glasgow on the 27th March 1914. Lizzie had been awarded a Breit Memorial Research Fellowship from the Lister Institute and she had been working on a cancer research project in Lemberg just before the war. She and her husband became refugees when the war began.

Lizzie wrote to the Lister Institute offering her services either at home or abroad. In the end she and her husband found their niche in the Scottish Womens Hospital at Royaumont, set up in 1914, thanks to the efforts of the suffragette societies and the untiring labours of Edinburgh doctor, Elsie Inglis. Frederick, Lizzies husband, found useful work as a chauffeur for a short time, and Lizzie organised a laboratory which won high praise from Professor Weinberg of the Pasteur Institute, an expert on gangrene, when he visited Glasgow in March 1916.

After the war, Lizzie returned and lived in Glasgow for a spell, in Pollockshields, with her family. From the 1930s, however, she was in the south of England, first in Weybridge, Sussex and then at 1 De Walden Court, Eastbourne, Sussex. She died on 8th October 1960, aged 82.

Many thanks to the University of Glasgow

Elizabeth Byran

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Alexandria

Elisha Currie Bryan aka Elizabeth,was born in 1885 at Alexandria,Dunbartonshire. She was a daughter of Alexandria born parents,William and Mary. Her dad was a Joiner.In 1891,the family were living in Govan,Glasgow at 8,Alma Street. 1901 shows the family having moved back to Alexandria,where the family were living at 10,Stirling Street,Renton.16 year old “Elizabeth” was working as a Factory worker

Elizabeth, a nurse joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 1st of July 1915. Her post was in the small town of Valjevo in Serbia, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade. That winter Valjevo had gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac. However in November Elizabeth decided to join the Serbian retreat. The retreat as witnessed by Elizabeth and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Elizabeth with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. For Elizabeth this was not the end of her war,in November 1917 she joined the SWH again and elected to head to Corsica. The unit at Corsica began in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika as Serbia was completely overtaking by invading forces. Elizabeth and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. Elizabeth worked at Ajaccio until May 1918. An incredible lady with a fantastic story. Elizabeth died in sussex in 1960.

Maud Callender

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Newcastle

Maud Milton Callender

Born in Newcastle in 1885. Her father was Dr Milton Romaine Callender and mother was Isabella Lincoln. By 1911 Maud was living in London and was working as Nurse at Belgrave Hospital For Children, Clapham Road, London .
Maud, served as a nurse with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals between May 1918 and December 1918 at Corsica. The hospitals at Corsica had been set up in late 1915 to support the Serbian Refugees who were at that stage in exile.
In 1919 she was living in Peterborough, England. Maud traveled to Canada in 1920 and was married to Ivan Wesley Leroy Awde on 17 December 1921. Ivan was a broker and Maud was listed as being a nurse. The marriage took place in Toronto. They had a son, Charles who was born in Calgary. Charles also became a Doctor. Maud Milton Callender died in 1968 in Ontario and is buried in Hagersville Cemetery, Hagersville Ontario.

Jane Cameron

Date of Bith:
Place of Birth:

At the time of Jane joining the Scottish Womens Hospitals, Jane gave her home address on the application form as Tolsta, not far from stornoway, on the isle of Lewis.We know she lived there with her brother Donald before 1915 and returned to Tolsta in 1916 after her travels.
Prior to joining the SWH Jane worked as a nurse for the Red Cross in the summer of 1915 at the Kingsknowe Auxiliary Hospital in Slateford on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
Keen to get closer to the action on the eastern front, and quite possibly a friend of Dr Helen McDougal ( who also resided in Lewis before joining the SWH in 1914 and headed for Serbia). Jane it seems not only wanted to apply her skills as a nurse on the front line but had a desire for adventure.

On the 24th September 1915, Jane put pen to paper with the SWH and caught the train from Edinburgh to Southampton, on arrival she reported to Dr Mary Blair who was the chief medical officer and in charge of the hospital unit, which consisted of 16 women. The unit included Doctors, nurses, orderly’s and a cook.
On the 7th of October the women set sail from Southampton for Salonika a voyage that at that time would take around 3 week. Everyone on board would have been on their guard as the waters were full of dangers, with mines, submarines and zeppelins overhead. In late October the unit arrived in Salonika, the plan was to go and support Dr Alice Hutchison’ s unit in Valjevo in serbia, this was however impossible as Serbia was being overrun by huge invading forces. Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria outnumbered the Serbs by 10-1. There was no chance the women could advance into Serbia so the decision was taken to remain in Salonika until instructions came from HQ in Edinburgh. Accommodation was found in a former Turkish Harem!! A strange experience indeed for the women, some of them coming from the communities of Elgin, Brechin and Tolsta. Whilst Jane and the others waited for orders they organized refugee work with the Serbian Relief Fund and aided the 1000’s of soldiers and civilians that poured in from Serbia. exhausted, malnourished and suffering from severe frost bite. The women did their best to ease the suffering.

By December 1915 plans for a hospital in Corsica were underway, with the help of the French government they would ship the Serbian refugees to Ajaccio in Corsica. On Christmas day the unit finally got to work on the French island. Commandeering an old convent with no water, heating or sanitation was demanding enough, dealing with the hundreds of men, women and children who were devastated with typhoid, pneumonia and starvation tested all the women. Dr Blair wrote of the Serbian refugees “and they looked so desolate and forlorn though most of them put a brave face on it,that we all felt inclined to weep” . Jane worked with the SWH in Corsica until may 1916 returning to the UK via Marseilles, Paris and Calais. She returned to Tolsta in June 1916 and took a post with the Red Cross in Manchester.

That is all I have on Jane Cameron. Our research may turn up more details of her. Thankyou

Adeline Campbell

Date of Bith: 11/06/1887
Place of Birth: Kirkcaldy, Fife

Adeline was born in Kirkcaldy,Fife on 11/6/1887.She was the daughter of Rev.John Campbell and Elizabeth Balfour Renwick.
1891 Census of Kirkcaldy and Abbotshall has the family living at The Manse,Townsend Place,Kirkcaldy
1901 Census has the family living at the same residence.
Adeline matriculated St Andrews University in 1905.During her time at St Andrews,she stayed at University Hall.She graduated MA in 1909 and MB Ch.B in 1912. Adeline gained “Blues” in hockey in 1907/08. During WW1,she served in the Scottish Women’s Hospital as a Doctor in Kragujevac Serbia, Adeline no only worked with Dr katherine Macphail but they were great friends during there travels together, after leaving Kragujevac she went on to work at an infectious diseases ward in Belgrade, making Adeline and Katherine the first British Doctors to come to Belgrade during ww1, Adeline returned to scotland after helping to take care of Katherine in Belgrade while she had a severe form of typhus. Adeline after being declined a second campaign with the SWH joined the Royal Army Medical Corps. Served at Kragievitz from 12/12/1914-June 1915).She was awarded Honour Red Cross,Military Cross,Order of St Sava 5th Class…all of Serbia.
After the war,Adeline worked in England before returning to Scotland. She’s listed as a Fellow of the Edinburgh Obstetrical Society,residing at 8,Randolph Cres;Edinburgh in 1921.
Adeline died in London on 5/2/1965.

Lucy Helen Carmichael

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Dundee

Born in Dundee, Lucy was raised in the family home of Arthurstone House, Meigle. Her father James Carmichael was a merchant and manufacturer, clearly a family of some means. In May 1916 Lucy volunteered to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and was posted to Royaumont Abbey some 30 miles outside Paris. Lucy joined as an orderly, a position that would guarantee her long hours and heavy work, a far cry from her life with the big house and servants.. It was unpleasant work, cleaning up the blood soaked beds and clothes, mopping up of the operation rooms and wards. Lucy took this on purely to play her part in the war effort or maybe it was an act of humanity either way she did it without question and without any salary. Typical of so many women who went about their war in a quite, industrious and diligent manner. Lucy certainly played her part during “the big push” when Royaumont was bursting at the seams with the wounded, the dying and the constant hysteria from trying to save as many lives as possible. Lucy returned home in February 1917.

Lucy Helen Carmichael

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Dundee

Born in Dundee, Lucy was raised in the family home of Arthurstone House, Meigle. Her father James Carmichael was a merchant and manufacturer, clearly a family of some means. In May 1916 Lucy volunteered to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and was posted to Royaumont Abbey some 30 miles outside Paris. Lucy joined as an orderly, a position that would guarantee her long hours and heavy work, a far cry from her life with the big house and servants.. It was unpleasant work, cleaning up the blood soaked beds and clothes, mopping up of the operation rooms and wards. Lucy took this on purely to play her part in the war effort or maybe it was an act of humanity either way she did it without question and without any salary. Typical of so many women who went about their war in a quite, industrious and diligent manner. Lucy certainly played her part during “the big push” when Royaumont was bursting at the seams with the wounded, the dying and the constant hysteria from trying to save as many lives as possible. Lucy returned home in February 1917.

Rosaline Carter

Date of Bith: 1863
Place of Birth: Grantchester

Rosaline lived at No 2 Charterhouse Terrace Chesterton Shelford Grantchester Cambridgeshire 1881.
Born on 1863, Rosaline’s profession was hospital nurse and she spent some years working in Yorkshire. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in November 1914 as a nurse and headed to Calais in France. Rosaline worked at the hospital until it closed at the end of March 1915 She was joined by her sister Kate at the hospital. Its was common enough for sisters to join the SWH and even to work together, but what makes Rosaline and Kate’s story compelling is that they went on to serve in another unit in Serbia together. In April the two of them joined the 2nd Serbian Unit. The unit was under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson, who also was CMO for Calais. On the 1st of April they sailed from Cardiff to beleaguered Valjevo in Serbia. Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Both Rosaline and Kate left the unit in September 1915. Both returned home and both moving to Edinburgh where they lived their lives out at number 11 Eilden Street. Rosaline Carter was a retired hospital nurse when she died in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 1955. She was awarded the Order of St Sava V Class by the Serb’s.

Kate Carter

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Grantchester

Daughter of Henry and Emma father Henry Carter a Fossil Digger and mother Emma Gayler.
Rosaline lived at No 2 Charterhouse Terrace Chesterton Shelford Grantchester Cambridgeshire 1881.
Born on 1874, Kate’s vocation in life was hospital nurse. A good 8 years younger than her sister Rosaline. The two of them, were it seem indivisible. Kate joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in November 1914 as a nurse and headed to Calais in France. Rosaline joined her and together they worked at the hospital until it closed at the end of March 1915. The unit at Calais was in fact the first hospital unit to be in opened by the SWH, they manly aided the the wounded and typhus stricken Belgian troops. Its was common enough for sisters to join the SWH and even to work together, but what makes Kate’s and Rosaline’s story compelling is that they went on to serve in another unit in Serbia together. In April the two of them joined the 2 nd Serbian Unit. The unit was under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson, who also was CMO for Calais. On the 1st of April they sailed from Cardiff to beleaguered Valjevo in Serbia. Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Both sisters left the unit in September 1915.(Kate leaving a few weeks later) Both returned home and both moved to Edinburgh when they lived their lives out at number 11 Eilden Street. Kate Carter was a retired hospital nurse when she died in Edinburgh in 1960. She was awarded the Order of St Sava V Class by the Serb’s.

Kate Carter

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Grantchester

Daughter of Henry and Emma father Henry Carter a Fossil Digger and mother Emma Gayler.
Rosaline lived at No 2 Charterhouse Terrace Chesterton Shelford Grantchester Cambridgeshire 1881.
Born on 1874, Kate’s vocation in life was hospital nurse. A good 8 years younger than her sister Rosaline. The two of them, were it seem indivisible. Kate joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in November 1914 as a nurse and headed to Calais in France. Rosaline joined her and together they worked at the hospital until it closed at the end of March 1915. The unit at Calais was in fact the first hospital unit to be in opened by the SWH, they manly aided the the wounded and typhus stricken Belgian troops. Its was common enough for sisters to join the SWH and even to work together, but what makes Kate’s and Rosaline’s story compelling is that they went on to serve in another unit in Serbia together. In April the two of them joined the 2 nd Serbian Unit. The unit was under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson, who also was CMO for Calais. On the 1st of April they sailed from Cardiff to beleaguered Valjevo in Serbia. Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Both sisters left the unit in September 1915.(Kate leaving a few weeks later) Both returned home and both moved to Edinburgh when they lived their lives out at number 11 Eilden Street. Kate Carter was a retired hospital nurse when she died in Edinburgh in 1960. She was awarded the Order of St Sava V Class by the Serb’s.

Mabel Cartner

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Gretna Green.

Mabel Elizabeth Cartner was born at Gretna Green, Dumfriesshire. Her mother was Mary and her father James was a merchant. In 1911 Mabel aged 21 was living and working in West-Riding, Yorkshire. Mabel was employed as a Hospital nurse. Mabel qualified as a nurse between 1909-1911 at the Wharfedale Union Joint Isolation Hospital, Menston.

In July 1917 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to the Russian front where two SWH units were already located. She was part of a group of four replacement nurses. Mabel headed to the front during a difficult time. The Russian revolution was volatile and things at the front were unpredictable. Germany’s declaration to continue its campaign of submarine warfare, meant that any crossing were high risk. Mabel did reach Russian front and served in the hospitals for three months before the units were forced home in November.

After the war Mabel continued her roll as a nurse. From the 1920;s until the late 1940’s she was employed at the Royal Masonic Junior School at Bushey, London.
The Royal Masonic School for Boys was an independent school for boys in England.

From 1798 charities were set up for clothing and educating sons of needy Freemasons. They originally provided education by sending them to schools near to their homes.

Mabel died in Fulham, London in 1965.

Florence Missouri Caton

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: At sea, Cuba

Florence Missouri Caton was born about 1876.She was born at sea,off Cuba,West Indies to British parents,Shipmaster John Henry Caton and Welsh mother Elizabeth.
1881 Census of Wrexham,Wales has her mother,Elizabeth,Florence(aged 5) and a brother and sister living at 1,Bryndraw Terrace.
The Censuses for both 1901 and 1911 show Florence as living/working at The Sanatorium,Regent Road,Pendleton, Salford,Lancashire.Her occupation was “Hospital Nurse”.
Florence died 15/7/1917 at the SWH(American Unit),Macedonia,Greece.She was buried in the Salonika Anglo French Military Cemetery. Her home address at time of her death was 61,Monks Road,Exeter.She was a spinster.

On September 12th 1915 Florence Caton joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and boarded the hospital ship The Oxfordshire as part of 40 strong group of women all heading to Serbia. Their mission was to support the existing hospitals at Kragujevac, Valjevo, Mladenovac and Lazarevac. Serbia in the early days of WW1 had various amounts of success but the Central powers of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria had returned in huge numbers to kill off any hope Serbia may have of being able to hold on.
Florence reached her destination at Valjevo in early October 1915, a journey that took around 2 weeks and fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and Zeppelins all responsible for the lost of many a ship, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). Then a few more day’s travel by train to Valjevo.

Florence must have felt frustrated and disappointed as only a few days after working at the canvas hospital at Valjevo, Belgrade fell and by the 17th of October the unit under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson were ordered to evacuate Valjevo and head down to the spa town of Vrinjatcha Bania where they ran a 100 bed field hospital until mid November when the invasion of Austrian troops effectively made them prisoners of war. They were at that point treated well but were moved to Krushevac for a short time accommodated in a run down, filthy and cold hotel. Also at Krushevac was Elsie Ingils and her unit. The hospital was know as the Zoo on account of the men being packed in row after row and piled 3 high. The conditions were awful, men streamed in hour after hour, exhausted, starving and worse. They had lost all hope.
Relations with their captors at this point started to breakdown and Florence with the other 31 members of the unit were sent by train to the cold plains of Hungary and for the next five weeks were confined to two rooms with little food or firewood for heating. What angered the women even more was they were not allowed to work. The Serbians who were also prisoners of war at these camps had things bad, Cholera outbreaks, starvation, frostbite and many men simply died of neglect. The women harassed and chipped away at the guards and often played tricks on them, until finally they were to be sent home, traveling to Budapest, and on to Vienna where all personal effects such as diaries and letters were taken from them. A train transported them firstly to Zurich, Bern and on to home.
On the 12 th of February 1916 the women were greeted by cheering crowds but for most of these stoic women all their thoughts were of the Serbs they left behind.

Only four months after her ordeal Florence was back on board another ship. Again she signed up to work with Scottish Women’s Hospitals and joined the American unit, so called due to huge amount of donations coming in from America. On the 4th of August 1916 Florence again joined a ship heading out of Southampton. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians.From 1916-1917 Florence would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going. Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Very hot summers and cold winters and on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. Florence worked for periods at Salonika, Lake Ostrovo, Mikra Bay and a number of small field dressing hospitals. Florence was very well liked and sadly while in Salonika she passed away suffering from appendicitis. The appendix had already been gangrenous when Dr de Garis removed it and her Chief Medical Officer Dr Bennett had suspected that rather risk being sent home
Florence who was ill, worked on. She was very much missed by her unit.
the Wrexham Advertiser reported her death in July 1917:

‘With regard to the death of Nurse [sic] Caton of Wrexham, which took place in Serbia, where she had done much valuable hospital work, a letter has been received from Dr Agnes Bennett, administrator of the Scottish Women’s Hospital, which states: “The funeral took place in the presence of a large number of Serbs, and was of an impressive military character. Three Serbs (priests) officiated and also Captain Martin, the principal Church of England padre. She is buried in the Serb portion of the Allied Cemetery. We miss Sister very much. She was one of those quiet people who went steadily on with her work. I never heard her grumbling, however long her hours were – however monotonous her task. She was at her best in the ward where she asserted herself and her men were under good control and very appreciative of her work. I feel I have lost a very loyal, steady and trustworthy member of our unit … a marble cross is to be erected by the Serbians to mark her resting place.”

Florence was buried at the Military cemetery in Salonika

Esther, Barbara Chalmbers

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Esther Barbara Chalmers [EBC] was born in Edinburgh in 1894, the youngest of the six
children of Sir David and Lady Janet Alice Chalmers. Her father was the first Chief
Justice of the Gold Coast from 1869 to 1878 and was then appointed Chief Justice of
British Guiana, a post he held until 1893, when he retired from the colonial judical
service, although he continued to serve when called upon to do so, eg, in Jamaica in 1894
and Newfoundland in 1897 and as a Royal Commissioner to enquire into a native
uprising in Sierra Leone in 1898. Her mother’s side of the family was no less
distinguished: Esther Chalmer’s maternal grandfather was James Lorimer, Professor of
Public Law at the University of Edinburgh and two of her uncles were Sir R S Lorimer
and J H Lormier RSA.

Esther Chalmers herself, after training as a laboratory technician and working in this
capacity in England, assisted in relief work in France between 1918 and 1920. After her
graduation from Edinburgh University in 1922, her help in founding a peace conference
at Honfleur in Normandy led to her friendship with Lucie Dejardin from Liege in
Belgium, the first woman to be elected to the Belgian Chambre des Representants. Apart
from the war years, between 1940 and 1945, the next forty years of Esther Chalmers’ life
were spent in Liege, where she was involved in various forms of voluntary and social
work. Throughout this period she corresponded frequently with her two sisters, Hannah
H Campbell [HHC] and Alison B Volchaneski [ABV] and with other members of her
family. On her “retiral” in the early 1960s, Esther Chalmers returned to Kellie Castle in Fife, where she researched and wrote her family’s history, drafted her autobiography
and continued to correspond with family and friends.

Esther, joined the Scottish women’s hospitals in September 1916, working with the Girton & Newnham unit as an orderly. She served for a year at the large hospital at Salonika under the command of Dr McIIroy. That particular time at Salonika was unusually quiet, which might explain some of the quarrels that took place between some of the senior members of staff. In August Esther would have witnessed the great fire of Salonika which burned most of the old town to the ground and once again the hospital was full with refugees and casualties of the fire. The hospital its self being close to burning down, as it was under canvas and sparks were at one point falling down on the tents. Luckily the wind direction changed on time.

Esther returned home on the 8th of September 1917.

Lilian Mary Chesney

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: Harrow, Middlesex

Although Lilian was born in Harrow Middlesex her extensive family had spent many years in India. Lilian graduated as a Doctor from Edinburgh in 1899 and we know she worked in London and Sheffield. Known to be a very gifted Doctor who had boundless amounts of knowledge on a variety of medical matters. She joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals as a Doctor in February 1915.
Kragujevac, Serbia in the winter of 1914-1915 was a scene of appalling conditions for civilian and soldier alike. Unbearable weather with snow and ice, many of the townsfolk homeless due to the shelling, starvation, frostbite, men with all manners of battle wounds and a huge deadly Typhus epidemic that would claim the lives of tens of thousands of Serbs and also some of the Doctors and nurses that came to ease the suffering.
Dr Lilian Chesney began work instantly taking charge of the surgical hospital in Kragujevac, a brilliant surgeon who coped with the conditions with clarity and great skill. Untreated wounds, typhus, dysentery, tuberculosis, tumors were all common complaints and the hospital gained a fine reputation due to achievements of Lilian and her team. Lilian was something of a martinet and devoted to her work. She was unconventional and her personality often rubbed others up the wrong the way, a fact that was not lost on her but cared not a jot. Her assistant Elinor Rendel noted ” she is extremely kind to those she likes and very rude to people she dislikes, she has a devil of a temper”. The Serbs took to her in a big way, a tall lady, brimming with confidence who would go on her rounds with two pet geese and a small pig in tandem. Lilian was very much admired by Dr Elsie Inglis, Elsie was aware of the talent Lilian displayed while at the same time mindful of Lilian’s uncustomary habits. In October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. In November she took the decision to go on “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Lilian and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. After 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains they finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill a nurse was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.
Like many of the women who had been forced to leave Serbia, they were desperate to come to the aid the Serbs again. In 1916 she joined Elise Inglis once more to help their beloved Serbian soldiers and joined the London unit. The unit comprised of seventy-five women. Doctors, nurses, orderlies, ambulance drivers, cooks, x-ray operators etc all keen and willing, their destination was the Russian front. After boarding the ship the Huntspill at Liverpool they sailed into the Irish sea and zig-zagged their way north to the Arctic ocean, acutely aware of the dangers that lay in the waters, mines and highly mobile submarines infested the seas. This was September and during July and August fifty one merchant vessels had been sunk in the icy waters. The ship kept to its course and once into the arctic circle and within sight of Bear Island turned south into the white sea and onto the port of Archangel. From here they journeyed by special train taking 3 weeks to get to Moscow and then on to Odessa, a journey of 14 days often stopped by Russian Officials. At Odessa instructions were given to proceed to the Romanian front where the Serb military was in action. Finally at Reni the journey continued by steamer and barge down the Danube to Cernavoda. They then proceeded by train and motor transport to Medijia. Here on a hill top above the town two hospitals were established and equipped at Medijia and Bulbulmic. The first hospital was to be situated in a large barracks close to a firing range in a dirty empty building on top of a hill an excellent target for enemy airplanes. The wounded commenced to arrive in their thousands after 48 hours, both hospitals were only each equipped for 100 men. Many of men with indescribable wounds often were placed two or three men to a single mattress. The nurses slept in tents. It was stated the nursing management was a revelation. Lilian took charge of the hospital at Bulbulmic for a time. The hospitals were continuously on the move as the Eastern front breathed in and out, involved in two offensives and three retreats as they supported the Serbs with all they had. At times horrendous conditions with huge casualties, harsh weather conditions and the feeling of being cut off from the rest of the world. For a time towards the end they became tangled up in the 1917 Russian revolution. While in Romania Lilian and Elinor Rendel were accused by Romanian armed police as being spies while on a walk around town. On another occasion when the revolution was having an impact among the Russian soldiers and discipline became a problem among the troops she would fly at them in a rage and severe dressing downs were handed out. A lady of immense stature. In September 1917 she returned home but fittingly joined the “Elsie Inglis Unit” so called as Elsie died on her return from Russia. From 1918-1919 she worked as Doctor with the unit in Macedonia, Sarajevo and Belgrade. Her war work ended in Serbia where it all began, an astonishing adventure that took her all over Europe in an attempt to save the lives of a people she clearly loved. For her endevours she was awarded the Order of the St Sava. Today she is remembered by the Serbs and included in many articles. In Belgrade she had a severe attack of sciatica and had to be treated with large amounts of morphia such was the pain. She wrote of it in true Lilian style ” everyone took my ailment too seriously, its tiresome and painful but the London committee evidently thought I was on my last legs or they may of thought it was going to my brain” Lilian was sent home. After the war Lilian went out to Majorca, perhaps for health reasons and continued her work as a Doctor. She passed away in 1935 on the Island.

Sara Chilton

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Newcastle

Sara Elizabeth Chilton
Born in Newcastle in 1872

Sara joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in July 1916 as a nurse. Sara joined the American unit.
The unit got its name after Kathleen Burke had went to America and raised huge sums of money. On the 4 th of August she boarded the HM Hospital ship the Dunluce Castle at Southampton and set sail for Salonika( Thessaloniki) in Greece. Sara was stationed in Salonika for the first 2 weeks and then moved to the 200 bed hospital at Lake Ostrovo( now part of Macedonia) and whose chief medical officer was Dr Agnes Bennett. The units job was to support the Serbian Army who at the time were trying to take the mountains of Kajmakcalan.. At Ostrovo the enemy was not the Austrians but their ally Bulgaria.From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight. Mosquitoes,flies and wasps were also a huge discomfort. The hospital which was under canvas was also frequently under attack from bombings. A field hospital with 200 beds, consisted of twenty rows of tents. It started its operation with the intention to be a surgical hospital (160 beds for surgery and 40 beds for recuperation), but with an increase in cases of malaria, they also accepted the malaria patients. It contained: a surgery, hospital wards, x-ray, bacteriological laboratory, out-patient department, reception, with all accompanying services such as a storage for medical supplies, kitchen and laundry. Sara departed the region and the service in January 1917.

After the war in 1923 Sara was living at 4,Wharton Terrence Newton Newcasle -On -Tyne and had entered the Training School County Hospital Durham

The probate for Sarah Elizabeth Chilton confirms she was living at 22,Princess Gardens Monkseaton Whitley Bay spinster died Victoria Jubilee Hospital 11 July 1956

Annie Christitch

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Belgrade Serbia

Miss Annie Christitch
– a woman journalist and an orderly in the First World War, a suffragette and philanthropist in peace

Date of Birth :6 December1 885
Place of Birth:Belgrade(Serbia)

Annie Christitch was born in Belgrade(Serbia), where she grew up in the embrace of the great and famous Serbian Christitch family. Her caring mother, Elizabeth Bessie O’Brian, an Irish suffragette and writer,and her father Ljubomir Christitsch, whose position and reputation had always been in the focus of political events, left the greatest development impact on Annie. Three European capitals – Belgrade, St. Petersburg and London, determined Annie’s upbringing and education. In London, in parallel with her studies, Annie taught writing skills,and began a career as a journalist for the woman’s section of the London newspaper “The Daily Express”. Women’s fashion and gossip columns did not meet high expectations of a young journalist, like Annie Christitch, so she turned to women’s rights and the suffragette movement. Her talent and a sharp literary pen, over time, secured for her a place of a female journalist within a male-dominated profession.
A great emphasis is given to the parents of Anne Christitch – her mother Elisabeth Christitch, a well-known journalist herself, and her father Ljubomir Christitch, a Serbian Officer and a Diplomat.He mother, Elisabeth O’Brian Christitch, was born in County of Limerick, in Ireland. She was a writer and journalist, reporter for many newspapers,and active in the suffragist movement, and in a Catholic women’s society.
At the beginning of the First World War, Anne Christitch responded to a call by Dr. Elsie Inglisand accompanied the first SWH Unit going to Serbia, on 5 January 1915. Dr Elsie Inglis (1864-1917), a woman physician and surgeon, the founder and leader of SWH, formed fourteen hospital units during the Great War, which werelocated in France, Malta,Serbia, Greece,Roumania, Russia and Corsica. Dr Inglis came to Serbia in April 1915 to personally support the actions of SWH. Besides the first unit in Kragujevac, the hospitals were founded in Valjevo, Lazarevac and Mladenovac[Field]. Annie Christitch shared the fate of SWH, and dedication of its members, as witnessed by Louise E. Fraser in “Diary of a Dresser in the Serbian Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, 1915”, a nurse on the independent Advisory Panel of SWH; also by Fortier, Jones, “With the Serbs into Exile”, 1916, which the author dedicated to the Serbian old men. Annie Christitch recorded her memories of Dr. Elsie Inglis in the book by Eva Shaw McLaren: ”Elsie Inglis – the Woman with the Torch”, 1920.
Historical evidence: Miss Annie Christitch[Field]about Dr.Elsie Inglis
From ”Elsie Inglis – The Woman with the Torch”, by Eva Shaw McLaren[Field]

We close this chapter on her work in Serbia with tribute to her memory from one of her Serbian friend, Miss Christitch, a well-known journalist:
Through Dr. Inglis Serbia has come to know Scotland, for I must confess that formerly it was not recognized by our people as a distinctive part of the British Isles. Her name, as that of the Serbian mother from Scotland, has become legendary throughout the land, and it is not excluded that at a future date popular opinion will claim her as of Serbian descent, although born on foreign soil.
What appealed to all those with whom Elsie Inglis came in contact in Serbia was her extraordinary sympathy and understanding for the people whose language she could not speak,and whose ways and customs must certainly have seemed strange to her. Yet, there is no record of misunderstanding between any Serb and Dr. Inglis. Everyone loved her, from the tired peasant women who tramped miles to ask the ‘Scottish Doctoress’ for advice about their babies to the wounded soldiers whose pain she had alleviated.
Here I must mention that Dr. Inglis won universal respect in the Serbian medical profession, for her skill as a surgeon. During a great number of years past we have had women physicians, and very capable they are too; but, for some reason or other, Serbian women had never specialized in surgery. Hence, it was not with out scepticism that the male members of the profession received the news that the organizer of the Scottish hospitals was a skilled surgeon. Until Dr. Inglis actually reached Serbia and had performed successfully in their presence, they refused to believe this ‘amiable fable’, but from the moment that they had seen her work they altered their opinion, and, to the great joy of our Serbian women, they no longer proclaimed the fact that surgery was not a woman’s sphere. This is but one of the services Dr. Inglis has rendered our woman movement in Serbia. Today we have several active societies working for the enfranchisement of women, and there is no doubt that the record of the Scottish Women’s Hospital, organized and equipped by a Suffrage society and entirely run by women, is helping us greatly towards the realization of our goal. It was a cause of delight to our women,and of no small surprise to our men,that the Scottish Units that came out never had male administrators.
It is very difficult to say all one would wish about Dr. Inglis’s beneficial influence in Serbia in the few lines, which I am asked to write. But before I conclude I may be allowed to give my own impression of that remarkable woman. What struck me most in her was her grip of facts in Serbia. I had a long conversation with her at Valjevo in the summer of 1915, before the disaster of the triple enemy onslaught, and while we still believed that the land was safe from a fresh invasion. She spoke of her hopes and plans, for the future of Serbia. ‘When the war is over’, she said: ‘I want to do something lasting for your country. I want to help the women and children; so little has been done for them, and they need so much. I should like to see Serbian qualified nurses and up-to-date women’s and children’s hospitals. When you will have won your victories you will require all this in order to have a really great and prosperous Serbia’. She certainly meant to return and help us in our reconstruction.
I saw Dr. Inglis once again several weeks later, at Krushevatz, where she had remained with her Unit to care for the Serbian wounded,not with standing the invitation issued her by Army Headquarters to abandon her hospital and return to England[Field]. But Dr. Inglis never knew a higher authority than her own conscience. The fact that she remained to face the enemy, although she had no duty to this, her adopted country, was both an inspiration and a consolation to those numerous families who could not leave, and to those of us who, being Serbian, had a duty to remain.
She left in the spring of 1916, and we never heard of her again in Serbia until the year 1917, when we, in occupied territory, learnt from a German paper that she had died in harness working for the people of her adoption. There was a short and appreciative obituary telling of her movements since she had left us.
For Serbian women she will remain a model of devotion and self-sacrifice for all time, and we feel that the highest tribute we can pay her is to endeavour, however humbly, to follow in the footsteps of this unassuming, valiant woman.
Miss Annie Christitch,while still a student,was awarded the Order of St Sava.She was also a bearer of the Order of White Eagle, a Medal of the Serbian Red Cross Society, and the Czechoslovak Order of White Lion. Anne Christitch, the journalist of ‘Daily Express’ and her mother Elisabeth Christitch were rewarded with military medals “For Meritorious Service to the Nation,” thus among the first civilians, to bear suchhonours. The Serbian Duke Mishich personally bestowed these honours onto Elisabeth Christitch and Anne Christitch in Belgrade, in April 1919.After the Great War, She has been working for the Serbian Relief Fund and other humanitarian organisations in the promotion of fund raising for the war orphans and homeless people.
Miss Annie Christitch was the Secretary of the International Women’s Association, which was headed for years by Lady Aberdeen. Annie died in London, where she had spent most of her life.

Many thanks to Slavica Popović Filipović for compiling this fascinating biography.

Gladys Churchill

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: London

Gladys Beryl Stuart Churchill was born in Kilburn, United Kingdom in 1892 to Amelia Georgina Henry and Stuart Churchill. Her father Stuart was a Clergyman and they lived at 11 Nightingale Place, St John’s Vicarage, Woolwich. Gladys served with the Scottish Womens Hospital as an Orderly from May 1915 to May 1916 and later joined the WRENS in 1918. Gladys worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. Gladys it seems also worked at Scapa Flow as a coder. In 1925 she married and was living in Middlesex. Gladys Beryl Stuart Churchill died in Nottinghamshire, in 1983.

Elizabeth Clement

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Swansea, Wales

Elizabeth’s father William Clement was pub landlord of the Star Inn, Llansamlet when she was 10 years old. Later in life the family moved to the Coopers Arms Landore, Swansea, Glamorgan.
Prior to volunteering for active service in Serbia, Elizabeth was head nurse at Lianel workhouse in Wales. In September 1915 she took the very courageous decision to head for Serbia. Serbia had been battered by war, typhus epidemics, starvation and a lack of support. Elizabeth left the Uk on the 11th of September 1915 and arrived in Valjevo in Serbia on the 5th of October. That voyage would open these brave nurses eyes, as after they sailed from Malta heading to Salonika they saw the bodies of victims of a submarine attack on a ship floating on the water. Elizabeth traveling with around a dozen other nurses heading to Valjevo to help and support the already busy and overworked hospital in the town. However a few days after arriving in Valjevo Serbian lines were breached and the Serbian capital Belgrade was smashed by a rain of bombs. Over the next few weeks Serbia was flung into chaos, all Elizabeth could do was retreat with the Serbian army and assist where she could. She wrote ” the sights were horrible. Some of the poor fellow faces were almost blown off, some have no legs or arms and were dying. The awful part is there is no provisions for these poor fellows” Serbia’s picture deteriorated day after day and on the 10th of November the unit woke up to the disbelief that they were now effectively prisoners of the Austrian army. In the days and weeks the followed the hospital continued to run as best as it could but with the cold weather, a lack of food and dialog between them and there captures in free fall, they were moved on. For a brief time they ran a small hospital at Krusevac but in early December the unit was moved to the frozen hinterlands of Hungry. Transferred by cattle trucks and forced into wooden huts under guard they spent the next 10 weeks living on bread and soup. A monotonous mix of confinement, lack of food and freezing temperatures only broken up by the brief excitement of Christmas day and Burns night. In February they were ordered to leave the camp and return home. By train to Budapest, Vienna and into Switzerland. Finally sailing home to their family’s. After the war Elizabeth lived in Sri Lanka before returning to Swansea.

Elizabeth in the photo is back row on the far right.

Mary Ellen Cliver

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: North Moreton, Berkshire

Mary Ellen was born in a small village in Berkshire in 1877, her father was the School headmaster at the village school. Later in life Mary Ellen traveled extensively to pursue her career as a nurse between the UK, Sweden, Finland, Canada, America, Russia, Romania and Serbia during her lifetime.

The following account is told by Margaret Taylor, Mary Ellen’s great Niece.

On August 29th 1916 eighty women met up outside The Florence Nightingale Memorial in London, Their journey then continued by train to Liverpool where overnight accommodation was provided at The Western Hotel. They had previously received necessary vaccinations and inoculations for diseases then prevalent on the Russian front, Mary Ellen Cilver had arrived to join this unit. The women had congregated here to give their support and nursing aid to Serbian soldiers at war in their country. Few of the women had been previously acquainted, there would have been much curiosity and anxiety about their role in Serbia and possibly beyond. They were informed that they were to be accompanied by 3 Serbian Officers, and 32 Non Commissioned soldiers. The all women personnel were professional nurses, orderlies, chauffeurs, cooks laundry attendants an interpreter and four nurses. The nursing sisters were allocated a uniform of light grey suits they wore wide brimmed felt hats. In the list of requirements were mentioned two pairs of serge knickers, not to be confused with underwear these were breeches to be worn under lengthy skirts, At a later date it was proved to be of great advantage to remove the skirts when occupied in the toils of pitching tents, driving and cleaning chores. Their kit bags contained all the equipment and clothes which would cover the possible six months period ahead. Their hand luggage consisted of a bed roll, rugs and occasionally a hot water bottle. They were equipped to join the Serbian division of the Russian army. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost 100 men.

From here they journeyed by special train taking 3 weeks to Moscow and then on to Odessa a journey of 14 days often stopped by Russian Officials. At Odessa instructions were given to proceed to the Romanian front where the Serb military was in action. Finally at Reni the journey continued by steamer and barge down the Danube to Cernavoda. They then proceeded by train and motor transport to Medijia. Here on a hill top above the town two hospitals were established and equipped at Medijia and Bulbulmic. The first hospital was to be situated in a large barracks close to a firing range in a dirty empty building on top of a hill an excellent target for enemy airplanes. The wounded commenced to arrive in their thousands after 48 hours both hospitals were only each equipped for 100 men. Many of men with indescribable wound often were placed two of three men to a single mattress. The nurses slept in tents. It was stated the nursing management was a revelation.

” we do without what we cannot invent”

After just three weeks there was serve danger warnings and eventually Medijia fell.The whole country was in retreat. The refugees with their families, belongings and all their animals blocked all the approaches in an endless procession with all their wordily goods piled on their carts. The retreat proved to be four days of complete horror, the endless trail of the wounded cavalry, ambulances, carts and numerous guns. This was to be a never to be forgotten picture. To the nurses it was a terrifying spectacle, The nurses finally arrived in Caramat a deserted town, where a bare room was found with heaps of straw on the floor and a few available blankets, The journey started again in a few days a further stopping place was found beside a river in the open air, cushions were brought from the vehicles and a wood fire was lit. At one point a passing group of soldiers holding holding their horses stood motionless staring. They were attracted by the fire then to see a group of women alone laughing and chatting within earshot of the guns was beyond belief. The skyline was red with enemy fire the soldiers speechless just rode away as quickly as they had come . The women rolled up their blankets and slept peacefully by the warmth of their fire.

After a few more days of the Dubrudja retreat the women finally arrived at a place of safety. The period from 22nd until 26th October appeared to be as long as a lifetime. Theses women had only spent one month in Romania. During the next few months the nurses were constantly on the move, they nursed the wounded in a series of makeshift hospitals , they opened a hospital in Braile from here they were evacuated to a base hospital in Odessa and eventually moved on to Reni. This town was situated at the junction of the Danube. This was an important area for the evacuation of the wounded.

A quieter time followed his in Reni. However on March 23rd they heard that the entire civilian population of nearby Galantz had been evacuated before a complete bombardment of the town.After a period of time Mary Ellen took a short break in Odessa it was then the return journey to England was planned. When she had originally set out from England for Eastern Europe she could scarcely have released how close she would be to the eye of a great political storm which would destroy the Russian Empire and help end the war much sooner. Russia had been in a state of political ferment for many years with increasing demands for a more democratic system than the present rule provided by the Czars and the secret police. Discontent with the war a home had grown with military failures and growing shortages of food. Popular discontent in 1917 boiled over and let to two revolutions. In the first of these in February a civilian provisional government was set up answerable to a parliament . The Czar abdicated. Discontent and weariness of war and in the second revolution in October the Bolshevik party took decisive control and abolished the embryonic parliamentary democracy . It ended war with Germany , the next year. Russia was lapsing into a state of lawlessness the security and safety of civilians could no longer be guaranteed. It must then have been obvious to Mary Ellen and her fellow compatriots that they would have to leave by then their contract had been terminated. The war office had refused to renew it they were forbidding further medical personal to be sent. The first part of the journey took them from Odessa on the Black Sea by train to Petrograd. They appear to have spend several weeks in Petrograd before travelling to Finland. This was probably to arrange the certainty of further travel in order to obtain visas Mary Ellen’s American naturalisation may have proved of some advantage. Mary’s journey home took place with her fellow sisters. They had been at the very heart of the events of the Revolution which reached it’s climax a month later. No letter home have survived from this period perhaps due to chaotic postal conditions and censorship. They finally arrived home on August 8th 1917.

Return Journey

Reni-Odessa
Odessa- Petrograd(steam-train)
Petrograd- Finland( ship)
Finland-Sweden- Norway (train)
Norway- Aberdeen
Aberdeen – London and home.

Later that year Mary Ellen wrote to the SWH offering her further services but decided to return to America, She continued her nursing career in New Jersey with the American Red Cross. Finally she returned to England in 1921 severely ill with with the Spanish Influenza prevalent in Europe at that time, She return to America where she became happily married to a American Veteran of ww1, they settled in Los Angeles where her husband took employment with the rapidly growing gold mining industry. She sadly died in Los Angeles and is laid to rest at The Pacific Crest Cemetery, Los Angeles County, USA.

Elizabeth Colledge

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: Selkirk.

Elizabeth aka Lizzie Colledge.
1901 Census of Innerleithen,Peeblesshire,has;
Thomas Colledge,b.Edinburgh Photographer, and his Selkirk born wife,Agnes Brown living with seven year old Selkirk born daughter Lizzie and her two younger siblings at Miller Street.
By 1911,the family had moved to Traquhair Road,Innerleithen,where Elizabeth is a Teacher Student.

Lizzie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1918. Serving as an orderly at Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Lizzie arrived at the hospital just weeks before armistice day. However there were still around 400 patient in the hospital at that time. Lizzie certainly would of joined in the huge celebrations that came in November. The telephone rang on the 11th of November 1918, the war was over. The women went from ward to ward waving flags,singing, cheering and making as much a racket as they could. Champagne flowed and staff and patients kicked their heels way into the night. An effigy of the Kaiser was burnt to mark the end of the war. Royaumont remained open until March 1919, necessary with men requiring medical attention. With 600 bed Royaumont was the largest voluntary hospital in France, its remembered for the incredible endevours during the battles of the Somme and the final push of 1818.

Vera Collum

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: India

Vera Christina Chute Collum was a British anthropologist, journalist, photographer, radiographer and writer. She was born in India in 1883 and came to England as a child.
A keen activist in the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. When WW1 broke out, she volunteered as an x-ray assistant with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She had two spells with the SWH firstly on the 1st of February 1915 till 25th November 1917 and again from April till July in 1918. The Abbey at Royaumont sits in the beautiful countryside near the village of Asnières-sur-Oise in Val-d’Oise, approximately 30 km north of Paris, France. Today its a place to think, to unwind and to wander, during Vera’s three years the mood was very different. She wrote ” Trains arriving from the Somme in one long stream” ” Their wounds were terrible..many men wounded dangerously, in two ,three, four and five places” Vera;s work in the x-ray room was at times unforgiving, working around the clock, a sea of men all in agony waiting to be seen, the stench of blood and chloroform. And of course the sight of men with wounds so bad no amount of treatment could help. These women had to at times battle against impossible odds. Vera herself had a close encounter with death. Vera had been on leave for some much needed rest on her return Vera was badly injured during a torpedo attack on the cross-channel ferry on which she was returning to France. The S.S. ‘Sussex’ was torpedoed by a U-boat and badly damaged on her way from Folkestone to Dieppe with 53 crew and 325 passengers. The whole of the bow was blown up, forward of the Bridge. The lifeboats were launched but several of them capsized and the passengers in them drowned. Although the ‘Sussex’ stayed afloat, about 100 people were killed. Vera and the other injured passengers were taken back to England for treatment.
You can find more details on Veras incredible war years,in the book “The Women Of Royaumont” by Eileen Crofton. An excellent read.
Vera was awarded two medals by the French Government for her work during the First World War – the Medailles des Epidemies (Bronze) in 1915 and the Croix de Guerre in 1918.

Elizabeth Mary Colville

Date of Bith: 1871
Place of Birth: Torryburn, Fife

Elizabeth was the daughter of Alexander Colville a Land Proprietor and living off private means. Although born in the small village of Torryburn in Fife by the age of 30 in 1901 she was living at 12 park place, Stirling.
In October 1917 Elizabeth joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals as an orderly and joined the unit in Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overrun by invading forces. Elizabeth with her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. When the unit arrived in Corsica it was a very different picture. The hospital had opened on Christmas day 1915 and instantly got to work as over three hundred refugees had traveled with them. Within days another ship with over 500 refugees arrived. The hospital closed n 1919 and did a magnificent job of caring for the thousands of Serb civilians. Many of whom were children. Elizabeth returned home in May 1918. She was awarded the French Red Cross.

Lillian Cooper

Date of Bith: 1861
Place of Birth: Kent, England

Lilian Violet Cooper (1861-1947), medical practitioner, was born on 11 August 1861 at Chatham, Kent, England, daughter of Henry Fallowfield Cooper, captain of Royal Marines, and his wife Elizabeth, née Shewell. Educated privately, she dedicated herself to medicine when young. Despite parental opposition, she entered the London School of Medicine for Women in 1886, completed the course in October 1890 and, after passing the conjoint examinations of the Royal College of Physicians, Edinburgh, the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, and the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow, received a licentiate from Edinburgh.

Cooper worked briefly and unhappily for a practitioner in Halstead, Essex, then came to Brisbane in May 1891 with her lifelong friend Josephine Bedford, and in June became the first female doctor registered in Queensland. Induced to work for an alcoholic doctor, she finally secured a cancellation of her contract and was boycotted professionally for two years. She was allowed to join the Medical Society of Queensland in 1893, and later became an honorary in the Hospital for Sick Children and the Lady Lamington Hospital for Women. In 1905 she became associated with the Mater Misericordiae Hospital and stayed with it for the rest of her life.

In June 1911 Cooper returned to England. Travelling through the United States of America, she visited the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland; she then went on to win a doctorate of medicine from the University of Durham in June 1912. With Miss Bedford she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1915, served for twelve months, including a time in Macedonia, and was awarded the Serbian Order of St Sava, fourth-class.

Cooper settled again in Brisbane after the war and, despite an unsuccessful action for damages against her in 1923, won a large and successful practice. A tall, angular, brusque, energetic woman, prone to bad language, she travelled first by bicycle but became an early motorist and did most of her own running repairs. In 1926 she bought a house called Old St Mary’s in Main Street, Kangaroo Point, and settled there in semi-retirement, becoming a foundation fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1928. She retired in 1941 and died in her home on 18 August 1947. She was buried in Toowong cemetery with Anglican rites; her estate, sworn for probate at £12,315 in Queensland and £2896 in New South Wales, was left mainly to members of her family.

After Cooper’s death Miss Bedford gave the site for the Mount Olivet Hospital of the Sisters of Charity, part of which was entitled ‘the Lilian Cooper Nursing Home’. St Mary’s Church of England in Kangaroo Point has memorial windows and an altar on the frontal of which is embroidered Dr Cooper’s medal of St Sava.

By C. A. C. Leggett

Catherine Louisa Corbett

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Handford Cheshire

Catherine Louisa Corbett was born 1879 in Handforth, Cheshire, England. She was the daughter of Salford born architect and surveyor; Christopher and Manchester born Head Mistress; Sarah.

In 1881 the family were living at 9 Silverwell Yard, Bolton. An 1891 Census shows that Catherine is a pupil at an all girl’s school where her aunt was Head Mistress. The school was in Epsom, Surrey. In 1901 Catherine, 23 was living at home with her widowed mother. They were living in 32 West Lea Avenue in Harrogate, Yorkshire and Catherine was studying as a Medical Student. A 1911 Census of Sheffield shows that Catherine was living at the home of her aunt – Caroline Woodhead. By this time, Catherine (aged 33) had qualified as a Doctor.

Dr Catherine Corbett signed up with the SWH as a nurse on the 1st of March 1915 and joined the 1st Serbian unit under the command of Dr Eleanor Soltau. Catherine departed from Southampton and sailed to Salonika. The journey to Salonika was fraught with danger. Mines, submarines and zeppelins all very capable of sinking a ship and many ships were lost in this way.

On arrival at Salonika the unit were sent up to Kraguievac a city 100 miles south of Belgrade. Although the fighting at that time was minimal there was still a massive amount of work to be done, Serbia was well short of medical facilities. Catherine went out to Serbia as part of a support unit and joined her Chief Medical Officer Dr Eleanor Soltau at Kraguievac in central Serbia. Kraguievac like elsewhere in Serbia at that time was under the grip of huge typhus epidemic. The SWH itself had lost 3 members and tens of thousands of men, women and children had succumbed to this awful terror. Catherine was a brilliant Doctor and was put to work straight away, working in the typhus hospital which had been previously been barracks but suited to housing large numbers of patients. However, during mid-august the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. By October 1915 Belgrade fell. The women had two choices stay put and become a prisoner of war or head off with Serbian soldiers on what was known as the ‘Serbian Retreat’ – a long and dangerous trail. Catherine with many others choose not to leave their patients and remain in Serbia for as long as possible. In November 1915 Catherine became a POW, for a time they were allowed to continue their work, however over the next few months the relationship between the women and their captures deteriorated. In February 1916 the hospital was to be moved up to Belgrade, determined to stay, Catherine with Mrs Haverfield and Vera Home concocted a plan to hide themselves away in village cottage, unfortunately their plan backfired when they were noticed missing. Catherine was forced to join the rest of her unit, including Dr Elsie Ingils. She returned to the UK after several weeks traveling by train through Vienna and Zurich and a ship home via Italy.

Six months after her ordeal, Catherine again was back working for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals this time on the Russian front. Joining the London unit in August 1916, she sailed from Liverpool on the 31st of august, the voyage took her nearly to bear island in the Arctic Circle and on to Archangel in Russia, then by train down to Odessa. Dr Elsie Inglis was her Chief Medical Officer and Catherine certainly had a healthy respect for Elsie. Catherine was joined by two other Doctors both who she knew from her days in Serbia. All in the unit comprised of eighty women. Doctors, nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.

The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Catherine worked principally in Odessa, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions of 1917.

Catherine returned home on in November 1917. She was awarded The Order of the St Sava V class. A remarkable lady of courage, ability and an appetite for adventure.

Elsie, Cameron Corbett

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Chelsea London

Elsie Cameron Corbett was born on the 4th February 1893, she was educated privately in Brussels. Her father was Archibald Cameron Corbett, 1st Baron Rowallan (23 May 1856 – 19 March 1933), a Scottish Liberal Party and Liberal Unionist Party politician. In 1901, the Corbetts bought the 6,000 acre Rowallan Estate in Ayrshire. Their previous Scottish home at Rouken Glen was donated to the citizens of Glasgow as a public park. In 1906, he donated the Ardgoil estate to Glasgow as well.[5] He died on 19 March 1933 and was succeeded by his son. She served in the VAD with the British Red Cross and with the Scottish Women’s Hospital as an Ambulance Driver from August 1916-March 1919. Elsie joined the American unit and at first was stationed at Ostrovo 85 miles north of Salonika, as a driver she was counted on to bring the wounded to the field hospitals, often under attack from artillery fire and bombs being dropped from zeppelins. The roads in Serbia were also a huge challenge and petrol was often scarce. Elsie’s own records show she drove 9153 miles and collected 1122 patients. From August 1917-September the transport columns were stationed in the Kaimakchalan mountains of Macedonia, they lived in wooden huts and supported the Serb advance back to there homeland. They skidded up and down mountains, negotiated hairpin bends, snow drifts, ice and bridges partially destroyed. A significant contribution not lost on the Serbs they so desperately tried to save. Elsie after the war, serves as a J.P. in Oxfordshire and was County Presdient of the Oxford Federation of Women’s Institutes. She died on the 24th November 1976, aged 81.

Clara Coulthard

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Cleator Moor.

Born in Cleator Moor, Cumberland.

Clara served as a nurse with the Girton and Newnham Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in France, Serbia and Salonica. Between may 1915 and October 1915 she served in Troyes, France.
The hospital was sponsored by the Girton and Newnham school for girls and the unit was therefore named The Girton and Newnham Unit. The Chief Medical officers for the unit were Dr Louise Mcllroy of Northern Ireland and Dr Laura Sandeman from Aberdeen and staffed with around 40 other women who worked as Nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.
The hospital was stationed in the grounds at Chanteloup. 250 beds were erected under large marques and by June they were full. Operations were carried out in the Orangerie( similar to a large conservatory).
By October 1915 the unit was invited to join The French Expeditionary Force in Salonika and they accepted as the hospital at that time had been quiet for a few months. In late October Clara sailed from Marseilles to Salonika where the unit worked in a 1000 bed hospital for a large part of the war.
On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed. In September 1916, Clara became ill and made her way home. She spend 9 weeks at in The St Thomas Hospital in Malta. According to her letters she was having problems walking and her right leg a source of great pain. Clara on her return home, remarked that she been ” very happy in her work in France and Salonika and its a great blow to know her nursing career is now finished”
Clara married in 1917 and again in 1937. In 1956 she died in Stafford shire England.

Elizabeth Courtauld

Date of Bith: 1868
Place of Birth: Gosfield, Essex

When Elizabeth Courtauld was born in 1868 in Gosfield, Essex, her father, George, was 38 and her mother, Susanna, was 30. She had five brothers and five sisters. Elizabeth’s father George Courtauld (11 August 1830 – 29 February 1920) was an English cloth manufacturer and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1878 to 1885. Elizabeth after qualifying as a Doctor worked both in London and Bangalore. From January 1916 till March of 1919, Elizabeth worked as a Doctor with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at both Royaumont and Villers Cotterets,. These hospitals were close to Paris, France and were both on various occasions on the front line. She was to witness the offensives of Somme battles and the final push of 1918. While working at Villers Cotterets, a satellite camp hospital while it was being overrun and facing its final days, she wrote ‘Terrible cases came in. Between 10.30 and 3.30 or 4 am we had to amputate six thighs and one leg, mostly by the light of bits of candle, held by the orderlies, and as for me giving the anaesthetic, I did it more or less in the dark at my end of the patient’. After the war Elizabeth spent some time in France before heading back to Bangalore. She returned home tho and passed away in Halstead in 1947. In the book by Eileen Crofton “The Women of Royaumont” much more can be discovered about Elizabeth’s fantastic life.

Annie Courtenay

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: ireland

Annie Rebecca Courtenay was born in Dunleer, Co Louth Ireland, she was raised by her mother Louisa. By 1911 the family had moved to Dublin she was 18 at the time and living with her sister Mary who also served during ww1 although not with the SWH.
Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed “The Elsie Inglis unit”. On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of twenty five personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Annie joined the unit at the start. She joined as a driver and in April the work began supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian, a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the name “Dead horse camp” on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. In October 1918 the unit moved up to Skopje and formed a hospital in a disused boys school. A house was commandeered as staff quarters. Within three days of arriving the hospital was full, mainly due to an influenza epidemic that hit the region. The women shivered from the cold as they did their best to tend to the hundreds of patients. Orders came that the hospital was to move to Sarajevo. Annie, with the unit, made her way to the port of Salonika. However Annie returned home. Annie displayed enormous courage and the above photo contains both Annie and her sister Mary’s medals.

Patricia Ramsay Crabb

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Muckairn, Argyle

Patricia grew up at Primrose cottage in Muckairn, Argyle. Her father Charles was the station master. Details are vague, but in October 1917 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse at the impressive Royaumont Abbey some 30 miles from Paris. The greatest impact on the hospital over the war years was most likely during the German offensive on the Noyan-Montdidier front. This took place in March 1918. Germans were breaking the lines of the French, Canadian and British troops. The majority of the men that were rushed to Royaumont were indeed very badly wounded and needed immediate operations. Patricia would have been in the thick of it, working around the clock to ensure as many men could be nursed during what were extremely challenging times. Hundreds of women from all over the UK, Canada, Australia, new zealand and beyond volunteered to serve at the abbey, some remained for the required six months, others stayed for years, all choosing a very dangerous and exhausting war. Patricia left the hospital in April 1918.

Margaret Cowie Crowe

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Falkirk

By Janey Smith

Margaret Cowie Crowe was born in Laurieston, by Falkirk, in 1882. She was the first of eight children born to Thomas and Elizabeth Crowe.

As her father’s business grew, the family moved to Kerseview, the house he built in Polmont Road, Laurieston.

Maggie, as she was known in her early years, attended Laurieston Village School and, at 14, was accepted as a pupil teacher at the school. Following her four years training she sat and passed the King’s Scholarship exam to allow her to study to be a teacher.

However, at some point, she abandoned the idea of teaching as a career and trained as a nurse instead.

In 1915 she went with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals to Serbia. She nursed in Mladenovac, Kragujevac and Kraljevo and took many photographs throughout her journey to record the experience. In November that year, during the Great Serbian Retreat, she was involved in an accident. As she documented:

“Dr Beatrice McGregor, assisted by Miss Parks, was in charge of our retreat from Mladenovac to London.

On Wednesday 10th November 1915, seven Sisters left Raca in Motor Ambulance A8. At 12.30 that day our motor fell over a steep embankment. All were injured except myself ; my coils of hair absorbed the shock of the bump.

Mrs Toughill received a fracture of the skull and Mrs Toughill and I were put on a munitions lorry and taken back to a Red Cross camp. There her head wound was dressed by a Serbian Major and I nursed her until she died on Sunday morning at 4.20am. At 4.30pm the same day, she was buried in a cemetery in the old church yard on top of a hill beside a lovely little ruined chapel at Leposavić.”

Meg (as she was known by this time) didn’t speak much of the incident although it was reported in the press and her “steep embankment” was actually a precipice / small cliff and the ambulance landed in a stream. Meg had never had her hair cut and so had very long plaits which she used to coil around her head; these acted like a crash helmet and saved her from harm.

She returned home in late December 1915 and by early 1916, missing her sister’s wedding, she was off again , this time to Russia. She nursed initially in Petrograd then Kursk and was in the country during the revolution. One of her photographs has an annotation of “Passport Photograph required under Bolshevik Rule”.

During her time in Russia she learned to speak the language and had many fond memories of the country and the people she met there.

Returning to Scotland at the end of 1918, she spent the rest of her life at Kerseview. She was a staunch supporter of women’s rights, a great thinker and considered education very important. She made learning great fun for her great nieces and nephews and one of her great nephews recalls her telling him about immunity and vaccinations.

She gained a qualification in architecture and continued to have an enquiring mind throughout her life.

When she died in 1973, her last words to her niece, who was nursing her, were in Russian. She said “Spasibo” – “Thank you”.

A wonderful woman.

Margaret Crowe was the Great Aunt of Janey Smith who forwarded this account of her life including the photograph. Thank you.

Christina Culbard

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Elgin

Christina Margaret Culbard, daughter of William Culbard a farmer and mill owner. Lived in the family home at Old mills, Elgin. Christina with her sister Amelia at the start of the war joined the local Red Cross. Both supported the war effort with Amelia working as commandant of a convalescent home for Belgian officers in Spey Bay. At Spey Bay Hotel. Christina headed to Corsica with the SWH, where she was appointed as administrator. The hospitals roll was to tend to the sick and injured Serbian refugees, who had made the desperate and long journey down from Serbia to the Adriatic sea, in an attempt to save their lives. Christina served as Administrator from December 1915 till April 1917. The hospitals were located at Ajaccio, one a large general hospital, nursing Serb soldiers and tending new born babies. The other catering for infectious diseases. All the women struggled with the heat in the summer months. Christina was divisive and had fall out with the Doctors in particular. The atmosphere at the hospital deteriorated and Dr Erskine and Dr Robertson were sent out from Edinburgh to investigate. It was found that she interfered with the Doctors judgement and management of the hospitals . Christina departed from the hospital and returned to Elgin. She was awarded the order of St Sava as although things had not worked out, she did possess excellent quality’s and had been involved in setting up the hospital. She spent the rest of her days in Elgin as a justice of the peace. She passed away in 1947.

Ethel May Currie

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Galashiels

Ethel Currie of Seton House, Galashiels, was born 1888 to Andrew L Currie(wool merchant) & Mary Squair.
In February 1918 Ethel joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an ambulance driver and headed to Ostrovo. The Ostrovo Unit was a Field hospital unit of 200 tents situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia during the First World War under the command of the Serbian Army. It was often called The America Unit as the money to fund it came from America and except for a few dressing stations, it was the Allied hospital nearest the front. The mainstay of Ethel’s work would have been to have taken the wounded from the battlefield and back to the hospital tents. A very tough job and often under bomb attacks. Ethel would also have had to act quickly as fuel was in short supply. Each broken or bomb damaged vehicle would have been inspected for the “fuel fund”. On 30 September 1918 the unit received news of the armistice with Bulgaria and on the morning of 23 October the unit started for northern Serbia with a convoy of nine vehicles on a 311 kilometre trek. All the staff made the trip and the unit was set up in an abandoned army barracks in Vranja, Serbia. The scenes at Vranje were awful, the entire city was one huge unattended hospital, disease, soldiers requiring urgent attention and homeless women and children often dying with starvation and frostbite. Ethel remembered the Serb’s kindness, she remarked after constantly being offered bread from a people who had nothing ” it is awful to be Scotch on an occasion like this, you do feel so embarrassed”

Elsie Jean Dalyell

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Sydney Australia

Elsie was born in Sydney, Australia in 1881, her father James was a mining engineer. She went on to study medicine at Sydney’s University and received her Bachelor in Medicine in 1909 and becoming one of the first women in the faculty to graduate with first class honours and completed a Master of Surgery in 1910.

Elsie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in May 1916, she was one of the most distinguished Doctors at Royaumont Abbey in France. Elsie on the outbreak of war had offered her services to the war office, simply refused because she a women. Elsie’s involvement in the war began in 1915, working with the Serbian Relief Fund in Skopje. Employed as a bacteriologist in Serbia and France she was well known to turn her hand to all sorts of work when required. At Royaumont she excelled in her work with the complicated gas gangrene and other infectious wounds of war. Elsie joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in 1917,together, these commitments took her to France, Greece, Malta and Turkey.In 1919 she was appointed an Officer of Order of the British Empire (O.B.E.) and was decorated by the Government of Serbia.
After various posts, Elsie return home to Australia and settled down.Working for the New South Wales Department of Public Health as a microbiologist in 1924 and was a committee member of the Rachel Forster Hospital for Women and Children during 1925–35. Elsie died in 1948. Elsie was a really favourite with the staff at the Abbey, described as calm, fair, always available and utterly efficient.

Mary Daunt

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Ireland

Mary Dorothea O’Neill Daunt was born in Cork, Ireland. Her father Achilles Thomas Daunt was Justice of the peace and a banker. Between August 1917 and February 1919 she worked as an orderly at Royaumont abbey outside Paris. Her roll was of hall porter and by all accounts she was a girl full of fun and mischief. Mary took great joy informing the new recruits that the buildings were haunted and projected tales of supernatural stories. Royaumont was opened in January 1915 and closed in March 1919. Close to the front line this large hospital nursed over 10,000 men during the many battles on the western front. Heavily involved in the Somme Battles of 1915 and the final push of 1918. Perhaps Mary’s fiery irish humour brought plenty of light hearted moments. After the war she work for a time in Leningrad, USSR, for Lady Paget’s Fund for Distressed British Subjects. After that she returned to Ireland.
Mary died in 1975.

Margaret Charlotte Davidson

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Ruthwell,Dumfries-shire

Born on 18/8/1879 in Schoolhouse,Ruthwell,Dumfries-shire.She was daughter of schoolmaster,Alexander Leith Davidson and Charlotte Shand.Both of her parents were born in Machar,Aberdeen.
1881 Census has 2 year old Margaret living with her parents at Clarencefield Village,Ruthwell,Dumfries.
1891 show the family still at Clarencefield but, by this time,Margaret has five siblings.
In 1901,Margaret,aged 21, was boarding at 1,Alpine Terrace,Dalbeattie,Kirkcudbright.Her occupation is given as Teacher at Elementary School.Margaret attended St Andrews University and later taught Modern Languages in the burgh School,Dornoch.
Margaret joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in May 1915, she was part of a large contingent of woman who joined the SWH from St Andrews university. Margaret elected to head to Royaumont Abbey near Paris, where she worked as an orderly. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Margaret volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform. Margaret went through some very tough times at the Abbey, including The Battle of the Somme, when she would have worked day and night carrying the wounded from ward to ward. And of course much worse. Margaret was also convinced there was a ghost at Royaumont as were a few of the other women, perhaps this was down to the long and demanding hours. It certainly is a very atmospheric building. Margaret left the SWH in August 1917 and went back to teaching at Dornoch.

Mary Annie de Burgh Burt

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: (London)

Mary Annie de Burgh BURT

Very little is known about the life of Mary Burt and her motivation for joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She served as a nurse with the Girton & Newnham Unit from October 1915 until her death in April 19161. She was 42 years old at the time of her death and was recorded as living at 49 Norfolk Square, Hyde Park, London. 49 Norfolk Square, now a hotel, was at the time being used as a hospital so it is likely that she was already working as a nurse at the time she joined SWH. Her enrollment date of October 1915 means that she would have participated in the redeployment of the Girton and Newnham Unit from Troyes, France to Macedonia. Firstly to the improvised hospital in a disused factory in the border town of Gevgelia and then, with the retreat in the face of the rapid Bulgarian advance in the winter of 1915/1916, to the city of Salonica in Greece. The Salonica hospital was under canvas and located in a badly drained and unsuitable spot. Disease broke out among both staff and patients and two nurses died of dysentery. One of those was Nurse Mary Burt whose death on 7th April 1916 was reported by telegram to the Committee of the SWH by Dr. McIlroy2. Sadly, it appears that Mary Burt suffered badly before her death. She is buried in the British Military Cemetery, Lembet Road, Thessaloniki, Greece.

Mary De Garis

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Charlton Victora

Mary De Garis was born in Charlton, northern Victoria, in 1881, to Elisha De Garis and Elizabeth Buncle. She and her twin sister were the oldest of six children. Elisha, a Methodist minister, became an entrepreneur in irrigation, real estate and dried fruits in Mildura. Elizabeth was a bush nurse and midwife.

The twins attended Methodist Ladies College, Melbourne, where Mary De Garis was Dux in 1898. The 31st woman to qualify as a doctor in Victoria, she began medical training in 1900 at the University of Melbourne. The medical women mentored each other; De Garis helped form the Victorian Women’s Medical Students’ Society. She graduated in 1905 and in 1907 was the second woman in Victoria to obtain a Doctorate of Medicine.

With excellent results she obtained a Resident position at the Melbourne Hospital. After this year, in 1907, she travelled to Muttaburra Hospital, Queensland, where she was the sole surgeon for 14 months. She then sailed to the UK, Europe and the USA to complete postgraduate courses, returning to Melbourne in 1910. A trip highlight was hearing the Pankhursts speak at suffrage rallies in London.

After practising in Melbourne she became Resident Surgeon at the Tibooburra Hospital, New South Wales. She met Colin Thomson, a farmer, and they became engaged in July 1914. On the outbreak of war, she offered her services to the Australian Army who rejected her Рonly nurses could enlist. Her fianc̩e, however, enlisted, travelling to Egypt, Gallipoli and France. De Garis travelled to London independently; on 4 August 1916 Thomson was killed at Pozieres.

Soon after, De Garis joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, an organisation that offered female staffed, medical units to the Imperial allies. With the America Unit, based in Ostrovo, Macedonia, under the Serbian army, De Garis was Chief Medical Officer of the 200 bed tent hospital for 12 months. In winter it snowed and malaria was endemic. Her leadership style was authoritarian and some staff criticised her for not being consultative. She wrote, however, that she did not need an advisory committee and that she felt a heavy responsibility for her staff .

In September 1918, on her mother’s death, De Garis resigned and returned to Melbourne, arriving in February 1919. For her war service she was awarded the medal of St Sava, 3rd class, by the Serbian Government, and two service medals from the British Government, but nothing from Australia.

By April 1919 she was practising as Geelong’s first female medical practitioner. Here she lobbied for better female medical care, achieving success in having women elected to the hospital general committee (1925), the building of its first maternity ward (1924) and the establishment of its ante (1927) and postnatal (1932) clinics. When the maternity ward was commissioned in 1931, De Garis was appointed head of the unit. At a time of high maternal and infant death rates her record of 1,000 deliveries completed by 1938 without the loss of a mother was outstanding. In 1941 she became the honorary consultant to the Maternity Ward.

In the Depression she advocated better diets to improve mothers’ and infants’ health. Matron Walkowski, working with De Garis in the 1950s, wrote: ‘Her dietary treatment of toxaemia of pregnancy was revolutionary at the time and became an accepted method in later years’ (Geelong Heritage Centre, GH 957). As well she practised privately and worked at Geelong’s Bethany Babies’ Home, the Children’s Welfare Service, infant welfare centres, kindergartens and schools.

De Garis also conducted research, keeping detailed records of 2,000 deliveries. She articulated a new medical definition of labour and sought to discover the causes of pain in childbirth. In her Theory of Obstetrics, (1930) she outlined her management of childbirth. Having 48 medical papers published in the Medical Journal of Australia, she presented regularly at British Medical Association conferences. Two other books and many Letters to Editors about social and economic issues were also published. She practised until her late seventies, well known in Geelong and Melbourne with a grateful female clientele. In 1954 a house in the grounds of the Geelong Hospital was named De Garis House in her honour.

written by Ruth Lee

Olive, Marjory Deacon

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Swindon

Olive was another of these prodigious and yet undeclared women. She grew up in Swindon, living at 48 Bath Street. Her father Arthur was a Corn Seed Merchant. Olive joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at the end of the war. She joined the Girton and Newnham unit in August 1919 and headed to Belgrade in Serbia. Working as an orderly in the recently formed Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital on the high ground of Avala overlooking Belgrade. Although war was over, Serbia was in still in great need for hospitals. Huge numbers of peasants poured into the city looking for food and medical help as the entire region had been swamped in a deluge of days of rain, resulting in floods and crop failure. By November endless complications causes many of the staff to leave, Olive included. Olive and three other aid workers under the auspices of the American Relief Administration Childrens’ Fund went to Pec( Kosovo) to establish two orphanages. They left in 1920 after it had been hailed a success. After “her war” Olive went on to become the Almoner at St Thomas Hospital in London, a post she held for 26 years, she died in 1950, aged 58.

Gladys Frankland Dodgshun

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Leeds

Gladys grow up in the family home in Headingley, Leeds. Her father was Charles Clay Dodgshun and was a Woollen Manufacturer’s Agent.
In March 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Gladys joined the Elsie Ingils Unit and as driver headed to Salonika, Lake Ostrovo before venturing into Macedonia. The towering hills right on the front line had been taken by the French and Serb forces and the “Elsie Inglis” was the first field dressing hospital behind the lines. The work was often long and Gladys had to be physically and mentally tough to endure the long hours of driving in horrendous conditions. The hospital moved to Skopje where they set up a compound in a disused School. Influenza became an epidemic and the hospital was full in a mater of days. The orders came a few short Weeks later to move the hospital to Sarajevo. However Gladys must have left the unit in Salonika. She left the service in March 1919.

In 1922 she married and had two children and we know she was living in South Africa with her husband being a church minister.

Margaret Balfour Doig

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Leith, Edinburgh

Margaret was born in 1882 she lived with her father Robert a blacksmith and mother Margaret Fortune Doig. Margaret trained as a nurse at the Whitehaven and West Cumberland Infirmary and at the Simpson Memorial Hospital Edinburgh. She held a position of Charge Night Nurse at the Crichton institution, Dumfries. In 1913 she was appointed assistant matron of the Royal Asylum, Perth. In May 1916 she headed to the impressive Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. She continued her work until November 1916, completing the statuary 6 months. Margaret’s war included the nursing of the troops during the battles of the Somme. Train loads of men arrived at the Abbey each day, men peppered with bullet holes or suffering from gas gangrene, amputations were all to common. They worked until exhausted, sleeping was a luxury, often the women became sick from all the endless hours of contentiousness work. The Abbey was massively involved in the saving of lives during the offensives of 1915, the Somme battles of 1916 and the final push of 1918.

Margaret Balfour Doig

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Leith, Edinburgh

Margaret was born in 1882 she lived with her father Robert and mother Margaret Fortune Doig. Margaret trained as a nurse at the Whitehaven and West Cumberland Infirmary and at the Simpson Memorial Hospital Edinburgh. She held a position of Charge Night Nurse at the Crichton institution, Dumfries. In 1913 she was appointed assistant matron of the Royal Asylum, Perth. In May 1916 she headed to the impressive Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. She continued her work until November 1916, completing the statuary 6 months. Margaret’s war included the nursing of the troops during the battles of the Somme. Train loads of men arrived at the Abbey each day, men peppered with bullet holes or suffering from gas gangrene, amputations were all to common. They worked until exhausted, sleeping was a luxury, often the women became sick from all the endless hours of contentiousness work. The Abbey was massively involved in the saving of lives during the offensives of 1915, the Somme battles of 1916 and the final push of 1918.

Matilda Doig

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Dundee

Born at 12 Forest Park, Dundee. Matilda;s father John was Mason Foreman. Matilda has 3 brothers and sisters.
Before joining the Scottish Womens Hospitals in April 1915, we believe she was working as a nurse in Southport, Lancashire. 21st of April 1915 Matilda and her unit which included 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic.The unit was under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. A backlog of illnesses combined with malnutrition and long time suffering. Matilda would certainly of had her work cut out. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat. In early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November she joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” Matilda joined the endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000′s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Matilda returned home on the 23rd of December.

Matilda for awhile took work as a nurse at Bellahouston Hospital in Glasgow. She joined the SWH again in the spring of 1918 where she headed to Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. Matilda nursed at the served at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs.The hospitals was based at the used “Grand hotel Michollin” and operated from Feb1918-March 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis a huge problem in Serbia at the end of the war. Matilda left the SWH in September 1918.

Alma Dolling

Date of Bith: 1896
Place of Birth: Kamloops, Canada

Alma was born in Kamloops, British Columbia in 1896 to Walter and Elizabeth Clarke. Her father was the owner, publisher, printer, editor and distributor for the local weekly newspaper, the Kamloops Standard.

The Abbey at Royaumont sits in the beautiful countryside near the village of Asnières-sur-Oise in Val-d’Oise, approximately 30 km north of Paris, France. Today it’s a place to think, to unwind and to wander.
Alma fitted the stereotype of many of the orderlies that found their way to Royaumont Abbey. They came from similar backgrounds, wealth, decadence and privilege. More Downtown Abbey that Royaumont Abbey. Then again their services were voluntary, only the uniforms, travel costs and board were provided for. Many of them yearned for independence and a taste of adventure. They were fashionable and elegant, but equally in large doses, gregarious and reckless, fond of drinking, smoking and often unable to control their emotions. At times they came into conflict with the Doctors and nurses. The Doctors and nurses had worked extremely hard elevating themselves to their posts and although they all shared the common goal of trying to improve the lot of women, clearly the orderlies had the easier passage in life. In many ways the hospital was a large experiment, employing only women. There was always the risk that things could go wrong. Being so close to the front line, if they were shelled and lives were lost, then public opinion could turn on these all female units. The front is often a fluid place to be and the hospital could easily at any point slip into enemy hands, resulting in loss of life and staff being taken as prisoners of war, as happened in Serbia to four of the units. But a feature of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals was their unbreakable spirit. When the soldiers poured in through the doors, all the staff worked as one. The orderlies role within the hospital was not an easy one. Long hours, heavy lifting and stomach churning tasks often day after day. The hauling of stretchers up and down the hundreds of stairs at the abbey. The dragging the bags of dirty, blood soaked linen along corridors. The washing down the floors and operating tables. The stench of the chloroform, the screams coming from the men of the Poilu. In their blue bonnets they worked the wards, stores, kitchens and the laundry. Only a few months earlier Alma would have watched her servants carrying out the same chores, but not in the same hellish arena.

Alma, in the summer of 1917 traveled up to Villers-Cotterets. Villers was a satellite hospital of Royaumont. That summer they were just a few kilometres from the front line. Villers had though been battered in the months before. The surrounding countryside was stripped of trees, trenches lined the roads. Shell holes some 30 feet deep splattered the fields, villages were reduced to piles of stone. Refugees tramped the roadside, begging for help as German prisoners attempted to mend the roads. The wooden huts at Villers, which were to become ward and accommodation for the hospital , were basic. Corrugated iron roofs, oil-papered windows and duck boards for path, with the mud being so bad. At night the huts would shake from the booms of the big guns and half dead men would be brought in. Alma left the hospital at Villers and returned to Royaumont for a matter of weeks before returning to England. She joined the French Red Cross as an ambulance driver and after the war returned to London. She served with Scottish Women’s Hospitals from 5/1/17 until 6/1/18.

Alma,s life had a tragic and sensational ending. The link below explains more.

http://www.dorsetlife.co.uk/2006/08/bournemouths-most-sensational-murder/

Ruby Jamieson Donaldson

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: St Vigeans, Arbroath

Ruby was born and lived at east Newton Farm, St Vigeans. Her father Robert was a farmer. Ruby joined the SWH as an orderly and served at the end of the war between August 1918-January 1919. Orderly’s worked very hard and often long hours. The main duties included getting the patients up for breakfast(4.30) cleaning and feeding the men, carrying of stretchers up and down the many stairs at Royaumont. During times when the hospital was talking the injured men from the front the scene would be terrifying. The orderly’s would be involved in all the nasty jobs, the removal of blood soaked clothes, removing the blood from the floors and operating tables and running after the Doctors and nurses. And all done as volunteers.

Effie Baxter Donley

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Stirlingshire

Euphemia Baxter Donley was born 1887 at Slamannan,Stirlingshire. Daughter of Old Monkland born James,and mother Helen(b.Polmont).James was an Insurance Agent. 1891 Census show the family living at 6,Low Port,Linlithgow,West Lothian. 1901 and the family have moved to Burnhead Cottage,Main Street,Larbert.

Effie, a nurse joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 1st of July 1915. Her post was in the small town of Valjevo in Serbia, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade. That winter Valjevo had gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac. However in November Effie decided to join the Serbian retreat. The retreat as witnessed by Effie and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Elizabeth with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. For Effie this was not the end of her war, in July 1917 she joined the Girton and Newnham unit and sailed to Salonika where she spent a year working as a nurse. The conditions were difficult at times with malaria, dysentery and with the Serbs pushing their way back home, many casualties where brought to the hospital. Effie left the organisation in August 1918. A remarkable lady with many story’s to tell.

Isabella Paul Dow

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Rothiemay, Baffshire

Born in Rothiemay, Baffshire in 1873. Her father George was a coachman. Isabella grew up in Aberdeen and started her working life as a Bookkeeper before training as a nurse presumably in Aberdeen. In the 1901 census Isabella was working as a nurse in Paisley at The Peter Brough Nursing Home. Prior to joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals she was working as matron in Perth.
September 1915 she traveled to Serbia where she spent joined the 2nd Serbian unit sometimes known as the London-Wales unit. The units were named in this way to acknowledge the funding that came in from theses places.
Isabella worked as a nurse at Valjevo in Serbia however her time there was brief, Serbia was moving towards collapse and by mid October the nation was on the move. Dr Alice Hutchison who was in charge of the unit were ordered to evacuate Valijevo. Firstly they moved for a short time to Pojega and then moving south on to Vrnjatch Banja. By the end of November the Austrians entered Vrnjatch Banja and the women were now POW’s. They continued their work until the end of November when they were sent to Krusevac. The hospital was described by the women as “the zoo” due to the overcrowding and wailing from the men who by that time has lost their country and were suffering from frostbite, exhaustion and appalling injuries. The hospital was at times overflowing with Serb soldiers, an estimated 12,000 gathered hoping for treatment. It’s at this time she met Dr Elsie Inglis. On February 1916 she with 28 other women Doctors and nurses were taken under armed guard to Belgrade, then to Hungary and then onto Vienna before being set free in Zurich. They were effectively POW’s for around two months and things were difficult trying to cope with the freezing temperatures, limited space and hunger. They reached London on the 29th February 1916 . On the 17th of July 1916 Isabella signed up with SWH again, this time joining the American Unit. They sailed from Southampton and headed for Salonika. The journey was a treacherous one, the seas were filled with mines, submarines and Zeppelins over head. From Salonkia they traveled up to Lake Ostrovo. Many of the sixty women that made up the unit were from Australia and New Zealand and their CMO was Dr Agnes Bennett a formidable lady who herself was from Australia. The American unit which was completely under canvas, was positioned in a hollow and as it was summer they were surrounded by wild flowers and trees. The lake views and scenery were quite breathtaking. That moment was shattered when on their first night in the tents they were startled by the booms and flashes of fire as shells crashed into the dark night and by the next morning the Serbian Army who they were supporting were on the attack. Soon their 200 bed field hospital filled up. The wounded were lifted from the fighting and put on to mules or taking by the women in their ambulances. The hospital was so close to the fighting that they could see it with their own eyes. For the nurses this was a grueling time in the operating tent, often working day and night and often with shells fizzing overhead and into the camp. The unit went wherever the Serbs went and various field hospitals were set up as the front line breathed in and out like a huge beast. . Despite the traumas of war and at times the arduous weather, the heat in the summer brought not only exhaustion but full scale outbreaks of Malaria. And the winter got so cold bunking in the tents that their hair would be frozen to their pillows. Isabella’s POW days are noted in various newspaper articles about her and in May 1917 she returned to Paisley. Isabella died in Aberdeenshire in 1935.

Chloris Sarah Drabble

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Bradfield, Yorkshire

Chloris grew up in the family home at Stannington and by 1911 the family had moved to Scarborough, Yorkshire. Chloris’s father Henry was a grocer, a man of some means judging by the style of the family car. Chloris it looks to me must have worked as a nurse in Scarborough as she was living in West square in 1915. In 1917 Chloris joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals and sailed to Salonika before joining the American unit at Lake Ostrovo, now in northern Greece. The unit got its name, after the Americans gave large donations during a fund raising exercise. The unit was supporting the Serb forces attempting to claw its way back home and reclaim the land. The fighting was fierce and bloody, the work was often long and under attack from the Bulgarian artillery. The patients had all manners of wounds. Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all too common a sight. The hospital was completely under canvas and the women froze in the winter and cooked in the summer. Despite all the grief and hardships Chloris found love on the mountains and became engaged to one of her Serbian patients. They even planned to be married in July 1918, Chloris was due to leave service at that point. It seem her CMO Dr De Garis sent her home and she was not allowed to return to the unit. Relationships did occur but were never allowed to take foot. Chloris did work again for the SWH electing to go to France to the hospital at Royaumont. She worked their as a nurse from September 1918-December 1918 . I would welcome more information on Chloris as it looks like she emigrated and possibly married.

Mary Struthers Drummond

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Appin Argyll

Mary Struthers Drummond(Registered as Mary Drummond) was born in 1/12/1886 at Achosragan(sp) Appin,Argyll.She was the daughter of Retired Ship Master and crofter,Donald Drummond(born Lismore) and Christina Clement(born East Kilbride).Her mother’s mother was a Struthers and she must have added that name to her own.

Mary joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals as a nurse on the first of July 1915.

April 1915 the typhus outbreak that had been under control in Serbia suddenly started to show signs of relapse. The town of Mladenovac was considered at risk and the SWH were asked to step in and provide a hospital in case of a new epidemic. Dr Elsie Inglis wasted no time in dispatching a hospital unit to Mladenovac. By July 1915 Dr Beatrice McGregor with her new recruits arrived at the hospital and took over as chief medical officer.
During the early days Beatrice and the unit ran a 300 bed hospital and with things being fairly quiet she opened a dispensary for the women and children which became very popular.
Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100′s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Mary and a band of others joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Mary and her unit was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000′s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Dr McGregor and her nurses made it back to the uk on the 23rd of December they to had suffered when Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.
On her return to the UK Mary took some time to rest, the journey had taking it’s toll on her.
When fit for service she undertook work as staff nurse in Norwich War Hospital, and remained there until the time of her death. She was a dutiful daughter and a most capable nurse. Like many more of her humane profession, she grudgingly gave her life for her country. On the 9th of November she died at the military hospitals in Norwich of influenza pneumonia
Her remains were brought from England on Saturday, the 16th November, and were laid to rest with military honours in Appin Churchyard amid kindred dust. The local contingent of the 1st Battalion Argyllshire Volunteers were in full muster under the command of Sergeant Clements along with Corporal J.A. MacLachlan. Pipe-Major Simpsen, Oban, acted as piper for the occasion. Piper Livingston of the local contingent was also present. Impressive services were held at Appin Station and again at the grave by Rev. D.C. Ross and Rev. C. MacDonald, minister of the parish. A large number of beautiful wreaths were sent by friends far and near.
Extract from The Oban Times 1918

Ethel Brydon Duke

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Brechin

Ethel Brydon Duke born 1890 at Brechin. Father was David Duke a Linen manufacturer and mother was Jane Annie Lamb.

In August 1915 Ethel joined the Scottish Women s Hospitals and as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Ethel was radiographer and there was no shortage of work. By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigor. Serbia stood alone, out gunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Edith was forced to leave the hospital and with her unit headed down to Kruevac, a three day journey of over 100 miles in appalling conditions. Old men and women, young children and babies all caught in frozen wasteland. No shelter or food and the shells being dropped on them from above. Edith on arrival at Krusevac went straight to work and opened a dressing station in a couple of storehouses. Soon they were overflowing with casualties and soon after the voices of Austrian soldiers. Serbia had fallen. December 1915 she with 28 other women were taken prisoner of or war and for the next two months were taken from camp to camp, first to Belgrade then Vienna, Kerevara in Hungry and finally the German border town of Waidhofen and on to freedom. On the 12th of February 1916 they were home.
On her return to Scotland Ethel worked for the red cross in Aberdeen where she met Dr Francisco, they married and move to America. Ethel died in Aug 1972 at Shawnee Mission, Johnson, Kansas, USA

Ann Fiffe Dunbar

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Tannadice Forfar

Ann was born in Tannadice, Forfar but grew up in Laurencekirk. Her father Alexander was a joiner.
Annie served with the Girton and Newnham Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia and Salonica. The Unit had initially been established in Troyes in France, but was selected to accompany the French Expeditionary Force to the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ann set sail from Liverpool in October 1915 bound for Salonika. On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory(PHOTO ABOVE) was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army. Ann worked as a nurse with the unit and served between October 1915 and August 1916. On her return she married and settled down back in Laurencekirk. Ann Fiffe Dunbar died in the town, a widow in 1955.

Ariadne Mavis Dunderdale

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Hamilton

From April 1918 to October 1919 Nurse Dunderdale worked at Royaumont Abbey near Paris. The Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) unit was run from within an abandoned French abbey built by Louis IX in 1228. Over the next four years, the vaulted ceilings and decaying walls of these secluded cloisters in Royaumont, France, were transformed into a fully operational 400 bed hospital overseen by Dr Frances Ivens. Its wards, named after preeminent women such as Millicent Fawcett, Joan of Arc, and Elsie Inglis, were to see the coming and going of hundreds of severely wounded allied soldiers, many from across the French and British colonies. As well as pain, grief, and loss, its inhabitants were also to experience some fleeting moments of happiness and respite in the hospital that one unnamed patient described as ‘a great big family’. Over eleven thousand soldiers were treated for all manners of ghastly injuries and such was the success of the the hospital, only 159 men died. An astonishing feat of skill and compassion. Her daughter described her time at the Abbey. “She always spoke very fondly of her experience there and enjoyed it very much,” explains Ariadne’s daughter Margaret Oddy.

“She didn’t really have many daring anecdotes or heroic tales. I don’t suppose many of the women who went out there did, as being on the front line became a normal part of their everyday lives rather than an exciting adventure.

“She and the other nurses helped a lot of men who had been wounded and I’m sure they saved an awful lot of lives.

“However, she did say that it could be quite difficult at times. Not just because of the horrific injuries or death that they saw every day, but more because there were a lot of Algerian and Moroccan men fighting in the war and they didn’t speak any English.

“Because the nurses and those soldiers couldn’t understand or speak to each other, the men were a little distrusting about what the women were doing. When they were brought to the hospital, they seemed to be very afraid that the nurses were going to cut them up or leave them to die when, in fact, they were there to do everything they could to help.”

After the war Ariadne married and traveled the world extensively. America, India and South America were all place they traveled to. She died in Edinburgh in 1968.

Photo of Ariadne of her wedding day.

Sarah Florence Durr

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: India

Born in Esh, India. Sarah’s father Michael Cornelius Durr was in the military. Sarah before the war was residing in London and in August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse. Sarah joined the American unit. The unit got its name, after the Americans gave large donations during a fund raising exercise. The unit was supporting the Serb forces attempting to claw its way back home and reclaim the land. The fighting was fierce and bloody, the work was often long and under attack from the Bulgarian artillery. The patients had all manners of wounds. Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all too common a sight. The hospital was completely under canvas and the women froze in the winter and cooked in the summer. Sarah carried on working with the unit until 1919. In 1918 the unit pushed on into Serbia as the Serbs made their way home. Working in Vranje and moving on to Belgrade. In Belgrade she joined the Girton and Newnham unit as they worked the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital. She is listed as still out when the unit returned. In 1920 she moved to Canada and married in 1935. Sarah died in British Colombia in 1971. Sarah was well decorated by the Serbs for her endeavors. King Alexander presented her with the Serbian Royal Red Cross and the Samaritan cross and in 1919 she was awarded the Kara George for devotion to duty in front line hospitals.

Agnes Kerr Earl

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Cumnock

Agnes Kerr Earl was born on the 31st of March 1886 in Townhead, Cumnock, her father William Earl was a joiner. Agnes mother Jane Purdie passed away early in her life and was brought up by her father. At the age of 25 she was living in Louden street Machline with her father.
On December 1916 she joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals as a nurse and set sail from Southampton to Salonika(Thessaloniki) a two week journey in them days and fraught with dangers from submarines, mines and Zeppelins over head. She joined the American unit, the units name was a result of the donations that had poured over the Atlantic Sea. The unit was made up of 60 women, not just from Scotland but England, Wales and Australia. Agnes Chief Medical Officer was the brilliant Dr Agnes Bennett and from Australia. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains the bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From 1916-1918 Agnes would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going,Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in, very hot summers and cold winters and on the more as the front line moved back and forth. Agnes worked for periods at Salonika, Lake Ostrovo, Mikra Bay and a number of small field dressing hospitals. By November 1918 the Serbs were on the march home and Agnes moved to Vranje in Serbia working this time under Dr Isobel Emslie. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks and packed with hundreds of patients with a hole manner appalling conditions, pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one women’s account of the children ” the injuries are terrible, we have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds”
Cold weather came to Vranje and with it typhus, Agnes by this time was the sister in charge and had being doing a fantastic job and the death rates were very low. However while dressing a gangrenous limb she got a scratch which turned septic and two later she was dead. Mary Green remarked ” she had done heroic work in the typhus ward, never sparing herself in any way, a handsome girl, tall and strong and with a splendid character”
The Serbs were very sad at the news and rich and poor came bringing flowers, it was noted that vast crowds lined the streets for her funeral. British tommies formed the firing party and sounded the last post. A monument was erected by the Serbs as she was a favourite with them all.
Today Agnes’s remains are buried in Nis in Serbia along with 5 other SWH members, am happy to say the grave and cemetery are well looked after and she is not forgotten among the Serbian people.

Edith Maud Edwards

Date of Bith: 1865
Place of Birth: Plymouth

EDITH MAUD EDWARDS (1865-1956)

By kind permission of Mr Neale Edwards.

My Great Aunt, Edith Maud Edwards, was born in Plymouth on January 1st 1865. Her father, Edwin Edwards, was a draper in that City, her mother was a lady, Emma Jane Neale, whose family came from Toller Porcorum near Dorchester in Dorset. EME was a twin, her sister being Ada Maud Edwards, who married a Doctor, John Gaynor. She had two more sisters, Charlotte Elizabeth and Emma Kate, and a brother, my Grandfather, William Henry Neale Edwards, known as Neale.
EME trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, with her lifelong friend, Laura Henrietta Ulph, known as ‘Ulphus’. They qualified at Bart’s and EME went out to nurse in South Africa in the Boer War. She returned, disturbed by the way surgeons operated while inebriated. One surgeon was court-martialed following this experience.
EME, at the age of 50, and Miss Ulph, joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital under Elsie Inglis in 1916. She travelled in August of that year from Liverpool to Archangel, Russia, in SS Huntspill, a captured Austrian ship. She continued her journey by train to Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. She was in Odessa on the day of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.
She and Miss Ulph served together throughout, and both were near starvation for a period.
On her return, she continued a nursing career and was a Matron at Barts until 1936, at which point she had to retire, being 70. She returned having signed on as a cleaner, with bucket and mop, but was found out and had to give up again.
EME and Miss Ulph founded a nursing home at Westgate in Kent, and this continued until well after the war.
She and Miss Ulph finally retired to Peacehaven in Sussex.
EME died in the late1950s.
During her professional career, EME never drew her pay, believing that others needed it more than she did.
A Naval Captain, author of boys’ adventure stories, T.T.Jeanes, wanted to marry her, but he didn’t want children and EME turned him down on those grounds. He became an Admiral, married, and had six children! EME was strikingly good looking, tall and high spirited. She never married.
EME wrote an illustrated Diary covering her years with the Scottish Women’s Hospital, which I have. I am making arrangements to have it copied and printed.
I remember EME extremely clearly. As a child, I was almost unaware of her age, so much fun was she. As early teenagers, my sister and I would play ‘he’ with her in her garden, but could never catch her because house rules allowed her to jump over, and walk on flower beds! I was bribed with a Fiver, a Snowy, by her to achieve a first class in Trials (exams at Eton) but I was only paid once; my father wouldn’t allow a repeat! I had many letters from her about such subjects as winning spurs and other encouragements to do well. She was very fine looking, animated, pencil thin, and a great wearer of large knitted cardigans and fingerless knitted gloves. Throughout her long life, she was a truly outstanding person.

The above picture has Nurse Ulph with Edith Edwards sitting on the right .

Edith Maud Edwards

Date of Bith: 1865
Place of Birth: Plymouth

EDITH MAUD EDWARDS (1865-1956)

By kind permission of Mr Neale Edwards.

My Great Aunt, Edith Maud Edwards, was born in Plymouth on January 1st 1865. Her father, Edwin Edwards, was a draper in that City, her mother was a lady, Emma Jane Neale, whose family came from Toller Porcorum near Dorchester in Dorset. EME was a twin, her sister being Ada Maud Edwards, who married a Doctor, John Gaynor. She had two more sisters, Charlotte Elizabeth and Emma Kate, and a brother, my Grandfather, William Henry Neale Edwards, known as Neale.
EME trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, with her lifelong friend, Laura Henrietta Ulph, known as ‘Ulphus’. They qualified at Bart’s and EME went out to nurse in South Africa in the Boer War. She returned, disturbed by the way surgeons operated while inebriated. One surgeon was court-martialed following this experience.
EME, at the age of 50, and Miss Ulph, joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital under Elsie Inglis in 1916. She travelled in August of that year from Liverpool to Archangel, Russia, in SS Huntspill, a captured Austrian ship. She continued her journey by train to Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. She was in Odessa on the day of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.
She and Miss Ulph served together throughout, and both were near starvation for a period.
On her return, she continued a nursing career and was a Matron at Barts until 1936, at which point she had to retire, being 70. She returned having signed on as a cleaner, with bucket and mop, but was found out and had to give up again.
EME and Miss Ulph founded a nursing home at Westgate in Kent, and this continued until well after the war.
She and Miss Ulph finally retired to Peacehaven in Sussex.
EME died in the late1950s.
During her professional career, EME never drew her pay, believing that others needed it more than she did.
A Naval Captain, author of boys’ adventure stories, T.T.Jeanes, wanted to marry her, but he didn’t want children and EME turned him down on those grounds. He became an Admiral, married, and had six children! EME was strikingly good looking, tall and high spirited. She never married.
EME wrote an illustrated Diary covering her years with the Scottish Women’s Hospital, which I have. I am making arrangements to have it copied and printed.
I remember EME extremely clearly. As a child, I was almost unaware of her age, so much fun was she. As early teenagers, my sister and I would play ‘he’ with her in her garden, but could never catch her because house rules allowed her to jump over, and walk on flower beds! I was bribed with a Fiver, a Snowy, by her to achieve a first class in Trials (exams at Eton) but I was only paid once; my father wouldn’t allow a repeat! I had many letters from her about such subjects as winning spurs and other encouragements to do well. She was very fine looking, animated, pencil thin, and a great wearer of large knitted cardigans and fingerless knitted gloves. Throughout her long life, she was a truly outstanding person.

The above picture has Nurse Ulph with Edith Edwards sitting on the right .

Winifred Eliis

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Inverness

Winnie was raised at the family home and business in Nairn. Her mother Margaret owned the Seabank Golf View Hotel in Nairn. Winnie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital as an ambulance driver. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Winnie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917.Winnie returned home on the 1st of March 1917.

Artbuthnot Elizabeth

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

When Elizabeth Gertrude Gough Arbuthnot and her twin brother Robert Wemyss Muir were born on July 25, 1889, in Edinburgh, Midlothian, their father, Robert, was 46 and their mother, Helen, was 26. She had one brother and one sister.

Elizabeth served as an orderly in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Joining the London unit between July 1917 until November 1917. Elizabeth served on the Russian front and was stationed for part of that time in Roumainia. Elizabeth in February 1918 again joined the SWH, this time joining the Elsie Inglis Unit. The Unit served in Serbia and Macedonia supporting the Serbs as they pushed for home. On the 18th of February 1918, prior to departure, the unit was inspected by the King and Queen at Buckingham palace. The King addressed the unit and spoke of how the Royal family had greatly admired the units late Chief Dr Elsie Inglis. Elizabeth returned home in January 1919.

She died on November 11, 1976, in London, at the age of 87.

Arbuthnot Elizabeth

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

When Elizabeth Gertrude Gough Arbuthnot and her twin brother Robert Wemyss Muir were born on July 25, 1889, in Edinburgh, Midlothian, their father, Robert, was 46 and their mother, Helen, was 26. She had one brother and one sister.

Elizabeth served as an orderly in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Joining the London unit between July 1917 until November 1917. Elizabeth served on the Russian front and was stationed for part of that time in Roumainia. Elizabeth in February 1918 again joined the SWH, this time joining the Elsie Inglis Unit. The Unit served in Serbia and Macedonia supporting the Serbs as they pushed for home. On the 18th of February 1918, prior to departure, the unit was inspected by the King and Queen at Buckingham palace. The King addressed the unit and spoke of how the Royal family had greatly admired the units late Chief Dr Elsie Inglis. Elizabeth returned home in January 1919.

She died on November 11, 1976, in London, at the age of 87.

Mary Bella Esson

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Drumoak, Aberdeeshire

Mary Bella was born and lived in Drumoak Aberdeenshire. Her father Harry was a farm servant. There address at the time being Easter Beltie cottage. At the age of 12 she was at school and living in Drummie, Tarland, her father by this time was a farm manager. In October 1915 until May 1917 Mary worked as an orderly with the Girton and Newnham unit. Mary set sail from Liverpool in October 1915 bound for Salonika. On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation. With the Serbs being pushed back they were forced to set up camp again in Salonika. The hospital at Salonika was a large all canvas hospital. The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The duties would have been hard work with long hours and the heat was unbearable with many of the staff being sent home and some of the women died due to malaria. Life as an orderly was only for the hardy souls, daily carrying stretchers from place to place, the washing and cleaning of the men and wounds. The lifting of equipment and bags of bloodstained and dirty clothes. Freezing in the winter and boiling hot in the summer these women were certainly the backbone of the operations.

Annie M Evans

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Cwmdare, Glamorgan

Before heading to Serbia Annie was Matron of the Blackburn Fever Hospital, she worked at the hospital for 14 years, but in 1915 eager to play her part in ww1 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by ship took the journey to Serbia. She joined her unit in September 1915 as a nurse.

Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson who was in charge of the unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac when they organized dressing hospitals they were eventually taken as prisoners of war, an ordeal for Annie with Alice continually harassing her Austrian officials and with 32 other women were sent out of Serbia to a camp in Hungary. Over the next two months Alice badgered and pestered her captors until they were sent home via Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Winifred Louisa Everingham

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: London

Winifred Louisa Everingham

Born in 1880 in Kensington, London. Winifred’s father Albert worked for the East India company as a broker.
At the age of 21 Winifred was working in the East London Hospital for children and dispensary for women. By 1911 she was already a nurse working at the Infants Hospital in Vincent square, Westminster.
She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1917. Winifred held the position as Chief Theatre Sister. She was deployed to France, and worked as a nurse at Royaumont and Villers Cotterets. She remained in France until December 1918. In January 1919 she headed to Serbia, again working with the SWH. As a nurse Winifred worked in Vranje before eventually moving up to Belgrade. Winifred left the SWH and Serbia in September 1919.
More details can be found of Winifred’s war years in the book The Women of Royaumont: Scottish Women’s Hospital on the Western Front by Eileen Crofton.
In 1956 she passed away in Chichester, West Sussex.

Margaret Fairle

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Arbroath

Margaret Fairlie was born in 1891 to Mr and Mrs James Fairlie and grew up at West Balmirmer Farm, Angus. From 1910 to 1915 she studied at University College, Dundee at the University of St Andrews Conjoint Medical School. After graduating MBChB, she held various medical posts in Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh and Manchester, before coming back to Dundee in 1919 where she ran a consultant practice for gynaecology. During the First World War, Margaret Fairlie served with the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont as an orderly. Her time at Royaumont was short, serving from December 1914-March 1915. Fairlie never married, although she was engaged to her colleague, the eminent surgeon Professor Lloyd Turton Price at the time of his unexpected death in 1933. She was a popular figure with the students and staff she worked with and was noted for her warm hospitality.Professor Fairlie was a keen traveller visiting several countries including South Africa, Greece, Italy, Canada and the United States of America. In her spare time she cultivated her garden and she enjoyed painting. She also kept a parrot.

In July 1963 Fairlie was visiting her sister when she took ill. On her return to Scotland she was admitted to Dundee Royal Infirmary, but died shortly afterwards.

Mary Mitchelina Grant Ferguson

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Norfolk

Mary was born in Mitford Norfolk but by 1901 had moved with the family to Pirn Farm, Innerleithen, Mary’s father John Grant Ferguson was a minster for the church of England. John was born in Edinburgh. We know Mary was living in Edinburgh by 1915 and had qualified as a Doctor. On the 4th of September 1917 she signed up as a Doctor with the Scottish women’s Hospitals and headed to Corsica. The hospital at Corsica was opened on Christmas day 1915 as a rapid response to Serbian civilians retreating from Serbia, Serbia now under control of the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. Mary worked at the hospital in Ajaccio until November 1918. Most likely Mary return to the UK for a short break and in February 1919 she joined the SWH, American Unit who were working in Northern Greece at Lake Ostrovo. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains the bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. The conditions were very hard going,Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in, very hot in summer and cold in the winter and on the move as the front line moved back and forth. . By November 1918 the Serbs were on the march home and Mary moved to Vranje in Serbia working this time under Dr Isobel Emslie. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks and packed with hundreds of patients with a hole manner appalling conditions, pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one women’s account of the children ” the injuries are terrible, we have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds”
Cold weather came to Vranje and with it typhus, sadly nurse Agnes Earl died while working at the hospital. Mary was called to perform miracles while operating, physical strength and grit were required along with the delicate of touches. And all the while risking there lives. She was described as keen and skillful. We know after the war Mary emigrated to Canada, she married Percival Ralph Hooper who also was in action during ww1. Mary continued working as a Doctor and retired to Victoria B.C Canada.

Photo above is of the hospital in Corsica.

Catherine, Maggie Findlay

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Portlethen, Aberdeen.

Catherine lived at Glasslaw, Portlethen. Her father George was a Farmer and Dairyman. Her mother Helen had come from the area.
From May 1917- November 1917 Catherine worked as an assistant cook at the hospital at Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. The hospital was opened in the Villa Miot on Christmas morning 1915 under the command of Dr Blair. The primary function of the hospital was to support the thousands of Serbian Refugees streaming out of Serbia. A demanding roll feeding the staff, patients and many of the poor civilians that found there way to Corsica. In December 1917 Catherine joined the staff at Royaumont Abbey as a cook and worked at the hospital until June 1918.

Yvonne FitzRoy

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: London

Yvonne FitzRoy, born 17 Oct 1891 in London, was Sir Almeric FitzRoy’s only daughter.
Prewar, Yvonne was a colourful society lady. She was a theatre actress before the First World War. On August the 30th 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly. The unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost many men. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Elsie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. After her return in June 1917 Yvonne published her diary “Scottish Nurses in the First World War: With the Scottish Nurses in Roumania” an excellent read for anyone interested in her and her travels during ww1. Yvonne post war lived at West Green House Hampshire alone, never marrying, until her own death in 1971.

Agnes Fletcher

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: Peterhead

Born in Peterhead , Aberdeenshire , Agnes was the daughter of Archibald Fletcher, a solicitor, her mother Agnes was from the Shetland Isles. Around 1882 her parents, their oldest son Stuart Archibald, and daughter Laura migrated to a town called Gore in the Southern Island of New Zealand. She was around seven when they migrated and she with 3 of her sisters remained behind. However difficult that was for her by the age of 25 she was working a nurse in the Perth Royal Infirmary.

In April 1915 Agnes took the decision to head to the front and joined the SWH as a nurse. She sailed to Salonika and by train reached the city of Kragujevac. The hospital at Kragujevac had been operational since early 1915 and had endured many awful days and weeks. Typhus, starvation, battle wounds and dysentery all contributed to the horrendous conditions the unit worked under. For Agnes at the time of her arriving the hospital was handling 400 cases a day, all emergency dressings. The Chief Commanding Officer for the unit was Dr Elsie Inglis. Elsie had also come to Serbia in April 1915 and touched the lives of many Serbians whom she treated and developed a strong reputation in the country. In October 1915, the SWH units in Serbia including Agnes had to evacuate from several of their locations as German and Austrian soldiers advanced. After evacuating once, Dr. Inglis refused to evacuate a second time and proceeded to remain to care for her patients in Krushevatz. When the German troops arrived, Inglis, Agnes and several other women with the SWH who had chosen to remain with the patients were taken as Prisoners of War. The women were released and returned to London on February 29, 1916.

Isabel Kelman Flett

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Born and raised in Aberdeen, Isabel’s father Alexander was a master baker the family resided at 81 Windmill Brae Aberdeen. In 1911 Isabel was working as a trained nurse at St Marylebone, London.
From August 1915 to August 1916 she worked at a nurse at Royaumont Abbey near Paris. The Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) unit was run from within an abandoned French abbey built by Louis IX in 1228. Over the next four years, the vaulted ceilings and decaying walls of these secluded cloisters in Royaumont, France, were transformed into a fully operational 400 bed hospital overseen by Dr Frances Ivens. Its wards, named after preeminent women such as Millicent Fawcett, Joan of Arc, and Elsie Inglis, were to see the coming and going of hundreds of severely wounded allied soldiers, many from across the French and British colonies. As well as pain, grief, and loss, its inhabitants were also to experience some fleeting moments of happiness and respite in the hospital that one unnamed patient described as ‘a great big family’. Over eleven thousand soldiers were treated for all manners of ghastly injuries and such was the success of the the hospital, only 159 men died. An astonishing feat of skill and compassion. Isabel was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory medal.

Elizabeth Forbes

Date of Bith: c1884
Place of Birth: Greenock

Elizabeth (Betty) Forbes MacPherson was born c1884 in Greenock.She was the daughter of Largs born father John MacPherson and Girvan born mother,Jessie.John was a Minister.
1891 Census show the family living at 46,Margaret Street,Greenock.
1901 Census shows Elizabeth,aged 17,living with her grandmother MacPherson at 468,Great Western Road,Partick .
Elizabeth married Charles McIntosh Bruce in 1925 at Greenock.

Betty joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in May 1916 as an Orderly and Storekeeper. Betty spent the entire war working at Royaumont Abbey near Paris, leaving right at the end of the hospital in February 1919. Betty was an Art Student before the war and with her co worker Dorothy Morgan dashed from place to place, bringing supplies to where they were needed. Like Dorothy she spent her spare time drawing and love to show the men and staff there sketches. Bettys sister Jean was one of the cooks at the Abbey. After the war Elizabeth married Charles McIntosh Bruce in 1925 at Greenock.

Maud Rachel Ford

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Montrose

Maud spent much of her young life living in Montrose, Angus. Her father, John was a builder in the town and Maud lived in the family home with her Father, Mother and 3 brothers and sisters.

Maud joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals as a cook and headed to Kragujevac in war torn Serbia. The unit was the first SWH to arrive in Serbia and Maud’s roll as cook would be as equally as important as any other member of the unit. Kragulevac was battered not only by war but also a deadly typhus epidemic was sweeping the country leaving tens of thousands dead or fighting for their lives. Every inch of space was occupied and the hospital was busting at the seams. In the town the dead and sick were everywhere, sick and wounded gathered together, men who had gone amputations, men, women and children in the grip of typhus, dysentery and frostbite. Many of Serbia’s Doctors and nurses had succumbed to disease. The contribution these women made was astonishing, risking their lives for a people they barely new. In March 3 members of the unit died and in August Maud came home.
In August 1916 Maud joined Dr Elsie Inglis and headed to the Russian front with the London Unit. Again she went out as a cook, this time rather than working at a stationary hospital she cooked from a kitchen truck as the unit was constantly on the move. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Maud worked principally in Odessa, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions of 1917. Maud returned home with the unit in November 1917.

In 1921 she married John F Rennie in her home town. However by 1922 she was widowed and headed out to Los Angeles, USA to visit a friend. In the 1930 she had remarried to a Bryant McDonald and were living in Los Angeles, Maud was a nurse by this time. Maud died 25 November 1943 in San Bernardine.

Margaret Stuart Fowler

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Margaret Stuart Fowler was born 2/10/1884 at Ardenville,Woodside,Old Machar,Aberdeen.
She was the daughter of Skene born,General Practitioner James Elsmie Fowler and Peterculter born,Margaret Stuart Lyons.
In 1891,the family were living at Ardenville,where six years old,Margaret was living with her parents and 2 siblings,James and Christine.
Records show that Margaret’s maternal grandfather,William Lyon,was also a Medical Practitioner.

Margaret Stuart Fowler was born 2/10/1884 at Ardenville,Woodside,Old Machar,Aberdeen.
In August 1916 Margaret joined the SWH as a nurse, she joined what was know as the American Unit. The unit got its name after Kathleen Burke had went to America and raised huge sums of money. Margaret joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 4 th of August and boarded the HM Hospital ship ” Dunluce Castle” in Southampton and set sail for Salonika( Thessaloniki) in Greece .Margaret was stationed in Salonika for the first 2 weeks and then moved to the 200 bed hospital at Lake Ostrovo( now part of Macedonia) and whose chief medical officer was Dr Agnes Bennett. The units job was to support the Serbian Army who at the time were trying to take the mountains of Kajmakcalan.. At Ostrovo the enemy was not the Austrians but their ally Bulgaria.From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight. The hospital which was under canvas was also frequently under attack from bombings.
Margaret returned home for a short time but returned in July 1919 with the Girton and Newnham unit where she worked in Belgrade Serbia as a driver till December 1919. Margaret married Serb Major Dushan Hitch In 1925.

Stella Miles Franklin

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Australia

Stella Miles Franklin, a writer and a feminist and the Scottish Women’s Hospital at the Salonika Front

The Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service, established by Dr Elsie Maud Inglis (1864-1917), with the support of the Federation of Scottish Suffrage Society, achieved international importance during the Great War. The SWH Units were working in France, Malta, Serbia, Corsica, Salonika, Romania and Russia. Their promotions were spread to all the continents, and many far away places. Among the members from one of those far away places was Stella Miles Franklin, an Australian writer and a feminist.
Stella Miles Franklin (1879-1954) was born at Talbingo, New South Wales in Australia. She started her career with “My Brilliant Career”, published in 1901. The book was used for the film “My Brilliant Career”, which won several international awards. She also published: Some Everyday Folk and Dawn (1909), Old Blastus of Bandicoot (1931), Bring the Monkey (1933), All that Swagger (1936), My Career Goes Bung (1946). Under the pseudonym of “Brent of Bin Bin” she wrote and published: Up the Country (1928), Ten Creeks Run (1930), Back to Bool Bool (1931), Prelude to Waking (1950), Cockatoos (1955), Gentleman at Gyang Gyang (1956). Stella Miles Franklin was a correspondent for ‘The Daily Telegraph’ and ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, and other newspapers and magazines. In her will she made a provision for establishment of an annual literary award known as The Miles Franklin Literary Award, which is still, after 57 years, a major literary award in Australia. The first winner of the Miles Franklin Award, in 1957, was Patrick White, later the first Australian Nobel Prize writer.
Miles Franklin was an orderly in the Scottish Women’s Hospital, “America Unit”, from July 1917 to February 1918. The hospital was located on the shores of Lake Ostrovo (now Vegoritis), and at the foot of Mt. Kaimakchalan, about three miles north of the railway station in the village of Ostrovo (now Arnissa), and about halfway between Edessa and Florina. The Unit was under the command of Dr. Agnes Bennett (1872-1960), an Australian physician, who completed her medical studies at the College of Medicine for Women, University of Edinburgh (M.B., Ch.M., 1899). The SWH Field Hospital in Ostrovo followed the Third Serbian Army, was completely staffed by women, and included the first graduate women doctors, trained nurses, hospital orderlies, and even women ambulance drivers, who came from different countries. The field hospital with 200 beds, consisted of twenty rows of tents, arrived at the Salonika Front in August 1916. It soon started its operation with the intention to be a surgical hospital (160 beds for surgery and 40 beds for recuperation), but with an increase in cases of malaria, they also accepted the malaria patients. It contained: a surgery, hospital wards, x-ray, bacteriological laboratory, out-patient department, reception, with all accompanying services such as a storage for medical supplies, kitchen and laundry.
Out of 60 women on the staff there were five women doctors – Dr. Agnes Bennett, Dr. Lilian Cooper, Dr. Anna Leila Muncaster, Dr. Sybil Lonie Lewis, Dr. Jessie Ann Scott, and one Serbian doctor Dr. Chedomir Djurdjevich, a medical student, Uros Ruzitchich, 20 qualified nurses, women nursing aides, and Serbian male orderlies. Miss Maud Ellen Tate was the Head Nurse (Matron), while Miss Florence Jack was the Hospital Administrator. The hospital staff came from Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, and as far as from Australia and New Zealand.

The complete hospital arrived from England by ship, including Dr. Jessie Ann Scott (1883-1959), from New Zealand, who completed her medical studies in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1912). At the same time, Dr. Lillian Cooper (1861-1947) and Mary Josephine Bedford (1861-1955) sailed into Salonika via the Suez Canal, by ship from Adelaide in Australia. Dr. Inglis had full confidence in Dr. Bennett, who used to be her student, because of her previous medical experience in military hospitals in Cairo, where she treated the injured from Gallipoli.
Among the many women’s associations Stella Miles Franklin chose: “the famous Scottish Women’s Hospitals, appeared to me the most, engineered by evolved women and occupied with intensely human service among different nations”. Despite terrific heat, numerous insects, mosquitos, and even snakes, the amity in the camp created a friendly atmosphere during the wartime, and encouraged Stella to write:
“The little camp was pretty as a picture, its white tents sheltering a community of over three hundred souls, nestled among the near hills in a sheltered basin, under aged and shady trees. The trees gave a sense of benediction and princely wealth in that improvident old land, denuded of its trees” (Gilchrist, Hugh – Australians and Greeks, Australia, 1997.)
“There was a delightful spirit of sisterhood in our camp. We were not called upon to flap our wings in salutes not to act in any irritating way in the presence of our chiefs… Our field hospital was a national and international combination, which might have been assembled especially for my happiness… We had most amiable Administrators, the most capable of Matrons, the most distinguished of COs, the most versatile of Secretaries, and by and large, the best of units.” (Franklin, Stella Miles, It Matters Nothing, the Mitchell Library, Sydney)
After the Great Serbian Retreat through the Albanian mountains during the winter of 1915/16, and the great loss of lives, the Serbian army reorganized and recovered at the Salonika and other sites. Although the Serbs were in exile, they organized their schools, theatre and the Royal Orchestra at the Salonika and other places. Stella Miles Franklin wrote a piece “Somewhere in the Balkans” and two manuscripts dedicated to the Serbs: “By Far Kaimakchalan” and “It Matters Nothing – Six months with the Serbs”. The manuscripts have never been published, but are well kept with large collections of books and personal correspondence that Franklin left to the Mitchell Library, of the State Library of NSW, in Sydney.
While the first manuscript dealt with the absurdities of war, which takes away so many young lives, the second is in a form of a theatrical script that was to be performed at the hospital theatre at the Salonika Front.
As Hugh Gilchrist said: “Her interest and sympathy were largely reserved for the Serbs, whose national miseries saddened her and whose physical beauty and gracious dignity captivated her completely.” (Gilchrist, Hugh, Miles Franklin in Macedonia, ‘Quadrant’, 1982). She appreciated the life of the Serbian women, who stayed in the occupied country with their children and old parents, not knowing for their husbands and brothers for more that three years. So she wrote “the Serbian women must be great to produce such sensitive, affectionate, men”.
In a large number of Franklin’s stories there is one about her experience with a dentist at the Salonika Front. “A Dentist in Macedonia”, was inspired by her visit to a Serbian dental surgery in Vodena. She was pleased with the Serbian dentist, Dr. Milan Petrovich, who was working at the dental station that was operating within the Serbian Rehabilitation Centre in Vodena (now Edessa), near Ostrovo.

Slavica P. Filipovich,
8 May 2014.

Lily Elizabeth Fraser

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Shropshire

Lilly Elizabeth Fraser b 1893 in Oswestry,Shropshire to a Scottish father,Donald Fraser, and Welsh born mother Mary Ellen Williams was form Borth in Ceredigion (near Aberystwyth).
1901 Census of Wales has the family living in Elan Village,Llanwrthyl,Brecon County.Lily was seven years old and her father was employed as a Railway Engine Fitter.
1911 census shows that the family have moved from Wales to Salford,Lancashire.Lilly is employed as a Blouse Maker and the family remained in Salford until,at least the 1940’s,as her father died there in 1941.

On the 12th of September 1915 Lily Fraser embarked onto the hospital ship The Oxfordshire at Southampton , HMHS Oxfordshire was the first ship to be requisitioned for war service and by the end of WW1 transported over 50,000 wounded men to safety, the highest number for any hospital ship during WW1.
Lily signed up as a cook for the London/Welsh unit, so called due to large amount of donations from those locations. Her assignment was to head to Valjevo in Serbia and support the existing hospital under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson.
The journey was fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and overhead, Zeppelins all had in the past destroyed various ships. The journey took around 2 weeks, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). Then a few more day’s travel by train to Valjevo.

Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell. Thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Unfortunately for Lily and her party they had got there too late, as a few days after arriving Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave Serbia and Lily worked for short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac where they organized dressing hospitals. They were eventually taken as prisoners of war, Alice was continually harassing her Austrian officials and with 32 other women were sent out of Serbia to a camp in Hungary. Lily’s skills as cook over the next few months would have been severely tested due to the lack of food and firewood. Extremely cold, hungery and with nothing to do the women kept there spirits up playing games, badgering and pecking away at there captors until they were sent home via Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On the 12th of February they arrived back in the UK and received a heroines welcome in London.

Madge Neill Fraser

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Margaret Neill Fraser was born 4/6/1880 at “Rockville”,Murrayfield,Edinburgh.
She was the daughter of Edinburgh born Patrick Neill Fraser and Glaswegian Margaret Watson. Her father was a Letterpress Printer at her time of birth.
The Census Returns for 1881,1891 and 1911 show that she was living at “Rockville”,Glasgow Road,Edinburgh. In 1911,Margaret aka Madge was living with her widowed mother and her brother.She was aged 30 years and was living by Private Means.
Madge held certificates in First Aid and Sick Nursing from St Andrews Ambulance Association and when she joined the SWH, she caused great publicity as she was the Captain of the Scottish Ladies Golf team.

Madge Neill Fraser, joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals as a nurse on the 1st of December 1914, she could never have imaged all the horrors and battles that would lay ahead. Madge with her unit of 40, boarded the ship at Southampton on the 1st of December 1914 and headed for Serbia via Salonika. At the time of crossing the mission looked bleak as large parts of Serbia including Belgrade had fallen into enemy hands. But on arrival at Salonika they were greeted and uplifted by the tremendous news that Serbia had been victorious in the battle of the ridges and despite heavy losses and an epidemic of typhus had pushed the Austrian/Hungarian troops out of Serbia, the first allied victory in WW1.
At Salonika Madge with her unit headed by train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The unit arrived on the 6th of January and was geared for a 100 beds but immediately had to admit 250 patients and soon after 650. Madge and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospital. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus, and by February 1915 Serbia was in the grip of a huge epidemic.
Only 3 month after her arrival Madge also came down with typhus and on the 8th of March 1915 Madge died at Kragujevac. She was a very popular lady and without any hesitation put here life at risk to save others. Her last words were “Long live Serbia, the pluckiest country in the world, and the most misunderstood, she may die where she stands, but she will never give in, and she is to proud to moan about it, there is never a word of complaint, never a question of surrender, she is sad in her songs and in her songs alone”
By all accounts an incredible lady. Before she joined the war, Madge was an excellent golfer and played and captained, not only for Scotland but also Great Britain. She was so well liked in the world of golf that a letter was written from her club at Murrayfield, Edinburgh and sent to every golf club in the UK and beyond and over £3000 was raised. A huge sum of money in 1915.
Today she is buried at the Military Cemetery, Nis, Serbia

Mary Galbreath

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Greenock

Mary Whitelaw Galbreath

Mary Galbreath was born in Greenock in 1891. She was raised by her parents Murdoch and Mary Galbreath. At the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, Mary was living at 2 Finnart Terrace, Greenock.
Mary joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in February 1917. She traveled out to Salonika and then onto Lake Ostrovo where she worked for the next six months driving the ambulances. The field hospital at Lake Ostrovo( Northern Greece) was very close to the fighting in the mountains of Macedonia. Mary’s duties were to transport the wounded Serbian soldiers from the battlefields and onto the hospital at Lake Ostrovo or the various dressing stations. A difficult task as these hospitals were often under attack from aircraft and artillery fire. Flies, wasps and earwigs were a constant nuisance at the camp and out breaks of malaria common place. The drivers were under immense pressure, the roads up and down these mountain passes were treacherous. The fords would boil as they made there way up the mountains and brakes would snap on and off on the way down. Hairpin bends with sheer drops made for difficult journeys.
On her return home Mary returned to Greenock where she married and then the couple moved to Canada. Mary died in Alberta, Canada in 1923.

Elizabeth Genge

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Birmingham

Elizabeth Mai Genge was born in Kings Norton, Birmingham in 1872. Her parents William Pope & Rosalie Gengeaddress Edgbaston Birmingham Warwickshire. William was a commercial traveller. Bofer joining the Scottish Women;s Hospitals Elizabeth was living in Mavis bank, St Albans.
Joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals In April 1917 she served as Administer on the russian front. Isabella spend a great deal of her time in Reni, Roumania . Elizabeth joined the London unit, who had at that time spent 10 months working the Russian front. The unit’s war was a dramatic one, they were involved in two offensives and three retreats as they supported two Serbian divisions along the Russian-Romanian front. Elizabeth returned home in November 1917.
After the war she married John B Haycraft, Head Professor of Physiology Lewes Sussex in 1919. Sadly Elizabeth died only a few month after being married.

Jessie Gerrard

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: India

Jessie Margaret Gerrard was born about 1889 at CHAKRATA,in India.
The 1911 Census of Suffolk has Jessie,a Hospital Nurse,living at home with her Indian born mother,school mistress Ellen Mary and brother.They were living at The Schoolhouse,Ringshall,Near Stowmarket,Suffolk.In later years,Jessie married a Mr Gibbons and died at Suffolk in December,1958.At the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals she was living in Walkerburn in the Scottish Borders. Jessie was an orderly with the Girton and Newnham unit, firstly at Salonika before moving north to Serbia. The unit finished up working in the Elise Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. Jessie served with the SWH between August 1918-November 1919.

Emily Louisa Gilchrist

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: London

Emily Louisa Gilchrist Baptism Date 24 Oct 1886 born 28 August
Father’s name: William Charles Gilchrist Mother’s name Elizabeth Alice Gilchrist – 47 Balfern Street – occupation – porter. Emily at the age of six was living as a paupers inmate in Battersea. In 1901 Emily was working in Wandsworth London as Servant, she was 15 years old. In 1911 she was employed as a sick nurse. In 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and headed with Dr Elsie Inglis to the Russian front. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. It was while Emily was working in Reni, Romania that she was awarded the St George medal for bravery under fire. This award came in March 1917. Presented by Prince Dolgrukov at a time when revolution was in full cry and Russia was now a Republic. A time when all Royal coats of arms, insignia’s and paintings of the Tzar were being torn down. The Tzar himself had abdicated. The Medals were silver but had the Tzars head on one side and “For Valour” on the other. The women were asked to wear it “inside out” thus hiding the image of the Tzar. The Prince himself in 1918 was executed, accused of plotting to rescue the Imperial family by sending secret notes.

Emily Louise Gilchrist of Wairike Cottage High Street Lydd Kent spinster died 5 September 1959 at Ashford Hospital Ashford Kent

Elizabeth Gilmour Manuel Arthur

Date of Bith: 28/10/1890
Place of Birth: Airdrie

Elizabeth Gilmour Manuel Arthur was born 28/10/1890 in Fruitfield House,which is now a Grade “C” Listed building.The building is in East High Street,Airdrie ML6 6LF. Elizabeth was the daughter of Medical Practitioner,New Cumnock born Hugh Arthur and Shotts born,Elizabeth Gilmour Manuel.The family lived in Fruitfield House for many years,from at least 1890 until at least 1911. Elizabeth served with Scottish Women,s Hospitals as an orderly at Royaumont Abbey from Feb 1918-Aug 1918. The 1911 Census of Airdrie shows Elizabeth,like her mother and older sisters living off Private Means.Her younger brother was still at school.Interestingly,her uncle also became a Doctor,just like her father.

Gwenda Mary Glubb

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: Preston

Gwenda was born in 1894 in Preston, England to Major General Sir Frederic Manley Glubb and Frances Letitia Bagot and grew up as Gwenda Mary Glubb.

On August 31st 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. The unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. Gwenda joined as a driver of the 16 automobiles that went out to Russia. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Gwenda worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917.Gwenda returned home in January 1917. Following her marriage to Colonel Sam Janson, a director of the Spyker car company, on 17 February 1920 in Brompton, Hawkes became interested in motor-cycle racing, competing in events at Brooklands.
In the winter of 1921, Hawkes established the 1000-mile record on a Ner-A-Car motor-cycle and in 1922 took the Double-12-hour record at Brooklands on a Trump-JAP.
Hawkes spent time away from home whilst participating in motor-cycling events, and the close relationship that she developed with Colonel Neil Stewart, who was involved with the company who provided her motor-cycles, resulted in Janson divorcing her in 1923.

Hawkes and Stewart married, and, as a result of night-time restrictions on the use of the circuit at Brooklands interfering with Hawkes’ motor-cycle record breaking activities, the pair moved to France to be closer to the unrestricted circuit at Montlhéry. At the Montlhéry circuit, Hawkes broke the world 24-hour motor-cycle speed record on a Terrot-Jap machine.
At Montlhéry, Gwenda met Douglas Hawkes, who became one of her mechanics. Douglas Hawkes was a director of the Derby engine and car company and was able to source a Miller Special from the United States. In the period between 1930 and 1933, in the Miller-derived car specially prepared by Derby and designated as a Derby-Miller, Gwenda broke the one-mile speed record several times at Montlhéry.
Gwenda also competed on two occasions, with little success, in the 24 Hours of Le Mans event, at the wheel of a Derby car using a Maserati engine. In 1935 she became the fastest woman ever at Brooklands, with a lap speed of 135.95 miles per hour which bettered the previous lap record set by Kay Petre.
Gwenda’s affair with Douglas Hawkes resulted in her divorce from Stewart, and her marriage in 1937 to Hawkes as her third husband.In 1940, after the start of the World War II (WWII), Gwenda and Douglas Hawkes moved to England, where Mrs Hawkes took up work in an armaments factory to help the war effort.
After WWII, they moved to the small Greek island of Poros.

Douglas Hawkes died in 1974 and Gwenda died in 1990, aged 96

Mary Louisa Gordon

Date of Bith: 1861
Place of Birth: Seaforth Lancashire

Mary Louisa Gordon was born in 1861 at Seaforth,Lancashire.Her parents were Manchester born, Hide and Tallow Broker, James and Liverpudlian mother,Mary.
1871 Census of Crosby,West Derby has the family living at Blundell Sands.
1881 Census of Crosby shows that the family have moved to a house named “Kenmore”.Mary has 7 siblings at this time.
Mary trained at the London School of Medicine for Women and qualified as a Physician and Surgeon in 1890.
1891 census has Mary,aged 29,at Ladies Residential Home,Parish of St Giles in London.Mary has now qualified as a Registered Physician and Surgeon.
In 1901,Mary is visiting a fellow surgeon in the town of Cropthorne,Surrey.She is listed as being a Physician and Surgeon,working at home with her “own account”.
In 1908,Mary was the first female Prison Inspector,remaining in the post until 1921.
The 1911 Census informs us that Mary,aged 49,is lodging at 8,Southwell Gardens,St Stephens,Kensington,London.Her occupation is listed as being HM Inspector of Prisons.

The American Unit was given its name due largely to the funding being raised in America by Kathleen Burke a SWH fundraiser who was known as the $1000 a day gal. Mary’s life is well documented as a prison inspector, Author and Feminist.

Her time with the SWH was brief, working as a Doctor for only five months, mainly due to fiction between her and her superiors. Mary went out to Salonika on the 3rd of August 1916, embarking the “Dunuce Castle” hospital ship at Southampton. Mary was a hands on sort and couldn’t wait to “get her sleeves rolled up” with around 60 other women Doctors, nurses, orderly’s, cooks etc she set sail on a journey of around 2-3 weeks, not without its dangers, the waters of the Mediterranean and Aegean sea were filled with mines and submarines. Salonika itself was regularly bombed with the use of Zeppelins and enemy aircraft. Salonika at that point was relatively stable and the decision was make to split the unit with one part under Dr Bennett heading off to Lake Ostrovo(now part of northern Greece) where there was much fighting and plenty of work to be done supporting the Serbians. Mary ended up in Salonika where she was extremely unhappy and very out spoken about her talents going to waste. She left the SWH on the 1 of December 1916.

Jean Paton Gordon

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Montrose, Angus

Jean was born and grew up in Montrose, she was the daughter is Mr and Mrs Allan Gordon of Linksfield, Montrose. Jean studied medicine at Edinburgh University and had qualified as a Doctor by the age of 21. Following her graduation she took up various posts including a fever hospital in Birmingham. In May 1915 she took the post of Doctor with Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Troyes in France.The hospital at Troyes was situated at the Chateau Chanteloup and was opened in May 1915. Under CMO Dr Louise Mcllory form County Antrim and Laura Sandeman from Aberdeen, they worked under canvas tents running a 250 bed hospital. In October 1915 she returned home to work at the Edinburgh War Hospital. In 1917 she spent two years working at the expedition hospital in Egypt. Jean then spent four years working as a Doctor in Derby England. In 1923 she moved to South Africa and after many years working in Mental Health, she ran her own private home in Mental Health which was hugely successful. A great traveler she visited America, Norway, South Africa and Europe. After a long illness she died in 1937 in Cape Town. A remarkable and outstanding career and life.

Isobella Warren Gordon

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Tain,Ross-shire

Isobella’s father was James Gordon a Police Inspector at Dingwall. James would later become Supt in charge of Isle of Lewis before being appointed Chief Constable of Ross & Cromarty in 1888. Prior to joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1915, Isobella had been working at Street Lane, Leeds, a center for the East Leeds War Hospital. She joined the Girton and Newnham unit and sailed to Salonika where she joined Dr Anne McIlroy, the CMO. Deployed to Gevgelija, a frontier town just across the border in Serbia and established a hospital there in a disused factory. In December 1915 the hospital was abandoned and evacuated to Salonica as the allies retreated in the face of the advancing Bulgarian and German armies. The hospital was re-established in Salonica and treated both French and Serbian casualties. In the autumn of 1916 the “American Unit’ of the SWH joined the Girton and Newnham Unit in Macedonia and in the summer of 1918 Isabel Emslie became its CMO. Isobella would spend many years teaming up with Emslie, a friendship and great working relationship. Isobella like many of the women during what time off they had loved to perform plays and entertain each other and the troops. A some point Isobella returned home and stayed with her sister Margaret in Grange Loan, Edinburgh. The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed. In 1917 Isobella would have witnessed and helped nurse those effected by the great fire of Thessaloniki. The hospital tents themselves were close to burning down. The unit took part in the rapid French and Serbian advance that broke the back of the Bulgarian army and followed them providing assistance to both casualties and civilians as they pursued the retreating Germans and Bulgarians to Skopje, Nish and eventually Belgrade. The hospital at Belgrade was established, equipped and functioning by January 1919, a remarkable achievement. Against the advice of Isabel Emslie, who strongly believed that the SWH had a key role to play in post-war Serbia, in the autumn of 1919 and in accordance with the wishes of the SWH Committee, the hospital was handed over to the Serbian government. Isobella left the SWH in May 1919. Isobella seemed to have made her own way after that and in the early 1920;s was running the British Women’s Club in Constantinople. Later she ran a Boarding House in Genoa until being interned as an enemy alien in 1940. After WW2 she lived at Via Ponte, Annibale,Rotondo, Rapella, Isobella died in October 1959.

In 1917 Isobella was awarded the Médaille des Epidémies.

Mary Isabella Gordon

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: County Cavan, Ireland

Both parents it seems were natives to Morayshire, her father John and mother Helen. At the time of joining she was living in Garmouth, Moray. Known as Tibby she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in July 1915 as a nurse and headed to Valjevo, Serbia. Tibby joined the unit of twenty five women Doctors, nurses, cooks and orderly’s in attempt to save the lives of the men, women and children who were battling the deadly typhus epidemic. Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell. Thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Unfortunately for Tibby and her party six mouths after reaching the town they were on the move again. By October Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat. During mid-august the big guns had returned. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. In October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped, opening an emergency dressing station where 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Tibby and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Tibby with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill a nurse was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley. Tibby died in 1970.

Isobella Cartho Gow

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Dundee

Isobella, or Ella as she was known was born in Dundee in 1889. She came from a large family and her father John was a licensed Grocer in the city. They lived at 3 Argyle street and later moved to oakbank, Maryfield.
Ella joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in May 1916 and worked at the Hospital in Corsica. Ella served as a cook at the hospital set up in December 1915 to assist with Serbian civilians during the occupation of Serbia during ww1. Ella as well as cooking for the staff would have fed the many Serbian Children at the hospital, many of who were malnourished. Ella returned home in January 1917. We know she never married and died in Dundee in 1947. Ella was awarded the French red cross.

Lilias Grant

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: East Riding, Yorkshire

Lilias was born in the East Riding of Yorkshire about 1878.She was the fifth child of Devon born Robert A.P.Grant,who was Surgeon Major in the British Army and Moray born mother Jane. 1881 Census of the Parish of York has the family living at 2 Seafield Cottage,Fishergate. Lilias married York born,Ceylon Tea Planter,Dacre Dyson in 1922.They lived in Ceylon until at least 1938 and, after WW2 were living in Burley,Hants;England. Lilias lived with Ethel Moir in Inverness before she joined the SWH. She died in 1975.

Lilias departed from Liverpool, with her good friend Ethel Grant on the troopship Hanspiel on August 30th 1916. The Hanspiel also carried thirty Serbian soldiers and six officers returning to the battlefields. Their ship was escorted by a naval destroyer past the coast of Northern Ireland, before heading west into the stormy Atlantic and then north over the Arctic Circle, passing close to Iceland and through the Barents Sea. The Hanspiel finally made land at Bacheridza, about five miles from the seaport town of Archangel in Russia, on September 10th 1916. Lilias and her companions would continue their journey by train. Plans to go to Petrograd were changed because on arrival at Archangel a wire was waiting for Dr Elsie Inglis. Ethel writes, “Plenty of work awaiting us “down south” we hear, so Dr Inglis wants to hurry on as quickly as possible”.
The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Lilias worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. Lilias worked as an Orderly with the London unit from August 1916- March 1917. Extracts from her diaries can be found in the book “between the lines” by Audrey Fawcett Cahill.

Mary and Margaret Gray

Date of Bith:
Place of Birth: Oakley

Sisters Mary and Margaret Gray came from Oakley, their father James at the time of the girls growing up worked as secretary for the West Fife Coal Company Ltd.

At age 25 Mary would leave the family home and become the Queens Nurse in Crieff before joining sister Margaret in December 1914 to sign up for the SWH. After boarding the ship to Calais they would make there way to Royaumont in France where the Royaumont Abbey Hospital would remain open during the entire war. Witness to some of the wars bloodiest battles, the women would work day and night lifting the shattered bodies on to stretchers and into their care. Sadly Mary died at Royaumont in January 1916 after she was operated on for appendicitis.She was buried at Asnieras-sur-Olse cemetery and remembered at the war memorial in Scoonie Leven, York Minster and St Giles in Edinburgh. Margaret would see the war out at Royuamont, playing her part in saving the lives of men during the battle of the Somme before leaving in 1919 when, with the war now over, she would retire to Greenock.

Norah Neilson Gray

Date of Bith: 16th June 1882
Place of Birth: Carisbrook, Helensburgh

Many thanks again to Phil Worms of the Helensburgh Heroes for providing us with the information on Norah.

Norah Neilson Gray
Norah Neilson Gray was born on the 16th June 1882 at Carisbrook in West King Street, Helensburgh, on Scotlands west coast, the second youngest daughter of seven children, to George William Gray, a Glasgow ship owner and wife Norah Neilsen.

The large family garden stimulated Norah’s early love of flowers and colour. Another early influence for Norah was the Gray’s Nanny who told the girls wonderful stories of fairies and Celtic legends. The effect of these stories can be clearly seen in Norah’s later works.

Norah began her artistic career at”The Studio”, a private drawing establishment at Craigendoran with her teachers Miss Park and Miss Ross.

Norah moved to Glasgow with her family around 1901. Between 1901 and 1906, Norah studied at Glasgow School of Art under Fra. Newberry and the Belgian Symbolist painter, Jean Delville.

In 1909, Norah joined the staff herself after completing training, and taught fashion-plate drawing at the School.

Norah also taught at St Columba’s School for Girls in Kilmacolm, where she was known as ‘Purple Patch’ because Norah was always asking her pupils to look for colour in the shadows.

By 1910 she had a studio in Bath Street and had held her first one-woman show in Glasgow, at Warneuke’s Gallery, having previously submitted works to exhibitions at the Royal Academy, the Glasgow Institute and in Paris. In 1914 Norah became a member of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour.

She went on to study at Glasgow School of Art and is now regarded as part of the group known as the “Glasgow Girls”, which included Evelyn Carslaw, Eleanor Moore and Margaret Macdonald.

Norah spent the First World War years, 1914-18 serving in Elsie Maud Inglis’s “Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service”, the all-women staffed hospitals that served in the battlefields of France, Serbia and Russia. Norah served in France as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse at the Royaumont Abbey, outside of Paris.

Despite not having a great deal of spare time whilst serving as a nurse in the casualty receiving area at Royaumont Abbey, she began painting the scene in the crypt of Scottish nurses tending the wounded French soldiers.

This experience inspired some of Norah’s most powerful paintings, many of which have been acquired by public collections over the years.

One of her most famous paintings from this period “Hôpital Auxilaire D’Armée 30, Abbaye de Royaumont” was gifted to the people of Helensburgh by the artist’s sister, Dr Tina Gray, on her death in 1984.

Interestingly, after the War Norah had offered this painting to the Imperial War Museum because she believed it depicted an accurate reflection of the period in history and served to record “what the British had done for the French Military in the way of hospitals.

She stated: “it was painted from within, at the time and absolutely true to fact”.

The offer of the painting was declined on the grounds that the Museum’s acquisition funds for the General Section had been exhausted but the painting could be procured and displayed in the Woman’s Work Section gallery, a compromise that Norah was not willing to accept. For Norah, it was General Section display or nothing, given the subject matter.

A year later, however, the Imperial War Museum commissioned her to paint the surgeon Frances Ivens, with hospital staff and patients in the abbey cloisters. The resultant painting, The Scottish Women’s Hospital, is now contained within the Museum’s collection.

After the war, Norah returned to her native Scotland to continue with her arts career. In 1920, Norah was commissioned to record the Scottish Women’s Hospital for the Imperial War Museum, a commission that she gladly accepted because she felt “it was painted from within, at the time and absolutely true to fact”.

1921 was to prove a very successful year for Norah. One of her paintings from the war period, The Belgian Refugee won Norah a bronze medal in Paris in 1921 and she became the first woman to be appointed to the Hanging Committee of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, alongside artist James Whitelaw Hamilton and silversmith Bailie Robert Laing. The Committee’s responsibility as “hangers” was to group the pictures exhibited in as effective a manner as possible, to enhance the overall effect.

Despite ill health, Norah suffered from cancer, she continued painting and exhibiting in Scotland, London and Paris (winning further medals in 1923 Paris Salon) until her early death on 27th May 1931 in Glasgow.

©Helensburgh Heroes – A Scottish Charity hoping to create a Digital Academy and Entertainment Centre in Helensburgh. Plans within the Centre include a Wall of Fame to honour the local men and women, such as Norah Neilson Gray, that have made significant contributions to society. For details: www.heroescentre.co.uk

Mary Hughes Green

Date of Bith: 1867
Place of Birth: Inverness

Born Mary Hughes Gowenlock her father William worked with the railway in Inverness. She became Mrs Green when she married Charles Green in 1889, apart from joining the Scottish Womens Hospitals in 1914 little else is know of Mary. Mary’s story stands out in the service of the SWH due to a number of factors, firstly she was married, not uncommon but certainly not the norm. Mary was also much older than her fellow members, but more importantly she one of the longest serving members and one of the most loved by staff and patients alike. In July 1915 she joined the SWH as housekeeper at Mladenovac in Serbia. She was sent out to join Dr Beatrice MacGregors unit as part of a reinforcement group of 9 to help prepare the hospital for the coming months. Serbia had really just got herself back on her feet after much fighting and a winter of typhus that near brought the nation to collapse. Serbia stood alone and it was only a matter of time before she would be under attack again. As housekeeper she was required to take control of making sure all the supplies, food and medical equipment was ordered, ready and where it was meant to be. Not an easy feat in war time. The hospital was doing a quite fantastic job supporting the Serbs. Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Mary and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Mary was devoted to the Serbs, she understood them and they in return they adored her. In May 1916 she returned to help them again, in Corsica where a large unit had been set up to support the Serbs who had been forced to leave their country. She continued her work there until April 1917 when she decided to join the American unit who’s CMO was Dr Emslie Hutton, an Edinburgh Doctor full of spirit and remarkable talent. The unit took part in the rapid French and Serbian advance that broke the back of the Bulgarian army and followed them providing assistance to both casualties and civilians as they pursued the retreating Germans and Bulgarians . This time she was invited to be the hospital administrator at Lake Ostrovo. By November 1918 the Serbs were on the march home and Mary moved to Vranje in Serbia. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks and packed with hundreds of patients with a hole manner appalling conditions, pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one women’s account of the children ” the injuries are terrible, we have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds”
Cold weather came to Vranje and with it typhus, Mary and her co workers were doing a fantastic job and the death rates were very low. However while dressing a gangrenous limb Agnes Earl received a scratch which turned septic and two later she was dead. Mary remarked ” she had done heroic work in the typhus ward, never sparing herself in any way, a handsome girl, tall and strong and with a splendid character” The hospital pushed its way to Belgrade and with it the end of Mary’s war, in 1919 she left Serbia and returned home. Dr Joan Rose said of Mary ” delightfully soft, drawling Highland intonation and i thought her very sweet and good natured” In 1920 Mary was combing the north of Scotland, she had the position of travelling sales representative. But in the spring 1921 confessed that the venture was a failure. The world at that time, was not ready for Mary Green.

Margaret Greenlees

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Margaret Campbell Greenlees was born on 29 May 1880 in Glasgow, Lanarkshire. Her father was Matthew and her mother was Wilhelmina. She had two brothers and three sisters. Margaret lived in the family home in Partick and later in Govan, Glasgow.

In November 1917 Margaret joined the SWH as an orderly. She was employed in what was know as the American unit. Margaret joined the field hospital unit of some 200 tents, situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia. The Unit was under the command of the 2nd Serbian Army. It was called The America Unit as the money to fund it came from America and except for a few dressing stations, it was the Allied hospital nearest the front. These hospitals were often under attack from aircraft and artillery fire. Flies, wasps and earwigs were a constant nuisance and out breaks of malaria common place. On 30 September 1918 the unit received news of the armistice with Bulgaria and on the morning of 23 October the unit started for northern Serbia with a convoy of nine vehicles on a 311 kilometre trek. All the staff made the trip and the unit was set up in an abandoned army barracks in Vranja, Serbia. The scenes at Vranje were awful, the entire city was one huge unattended hospital, disease, soldiers requiring urgent attention and homeless women and children often dying with starvation and frostbite. Margaret with the unit heading into Belgrade after the unit in Vranje closed. Margaret continued to work in Serbia after the war. She joined Evelina Haverfield at Bajina Bashta on the river Drina and helped run the orphanage and children’s health center. After Evelina died in March 1920 she returned home to Scotland with Vera Holme and Margaret Ker. For a time they all lived in Stirlingshire. Margaret Campbell Greenlees died in 1952 when she was 72 years old.

Eliza, Stephenson Greig

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: Laurencekirk.

Laurencekirk is a small town in the old county of Kincardineshire, modern county of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, just off the A90. In 1876 Eliza was born and lived in the family home. Her father James Booth Greig was an agent for the Bank of Scotland. Eliza was known as Lila and had four siblings. Lila spent part of her young life living with her sister Greta who was a school teacher at St Pancras, London. In 1901 she had qualified as a Doctor at Glasgow University.
In March 1918 Lila decided to serve in the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in Salonika, Greece. She worked as a Doctor at the large and impressive “Calcutta Orthopedic Centre”. A huge hospital, one and a quarter miles long and had over 500 beds. The centre gained its name as it was supported and funded by the subscriptions from that city. A vast hospital with operating rooms and an X-ray room, a dental department, massage and mecano- therapy department, a pharmacy and a bacteriological laboratory were put in place. The hospital of course has a vast amount of storerooms, tents and huts for accommodation and workshops. There was even a small farm yard, effective when food was short or expensive. By 1918 the Serbs were in the north pushing for home so the hospital was mainly supporting the French and although the hospital itself was named after its sponsors, the unit was know as the Girton and Newnham unit, so called after the college at Girton and Newnham funded the unit that not only served in Greece but also in France over a four year period.
Lila Stephenson Greig of The Red House, Flore near Weedon, Northamptonshire died 2 September 1937. She had served as a Doctor in Salonika from March 1918- October 1918.

Edna Mary Guest

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Ontario Canada

Dr Edna Mary Guest joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, as Chief Medical Officer at the Corsica unit on the 31st of October 1917. The unit at Corsica began in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika as Serbia was completely overtaking by invading forces. Dr Guest and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. Dr Guest worked at Ajaccio until June 1918. She spent the next few months working with the SWH at Royuamont Abbey leaving in August 1918.
Edna spent some time working in a French Military Hospital after the war until she returned to Canada where she a had a quiet brilliant career in medicine. In 1932 she was awarded an OBE for her work in medicine.

Isabella Gunn

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: caithness

Isabella Manson Gunn was born on December 9, 1884, in Olrig, Caithness. Her father, Alexander was a carpenter. When Isabella was born he was 34 and her mother, Elizabeth, was 33. She had five brothers and four sisters. Isabella, in 1916 was living at Elm Cottage Castletown, Caithness. Joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals In July 1917 she served as cook on the russian front. Isabella spend a great deal of her time in Odessa. And as mentioned in her file, she sent money home to the family when she could. The unit’s war was a dramatic one, they were involved in two offensives and three retreats as they supported two Serbian divisions along the Russian-Romanian front. Isabella returned home in November 1917. In February 1918 she headed to Serbia to support the Elsie Inglis Unit, again working as a cook. The unit supported the Serbs push for home. In September 1918 she returned home.
She died in November , 1946, at the age of 61. Isabella was buried in Inverness.

In the photo Isabella is on the left.

Alice Annie Guy

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Newport

Alice was born in Newport, South Wales. Her father Daniel was a pork butcher and farmer. Alice’s mother was Sarah and they lived at the family home at Claremont Farm, Malpas, Newport.
Alice joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 24th of July 1916 as a nurse. She joined the Girton & Newnham Unit, so called after the enormous amount of funds generated and donated by the college.
Alice headed for Salonika where she joined her unit and the hospital which was entirely under canvas. At the time of joining, the hospital had up to 300 patients and due to a very hot summer that year a large amount of them were suffering form malaria and dysentery. Also during that summer Bulgaria was attacking and occupying parts of Macedonia. Although the heavy fighting would start in the autumn, fighting was underway and the wounded were brought to Salonika.
The conditions worsened and many of the staff became very ill. Sadly Alice Guy died of dysentery shortly after her arrival in Salonika, only having worked days at the hospital. For Alice there would be no adventures and no stories to tell her family. Dr Mcllroy wrote” she had been there less than a week when she became ill, she feared the climate and from the outset of the illness she had no hope of herself” Alice died on the 21st of August 1916 and is buried in the military hospital at Salonika

Edith Catherine Hacon

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: England

Hacon, Edith Catherine (known as Amaryllis, or Ryllis) (c1874-1952)

Born 1874 or 75, England. She worked as an artists’model and allegedly as an escort in London in the early 1890s and was successively the mistress of Arthur Symons and Herbert Horne. She married William Llewellyn Hacon, barrister and patron of the arts, in 1895 in London. Llewellyn Hacon was a keen golfer and bought a house in Dornoch, Oversteps, to pursue his sporting interests. Ryllis Hacon also played golf, being listed on seven occasions between 1896-1909 in the Scotsman’s accounts of matches at Royal Dornoch. Mrs Hacon, joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in February 1915 and went to Royaumont Abbey near Paris, firstly as an orderly and over the next few years she promoted herself the housekeeper. She described her role there as that of “Head Char.” “Mother Hacon”. Despite being something of an enigma and certainly a colourful past she spent two years working at the abbey and was their during the battles of the Somme when things were at its worst. She married William J. Robichaud 30 Oct 1918, and they adopted two sons. In 1928 she played the part of the Abbess in Dornoch’s tercentenary celebrations. Mrs Hacon built up a substantial art collection, some of which is now in Aberdeen Art Gallery. She died 28 Aug 1952. She is buried in Dornoch.

Many thanks to Alison McCall for her help with information provided.

Eileen Alexandra Haig

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Dublin.

Born in Dublin, her father Robert Brotherston a Scot was a butler and moved with his occupation. By the age of 12 Eileen was living at Blairhill House in Muckhart, Perthshire. In March 1918 Eileen joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a orderly. Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed “The Elsie Inglis unit”. On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of twenty five personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Eileen joined the unit at the start and in April the work began supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian, a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the name “Dead horse camp” on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. Eileen left the unit in September 1918 as the war drew to an end.
Photo is of the unit, on parade in London.

Eileen Alexandra Haig

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Dublin.

Born in Dublin, her father Robert Brotherston a Scot was a butler and moved with his occupation. By the age of 12 Eileen was living at Blairhill House in Muckhart, Perthshire. In March 1918 Eileen joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a orderly. Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed “The Elsie Inglis unit”. On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of twenty five personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Eileen joined the unit at the start and in April the work began supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian, a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the name “Dead horse camp” on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. Eileen left the unit in September 1918 as the war drew to an end.
Photo is of the unit, on parade in London.

Catherine Gray Hall

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Fraserburgh

Catherine grew up in Grattan Pl Rosebank, Fraserburgh. At the age of 12 she was at school and living with her mother Margaret and five siblings. In September 1915 she joined the Scottish Woman’s Hospitals as a nurse and headed to beleaguered Serbia, who was now in the eye of the storm. On September 12th Catherine boarded the hospital ship The Oxfordshire as part of 40 strong group of women all heading to Serbia. Their mission was to support the existing hospitals at Kragujevac, Valjevo, Mladenovac and Lazarevac. Serbia in the early days of WW1 had various amounts of success but the Central powers of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Bulgaria had returned in huge numbers to kill off any hope Serbia may have of being able to hold on.
Florence reached her destination at Valjevo in early October 1915, a journey that took around 2 weeks and fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and Zeppelins all responsible for the lost of many a ship, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). Then a few more day’s travel by train to Valjevo.

Catherine must have felt frustrated and disappointed as only a few days after working at the canvas hospital at Valjevo, Belgrade fell and by the 17th of October the unit under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson were ordered to evacuate Valjevo and head down to the spa town of Vrinjatcha Bania where they ran a 100 bed field hospital until mid November when the invasion of Austrian troops effectively made them prisoners of war. They were at that point treated well but were moved to Krushevac for a short time accommodated in a run down, filthy and cold hotel. Also at Krushevac was Elsie Ingils and her unit. The hospital was know as the Zoo on account of the men being packed in row after row and piled 3 high. The conditions were awful, men streamed in hour after hour, exhausted, starving and worse. They had lost all hope.
Relations with their captors at this point started to breakdown and Catherine with the other 31 members of the unit were sent by train to the cold plains of Hungary and for the next five weeks were confined to two rooms with little food or firewood for heating. What angered the women even more was they were not allowed to work. The Serbians who were also prisoners of war at these camps had things bad, Cholera outbreaks, starvation, frostbite and many men simply died of neglect. The women harassed and chipped away at the guards and often played tricks on them, until finally they were to be sent home, traveling to Budapest, and on to Vienna where all personal effects such as diaries and letters were taken from them. A train transported them firstly to Zurich, Bern and on to home.
On the 12 th of February 1916 the women were greeted by cheering crowds but for most of these stoic women all their thoughts were of the Serbs they left behind. In 1916 she had been working in Bradford at the war hospital and in 1918 moved to Glasgow to work at the city’s Belvidere Hospital. In 1923 she married and was living in Australia.

Cicely Hamilton

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: London

15 June 1872 – 6 December 1952)
Cicely Hamilton was born in Paddington, London and educated in Malvern, Worcestershire. After a short spell in teaching she acted in a touring company. Then she wrote drama, including feminist themes, and enjoyed a period of success in the commercial theatre. An English actress, writer, journalist,suffragist and feminist, part of the struggle for women’s suffrage in the United Kingdom. She is now best known for the playDiana of Dobson’s, Cicely joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a clerk in December 1914 she one of the first women to join the organisation and in December 1914 helped to establish the Auxiliary Hospital at Royaumont Abbey in France.
In the summer of 1916 Hamilton helped nurse soldiers wounded at the Battle of the Somme. This included treating 300 new patients in three days. Cicely was considered outstanding in bookkeeping and with her skills as an actress organised various plays to entertain and keep the spirits high.After the war Hamilton became a freelance journalist working for newspapers such as the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Express. She was also a regular contributor to the feminist journal, Time and Tide where she campaigned for free birth control advice for women and the legalization of abortion. She had two and a half years at Royaumont and later in life Royaumont paid her back. As she grew older she ran into financial problems. She died at the age of 80 in 1952, a grant from the Royaumont Emergency Loan Fund providing her with financial assistance. She was described as “lovable, so interesting and entertaining, the person who kept us sane”

In the photo above, Cicely is seated.

Mabel Hardie

Date of Bith: 1866
Place of Birth: Stockport

Mabel Hardie was born in Stockport in 1866. Her father Herbert Hardie was born in Scotland and was a cotton agent. In 1876 Mabels father died while the family were living at High Lane, Marple, Stockport. Mabels mother Elizabeth was now head of the family. From 1887-1890 Mabel went to Girton College, Cambridge. She studied medicine at both Glasgow university(1901) and Trinity College Dublin (1905). Mabel for awhile enjoyed travel, she journeyed to the far east ans South Africa. A Militant suffragette, she helped lead the protest ” no vote, no tax”, Mabel for a time was imprisoned at Holloway prison. Mabel became a General Practitioner in Hampstead to 1915 and lived at 577 Finchley Road Hampstead London.
On the 28th of June 1915 Mabel joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as surgeon of the Girton and Newnham unit at Troyes, France. The hospital was situated in the grounds of the Chateau of Chanteloup at Troyes. The money to equip the unit had been donated from the Cambridge women’s colleges, Girton and Newnham, hence the name of the unit. The hospital all under canvas also had individual sponsors from the tents to beds. In May 1915 the SWH were requested by the French War Office under the command of General De Torcy to proceed to the Chateau Chanteloup just on the outskirts of Troyes in northern France. The women were keen to impress on the French officials the importance of have these tents. The advantages of the open air and sunlight for septic wounds, the results were extraordinary. The operations were carried out in the hot houses,in peace time used for growing fruit. The building was light, airy and spacious. Mabel would have had plenty of work to do during the summer of 1915. In October the hospital was relocated to Salonika and Mabel returned home. Several of the women returned home, including Dr Laura Sandeman of Aberdeen. Mabel died in 1916.

Katherine Harley

Date of Bith: 3rd May 1855
Place of Birth: Kent

Katherine Harley was born Katherine Mary French in Kent on 3rd May 1855, one of five children of an aristocratic, wealthy and well connected family (she was the sister of Field Marshall John French who was commander of British forces in France until December 1916. One of her sisters, Charlotte Despard, became famous as a feminist, pacifist, socialist, vegetarian and leader of the Woman’s Freedom League)[1]. Katherine’s father had died when she was only ten years old and her mother had been admitted to an asylum[2]. Her husband, George Ernest Harley, an army officer, was killed in the Boer War[3].

She became active in the Suffragette movement and held office in the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Like many of the women who volunteered for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals she was clearly very committed to the cause of women’s suffrage and, like many, was a strong character, something that could make her a difficult person to get on with and led to differences of opinion and clashes with other volunteers during her time with SWH.

She first served as Administrator of the SWH hospital at Royaumont, France, in 1915. She wanted to institute changes to the way it was run and clashed with the matron, Miss Tod (‘a thorough anti-feminist’) who she rightly considered to be out of her depth, and with Dr. Ivens, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) over who was in charge, the Administrator or the CMO[4]. She left to become Administrator of the newly established Girton & Newnham Unit in Troyes in May 1915. She was enthusiastic about her work but was considered to be something of a ‘law unto herself’[5]. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government for her service to France. In late 1915 she went with the Girton & Newnham Unit to Macedonia and helped establish a hospital in a disused tobacco warehouse in the Macedonian border town of Guevgheli[6] (now called Gevgelia). Within a remarkably short period of time the building had been scrubbed and cleaned and was functioning as a hospital. It was not functioning for long however as the rapid Bulgarian advance soon forced a move to Salonica (now called Thessaloniki) in Greece during the general retreat of the Serbian army and the arrival in the theatre of British and French troops in the winter of 1915/1916. Despite her hard work and enthusiasm Katherine had, by early 1916, clashed with Dr. Louise McIlroy, the CMO, over who was in charge. The problem was solved by Katherine’s decision to resign and she returned to the UK[7]. She was soon back in Macedonia however having persuaded the Committee of the SWH to establish an independent motorised ambulance unit, The Transport Column, with her in command. The role of the unit was to operate near the front line to collect Serbian casualties and bring them to the SWH hospitals for treatment[8]. One of her most famous patients during this time was Flora Sandes, a British woman who had enlisted as a soldier in the Serbian army after having gone to Serbia as a medical auxiliary with one of the first foreign medical units’ right at the start of the conflict in 1914. She was severely wounded by a Bulgarian grenade in fighting near Hill 1212 in November 1916 and Katherine took personal charge of her evacuation to hospital[9]. There was severe fighting around this time in the Moglena Mountain range and the Transport Column did sterling work evacuating the wounded and working non-stop to keep their vehicles roadworthy in often primitive conditions. Despite their good work the Transport Column did attract adverse comment. They were enthusiastic about their work but this often went beyond enthusiasm to willfulness and even insubordination (more than once they defied Katherine Harley and operated at night and close to the battlefield despite explicit orders not to)[10]. Katherine was criticised for exercising poor control of the unit and for failing to enforce discipline. The unit was noted for its drinking, public smoking (some even took to smoking cigars), late nights and short hair cuts[11] – all of which attracted adverse comment and gossip. An enquiry team sent out by the SWH Committee in the UK to look into the Girton & Newnham Unit also chose to follow up on ‘disquieting reports’ about the lack of discipline and loose behavior of the members of the Transport Column. The Committee didn’t like what they saw and attempted to encourage Katherine to resign. In December 1916, after an ‘acrimonious exchange of letters’ she agreed to go[12]. With her daughters she went to the recently liberated front line town of Monastir (now Bitola) and acting quite independently did what she could to provide assistance to the inhabitants of the town who were suffering terribly from disease, illness and the ravages of war. Despite its proximity to the battlefield and daily shelling by the Bulgarians, she rented a house in the town and chose to live there to be as close as possible to those who needed help. On 7th March 1917 while sitting at the window of the house taking tea with her daughters she was killed by Bulgarian shellfire[13]. Her death came as a shock to all who knew her and her funeral in Salonica was attended by Prince George of Serbia, General Milne, the commander of the British forces, and many other dignitaries accompanied by contingents of troops and military bands[14]. She is buried in the British part of the Lembet Road Military Cemetery in Thessaliniki, Greece[15] where her grave stands out among the simple military headstones that surround it as it is highly ornate. It is inscribed in both Serbian and English to ‘The generous Enlish lady and great benefactress of the Serbian people, Madame Harlay (sic), a great lady’, with the following epitaph: ‘On your tomb instead of flowers the gratitude of the Serbs shall blossom there. For your wonderful acts your name shall be known from generation to generation’.

[1]Leah Leneman – In The Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, p.15

[2] http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WharleyK.htm

[3] http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=116015259

[4] Leah Leneman – In The Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, p.15

[5] Leah Leneman – In The Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, p.31

[6] Ibid p.45

[7] Ibid p.54

[8] Monica Krippner – The Quality of Mercy: Women at War, Serbia 1915-18 p.186.

[9] Ibid p.191.

[10] Ibid p.189

[11] Louise Miller – A Fine Brother: the Life of Captain Flora Sandes p.149

[12] Leneman – In The Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, p.90

[13] Monica Krippner – The Quality of Mercy: Women at War, Serbia 1915-18 p.196

[14] Ibid p.196

[15] The cemetery is very large and has sections for the British, French, Serbians, Italians and Russians.

Florence Lyle Harvey

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Hamilton Canada

Daughter of John Harvey, Florence grew up in Hamilton, Ontario. A staunch advocate of women’s golf, Florence Harvey founded and held the position of Secretary of the Canadian Ladies Golf Union (now the Canadian Ladies’ Golf Association). One of the top players of her day, Harvey won the 1903 and 1904 Canadian Ladies’ championship, while capturing the Ontario Ladies Championship on four occasions. In 1918 she joined the SWH as a driver with the American unit and served at Ostrovo, Macedonia and at Vranje and Belgrade in Serbia. These driver were fearless, scouring the country for the wounded, often working at the front and under attack. They worked and lived high up in the mountains for most of 1917-1918. Tackling crumbling roads ,snow storms, deep precipices and hairpin bends. Women like Florence were mavericks, courageous but most of all kind. Florence before joining the SWH worked for a time in the Military Convalescent Hospital in Hamilton. Florence also helped organize fundraisers for the war effort through the Canadian Ladies’ Golf Union. After the
war she moved to South Africa where she ran a poultry farm with Mrs Marjorie Pope-Ellis. After that she went to California. During the Second World War she went to London, England
to run the Hospital Supplies Department for the Canadian Red Cross. In 1954, she returned home to Ancaster,
ON and lived here until her death in 1968.

Evelina Haverfield

Date of Bith: 1867
Place of Birth: Kingussie

Evelina Haverfield was one of the more dramatic and famous of the SWH volunteers and is recognized as being ‘courageous, gallant and selfless'[1]. She was born in 1867 and had been married twice. Her first husband with whom she had two sons had died and she lived separately from her second. When she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1914 she was already a seasoned campaigner for women’s rights and had established her credentials as someone willing to spend her time and money to help others by going to South Africa during the Boer war to care for injured horses. By the time war broke out she was a very well known, some might even say notorious, personality. She was an active member the most militant part of the suffragette movement and was a close associate of Emeline Pankhurst and other leading suffragettes[2]. She had been arrested and prosecuted for militant suffragette activities including protesting, stone throwing, assault and criminal damage and was jailed for five days for punching a policeman during a protest. She was so well known as a campaigner for women’s rights that at least one manufacturer cashed in on this notoriety to promote his clothing line[3] (see picture above).
She strongly believed that the First World War was a great opportunity for women to demonstrate their worth and a chance to use involvement in the war effort as a means of publicizing the fight for women’s rights (and gaining those rights). At first she advocated the creation of armed formations of women soldiers but as this was not realistic and had no chance of success she pushed for the formation of medical and relief units, staffed by women, that would both make a contribution to the war effort and give opportunities to women to do things that they could not do in peacetime. With remarkable speed she helped establish the Women’s Volunteer Reserve which was up and running by 6th August 1914, and which carried out domestic and fundraising duties for the war, and the Women’s Emergency Corps[4]. Additionally, she believed that the publicity that would come from women’s direct involvement in war activity could only serve to highlight the role of women and help bring about women’s emancipation.
She went at her own expense to Serbia in 1915 with SWH as Administrator of the hospital at Kraguevtz where she was in charge of transport and logistics. She clashed with Dr. Lilian Chesney, herself a strong personality, and because of the clash was moved by Elsie Inglis to the SWH unit at Mladenovatz[5] where she was joined by her companion Vera Holmes, (unfortunately the difficult relationship with Dr. Chesney would continue throughout their involvement in SWH[6]). Evelina Haverfield was one of those taken prisoner by the invading Austrians in 1915. While a prisoner, and together with the other SWH prisoners including Elsie Inglis, she continued to provide aid and care to the sick and wounded, mostly at the Czar Lazar hospital in Krusevac. With Elsie Inglis she was determined to stay as long as possible in Serbia to provide help to the people there and they hid out in a peasant’s cottage to try and avoid repatriation[7] which had been offered in December 1915. They were found out and repatriated via Vienna and Zurich, in February 1916[8].

Once back in the UK She immediately rejoined SWH and went with them to Russia with the SWH Russian unit as head of the Transport Column in late 1916[9]. The unit was deployed to the Romanian front and provided medical support to the Serbian Division of the Russian army[10]. By late 1917 the Romanian army was in full retreat and SWH was forced to relocate to Bessarabia and Moldova in with the Russian and Serb forces. They had to endure all the hardship of a retreat and both endured and witnessed many horrors. The SWH group was forced to split and Evelina Haverfield made it to Ismael in western Bessarabia in October 1917 with Elsie Inglis’ group. It was here, at about this time that the stress and hardship of the retreat took its toll and Evelina Haverfield is believed to have had a nervous breakdown[11].

In addition, Evelina Haverfield, while undoubtedly committed, hardworking, and enthusiastic was at times in conflict with the drivers and others in her charge. SWH volunteers were unpaid and had to fund much of their participation themselves. Some volunteers were wealthy and well provided for but others were not. The volunteers had given their money to Ms Haverfield who had converted it into Romanian money early in the campaign when the fighting was taking place in Romania and there was an expectation that it would stay there. The Romanian currency they now had was worthless and unusable and many SWH volunteers were effectively penniless. Some volunteers blamed Evelina Haverfield for their situation while others, who did not necessarily blame her, resented her apparent lack of sympathy for their plight[12]. She was also criticized for expecting the volunteers to endure and even revel in the harsh conditions of the Russian front and for pushing the drivers and others too hard[13]. Again she was in conflict with Dr. Chesney and others who were not swayed by her charm and enthusiasm but considered her ‘incompetent’, ‘unbusinesslike’ and ‘foolish'[14]. Elsie Inglis, already very ill, had to intervene to solve disputes or redeploy volunteers to avoid or defuse conflicts between Evelina Haverfield and others.

The Romanian front collapsed in late 1917 with the Romanian forces being routed by the Germans and the Russians and Serbs retreating to avoid encirclement. Due to the worsening situation in Russia following the revolution and the decision to redeploy the Serbian Division to Salonica, the Russian Unit of the SWH was withdrawn in late 1917 and sailed through submarine infested waters to the UK.
Evelina Haverfield continued her involvement with relief efforts for Serbia and with Flora Sandes (a British woman serving as soldier in the Serbian army), and SWH ‘veterans’ Emily Simmonds and Anne McGlade, raised money for gift parcels and to establish mobile canteens (‘Sandes-Haverfield Canteens’) to provide some small comfort to Serbian soldiers[15]. She travelled to Macedonia to set up a canteen and travelled with the Serb army during the advance through Macedonia and then on to Nish and Belgrade towards the end of 1918. She was one of the SWH volunteers who stayed on in Serbia at the end of the war to continue relief and volunteer work among Serbian soldiers and civilians. Together with her companion Vera Holmes she established a hospital for orphans in Banja Bashta, Serbia. She contracted Pneumonia and died on 21st March 1920 and is buried in Banja Bashta[16] where her grave is tended by the parishioners of the local Orthodox church.

[1] Monica Krippner The Quality of Mercy: women at War Serbia 1915 – 1918 (p.72)

[2] Her companion Vera ‘Jack’ Holmes, an SWH volunteer, had been Emeline Pankhurst’s driver.

[3] Interestingly she was one of the designers for the SWH uniform and it’s similarity to suffragette garb is not coincidental.

[4] Monica Krippner The Quality of Mercy: women at War Serbia 1915 – 1918 (p.29)

[5] Leah Leneman In the Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Mercat Press Edinburgh (p.27).

[6] IBID Dr. Chesney disliked Evelina Haverfield for being a ‘socialite’

[7] Leah Leneman In the Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Mercat Press Edinburgh (p.49).

[8] Costel Coroban From the Fringe of the North to the Balkans: The Balkans Viewed by Scottish Medical Women During World War 1. Revista Română de Studii Baltice şi Nordice, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (2012): pp. 53-82 (p.62)

[9] Leah Leneman In the Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Mercat Press Edinburgh (p.72).

[10] This Division was made up of ethnic Serbs and ‘Yugoslavs’ who had been serving in the Austro-Hungarian army and had been taken prisoner by the Russians. The officers were Serbs brought from the Macedonian campaign. At the time of the Russian collapse following the Russian revolution the Serbian Division was shipped via Archangel and Vladivostok to Salonica and became the Yugoslav Division of the Serbian army.

[11] Costel Coroban From the Fringe of the North to the Balkans: The Balkans Viewed by Scottish Medical Women During World War 1. Revista Română de Studii Baltice şi Nordice, Vol. 4, Issue 1 (2012): pp. 53-82 (p.77)

[12] Audrey Fawcett Cahill Between the Lines: Letters & Diaries from Elsie Inglis’s Russian Unit. The Pentland Press

[13] Leah Leneman In the Service of Life: The Story of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Mercat Press Edinburgh (p.83).

[14] Audrey Fawcett Cahill Between the Lines: Letters & Diaries from Elsie Inglis’s Russian Unit. The Pentland Press (p.55)

[15] Monica Krippner The Quality of Mercy: women at War Serbia 1915 – 1918 (p.199)

[16] Ibid (p.203)

Many thanks again to Stephen Mendes the Biography.

Maud Doria Haviland

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Staffordshire

The sudden death of Mrs. Brindley, on 3 April, 1941, was a
great shock to all her friends.
Maud Doria Haviland was born in 1891. Her great grandfather,
John Haviland, was Lord of the Manor of Fen Ditton,
Cambridge, M.D., and Fellow of St. John’s College, Cambridge.
He became Professor of Anatomy in 1814, and Regius Professor
of Physic from 1817, which chair he held until his death in
1851. He was the first Regius in Physic to give regular
courses in pathology and medicine, and it has been recorded
of him that the recasting of the medical curriculum and
examinations, which laid the foundations of the present system,
was “entirely the result of his insistence and influence ”.
His great grand-daughter’s school-days were passed mainly
on the estate of her step-father in south-east Ireland, where
she became a good game-shot and had wide opportunities for
observing birds, the dominating passion of her life. With
the aid of text-books she taught herself anatomy and dissecting.
During these earlier years she published ‘ Wild Life
on the Wing ’ (A. and C. Black, 1913), and two other books
of stories of animals devised mainly for children.
In the summer of 1914 she went down the Yenesei with
Miss Czaplicka, the Polish anthropologist, Miss Dora Curtis
and Mr. H. V. Hall. The party travelled overland to
Krasnoyarsk, where the Trans-Siberian Railway crosses the
Yenesei. Thence they descended the Yenesei in a steamer
to Golchika, about 1500 miles down the river. They spent
June, July and August at this dreary spot in the permanently
frozen tundra, and then returned to England through the
Kara Sea and by North Cape. Miss Haviland made excellent
use of her time at Golchika. She explored the river-banks
and surrounding tundra and found the eggs of many rare
waders. Among these perhaps the most interesting was the
Curlew Sandpiper, which had only previously been found by
Mr. H. L. Popham at the mouth of the Yenesei. On her
return she wrote ‘ A Summer on the Yenesei ’ (Arnold, 1915).
The book is full of ornithological interest, and must have
4320 Obituary. [Ibis,
reminded many readers of Seebohm’s enthusiasm and energy.
She also contributed a paper to ‘ The Ibis ’ on bird-migration
at the mouth of the Yenesei, and more detailed accounts to
‘ British Birds ’ and the ‘ Zoologist ’ on the breeding habits
of the Curlew Sandpiper, Little Stint, Temminck’s Stint,
Grey Phalarope, Dotterel, Golden Plover and the WillowGrouse.

In 1917, as a member of the Scottish Women’s Hospital,
she served as chauffeur to Dr. Elsie Inglis in Rumania and
had an adventurous journey home when the unit had to be
evacuated via Archangel. In the following year she was again
acting as chauffeur, this time under the F’rench Red Cross in
the Soissons-Paris region.
Soon after the end of the war she commenced residence at
Newnham College, Cambridge, and attended the Tripos
courses in Zoology. She was soon appointed to undertake
the supervision of students in this subject, and began her
researches on the life-histories, anatomy, physiology and
parasitism of Hemiptera-Heteromorpha, the insect group
which always possessed a special interest for her. From 1919
to 1922 she was a Research Fellow of Newnham and was also
elected an Associate.
In 1922 she married H. H. Brindley, Fellow of St. John’s
College. She spent the earlier part of this year on the
Mazzaruni and Demarara Rivers of British Guiana, investigating,
under a joint grant from the Royal Society and the
Cambridge Zoological Laboratory, the Hemiptera-Heteromorpha
harmful to the vegetation. The results were published
by the Royal Society ; and she also wrote for the ‘ Mariner’s
Mirror ’ an interesting account of the primitive river craft of
British Guiana.
In 1924 she lectured to the Tripos class on Forest, Steppe
and Tundra, supplementing the known facts by her own
observations in these regions. This course was subsequently
published by the Cambridge University Press. Since then
she has continued to publish the results of her studies on the
Heteromorphous Hemiptera, combining these activities with
the offices of Vice-President and Hon. Treasurer of the
Cambridge branch of the Society for the Preservation of
Rural England.
1941.1 Recent Ornithloqical Publications. 621
In 1916 Mrs, Brindley was elected an Honorary Lady
Member of the B. 0. U. She was an active member of the
Cambridge Bird Club, and contributed many interesting
obeervations to its Annual Report. She was also one of the
founders and chairman of the Executive Committee of the
Cambridge Sanctuary Club. B. B. R.

Maud is on the right of the photo.

Louise Haviland

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Staffordshire

LHB8/12/8 – Courtesy of Lothian Health Services Archive.

Birth
1890
18 Oct
Tamworth, Staffordshire, England
1 Source
Residence
1891
Age: 1
South Stoke, Oxfordshire, England
1 Source
Residence
1911
2 Apr
Age: 20
Swinderby, Nottinghamshire, England
1 Source
Arrival
1920
15 Jul
Age: 29
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 Source
Departure
1923
5 Jan
Age: 32
London, England
Age: 32
Marriage to Reginald Dundas Merriman DSC
1923
Age: 33
Rangoon, Burma
1 Source
Arrival
1943
10 May
Age: 52
Liverpool, England
Age: 52
1 Source
Death
1976
Dec
Age: 86
Surrey South eastern, Surrey, England
Age: 86

Louise, was the older sister of Maud Doria. They both joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in 1917 and headed to the Russian front. Louise was enrolled as an orderly. After boarding the ship the Huntspill at Liverpool they sailed into the Irish sea and zig-zagged their way north to the Arctic ocean, acutely aware of the dangers that lay in the waters, mines and highly mobile submarines infested the seas. This was September and during July and August fifty one merchant vessels had been sunk in the icy waters. The ship kept to its course and once into the arctic circle and within sight of Bear Island turned south into the white sea and onto the port of Archangel. From here they journeyed by special train taking 3 weeks to get to Moscow and then on to Odessa, a journey of 14 days often stopped by Russian Officials. At Odessa instructions were given to proceed to the Romanian front where the Serb military was in action. Finally at Reni the journey continued by steamer and barge down the Danube to Cernavoda. They then proceeded by train and motor transport to Medijia. Here on a hill top above the town two hospitals were established and equipped at Medijia and Bulbulmic. Louise returned home in November 1917. She did rejoin the unit again in March 1918 and this time they headed into the Balkans, supporting the Serbs as they pushed for home. In September 1918 she returned home.

Geraldine Hedges

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Berkshire, England

Born in Brightwell, Berkshire Geraldine grew up in the family home with her parents and seven siblings. Her father Frances was a solicitor and that would explain the wealth the family had, assisting Geraldine in later life, enabling her firstly to learn to drive and become a full time driver. An almost unheard of career for a women at that time, Geraldine’s skills would be vital during her war years on the eastern front.

In August 1916 the London Suffrage Society financed a group of 80 women to support Serbian soldiers fighting in Russia under the command of Dr Elsie Ingils. Another leader in the suffrage movement, Evelina Haverfield, was recruited as head of transport. Geraldine joined the unit in time for the journey, that after leaving Liverpool, would sail the high seas for a two weeks voyage into the north and arctic ocean and into the port of Archangel,Russia. Then by train they would spend another two weeks travelling down to Moscow and on to Odessa before splitting into two units and beginning work at the various hospitals all along the Russian front mainly in Romania. The unit was there primarily to support the Serb forces. The ambulance drivers were named the “Buffs” but the colour of their uniform was not the only way to distinguish the transport column and the Medical staff. They were a breed apart, full of bravado and brimming with confidence these women often smoked, drank and strutted the camps like peacocks. But when the call came they were on there toes, driving the Fords as fast as they could into no mans land, deep into the fires of the battles, where shells exploded and bullets whistled in all directions. With often mule tracks for roads and hanging over steep hills and mountains deep with snow, ice and mud, they shuttled the wounded back and forth, day and night, at times around the clock. Between August 1916 and November 1917 Geraldine made two separate trips to the Russian front. In Petrograd she felt the tensions mount as the Russian Revolution gathered momentum. Armed Red Guards took control of the city, and on the flip side was frustrated with the British war office when women drivers were again refused permits. And that very much explains, that on her return, she left the UK under the guise of “laundry superintendent”. Geraldine again in February 1918 headed back into the war, again supporting the Serbs as they pushed for home. Fierce fighting between the Serbs and Bulgarians was taking place in the mountains of Macedonia . Geraldine, who was now chief of transport in the unit, suffered two attacks of malaria. Too ill to work she insisted on going to see her drivers. She wrote ” a most perilous road.. One journey alone took something like 5 to 6 hours and not for a minute was the road easy or could they relax their attention, they often did two journeys a day.” On the 1st of November 1918 Geraldine returned home. A courageous lady with the heart of a lion. Without a thought for her own safety or future plans she helped save the lives of countless Serbs.
Geraldine died in Sussex in 1968.

Lydia Manley Henry

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Macduff, Banffshire.

Lydia Manley Henry (1891-1985), MB, ChB, MD, DSc, known familiarly as Leila, was born in Macduff, Banffshire, 30th June 1891. After the death of her father when she was only two and a half years old she stayed in Scotland with her aunt until the age of 14, when she moved to Sheffield to join her mother, who had sought employment as a Lecturer at the Day Training College for Teachers before becoming Vice-Principal of the new City Training College in 1905. She attended the Sheffield Day High School for Girls.
Leila, (she preferred the name) joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on July 25 1917 as a Doctor and headed for Royaumont Abbey. At Royaumont she was an assistant surgeon and had charge over the Blanche de Castille ward. Leila also worked at the hospital at Villers-Cotterets. She left the service in March 1919. She was hard working,courageous and very well liked.During the evacuation at Villers-Cotterets, when the hospital staff and patients were force to walk the 40 miles back to Royaumont, Leila was upset at the sight of “seriously wounded men streaming along the roads dead tired, and in many cases, almost unable to drag themselves along.” Long into her old age she had nightmares involving that journey. Leila was awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government. After the war she went on to have an incredibly fulfilling life, working in Blackburn, London and Toronto,Canada. She died in 1985 at the age of 85.

An account of Lydia Henry’s career is given in The Women of Royaumont: a Scottish Women’s Hospital on the Western Front, by Eileen Crofton. An excellent book.

Edith Blake Hollway

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Pinner, Middlesex

Edith Blake Hollway, born Sunday morning 30/11/1873 at Woodridings, Pinner, Middlesex. She graduated at the London School of Medicine with a MB, BS in 1906. Some of her love of the Balkans may have come from her father’s actions earlier. The oral history has it that he took the family to Orsova (then Hungary, now Romania) in the early 1880s to engage in mining for metals.At the time of her joining the Scottish Womens Hospitals she was living in the family home at St Andrews Lodge Watford and working at The London Temperance Hospital on Hempstead Road, Watford.
Edith joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital, and with her sister Nora, joined a unit of 40 women under the command of Chief Medical Officer Dr Soltau and boarded the ship at Southampton on the 1st of December 1914 and headed for Serbia via Salonika. At the time of crossing the mission looked bleak as large parts of Serbia including Belgrade had fallen into enemy hands. But on arrival at Salonika they were greeted and uplifted by the tremendous news that Serbia had been victorious in the battle of the ridges and despite heavy losses and an epidemic of typhus had pushed the Austrian/Hungarian troops out of Serbia, the first allied victory in WW1.
At Salonika Edith with her unit headed by train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The unit arrived on the 6th of January and was geared for a 100 beds but immediately had to admit 250 patients and soon after 650. Edith and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere. Thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospital. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus, and by February 1915 Serbia was in the grip of a huge epidemic. During March Edith would have wondered if she would ever make it back home as three of the nurses all succumbed and perished to the deadly typhus. Edith herself in April came down with the disease remarking” one soon gets rather muddle-headed and drowsy which is increased fourfold by the amount of intoxicating liquor that is poured down one’s throat,or neck. I was perfectly drunk for ten days and was getting quite fond of whiskey” However by early summer things were looking up with the Doctors and nurses taking control of the situation. Also Dr Elsie Inglis had arrived in Serbia, a huge moral boost having the founder and leader of the organisation working along side. One of things Elsie was keen to do was set up Typhus blocking hospitals in the North to help prevent the sort of disaster that had happened early in the year. Edith was keen on the idea so in July 1915 Edith was put in charge of the new 200 bed hospital at Lazarevac. Edith only had five months running the hospital. By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigor. Serbia stood alone, out gunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Edith was forced to leave the hospital and with her unit headed down to Kruevac, a three day journey of over 100 miles in appalling conditions. Old men and women, young children and babies all caught in frozen wasteland. No shelter or food and the shells being dropped on them from above. Edith on arrival at Krusevac went straight to work and opened a dressing station in a couple of storehouses. Soon they were overflowing with casualties and soon after the voices of Austrian soldiers. Serbia had fallen. The women were now POW’s. At first they got along with Austrians, setting up a hospital in the magazine, Edith ingeniously managed to pack 900 men into building, stacking them in bunk beds(shelves) four high with the most able being put on the top. In February the women were repatriated and by train were moved from Krusevac to Bludenz near the Swiss boarder for several weeks. Then on to Zurich, across France to Le Havre. By March they had docked at Southampton. An adventure but many of the women were heart broken at what had happened to the Serb’s. Edith was one of them.

April 1916 Edith again takes to the sea’s. She joined the SWH as an assistant medical officer and this time heads to Corsica where thousands of the fleeing Serbian civilians gathered as refugees. This was in many ways a chance to help a small part of a nation, Edith knew this and was glad of her post. The hospital was at Ajaccio and was opened in December 1915 and remained open till April 1919. Edith enjoyed her roll there very much but left in August. She explained to the committee before leaving that ” except for definite work under the war office there is nothing I should like better than to go on working for you” The war office did offer Edith a job and she returned home in September 1916. Oral history has Edith as a polyglot, amateur archaeologist and was widely traveled as far as Hong Kong, Australia, North America and extensively in Europe.

Edith died in 26/12/1948 Newton Abbott.

The photo at the top has Dr Edith Hollway on the right and Vera “Jack” Holmes on the left at Kragujevac.

Many thanks to Tom and Janet Hollway for helping to compose this article.

Nora Webb Hollway

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Pinnar. Middlesex

Nora Webb Hollway born Monday 9/12/1872 at Woodridings Pinner, Middlesex. At the time of her joining the Scottish Womens Hospitals she was living in the family home at St Andrews Lodge Watford. Nora joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital on the 1st of December 1914 and with her sister Dr Edith Hollway signed up to serve in Serbia. We think Nora went out on a later ship as she is recorded as having left Southampton on the 31st of December. Nora departed from Southampton and sailed to Salonika. The journey to Salonika was fraught with danger. Mines, submarines and zeppelins all very capable of sinking a ship and many ships were lost in this way.

On arrival at Salonika the unit were sent up to Kraguievac – a city 100 miles south of Belgrade. Although the fighting at that time was minimal there was still a massive amount of work to be done. Serbia was well short of medical facilities. Nora went out to Serbia as part of a support unit and joined her Chief Medical Officer Dr Eleanor Soltau at Kraguievac in central Serbia. Kraguievac, like elsewhere in Serbia at that time, was in the grip of a huge typhus epidemic and desperate for Doctors and nurses. The SWH itself had lost 3 members. In fact records suggest that between 100,000-150,000 men, women and children died during those months. Nora’s position at the hospital was Matron and she was put to work straight away, working in the Relapsing Fever Hospital which had previously been barracks but suited to housing large numbers of patients. Nora and Dr Brooke worked wonders and together saved many lives. By April 1915 the typhus outbreak that had been under control suddenly started to show signs of relapse. The town of Mladenovac was considered at risk and the SWH were asked to step in and provide a blocking hospital in case of a new epidemic. Dr Elsie Inglis wasted no time in dispatching a hospital unit to Mladenovac. Nora being sent up as Matron. By July 1915 Dr Beatrice McGregor with her new recruits arrived at the hospital and took over as Chief Medical Officer.
During the early days Beatrice and the unit ran a 300 bed hospital and with things being fairly quiet she opened a dispensary for the women and children which became very popular. However, during mid-august the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. In October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped, opening an emergency dressing station where 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Nora and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Nora with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley. There is still a monument at Mladenovac today and each year hundreds of people gather to pay their respects for the bravery shown by Nora and her unit.

Nora joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals again in April 1918 towards the end of WW1. She signed up as Matron and headed to Salonika where she joined the Girton and Newnham unit under Dr Anne McIlroy. The hospital was a large under canvas hospital and had been mainly used to support the Serbs and allied troops pushing back into Serbia. With most of the fighting by then being in the north Nora moved up to Uskub (Skopja) Macedonia with the SWH transport column. However in October the Balkan armistice was declared and with this, the end of the war for Nora. These women who went with the men on the offensives were later described as “having achieved immortality” Nora returned home in November 1918.

Vera Louise Holme

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Birkdale, Lancashire

Daughter of Richard Holme, a timber merchant. Vera from a young age was keen on just about everything that came her way, She played Violin and sang and later in life would Act and star in the theatre. In 1908 Vera became an active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). And in 1909 she was appointed Emmeline Pankhurst’s chauffeur. She was active in suffrage propaganda work such as greeting released prisoners from Holloway Prison.At the outbreak of the First World War, Vera joined the Women’s Volunteer Reserve, and then enlisted in the transport unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital, based in Serbia and Russia, where she was responsible for horses and trucks. In Serbia, she was taken P.O.W and determined to stay in the country and disrupt German orders concocted a plan to hide in a cottage thereby causing a stir and a delay in the German plans. Vera served with the Scottish Womens Hospitals from June 1915 till October 1917, working with Dr Elsie Inglis in Kragujevac in Serbia and on the Russian front. She spent the remainder of the war giving lecture tours to publicise the work of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit. In 1918 she became the administrator of the Haverfield Fund for Serbian Children – an orphanage set up by Evelina Haverfield, her companion from 1911 until her death in 1920. She continued to be involved in relief work for Serbia in various capacities throughout the 1920s -1930s, and remained interested in political issues in Yugoslavia throughout her life, returning to visit in 1934. She subsequently moved to Scotland where she lived with Margaret Greenless and Margaret Ker, friends from her suffrage days and also previously of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Unit. She was also active in the Women’s Rural Institute from the early 1920s until her death in Scotland in 1969.
Vera was decorated with many medals including the Serbian Cross of Mercy.

Laura Margaret Hope

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Adelaide australia

Laura Margaret Hope (1868-1952), medical practitioner, was born on 3 May 1868 at Mitcham, Adelaide, second of four children of Scottish-born parents George Swan Fowler, grocer, and his wife Janet, née Lamb, both liberal-minded Baptists. Laura was educated privately in Adelaide, England and Germany. Slender, with blue eyes and brown hair, she hid a sense of fun beneath a precise, composed manner. She and her favourite brother James shared strong religious beliefs and a love of reading. On the family estate, Wootton Lea, Glen Osmond, she helped her father to breed leeches for sale to pharmacists. In 1887 she became the first female to enrol in medicine at the University of Adelaide (M.B., Ch.B., 1891); her graduation was applauded by the chancellor (Sir) Samuel Way and by women suffragists.

In 1892 Dr Fowler was appointed resident medical officer at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital for a term of twelve months: the board agreed that ‘the spirit of the rules of the Hospital will not be violated by the appointment of a lady’. She performed her duties with ‘diligence and ability’. Her application to join the local branch of the British Medical Association was ‘the immediate cause’ of admission for women.

Influenced by Rev. Silas Mead’s missionary fervour, Laura experienced a ‘call’ and persuaded her fiancé Dr Charles Henry Standish Hope (1861-1942) to accompany her to India; Mead married them on 4 July 1893 at Wootton Lea and they sailed for Bengal as self-supporting medical missionaries. Laura dedicated her life to this work and to the care of her husband who was ‘often poorly’. She and Charles co-operated with other missionaries, mainly at the South Australian Baptist Mission at Pubna where they began. From dawn ‘Dr Memsahib’ treated queues of patients at the dispensary and visited women in their zenanas, often cycling in her pith helmet. She was welcome wherever she went. Both doctors learned Bengali and Hindi, and took private patients. Charles won repute for eye surgery. Freed from domestic tasks, Laura occasionally participated in mission work and studied plants. James Fowler administered her ample private income and marriage settlement; in their long, affectionate correspondence she sometimes ended her letters, ‘Your little sister Smiler’.

In summer the Hopes usually retreated to the hills, or travelled to England or Australia. Following a European holiday, both studied in England at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1902. Laura then worked at the New Zealand Baptist Mission Hospital, Chandpur, India. They frequently treated typhoid, cholera and malaria cases. In 1907-09 the Hopes practised at the Bengal Baptist Mission at Kalimpong in the Himalayan foothills; they spent a year at Nairne in the Adelaide Hills before returning to Pubna. In 1914 Laura took medical charge of the Presbyterian St Andrew’s Colonial Homes, Kalimpong, which housed over five hundred Anglo-Indian and neglected children.

Again in England, in 1915 the Hopes joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service and were sent to Serbia where Laura directed a unit that treated wounded soldiers. Captured in November, they were transported to Hungary by cattle truck and imprisoned for two months. They eventually reached England in 1916, recuperated, and resumed work in Kalimpong. Laura and Charles were each awarded the Serbian Samaritan Cross in 1918. That year Laura left Kalimpong with a woman missionary and travelled by pony for two weeks over steep hills, ministering to fourteen scattered Christian ‘parishes’; she came back refreshed ‘in body, mind and spirit’. After an Adelaide respite in 1922, she and Charles worked at Faridpur, Naogoan and Kalimpong where Laura rejoiced at gaining a resident Bengali evangelist for the hospital compound. They remained at Pubna from 1929.

Laura was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind medal shortly before she and her husband retired to Adelaide in 1934. She managed their Erindale household, gardened, and, during World War II, knitted for soldiers. After Charles died she lived with her niece Marion Allnutt. Laura died on 14 September 1952 in North Adelaide and was buried in Mitcham cemetery. She had no children.

The article was written by Helen Jones.

Rowena Hopkin

Date of Bith: 1892 – 23/9/1944
Place of Birth: South Wales

1901 Census of Allt Y Grug,Parish of Llangnicke,Glamorgan has Rowena,aged 8,living at home with her parents and siblings.At the time she had 2 brothers and 2 sisters. Her father was a General Haulier. They were living at the School House.

1911 Census shows that Rowena had moved to London,where she was working as a Probationer Nurse, in a Nursing Home at 26 Holland Park Gardens,Kensington. After having spent time with the London Unit of the SWH between 30/8/1916 and 1/8/1917,she married GW Field in 1918 in the Bristol district. Rowena died in Coventry on 23/9/1944.

Rowena worked as a nurse with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals joining the London unit in aug 1916, she sailed from Liverpool on the 31st of august the voyage took her to Archangel in Russia and then by train to Odessa. Its at this point we loss track of her she would of either worked in Russia near Odessa or travelled on to Romania, life would have been very hard for her as there were lots of casualties on that front. In the winter thing would have been very cold and little food. As well as tending the Russians, she would also have looked after the 1000s of Serbian soldiers. During her time there we know that DR. Elsie Inglis would have been in charge of the unit. In the book ‘Between the Lines’ by Audrey Fawcett Cahill, page 235, a lieutenant hunter gave Rowena a German revolver to take home.. she also wanted shells for the gun!!

Edith Hore

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: Essex

Edith Ethel Florence Hore

Birth
12 Apr 1895 • Chigwell, Essex
1895
(AGE)
Birth of Brother Charles Allen Hore(1898–)
28 Apr 1898 • Baraganza, Loughton, Essex, England
1898
3
Birth of Sister Katherine Alice “Kitty” Hore(1900–1979)
20 Nov 1900 • Loughton, Essex, England
1900
5
Birth of Sister Barbara Gertrude Hore(1902–1977)
20 Feb 1902 • Epping, Essex, England
1902
6
Death of Mother Maud Elizabeth Cluff(1863–1930)
5 Feb 1930 • Nottinghamshire, England
1930
34
Death of Father Henry Hore(1857–1941)
27 Jan 1941 • Nottinghamshire, England
1941
45
Death of Brother Lawrence Browning “Leslie” Hore(1889–1953)
5 Jun 1953 • Buenos Aires, 287133, Argentina
1953
58
Death of Brother Henry Herbert Hore(1884–1965)
Dec 1965 • New Forest, Hampshire, England
1965
70
Death of Sister Mabel Maude Hore(1886–1968)
1968 • Stroud, Gloucestershire, England
1968
73
Death of Sister Barbara Gertrude Hore(1902–1977)
1977
1977
82
Death of Sister Katherine Alice “Kitty” Hore(1900–1979)
1979 • Stratton, Cornwall
1979
84
Death
11 Jan 1988 • Victoria B.C. Canada

Edith joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916, electing to join the American unit. All the women were called by their surname except for Edith. A brief description of the unit can be for here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostrovo_Unit

Edith joined as a orderly, she was clearly a good friend of the units cook Ishobel Ross who refers to her frequently in her diary “little grey partridge” Edith worked under the command of Dr Bennett and worked in the surgical ward. Like many of the women, Edith in her free time was fond of exploring and participating in activates that took her away from the horrors of war. She enjoyed swimming, horse riding, walks and taking part in camp festivity’s. Edith left the unit in July 1917 but rejoined in January 1919 where she joined the unit in Vranje, Serbia. The Serb’s by this time had pushed for home in what was nearly three long years of heavy combat. In August 1919 she returned home.

Christina Hunter

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: New Zealand

Christina Annabella Hunter

Born in1880 Christchurch New Zealand. Christina after working as a nurse in New Zealand travelled in 1913 to the UK where she was employed at the Mayfield and Heathfield VCD Hospital Sussex in 1915. She went on to work with the Red Cross in Belgium at Furnes till it was shelled. Decorated by the Belgians. In June 1916 till Jan 1917 Christina joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals and headed to Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overrun by invading forces. Christina with her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. When the unit arrived in Corsica it was a very different picture. The hospital had opened on Christmas day 1915 and instantly got to work as over three hundred refugees had traveled with them. Within days another ship with over 500 refugees arrived. The hospital closed in 1919 and did a magnificent job of caring for the thousands of Serb civilians. Many of whom were children. Hospital during the war years, the hospital employed 127 women Doctors, nurses, orderlies etc. After her SWH service she worked at the Anglo-Russian hospital in Petrograd, again she was also decorated, this time by the Russians. After some time working with troops from New Zealand in 1919 she return home. Christina never married and died in September 1970 age 90 Canterbury North New Zealand.

Alice Marion Hutchinson

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: India

Alice grew up in Dalhousie, India, her parents were part of a medical missionary team working in India. She was educated at Moffat and at Bridge Of Allan and after qualifying as a Doctor at Edinburgh university in 1903 she returned to India and worked through a cholera epidemic in the Punjab. In 1912 she served in Bulgaria during the 1st Balkan War

Alice took charge of the first SWH unit on the 1st of November 1914 at Calais, France. At that point the Belgian wounded were streaming in after heavy defeats at the hands of Germany. Shortly after typhoid broke out, on the 5th of December she wrote “During the first week here I felt I could hardly bear the sights in the ward, and that, in spite of the fact that i been through it all before. Fortunately there are few things one cannot get accustomed to”
With the epidemic at an end in March Alice and her band of 15 doctors and nurses returned to the UK. According to official reports it was said her hospital had been the most effective in saving lives and she was awarded the Belgian Order of the Palm Leaf.

In April Alice took charge of the second Serbian unit and on the 21st of April 1915 Alice and her unit which included 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac when they organized dressing hospitals they were eventually taken as prisoners of war, Alice was continually harassing her Austrian officials and with 32 other women were sent out of Serbia to a camp in Hungary. Over the next two months Alice badgered and pestered her captors until they were sent home via Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Unsurprisingly she was know as “The Little General”.
In September 1916 she again joined the SWH, this time in Corsica helping the Serbian people who had fled there during the retreat.

Alice died in Jordan’s Buckinghamshire at the age of 79. She was awarded the Serbian Order Of St Sava and was without question a remarkable lady.

Isobel Emslie Hutton

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Isabel Emslie studied medicine at Edinburgh University and while studying became interested in issues of women’s health (especially mental health) and in women’s suffrage. Her studies opened her eyes to the plight of many women in Scotland whose illness could in part be attributed to their lack of education, the burden of child birth and child rearing, and their relative powerlessness in the household and in society in general. She sympathized with the Women’s Militant Suffrage Movement (but did not join)1. On graduation she went to work at the Stirling Asylum, then at the Royal Sick Children’s Hospital, Edinburgh (becoming the first ever woman doctor to be employed there2) and then at the Royal Mental Hospital. At the start of the First World War she offered her services to the Scottish Women’s Hospital and joined in August 1915 as soon as she was able to secure her release from her post. She was posted to the Girton and Newnham Unit in Troyes, France and, in mid-October, went with them to Salonika.3 The Girton & Newnham Unit was at that time led by Anne McIlroy, the CMO with Lady Harley as Administrator. The unit was deployed to Gevgelija, a frontier town just across the border in Serbia4 and established a hospital there in a disused factory. In December 1915 the hospital was abandoned and evacuated to Salonica as the allies retreated in the face of the advancing Bulgarian and German armies. The hospital was re-established in Salonica and treated both French and Serbian casualties. In the autumn of 1916 the “American Unit’ of the SWH joined the Girton and Newnham Unit in Macedonia and in the summer of 1918 Isabel Emslie became its CMO5. The unit took part in the rapid French and Serbian advance that broke the back of the Bulgarian army and followed them providing assistance to both casualties and civilians as they pursued the retreating Germans and Bulgarians to Skopje, Nish and eventually Belgrade. Following the armistice a permanent hospital treating about 300 patients was established by the unit in the Serbian town of Vranje – the hospital being established, equipped and functioning by January 1919, a remarkable achievement. Against the advice of Isabel Emslie, who strongly believed that the SWH had a key role to play in post-war Serbia, in the autumn of 1919 and in accordance with the wishes of the SWH Committee, the hospital was handed over to the Serbian government and the staff repatriated.
One of Isabel Emslie’s last tasks in Serbia was to locate and place markers on the graves of the SWH nurses who had died in Serbia before and during the retreat in the winter of 1915/1916. She was able to locate the graves of Louisa Jordan, Madge Fraser, and Augusta Minshull in Kraguevatz; Bessie Sutherland in Valjevo; and Caroline Toughill in Raksha6 .
After leaving Serbia Isabel Emslie joined Lady Paget’s7 hospital unit in Crimea where they were providing medical help to the White army and civilians during the Russian Civil War. It was during this period of her life that she met her future husband, Thomas Hutton, an officer in the British Army stationed in Constantinople (now Istanbul).
Once back in civilian life she resumed her medical career and worked as a psychiatrist in London. She published several medical books as well as self-help books for women on sexual health and reproduction. Her first, The Hygiene of Marriage, was one of the first of its kind and she was motivated to write it by ‘my own past ignorance and the difficulties and questions of patients’8.
She spent the Second World War in India with her husband now Lord Hutton where she helped revise the training for St. John’s Ambulance volunteers and established the Indian Red Cross Welfare Service to provide comfort to wounded soldiers and help relatives trace and establish contact with prisoners of war held by the enemy.
Following Indian Independence she returned to London and pursued a successful career as a psychiatrist and author. She was awarded the CBE by the Britain and the Order of the White Eagle by Serbia. She died in 1960. She is not forgotten however and the Isabel Emslie Hutton School of Medicine in Vranje, Serbia is named to honour her memory.

Ambrosine Hyslop

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Lanarkshire

Born in 1884 in Cambusnethan,Lanarkshire,

1891 Census
Priv Cottage,
Cambusnethan, Lanarkshire
James Hyslop, 43, Head, Mar, Clerk in Steel Work, born Kirknewton, Midlothian
Helen Hyslop, 39, Wife, Mar
James Hyslop, 18, Son, Clerk at Colliery
Jessie Hyslop, 16, Daug
Thomas W Hyslop, 14, Son, Clerk to Accountant
Mary P Hyslop, 12, Daug
Helen W Hyslop, 9, Daug
Ambrosine S T Hyslop, 7, Daug
Maggie A Hyslop, 5, Daug
Eva Hyslop, 2, Daug
Ambrose J P Hyslop, 2, Son
John W Hyslop, 2mths, Son

Nurse Hyslop joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1915 and headed for Valjevo, Serbia. For Ambrosine there was little time to settle into hospital life at Valjevo, On the 6th October 1915 the big guns that had been quiet during the summer were back and over the next two days nearly 40,000 shells rained down on the city of Belgrade. By October the 8th Belgrade had been blasted to smithereens. Thousands were dead and the Austrian-German forces began a massive assault crossing over the rivers Sava and Dauube. Serbia was now plunged into confusion and normal life began to collapse. Panic set in and people feared for their lives. For Ambrosine and her unit at Valjevo they were ordered to move south. Firstly they trekked down to Pozega but within hours they were on the move again. With Austrian troops pouring in from Bosnia and waves of Austrian- German troops pilling in from the north, the position was bleak. The unit took as much equipment and as many patients as the could and again headed for a new location. Forced to relinquish pieces of hospital equipment as the unit crossed streams and tackled mountain passes, they settled at Vrnjacka Banja. The field hospital at Vrnjacka Banja opened straight away and instantly the battle casualties flooded in. October the 12th, Bulgaria attacked Serbia on the eastern front, Serbia is now being choked to death with A huge fighting force of 700,000 men. Options of what to do are now running out. Even worse Serbia is now all alone.
Much of Ambrosine’s unit decided to stay and effectively became POW’s. Ambrosine made the difficult choice to join William Smith and attach themselves to whats know as the Great Serbian Retreat. William Smith tells his story “The road was a moving mass of transport of all kinds–motor-wagons, bullocks-wagons,horse-wagons,men and guns,besides the civilian population. Men, women and children, all intent on escape.The country here is undulating, and the procession, as it dipped into the hollow and reappeared on the crest,to dip and reappear again and again, until it was finally lost as it passed over the distant hills, looked like a great dragon wandering over the countryside. This procession had been passing continuously for days, stretching from on end of Serbia to the other, and one realised that this was something more than an army in retreat, it was the passing of a whole nation into exile, a people leaving a lost country”. ” After a 5 week epic journey from Serbia to the Adriatic sea the women finally got home at the end of December via Italy and France.

Nurse Ambrosine Sarah Timpson Hyslop died in 1956 in Hamilton, Lanarkshire.

Elsie Inglis

Date of Bith: 1864
Place of Birth: India

Many thank’s to Fiona Foster who compiled this article.

Elsie Inglis was born on August 16, 1864 in Naini Tal, India where her father, John Inglis, worked with the Indian Civil Service shortly after the British Raj began on the subcontinent. She was the seventh of nine children to her Scottish parents and was known to have a close relationship with her father until his death in 1894. In 1878, as a young teenager, her family returned to Scotland and Inglis’ life began to show the pattern of good work she would accomplish in her life.

When her family returned to Scotland, she attended the Edinburgh Institution for the Education of Young Ladies. In 1886, Sophia Jex-Blake, a medical pioneer in Scotland, opened the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women, in which Inglis’ enrolled. Elsie Inglis and a cohort of classmates left Jex-Blake’s school in 1889 and founded the Scottish Association for the Medical Education of Women, which opened the Medical College for Women on Chambers Street in Edinburgh. Inglis successfully passed her triple qualification exams in 1892 to become a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Edinburgh and the Licentiate of the Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons in Glasgow.

Elsie Inglis started her medical career in London where she worked as a resident medical officer at the New Hospital for Women. After a year, she went to study midwifery in Dublin and a few months later, she returned to Edinburgh to open a medical practice with Dr. Jessie MacGregor, a former classmate from the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women. The medical practice, known as the Nursing Home for Working Women, opened in George Square and was devoted to the care of women. In 1904, Inglis relocated the hospital to High Street in Edinburgh’s City Center in an effort to reach more women. Renamed the Hospice, the hospital became an important location for gynecology and midwifery.

While in London after finishing medical school, Inglis worked with Elizabeth Garrett Anderson who was involved with the suffrage movement in Britain and Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Garrett Anderson’s sister, who served as the President of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Working with these women, Inglis began her involvement with the suffrage movement and became the honorary secretary of the Edinburgh National Society for Women’s Suffrage and later that of the Scottish Federation of Suffrage Societies. Her work as a suffragist never interfered with her medical work, yet when the Great War began her belief in equality of rights and opportunities for women only strengthened the legacy she left in medicine.

When the Great War began in August 1914, Dr. Inglis desired to contribute to the war effort. She offered her services to the War Office in London, who replied “my good lady, go home and sit still.” Knowing she had services to offer, instead of going home and allowing a war to go on without the ability to help, Inglis founded the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service (SWH), an establishment of all-female field hospitals that would serve on the battlefields in Europe treating the wounded.

With the aid of suffrage societies throughout Britain, funds were raised to form multiple hospitals, which would be sent to Western and Eastern Europe throughout the war. Women volunteers from all over Britain came together to staff the hospitals as doctors, nurses, orderlies, cooks, chauffeurs, drivers, and more. By December 1914, two hospitals had been sent to the Western Front and many more followed. Throughout the war hospitals were stationed in Troyes, Salonika, Corsica, Ghevgeli, Kraguievatz, Valjevo, Mladanovatz, Lazarovatz, Ostrovo, Reni, Galatz, Sallanches, Medgidia, Bulbul Mic, Calais, Royaumont Abbey just north of Paris, and some other cities on both fronts.

Dr. Inglis served in Serbia in 1915 and touched the lives of many Serbians whom she treated and developed a strong reputation in the country, which grew to cherish her and the work she did for their country. In October 1915, the SWH units in Serbia had to evacuate from several of their locations as German and Austrian soldiers advanced. After evacuating once, Dr. Inglis refused to evacuate a second time and proceeded to remain to care for her patients in Krushevatz. When the German troops arrived, Inglis and several other women with the SWH who had chosen to remain with the patients were taken as Prisoners of War. The women were released and returned to London on February 29, 1916.

For her service in Serbia, the Crown Prince of Serbia decorated Elsie Inglis with the Order of the White Eagle Vth, the highest Order of Serbia. She was the first women decorated with the Order and had previously been awarded the Order of the Saint Sava, third class, also for her work done in the small nation of Serbia.

Dr. Inglis returned to the war in 1917 where she ran the Russian Unit, a flying field hospital unit that accompanied Serbian military divisions that were attached to Russian units on the Eastern Front. She served throughout the Dobrudja Front for a year, which sadly was the last year of her life. Illness took hold of Inglis while she worked along the Eastern Front, and her health greatly weakened in September 1917 and continued to decline the following months. The unit finished their service on the front and returned home on November 25, and Dr. Inglis succumbed to her illness the following day. The exact cause of her death is ambiguous as sources vary from peritonitis to cancer, however, her death certificate lists chronic gastro enteritis and the perforation of the bowel as the cause of death.

Florence Elsie Inglis

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: India

Florence Elsie Inglis was born 14/1/1887 at Rawal Pindi,Bengal,India. She died 27/12/1960 at Trelew Guest House,St Justin Penwith,Cornwall.Her address was 9,Levant Road,Pendeen,Cornwall and she left her Effects of £590.13.6d to her sister Violet.

Dr Florence Inglis Qualified as a Doctor in Edinburgh, 1914, niece to Elsie Inglis, she joined the SWH in September 1917 and worked at both Royaumont Abbey and Viller-Cotterets. Florence joined her two sisters, Etta and Violet who also worked there. Florence left the Abbey in April 1918.

Etta Helen Maude Inglis

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Croydon,Surrey

Etta Helen Maude Inglis was born October 1889 in Croydon,Surrey. In 1901,she was a boarder along with her younger sister Violet,at 60 Promenade,Portobello.She had a governess in the house.Etta died 3/1/1947 in Newbury,Berkshire

Etta went out to Royaumont Abbey near Paris in January 1915. Etta started out as an orderly but was promoted to Auxiliary nurse. She choose to work at the Abbey and Villers-Cotterets until it closed in 1919. At Villers- Cotterets. She was involved in the evacuation of staff and patients from the hospital when the German advance took place, and forced them to make there way back to Royaumont to safety. Life had been hard at Villers-Cotterets and she described the winter of 1917 in here diary ” Our breath froze to the sheets, our hair to the pillows,our rubber boots to the floor, our sponges would have seriously hurt anyone if by chance we had used them as bombs, and hot water spilled on the floor would in five minutes be frozen solid. The camp was under snow for three months and huge icicles hung from the roofs of the huts”. At Soissons in 1917 Etta was involved with the setting up of a canteen, this was to support the troops coming and going to the front line. Valuable and worthwhile, these canteens provided hot drinks, meals and a friendly face as the men went back and forward to the front line, which was only a couple of miles away. For this work Etta was decorated with the Croix de Guerre.
In 1939 a small group of ex members made an attempt to get the SWH back doing what they had done so well. Etta went to France to provide a canteen, and for a short time she worked as its manager in Paris.

Violet Inglis

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: India

Violet Alice Harrietta Inglis was born 1893 at Abbottabad,Bengal,India.Daughter of Ernest and Florence Mary. From Royal Aero Club Aviator’s Certificates we learn that, on 15/9/1933,Violet’s address was c/o 28,Oakley Cres;Chelsea,London.She was an Arts Mistress. On 7/11/1938,Violet,an Artist was residing at 2,Station Approach,South Nutfield,Surrey. Violet died in 1992 at Truro,Cornwall.

On the 15th of May 1915 Violet joined the Girton and Newnham unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and traveled to Troyes in France. Violet a niece of Dr Elsie Inglis served as an orderly a job known for its hard and often unpleasant work. It seemed Violet enjoys Troyes remaking “its great fun fun going in there”. Violet and the other members of the unit were allowed to visit Troyes in there days off. The Chief Medical officers for the unit were Dr Louise Mcllroy of Northern Ireland and Dr Laura Sandeman from Aberdeen and staffed with around 40 other women who worked as Nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.
The hospital was stationed in the grounds at Chanteloup. 250 beds were erected under large marques and tents and by June they were full. These tents would be used in the next part of the story. In October 1915 the unit sailed from Marseilles to Salonika, aboard the SS Mossoul. The unit left France on a voyage through the Mediterranean seas, a dangerous journey at the time with submarines lurking in the waters.On arrival in Salonika, Greece, she would have went straight to work as troops were pouring into the camps many with horrendous injuries. Determined to aid the Serbian troops they pressed on to Guevgueli a hospital on the river Vardar. Violet wrote ” we are all going about in Balaclava caps and look like a Polar Expedition”. Not only was the cold a problem but by this time Serbia was on the back foot and the women were face to face with all the horrors of war, the wounded, the dead and the feeling of hopelessness. The women did everything possible but with the guns of enemy fire getting closer each day the decision was taken to retreat back to Salonika. In April 1916 Violet returned home stopping off at Royaumont Abbey on her way. In September 1917 she returned to the Abbey where she saw the war out working as a orderly until March 1919. Violet was a well liked member of staff.

Isabella Irvine

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Aberfeldy, Perthshire

Isabella Macleish Irvine

Ellas parents married in March, 1875 at Aberfeldy. Her mother’s name was Cecilia Small Drummond and Father Thomas Graham Irvine …he was an Ironmonger and Grocer.
Ella was born in 1882. She was baptised on the 8th February 1883 at the Free Church, Aberfeldy.
In 1891 she was living with her family at Moness Rd-East (Nessbank) Aberfeldy Perthshire. Family listed below.
Thomas G Irvine 44 Cecilia S Irvine 50
Maggie D Irvine 14 Annabella G Irvine 13
Cecilia M Irvine 11 Elizabeth M Irvine 10
Isabella M Irvine 8 Robert I Irvine 6
Christian Campbell 19

In August 1916, Ella as an orderly joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. On the 4th of August 1916 Ella joined her unit and sailed out of Southampton. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians.From 1916-1917 Ella would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going. Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Mosquitoes,flies and wasps were also a huge discomfort. The hospital which was under canvas was also frequently under attack from bombings. A field hospital with 200 beds, consisted of twenty rows of tents. It started its operation with the intention to be a surgical hospital (160 beds for surgery and 40 beds for recuperation), but with an increase in cases of malaria, they also accepted the malaria patients. It contained: a surgery, hospital wards, x-ray, bacteriological laboratory, out-patient department, reception, with all accompanying services such as a storage for medical supplies, kitchen and laundry. In July 1917 Ella, after nearly a year departed the region and headed home.

Isabella(Ella) McLeish Irvine died on the 17Th Feb 1964 at the Hospital Bridge of Earn.
Her usual address was Stonecroft , Birnam Perthshire

She was 81 years of age single and a retired housekeeper.

Frances Ivens

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: Harborough

From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey at Royaumont outside Paris was used as a military hospital by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, under the direction of the French Red Cross. Chief Medical Officer for the hospital was Miss Frances Ivens CBE MS(Lond) ChM(Liverp) FRGOG.. Frances accepted the position in December 1914 and ran the hospital until the end in March 1919. The unit soon started to receive serious casualties; shells, machine guns, shrapnel and flame throwers caused horrific injuries.The work was exhausting, often the women worked around the clock. Death from gas gangrene was a particular problem, something that Royaumont went on to successfully reduce. There were no antibiotics, amputations were common and the chances of survival were slim, but the hospital gained a reputation for saving men’s limbs. Sphagnum moss, a known antiseptic, was sent out from Scotland to dress the wounds. The number of beds soon grew; from 100 in 1914 to 600 by the end of the war. By the end of the war Royaumont had saved the lives and nursed back to health some 11,000 soldiers astonishingly only 159 of these men died. Frances before and after the war gained a string of awards in medicine in London, Liverpool, Dublin and Vienna. For her service with the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in France she was awarded membership of the Légion d’honneur. After the war she returned to Liverpool where she was a hugely influential in the city in all areas of medicine. At the age of sixty she married and later retired to Truro, Cornwall. She died in 1944.

Mabel Effie Jeffery

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Sheffield

Mabel served with the SWH firstly at Royaumont Abbey in France between 1915-1916. Prior to the war she had been working at Firvale hospital in Sheffield as a nurse. After a year working as a nurse at the abbey she spent most of the war working with the Red Cross in France. For those interested in finding out more on Mabel, her account is compiled in the book “Auntie Mabel’s War” an excellent collection of photo’s and details of her time in France and Serbia where in early 1919 she joined the Girton and Newnham unit and worked in Belgrade at the end of the War. Mabel also worked in Vranje with the French Red Cross in 1920.
Mabel died in 1958.

Florence Jenkins

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Bristol

Florence Jenkins.
Was born in Bristol on 23 January 1887 and took her nurse training at the Mile End Hospital, London, from June 1908 to June 1911. She then took her Fever Certificate at the Eastern Hospital and the Southampton Hospital from 1912 to 1914. From 1914 to 1916 she worked as a Sister and Night Sister before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for service in Russia and Roumania with the London Units.

The unit sailed from Liverpool on 31 August 1916 arriving at Archangel on 10 September. They reached Moscow by the 16th and arrived at Odessa on 21 September, then journeying through Bessarabia to Medjidieh where they set up hospital. A detachment went on to Reni. They left Medjidieh on 22 October by road for Galatz and on to Roumania.

Yvonne Fitzroy in her book notes:

Nov 13th Our names have all been taken by the Russian C in C for decoration for the Medjidieh affair. What fun !!!

Those who had taken part were duly decorated on 20 March 1917 by Prince Dolgourokoff, confirmed by a photo in Fitzroys’ book. Jenkins returned home in November 1917 but served again in Serbia with the America Unit from 14 May to 16 September 1919.

Post war, Jenkins underwent midwife training from 1919-20, gaining the CMB certificate. She registered under the 1919 Act nd became SRN 14241 on 20 April 1920. She served as Theatre Sister at the Bethnal Green Hospital from 1921-22 and as a private nurse from 1922-24. From then until 1929 she was Sister at the Poplar Maternity Hospital and from 1929-39 at the Corporation Maternity Home where she was also Sister Tutor. In 1939 she was appointed Supervisor of Midwives for Cheshire County Council and spend the 1939-45 war in this capacity.

For her war service she received the British War and Victory medals and the Russians awarded her the Medal of St. George 4th class and the Medal for Zeal.

Many thanks to Norman Gooding for sending us this information.

Louisa Jordan

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Louisa Jordan was born on 24/7/1878 at 279,Gairbraid Street,Maryhill,Glasgow. Her parents,Henry and Helen were Irish but were married in Glasgow.
1881 Census of Maryhill has two year old Louisa living at 325 Gairbraid Street,Maryhill with her parents and siblings. Her father’s Occupation was a Paint Grinder.
1891 Census of Maryhill shows that the family have moved to 30 Kelvinside Ave; where 12 year old Louisa is a scholar. Her father’s Occupation is listed as a Paint Maker.
1901 Census has the family still living at 30 Kelvinside Ave. Louisa now aged 22,is a Mantle Maker.Her sister is previously mentioned as being a dressmaker.
Louisa was a Queen’s Nurse at Buckhaven before going to Serbia.

Louisa Jordan was born in Glasgow. After she qualified as a nurse she went to work at Crumpsall Infirmary in Manchester and returned to Scotland to work in Shotts Fever Hospital. Before she left for Serbia she was living and working in Buckhaven, a mining community in Fife as a Queens nurse( district nurse).
She signed up with the SWH as a nurse on the 1st of December 1914 and joined the 1st Serbian unit under the command of Dr Eleanor Soltua. They departed from Southampton in mid December at a time when Serbia had on lost the opening battlefield exchanges of WW1, but by time they arrived in Salonika(Greece) the Serb’s had gone on the offensive and pushed back the Austrian/Hungarian forces, claiming the first victory of WW1.

On arrival at Salonika the unit were sent up Kraguievac a city 100 miles south of Belgrade. Although the fighting at that time was minimal there was still a massive amount of work to be done, Serbia was well short of medical facilities. Louise Fraser wrote ” some of the men looked barely human, they were so wasted with fever, and all were terribly filthy and verminous, All had poisoned woulds, but the worst of it was that, the bed sores they got from neglect were worse than the original wound”
Despite the work load Louisa wrote in her diary “we are quite a happy family” the early days generally seemed to be easy going.

However by February typhus had broken out. Typhus is a cold weather disease, spread by body lice and thrives in overcrowded, dirty conditions. Kraguievac met all the requirements for this killer.
By the middle of February as typhus ward was up and running and Louisa who had some experience having worked in Shotts Fever Hospital was in charge.
Also working with typhus in the wards at Kraguievac was Dr Elizabeth Ross , Elizabeth was not a member of the SWH and had traveled to Serbia alone when war broke out and had been assigned the typhus wards of a Military hospital. Louisa and Elizabeth knew each other well and when Elizabeth became ill with typhus she helped nurse her but sadly Elizabeth died on February the 14th 1915, “we really felt we had lost one of our own” wrote Louisa. Sadly, this would be one of last entries in her diary as a few days later Louisa Jordan died of typhus, soon after Madge Fraser and Augusta Minshull also succumbed to the epidemic.

The people of Serbia have never forgotten the remarkable courage and self sacrifice shown by these women and today at Kraguievac they are remembered each year with dedicated ceremony. She is also remembered at Wilton church Glasgow and Buckhaven War Memorial.

Honoria somerville Keer

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Toronto Canada

Honoria Somerville Keer was born on 26th December 1883 in Toronto, daughter of Eliza Somerville and Jonathan Keer. She attended the University of Glasgow, Scotland, where she graduated MB ChB in 1910. Initially, she practised medicine in Hamilton, but on the outbreak of war, volunteered for service under the Scottish Women’s Hospital. From May 1915 to February 1918, she acted as assistant Medical Officer in the Girton and Newnham unit of the hospitals, first in France, then in Salonica, and in April 1918, was appointed chief Medical Officer of the unit in Corsica for the medical care of Serbian refugees, where she gave valuable service. During her time in Europe, Dr Keer was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medailles des Epidemies by the French Government. From the King of the Serbs she received the Order of St. Sava.

Following her sterling work in the First World War, and having first taken the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London, Dr Keer was accepted for government service as Lady Medical Officer in Nigeria. She was posted to the African Hospital Lagos and worked at the Massey Street Dispensary until 1931. Sadly, her medical career was curtailed by illness and debilitating deafness. She retired in 1934 on health grounds. Dr Keer died on 20 March 1969.

Jessie Margaret Kelsall

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Devon

Jessie was born in Bideford, Devon in 1883, her father Theophilus Moultrie Kelsall was a commander in the Royal Navy. . Jessie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1915 as an orderly. The Orderlies were the lowest in rank of the hospital set up but often came from family’s of wealth and privilege. It was a huge contrast and they were often known for their wild behaviour and zest for life. More often than not, they were at the sharp end, carrying the stretchers, mopping up the blood and bandages and busy with all the domestic tasks that were required in field hospitals at that time. At Cardiff dock on April the 1st, Jessie with her sister Ellon joined their new colleagues including 4 Doctors.They were regaled to the song of “Long way to Tipperary” and boarded the SS Ceramic and headed for Salonika(Greece) where by train they would travel to Valjevo in Serbia. On board with her were Chief Medical Officer Dr Alice Hutchinson, 25 nurses, a sanitary inspector, matron, clerk, 2 cooks, four orderlies and two handymen ( the only males of the unit). The voyage took a detour and docked at Malta for around 3 weeks at the request of the Home Office. Soldiers mainly from Australia and New Zealand were pouring in from Gallipoli many with serious wounds. The unit began working immediately at the Hospital of the Knights of St John, however they were ordered by the SWH to move on to Serbia and keep on programme.
Valjevo was a small town, 80 miles south of Belgrade. Lying in a sleepy green valley Jessie would have felt at home, however only a few months earlier Valjevo had looked very different. The big guns boomed day and night, men fell in their thousands, civilian’s were rounded up and often massacred and the dreaded Typhus raged through Serbia, uncontrollable and without mercy. The mortality rate in Valjevo was 70% and as a result they lost a huge number of Doctor’s and nurses.
By the time the unit reached Valjevo things were improving however there was much to be done, Valjevo had been on the front line and with the summer heat and all the rotten flesh from man and animal, the flies swarmed in their millions bringing diseases.
The hospital was under canvas, the 40 tents pitched on the hillside over looked the town and by and large up until August there were few serious cases. Their was still plenty to do, many wounds had been untended and cases scurvy and malnutrition required urgent attention. However by mid August the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. Also making an unwelcome comeback was Typhus and sadly nurse Sutherland succumbed to the deadly disease. Jessie left Serbia in September 1915 and only just in time as by October the entire nation was thrown into chaos.
We know that Jessie returned to Devon after the war and she died in 1953 at Westward Ho! Devon.

Ellen Louise Kelsall

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Ramsgate, Kent

Ellen was born in Ramsgate, Kent in 1872, her father Theophilus Moultrie Kelsall was a commander in the Royal Navy. . Ellen joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1915 as an orderly. It wasn’t uncommon for sisters to serve in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals but it was certainly unusual for sisters to join the same unit at the same time. On the 1st of April 1915 Ellen with her sister Jessie joined their unit at Cardiff docks and sailed for Valjevo in Serbia. A journey that took around 2 weeks and fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and Zeppelins all responsible for the lost of many a ship, sailing from the UK, passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). Then a few more day’s travel by train to Valjevo. Her post was in the small town of Valjevo in Serbia, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade. That winter Valjevo had gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Ellen returned home in August 1915.

Ellen it seems went to live with her sister in Westward Ho! Devon. She passed away in 1950, neither of the sisters married.

Olive Kelso King

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Sydney Australia

Sergeant Olive Kelso King. King was born in Croydon, Sydney, NSW on 30 June 1885, daughter of Sir George Kelso and Irene Isabella King.
An adventurous and strong-willed woman, she was already an accomplished mountaineer, traveller and motor mechanic with a flair for languages when, in her late 20s, she visited her sister in England, just as the First World War started.

Her response, in early 1915, was to join the Allied Field Ambulance Corps as a driver. She purchased a 3 litre French Alda lorry which she had converted into an ambulance capable of seating 16 patients.

She christened it “Ella” (short for “elephant”) the nickname referring to the effect the heavy ambulance bodywork had on slowing the Alda from its usual 40 mph to a lumbering 30.
An engraving of this vehicle appears on the reverse of King’s Serbian identity bracelet. She travelled to Belgium where she was temporarily held by the authorities, suspected of being a spy and consequently abandoned by the Ambulance Corps, which also took her ambulance.

She was quickly released just ahead of the advancing German Army.

Returning to England and recovering “Ella”, King joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) in May 1915. In October 1915 the unit sailed to Salonika, in Macedonia, aboard the SS Mossoul.

Their role in the Balkans was to provide medical assistance to the Serbs in their fight against the Austro-Hungarians, Germans and Bulgarians. King quickly picked up the Serbian language and proved herself brave in the face of Bulgarian fire when evacuating patients at Guevgueli, from which she only just managed to escape. The allies retreated to Salonika, where the SWH established a tent hospital. King remained here for the next two and a half years, even after the SWH had left the country. She resigned from this organisation in mid 1916 and enlisted in the Serbian Army as a driver.
She was attached to the Headquarters of the Medical Service and eventually rose to the rank of sergeant. She had managed to retain “Ella”, despite its broken springs and mechanical problems (many of which she repaired herself) and it was one of only three ambulances available to the Medical Headquarters unit, thus earning the number plate C3. Towards the end of 1916, Olive King contracted malaria and one of her most frequent visitors was Captain Milan “Yovi” Yovitchitch, the Serbian Liaison Officer with the British Army in Salonika. They fell in love and saw each other every day until October 1917, when he was posted to London.

Yovitchitch gave her a sterling silver cigarette case as a memento of their affair, which had been the subject of gossip around Salonika. King wrote to her father and sister frequently (see “One Woman at War” edited by Hazel King) and clearly enjoyed her job despite the danger and horror she witnessed.
She frequently travelled to the front, transporting men and recovering wounded. Her tireless efforts in evacuating civilians and medical stores during the burning of the mainly wooden town of Salonika in August 1917 earned her the Serbian Silver Medal for Bravery. (see right)

In 1918 her committed work for the Serbians earned her the Gold Medal for Zealous Conduct.

Before the war’s end, supported by over 10,000 pounds raised by her father in Sydney, she had established a string of Australian Serbian Canteens to help displaced Serbian families and soldiers. For this work King Alexander presented her with the Samaritan Cross and the Cross of the Order of St Sava. (see above left)

Back home after the war in 1923, Olive put her energy into the Girl Guides Association, becoming State Secretary and later Assistant State Commissioner (1932/42). She tried to enlist as a driver during the Second World War but was deemed too old. Instead she worked at the de Havilland Aircraft factory at Mascot between 1942 and 1944 as a quality examiner.

Olive Kelso King died in 1958.

Jessie Elizabeth Martin Kerr

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Campsie, Strilingshire

Jessie as a child was living at the family home in Lenzie, Scotland. Her Father George was a ship owner, clearly a man of some means.
In 1915 Jessie signed up to serve in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at the Hospital in Troyes, France. Her sister Margaret also joined at that time, electing to head to Serbia. Jessie joined as an orderly, a difficult job especially during times of fighting or in the aftermath of the battles. The Girton and Newnham Unit began its journey in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Troyes, a hospital under the command of the French War Office. The hospital with it tents was a source of fascination to the French but quickly gained a name for itself as hard working, efficient and highly skilled. Jessie’s time in the unit took her from France to Salonkia and up to Guevgueli, Serbia. The hospital at Guevgueli was part of group of French hospitals, that had hoped to from a base in the region. The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. Jessie we know returned home for a couple of months before heading back out to Salonika where she rejoined the unit. July, August and October of that year were demanding, The Serbs were attempting to fight there way back home and the hospital was full, many with head wounds, abdominal wounds and fractures requiring amputations. Very demanding conditions with the heat, malaria and long hours of heavy work. Their devotion to duty meant the mortality rate at the hospital was as low of any in region.
Jessie returned home in February 1917. She died in 1954 and is buried in the Auld Aisle Cemetery in Kirkintilloch.

Margaret Helen Kerr

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Campsie, Strilingshire

As a child Margaret lived at the family home in Lenzie, Scotland. She spent time living with other relatives in Fife and Drymen in Stirlingshire.

Margaret’s sister Jessie also served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly in France, Serbia and Salonika.
Margaret in April 1915 went to Serbia as a cook with Dr Alice Hutchinson unit, at Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell. Thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Unfortunately for Margaret they only were able to work at the hospital for six months. By September Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat. During mid-august the big guns had returned, this time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. In October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped, opening an emergency dressing station where 100′s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. Margaret effectively became a prisoner of war and spent close to three months under guard. Margaret rejoined the SWH in August 1916 electing to go to Lake Ostrovo in Macedonia Here the enemy was not the Austrians but their ally Bulgaria. Fighting took place in the Kamalchalan mountains and casualties had to be transported over rocky roads for two hours to Ostrovo, The hospital contained four surgical and one medical ward each containing forty beds. Fierce fighting by late 1916 meant that the hospital was very busy with the three surgeons, Anna Muncaster, Lilian Cooper and Sybil Lewis operating all day and in to the night. In his evocative painting Travoys with Wounded Soldiers at a Dressing Station at Smol Macedonia the artist Stanley Spencer who served with 68thField Ambulance unit in Macedonia gives a visual impression of a field hospital like Ostrovo. A journey of two hours from the battlefield was too long for many casualties so a casualty clearing station was established at Dobreveni, high in the mountains close to the front line. Margaret left the unit in the summer of 1917, returning home for some well needed rest. In 1918 again she she put her skills as a cook to to good use by joining the SWH at Creil, where a canteen was set up supporting the men during the final push. In June 1918 the canteen at Creil was bombed and the women were force to close the operation. Margaret died in 1957 and is buried in the same cemetery as her sister in Kirkintilloch. She was awarded a large collection of medals for her incredible service during the great war.

Agnes Kerr

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: Gloucestershire

Born in 1870 – Agnes Dorothy Kerr was born in Marston Sicca, Gloucester, England, daughter of Howard Kerr & Mary nee’ Kerr. The family had emigrated to NZ by 1886 and they settled in the Gate Pa district of Tauranga, BOP. Her father, Captain Howard Kerr, (Royal Navy) was born in 1833 in St Hellone, Jersey and died in 1914 aged 81yrs in Tauranga, New Zealand.
Apr 1890 – Nov 1893 – Agnes was a Certified Nurse – Wellington N.Z 1893 – 1895 -She nursed at the Palmerston North Hospital March 1895 – March 1896 – Agnes was working as a Private Nurse In 1896 – Agnes KERR left NZ and travelled to London where she joined King’s College, Reg # 2765 Register of Nurses – Royal British Nurses’ Assoc. (RBNA) – Agnes Kerr # 4/41 In 1901 – Agnes Kerr was a trained Nurse, living in Chislehurst, Kent, England In 1902 – Agnes became a registered Nurse having finished her training in Wellington. October 1915 – Agnes volunteers to join the war and sails to Egypt. From August 1916 to March 1919 – Nurse Kerr joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and serves in the America Unit. The American Unit (this hospital was funded chiefly by American donors and was so named as a thank you to them). The unit was moved 30 miles north of Salonika to Lake Ostrovo and supported the Serbian Army’s push back into her homeland. Also sent to Ostrovo was a Transport Column (this was an ambulance unit which allowed SWH to go a get casualties quickly rather than wait for casualties to be brought to them). The unit in 1918 moved up to Vranje, Serbia before eventually ending up in Belgrade.

Sister Agnes Dorothy KERR, later Matron of Burketown Hospital, Queensland, died in NSW, Australia, aged 81yrs

Margaret Kinnaird

Date of Bith: 3rd June 1890
Place of Birth: Banchory Devenick, Aberdeen

Margaret Warrender Kinnaird was the second child of Frank Kinnaird and Margaret Amelia Smith, both of Aberdeen.

As a young woman “Maggie” played in the Aberdeen Amateur String Orchestra. It’s known that in late 1912 and early 1913 she was working at the Sick Children’s Hospital in Aberdeen. On 1 June 1916 she completed three years of training at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and was certified as a nurse. At that time she was living with her family at Braefarm, Mannofield, Aberdeen.

Many years later, Margaret wrote: “Most of the nurses, as they finished [their training], joined the Territorial Nurses, and I was more or less expected to do the same, but the opportunity that gave me of being sent abroad was vague for me, as there were so many senior nurses eagerly awaiting their turn to be sent to the western front, so when I discovered there was an opening in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for trained nurses to go to Serbia, I immediately applied, was accepted, and in August 1916 a group, including nursing staff and transport section, set sail on a troop ship for Serbia where nurses were urgently needed.” She was with the London Unit under Elsie Inglis that embarked from Liverpool on 30 August 1916.

“We sailed the North Sea for ten days, much longer than the normal time for the same journey, but we had to avoid the coast on account of mines. After the first day most of us had found our sea legs, and we thoroughly enjoyed our voyage to Archangel, in the north of Russia. There we boarded a train and had a most wonderful journey from the north of Russia to Odessa in the south. This journey took another ten days, and during that time we had some wonderful and unique meals, including one in the Kremlin, during a 7-hour stopover in Moscow.” In Odessa she saw “a very beautiful Russian ballet five times” at the Opera House.

“On arriving in Odessa we were told we could not go on to Serbia, as that country had been completely taken by the enemy. After much negotiation between our chiefs and other officials, we were allowed to go to Romania, and there on the plains, close to the small town of Medgidia, we were given an empty barracks which, with much hard work, was soon converted into a hospital, and when all was ready and the doors opened for admission, dazed, weary, pitiful Russian troops came pouring in. Many of them just had a shower bath with plenty of hot water and soap, had their clothes deloused by fumigation, a good meal, and a good night’s sleep and were sent on their way, but quite a number became bed patients and were with us until we got orders to evacuate. These orders came within three weeks of our arrival in Medgidia. For several days we had been hearing a perpetual roar of cannons, and at nights we could see the flare of burning hamlets and villages as the Bulgarians came ruthlessly on their way.”

They left Medgidia on 22 October 1916. “This evacuation is a story in itself so I must pass it by. Eventually a small section of us landed in Galatz. Here for a short time we were billeted in an interned Austrian’s house. As food was very scarce there, as it was elsewhere, arrangements were made for us to go to a small Greek restaurant every afternoon and have at least one good meal a day. Here they served delicious food, and I soon discovered that my favourite order was pea soup, with plenty of crisp croutons, placed in a bowl on the table, and schnitzel, in other words, breaded veal cutlets with potato and vegetable.”

“One day we went along. I put in my usual order, but we were all aware of a tension everywhere. We had to wait an unusually long time before our meal was served. At long last our soup was being placed upon the table when who should step into the restaurant but our Chief in Command, Dr. Elsie Inglis, a small, sweet, kindly little Scottish woman, who had a will that could move mountains to do what she had set out to do. She said to us, ‘Sisters, I want you all to come with me. There is a truck at the door, and a barge waiting at the docks. You are going to Braila where there are 11,000 wounded soldiers waiting for you to care for.’ We were all very willing to go down the Danube to Braila, but we all seemed to think that would be after we had finished our meal, so most of us started eating again, but after a moment’s silence we heard a command, ‘Sisters,’ said the doctor, ‘is it more important to finish your meal, or to get on to that waiting barge?’ and with three claps of her hands she said, ‘Come at once.’ We had, once more, to forget our hunger and do our duty. We scrambled into the truck, were rushed to the docks, and just caught the barge before it set sail. Off we went down the Danube to Braila, and judging by the number of wounded and sick men we were assigned to care for, in an improvised hospital, I would say, at the least, 11,000 wounded had landed in Braila that day.” It was the end of October.

“We had a short stay in Braila. Very soon we had to move on again with the populace of Romania.” The unit went on to Tecuci where they “had a little hospital. We stayed here a little longer than at most places. It was pretty nice here while it lasted, but once more we had to move on – this time to Odessa in Russia” in early 1917.

While working there she witnessed “early demonstrations of the Revolution in Odessa. Mild demonstrations to what there was in Petrograd at the same time, but when we were on our way home several weeks later things were fairly quiet there. The Winter Palace was empty, we were shown the spot where Rasputin’s dead body was thrown into the River Neva. We visited at the small palace where the royal family was interned.”

“At long last we were on our way home – through Finland, Sweden, Norway. From there we crossed the North Sea and our boat landed in, of all places, Aberdeen” on 29 August 1917.

In November 1917 Margaret went to work at the Edinburgh War Hospital. “I was the night Sister of Ward 2 for quite awhile. Around 100 patients in the ward, and sometimes a tent for convalescent patients.”

In early 1920 Margaret traveled with her brother Jim to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to marry Frank Copland, another native of Aberdeen. She died in Burnaby, British Columbia, on 4 October 1969.

Judy Gibson

Many thanks to Judy for sending us this. All the more valuable as Judy was Margaret’ s granddaughter.

Anna George Kreil

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Kilwinning Ayrshire

Anna, joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an Orderly. She volunteered to work at Royaumont Abbey in France between 27th of July 1918-January 1919 The orderly’s were known as “the white caps” They were very much the backbone of the hospital carrying out heavy work including moving the stretchers from place to place. The mopping up of blood stained floors and beds. All the unpleasant tasks. And for no wage. Only travel, uniform and board and lodging were provided for. An impressive contribution and often overlooked.Some women joined because it was one of the few opportunities open to women to help the war effort; others saw it as a rare chance for adventure in a world that up to then offered women very few chances; and all shared, with varying degrees, the desire to improve the lot of women. Over half a million pounds was raised by every manner possible to fund the organisation and during the war years its estimated that at Royaumont eleven thousand patients lives were saved, nursed and helped by these extraordinary, courageous and talented women.

Mary Laird

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: Glasgow

The Lairds were well-known in Glasgow as master carpenters and owners of a sawmill. By the turn of the century, the joinery firm George Laird founded in 1857 employed nearly 100 men and boys. He had nine children; four of his sons entered the professions of architecture, engineering and medicine. Thomas trained as a doctor in Glasgow, and became a major in The Royal Army Medical Corps. Others remained at the helm of the company, and one of them, Matthew, was apprenticed as a joiner. Matthew spent several years with the Queen’s Own Yeomanry at the start of the century. At the outbreak of war, aged 39, he re-enlisted, and became an officer in the Lowland Division of The Royal Engineers. In June 1915, his unit landed at Gallipoli, where he was promoted to captain. Mary choose to play her part in the war by joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly. Mary served with the Girton and Newnham unit. From May 1915 she served with the Girton and Newnham Unit at a field hospital at Chateau of Chanteloup, Troyes, France. Mary with a group of 7 other orderly’s used the chateau attic for accommodation remarked ” The Doctors dubbed us Orderly row, though they said we rather belied our name occasionally, up there we became the fastest of friends. We could trust each other implicitly and look for help and sympathy and encouragement in our most disgruntled moods”. That autumn, the French Expeditionary Force asked the hospital to accompany them to Greece and on to a field hospital in Serbia. During the voyage, Mary and Matthew met by chance in Malta, where Matthew was recuperating from an illness. It was probably the last time they saw each other: Matthew was evacuated to Egypt at the start of 1916 and died fighting at Kantara on 23 April. Mary returned home in April 1916.

Photo, When an ex-patient returned to the hospital in Troyes, France, Mary Laird was caught by chance in the background, emerging from the open-sided hospital kitchen. Credit: University of Glasgow Archive.

Many thanks to Morag Cross, who researched this information and provided the story.

Mathilde Augusta Lilian Laloe

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Carmathen Wales

“Lilian” seems to have spent a fair amount of her youth moving from town to town. Her father Augustus Felix Laloe was a teacher and came from France. Lilian joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in January 1916. She joined the Girton and Newnham unit as a cook but quickly moved up the ranks to administrator. Lilian was described as hard working, a tough cookie but always full of fun. The roll of administrator was an important one, the hospital was located in Salonika, a hub of military hospitals and an important port during ww1. Malaria was one of biggest killers and tests but more often than not it was a day to day running of the hospital that caused the most problems. The location of the site was a constant niggle and when it rained the hospital was often flooded, personality’s clashed and fall outs common. The hospital due to the nature of war was often overstaffed and understaffed causing friction. In 1918 Lilian introduced a vegetable garden and farm yard, where they kept Pigs, Chickens and Geese, providing them with fresh food and work for when things were less busy. The hospital was moved up to Belgrade at the end of the war and Lilian went with them, returning home in February 1920. Lilian died in Bournemouth in 1956.

Jessie Clayton Lamb

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Brechin

Jessie was born and grew up in Brechin, Angus. Her father James was a Linen manufacturer and lived at 22 Latch rd Brechin. In 1901 she was working as a nurse at Dundee’s Royal Infirmary and lived at Barrack rd Dundee. September 1915 jessie took the decision to head to the front and joined the SWH as a nurse. She sailed to Salonika and by train reached the city of Kragujevac. The hospital at Kragujevac had been operational since early 1915 and had endured many awful days and weeks. Typhus, starvation, battle wounds and dysentery all contributed to the horrendous conditions the unit worked under. For Jessie at the time of her arriving the hospital was handling 400 cases a day, all emergency dressings. The Chief Commanding Officer for the unit was Dr Elsie Inglis. Elsie had come to Serbia in April 1915 and touched the lives of many Serbians whom she treated and developed a strong reputation in the country. In October 1915, the SWH units in Serbia including Jessie had to evacuate from several of their locations as German and Austrian soldiers advanced. After evacuating once, Dr. Inglis refused to evacuate a second time and proceeded to remain to care for her patients in Krushevatz. When the German troops arrived, Inglis, Jessie and several other women with the SWH who had chosen to remain with the patients were taken as Prisoners of War. The women were released and returned to London on February 29, 1916.
Jessie died in 1965 in her home town of Brechin .

Isa Andrews Larnoch

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Wick, Caithness

Isa grew up in the family home of Tolboth Lane Wick, her father Magnus was a railway porter. Isa joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s in July 1917 and went out to Royaumont Abbey near Paris. She served as a nurse. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France. The Abbey became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey. March 1918 was an especially difficult time with the Germans pushing into the Oise valley. The outcome was a huge number of injured men. Streams of badly bombed cases were brought to the hospital, amputations were a daily occurrence and Isa would have worked around the clock fighting to save as many lives as possible. May brought more fighting the attack on the Chemin des Dames ridge began and more working from dawn till dusk. Air raids were constant and often the women were forced to operate under candle light. While all around them the shells raining down. ” wounded came in all night.The ward next to the x-ray department was a nightmare. Black blankets on the beds. On each men were dying, screaming, unconscious and delirious, the sister doing there work as best they can by way of lanterns” Isa remained at the hospital until December 1918.

She joined the SWH again in January 1919 where she headed to Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. Isa nursed at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs.The hospitals was based at the used “Grand hotel Michollin” and operated from Feb1918-March 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis a huge problem in Serbia at the end of the war. Isa left the hospital in April 1919, she was awarded the British war medal, the victory medal and the French Red Cross medal.

Kate Latatche

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Liverpool

Kate Latarche.

Kate Latarche was born on 5 January 1888 in Liverpool, Lancashire, her father, Constant, was 29 and was a shipping clerk. Her mother Marie Catherine Chargois was aged 31. Kate went on to study dentistry in Liverpool. Although at least 8 women had become members of the BDA between 1895 and 1913, having qualified LDS in the colleges in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the RCS in England did not admit women to the LDS diploma examination until 1908, Lily Pain being the first woman to qualify LDS, RCS, Eng in 1913. In the same year Kate Latarche became the first woman to graduate BDS, having taken the LDS earlier the same year. The admission of women to the profession was disparaged with a chauvinism similar to that expressed at the same time in regard to dental degrees as “a new institution – very few are well qualified”. Nevertheless, their admission would increase the potential dental workforce.

In May 1918 Kate joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a dentist. She served in the Girton and Newnham unit and was stationed in Salonika. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Women’s_Hospitals_for_Foreign_Service In April of 1919 she returned home. In 1921 she married Arthur Ramsden and in 1923 they had a daughter. In the 1930’s she was in Argentina.
Kate Latarche died in December 1969 in Manchester, Lancashire, when she was 81 years old.

Constance Lees

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Staffordshire

Constance annie Lees was born in March 1887 in Chase Terrace,Lichfield, Staffordshire, her father, john worked in the local colliery. Her mother was Lavinia simkin.
In 1911 Constance Annie Lees was a working as a Hospital nurse and living at Blackmoor, Cannock Rd, Chase Terrace, Walsall.
Constance joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in May 1916 as a nurse. . She joined the Girton & Newnham Unit, so called after the enormous amount of funds generated and donated by the college.
Constance headed for Salonika where she joined her unit and the hospital which was entirely under canvas. At the time of joining, the hospital had up to 300 patients and due to a very hot summer that year a large amount of them were suffering form malaria and dysentery. Also during that summer Bulgaria was attacking and occupying parts of Macedonia. Although the heavy fighting would start in the autumn, fighting was underway and the wounded were brought to Salonika. The hospital mainly supported the Serb and French troops. . A huge hospital, one and a quarter miles long and had over 500 beds. The centre gained its name as it was supported and funded by the subscriptions from that city. A vast hospital with operating rooms and an X-ray room, a dental department, massage and mecano- therapy department, a pharmacy and a bacteriological laboratory were put in place. The hospital of course has a vast amount of storerooms, tents and huts for accommodation and workshops. There was even a small farm yard, effective when food was short or expensive. Constance spent the required six months in Salonika and returned home in November 1916.
She died in Sussex in 1946.

Clara Leighton

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Clara was born in Aberdeen in 1886, her father James was a church officer and held various jobs in the city. She came from a large family who all lived in the family home at 4 Esslemont Avenue.
By 1915 Clara was working as a nurse at Lochiel Auxiliary Hospital near Fort William. This was a hospital for the officers and based at Banavie. Prior to joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916 she was working in Glasgow, possibly at the Victoria Hospital as she shared a home with her brother Robert on Victoria road.
In June 1916 she headed to war offering her services as a nurse joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.After signing on Clara sailed to Greece where she joined the all female hospital at the busy port of Salonika, this would be Clara’s work place and home for the next year and a half. The unit was named the Girton and Newnham unit as the Cambridge women’s colleges funded the unit. The unit had previously been in Troyes in France and was entirely under canvas. The hospital at Salonika was huge and could easily cope with 500 patients. Wooden buildings were also erected to cope with waves of troops arriving particularly during the summers of 1916 and 1917. The winters in Salonika were freezing and it was common for the nurses to wake up in their tents with their hair stuck to the pillows, a contrast to the summers. Perhaps the most challenging time at Salonika was in the summer of 1916. Before the war there was no malaria in Salonika, the marshy areas up north had few travelers during that time and the mosquitoes where confined to the that area. War meant vast amounts of movement and malaria became endemic. The hospital endured around 8 deaths per week, however most of the other hospitals in Salonika were reporting huge causalities. The heat in the summer of 1916 was fierce and the strain on the troops and hospital staff was enormous, much of the hospital staff became ill and two of the sisters died. Clara herself became unwell with dyspnoea. In August the fighting began as the Serbian and French began pushing the Bulgarians back. The work load for the hospital was just unbearable, with most of the staff dragging themselves from day to day. During her time in Salonika Clara also witnessed and assisted in saving of lives in what was know as the great fire of Thessaloniki in August of 1917 when nearly a third of the city went up in flames.
Clara returned home in October 1917, she was ill suffering from Tuberculosis. Clara moved from sanatorium to sanatorium. In 1919 she was in The Hydro in Kilmalcom, 1920 she was at Bridge of Weir, 1922 she was in Newcastle before moving to The Isle of Wight and in 1923 Clara was being cared for at Linford sanatorium in Ringwood at the New Forrest. She was awarded an annuity of £50 from the Scottish Womens Hospitals in December 1917, this seems to have been paid to her until 1923. She was awarded the payment as on her return the Doctors confirmed that Clara would not be able to work again. Her brother Robert also helped her financially. We have found a Clara Leighton who died at the sanatorium in 1923 and one would assume that they are the same person. Clara is remembered on a plaque at York minster abbey.

Lilian Ida Lenton

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Leicester

‘Lillie’ Lenton was born in Leicester in 1891, the eldest of five children born to Isaac Lenton , a carpenter-joiner, and his wife Mahalah (née Bee) (1864–1920). On leaving school she trained to be a dancer, but, after hearing Emmeline Pankhurst speak, she ” … made up my mind that night that as soon as I was twenty-one and my own boss … I would volunteer”. On attaining that age, she joined the Women’s Social and Political Union, and with fellow members took part in a window-smashing campaign in March 1912. She was jailed for two months under the alias ‘Ida Inkley’.
During 1913-1914 Lillie was in and out of prison as she fought for the rights of women.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/suffragettes/8322.shtml?all=2&id=8322 Well worth a listen.

Lillie joined the SWH in 1918 as an Orderly. She served with the American Unit in Serbia until 1919. After the Russian Revolution she travelled in Russia with fellow Suffragette Nina Boyle.Lenton later worked in the British Embassy in Stockholm. She was a speaker for the Save the Children Fund, and from 1924 to 1933 was a speaker and travel organiser for the Women’s Freedom League, as well as the editor of the League’s ‘Bulletin’ for over 11 years. After working in Scotland in animal welfare Lenton became the financial secretary of the National Union of Women Teachers until 1953.

In 1970, as Treasurer of the Suffragette Fellowship, Lenton unveiled a memorial in Christchurch Gardens, Westminster, dedicated to all the women who had fought to get the vote.

Lilian Lenton died in 1972. She never married

Mary Crockatt Leuchars

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Dundee

Mary was raised in the family home outside Dundee, her father William was a farmer. She came from a large family and had 8 siblings. At the time of joining the Scottish Women;s Hospitals she was living at Longhaugh house, Dundee.

July 1915 Mary joined the SWH and went out to Serbia as an orderly. Three months after arriving at the hospital in Valjevo Mary’s war took a turn for the worse. By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigor. Serbia stood alone, out gunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Mary was forced to leave the hospital and with her unit headed down to Kruevac, a three day journey of over 100 miles in appalling conditions. Old men and women, young children and babies all caught in frozen wasteland. No shelter or food and the shells being dropped on them from above. Mary on arrival at Krusevac went straight to work and opened a dressing station in a couple of storehouses. Soon they were overflowing with casualties and soon after the voices of Austrian soldiers. Serbia had fallen. The women were now POW’s. In February the women were repatriated and by train were moved from Krusevac to Bludenz near the Swiss boarder for several weeks. Then on to Zurich, across France to Le Havre. By March they had docked at Southampton. An adventure but many of the women were heart broken at what had happened to the Serb’s. This was not the end of Mary’s war, in April 1916 she headed out to Corsica( pictured above) to continued her work as an orderly, again working with SWH and coming to the aid of the Serbs. She was transferred to Royaumont Abbey north of Paris and worked there until October 1916.
Mary after the war spent some time in Mozambique before returning to Old Glamis road in Dundee. She died in 1965, Mary never married.

Sybil Lonie Lewis

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Chester, England

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, and went out there in June under 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.

Helen Lillie

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Eday, Orkney Isles

In 1914 Helen qualified from Aberdeen University as a Doctor and was most distinguished winning the Gold Medal in Clinical Medicine. Working at Aberdeen’s Children’s Hospital and later on at Sheffield’s Royal Infirmary gave Helen the experience to go on to work with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Helen was a very experienced surgeon.
Dr Helen Lillie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 15th of May 1917 and headed to Salonika to join her Chief Medical Officer  Dr Bennett as her new assistant. Salonika was huge hub of troops, cargo and various hospital units. Helen had joined the American unit and was sent up to Lake Ostrovo a field hospital of around 200 tents and supported the Serbian troops who were fighting the Bulgarians. The hospital was always lively, with the fighting close by the wards were at times full to overflowing. Helen would have dealt with not only wounds and casualties but malaria and dysentery  Dr Bennett herself being sent home suffering badly from malaria.. Helen and the other 60 women were severely tested as the camp was often under attack from the air. Incredibly the women during these attacks would choose to work on, showing tremendous courage and fortitude. The fact they refused to go to the air raid shelters and instead carry on with the operations shows the great determination the women had to succeed whatever the cost.  Helen was described as “very likable, fond of walking(something she loved doing when not working) and a very good surgeon. 
In November 1917 she returned home but by February 1918 was back working with the SWH at Royaumont, France where Helen spent the next 10 months as an invaluable and hard working Doctor and surgeon.

I have added a link that goes into the family background. http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/bbs/activities/field%20bryology/FB97/FB97%20Lawley.pdf

Jean Marjorie Lindsay

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Adelaide australia

Jean’s mother Martha was an Australian and her father William Henry Lindsay was a farmer from Chirnside Berwickshire, how they met and married is unknown at this time. Jean was raised on mains farm Chirnside and was also working on the farm. She left the family home and moved Plenderguest Cottages Ayton Berwickshire. Jean in March 1916 elected to head to Royaumont Abbey near Paris, where she worked as an orderly. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Margaret volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform. Margaret went through some very tough times at the Abbey, including The Battle of the Somme, when she would have worked day and night carrying the wounded from ward to ward. Jean returned home in September 1916 but went back to Royaumont in 1918, again working as an orderly from March to September.

Photo above is of Plenderguest cottages Ayton.

Alexandrina Linton

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Alexandrina grew up in the family home in Edinburgh, her father John was a joiner. Alexandrina trained and qualified as a nurse at Oldham’s Royal Infirmary.
She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in November as a nurse in 1914, under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson took charge of the first SWH unit on the 1st of November 1914 at Calais, France. At that point the Belgian wounded were streaming in after heavy defeats at the hands of Germany. Shortly after typhoid broke out, on the 5th of December she wrote “During the first week here I felt I could hardly bear the sights in the ward, and that, in spite of the fact that i been through it all before. Fortunately there are few things one cannot get accustomed to”
With the epidemic at an end in March, Alice and her band of 15 doctors and nurses returned to the UK. They were only home for a short time when she would again team up with Dr Alice Hutchinson only this time heading to Valjevo in Serbia. Valjevo during that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses. The town had been occupied a few months earlier by the Austrians who left it in a filthy state and typhus rampaged its way through the town and neighboring villages. The first batch of patients were mixed medical and surgical cases. Soon Typhoid fever appeared and after that, ward after ward were full. By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac when they organized dressing hospitals they were eventually taken as prisoners of war. Alexandrina for her own reasons decided to leave her unit and join a party of Scottish Womens Hospital members making their way home by joining the Serbian retreat. The retreat as witnessed by Alexandrina and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 250,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Alexandrina with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley. There is still a monument at Mladenovac today and each year hundreds of people gather to pay their respects for the bravery shown by Nora and her unit.
In 1920 Alexandina was assistant matron at Wakefield Hospital and in 1960 she died back in her home city of Edinburgh.

Dorothy Littlejohn

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Born in 1878 in Edinburgh and lived at 24 Royal Circus Edinburgh.
Dorothy Littlejohn was a trained cook who had graduated from the Edinburgh College of Domestic Science when she decided to offer her services to the war effort.
The daughter of medical pioneer Sir Henry Littlejohn, the first Medical Officer for Health in Edinburgh, she didn’t share her father’s views on the value of women doctors and didn’t even approve of the suffragette movement – instead deciding to perform the more “womanly” duties of cooking for the hospital.
At 38, she was one of the oldest volunteers at the Abbey when she headed to Royaumont in 1914. After joining the contingent of Doctor’s , nurses orderly;s, etc at Edinburgh’s train station they headed down to Folkestone and over the channel to Boulogne, an eventful crossing due to storms. Dorothy worked in the large kitchens as a cook. A time of setbacks, equipment not arriving on time and not enough time to get the hospital ready led to the French Red Cross unable to pass the hospital ready to take patients. A huge blow and a massive disappointment to all the women that had worked around the clock. Dorothy decided it best for all concerned if she left after her six month contract was up. Dorothy was well liked among the orderly’s and was presented with a travelling clock. “to the hand that fed us, orderlies”

Dorothy Logan

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Dublin.

Dorothy Cochrane Logan

Dorothy was born in Dublin in 1888. She studied medicine in London and gained her MD in 1916. Dorothy joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in April 1918. For the next two months she worked as a Doctor at Royaumont Abbey, outside Paris. She had experience in Obstetrics and gynecology, which was standard for most of the women Doctors at that time. However Royaumont was not a good experience for Dorothy. Endless arguments with staff about the work, salary and various other grievances shortened her vocation at Royaumont. On June 1918 she was dismissed. After the war she became, president of the Travelling Medical Board of the Queen Mary Auxiliary Army Corps. In 1927 a bizarre story unfolded Dorothy Cochrane Logan, a harley street Doctor jumped into the water at Cape Gris Nez in France, aiming to swim the English Channel. Thirteen hours later she arrived at Folkestone, setting a new world record. Unfortunately, it turned out the swim had been a hoax: for most of her journey, she’d been on a boat. The News of the world had already paid her the £1000 reward money and poor Dorothy ended up in court. Fined for perjury she returned the bounty.

Dorothy died in New Zealand in 1961

Hilda Lockhart Lorimer

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Hilda Lockhart Lorimer, “Highland Hilda” (1873–1954), classical scholar, was born at 38 India Street, Edinburgh, on 30 May 1873, the eldest daughter of the Revd Robert Lorimer (1840–1925), minister of the Free Church of Scotland at Mains and Strathmartine, Forfarshire, and his wife, Isabella Lockhart Cornish Robertson (1849–1931). She was the second of eight children. She was educated at Dundee high school and, 1889–93, at University College, Dundee, earning a first-class BA (London).
She signed up as an orderly on the 4th of April 1917 and headed to Salonika where she joined the Girton and Newnham unit under Dr Anne McIlroy. The hospital was a large under canvas hospital and had been mainly used to support the Serbs and allied troops pushing back into Serbia. Most of the work at that time involved nursing malaria patients, Hilda remained in Salonika until September 1917 when she left the service.In 1920 she took her M.A. degree at Oxford, taught Homeric archaeology, and in 1922 she returned to Greece to work on the Mycenae excavations, and in 1931 she worked on the excavations at Aetos in Ithaca. In 1934 she excavated in Zakynthos and at Akroterion. Publishing widely, she died in 1954, “a brave spirit and one of the most learned and remarkable women of her generation.”

Caroline Victoria Lowe

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Caroline Lowe was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland to a middle class protestant family. Her father came from near Manchester and her mother was part of a Northern Irish Methodist family. She had 4 sisters and 1 brother.

Carrie(as she was known to the family) did her medical training in Belfast putting up with considerable prejudice from male medical students. She qualified in 1909 and worked initially in a hospital post in Dublin Children’s Hospital.

In 1910 she went to Mysore in India. Her sister Charlotte and brother in law Rev Ernest Redfern, a Methodist Missionary, had raised money to open a hospital. He died before the opening of the hospital, but it was named after him and still exists.

During the hospital’s Diamond Jubilee in 1966, Caroline sent comments about those years to ‘The Hindu’ newspaper, talking about starting off at night in a bullock cart and undertaking minor operations in a tent. This would have been good preparation for her later period with the SWH.

In 1916 she returned to the UK and undertook post graduate courses, before joining the Girton and Newnham Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital working in Salonika. A picture of her at that time (far left front row) is attached. She never talked about that period of her life, though she did have a Red Cross watch which was said to have come from her time in Salonika.

She returned to England in 1917 and worked in hospitals in East London, Sheffield and Newcastle with a period back in Belfast to taker her M.D. degree.

In 1921 she settled in Birkenhead, Merseyside, working as a GP in the area until she retired in 1959. She remained an active Methodist and shared her house with her mother, who had been widowed, until the latter’s death at the age of 90. She then shared the house with another sister Mary Harriet (known as Min), my grandmother. She had also married a Methodist Missionary, who had died in 1937.

Our family also shared her house when we were teenagers, (It was a big house). She was obviously well thought of as a local GP but I had no idea of her previous activities in India or Salonika until comparatively recently.

She died in 1981 after suffering from dementia for a number of years.

Margaret Lucas

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Hertfordshire, England

Margaret Priscilla Tindall Lucas
Born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire In 1880
Her father William He held the office of Justice of the Peace. Her mothers name was Frances Augusta Farmer.
In October 1914 she worked at the Cottage Hospital at Hitchin for Yorkshire Hussars. In May 1915 – Oct working at the B.R.C. Hospital Netley. From Oct 1915 to Sept.16 employed at the Cottonera Military Hospital Malta. And between March 1917 to March 1918 she was on the staff at Cosham Military Hospital Portsmouth.
In March 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. Eventually, after much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Margaret was employed as an orderly. With 600 bed Royaumont was the largest voluntary hospital in France, its remembered for the incredible endeavours during the battles of the Somme and the final push of 1818. Margaret left the service in September 1918.

She never married and died in Hertfordshire In 1954.

Hallide Jeanne Macartney

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: London

Hallide Jeanne Macartney

Born in London in 1885. Her father was Sir Halliday Macartney. He was born in Scotland. He was firstly a military surgeon who went on to become diplomat serving the Chinese government during the Qing dynasty. Her mother was Jeanne Agathe Julia Marie Du Sautoy( Lady Macartney).
Hallide came from a large family with six brother and one sister. She spent much of her early years living in London.
In February 1916, Hallide served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont Abbey in France. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals, under the direction of the French Red Cross. It was especially noted for its performance treating soldiers involved in the Battle of the Somme and the final push of 1918. As an orderly and serving between February 1916 – November 1916, Hallide would have been tested as the dying and wounded poured in to the abbey during the Battles of the Somme. The roll of the orderly was not an easy one. The heavy work of lifting patients. The mopping up of blood from the beds and floors, combined with constantly hauling of bundles of laundry up and down stairs, made life at Royaumont, physically demanding and mentally challenging.

After the war in the 1950’s she was living in Perthshire.
Hallide Jeanne Macartney died on 12 May 1960 when she was 74 years old. She was buried at Dundrennan Abbey near Kirkcudbright, in the family grave.(photo above)

Mona MacBean

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Nairn

Mona MacBean was born in 26/9/1884 in 7,Albert Street,Nairn.She was the daughter of Tea Merchant, Arthur and Lizzie MacDougall.Her parents had married in 1874 in East India.
1901 census shows that Mona was boarding at a Ladies School at 1,Ettrick Road,Edinburgh.
In 1916,after having served with the SWH,Mona married farmer James Logie MacDonald of Morayston,Petty,Inverness-shire.Mona,aged 31,was a Hospital nurse residing at “Burnside”,Aviemore and the wedding was held at the Cairngorms Hotel,Aviemore After banns according to the Free Church of Scotland.The couple went on to have a family of at least two sons.One,Ronald McDougall MacDonald was killed on 5/11/1944 while serving with the East African Artillery.
Unfortunately,Mona had died on 10/3/1939,aged 54, at 12 Randolph Cres;Edinburgh.Cause of death was given as Gallstones op.(4 days) and Auricular Fibrillation(10 years).Her usual address was Morayston,Petty,Inverness-shire and Informant of death was widower James Logie MacDonald.

November the 1st 1914, Mona joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and heads to Calais in France. By the 5th of December they were working at Dr Depage’s Hospital. Under the command of Dr Alice Hutchison and Dr Phillips with ten fully trained nurses of which Mona was one. The hospital was battling a typhus epidemic among the Belgian troops that were patients. The hospital had three months of incessant work until the fever was finally over. In July 1915 Mona went back to France, this time to Troyes with the Girton and Newnham unit. In May 1915 the French War Officer let it be known that it was happy to have a unit at Troyes. A 250 bed hospital and all under canvas. At first the hospital was a bit of a novelty with all the tents and female staff, but General de Torcy and General Tousseau were very supportive of the unit. Twenty beds to a large tent and all on wooden floors. The wards were lighten by electricity, with the operations being carried out in the large, light and airy Orangerie. By October the unit was ordered to head to Salonika by the French authorities. Mona sailed from Marseilles a voyage through the Mediterranean with a twist of danger, submarines and mines infested the waters. After a spell nursing at Guevgueli under very difficult circumstances due the Serbs being under attack and the entire Serb nation going into retreat, the unit was forced back to Salonika. Mona in April 1916 made her way home and settled into family life.

Barbara MacGregor

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Lerwick, Shetland.

Barbara MacGregor was born in Lerwick,Shetland Islands in 1889. She was youngest of seven children born to Edinburgh born solicitor,Alexander and Glasgow born mother,Grace. Barbara’s father died when she was 2 years old, and the family were living ,in 1891, at Braeside,Lerwick. Ten years later,the Census of 1901 show that the family have moved to Glasgow,where mother Grace and three of Barbara’s siblings are living in the Kelvin District at 150 Woodlands Road. Barbara however, wasn’t at home in Glasgow. She was boarding at John Watson’s Institution in Belford Road,Edinburgh. John Watson’s was a school established in Edinburgh in 1762 and the building is now the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. John Watson was an Edinburgh solicitor and Writer to the Signet,who left the residue of his estate for charitable purposes for children in the Edinburgh area. By 1911,Barbara was living in Glasgow at 122 York Drive,Hyndland .She was staying in her sister,Jane’s,house and, aged 22 was studying as a Medical Student. Barbara qualified as a Doctor of Medicine and went on to serve in the SWH. as a Doctor with the Girton and Newnham unit. In October 1915 she headed for Salonika. On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients. By the summer of 1916 malaria and dysentery rife in the region were putting enormous strains on the hospital and staff and Barbara wrote ” the hospital full with always 280-290 and even over 300 patients in it and never a minute stopped, the staff on duty scarcely able to drag on from day to day. Glory and honour and patriotism are fine words. but hopeless uphill work rather removes the glamour of such”. Many of the staff during that hot and difficult summer became ill and several of the nurses died, Barbara herself became seriously ill with malaria and was sent home. Barbara married Lecturer of Classics,John William Pirie at The Grand Hotel,Glasgow,After Banns of the United Free Church of Scotland.At the time of her marriage,Barbara’s address was Belvidere Hospital,Glasgow.

Angusine MacGregor

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Birmingham

Angusine Jeanne Macgregor

Born in Harborne, Birmingham in 1879. Her father Angus and mother Jeanne were both from Scotland. Angus was a commercial traveller. Angusine in the 1900’s was a student at Birminghams School of Art.
Angusine served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in corsica as a house keeper between 1917-1919. In December of 1915 the Scottish Women’s Hospitals opened a Serb refugee hospital on the island of Corsica. The CMO was Dr Blair and her sixteen women were the first but over the next few years others would follow. On Christmas day 1915 the Corsican unit, also known as the Manchester and District unit, began. And as 1915 came to a close hundreds of Serbian refugees poured in on a daily basis. Dr Blair remarked that ” they looked so desolate and forlorn though most put a brave face on it, that we all felt inclined to weep”. The main hospital was located in Ajaccio in a two storeyed building of Villa Miot. As the work load grew so did the hospital and tents were pitched in the gardens for open air treatments. A fever hospital was situated a few miles from the General hospital in Lazaet, a historic building that stood high, over looking the gulf. By this time nearly 3000 refugees and a few decimated regiments had arrived from Serbia. Also a band of a few hundred Serbian boys arrived for a few months recuperation. Thirty thousand boys set off on the Serbian retreat. Such were the conditions and horrors of that journey, that only 7000 made it to safety. Nearly 300 of these lads, after they were rested on the island, were sent on to schools in UK and France. Out- patients hospitals were opened in Chiavari some 20 miles from Ajaccio and St Antoine. The value of the work is indubitable and many a young life benefited from the units endeavours. 79 babies were born during the hospitals tenure, a reminder that life even in the darkest of times prevails. The hospital closed in April 1919.
Angusine Jeanne Macgregor, who after the war was an illustrator with the ladybird books. Little is known of her but she was clearly very gifted. Angusine never married and died on the 26 Feb 1961 at Parkfield Nursing Home, Birmingham.

Edith Mackay

Date of Bith: 1673
Place of Birth: Australia

MATRON, EDITH JANE MACKAY decorated for her services in the war but who never
discussed that part of her life. Goomeri and district were extremely fortunate to have had the services of such a
highly qualified, outstanding nurse for so many years. She will always be fondly remembered by the townsfolk.
This is an outstanding story.
Edith Jane Mackay was born in 1873 and passed away in 1959 in Byron Bay. Edith’s vocation in life was to
care for others. She did this by taking on a nursing career. Edith found herself in Great Britain at the time when
World War 1 hostilities broke out. In 1915, she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital Association and was sent
to Lourdes France to work for the French Red Cross. In 1917, Edith was sent to Corsica to nurse war veterans.
She became the Matron of a military hospital in Ajaccio Corsica from 2nd October 1917 to 27th September 1918.
Whilst she was in Corsica Edith became a very much-loved member of their community and was given a beautiful
Brooch by the town’s people. This gold brooch was a small stiletto with a coral handle which fits in its own
engraved gold sheath. Many years later, this brooch would be passed onto a person who had become very special
in Edith’s life during her time at Goomeri. Edith would forever be considered a second Mother to that little girl.
Edith then moved on to the Balkans and she was in Serbia in 1919 where she received the Serbian Medal for
Zeal and later performed relief work during the Russian famine. Edith also nursed in England and Belgium during
her time over there.
Below is an extract written by Sister Edith Mackay from a book that was published about Serbia and the
atrocious conditions for its people and its devoted nursing staff during and after the end of World War 1. This time
was extremely difficult and a strong sense of compassion and the need to help others was the driving force for this
extraordinary woman.
Australian Nurse Edith Mackay described the sad situation she witnessed at a Serbian Hospital. “all day
long sick, illfed and scantily clad Serbs flock around the little dispensary. Tottering old men, weather worn pale
and harassed looking women, sick children in their arms. The day’s work commenced at sunrise and ended
sometimes long after sunset. People came long distances mostly on foot for treating and medicine and dressings
for malaria, typhus, typhoid, influenza, diseases, accidents, dog bite etc.”
Eventually Edith returned to Australia and ended her nursing career in Goomeri. She opened up a private
hospital around 1926 on the outskirts of town on the Murgon Road. This was called ‘Stirling Hospital. In 1930 she
moved into another house in Hodge Street. It would seem she named her hospitals ‘Stirling Hospital’ after her
very good friend Alice Mary Stirling. They nursed together in all forms of the war throughout Europe. Sadly, Alice
passed away in London on 25th April 1925. She was the Daughter of Sir Edward and Lady Stirling of Mount Lofty,
South Australia. They would have spent some horrendous times together but as we know the 2 Australian ladies
would have put their shoulders to the wheel (so to speak) and got on with the job.
Alisa Stanton (nee Perrett) was delivered by Matron Mackay and Dr Underwood in 1930 and spent the first 12
years of her life between her home (next door to the hospital) and the Goomeri Stirling Hospital. Matron Mackay
was to be known to Alisa as ‘Grandpa’ for the rest of her life. Later on, this would become embarrassing for Edith
when she retired and received telegrams on Mother’s Day from Alisa addressed to’Grandpa’. Everyone down
Byron Bay thought she was a single lady. They thought the addresses should have been Grandma. I bet that set
the tongues a wagging.
Below are some recollections of Matron Mackay written by Ailsa Stanton.
Matron Edith Mackay was a devout, humane lady who lived her Christianity daily with all she met, particularly
those in need of tender nursing care.
Although Grandpa employed nursing staff and domestic/maintenance help from time to time she always liked
to do her own cooking. The wood stove not only cooked the meals but provided warmth in so many ways. Much
of the ceiling was lined with timber and rope clothes lines were worked by pulleys. Here the damp clothes dried
and the babies’ clothes were kept warm. No baby ever had a cold nappy. To bath the babies, “Grandpa” would sit
on a wooden stool with a dish of warm water on another stool and a warm, soft towel across her lap. Each babe
would be undressed on her knee, bathed and fondled in the warm water, then returned to her knee for drying and
dressing. She called the babies ‘Gifts from Heaven’.
An example of her dedication is the case of the poor mother who lived with several children in a hessian shack
about a mile out of town. She gave birth to twins, one of which died at birth. The other was so small, ‘Grandpa’
rolled her in cotton wool, put a bootee on her head and placed her in one of her pie dishes. This was her bed till
she was big enough to move to a cot and eventually she grew to a normal child and returned home to her mother.
This lady has the pie dish to this day. Such was the dedication and wonderful ability of a lady who said all babies
were gifts from God to be cared for, treasured and loved.
Not only were babies delivered in this hospital, but broken limbs were repaired, some minor surgery performed
and any general nursing care carried out.27
Tales of the generosity and compassion of this woman are many. Ability to pay was never a consideration when
people needed care. No one in need of medical attention was ever refused admittance. All were treated the same.
I was reminded recently by one of ‘Grandpa’s’ many patients, of my sitting under some patient’s bed signing
‘When it’s Springtime in the Rockies’. We were ahead of the rest of the medical fraternity providing piped music
from under the beds.
Such was her dedication, that working alone as she mostly did, ‘Grandpa’ would sit all night in a chair beside
any patient for whom she held concern, ready to comfort them and attend to their needs.’Grandpa’ would tell me of
her nursing experiences overseas and how in Russia, for her own protection, she wore a pistol on her belt twentyfour
hours a day.
Here was a lady who had been decorated for her services in the war but who never discussed that part of
her life. She obviously felt she needed to leave those times behind her and start afresh in a small town that
desperately needed a hospital and a Matron who wanted to devote her life to a new community.
In 1942, Matron Mackay retired to Byron Bay so she could be closer to her Family. It was during the packing
process Ailsa found a war medal. When asked, Edith admitted being decorated in the war but had never sought
recognition of this in her life in Goomeri and chose not to go into any details. Her time of leaving coincided with
Ailsa leaving Goomeri to go to Boarding School.
The people of Goomeri and district were extremely fortunate to have had the services of such a highly qualified,
outstanding nurse for so many years. She will always be fondly remembered by the townsfolk.
I, on the other hand, feel privileged that this gentle lady found time in the business of running a hospital and
caring for so many sick people, to share her life with me, showering me with so muich love and devotion.
Doris Harris also has many fond memories of working for Matron Mackay. Doris said “once there were 14
patients and some had to be nursed out on the verandah. At night, Matron would have to rig up a towel up over
the heads of the patients so they didn’t wake up drenched from the condensation of the verandah roofing iron.
Doris said Matron was a ‘stickler’ for cleanliness and hygiene and she had to scrub the many steps (at lest 20) at
the back of the hospital every 2 days. Clearly here was a woman who left a profound impression on those she
came into contact with.
Sadly, Matron Edith Jane Mackay passed away in 1959 and is at rest in the Byron Bay Cemetery.
When Edith passed way, Ailsa was given the beautiful Stiletto Brooch she had received in Corsica. This takes
pride of place in Ailsa’s home.
Ailsa Stanton (nee Perrett)

Mary MacKenzie

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Lochinver

Mary was born on 9 January 1885, in Baddidarroch Lochinver

On the 1st of march 1915 Mary joined the Scottish women s hospitals as a nurse and was posted to Mladenovac in Serbia, her CMO for the unit was Dr Beatrice Macgregor , its was however a thankless task with Serbia on the retreat the men were pouring in, mainly suffering from exhaustion. Col Getitch of the serb army wrote of the unit saying” the SWH unit at Mladenovac were always first in the field ,first when the war broke out and first when the bombs fell” On the 8th of October Belgrade fell, Mladenovac had to be evacuated and the hospital moved for a short time to Kraguievac Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Mary and her group of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000’s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Mary after returning home for a short period,then joins the SWH in December 1916, she joins the same unit as her sister Florence. The Girton and Newnham unit by 1916 was situated at Salonika. The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed. Mary worked with the unit until the 1st of May 1919.

Florence Annie Mackenzie

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Baddidarroch, Assynt

Florence (registered at Birth Flora Anne) was born 22 September 1888, in Baddidarroch, Assynt presumably in the family house at Glendarroch.In the 1911 Census Flora Mackenzie is shown as being a Hospital Nurse, age 22, born Lochinver, Sutherland, fluent in Gaelic and English. This was recorded in the Enumeration Book of Ruchill, City of Glasgow, Fever Hospital.

Florence joined the Scottish women s hospitals as a nurses on 4th of June 1915 and went to work for the Girton and Newnham unit, Her first post as a nurse was in Troyes France in the Champagne district. The hospital was a building know as chateau chantalops ( now a home for the disabled ), the unit was working on behalf of the French War Office and was around 30 miles from the front line. By October the unit was requested to move to Salonika in Greece, they sailed from Marseilles and were forced to land in Malta due to the activity of German submarines in the waters at that time. During their stay in Malta they set up camp and tended the men returning from gallipoli. The unit went on to Salonika and after a few weeks went on to the hospital in guevgueli, , just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese.

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed..With the Serbian army on retreat the hospital was moved back down to Salonika, Florence worked there until march 1919, although we know she came home for some rest. She also worked with her sister Mary during 1916-1919. After the hospital was decommissioned at Salonika, the unit was then sent to Belgrade in Serbia to help the Serbs set up there own hospitals, Florence was one the very last nurses to leave Belgrade. In June 1920 she was still in Serbia working. One of the very last women to serve in Serbia with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.
Florence and Mary died in 1970

Myra MacKenzie

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: Perthshire

Myra MacKenzie was born in 1876 at Auchtergaven, Bankfoot, Perthshire. Her father William was a Linen manufacturer. In 1881 Myra was living at the family home on Dunkeld Road, Bankfoot, Perth with her sisters Charlotte and Sheila and her mother Miriam. By 1901 the family had moved to Aberdeen and were residing in Castle Terrace. Myra by the age of 24 had became the first women to qualify as a Doctor at Aberdeen University and was awarded the position in The Royal Aberdeen Hospital for Sick Children. In July 1901 Myra was appointed House Surgeon of the Sick Children’s Hospital in Sheffield. In 1911 Myra was working as a School Medical Inspector on Princess Road, Hartshill, Stoke on Trent, she was living with her mother at the time. She moved home by 1917 and was living at Whitecliff, Rowley Park Stafford. In 1918 she moved to London to stay with her mother and in late February joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital as Assistant Medical Officer.

Myra joined the American Unit at Ostrovo, a Field Hospital set up in1916. The unit of 200 tents situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia, was under the command of the Serbian Army. The unit got its name as donations came pouring in from America, mainly due to the work of Kathleen Burke. At Ostrovo the enemy was not the Austrians but their ally Bulgaria. Myra would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight. The hospital which was under canvas was also frequently under attack from bombings. On 30 September 1918 the unit received news of the armistice with Bulgaria and on the morning of 23 October the unit started for northern Serbia with a convoy of nine vehicles on a 311 kilometre trek. How excited the 52 members of the unit must have felt, pushing back into Serbia with the soldiers and people they were all so clearly fond of. All the staff made the trip and the unit set up in an abandoned army barracks in Vranja. On two separate occasions Myra and the rest on the unit slept out in the open.
At Vranje Myra worked under the command of Dr Isobel Emslie, they were always on great terms, had a huge respect for each other and were the best of friends. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks and packed with hundreds of patients with a whole manner of appalling conditions, pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one women’s account of the children ” the injuries are terrible, we have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds”
Cold weather came to Vranje and with it typhus, Nurse Agnes Earl of Cumnock by this time was the sister in charge and had being doing a fantastic job and the death rates were very low. However while dressing a gangrenous limb she got a scratch which turned septic and two days later she was dead. Myra was well known to work all hours and also took the time to assist local people when she could by spending an hour per day treating the children. Myra also was involved in providing medical aid to the Austrian and Bulgarian prisoners of war. This work was important as in the winter of 1918 Typhus returned to Serbia. Prevention was really the only way to help control this awful curse on the Serbian people. On entering the hospital the men were stripped, clothes boiled, all body hair removed and scrubbed. By early 1919 to the summer of 1919 the unit were beginning to get all the various problems at Vranje under control. Dr Isobel Emslie and Myra both felt more work was needed at the hospital but the committee decided to close the hospital in September and move the unit to Belgrade to work along side the Girton and Newnham unit at the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital. Relationships were strained and as war was over the women felt their salary’s were in need of improvement. In December 1919 Myra returned home to live with her mother at 27 Hampstead Hill Gardens in London. Myra returned to Belgrade just a month after returning home, however in April the Elsie Ingis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade was closed. I am certain Myra traveled to the Crimea with Dr Isobel Hutton and would have helped identify the graves of the SWH members who died in Serbia. Myra in 1920 was working for the British Relief Committee in Sebbastopol in the Crimea. And in July 1920 was working in Constantinople. Dr Myra Mackenzie died in Willesden, Middlesex in 1957. Myra was awarded the Serbian Royal Red Cross 1st Degree.

Dr Myra MacKenzie is in the photo above.

Edith Mabel Mackenzie

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Fort William

LHB8/12/8 – Courtesy of Lothian Health Services Archive.

Born in March 1888 Edith’s father Nigel Banks Mackenzie, a banker & Solicitor originally from the island of St kilda They lived at Bank House in Cameron Square which used to be the British Linen Company Bank and manager’s house combined. Still extant, it is now home to the West Highland Museum collection; there are several good images online. Nigel B Mackenzie was, without a doubt, one of the most influential men in Fort William. Edith joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916 as a driver, Edith in fact took charge of the kitchen truck. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. Edith in December returned home with 4 other drivers and she had been unwell. Sadly for Edith in the 1930’s thing took a dramatic turn for the worse when she was confined in the Royal Asylum in Montrose. Poor Edith would remain there until she died in 1942. A doleful end to what had started as a bright, spirited and adventurous life.

Geraldine Mackenzie

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: London

Geraldine Mackenzie

Geraldine was born in London in 1887. Her father George Mackenzie was a captain in the army.

Geraldine served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals an Orderly. From April 1916- May 1917, Geraldine worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. In 1914 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital. Operated by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Geraldine wrote a poem dedicated to the orderlies at Royaumont. It can be found in the book “The Women of Royaumont”.
After the war Geraldine married, but she was tragically killed in a road accident in Switzerland in 1923.

Florence Margaret MacLeod

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Durham

Florence Margaret MacLeod b c1885 in North Shields,Co.Durham. We also know Florence was educated at Edinburgh’s St George School for Girls. Florence was daughter of Scottish father Alexander(Boiler- maker Foreman)and South Shields born mother Mary.1901 and 1911 Census Returns show that Florence and her family were living in Hartlepool,Co Durham.1911 Census informs us that Florence’s occupation was School Teacher.

In December 1914, a small group of young women were photographed in Edinburgh before leaving for Serbia. They smile shyly, dressed from head to toe in grey: grey skirts to their ankles, grey capes, grey jackets with tartan facings and grey hats. Amongst them were four doctors, 10 nurses, a matron, several orderlies, and a clerk. They were leaving for this beleaguered country under the auspices of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, an organisation with strong links to the suffrage movement, formed only two months previously. Little did they know the sort of conditions they would soon face or the fact that three of their unit would not survive the epidemics that were then raging across Serbia.

The Chief Medical Officer of the first Serbian unit was Dr Eleanor Soltau,
Eleanor with her unit of 40, boarded the ship at Southampton on the 1st of December 1914 and headed for Serbia via Salonika. At the time of crossing the mission looked bleak as large parts of Serbia including Belgrade had fallen into enemy hands. But on arrival at Salonika they were greeted and uplifted by the tremendous news that Serbia had been victorious in the battle of the ridges and despite heavy losses and an epidemic of typhus had pushed the Austrian/Hungarian troops out of Serbia, the first allied victory in WW1.

At Salonika the units orders were to en-train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The unit arrived on the 6th of January and was geared for a 100 beds but immediately had to admit 250 patients and soon after 650. Florence and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospitals. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus, Eleanor wired to HQ for more nurses,” dire need for more fever nurses” unable to use the word typhus, the Serbs not wanting her enemy’s to know the fragile condition it was in. Elsie Inglis got the message and dispatched 10 more nurses.In march, sadly three nurses, Jordan, Minshull and Fraser all died in consecutive weeks during March

Florence joined the SWH as an orderly on the 1st of December 1914 although she returned in June 1915 her six months working in Serbia at that time were without question the worst of times.

Norah Miller Macnaughton

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Pitlochry

Norah Miller Macnaughton was born on December 14 1885 in Pitlochry to James Macnaughton and Martha Eliza Dunlop. She was a cousin of Edith Macnaughton. James Macnaughton and Alexander Macnaughton were brothers. They were the founders and operators of A&J Macnaughton – a tweed manufacturers and woollen mill – in Pitlochry. This company is extant but no longer based in Pitlochry. The shop named for them is still in Pitlochry but no longer in family ownership.

Norah on the 29th of April 1916 joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly at Royaumont abbey, near Paris, France. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey.
Without question their most testing time came in July 1916. For anyone connected with the Battle of the Somme these were horrendous, dangerous and difficult days. The women of Royaumont proved time and time again that they had the metle and expertise to face all the horrors of this war. Norah left the hospital and service in September 1916. She had served the minimal six months required under very difficult circumstances.
Norah died on September 15 1982 in Edinburgh. She never married.

Edith Macnaughton

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Pitlochry

Edith Mabel Macnaughton was born on December 4 1891 in Pitlochry to Alexander Macnaughton and Georgina Agnes Laird. Alexander Macnaughton and James Macnaughton were brothers. They were the founders and operators of A&J Macnaughton – a tweed manufacturers and woollen mill – in Pitlochry. This company is extant but no longer based in Pitlochry. The shop named for them is still in Pitlochry but no longer in family ownership.

Edith joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in December 1915. Working as on orderly at Royaumont Abbey, near Paris. Edith served at the hospital for a full year leaving in December 1916. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Edith volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform. They worked until exhausted, sleeping was a luxury, often the women became sick from all the endless hours of contentiousness work. The Abbey was massively involved in the saving of lives during the offensives of 1915, the Somme battles of 1916 and the final push of 1918.
Edith after the War married Leslie Charles John Crowther (1887 – 1936) in 1919 in London. There were two children : Elise Margaret Crowther (1922 – 1999) and Kathleen Edith Crowther (born 1927).
She died on August 25 1983 in Edinburgh.

Isobel MacPhail

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Coatbridge, Lanarkshire

Isobel was born in 1889 in Coatbridge Lanarkshire, her father was the local Doctor. Isobel lived at the family home in Calder Avenue Coatbridge with her 3 sisters, Janet, Annie and Katherine. Katherine was a Doctor in the SWH.
Isobel studied modern Languages at Glasgow University between 1907-1910. She took a nursing course in 1915. On the 15th of May 1915 Isobel joined the Scottish Women’s hospitals at Troyes in France as on orderly.
The hospital was sponsored by the Girton and Newnham school for girls and the unit was therefore named The Girton and Newnham Unit. The Chief Medical officers for the unit were Dr Louise Mcllroy of Northern Ireland and Dr Laura Sandeman from Aberdeen and staffed with around 40 other women who worked as Nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.
The hospital was stationed in the grounds at Chanteloup. 250 beds were erected under large marques and by June they were full.
By October 1915 the unit was invited to join The French Expeditionary Force in Salonika and they accepted as the hospital at that time had been quiet for a few months. In late October they sailed from Marseilles to Salonika where the unit worked in a 1000 bed hospital for a large part of the war. Isobel left her unit for a short time to work in North Africa. By late 1916 she was back in Salonika working with the SWH and continued working with her unit until April 1917. She joined her sister Katherine in Salonika and worked alone side her until 1918. In 1919 she was working in Vranje in Serbia and again joined her sister in Belgrade. After the war she married and lived in China, her husband Edward Nathan being the manager of a mining company. During ww2 her husband was interned by Japanese and Isobel and her daughters managed to escape to Nova Scotia, Canada. She was reunited with her husband after the war and settled in England. Isobel died in 1955 in Gloucestershire.

Katherine Stewart MacPhail

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Coatbridge, Lanarkshire

Katherine was born in 1887 in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, her father was the local Doctor. The family were originally from the Isle of Mull, Katherine was related to the “bard of Mull”. Katherine lived at the family home in Calder Avenue Coatbridge with her 3 sisters, Janet, Annie and Isobel.
Sister Isobel also served in the SWH in France and Salonika.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Katherine studied medicine at Glasgow University and qualified in 1911. She joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals on the 12th of December 1914 and as Doctor and headed to Serbia, working in the hospital at Kraguevac. Katherine left the hospital in June 1914 feeling that she was in need of new challenges. During ww1 she also worked as a Doctor in Corsica, France and at Salonika. Toward’s the end of ww1 she returned to Serbia in order to organise medical care for poor children suffering tuberculosis, which was a serious medical and social problem at that time. Developing a hospital firstly in Belgrade then moving to the village Sremska Kamenica near Novi Sad. The hospital was huge success and Katherine spent most of her life dedicated to the hospital. Only leaving when the Germans occupied Serbia during WW2 and in 1949 when the communist’s came to power. She was awarded an OBE in 1928. Katherine retired to St Andrews and lived with her sister Annie. She died in 1974 and is buried at the Western cemetery, St Andrews.
A remarkable lady and you can read more her in the book Ever Yours Sincerely by Zelimir Dj. Mikic

Alexandrina Matilda MacPhail

Date of Bith: 1860
Place of Birth: isle of skye

Daughter of John Sinclair MacPhail, a Free Church Minister, and Janet Reid Finlayson who married in Elgin in 1853. Alexandrina was born in Sleat on the Isle Of Skye. She studied medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women in London and successfully graduated (1887) before leaving England travelling to Madras in India. At Madras MacPhail established a medical dispensary to service poor women and children, and established a small hospital within her bungalow. This was eventually replaced by the fully functional Christina Rainy Hospital (1914). During WW I she served as chief medical officer She studied medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women in London and successfully graduated (1887) before leaving England travelling to Madras in India. At Madras MacPhail established a medical dispensary to service poor women and children, and established a small hospital within her bungalow. This was eventually replaced by the fully functional Christina Rainy Hospital (1914). During WW I she served as chief medical officer She studied medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women in London and successfully graduated (1887) before leaving England travelling to Madras in India. At Madras MacPhail established a medical dispensary to service poor women and children, and established a small hospital within her bungalow. This was eventually replaced by the fully functional Christina Rainy Hospital (1914). During WW I she served as chief medical officer at Ajaccio, Corsica between 02-Aug-1 and 26-Nov-17 aiding the Serbian refugees from their retreat and again at Sallanches in France between 1-Feb-18 and 1-Nov-1 with a unit sent to assist young Serbian boys suffering from TB. After the war she returned to India where she kept in touch with some of the Serbia boys she attended in France. Also in India she worked along side a number of other SWH personnel. Much the medical work at the Rainy Hospital in India was pioneered by Dr. Alexandrina Macphail, between 1888 and 1928, who established an institution primarily to provide medical care to women and children.In.In recognition of her valuable work MacPhail was elected to the OBE (Order of the British Empire) by King George V (1930). Dr Alexandrina Macphail died in 1946.

Jessie MacPherson

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Greenock

Jean (Jessie) Blackwood Hannah MacPherson was a younger sister of Elizabeth. She was born c1885 in Greenock. She was a member of the Voluntary Aid Detachment Corps; Sub Unit of British Red Cross and St John Ambulance. Jean was entitled to the British War Medal and Victory Medal. She served as a cook at Royaumont Abbey with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals from 1915-1917. A tough roll being a cook at Royaumont, at its peak the hospital was home to 600 patients and could easily require meals for 700 people per day with staff, patients and visitors. In 1918 i have Jessie working at Borchiested School for Girls, presumably as a cook.

Elizabeth, Forbes MacPherson

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Greenock

Elizabeth (Betty) Forbes MacPherson was born c1884 in Greenock.She was the daughter of Largs born father John MacPherson and Girvan born mother,Jessie.John was a Minister.
1891 Census show the family living at 46,Margaret Street,Greenock.
1901 Census shows Elizabeth,aged 17,living with her grandmother MacPherson at 468,Great Western Road,Partick .
Elizabeth married Charles McIntosh Bruce in 1925 at Greenock.

Betty joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in May 1916 as an Orderly and Storekeeper. Betty spent the entire war working at Royaumont Abbey near Paris, leaving right at the end of the hospital in February 1919. Betty was an Art Student before the war and with her co worker Dorothy Morgan dashed from place to place, bringing supplies to where they were needed. Like Dorothy she spent her spare time drawing and love to show the men and staff there sketches. Bettys sister Jean was one of the cooks at the Abbey. After the war Elizabeth married Charles McIntosh Bruce in 1925 at Greenock.

Grace,Maria, Linton MacRae

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: Gloucestershire

The following is her obituary from the BMJ, written by one of her grandsons who followed her into medicine.

‘Grace MacRae, who died in her 100th year, was one of the last of a remarkable generation of women doctors.

Initially a teacher in Colchester, she wanted to be near her brother Christopher who was in the trenches during WW1. The British Army didn’t let female nurses near the front, so she joined the Scottish Womens Hospital, which served under The French flag, and was an orderly at Royaumont field hospital between December 1917 and August 1918. She remembered the different nationalities by how heavy they were to carry on stretchers and how polite they were (the Germans scored lowly on both counts).

She then qualified as a Doctor at the Royal Free, and started along the conventional path to senior hospital posts in Britain, but her adventurous spirit led her to accept the job of setting up the first maternity hospital and nurses’ training school in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) at Korle Bu. She rememebered how going out to the villages and talking to the witch doctors so they’d bring in the young women with complications was the only way to get it going.

She overcame enormous difficulties to achieve this, and her work laid the foundations for Ghana’s current -obstetric services. She aimed to provide training for her staff the equal of any in the world. She also undertook research into anaemia of pregnancy in Africa, which was both early and valuable, as well as research into malaria and other diseases of the tropics.

She remained in Ghana with her husband Alastair, a senior surgeon who she met and married out there, until the second world war. On returning to Gloucestershire where her aging parents lived, she took on general practice.

After the war she remained in Gloucestershire and continued to work in child health. Her conviction that housing was vital to health led her to become an independent district councillor, and she gave her enormous energies to many medical organisations.

She remained active and lived independently throughout her old age, retiring as president of the local cancer research campaign at 90 and visiting hospitals in Nigeria at 98.

Source: Obituary in the BMJ

Janet Annie Macvea

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Whithorn, Wigtown

Janet Annie Macvea grew up in the village of Whithorn in the royal burgh in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, about ten miles south of Wigtown. Her father Antony was the chemist in the village and her mother Eliza was a music teacher. Janet studied medicine at Glasgow University and by 1906 she had qualified(MB ChB). In March 1915 she joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals as surgeon and headed to the front in Serbia. Janet firstly went to Kragujievac to help with the typhus epidemic. Serbia was being swept away with by disease, famine and thousands of wounded soldiers. All manner of human suffering was imposed on this stoic nation. The impact these hospitals had on Serbia was magnificent. They not only saved lives but brought hope to a beleaguered people. Janet was in charge of the typhus hospital no 6 in Kragujievac, a 200 bed unit on the outskirts of the town in the old army barracks. Always overcrowded and she would have spend days working around the clock. In June she moved north to Mladenovac, the hospital their was under the command of Dr Beatrice McGregor. The hospital was doing a quite fantastic job supporting the Serbs. Then in October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Janet and the band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured out of the country, all desperate to escape the invading forces. Well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Dr McGregor, Janet and the others made it back to the UK on the 23rd of December. They too had suffered as nurse Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.

Janet continued with her medicine after the war as a Medical Practitioner in the town of Ayr, where she died in 1962.

Bertha Louisa Madan

Date of Bith: 1896
Place of Birth: England

Bertha Louisa Madan was born in Didsbury,England in 1896, her father, Charles, was 35 and her mother, Bertha, was 30.

Bertha joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1915. She joined the existing unit in Kragujevac, Serbia. She was employed as a driver and was often responsible for chauffeuring Dr Elsie Inglis from town to town. Bertha joined the unit just a few months before all the hospitals were forced to move south. Belgrade fell and by the 17th of October the unit was ordered to evacuate. On to krusevac they marched, but by mid November the Austrians had caught up with them. They were at that first treated well, but soon forced into accommodated that was run down, filthy and cold. The hospital was know as the Zoo on account of the men being packed in row after row and piled 3 high. The conditions were awful, men streamed in hour after hour, exhausted, starving and worse. They had lost all hope.
Relations with their captors at this point started to breakdown and Bertha with the other 31 members of the unit were repatriated by train after 3 months of working in extreme conditions.
On the 12 th of February 1916 the women were greeted by cheering crowds but for most of these stoic women all their thoughts were of the Serbs they left behind.

After the war, She married Gilbert Edward Mould, MRCS, LRCP of Thundercliffe Grange, Kimberwortth, near Rotherham, Yorks at St Joseph’s, Wath on Dearn in 1925. Bertha Louisa Madan died in June 1956 in North Walsham, Norfolk, when she was 59 years old.

Mary Emily Maguire

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: County Antrim

April 1869 Mary Emily Maguire was born to Edward Maguire and Mary KENAGHAN. The birth was registered in Bushmills, Co. Antrim. The parents were married on 9 Nov 1865 in Knockbreda Church of Ireland. Like many of the women, spending a huge amount of time on one case is not really practical, tends be be the case that as the time rolls by more information comes to light. Mary Emily Magurie’s story has more more questions than answers.

Known by her middle name Emily, she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as on orderly and headed to Valjevo, Serbia. In April 1915 Dr Alice Hutchinson, Emily’s CMO took charge of the second Serbian unit and on the 21st of April 1915 Alice and her unit which included 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia. Emily joined the party later and went out in July 1915, she would have taken the same route, albeit more direct. The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac where they organized dressing hospitals. They were eventually taken as prisoners of war, Alice was continually harassing her Austrian officials and with 32 other women were sent out of Serbia to a camp in Hungary. Over the next two months Alice badgered and pestered her captors until they were sent home via Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Six months after her ordeal, Emily again was back working for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals this time on the Russian front. Joining the London unit in August 1916, she sailed from Liverpool on the 31st of august, the voyage took her nearly to bear island in the Arctic Circle and on to Archangel in Russia, then by train down to Odessa. Dr Elsie Inglis was her Chief Medical Officer and Emily certainly had a healthy respect for Elsie and many of the women from the Serbian units joined the party. All in the unit comprised of eighty women. Doctors, nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.

The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Emily worked principally in Odessa, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions of 1917.

Emily returned home on in November 1917. She was awarded several medals for service overseas. Emily died in 1961 aged 92 in Little Gravels Burghclere Hampshire.

George Edgar Mallet

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Wandsworth, Surrey

Son to Fredrick and Charlotte Mallet. George grew up in the London area, both he and his two brothers went on to become electricians. Before joining the Scottish Women;s Hospitals he was living in Cricklewood, London. In June 1915 became assistant to Edith Anne Stoney. They formed a partnership and worked together for the next two years. The had both joined the Girton and Newnham unit, firstly working in Troyes, France and in 1916 heading out to Salonika before making their way up into Serbia. A link explaining more can be found here… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Anne_Stoney

Agnes Mann

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Aberdeenshire

Born in Inverurie, Aberdeenshire in August 1887. Agnes was raised by her mother Ann who was a dressmaker. Agnes by 1911 was working as a nurse in Motherwell at the county fever hospital and before heading to Serbia in 1915 she was working as matron at middle ward hospital at High Blantyre, Lanarkshire. Agnes worked at Kraguevac as a nurse between June 1915- April 1916. She effectively became a POW in the winter of 1915. Agnes also worked in Serbia with Lady Paget’s Serbian Relief Fund Hospitals. In December 1916 she was working in Salonika at a military hospital. In 1916 she was awarded the Serbian Cross of Charity. Agnes spent a total of two and a half years working in Serbia under very testing conditions. Typhus, various diseases and many casualties from the fighting, starvation, frostbite and of course the collapse of the nation in late 1915. Agnes certainly played her part in nursing Serbia through all its ills. In 1918 while back working at High Blantyre in Lanarkshire she was awarded the Silver medal for Bravery by the Prince of Serbia.

Agnes found happiness after the war and in August 1918 she married George Bryan Logan an American in France. In 1920 they had a daughter, Henrietta. Agnes spent the rest of her life living in the States and in 1976 she died in North Carolina aged 88.

Agnes Williamina Manson

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Shetland Isles

Agnes Williamia Manson joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in December 1917, she joined as an orderly and worked at Royaumont Abbey near Paris until June 1918. On March the 20th 1918 bombs started to rain down on Paris. Royaumont was very close to the shelling, so close in fact that windows were blown out and bomb holes covered the grounds. A rush of work was on. The roads in and around Royaumont were full of troops, guns and trenches were cut in the fields. For ten days during March all the women worked night and day until the French gained control again and pushed the Germans back. This fierce fighting had an effect on Royaumont and they were now a First Line Evacuating Hospital and trains of men would pass through. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Agnes lets remember volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform.
Born in Huxter, Weisdale on the Isles of Shetland Agnes’s father William had been an important man. He was a Hotel owner, a Farmer and a general merchant. After the war she married Hugh Crombie Falconer and lived at Pittengardner, Fordoun. In 1981 Agnes died in Kelso in the Scottish Borders.

Eveline Christiana Martin

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: Belfast

Eveline was from Belfast and educated at Victoria College, Belfast. She was awarded her BA Honours degree in 1916 and in 1917 joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Clerk at Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. She held the position until November 1918. An important roll, hospitals like Royaumont employed a large number of staff and needed a vast amount of medical equipment. An enormous amount of data was documented, receipts of purchases, travel arrangements and wages due etc. In 1921, Martin undertook some lecturing at East London College, whilst completing her MA degree. She was awarded a Distinction for her MA in History, and won the Royal Historical Society’s Alexander Prize for her essay The English establishments on the Cold Coast in the second half of the eighteenth century”.

In 1923, Martin became Assistant Lecturer in History at Westfield, having assisted with teaching during the previous Easter term when Caroline Skeel was on leave.

Martin completed her PhD in 1926, and published The British West African Settlements, 1750-1821 in 1927. She became University Reader of African and Imperial History in 1932, and later also taught at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

Eveline died in 1960.

Edith Martland

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Oldham

Edith Marjorie Martland was born in Oldham, Lancashire, United Kingdom in 1888 to Sarah and Edward William Martland. Edward was a medical Practitioner.

This web site has fantastic details of her life story http://www.hulme-grammar.oldham.sch.uk/ArchiveWebPages/WarWeb/MartlandEM.html. Here is the extract from the site.

Known as Marjorie, she was born on 19th May 1881, the daughter of Edward William Martland, a physician and surgeon. She attended Oldham Hulme Grammar School from January 1897 to July 1906. Having passed, a year before she left school, the University of London Matriculation Examinations and the entrance examinations for Newnham College, Cambridge, she spent her final year in working for the preliminary scientific examination of the MB degree of the University of London. She was awarded a Foundation Scholarship for three years. She graduated in 1909 from Cambridge having taken the natural science tripos, and proceeded to the London School of Medicine for Women. After the first year there she became a demonstrator in anatomy and was awarded the anatomy prize two years in succession.

She qualified as a doctor and surgeon in 1914 and then held resident posts at the Victoria Hospital for Children in Chelsea (where beds had been reserved for wounded soldiers) and the Hampstead General Hospital.

In 1916 she volunteered to join the staff at the Scottish Women’s Unit at Royaumont in France. The hospital had been set up in the old abbey with help from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and the French Red Cross. It was staffed almost entirely by women and had about 350 beds. She worked there as one of the five surgeons for two years, and also at their second unit near the front lines at Viliers-Cotterets where she was second in command. When the area was heavily shelled it was only with the greatest difficulty that the hospital was evacuated without loss. She was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for “skill and devotion to the French and Allied wounded under repeated bombardment.”

After returning to London she decided to specialise in pathology and was appointed biochemist and pathologist at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital. She was on the consultant staff of the hospital from 1928 until 1945 when she went to live in Dorset. She continued her work as Emeritus Consultant Pathologist to the Salisbury General Infirmary.

In 1956 an American Television Company were preparing a “This is Your life” programme about the Executive Director of the American Red Cross, Mr J Harrison Heckman. He had been injured in 1918 and taken to the Royaumont Hospital where a red-haired surgeon had managed to save his leg from amputation. The television company wanted to find this surgeon to take part in the programme and, with help from the Medical Women’s Federation, had identified Marjorie. She was flown to Los Angeles for four days of luxury and appeared on the programme, much to the surprise of Mr Heckman. She thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was later able to spend time in New York with the Heckman family.

Marjorie Martland died on 26th February 1962 aged 73.

Constance Margaret Marx

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Hampshire.

Constance Margaret Marx was born in New Alresford, Hampshire. In 1911 she was still living with the family in Yately, Hampshire. By 1914 she acting commencement with the British Red Cross. In November 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital as a driver. Later she was transport officer. She joined the London Unit, who had been out on the Russian front since September. Constance was stationed mainly at Odessa,Babadag and Reni. She became embroidered in a depute with Dr Elsie Inglis. The Foreign Office was keen to stop women nurses leaving the UK on account of Russia’s slide into revolution and the fact that the war office wanted women nurses at home. Constance who had been encouraging the notion of sending men drivers had left Elsie furious. Constance returned home in August 1917. She had resolved her differences with Elsie and had been well liked by most of the staff. In 1918-1919 she began working with war Office in France searching and identifying war graves and POW’S.
Constance in 1915 died in Marlebone, London.

Hilda Maufe

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: ilkley, Yorkshire

Hilda Mary Brantwood Maufe ‏was born in Ilkley, Yorkshire, England. Her father Henry was a Draper and by 1901 they were living in London. Hilda would spend all her life living in London, moving around various addresses. At the time of joining the Scottish Women;s Hospitals she was living in the City of Westminster. In July 1918, Hilda volunteered as an orderly and headed out to Salonika where she was transported up to Lake Ostrovo. The Hospital at Lake Ostrovo was entirely under canvas and the reason for being there was to support the Serbian Troops in their push for home. In October of that year the Serbs after years of fighting in the mountains made the break through and the Bulgarians surrendered. The unit, was named the American unit. Although America didn’t come into the war until 1917, the support for the SWH in America was of such a magnitude, that it was only fitting that a unit be named the “American Unit” given the amount of money donated. In October 1918 the Serb’s finally got to return home with the unit going with them. After a near 200 mile trek often on foot, over mountains, rivers and on a few occasions sleeping in the open the unit made it to their new base at Vranje in Serbia. The task was enormous as thousands of patients were all requiring attention. Pneumonia, pleurisy, and emphysema cases were all to be seen to immediately as were the hundreds of soldiers and civilians with appalling wounds. In February 1919 Hilda went home, with the war over and the end of her adventure she return to London. In 1957 at the age of 75 Hilda passed away, she never married.

Jane Maxwell

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Hamilton

Jane Wilson Maxwell was born in Hamilton, Scotland in 1875. She lived with her father -Robert (former road surface man) and mother whom trained as a nurse in the General Hospital in Leith, gaining her certificate in 1902.

On the 1st of December, Jane joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and on the 2nd of December she gathered with her colleagues at Edinburgh Waverley Station bound for London where they would meet the rest of the unit and Elsie Inglis, who would see them on their way before joining a few days later at Royaumont Abbey outside Paris.

At Waverley Station Jane met: five other nurses, three orderlies and two cooks. These women were driven to join the hospital units for a variety of reasons; clearly most had a desire to play their patriotic duty, others had strong religious backgrounds and clearly felt a calling. I believe, above all they had taste for adventure, fueled by a craving for freedom and to finally spread their wings. For many, they simply wanted to prove themselves to be every bit as effective as their male counterparts in the theatre of war. Essentially, it was an opportunity to advance the cause of women’s suffrage. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winter’s bitter and I was and am left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of: doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. Jane left the unit in May of 1915. Jane Wilson Maxwell died a single woman at the address of 11, Nelson Street Bellshill on 18 April 1919 at the age of 44. The cause of death associated with Jane was breast cancer (carcinoma mammae,malignant) and pleurisy.

Elizabeth Maxwell

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Largs, Ayrshire.

Born in 1874
Elizabeth Muir Maxwell was born in Brisbane Road, Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland. She is the daughter of James Maxwell (Mason’s Labourer) and Margaret nee’ Hall. John Maxwell married Margaret Hall in Largs, Ayrshire, Scotland. James Maxwell died between 1881-1891 and his wife, Margaret, has died between 1891-1901. It is after Margaret’s death the members the family leave Largs and the children James, Margaret, Elizabeth and Agnes, can be found living in Lanarkshire.

In the 1891 census, aged 17, Elizabeth was working as a domestic servant at Roslin Villa, Pollock road , Glasgow.
In the 1901 census, aged 27, Elizabeth is working in a restaurant. She is living at 3 Cleveland street Glasgow.
From 1908 till 1911 Elizabeth was working as a nurse in a private nursing home. In 1911 she has has progressed to gaining employment with the Glasgow Education Authority.

In April 1915 she joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and heads to Valjevo in Serbia. She returns home in September of 1915. From August 1916 and April 1919 she once again joins the SWH, this time she serves in the American Unit. A journey that takes her from Salonika to Lake Ostrovo( Northern Greece) to Vranje in Serbia and on to Belgrade.

8 January 1949 – Elizabeth Muir MAXWELL (retired nurse) died at 17 Leslie Street, Pollok, Glasgow aged 74yrs

Florence Mary McCall

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Florence McCall was born in Edinburgh in 1881, however she spent much of her young life living at the family home in Battery Terrace, Oban. Her father Daniel was a plumbers merchant.
In November 1914 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and headed to Calais, France. At that point the Belgian wounded were streaming in after heavy defeats at the hands of Germany. Shortly after typhoid broke out, on the 5th of December Dr Alice Hutchison her CMO wrote “During the first week here I felt I could hardly bear the sights in the ward, and that, in spite of the fact that i been through it all before. Fortunately there are few things one cannot get accustomed to”
With the epidemic at an end in March Florence and her band of 15 doctors and nurses returned to the UK. According to official reports it was said her hospital had been the most effective in saving lives. Florence returned to France, at the end of May she joined the Girtion and Newnham unit and headed for The Chateau of Chanteloup at Troyes. The money to equip the unit had been donated from the Cambridge women’s colleges, Girton and Newnham, hence the name of the unit. The hospital all under canvas also had individual sponsors from the tents to beds. The women were keen to impress on the French officials the importance of have these tents. The advantages of the open air and sunlight for septic wounds, the results were extraordinary and in October the unit was moved on to Salonika. The unit was deployed to Gevgelija, a frontier town just across the border in Serbia and established a hospital there in a disused factory. In December 1915 the hospital was abandoned and evacuated to Salonika as the allies retreated in the face of the advancing Bulgarian and German armies. The hospital was re-established in Salonika and treated both French and Serbian casualties. In June 1916 Florence elected to come after an incredible journey.

Photo above is of the “Airdrie tent” sponsored by the people of the town in Airdrie, Lanarkshire.

Isobel McCall

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Dumfriesshire

Isobel Hendrietta McCall
Born in 1879 at Moniaive Dumfriesshire. Looks like she was raised by her Grandparents and for a time was living in Greenock. It also appears she spent some in a finishing school in London. However, in 1916 she was back living at Broomhill Moniaive.

In February 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a driver. She set sail for Corsica. The main hospital was located in Ajaccio in a two storeyed building of Villa Miot. As the work load grew so did the hospital and tents were pitched in the gardens for open air treatments. A fever hospital was situated a few miles from the General hospital in Lazaet, a historic building that stood high, over looking the gulf. By this time nearly 3000 refugees and a few decimated regiments had arrived from Serbia. Also a band of a few hundred Serbian boys arrived for a few months recuperation. Thirty thousand boys set off on the Serbian retreat. Such were the conditions and horrors of that journey, that only 7000 made it to safety. Nearly 300 of these lads, after they were rested on the island, were sent on to schools in UK and France. Out- patients hospitals were opened in Chiavari some 20 miles from Ajaccio and St Antoine. The value of the work is indubitable and many a young life benefited from the units endeavours. 79 babies were born during the hospitals tenure, a reminder that life even in the darkest of times prevails. The hospital closed in April 1919.

After the war she did spend time in London and it seems never married. Isobel died on 10 June 1954 address 9,Dalkeith Road Edinburgh.

Isabella Catherine McCaw

Date of Bith: 1801
Place of Birth: Montreal, Canada

Miss Isabel Catherine McCaw, who died on July 3 at age 87 in Cornwall, Ontario was for many years in
her younger days a reporter for the Montreal Star. Miss McCaw, a graduate of McGill University, was the daughter of William McCaw, a noted Montreal insurance man and sportsman, and his first wife, Catherine Blacklock. As a descendant of Captain Ronald Macdonell (Leek), King’s Royal Regiment of New York, who settled in St. Andrew’s West, Ontario.
November 1916 a 26 year old Isabella or Mac as she was known on her travels, boarded the Ascania in Quebec and sailed to Plymouth. In February 1917 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to Salonika. As an ambulance driver with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals’ Motor Ambulance Column, attached to the
Serbian First Army, she had personal experience of that small army’s amazing capture of enemy
strongholds on 7,000 foot high mountain ridges and “the subsequent pursuit which swept Bulgars,
Austrians and Germans out of their beloved Serbia like chaff before the wind.”
She also served in Greece and Macedonia and earned the ribbons of the Serbian gold “za Roznu sluzbu”,
First Class, which was equivalent to the British D.S.O., the Serbian Great War Active Service Medal, the
Scottish Women’s Hospitals’ Medal, the General Service Medal and the Victory Medal. She was twice
mentioned in despatches. Mac left the SWH in January 1919.

Hughina Ross McCulloch

Date of Bith: 27/03/1874 – 12/08/1
Place of Birth: Ross and Cromarty

Hughina Ross McCulloch was born at 12 noon on 28/3/1874 at Fendom,Tain,Ross and Cromarty. She was the daughter of crofter David McCulloch and Helen Ross.Her parents were married at Fearn on 14/6/1865.
Hughina’s parents David was born at Nigg,while her mother,Helen Ross,was born in Fearn.

1871 Census of Fendom shows Hughina’s parents and siblings living there, and three years later she was born. Occupation of her father at that time was Farmer of 20 acres. 1881 Census shows 7 year old Hughina and her family still living there at Fendom. The following Census in 1891 of Balkeith,Fendom Road,Tain shows that her father has died and her widowed mother,Helen, is now Head of the house.Her unmarried siblings Donald,Catherine and David are still at home. Hughina,aged 17,is a Sewing Maid.
1901 Census of Balkeith,Tain, shows brother Donald(33) as head of house.Mother Helen(66),sister Kate(33) and uncle Angus McCulloch(72)in the household.Hughina(27) has her occupation as “Farmer’s sister”.
The final available Census of 1911 has Hughina Ross McCulloch(aged 36)working as a “Hospital Nurse” in the St Mary’s District of Dundee.(probably Dundee Royal Infirmary).

Hughina served as a Nurse in the Girton Newnham Branch of the SWH between 2/6/1915 and 1/10/1917. The unit was named after the womens colleges in cambridge. They would have raised the money themselves and therefore were able to have a unit named after the colleges. Hughina would have worked under the leadership of Dr louise Mcllroy of glasgow and Dr Laura Sandeman of Aberdeen, by june 1915 the hospital was in service in Troyes France and Hughina remained there for around 5 months, in october 1915 the unit received ordered to make there way to the eastern front. The unit left France on a voyage through the Mediterranean seas, a dangerous journey at the time with submarines lurking in the waters.On arrival in Salonkia, greece, she would have went straight to work as troops were pouring into the camps many with horrendous injuries. Determined to aid the serbian troops that they had becames so fond of in Salonkia they pressed on to Guevgueli a hospital on the river Vardar, however by this time serbia was on the back foot and the women were face to face with all the horrors of war, the wounded, the dead and feeling of hopelessness, the women did everything possible but with the guns of enemy fire getting closer each day the decision was taken to retreat back to salonika. The bravery shown by hughina and co workers was indesribable, working under canvas in extreme cold while trying to treat patients with severe wounds, knowing that serbia was doomed and with no communication must have been very hard indeed. Hughina continued working with the SWH in salonkia tending the sick and continued to help save lives.

She died of breast cancer on 12/8/1959 at Dalmore House,Alness,Ross-shire aged 85 years.The Informant of death was her nephew J.Munro of Beinn Aluinn,Tain. Death Registered 12/8/1959 at Invergord

Helen McDougall

Date of Bith: 13/11/1882
Place of Birth: Islay

Helen McDougall was the fourth of eight children born to Church of Scotland Minister,Duncan McDougall and wife Helen Stewart. Like her father,Helen was born on Islay, on 13/11/1882 at Coilibuss,Oa,in the district of Kildalton. Her mother,Helen Stewart,was born in Blair Athole,Perthshire and her parents were married there on 11/7/1877. In 1881,the Census of Kildalton shows that the family were living at The Manse.(This was a year before Helen’s birth.). By 1891,the family had moved to Leith,and were living at 1 Union Place. As well as Helen’s parents and siblings,her aunt Ann McDougall (aged 60) was also present. We next find Helen in 1911 living with her elder brother Duncan(aged 31) who was a Minister of the Free Church of Scotland. Duncan was Head of the household at The Free Church Manse, Parish of Barvas,South Dell. South Dell is a village in Ness,on the Isle of Lewis. Helen (aged 28) was a Medical Student and her aunt Ann(now aged 81) was living with them.

Dr Mcdougall joined the SWH in July 1915 and set sail from Southampton to Salonika with a support party to Kraguievatz in Serbia( she may have boarded sir Tomas Lipton’s boat?) the work at the hospital at that time was very harsh and typhus had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Serbia at that time was in retreat and in December 1915 she with 28 other women were taken prisoner of or war and for the next two months were taken from camp to camp, first to Belgrade then Vienna, Kerevara in Hungry and finally the German border town of Waidhofen where she wrote “the whole town seemed to have come down to meet us and how they laughed!!- oh it was horrid” Helen returned home for the summer but signed up for the SWH again in 20 September 1916 where she worked as a Doctor rt Royaumont Abbey in France Royaumont was among the largest hospitals to support the battle of the Somme. Helen was an extremely hard working but much loved member who also had a sense of fun. She left the unit in October 1918 got married and went out to Ghana as a Doctor. We hope to find a few photo’s of Helen as she certainly had an eventful 3 years with the SWH.

Matilda McDowell

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Barnaboy, Ireland

Matilda McDowell‏ was born in 1884 at Barnaboy, Frankfort, Kings County, Ireland. 1911 Census shows her father Robert was a farmer, and she wasn’t working outside the home, (No occupation is given for her). They had a 2nd class house, mostly likely stone with a slate roof, Robert owned it, so reasonably comfortable. She also had 13 brothers and sisters.
We don’t have a great deal on Matilda. She joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals on the 7th of May 1918. She headed to Salonika where she joined the other members of the The Elsie Inglis Unit. The unit was named after Elise Inglis who had died in late 1917. The unit was really an extension of the London Unit but respectfully changed the name.
The unit consisted of around 25 women personel, Doctors, Nurses, Orderly’s etc. Matilda was a driver, whose job would of been to fetch the wounded from the front and get them to the hospital tents. Under the command of Dr Annette Benson the small canvas hospital was situated 30 miles from Salonika near Verekop at the foot of a hill. The unit received a great deal of work during the summer of 1918 and hospital was full. The main problem though was sickness. We know that on the 3rd of July 1918 only weeks into her role as a driver at the hospital, she died most likely of Paratyphoid and is buried at the Mikra British Cemetery, Kalamaria.

Photo above is of the hospital at Verekop

Beatrice Anne Mcgregor

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Doctor Beatrice Anne McGregor was born in 7 Merchiston Cres;Newington,Edinburgh on 4/3/1873.Her parents,who had married in Hamburg,Germany,were Merchant James McGregor and Anne Wallace. James had been born in Edinburgh and his wife,Anne,was a British subject born in Hamburg.
1881 Census of Newington,Edinburgh has the family living at 7 Merchiston Cres. Eight years old Beatrice was at home with her parents and 5 siblings,along with three servants.Her father,James,was a Silk merchant.
1891 Census has the family still at Merchiston Cres and James is listed as a Tea Merchant. Beatrice(18 years old) was down as a scholar.
1901 Census of Edinburgh has 28 years old Beatrice residing at Craigleith House,Victoria Hospital. Beatrice has now qualified as Resident Physician MBCM.

By April 1915 the typhus outbreak that had been under control suddenly started to show signs of relapse. The town of Mladenovac was considered at risk and the SWH were asked to step in and provide a hospital in case of a new epidemic. Dr Elsie Inglis wasted no time in dispatching a hospital unit to Mladenovac. By July 1915 Dr Beatrice McGregor with her new recruits arrived at the hospital and took over as chief medical officer.
During the early days Beatrice and the unit ran a 300 bed hospital and with things being fairly quiet she opened a dispensary for the women and children which became very popular.
Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”

The retreat as witnessed by Beatrice and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000’s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Dr McGregor and her nurses made it back to the uk on the 23rd of December they to had suffered when Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.

Dr Beatrice McGregor was awarded the order of St Sava 1V class by the Serbian people.

Eunice Jean McGregor

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Nairn

Eunice Jean McGregor was born in Nairn on 15/11/1892.Her parents were New Zealand born, James McGregor(Managing Director of Distillery) and Irish born Eunice Lacey.
1901 Census of Nairn,has the family, Parents and 5 children living at “Strathmore”,Seabank Road,Nairn.The family had four servants.
By 1911,the family had moved to a 14 roomed house at Belmenach,Cromdale. 18 years old Eunice was at home with her parents and 2 servants.There is no listing of Eunice’s occupation at the time.
Apart from her time serving with the SWH, we have no further record of Eunice apart from the fact that she married a Mr Hallum, and died at Hayward’s Heath,West Sussex in 1989,aged 96

Eunice served at Royaumont near Paris, France. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 1st of February 1918 as a driver and left in the summer of the same year.

Anne Louise McIIroy

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: County Antrim

Dame Anne Louise McIlroy was born in County Antrim on the 11th November 1874 to Dr James McIlroy, a medical practitioner in Ballycastle. She shared her father’s enthusiasm for Medicine and came to Glasgow University in 1894 to do a medical degree.

She was one of the first women medical graduates, winning class prizes in both medicine and pathology before obtaining her MB ChB in 1898 followed by an MD with commendation in 1900. After further postgraduate work throughout Europe specialising in Gynaecology and Obstetrics she was appointed Gynaecological Surgeon at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow, a post she held from 1906 to 1910.

At the outbreak of the First World War she and other female medical graduates offered their services to the government. They were declined on grounds of the battlefield being no place for women. Undeterred and determined to help with the war effort this brave group of women applied to the French government and, on being accepted, set up the Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service. Dame McIlroy commanded a unit of the hospital at Troyes in France before being posted to Serbia and three years later Salonika.

During her time in Salonika she established a nurses training school for Serbian girls and oversaw the establishment of the only orthopaedic centre in the Eastern Army. She finished her war service as a Surgeon at a Royal Army Medical Corps hospital in Constantinople. She won many awards in recognition of her services during the war including a French M�daille des Epidemies, French Croix de Guerre avec palme, Serbian Order of St Sava and the Serbian Red Cross. In 1920 she was appointed to the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

After the war she returned for a short time to Glasgow, but left in 1921 when she was appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, becoming the first woman to be appointed a medical professor in United Kingdom. She faced opposition at times in this role, being as she was a graduate from a different medical school and one outside of London. She was undaunted by the task, however, and became an inspiring teacher.

She also worked as a Surgeon at the Marie Curie Hospital for Women during this period. Her services to Midwifery were recognised in 1929 when she was appointed Dame of the British Empire. Her achievements were also recognised by universities in the form of honorary degrees, being awarded a DSc from London, an LLD from Glasgow and DSc from Belfast, which as an Ulster woman she was particularly proud of.

She retired in 1934, to have, in her own words ‘a few years of freedom’. She felt strongly though about doing her duty and when war was declared she immediately offered her services, despite being well past retirement age. She organised emergency maternity services in Buckinghamshire and, showing her generous nature, selflessly took her own property to provide equipment and comforts at the hospital in the face of the inevitable shortages. After the Second World War she returned to her retirement, residing with her sister in Turnberry, Ayrshire. She died peacefully in a Glasgow hospital on 8th February 1968.

In her obituaries at the time friends and colleagues remembered her fondly as in innovator and shrewd clinician whose personal charm and dignity shone through. Her achievements show that she truly was a pioneer of women in medicine, who, as one colleague recalls, expected no less from her staff;

“Dame Louise was a hard taskmaster. She expected, and got, the very best from her staff; praise and criticism were justly awarded. To have worked for and with her was a privilege truly sought after by young aspiring specialists.”

Dame Anne Louise McIlroy was a remarkable woman who gave so much during the two world wars. Her achievements have left their mark on the medical profession, shaping the way for future generations and ensuring that her legacy will live on.

Many thanks to the University of Glasgow for allowing us to use this biography.

Jessie P C McIntyre

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Fort William

Nurse Jessie McIntyre was part of a group of ten trained nurses to head to Calais, France. This was the first hospital that the Scottish Women’s Hospital offered a unit too. In December 1914 Dr Hutchinson was put in charge of typhoid hospital at Calais when they supported the Belgian army. The hospital building was a school and the staff were accommodated in the School house. The epidemic was a severe one and the troops poured in from January to February 1915. In March the epidemic was under control and the Calais Contingent returned home. Jessie returned home to Edinburgh where she had been working as a nurse before the war.

Mary Lauchline McNeill

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Orkney Isles

Mary was born and grew up in the parishes of Holm and Paplay on the the Orkney Isles. Her father, Daniel was the minister/medic for the Free Church of Scotland and they lived at the manse at Holm. Mary was part of a large family and her brother Patrick was killed in 1917 in the Great War. Mary went into medicine and studied at Glasgow, she graduated from the Queen Margaret College as a Doctor in 1905. Before WW1 Mary was working at the fever hospital in Leicester. Subsequently she joined the SWH in 1916. Mary was a Doctor with the Girton and Newnham unit firstly at Salonika. Much of the work at Salonika was spent fighting Malaria, a huge killer made worse by the lack of suitable clothing supplied by the allied armies. Mary spent three and a half years working with the unit that finished up working in the Elise Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. A wanderer and zest of living Mary went on to work in Palestine and India as a Doctor. In 1928 Mary died in Uganda where she had spent 7 years working saving lives. A youthful soul who lived an unselfish life.

Isobel Watson Shepherd Meiklejohn‏

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Brassey, Shetland Isles

Isobel Watson Shepherd Meiklejohn was born in 1879 on Bressay,an island situated to the east of Lerwick harbour, on Shetland Isles.
Isobel was the daughter of Caithness born John J.R.Meiklejohn and Dundee born mother Jemima.
Her father was a Farm Overseer and Inspector of the Poor.
1881 Census of Bressay shows Isobel(aged 2)living with parents at Maryfield House.
1891 Census shows 12 years old Isobel and her family at Seafield,Lerwick.
By 1901,the Census of Edinburgh shows that Isobel(a student) is lodging at 32 Dundas Street.Her younger sister,Louisa, was also present.
The Electoral Rolls for the Borough of Chelsea and Kensington show,that in 1914 and 1915,Isobel was residing at 10 Lawrence Street,Chelsea.
Passenger Lists of 1939,inform us that Isobel returned to London, from Calcutta India,on the “Domala”(a vessel of the British India Steam Navigation Co.Ltd.).The date of her arrival was 2/12/1939.The list also informs us of her proposed address being 12,Royal Terrace,Linlithgow and of her intention to live in Scotland.
Isobel,of “Fryton”,Tweeddale Ave;Gifford,East Lothian died at Haddington on 26/11/1957

Isobel, during the early days of WW1 was living in the affluent Lawrence street, Chelsea. She worked as a civil servant, working for the Home Office as a factory inspector. That grit and stoic determination that was required in working for the Home Office would also be necessary for her next post.
In April 1915 she signed up to serve as an orderly with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia.On the 21st of April Isobel met her new colleagues for the first time on Cardiff docks and boarded the SS Ceramic and headed for Salonika(Greece) where by train they would travel to Valjevo in Serbia. On board with her were Chief Medical Officer Dr Alice Hutchinson, 25 nurses, a sanitary inspector, matron, clerk, 2 cooks, four orderlies and two handymen ( the only males of the unit). The voyage took a detour and docked at Malta for around 3 weeks at the request of the Home Office. Soldiers mainly from Australia and New Zealand were pouring in from Gallipoli many with serious wounds. The unit began working immediately, however they were ordered by the SWH to move on to Serbia and keep on programme.

Valjevo was a small town, 80 miles south of Belgrade. Lying in a sleepy green valley Isobel would have felt at home, however only a few months earlier Valjevo had looked very different. The big guns boomed day and night, men fell in their thousands, civilian’s were rounded up and often massacred and the dreaded Typhus raged through Serbia, uncontrollable and without mercy. The mortality rate in Valjevo was 70% and as a result they lost a huge number of Doctor’s and nurses.
By the time Isobel reached Valjevo things were improving however there was much to be done, Valjevo had been on the front line and with the summer heat and all the rotten flesh from man and animal, the flies swarmed in their millions bringing diseases.
The hospital was under canvas, the 40 tents pitched on the hillside over looked the town and by and large up until August there were few serious cases. However by mid August the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. Also making an unwelcome comeback was Typhus and sadly nurse Sutherland succumbed to the deadly disease.
Isobel by the end of September had made the difficult and depressing decision to leave gallant Serbia behind fearing their own safety. In fact they were lucky to escape, the train taking them to Salonika was nearly shelled at Lapovo junction. The remaining women tried to work on but by early November Serbia was occupied. Some of the women went on The Great Serbian Retreat, others were taken as prisoners of war.

Isobel, we know traveled to India before moving to Haddington, Scotland where she died in 1957.

Harriet Menmuir

Date of Bith: 1867
Place of Birth: Kiltarlty, Inverness.

Early life has Harriet living Kiltarlty, her father Alexander was a Head Carpenter. At the age of 23 she is working as A domestic servant in Edinburgh and at 33 she is a Nurse/matron in Angus.
On the 12th of September 1915 Harriet embarked onto the hospital ship The Oxford shire at Southampton , HMHS Oxford shire was the first ship to be requisitioned for war service and by the end of WW1 transported over 50,000 wounded men to safety, the highest number for any hospital ship during WW1.
Harriet signed up as a nurse for the London/Welsh unit, so called due to large amount of donations from those locations. Her assignment was to head to Valjevo in Serbia and support the existing hospital under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson.
The journey was fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and overhead, Zeppelins all had in the past destroyed various ships. The journey took around 2 weeks, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonika (Thessaloniki). Then a few more day’s travel by train to Valjevo.

Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell. Thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Unfortunately for Harriet and her party they had got there too late, as a few days after arriving Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat.However, during mid-august the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. In October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped, opening an emergency dressing station where 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Harriet and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Harriet with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill a nurse was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley. Harriet died in Inverness in1939.

Gladys Miall Smith

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: London

Gladys Miall Smith was born in Highgate, London in 1888. Her parents were George Augustus Smith, who had a hat making business.
In 1912 Gladys enrolled to study medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women. As part of her medical experience, she spent 3 months at a Dressing Station in France in 1914. She qualified in 1916 and worked as House Surgeon at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and studied Obstetrics at the Royal Free Hospital. In June 1918 Gladys joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals. She headed out to Royaumont abbey on the outskirts of Paris where as a Doctor she was in charge of the fracture ward. Royaumont in 1918 were testing times. The Hundred Days Offensive was the final period of the First World War, during which the Allies launched a series of offensives against the Central Powers on the Western Front from 8 August to 11 November 1918, beginning with the Battle of Amiens. The offensive essentially pushed the Germans out of France, forcing them to retreat beyond the Hindenburg Line, and was followed by an armistice. The term “Hundred Days Offensive” does not refer to a specific battle or unified strategy, but rather the rapid series of Allied victories starting with the Battle of Amiens. Royaumont was just miles from the front line and during those days the hospital would, at times be pushed to breaking point. During ww1 the Scottish women’s Hospital at Royaumont treated nearly 9000 soldiers and 572 civilians, a further 1537 men, women and children were treated as out patients. Only 159 of the soldiers died with 25 civilians also perishing.

After the war Gladys continued with her roll in medicine. She married and was dismissed from her post, due to the laws of the time. However she rejoined the profession and after her husband Dr John Fry died in 1930, went on to raise the family while working as a Doctor. Gladys also traveled a great deal working in hospitals in Africa. She was aged 102 when she passed away.

Janet Middleton

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Middlesbourgh

Janet grew up in the family home in Middlesbourgh, her father William worked in the Iron works. In 1911 Janet was working in Windermere as a Lich Nurse. In April 1915 Janet joined the second Serbian unit and on the 21st of April 1915 under Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit which included 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac. However in November Janet decided to join the Serbian retreat. The retreat as witnessed by Janet and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Janet with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.. Janet wrote about her experiences in the Lloyds weekly newspaper and was decorated with medals by the Serbian Army. Janet died in 1970.

Catherine Cook Millar

Date of Bith:
Place of Birth: Dunfermline

Catherine Cook Millar grew up in Elliot Crescent in Dunfermline, after leaving education she would work at the Dunfernline Fever Hospital which is now McLean House. Catherine joined the SWH in 1917 and promptly headed for Serbia and then on to Russia, where we believe she joined up with Elsie Ingles’ london unit in Bessarabia on the Russian front. The hospital at Bessarabia had a serious malaria outbreak and Catherine became infected with the disease and so was forced to return home. Six months later in December 1918 Catherine passed away at the Liverpool Military Hospital, she was only 30 years old. Catherine was buried at Dunfermlines Halbeath cemetery, she is commemorated at the Dunfermlne War Memorial and at St. Giles in Edinburgh.

Eliza Millar

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Eliza grew up in Glasgow and lived with her Grandmother and siblings. On the 1 of November 1917 she with her sister Ellen joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed for Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overrun by invading forces. Eliza and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. When the unit arrived in Corsica it was a very different picture. The hospital had opened on Christmas day 1915 and instantly got to work as over three hundred refugees had traveled with them. Within days another ship with over 500 refugees arrived. The hospital closed n 1919 and did a magnificent job of caring for the thousands of Serb civilians. Many of whom were children. Eliza returned home with her sister in May 1918.

Ellen Millar

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Ellen grew up in Glasgow and lived with her Grandmother and siblings. On the 1 of November 1917 she with her sister Eliza joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed for Corsica. By December 1915 plans for a hospital in Corsica were underway, with the help of the French government they would ship the Serbian refugees to Ajaccio in Corsica. On Christmas day the unit finally got to work on the French island. Commandeering an old convent with no water, heating or sanitation was demanding enough, dealing with the hundreds of men, women and children who were devastated with typhoid, pneumonia and starvation tested all the women. Dr Blair wrote of the Serbian refugees “and they looked so desolate and forlorn though most of them put a brave face on it,that we all felt inclined to weep” The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overrun by invading forces. Elllen and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. When the unit arrived in Corsica it was a very different picture. The hospital had opened on Christmas day 1915 and instantly got to work as over three hundred refugees had traveled with them. Within days another ship with over 500 refugees arrived. The hospital closed n 1919 and did a magnificent job of caring for the thousands of Serb civilians. Many of whom were children. Ellen returned home with her sister in May 1918.

Catherine Cook Miller

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Catherine Cook Miller born 2/2/1888 at 27,Lumsden Street,Anderston,Glasgow. This was the address of her father at his date of marriage.Probably Catherine’s grandparent’s home.
1911 Census of Dunfermline has Catherine’s family living at Elliot Crescent but Catherine has left home.
She is in Tulliallan, at Crockmurehall.Aged 23,Catherine is a Hospital Nurse,connected to Dunfermline Fever Hospital.

Catherine Cook Millar grew up in Elliot Crescent in Dunfermline, after leaving education she would work at the Dunfernline Fever Hospital which is now McLean House. Catherine joined the SWH in 1917 and promptly headed to Russia, where she joined up with Elsie Ingles and the London unit, having traveled with a contingent of support nurses to the Russian front. The hospital at Bessarabia had a serious malaria outbreak and Catherine became infected with the disease and so was forced to return home. Six months later in December 1918 Catherine passed away at the Liverpool Military Hospital, she was only 30 years old. Catherine was buried at Dunfermlines Halbeath cemetery, she is commemorated at the Dunfermlne War Memorial and at St. Giles in Edinburgh.

Mary Lee Milne

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Liverpool.

Mary Lee Bowden was born in England in 1873.She was daughter of Rev.John Bowden and Barbara Lee.Her parents were married in Edinburgh in 1868.John was Minister of United Presbyterian Church in Toxteth,Liverpool and Barbara was an English Teacher.
1881 Census of St Cuthberts,Edinburgh has Mary Lee(aged 8) living with her parents and 2 brothers at 2,Minto Street.Her paternal granny was also in the house.
On 7/8/1906.Mary married Rev James Arthur Milne of Lyne Manse,Stobo.At dom,Mary’s address was Dresden,Saxony.
After serving with the SWH,Mary had joined the Civil service and travelled back and forward to Sierra Leone in British west Africa.This was in the 1920’s/30’s. Her brother,William,was also in the Government Service and also travelled to Africa..From the Travel documents,we find that both Mary and her brother were residing at Hobsburn,Hawick.
Mary Lee Milne died on 30/8/1948 at Hobsburn House,Hawick.She was aged 75 and died of Coronary Thrombosis(1 month).Informant of her death was John Turnbull,Estate Gardener,Hobsburn Cottage.
She served with the ‘London’ Units of the Scottish Women’s Hospital from 30 August 1916 to 24 November 1917 as a cook, and later at the Tuberculosis Sanatorium for Serbs at Sallanches, Haute Savoie, as a housekeeper. Joining the London unit in August 1916, she sailed from Liverpool on the 31st of august, the voyage took her nearly to bear island in the Arctic Circle and on to Archangel in Russia, then by train down to Odessa. Dr Elsie Inglis was her Chief Medical Officer and Mary certainly had a healthy respect for Elsie.. All in the unit comprised of eighty women. Doctors, nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.
The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Mary worked principally in Odessa, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions of 1917. Mary returned home on the 24th of November 1917. Mary was hugely popular with staff and officials alike.

Augusta Minshull

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Atherstone

Augusta Minshull in 1881 was living with her widowed mother who was a Hotel Keeper at The Crown in Denbigh, North Wales and her two older sisters and two younger brothers. The family appear to have travelled around, as the children were born in Betton, Atherstone, Manchester, Llandudno and Denbigh.
Augusta was born in Atherstone in 1864
Augusta it would appear like here family liked to travel working at the fever hospital in Dublin, London hospital for infectious diseases, Chester General hospital and Bencathra Cumberland. At the start of the war she joined the St Johns Ambulance Association and on August the 19th headed for Belgium. In February 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse and headed for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade and close to the fighting. Kragujevac was really one huge sprawling hospital. The need for Doctors and nurses was crucial if the Serbs were to have any chance of fighting on. Augusta and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus, and by February 1915 Serbia was in the grip of a huge epidemic. Sadly Augusta on the 6th of April died of typhus she was not alone as the hospital suffered the loss of nurse Fraser and nurse Jordan. Of course the bigger picture was that thousands of lives were lost during that time, what makes Augusta’s story and the others who perished particularly poignant was that they only had a few weeks to nurse the sick before they too became ill. Augusta was buried in Kragujevac but her remains were later buried in the Chela Kula cemetery at Nis Serbia where it is lovingly cared for by the city of Nis.

Photo above is of the cemetery where she is buried.

Florence Cecilia Moffat

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Ardersier, Inverness

Raised by her grandfather Charles Anderson in Forfar, Florence joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1916 as an orderly and worked at Royaumont Abbey as an Orderly until November 1917. Known as the “whitecaps” Orderlies were often from well-off family’s and they came to the hospital as volunteers. Often very inexperienced in hands on tasks, they adapted fast and quickly became the backbone of hospital. Florence served at the hospital during the Battle of the Somme when the work load was at its peak, carrying stretchers up and down stairs to the wards, mopping the blood splattered floors and moving the equipment too and fro. All heavy physical work. Florence in the latter part of 1917 worked at Royaumont as a Physiotherapist. Florence also had a sister Una Moffat who worked with SWH in Serbia.

Una Phyllis Moffat

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: Lochwinnoch

Una was raised by her grandfather Charles Anderson at castle st Brechin. In August 1919 she joined the Girton and Newnham unit and sailed to Serbia. War had ended but in Belgrade the work load was unending, hundreds of civilians required all sorted of treatment. Una worked at the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital as an assistant cook. The unit at Belgrade was not the most harmonious of places. Firstly the camp at Avala was washed out by a thunderstorm, the women quarreled over the fact that Vranje was in greater need and key members of staff were moving on to new positions elsewhere. In December 1919 Una returned home. The hospital its self continued until March 1920. Una;s sister Florence also served with the SWH at Royaumont Abbey near Paris.

Ethel Mary Moir

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Honduras

Ethel Mary Moir was born in Belize,British Honduras in 1884. She was the daughter of Aberdeen born,General Medical Practitioner John Munro Moir and Forfarshire girl Jessie. In the mid 1890’s the family had left Belize and were living at 4 Ardross Leas,Inverness. The 1901 Census Return confirms that the family, which included 19 years old scholar Ethel and her four siblings were living at Ardross Leas with their parents and three servants.1911 census has the family still residing at Ardross Leas. Unfortunately,it doesn’t give the profession of 27 year old Ethel.
Ethel Mary Moir died in 1973 at the ripe old age of 89years.She died in the Disrict of Morningside in the City of Edinburgh.

Ethel departed from Liverpool on the troopship Hanspiel on August 30th 1916. The Hanspiel also carried thirty Serbian soldiers and six officers returning to the battlefields. Their ship was escorted by a naval destroyer past the coast of Northern Ireland, before heading west into the stormy Atlantic and then north over the Arctic Circle, passing close to Iceland and through the Barents Sea. The Hanspiel finally made land at Bacheridza, about five miles from the seaport town of Archangel in Russia, on September 10th 1916. Ethel and her companions would continue their journey by train. Plans to go to Petrograd were changed because on arrival at Archangel a wire was waiting for Dr Elsie Inglis. Ethel writes, “Plenty of work awaiting us “down south” we hear, so Dr Inglis wants to hurry on as quickly as possible”.
The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Ethel worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. Ethel worked as an Orderly with the London unit from August 1916- February 1917 on her her return the ship played a game of hide and seek with a German submarine off the shores of Rum, Eigg, Coll and through the mull sound. She wrote on the 1st of April “can’t believe that we are really back in Scotland, good old Scotland”. Ethel joined up with the London unit once more in Feb 1918 but was forced to return home in Jan 1919 suffering from paratyphoid.

Hannah Jameson Morgan

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Alvah, Banffshire

Born in the North east of Scotland, Hannah was the daughter of farmer William Morgan. Hannah lived in the family home right up until 1901. In the 1911 census Hannah has moved to Carlisle where she is working as a Hospital nurse, she is 27 at this time. Hannah in July 1916 joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse at Royaumont abbey, near Paris, France. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey.
Without question their most testing time came in July 1916 and Hannah for the next year would play her part. The big push had begun. For anyone connected with the Battle of the Somme these were horrendous, dangerous and difficult days. The women of Royaumont proved time and time again that they had the metle and expertise to face all the horrors of this war. Hannah left the hospital and service in July 1917.
She returned to the UK and in 1919 she married Godfrey Halsted. They traveled and it appears they took a trip to Japan. Hannah died in Hillingdon, Middlesex in 1964.

Janetta Morris

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Early life has Janetta living in Glasgow, Irvine and Ardrossan. She worked at the hospital in Ayr.
On the 12th of September 1915 Janetta embarked onto the hospital ship The Oxfordshire at Southampton , HMHS Oxfordshire was the first ship to be requisitioned for war service and by the end of WW1 transported over 50,000 wounded men to safety, the highest number for any hospital ship during WW1.
Janetta signed up as a nurse for the London/Welsh unit, so called due to large amount of donations from those locations. Her assignment was to head to Valjevo in Serbia and support the existing hospital under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson.
The journey was fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and overhead, Zeppelins all had in the past destroyed various ships. The journey took around 2 weeks, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). Then a few more day’s travel by train to Valjevo.

Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell. Thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Unfortunately for Janetta and her party they had got there too late, as a few days after arriving Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat.However, during mid-august the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. In October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped, opening an emergency dressing station where 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Janetta and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland. Estimates state that well over 150,000 men, women and children died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Janetta with around 20 other SWH members after 7 weeks walking through the snow and mountains finally made to the Adriatic sea, where they were taken by ship to Brindisi in Italy before making their way home. On the 23rd of December they were home, however they too had suffered as Caroline Toughill a nurse was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.

Janetta joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals again in on the 4th of August 1916 She served in the so called “American Unit” situated at Ostrovo 80 miles north of Salonika and whose chief medical officer was Dr Agnes Bennett. The unit got its name after Kathleen Burke had went to America and raised huge sums of money. At Ostrovo the enemy was not the Austrians but their ally Bulgaria. Fighting took place in the Kamalchalan mountains. From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. We know that Janetta left the unit in October 1917.

Elizabeth Scott Morris

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Crail, Fife

Elizabeth’s parents George Wilson Spence Morris and Cecelia Forbes Scott were married in the Nethergate on 25th November 1875. George Morris was a fish-curer. In June 1918 Elizabeth joined the SWH as an orderly and traveled to Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. Elizabeth worked at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs.The hospitals was based at the used “Grand hotel Michollin” and operated from Feb1918-March 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis a huge problem in Serbia at the end of the war. Elizabeth left the hospital in December 1918, she was awarded the British war medal, the victory medal and the French Red Cross medal. In 1924 she was married to the Rev John Warnock on the 6th of October, at the United Free Church, Crail, Fife, Scotland. Only a year later Elizabeth died.

Florence Edith Mortimer

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Diss, Norfolk

Florence grew up in the family home, her father Robert was an attendant at the sewage works. At the age of 30 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and as a nurse headed to the war torn and suffering Serbia. She traveled out in July 1915 at the request of Dr Elsie Inglis, Elsie wanted to make sure her hospitals were fully staffed to face the coming winter, a winter that would involve more fighting and possibly a further outbreak of the deadly typhus. In October 1915, the SWH units in Serbia had to evacuate from all of their locations as German and Austrian soldiers advanced. After evacuating once, Dr. Inglis refused to evacuate a second time and proceeded to remain to care for her patients in Krushevatz. When the German troops arrived, Inglis and several other women with the SWH who had chosen to remain with the patients were taken as Prisoners of War. Florence was one of them. After nearly three months the women were released and returned to London on February 29, 1916. Florence after returning home was unable to work due to her picking up a strain of incipient glaucoma while she was working in Serbia. The committee gave her six months maintenance allowance in 1917 and in 1918 she had an operation on both eyes. Sadly in 1919 she became blind and although she was supported for some time by the committee she was unable to work again.

Mina Young Moyes

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Stirling

Mina Young Moyes was born about 1891, in Stirling, Stirlingshire.
Living in Singleton House, Fallowfield, Manchester, she joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in November 1918 as a Masseuse ( physiotherapist). Mina joined the Girton Newnham unit at Salonika. As the Serbs pushed for home and war was over, work at Salonika began to decrease. However the hospital at salonika was very impressive. A huge hospital, one and a quarter miles long and had over 500 beds. The centre gained its name as it was supported and funded by the subscriptions from that city. A vast hospital with operating rooms and an X-ray room, a dental department, massage and mecano- therapy department, a pharmacy and a bacteriological laboratory were put in place. The hospital of course has a vast amount of storerooms, tents and huts for accommodation and workshops. There was even a small farm yard, effective when food was short or expensive The unit now could join the other SWH in Serbia. And in the winter of 1918, they headed up to Belgrade. The unit finished up working as the Elise Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. Mina left the unit in October 1919 but continued to work in Serbia. The hospital in Belgrade remained open until March 1920
Mina Young Moyes died on August 5, 1951, in Denbighshire, when she was 60 years old.

Anna Lilia Muncaster

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Beauly, Inverness

By casual acquaintances she was regarded as somewhat cold and reserved, but her friends and patients found in her a ready sympathy, devoid of sloppiness, a staunch loyalty and a keen sense of humour. This is how in its obituary notice the Journal of Mental Science described Anna Leila Muncaster who died aged forty five on the 26th September 1930 in Pietermaritzburg South Africa.

Born on the 20th January 1885 at Beauly near Inverness, Anna studied medicine in Edinburgh, graduating in 1909 with first class honours. On graduating from medical school Anna like many young doctors found her first professional job as an assistant medical officer at an Asylum, in her case Bangour outside Edinburgh. Asylum medical officers had a low status so the post functioned as a first step into the medical profession especially for women. From Bangour she moved to Bucknall in Staffordshire and then to the Cheshire Lunatic Asylum in Chester.

In 1915 her life changed irrevocably when she left Chester to work for the Serbian Relief Fund, in a unit set up by Mrs Stobart. Serbia where the assassination which triggered the outbreak of war had taken place was fighting to maintain its independence from the onslaught of the Austrians. The Serbian Relief Fund had established a hospital in Kragujevatz and in the summer of 1915 Mrs Stobart was extending this service by the creation of a number of dispensaries in surrounding towns to serve the civilian population. Each dispensary was staffed by a woman doctor, two nurses, cook, interpreter. Anna when she arrived in Serbia in the summer of 1915 worked at one of these dispensaries, in the town of Rudnik.

However the dispensary system did not operate for long as Germany sent forces to assist the Austrians in their invasion of Serbia. The Serbian army withdrew, dispensaries were closed and all staff concentrated in Kragujevatz. Soon this city was no longer safe and Mrs Stobarts volunteers joined the Serbian army in their desperate retreat. As winter drew in thirty doctors and nurses from the Serbian Relief Fund and Scottish Womens Hospitals joined the army and refugees who trudged across the Kosovo plain. This convoy of Serbians and medical staff had to cross the inhospitable and wild Montenegrin mountains in order to reach the safety of the ports of the Adriatic Coast. It was December and winter had set in complete with thick snow, ice and cold. Eventually they reached San Giovanni de Medua on the coast, to be rescued by ship and taken to Brindisi and the route home to Britain.

Despite this experience eight months later Anna was back in the Balkans, this time with the Scottish Womens Hospitals in northern Greece. The so called American Unit situated at Ostrovo, ninety miles inland from Salonika, was run by Dr Agnes Bennett. Here the enemy was not the Austrians but their ally Bulgaria. Fighting took place in the Kamalchalan mountains and casualties had to be transported over rocky roads for two hours to Ostrovo, The hospital contained four surgical and one medical ward each containing forty beds. As a bacteriologist Anna had responsibility for a well equipped laboratory housed in a seven foot tent as well as half of a ward. Fierce fighting by late 1916 meant that the hospital was very busy with the three surgeons, Anna, Lilian Cooper and Sybil Lewis operating all day and in to the night. In his evocative painting Travoys with Wounded Soldiers at a Dressing Station at Smol Macedonia the artist Stanley Spencer who served with 68thField Ambulance unit in Macedonia gives a visual impression of a field hospital like Ostrovo. A journey of two hours from the battlefield was too long for many casualties so a casualty clearing station was established at Dobreveni, high in the mountains close to the front line. This was manned by two doctors, four sisters and two orderlies on a six week rota and Annas calmness under fire was noted by both staff and troops.

Even a unit situated as close to the front line as Ostrovo had quieter periods. In her lively diary Ishobel Ross records Christmas celebrations, visits to the nearby Russian camp and riding in the countryside, activities in which Anna was a keen participant. No wonder when Joan Rose arrived to work at Ostrovo in 1917, she wrote admiringly of Anna who was by then the longest serving doctor at the Unit, therefore speaks with authority and with a good deal of common sense: reported to be engaged to a Serb, fraternises with the more lively section of the shovers ( chauffeurs ), likes bathing and riding and other energetic pastimes. It was this seniority of experience that led her into conflict with Dr Mary de Garis, the successor to Agnes Bennett, early in 1918 over her unwillingness to move the hospital nearer to the then front line.

Anna terminated her contract with the Red Cross in May 1918. For her work at Ostrovo she received the 4th Order of St Sava from the King of Serbia. After the War she held a number of posts in Britain before sailing to South Africa in January 1922. She worked in Asylums in Cape Town, Blomfonteim and Pietermaritzburg in the years prior to her death from a cerebral embolism in 1930, following seven months illness.

Many thanks to Carol Cole for writing this article and the site womenshistorynetwork blog.

Christine Mundie

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Peterhead

Born in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Christine’s early life was on the move. Her father George worked where he could find it. In Kent and around the south of England before moving back to Aberdeen where he took a job as a cooper. Christine after qualifying as nurse moved down to London, working as a Matron at the age of 23. In August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an Nurse. For the next year she would work under the command of Dr Elsie Ingis. Her journey took her to the Russian front. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . The Russian unit or London unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Winnie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917.Christine returned in October 1917.

Bessie Murdoch

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Elgin.

Bessie Bannerman Murdoch was born in 1881 at inverlochy farm Elgin. Her Father John was a Farmer. With her mother Mary they moved to Aberdeen. Prior to the outbreak of WW1 Bessie was living and working in America for around six years. At the start of the war Bessie returned to the UK and entered into the nursing profession. She served with a nursing unit in France for 18 months before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Bessie joined as a nurse and proceed to Serbia via Salonika. In September 1918 she was with the American unit who had been stationed at Lake Ostrovo, they had been their since 1916 supporting the Serbian troops who were pushing for home. Also in September the Bulgarians were forced and accepted an armistice. The Serb soldiers by this time were virtually running home and of course the units of the SWH went with them. Bessie’s post in Serbia was a Vranje at the former regimental barracks that shadowed the town. The building was filthy, dark and cold and inside were 450 Serbian patients. Pneumonia, pleurisy and emphysema were among the medical cases, many immediate operations were required as the surgical cases were appalling. It was also one of the few times a SWH unit was able to attend “our boys”. In one of the wards lay some English Tommies suffering from the Spanish Flu. In September 1919 Bessie left the hospital as the hospital was being closed down and staff moved up to Belgrade. Bessie went on to Constantinople to work with Armenian children at an orphanage. She returned to Aberdeen for a while before spending some time in Quebec, Canada. Bessie died in 1958 in Edinburgh, aged 77 a retired hospital matron.

Photo above is of the Hospital at Vranje

Bessie Murdoch

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Elgin.

Bessie Bannerman Murdoch was born in 1881 at inverlochy farm Elgin. Her Father John was a Farmer. With her mother Mary they moved to Aberdeen. Prior to the outbreak of WW1 Bessie was living and working in America for around six years. At the start of the war Bessie returned to the UK and entered into the nursing profession. She served with a nursing unit in France for 18 months before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Bessie joined as a nurse and proceed to Serbia via Salonika. In September 1918 she was with the American unit who had been stationed at Lake Ostrovo, they had been their since 1916 supporting the Serbian troops who were pushing for home. Also in September the Bulgarians were forced and accepted an armistice. The Serb soldiers by this time were virtually running home and of course the units of the SWH went with them. Bessie’s post in Serbia was a Vranje at the former regimental barracks that shadowed the town. The building was filthy, dark and cold and inside were 450 Serbian patients. Pneumonia, pleurisy and emphysema were among the medical cases, many immediate operations were required as the surgical cases were appalling. It was also one of the few times a SWH unit was able to attend “our boys”. In one of the wards lay some English Tommies suffering from the Spanish Flu. In September 1919 Bessie left the hospital as the hospital was being closed down and staff moved up to Belgrade. Bessie went on to Constantinople to work with Armenian children at an orphanage. She returned to Aberdeen for a while before spending some time in Quebec, Canada. Bessie died in 1958 in Edinburgh, aged 77 a retired hospital matron.

Photo above is of the Hospital at Vranje

Marion Nicholls

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: Holloway, Middlesex.

Marion Nicholls was born in 1876 at Holloway, Middlesex. Her father Edward was a furniture maker. After leaving school Marion trained as a chemist and in 1911 was working in Burton on Tent as a dispenser to a local Doctor. April 1915, Marion she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as clerk and departed to Serbia. She met her new colleagues including four Doctors for the first time on Cardiff docks where they were regaled to the song of “Long way to Tipperary” and boarded the SS Ceramic and headed for Salonika(Greece) where by train they would travel to Valjevo in Serbia. On board with her were Chief Medical Officer Dr Alice Hutchinson, 25 nurses, a sanitary inspector, matron, clerk(Marion), 2 cooks, four orderlies and two handymen ( the only males of the unit). The voyage took a detour and docked at Malta for around 3 weeks at the request of the Home Office. Soldiers mainly from Australia and New Zealand were pouring in from Gallipoli many with serious wounds. The unit began working immediately at the Hospital of the Knights of St John, however they were ordered by the SWH to move on to Serbia and keep on programme.
Valjevo was a small town, 80 miles south of Belgrade. Lying in a sleepy green valley Marion would have felt at home, however only a few months earlier Valjevo had looked very different. The big guns boomed day and night, men fell in their thousands, civilian’s were rounded up and often massacred and the dreaded Typhus raged through Serbia, uncontrollable and without mercy. The mortality rate in Valjevo was 70% and as a result they lost a huge number of Doctor’s and nurses.
By the time the unit reached Valjevo things were improving however there was much to be done, Valjevo had been on the front line and with the summer heat and all the rotten flesh from man and animal, the flies swarmed in their millions bringing diseases.
The hospital was under canvas, the 40 tents pitched on the hillside over looked the town and by and large up until August there were few serious cases. Their was still plenty to do, many wounds had been untended and cases scurvy and malnutrition required urgent attention. However by mid August the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. Also making an unwelcome comeback was Typhus and sadly nurse Sutherland succumbed to the deadly disease. Mary left Serbia in September 1915 and only just in time as by October the entire nation was thrown into chaos. All the units in Serbia faced the agonizing dilemma, stay and effectively become a Pow or go with the retreating army into Albania. In the end some stayed and some went. Marion choose to stay. In fact most of the women were very loyal to their CMO’s and Marion was no different. After a hungry, cold and frustrating two months under guard the unit returned to blighty in February 1916. After returning home Marion continued her war in France working for the French Red Cross
By 1919 she was worked as a dispenser at the Royal Victoria Hospital at Netley, Southampton. Marion never married but enjoyed a busy life right up until she passed away in 1952.

Ruth Nicholson

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Newcastle

Ruth Nicholson was born on 2 December 1884, the daughter of the Rev. Canon Nicholson. She was educated at Newcastle-on-Tyne High School and the Universities of Durham and Dundee, taking the degrees M.B., B.S. in 1909; B.Hy., D.P.H. in 1911 and M.S. in 1923. After graduating in 1909 she worked in a dispensary in Newcastle before going to Edinburgh where she became an assistant to Dr Elsie Inglis in the Bruntsfield Hospital. Prior to the war she worked in Gaza in Palestine. With the onset of war she returned home and after being turned down for a voluntary medical unit she was accepted by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and became an Assistant Surgeon at Royaumont Hospital, December 1914-February 1919. Ruths younger sister Alison was at Royaumont with the SWH. After the war she specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology and became Gynaecological Surgeon and Clinical Lecturer at the University of Liverpool and was one of the earliest Fellows of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She became the first woman President of the North of England Society of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and played a prominent part in the Medical Womens Federation. Dr Ruth Nicholson died in Exeter on 18 July 1963.

Alison May Nicholson

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Newcastle

Alison May Nicholson was the daughter of Rev. Canon Nicholson and youngest sister of Dr Ruth Nicholson. She served as an Orderly in the Royaumont Hospital; entering France in September 1916 and working as an orderly until March 1919. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Maude volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform. Maude went through some very tough times at the Abbey, including The Battle of the Somme, when she would have worked day and night carrying the wounded from ward to ward. And of course much worse. Train loads of men arrived at the Abbey each day, men peppered with bullet holes or suffering from gas gangrene, amputations were all to common. They worked until exhausted, sleeping was a luxury, often the women became sick from all the endless hours of contentiousness work. Her medals are in the photo above.

Edith Nicol

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Born in Glasgow, her father James from Fettercairn was a ship owner. Mary joined SWH as a cook. Her enrollment date of October 1915 means that she would have participated in the redeployment of the Girton and Newnham Unit from Troyes, France to Macedonia. Firstly to the improvised hospital in a disused factory in the border town of Geuvgelia and then, with the retreat in the face of the rapid Bulgarian advance in the winter of 1915/1916, to the city of Salonica in Greece. .The hospital as Geuvgelia was in a disused silk worm factory. The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed. The demands on the cooks were also challenging. The one advantage at Salonika was it was a port and supply ships were pretty reliable . The hospital unit also grew vegetables and raised some livestock easing the pressures. In November 1916 Edith returned home, most likely for a break. She joined her unit again in February 1917 and left service in November 1917.

Margaret Nicolson

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: isle of skye

Margaret Nicolson was born 6/5/1880 at Strolomus in the Parish of Strath,Isle of Skye. Margaret’s parents Alexander and Ann(McRae) were also born in the Parish.
1881 Census of Strath has Maggie (10 months)living with parents and siblings Roderick (6),Samuel(5),and Kate(3).All of the family were born in the Parish,where Maggie’s father was a crofter.

1891 Census of Strath show the family living at 17,Strolomus. Alexander’s occupation is given as “Ground Officer”.Maggie,now aged 10,was a scholar living with her parents and six siblings.

1901 Census of Strath show the family now living at 12,Strolomus but Maggie wasn’t present on that Census night.

1911 Census of Strath,has the family living at Strolomus Lodge. Thirty years old Maggie is at home, occupation given as “Hospital nurse”, living with her parents, two brothers and aunt. Her father is a farmer and one of her brothers, Samuel,is also working on the farm. Her younger brother,27 years old John,is a Schoolmaster. The census also states that parents Alex and Ann had been married for 38 years and have seven living children..

Not much is known of maggie, she joined the SWH on the 21st of December 1916 at the same time as Mary Mackenzie, they seem to have been friends( have a photo of the two of them in uniform), however Maggie headed to Royaumont Abbey out side of Paris she worked there as a nurse until 2nd of January 1919.

Catherine Nicolson

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: isle of skye

Catherine Nicolson was born 6/5/1877 at Strolomus in the Parish of Strath,Isle of Skye. Catherine’s parents Alexander and Ann(McRae) were also born in the Parish.
1881 Census of Strath has Kate(Catherine)(3)and Maggie (10 months)living with parents and siblings Roderick (6),Samuel(5).All of the family were born in the Parish,where Maggie’s father was a crofter.

1891 Census of Strath show the family living at 17,Strolomus. Alexander’s occupation is given as “Ground Officer”.

Catherine in February 1915 got the train from station at Kyle of Lochalsh and headed to Edinburgh where she met up with her unit and headed for Serbia, Via Southampton and Salonika. Catherine served with the SWH as a nurse with Dr. McGregor’s unit in Mladenovatz in Serbia from 1st July 1915 when the tasks were both treating war injured and dealing with a severe typhus epidemic. The Serbian army’s medical capabilities were woefully inadequate (their army medical service had a mere 300 doctors to serve half a million troops) and there was little commitment to maintaining appropriate levels of hygiene and sanitation in the army. As a consequence infectious diseases, especially typhus, took a heavy toll on the army and on the civilian population.

The Serbian army were forced into retreat in the second half of 1915 and marched through south Serbia and into Albania and Montenegro where, after enduring indescribable hardship, the survivors were picked up by the Italian and French navies and taken to safety in Corfu. The SWH and other British military, medical and relief missions joined the retreat and endured the same hardships as the soldiers. Catherine with her friend Mary Mackenzie made this epic journey. Enduring the freezing temperatures, the walking for days and days over the mountain passes and the huge suffering of a people now starving, homeless and without hope. Catherine returned home a few days before Christmas 1915.
Undaunted by these experiences and clearly determined to help the Serbian people, Catherine in May 1916 joined the SWH again as a nurse and sailed to the island of Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overtaking by invading forces. Catherine and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. Catherine left the hospital in March 1917, her sister Maggie was still working at Royaumont in France but Catherine decided to again help the Serb’s who were now pushing their way back in their homeland. In September 1917 she was reunited with her highland friends Mary and Florence Mackenzie who were working with the American unit at Ostrovo Lake 30 miles north of Salonika. On 30 September 1918 the unit received news of the armistice with Bulgaria and on the morning of 23 October the unit started for northern Serbia with a convoy of nine vehicles on a 311 kilometer trek. All the staff made the trip and the unit was set up in an abandoned army barracks in Vranje, Serbia. The scenes at Vranje were awful, the entire city was one huge unattended hospital, disease, soldiers requiring urgent attention and homeless women and children often dying with starvation and frostbite. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks and packed with hundreds of patients with a hole manner appalling conditions, pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one of women’s account of the children ” the injuries are terrible, we have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds” The unit was closed at Vranje in the summer if 1919. Catherine was awarded the Serbian Cross of Mercy. An astonishing lady who served with the Scottish Women;s Hospitals through the very worst of times. Brimming with courage and ability her contribution was indeed vast. Thankfully there is a monument at Mladenovac to reflect on the work theses women did during that time.

Photo is of the station at Kyle of Lochalsh in 1914

Annie Noble

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Annie Morrison Noble
Born in Glasgow in 1875. According to the 1981 census, Annie was raised by her mother Susan who worked with needle work and was also a housekeeper.
In 1911 Annie was working in Runcorn and was now assistant matron.

In 1915 Annie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s at Royaumont Abbey close to Paris. Annie served as a nurse between August 1915- August 1916.
From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women.

In 1921, Annie was appointed Matron. She was trained at the North Devon Infirmary, Barnstaple, where she was Night Sister, Day Sister, Assistant Matron, and Matron. Annie Morrison Noble never married and died in 1944. She was living in Croydon and on the 25th of February 1944 she was injured but died in the General Hospital. Recorded as a civilian death during ww2.

Catherine Bride O Rorke

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: County Clare Ireland

Catherine was raised in County Clare, her father Cornelius was a Sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary.

Catherine joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1915 and worked as a nurse at Royaumont Abbey France until April 1918. Sister Catherine in August 1915 had underwent the alarming experience of being arrested with, Miss Edith Cavell (in whose home she was working) by the Germans in Brussels.She was arrested on 3 August 1915 and charged with harbouring Allied soldiers. Edith Cavell was found guilty by the German court and shot.

At the Abbey Catherine was known as hard working and always keen to muck in, she was a well liked and a valued member of staff.
In January 1919 she headed to Serbia where she took the appointment as sister in charge at Vranje working with the American Unit under the command of Emslie Hutton. Latter she joined the American Mission in Serbia and in 1921 she joined the team of Katherine McPhail children’s hospital in Belgrade. Miss O’Rorke was awarded by the French Government the Medaille Militaire, and by the Serbian Government the the Order of St. Sava.
She also received the Croix de Guerre of France, and the Cross of the Red Cross Society, Belgrade. Catherine died in a Swiss hospital in 1932.

Elspet Officer

Date of Bith: 1863
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Elspet Officer was born in Edinburgh, her father William who was originally from Stonehaven was a solicitor, the family lived in Stafford rd Edinburgh.
In the summer of 1917 three canteens for the French soldiers were opened by the SWH. The one at Soissons was connected with Royaumont, and was part of the work undertaken by the hospital. The two at Creil and Crepy-en-Valois were under the supervision of Miss Jack. It was at Crepy-en-Valois that Elspet volunteered to work in the canteen from October 1917-September 1918. The canteen at Crepy was located right in the train station and it was common for 15,000 troops per day to be on the move. The object of the canteens was to provide the soldiers with a hot drink or a quick bite to eat. The soldiers would arrive by train, bound for the front line or returning on leave. Often the men had gone days without food. The site of smiling faces with their 1200 litre basins filled with coffee or soup must have felt homely and welcoming, especially for the lads heading to the front. Trains arrived from all over the front, Dunkirk, Soissons and Fismes bringing troops from all over the world, French, British, Canadian, American and many from the French Colonies. Heavy work lugging the boiling cooking pots around, freezing cold as they were largely in the open and clouds of smoke coming from the six stoves usually stoked by the men. During December 1917 194,000 soups and coffees were served. The authorities embraced the idea warmly and for the Poilu an important respite. Major German offensives took place during the summer of 1918 and Crepy was shelled and the town blown to pieces. All that remained of the canteen was a sign hanging on a post ” Cantine des Dames Ecossaies” service in September 1918. Elspet died in Edinburgh in 1951

Lilian Margaret Oliver

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Pembrokeshire

Lilian Margaret OLIVER was born in Talbenny, Pembrokeshire, Wales on 11th June 1889 and baptised in Talbenny Church on 17th July the same year. Her father George was the local blacksmith. She was working as a nurse, at the Savernake Hospital in Marlborough in 1911.

At the time of Lilian joining the SWH in 1918 there were eight SWH hospital units working in the field. Lilian joined the unit at Ajaccio in Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overrun by invading forces. Elizabeth with her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. When the unit arrived in Corsica it was a very different picture. The hospital had opened on Christmas day 1915 and instantly got to work as over three hundred refugees had traveled with them. Within days another ship with over 500 refugees arrived. The hospital closed n 1919 and did a magnificent job of caring for the thousands of Serb civilians. Many of whom were children. Between April 1918 and October 1918 Lilian served as a nurse. Unfortunately little more is known of what became of Lilian.

Alexandrina Onslow

Date of Bith: 1868
Place of Birth: Wales

Alexandrina Maria Onslow

Alexandrina joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in 30-Aug-16 1-Mar-17 and 26-Jun-17 24-Nov-17. She served as a driver on the russian front.

Alexandrina Maria Onslow was born in January 1868 in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, the child of Harington Campbell and Helen J, wife of Harington Onslow. Her father Harington was a captain in the Royal Navy.
Joining Elsie Inglis London unit, donations where sent from London and that’s why the name. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost 100 men. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. Alexandrina played a pivotal roll returning home in December 1916 to drum up more drivers.In the book “Between the lines” you can read huge amount of detail on her life. In 1918 she met the famous Croatian painter Nasta Rojc. She died in Zagreb in 1950.

Details of her post war years are on this site. http://www.slobodnadalmacija.hr/scena/kultura/clanak/id/232005/nasta-rojc-slikarica-ispred-svoga-i-naseg-vremena

Rotha Beryl Orman

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: London

Born as Rotha Beryl Orman in Kensington London, she was the daughter of Charles Edward Orman, a Major from theEssex Regiment, and his wife, Blanch Lintorn, née Simmons. Her maternal grandfather was Field Marshal Sir John Lintorn Arabin Simmons. She would later adopt the name of Rotha Lintorn-Orman.

Rotha on the 3rd of August joined the SWH as an ambulance driver , she boarded the Dunluce Castle ship at Southampton and with her unit(the American unit) set sail for Salonika. The journey to Salonika was a nervous affair. While the women of the unit spent the 10 day journey learning languages and keeping fit, the ship was in constant danger from mines, submarines and Zeppelins overhead. . Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians.From 1916-1917 Florence would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going. Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Very hot summers and cold winters and on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. Rotha worked for periods at Salonika, Lake Ostrovo, Mikra Bay and a number of small field dressing hospitals. Rotha left the SWH inJanuary 1917 and remained in Salonika working for the Women’s Reserve Ambulance and was decorated for her contribution at the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917.

Rotha was a controversial character and on her return was an early British fascist and was the founder and sometime leader of the British Fascisti, the first avowedly fascist movement to appear in British politics.She died in March 1935 at Las Palmas, Canary Islands, with her organisation all but defunct

Helen Orient Pagan

Date of Bith: 1866
Place of Birth: New Zealand

Helen was born abt 1866 in Wellington,New Zealand. Her mother was Glasgow born,Mary.No news on her father.
1881 Census of 153 Garthland Drive,Glasgow shows 15 years old Helen and 5 sisters living with their mother.All the girls were NZ born.
1891 Census show the family living at 281 Sauchiehall Street,Glasgow.Helen is working as a Domestic servant.
1901 census shows Helen at her sister’s house in Paisley.Helen,now aged 35,is a Hospital nurse.
Helen Orient Pagan of Scottish Nurse’s Club,203 Bath Street,Glasgow died 1/8/1941 in Glasgow.

Nurse Helen joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the 1st of February 1915, and at the end of February, Helen with 9 other fever nurses and a cook left Newport and sailed for Salonika.
At Salonika the units orders were to en-train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The equipment and medical supplies they had hoped to bring with them never made it, being held up on the railway line between Edinburgh and Newport. However Sir Thomas Lipton kindly volunteered to get the provisions to Salonika on his private yacht, a trip he would make again and again as he too worked to help the Serbian people. At Kraguivac they joined their CMO Dr Soultau and got straight to work.The unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospitals. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus.The impact theses Doctors and nurses had was enormous, no wonder today they are so fondly remembered in Serbia. In march, sadly three nurses, Jordan, Minshull and Fraser all died in consecutive weeks during March. Certainly Helen played her part in what were extremely difficult and testing days.

Helen left Serbia in June 1915.
Photo above is of Sir Thomas Liptons yacht.

Grace Winifred Pailthorpe

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Epsom,Surrey

Grace Winifred Pailthorpe was born in Epsom, Surrey, England in 1883 to Annie Lavinia and Edward Wright Pailthorpe. In 1901 she was living in the family home at 106 Brighton Road, Reigate. In August 1916 at the request of Mrs Harley she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital and served with the American unit at Ostrovo in Northern Greece. Grace only served for a few months, perhaps Mrs Harley’s feuds and spats with all around her played a part. Grace also served during ww1 as Doctor with the French Red Cross. 1918-22 She worked as District Medical Officer in Western Australia and inDecember 1921: She arrived in Vancouver, Canada on the Makura from Honolulu, Hawaii.
1922: She returned to England and took up the study of Psychological Medicine. She received her M.D. from the University of Durham in 1925. In 1930: Her exhibits in the main Surrealist exhibitions and in 1938 publishes The Scientific Aspect of Surrealism which was probably instrumental in her expulsion from the group in 1940. In 1947 she returned to England and practiced at the beginning of the 1950s as a psychoanalyst in London. In later years her painting turned to Eastern mysticism – to the detriment of surrealism, because she bequeathed her large collection of surrealist art to a yoga society, which burned it.
She initiated the establishment of the world’s first clinic for the psychological treatment of prison inmates. Soon after the Institute for the Scientific Treatment of Delinquency was formed – now known as the Portman Clinic.
from 1940 to 1971 She continued her painting and research in combination with Reuben Mednikoff until their deaths within six months of each other in 1971.
In July 1971 she died in Hastings, Sussex.

Gertrude Pares

Date of Bith: 1867
Place of Birth: Ockbrook, Derbyshire

Birth
1867
Abt
Ockbrook, Derbyshire, England

Residence
1871
Age: 4
Thursley, Surrey, England

Residence
1881
Age: 14
All Saints, Sussex, England

1937
13 Mar
Age: 70
Death
Salisbury, Wiltshire, England

Gertrude grew up in the family home with her Father William and Mother Helen. Her father died when she was young. Before heading to the war she was living with Dr Beatrice McGregor who would be her CMO in Serbia. In June 1915 Gretrude joined the SWH as administrator. In April 1915 the typhus outbreak that had been under control in Serbia suddenly started to show signs of relapse. The town of Mladenovac was considered at risk and the SWH were asked to step in and provide a hospital in case of a new epidemic. Dr Elsie Inglis wasted no time in dispatching a hospital unit to Mladenovac. The unit ran a 300 bed hospital and with things being fairly quiet they opened a dispensary for the women and children which became very popular.
Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100′s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Gertrude and a band of others joined “The Great Serbian Retreat”
The retreat as witnessed by Gertrude and her unit was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000′s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 200,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Gertrude wrote of her ordeal ” long after dark we were still struggling along, hardly able to stand for very weariness,and constantly falling on the slippery ice.At least we saw a light,and at 9 0 clock after 13 hours walking, we thankfully threw ourselves down on the mud floor,round the blazing logs,in a peasant’s cottage. With great difficulty we took off our frozen boots, and then sat contentedly gnawing the remains of frozen bread and meat from our bread bags, and drinking with relish our milk-less and sugarless tea till we fell asleep, so closely packed that we could not turn over, too thankful to be under cover to be critical of our neighbours, or of the state of the floor,or even of the acrid wood-smoke that filled our nostrils and made our eyes stream with tears”

Dr. Beatrice McGregor and Gertrude Pares appear on the electoral list in the 1920s sharing a home in Dorset. No one could blame them for seeking the relative tranquility of rural England.

Gertrude Pares passed away in 1937, aged 70 years. Her death was registered in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England.

Many thanks to Chris Burge.

Gertrude is on the right of the photo.

Flora Parker

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Essex

Flora Helen Oxley Parker was born in Hatfield Peverel , Baintree , Essex, United Kingdom in 1889 to Helen Cecilia and Christopher William Parker.
The census for 1911 shows she was living in Faulkbourne Hall, Witham , Essex, United Kingdom. Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospital Flora spent her war years at the British Red Cross, Witham Auxiliary Hospital , Essex, United Kingdom. British Red Cross, Hospitals at Mentone and Grinoble , France. In May 1918 Flora joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a Driver. Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed The Elsie Inglis unit . On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of 25 personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Flora joined the unit at Vertekop, the work was supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian. As the Serbs pushed for home a dressing station was located at Donii Pojar a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the named Dead horse camp on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. After a fews weeks working at the units hospital in Skopje, Flora in December 1918 returned home.

Flora Helen Oxley Parker in 1926 died in near Tonbridge , Kent, United Kingdom

Winifred Parry

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Maidstone.

Born Winifred Helen Parry in 1888. Winifred was the daughter of Owen Parry, a Welshman who’s occupation was fireman on the railway. Winifred before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals worked as a nurse at West Kent General Hospital, Maidstone Kent.
In April 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and head to Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. That spell at the hospital at Royaumont is described as the units “Finest Hour” . Germany in 1918 had an huge advantage over the allies, in that its war with Russia had ended. Vast amounts of troops could now be deployed to the western front. A freezing winter was followed by attack after attack from both sides. Continuous fighting went on from March until September. The wounded flowed into Royaumont. The staff at the hospital worked night and day. They could often hear the booms and thunderous sounds of the bombs and the gun fire. At one point a munitions train exploded, so close that the tables and chairs danced around the room and windows smashed. Fearful for their lives but never considering throwing the towel in, nurses like Winifred worked on. Giving the severity of the wounded and the pressure in which they worked, its remarkable that so lives were lost under their care. By the end of September war was coming to an end. And in October Winifred returned home.

Eliza Partick

Date of Bith: 1865
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Born Eliza Robb Patrick in October 1865, she grew up in the family home in Bridgeton, Glasgow. Her father William was a GP in the city as was her brother John. In 1891 she was teaching music from the family home but by 1901 she had progressed to Kitchen Superintendent at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley. In December 1914 she joined the war effort and became employed as cook with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. This unit under the stewardship of Dr Eleanor Soltau was the first Serbian unit to be sent to Serbia by Dr Elsie Inglis. They boarded the SS Nile at Southampton on the 1st of December 1914 and headed for Serbia via Salonika. At the time of crossing the mission looked bleak as large parts of Serbia including Belgrade had fallen into enemy hands. But on arrival at Salonika they were greeted and uplifted by the tremendous news that Serbia had been victorious in the battle of the ridges and despite heavy losses and an epidemic of typhus had pushed the Austrian/Hungarian troops out of Serbia for the second time on a few short months.

At Salonika Eleanors orders were to en-train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The unit arrived on the 6th of January and was geared for a 100 beds but immediately had to admit 250 patients and soon after 650. Eleanor and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospitals. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus.
In march 1915, sadly three nurses, Jordan, Minshull and Fraser all died in consecutive weeks during March and by mid April Eleanor was ill, suffering from diphtheria she was force to return home and was replaced with Elise Inglis. Eliza became great friends with Maud Ford( photo above has Eliza sitting next to Maud.) The hospital was doing a quite fantastic job supporting the Serbs. Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. In November Eliza under the leadership of William Smith, with 29 SWH member’s joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Eliza and her band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Eliza and the others made it back to the UK on the 23rd of December. On her return she held a number of talks on her exploits in the mountains and of her love for the Serbian people.

Eliza Robb Patrick died in Rutherglen in 1942, she never married.

Bessie McLean Peddie

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Creiff Perthshire

Bessie grew up in the village of Fowlis Wester near Creiff, Perthshire. Her father Peter was a framer.
Bessie joined the SWH in October 1918 and worked as a nurse with the Girton and Newnham unit. Initially she was stationed at Salonika, but with the Serbs and allies now pushing there way back into Serbia she found herself in 1919 working in Belgrade. The Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade was set up by the unit, Louise Mcllroy, the units chief medical officer in particular making sure a fitting building was found. By October 1919 things were slowing down and Belgrade was beginning to return to normality, Bessie returned home after her war experience.

Annie Younger Peebles

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Duke Town Africa

Annie was born in Old Calabar(Duke Town) she grew up in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway. Her father was William Peebles and was a minister for the Free Church of Scotland. Annie came from a large family who lived at the manse in Annan.
Annie enlisted as a nurse in March 1916 and headed to Salonika. She worked with Girton and Newnham unit for the next 6 months before returning home. The Unit had initially been established in Troyes in France, but was selected to accompany the French Expeditionary Force to the Eastern Mediterranean. On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed.

In May 1919 Annie went back to Serbia this with the American unit and headed to Vranje in the south of Serbia. The hospital was full to overflowing and hundreds came to the outpatients, by this stage the war was over but the need to go on nursing Serbia was in great demand. The hospital was closed in September 1919 and Annie returned home. We know she went on to be a Nurse in America but that is all we have at this time.

Annie Younger Peebles

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Duke Town Africa

Annie was born in Old Calabar(Duke Town) she grew up in Annan, Dumfries and Galloway. Her father was William Peebles and was a minister for the Free Church of Scotland. Annie came from a large family who lived at the manse in Annan.
Annie enlisted as a nurse in March 1916 and headed to Salonika. She worked with Girton and Newnham unit for the next 6 months before returning home. The Unit had initially been established in Troyes in France, but was selected to accompany the French Expeditionary Force to the Eastern Mediterranean. On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese

The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army

The summer in Macedonia in 1916 was very hot and brought with it the attendant problems of dysentery, flies and, worse of all, malaria. The nursing duties would have been very heavy indeed.

In May 1919 Annie went back to Serbia this with the American unit and headed to Vranje in the south of Serbia. The hospital was full to overflowing and hundreds came to the outpatients, by this stage the war was over but the need to go on nursing Serbia was in great demand. The hospital was closed in September 1919 and Annie returned home. We know she went on to be a Nurse in America but that is all we have at this time.

Daphne Persse

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Galway

Born on 27 June 1889 in Galway, Ireland. Daphne Gertrude Persse lived in the family home with her father Robert and mother Eleanor. Her brother Rodolph Algernon died on 1 January 1915 in Ginchy, Somme, France, when Daphne Gertrude was 25 years old.
Daphne joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in April 1917. Serving in the London Unit she headed to the Roumanian front, joining Dr Elsie Inglis hospital as an orderly. The unit returned home in November 1917. In February 1918 Daphne joined the Elsie Inglis Unit and headed to Serbia. The unit supported the Serb troops in their push for home. The unit mainly operated in Macedonia . Daphne returned home in January 1919.
In 1924 she married Charles Joseph Newbold in London.
Daphne Gertrude Persse died on 12 February 1960 in London, London, when she was 70 years old.

Agnes, S Peters

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Arbroath

In 1911 Agnes was living at number 20 Addison place in Arbroath, Angus. She was residing with her sister Mary and nephew Donald she was the head of house, her place of birth was given as Arbroath.

In April Dr Alice Hutchinson took charge of the second Serbian unit and on the 21st of April 1915 Alice and her unit which included Agnes and 24 other nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic(photo above). They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.
By late October 1915 Belgrade had fallen and Serbia was forced into retreat, Dr Alice Hutchinson’s unit refused to leave and short spells at Vrinjacka Banja and Krushevac when they organized dressing hospitals they were eventually taken as prisoners of war. On the 5th of November Agnes left her unit and joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Agnes and her group of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000’s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Agnes received several medals for her endevours during ww1 and understand that she may have died in her home town of Arbroath.

Mary Elizabeth Phillips

Date of Bith: 1875
Place of Birth: Breconshire, Wales

Mary Elizabeth Phillips was the first woman to qualify as a doctor from Cardiff University College at the turn of the century and became known as Mary ‘Eppynt’ Phillips, taking the name from the mountain near where she was born. Her father William was a farmer and Mary went to school in the area.
Her involvement in the First World War came in December 1914 when she received a letter from the Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service, Edinburgh, asking her to travel to Calais at once to assist at a hospital that had been established there.The hospital at Calais was the Scottish Women’s Hospitals first hospital to be set up.Dr Mary Eppynt Phillips was in Calais by Christmas Day 1914 and worked until April 1915.
She was involved in running the Typhoid Hospital at Calais before joining the 2nd Serbian Unit as a Senior Physician at the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Valjevo, Serbia in April. Mary was greatly loved by the Serbian people who called her “Drouga doukha” (second mother)
Fever forced her to return to Britain in 1915 where, having recovered, she undertook a lecture tour to raise funds for the Scottish Women’s Hospital. Returning to the continent in April 1916, she travelled to Corsica where she was the Chief Medical Officer at the hospital in Ajaccio on the island. Here she remained until she travelled home in June 1917. Mary worked at Merthyr Tydfil training Serbian girls to become nurses. After that she moved to London. Mary died in 1956.

Elsie Pleister

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: London

Elsie Margaret J Pleister was born in St John’s Wood, United Kingdom in 1890.
On the 30th of August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Sanitary inspector. She joined the Elsie Inglis London unit, donations where sent from London and that’s why the name. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost 100 men. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Elsie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. As sanitary inspector Elise was responsible for clean running water, all manners of medical and human waste and often the burials of the dead men. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. Elsie returned home in August 1917 and in 1982 she died in Cambridge.

Ruth Plimsoll

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: London

Ruth Wade Plimsoll was born in london, United Kingdom in 1891 to Harriet frankish Wade and samuel Plimsoll. Her father Samuel Plimsoll was an English politician and social reformer, now best remembered for having devised the Plimsoll line (a line on a ship’s hull indicating the maximum safe draft, and therefore the minimum freeboard for the vessel in various operating conditions). In the 1920s Plimsoll shoe’s were named for their similarity in appearance to the Plimsoll line on boats. Prior to joining the war effort Ruth was living in the very affluent area of Mayfair. In August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an ambuslance driver. Her journey took her to the Russian front. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard The Huntspill a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle.The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Ruth worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. At Bubbul Mic she was in charge of the cholera victums. This ambulance was kept separtated from the others in order to take cases to isolation hospitals. During one of her journeys, she narrowly escaped death as a bomb fell in the exact spot where she had been waiting. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. In March 1917 Ruth returned home. All the drivers worked in frantic conditions, with bombs often raining down on them as they transported patients to the various hospitals. Ruth Wade Plimsoll died in hampshire in 1957, she never married.

Irene Plunket

Date of Bith: Berkshire, England
Place of Birth: 1885

Irene Arthur Lifford Plunket was born on May 9, 1885, in Cookham, Berkshire to Louisa Frances HEWITT, age 38, and Hon Arthur Cecil Crampton Plunket. She had four brothers and four sisters. Irene joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in April 1917[ her sister died in April] and headed to the Russian front. Irene was enrolled as an orderly. Irene joined the unit as part of a support group but unfortunately these were the closing months for the unit. The Russian soldiers were increasingly restless, war was dragging on and millions dead. During the summer and into the autumn tensions were mounting as revolution was in air. Irene returned home in November 1917.
In the 1920’s she turned to writing and produced the book ” Europe in the Middle Ages” Irene Arthur Lifford PLUNKET died on April 11, 1970, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, when she was 84 years old. She never married.

Margaret Alexandra Poock

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: London

Born in January 1894. Margaret was raised in the family home in St George Hanover Square, London, England. Her father Ebenezer was a surgeon. In October 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals London unit{Elisie Inglis unit}, a unit that traveled from Greece into Macedonia and finally into Serbia. The units This unit supported the Serbs in their push for home. Margaret joined as an Auxiliary Nurse and in April 1919 she joined the Girton and Newnham unit. She continued to work with the unit, now in Belgrade. She worked in the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital until October 1919. Making her one of the last to leave. After the war she married Col Charles Brewitt in Cathedral Church, Rangoon, Burma. In 1945 Margaret and her husband returned from Burma after Charles retired from working with the Burmese railways. Margaret died aged 77. This was 1971 and she was living in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

Cicely Mary Leigh Pope

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Redbourn, Herts

.Born December 1889 and Baptised at Redbourn, Herts 8th January 1890, Daughter of Frances A. Pope, of 12A, Kensington Mansions, Earls Court, London, and the late Rev. W. A. Pope.

Joined the Girton and Newnham unit in 1917 under the command of Dr Mcllroy, Cicely was posted to Salonika as an orderly. Cicley was something of a “star” full of fun and zest, she often in her spare time loved to sing and dance. Described as having blue eyes, curly hair and roguish smile, she kept the audience in constant merriment. She was known to everyone as “Popeski”. We know Cicely remained with the unit until 1919 so perhaps she ended up in Belgrade at the end of the war. There are few detail on her. At some point she returned to Serbia as a VAD. Cicely sadly died on 25th June 1921 and is buried in Chela Kula Military Cemetery, Nis, Serbia.

Ethel Portus

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Wales

Ethel Emma Portus, daughter to George Portus. George was a surgeon. Was born in 1887 in the Welsh district of Flintshire. In 1901 Ethel was employed as Matron in Bute cottage hospital in Luton. In 1911 Ethel is working in Liverpool in what looks like the field of medicine. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1915, working as a nurse she served at Royaumont Abbey close to Paris. Royaumont Abbey was built by Saint Louis between 1228 and 1235 under the oversight of his mother, Blanche de Castille.
The abbey’s isolated location, simple layout and unadorned buildings bespeak its origins as a Cistercian monastery. Remaining closely associated with the monarchy until the French Revolution (Cardinal Mazarin became its abbot in 1645 and the abbey was given to the House of Lorraine between 1651 and 1728), Royaumont was host to intellectuals and artists from its inception. Vincent de Beauvais, encyclopaedist and author of the Speculum Majus, was appointed reader at Royaumont in 1246 and Louis XIII held one of his ballets, La Merlaison, there in 1635.

In 1791, the abbey was sold as “national property” but saved from destruction by its water system. It was transformed into a cotton mill, one of the largest industrial sites in the Seine-et-Oise region. Meanwhile, it became a magnet for society and the arts, with the Théâtre de Royaumont attracting the Parisian upper crust between 1834 and 1840. Converted to a noviciate in 1869, the abbey was extensively restored. The Goüin family then acquired it in 1905. During the First World War, the family made the site available to the Scottish Women’s Hospital, which cared for more than 12,000 wounded soldiers there between 1915 and 1919. Ethel worked at the abbey until July 1916. She was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for her gallant efforts.

After the war she never married but returned to Liverpool and in April 1927 in passed away at the Robert Davis nursing home.

Lina Potter

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: London

Lina Mary Potter was born in London in 1876, her father John was a Physician. Lina would follow her father into medicine and after qualifying as a Doctor, she went to work at London’s Greenwich Union Infirmary. In February 1916 Lina was in Corfu working as a Doctor with the Serbian Relief Fund. Corfu was to become the temporary home of the Serbian Army after its catastrophic retreat from Serbia, when Tens of thousands of its civilians and soldiers died when forced into exile. Lina joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916, this time she traveled with Dr Elise Inglis to the Russian front. Supporting the Serb forces on the Russian front was a particularly punishing with the various retreats and bloody offensives that took place, often with the Serbs being put in impossible situations. Lina returned to London in March 1917. She seems to have spent some time on the Western front working in Reni, France. In August she returned to service with the SWH. Lina was invited to join the staff at Royaumont hospital near Paris. Five of the Doctors had become sick, mainly with over work during the days of final push. Lina after the war worked in London and also in Geneva, where she took a position with the Red Cross.

Lina died in London in 1952.

Winifred May Price

Date of Bith: 1898
Place of Birth: Newport, Wales

Winnie grow up in Newport Wales. Her father Tomas was Congregational Minister in the town and Winnie lived in the family home with her mother and three siblings.

On the 1st of July she joined the Scottish women’s hospitals and headed for Serbia as on orderly. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Elizabeth was a nurse and there was no shortage of work. In October 1915 Serbia was invaded not just by Austria and Hungary but the Germans and Bulgarians who vowed to crush Serbs, finally breaking her back. The Serbs were fractured and exhausted after months of fighting alone. Typhus epidemics and starvation had taken its toll and ammunition was down to the last. Winnie or “The Kiddie” as she was know because of her young age, being only 18 at the time was lucky to escape the coming months and in October she left Serbia. She was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, 1914-1920 (W. Price.), Serbia, Cross of Mercy.

Winifred May Price

Date of Bith: 1898
Place of Birth: Newport, Wales

Winnie grow up in Newport Wales. Her father Tomas was Congregational Minister in the town and Winnie lived in the family home with her mother and three siblings.

On the 1st of July she joined the Scottish women’s hospitals and headed for Serbia as on orderly. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Elizabeth was a nurse and there was no shortage of work. In October 1915 Serbia was invaded not just by Austria and Hungary but the Germans and Bulgarians who vowed to crush Serbs, finally breaking her back. The Serbs were fractured and exhausted after months of fighting alone. Typhus epidemics and starvation had taken its toll and ammunition was down to the last. Winnie or “The Kiddie” as she was know because of her young age, being only 18 at the time was lucky to escape the coming months and in October she left Serbia. She was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, 1914-1920 (W. Price.), Serbia, Cross of Mercy.

Ruth Proctor

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Huntly

Ruth Elizabeth Proctor, was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Her father Charles was a chemist. Ruth gained a M.A. in 1908 and a M.B., Ch.B. in 1913 at St. Andrew’s University. During the Great War she was Civil Surgeon at Middlesex County War Hospital and in 1917 a Medical Official with the Auxiliary Section of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Between June and October of 1915, Ruth served with the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s as a Doctor at Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. Royaumont was the largest continuously-operating voluntary hospital in France at the end of the First World War. Its mortality rates were better than its army-run equivalents. What started with 6 patients, quickly growing to 300 and during the various battles , it would swell to over 500 patients. By the end of the war Royaumont had treated over 10,800 patients. She gained her D.P.H and R.C.P.S. in England in 1922. Latterly she was Head of Department, Hygiene and Bacteriology, at the King’s College of Household and Social Sciences; Honorary Medical Director, Albany Deptford Babies Hospital; Examiner in Hygiene, Western Joint Committee of the University of Bristol and Training Colleges; Part-time Assistant Medical Officer of the London County Council and Assistant Medical Officer, Bromley Borough Council and Middlesex County Council.

Ruth Elizabeth Proctor died in 1976.

Ethel Pryce

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Bangor

Ethel Jane Mildred Pryce was born in Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Her father was John Pryce and his occupation is given as a clerk. At the age of 32 we find her residing in Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Halls where she is a Medical student. In 1905 she gains her MB and in 1913 completes her studies as MD. Between May 1917 and November 1917 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, as a Doctor in Salonika. She joined the Girton and Newnham Unit, under the leadership of Dr L McIlroy. It was a quieter time and tensions were building in the unit. Personality’s were clashing, the position of the hospital was in question and the x-ray truck had still not arrived. Salonika its self had in the summer of 1917 went through a horrendous time when a fire burned for 2 days, even the hospital was a one point in danger of bursting into flames. Ethel would have been very busy in the days after, as the hospital took in victims affected by the flames and smoke. In mid-October a flash flood nearly destroyed the hospital and Ethel would have spent days cleaning up the mud and water damage. This large hospital remained in Salonkia until the end of the war until they could finaly join the Serbs and other SWH units in Belgrade.
In 1937 Ethel passed away living in Barnet, Middlesex, England

Norah, Quihampton

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Walton, Surrey

Norah Quihampton was born in 1880 at Walton,Surrey.She was the daughter of Member of London Stock Exchange,William and Clara.
1881 Census shows Norah living with her parents and four siblings at “Ashdown Lodge”,Rylands Road,Walton -on -Thames,Surrey.
Records show that Norah,a nurse,traveled to Cape Town,South Africa on 3/6/1920 aged 40.

We don’t have any personal details on Norah. She went out to Royaumont Abbey, near Paris. Norah joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse on the 26th of February 1918 and left the service on December the 1st 1918.

Wilhelmina Ray

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Dundee

Wilhelmina was born 13 May 1885 at 26 Mid Street, Dundee to parents Charles Ray, machine fitter and Margaret Craig who were married 29 Dec 1881 at South Shields. In 1915 Nurse Ray traveled to Serbia. Wilhelmina served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Mladenovac. This town, situated about 47 km (29.20 mi) in the south of Belgrade, is a part of the district of the capital city of Serbia. This hospital was under the command of Dr Beatrice McGregor. The hospital was doing a quite fantastic job supporting the Serbs. Then in October, German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” The retreat as witnessed by Wilhelmina and the band of women was an endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. Hundreds of thousands of Serbians poured out of the country, all desperate to escape the invading forces. Well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus.
Dr McGregor, Wilhelmina and the others made it back to the UK on the 23rd of December. They too had suffered as nurse Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley.
Wilhelmina died 12 Sep 1970. She was living in Isleworth, London and never married.

Caroline Reid

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Born in Glasgow in 1895, Caroline grew up in the family home on Scotia st. Her father David Reid who had been a chemist from Forfar was now a local Doctor. By 1911 the entire family had move south to Blackburn, England. Prior to joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Caroline worked as a masseuses at moor park hospital in Preston. She joined Dr Mary Blair’s unit in December 1915 and worked at the hospital in Corsica. She left the unit in May 1916 but later the same year joined the American unit at Lake Ostrovo(now part of Northern Greece. Caroline worked with the unit right up until August 1918. Caroline we think died in 1981 in Glasgow.

Gulielma Richardson

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Taunton

Gulielma Ewart Richardson
Gulielma, served in Serbia in ww1 as a driver with the American Unit between August 1916 and July 1917. Born in 1890 in Taunton her father was Henry, and a bank manager. In 1918 she married Captain John T. Witts in Rome, Italy. John Travell WITTS of Little Western Duffield Road, Woodley, Berkshire died 24 May 1954. Gullielma died in Poole, Dorset in 1976.

The American Unit was the 7th Field hospital unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. It comprised approximately 200 tents and was situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia during the First World War under the command of the Serbian Army. It was often called The America Unit as the money to fund it came from America and except for a few dressing stations, it was the Allied hospital nearest the front. During the first 8 weeks the hospital received over 500 case. It was the roll of the drivers to go onto the battlefield and retrieve the wounded. Without question very dangerous and exhausting work.

Gladys Richardson

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Gladys Hermione Stewart Richardson, daughter of Sir James Thomas Stewart Richardson grew up in the family home at Pitfour Castle(photo above) is an 18th-century country house situated on the southeast edge of the village of St Madoes in the Carse of Gowrie, Perthshire, Scotland. At time of her birth her father, James, was 43 and her mother, Harriet, was 42. She had three brothers and five sisters. Gladys never married and lived until August 1966, when she died in Kent. In 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a driver and traveled out to support the Serbian soldiers as they pushed for home.

Gladys in August 1916 boarded the Dunluce Castle ship at Southampton and with her unit(the American unit) set sail for Salonika. The journey to Salonika was a nervous affair. While the women of the unit spent the 10 day journey learning languages and keeping fit, the ship was in constant danger from mines, submarines and Zeppelins overhead.
She traveled out to Salonika and then onto Lake Ostrovo where she worked for the next six months driving the ambulances. The field hospital at Lake Ostrovo( Northern Greece) was very close to the fighting in the mountains of Macedonia. Gladys duties were to transport the wounded Serbian soldiers from the battlefields and onto the hospital at Lake Ostrovo or the various dressing stations. A difficult task as these hospitals were often under attack from aircraft and artillery fire. Flies, wasps and earwigs were a constant nuisance at the camp and out breaks of malaria common place. The drivers were under immense pressure, the roads up and down these mountain passes were treacherous. The fords would boil as they made there way up the mountains and brakes would snap on and off on the way down. Hairpin bends with sheer drops made for difficult journeys. Gladys left the unit in January 1917.

Agnes Rolt

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: London

Agnes Annie Louise Rolt was born in Regents Park, London, in 1885 to Frederick Rolt who was a solicitor. Prior to serving with the Scottish women’s Hospitals, Agnes was living in Penrith and working at Penrith’s Auxiliary Hospital. In November 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. Agnes enlisted as a cook,but due to her ability to perform in almost any condition worked as an auxiliary nurse for most of the war. The hospital at Royaumont worked continuously from January 1915- March 1919. During the battles of the Somme and the final push of 1918 the hospital experienced a huge amount of casualties. Soldiers would be brought in with near fatal wounds at every hour of day. In July of 1917 Agnes also supported a canteen unit at Soissons. These canteens would help feed the thousands of French troops heading to and fro the front line. The women often gathered fruit and vegetables from the gardens of the empty shelled homes. Agnes returned home in February 1918. Twenty three year later during ww2 Agnes returned to France, she had hoped to perform the same great deeds as during ww1. This, however was a very different situation and France was retreating. Agnes was alone and after making her way some weeks later to the spanish border she made her way home. She never married but did return to Penrith. Agnes died in 1966.

Jean Bruce Rosie

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Wick, Caithness

Jean grew up on a farm at Nybster, a scattered rural and crofting township, situated in Caithness and is in the Scottish council area of Highlands. Her father George was a farmer and road surferman. Jean had 7 brothers and sisters.

In May 1915 a Scottish Women’s hospital was established by the ‘Girton and Newnham’ Unit, in tents, near Troyes. Its doctors included Laura Sandeman, Louise McIlroy and Isabel Emslie Hutton. Jean went out in July 1915 as a cook, not an easy job in war time with over 250 patients and staff to feed 3 meals a day. By October 1915 the unit was invited to join The French Expeditionary Force in Salonika and they accepted as the hospital at that time had been quiet for a few months. In late October they sailed from Marseilles to Salonika where the unit worked in a 1000 bed hospital. The Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. Marqee-ward tents were erected for the patients – all French soldiers, many of them Senegalese.
The Allied attempts at saving Serbia were, however, too late and the hospital had only been fully operational a short time before the Unit was commanded to retreat along with the Allied forces to Salonika. Here, the Unit re-established the hospital on a piece of swampy waste ground by the sea – the only place they could find in an area overflowing with refugees and retreating army. Jean returned home in April 1916.

Ishobel Mark Ross

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Isle of skye

Ishobel Mark Ross was born on 18/2/1890 in Broadford,Parish of Strath,Isle of Skye.
Daughter of James Ross(Hotel keeper) and Eleanor MacKenzie,who married 15/6/1881 at Strath.

1891 Census of Strath,Isle of Skye has the family living at the Broadford Hotel.
James Ross 45 b.Edinburgh Hotel keeper
Eleanor 29 Wife b.Edderton,Ross-shire
Margaret 7 daughter b.Strath
John 5 son b.Strath
Leila 4 dau b.Strath
Isabel M.Ross 12months dau .b.Strath
There was also one boarder and eight staff in the hotel including a Nurse and a Governess.

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Although Ishobel’s father,James,was b.in Edinburgh he was the Inn keeper at Strath Hotel(probably Broadford) in 1881. 1871 census has him as a farmer in the Parish of Strath on the Isle of Scalpay. His mother was born in Edinburgh and his father,John ,was b.Strath. John(Isobel’s grandfather)was Innkeeper at 4 Bank Street,Portree in 1861. Ten years earlier,the 1851 Census shows him as Innkeeper and farmer at 2 Church Street,Portree..

Born and raised on the Isle Of Skye. Ishobel had a happy childhood and one of her fondest memories was spending time with her sisters putting the Gold labels on the bottles of Drambuie at Broadford Pier. A drink her father had perfected and was now selling worldwide.

After her fathers death the family moved to Edinburgh. Ishobel attended Edinburgh;s Ladies School and qualified as a Teacher of Cookery. Her life took an unexpected turn when one evening she went along to hear Dr Elsie Inglis talking on the work the SWH were doing in Serbia and they were looking for volunteers. Ishobel grabbed this opportunity, happy to serve her country and experience some adventure.
Ishobel Ross on the 3rd of August joined the SWH as a cook, she boarded the Dunluce Castle ship at Southampton and with her unit(the American unit) set sail for Salonika. The journey to Salonika was a nervous affair. While the women of the unit spent the 10 day journey learning languages and keeping fit, the ship was in constant danger from mines, submarines and Zeppelins overhead. When Ishobel arrived in Salonika she was incredibly excited at the prospect of working at the Hospital. She also felt at home remarking ” the Serbs are singing their weird songs very like Gaelic”. Even to her the Serbs talking sounds so like Gaelic” Ishobel also felt the local landscape was a lot like Skye.
Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Ishobel worked at Lake Ostrovo, 80-100 miles north of Salonika. The cooking was done from a wood burning stove and meals would have been very basic, cooking whatever they could get at times. Ishobel enjoyed her roll as cook as it involved plenty of trips to the towns and village to buy provisions, something she very much enjoyed. By July 1917 Ishobel was home. The book, The Little Grey Partridge, gives an excellent account of her time in service.

Elizabeth Ness Ross

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: London

Elizabeth Ness Macbean Ross was born on 14th February 1878, in London. Her father, Donald, was a banker, and the family made Tain their home. When Elizabeth went down to Glasgow to study medicine at Queen Margaret College, she was 18. This was in 1896, just two years after the first woman medical graduate, Marion Gilchrist, had her degree conferred. Elizabeth was one of the pioneers for a generation of determined, often very bright young women doctors who had to put an extra effort into acquiring their education in the face of many obstacles.

Elizabeth rose to the challenge. She was a good student, earning second class certificates in Chemistry and Anatomy in her first year, and in later stages, a first class certificate in Midwifery, and second class certificates in the Practice of Medicine, Insanity and Ophthalmology.

She graduated MB in 1901. Hers was a medical family. Her sister Lucy graduated in Medicine and her brother James Ness MacBean Ross graduated MB ChB from Edinburgh – later he would serve gallantly as a Naval Surgeon and win a Military Cross (MC).

Immediately after graduating Elizabeth took up a post in the East Ham area of London and was also a Medical Officer on Colonsay for some months. Later she obtained a post in Persia as an assistant to a Medical Practitioner, before setting up her own practice. In preparation for her journey, she had studied tropical medicine and on her return during a spell of convalescence she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine.

She was an unconventional person and highly resourceful. She had many adventures, and was once lost in the desert and robbed by brigands, requiring Government assistance to reach safety. It was said that she was made a chieftain of one of the tribes. Her work in Persia was interrupted for only brief periods, once for a short convalescence at home, and once to take up an appointment as a ship’s surgeon, travelling to the coast of India and Japan. Persia called her back, however, and she returned to work there until the outbreak of the Great War.

At the beginning of the war, at the invitation of the Russian government, she volunteered to serve in Serbia. She worked in shocking conditions at the fever hospital in Kragujevac, with two Greek doctors and no trained nursing staff. There she contended with dirt and unwashed patients, sometimes two to a bed. Working intensely on the typhus ward, she was exhausted, and contracted the fever herself. She died on her 37th birthday, 14th February 1915. She was a free and independent spirit, greatly missed by all who worked with her, amongst them the women of the Scottish Women’s Hospital.

Her fellow students at the University paid a handsome tribute to her and this is an extract from the Glasgow University Magazine of 1915;

“Of brilliant intellectual attainments, and exceptional originality, Dr Ross was a personality seldom to be met with. Careless of conventions, yet at the same time giving evidence of refinement and culture of upbringing, she was slow to make friends but once made, she was loyal and steadfast in her friendships, once made never broken, she was much beloved by those who knew her well. Numerous literary articles have appeared from her fluent pen. Her outstanding quality was courage in the face of any danger, and although possessed of a frail and delicate physique, she would enter where even a man might hesitate, in the enthusiasm for her work. It was the great power and influence of her mind which led to heights which others only dreamt of from afar. Her sister, Dr Lucy Ross, and her brother, a naval surgeon, shared her studies and interests.”

Dr Elizabeth Ross’s life and sacrifice are commemorated on a brass plaque in St Duthus Church and in an annual service held in Kragujevac, south of Belgrade.

Although not a member of the SWH, she was a remarkable lady and worked along side the SWH.
Many thanks to the University of Glasgow for this article.

Winifred Margaret Ross

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Polmont, Stirlingshire

Winifred Margaret Ross was born on 5th August 1885 in Polmont, Stirlingshire. Her father, William, was a clergyman. Winifred was eighteen when she began her medical studies at Queen Margaret College in 1903. The family lived close by the University, at St. Mary�s Manse, Partickhill. Winifred seemed to take her medical studies in her stride, although it was a challenging environment. It was less than a decade previously, in 1894, that the university had begun to confer degrees on women and the first woman doctor, Marion Gilchrist, had graduated.

Queen Margaret College was a separate women�s department and not necessarily an equal one in every respect. Numbers were growing, however, and by 1907-1908, of the 631 women students at Glasgow, 60 were students of Medicine. Winifred did well. Her name appeared frequently on the prize list. One curiosity is that, despite gaining the Medal in the Practice of Medicine in her graduating year, she failed this subject in her Finals in March 1909 and had to re-sit it, which was quite at odds with her records. She had also been the medallist in Physiology in second year. In addition, she had a long list of second class certificates, in Physics and Chemistry in her first year, Anatomy in both junior and senior classes, Botany, Practical Physiology, and in the class of Medical Jurisprudence and Public Health. In Midwifery, she attained a first class certificate. She graduated MB ChB in 1909.

After graduation, Winifred was a resident surgeon in Paisley Parochial Hospital, and, unusually, treated male patients. She was one of the original group of young women medics who set up the Scottish Women�s Hospital at Royaumont at the beginning of the Great War, and she became a mainstay of the place. She was a great team-player, and formed lifelong friendships with her colleagues there. At home on a short period of leave she was interviewed by the Scottish Women�s Hospital Committee at headquarters, and described Royaumont as a ‘perfect paradise’ compared to similar institutions at home.

Winifred Ross came home to her family at St Mary�s Manse at Partickhill when the war ended. Then she moved north, to the Manse at Abernethy, Nethy Bridge, continuing her medical career. She was awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services and lived for more than twenty years at Auchendeen, Dulnain Bridge, Inverness-shire. She died at Granton-on-Spey, the date unrecorded in General Council records.

Many thanks to the University of Glasgow

Constance Jessie Millar Rowan

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Ayr

Constance was brought up in her home town of Ayr, firstly living at Park Circle and later moving to the Savoy cottage in 1901, she attended school in Ayr. Her father David was a shipowner from Greenock, a man of some means as Constance joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital as a driver.

Joining the Scottish Women’s Hospital in November 1917, she served with the American unit as an ambulance driver. The drivers were a rare breed, often maverick in there approach to life. They came from wealth family’s who had encouraged them to drive and embrace life to the full. Constance was no different. The work was often full of dangers hurling back and forth to the front line, collecting badly injured men and racing them back to the hospitals on roads that were treacherous, particularly in winter. Shells rained on them night and day, the “fords” often getting stuck in the mud and snow. Fuel was always an issue and they commandeered petrol at every opportunity. Elsie Inglis wrote of the drivers ” Their nerve never failed them, they never lost their courage, and they never forgot to gentle”. Serbia had little in the way medical transport, relaying on mules and ox. These ambulances were vital in the saving of lives and getting the wounded back to safety. Constance worked at Salonika, Lake Ostrovo and Vranje supporting the Serb forces as they pushed their way home. She left the SWH in April 1919. Constance was awarded The Serbian Red Cross.

Laura Stewart Sandeman

Date of Bith: 1862
Place of Birth: Bradshaw,Lancashire

Dr Laura Sandeman ran a Medical practice in Aberdeen for 25 years, born in 1862 her father was Colonel Frank Stewart Sandeman who ran Stanley mills in Perthshire.
In May 1915 the SWH were requested by the French War Office under the command of General De Torcy to proceed to the Chateau Chanteloup just on the outskirts of Troyes in northern France.

The hospital was sponsored by the Girton and Newnham school for girls and the unit was therefore named The Girton and Newnham Unit. The Chief Medical officers for the unit were Dr Louise Mcllroy of Northern Ireland and Dr Laura Sandeman from Aberdeen and staffed with around 40 other women who worked as Nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.
The hospital was stationed in the grounds at Chanteloup. 250 beds were erected under large marques and by June they were full. Operations were carried out in the Orangerie( similar to a large conservatory).
By October 1915 the unit was invited to join The French Expeditionary Force in Salonika and they accepted as the hospital at that time had been quiet for a few months. In late October they sailed from Marseilles to Salonika where the unit worked in a 1000 bed hospital for a large part of the war.

Laura however returned to Scotland, running the Dundee poorhouse for a while, she twice contested the Aberdeen North seat in 1924. In the same year she also unveiled the war memorial in Stanley. Laura became a prominent Doctor and Surgeon in the city of Aberdeen. She died of Pneumonia in 1929 at 22 waverley place Aberdeen.

Gertrude Sargeant

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: London

Gertrude Hance Sargeant was born in Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom in 1885. Her Robert Bessel Sergeant was a civil service clerk in the meteorological office. In the 1911 census they were living in the family home, with Gertrude having no occupation.

Gertrude joined the SWH American unit in August 1917. The unit operated in Ostrovo, Macedonia. The unit was supporting the Serb army who were now pushing for home. It was a 200-bed hospital, operated by 50 women, surrounded by camps of soldiers from the Serbian, French, Russian, Italian and Greek armies. When Gertrude arrived at the hospital, things were difficult. Malaria was having an effect on not only on the soldiers but also the staff. The heat was unbearable as were the flies and wasps.
It was run as a military hospital, with discipline, curfews and mail censoring. Also in August of the year the hospital began treating Medical cases as well as surgical. At Ostrovo between 1916-1918, 1084 operations were performed involving amputations, bomb and bullet wounds, compound fractures, hernias etc. By October 1918 the Serbs had worn down the Bulgarians and the unit now could press onto Vranje. The conditions at Vranje were dire. Hundreds of desperately ill patients and civilians awaited them. Cases of pneumonia, starvation and pleurisy were a common site, as were the many wounds and surgical cases that needed immediate treatment. Typhus was to follow and hundreds perished, including one of the nurses.( Agnes Earl). For many of the Serbs, returning home was not a cause to rejoice. Towns and villages were often raised to the ground. Family, including wives and children had been either killed or died from starvation or disease. It was not uncommon for some of the soldiers who had fought for nearly three years, to give up and end their life. In April 1919 Gertrude left for home.

Gertrude died in in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1964

Ethel Scammell

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Eastbourne, Sussex

Ethel Maude Scammell was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, United Kingdom in 1886. Here parents were Henry Scammell and Annie Eliza Ogburn.

Ethel enjoyed a long and industrious career as a nurse.

Between 1907 -1911 Ethel worked as a nurse at Dreadnought Seamen’s Hosp. Greenwich.
From 1911 till 1914 she was employed at the Royal Waterloo Hospital, West Kent General Hospital and the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton.
From October 1914 till July 1916 she joined the Serbian Relief Fund under the leadership of Lady Paget. Ethel worked at the hospitals in Skopje and Corsica.
Ethel from December 1917 until January 1920 worked with the Scottish Women’s Hospital, firstly with the American unit at Lake Ostrovo in Northern Greece, before joining the Girton and Newnham unit in Belgrade, Serbia.
After the war Ethel travelled to work in Nigeria. Ethel in 1930 returned home.

She passed away on the 26th May 1965 – Croydon, Surrey, England

Jessie Scorgie

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Jessie was born and raised in Aberdeen, her father John was a boilermaker. She gained employment firstly as a dress maker at the age of 15 but by the time she was 25 Jessie was working as a nurse in Manchester.
Jessie was back living at 128 spital in Aberdeen when she joined the Scottish Women s Hospitals in July 1915. Jessie went to Kragujevac in Serbia as a nurse as part of a reinforcement party The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and three of the SWH nurses.
By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigour. Serbia stood alone, outgunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Jessie was forced to leave the hospital and with her unit headed down to Kruevac, a three day journey of over 100 miles in appalling conditions. Old men and women, young children and babies all caught in frozen wasteland. No shelter or food and the shells being dropped on them from above. Jessie and around 60 other Doctors and nurses including Elsie Ingis refused to leave and therefore ended up being POW’s and kept under guard by the German and Austrian soldiers for the next three months. Fortier Jones wrote of Kruevac” was the sort of picture which,having once seen,changes for ever the aspect of life.If i were asked to give the death of Serbia in few sentences i should tell of a tearless women beside the shreds of her little boy, struck down by an aeroplane bomb, for moral effect”
Jessie arrived back in London on 12th of February 1916.

Jessie Dow Scott

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Auchterarder Perthshire

Jessie Dow Scott was born in Blackwood,Auchterarder ,Perthshire in 1886.
1891 Census shows that she was the daughter of gamekeeper,Daniel Scott and mother Margaret.Along with her three siblings they were living at Hilton,Dunfermline.Her father was b. in Caputh,Perthshire and her mother and siblings had been born in Kinnoull,Perthshire.
Ten years later,1901, the family have moved to “Arnot Cottage”,Main Road,Carnock,Fife and Jessie,now aged 15,is employed as a Damask Weaver.Her Father is still employed as a Gamekeeper and she now has 7 siblings.
1911 Census has Jessie employed as a Hospital Nurse,living in Leeds and working under the Leeds Board of Medicine.

Jessie joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals on the 1st of April 1915 . She joined her unit and heading to Serbia under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson who was The Chief Medical Officer and in charge of the second Serbian unit. On the 21st of April 1915 Jessie and her unit which included 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. During September a huge invading army with over 500,000 soldiers were starting to advance on Serbia. Serbia was about to be cut off from the outside world and Jessie by the end of September had made the difficult and depressing decision to leave gallant Serbia behind, fearing their own safety. In fact they were lucky to escape, the train taking them to Salonika was nearly shelled at Lapovo railway junction.Jessie left with Sara Morrison’s party and headed back down to Salonika and home. The remaining women tried to work on but by early November Serbia was occupied. Some of the women went on The Great Serbian Retreat, others were taken as prisoners of war.The unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.

Jessie, undeterred and like many of the women were hugely fond of the Serb’s. She got her chance again to sign up with Scottish Womens Hospitals and joined the American unit( so called due the donations pouring in from America). On the 4th of August 1916 she set sail from Southampton and headed back to Salonika. A journey that was around 2 weeks and fought with danger. Mines, submarines and Zeppelin’s all claimed many a ship and hundreds of lives. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains the bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From July 1916-January 1917 Jessie would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going,Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in, very hot summers and cold winters and always on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. Jessie worked for periods at Salonika and Lake Ostrovo. Jessie returned from Salonika on the 1st of January 1917.

In 1945 she was matron of a hospital south of Kuala Lumpar and died following the evacuation of Singapore.

Ruth Scott

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Kelso

At the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Ruth Scott was living at 44 bridge street Kelso. Ruth joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s in the winter of 1918 and went out to Royaumont Abbey near Paris. She served as an orderly. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France. The Abbey became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey. March 1918 was an especially difficult time with the Germans pushing into the Oise valley. The outcome was a huge number of injured men. Streams of badly bombed cases were brought to the hospital, amputations were a daily occurrence and Ruth would have worked around the clock fighting to save as many lives as possible. May brought more fighting the attack on the Chemin des Dames ridge began and more working from dawn till dusk. Air raids were constant and often the women were forced to operate under candle light. While all around them the shells raining down. Ruth worked at the hospital for six months and in July 1918 returned home.

Elizabeth Robb Scott

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Born in Edinburgh Elizabeth by the age of 25 was working as a nurse at St Marylebone Infirmary London. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in April 1915 and returned from her travels to Serbia in September 1915. In April Dr Alice Hutchinson took charge of the second Serbian unit and on the 21st of April 1915 Alice and her unit which included Elizabeth and 24 other nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic(photo above). They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.

Jessie Ann Scott

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: New Zealand

Jessie Ann Scott was born on 9 August 1883 at Brookside, Canterbury, New Zealand. Her father David Scott was a farmer. After attending Christchurch Girls’ High School, Jessie Scott studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. During her student days she became great friends with Dr Laila Muncaster and Dr Emslie Hutton. In 1916 they would all work together with the American unit with the Scottish Women’s hospitals. She was also active in the women’s suffrage movement, like so many of the women in the SWH.
Jessie graduated MB and ChB in 1909, then became resident medical officer at the Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children. After about eight months she resigned, moving to London in 1910 to join the London County Council as assistant medical officer, a position she held until 1913. Scott found this work varied and interesting, and the part-time nature of the appointment enabled her to study for the Diploma in Public Health, which she completed during this period. She graduated MD from Edinburgh University in 1912. By May 1913 Jessie Scott had returned to New Zealand, and was in practice in Auckland. During the smallpox epidemic of that year, Scott, with the aid of three nursing staff, was in charge of a large temporary isolation hospital. Dr Emslie Hutton described Jessie as “gentle, soft -voiced, serious idealist who had thrown up her practice in New Zealand to take part with us in the war, was now an excellent surgeon”. Jessie joined the SWH in October 1915 and was stationed briefly in Valijevo Serbia. Her chief medical officer was Dr Alice Hutchison known affectionately as “the Little General” However by mid October Belgrade had fallen and the German and Austrian armies began their assault on the rest of Serbia. Alice Hutchison’s unit were ordered to evacuate Valijevo, moved for a short time to Pojega and then moving south on to Vrnjatch Banja. By the end of November the Austrians entered Vrnjatch Banja and the women were now POW’s. They continued their work until the end of November when they were sent to Krusevac. We know that Jessie worked as a Doctor at the Czar Lazer hospital, she was in charge of ground floor( really did mean ground!! ). The hospital was described by the women as “the zoo” due to the overcrowding and wailing from the men who by that time has lost their country and were suffering from frostbite, exhaustion and appalling injuries. The hospital was at times overflowing with Serb soldiers, an estimated 12,000 gathered hoping for treatment. It’s at this time she met Dr Elsie Inglis. On February 1916 she with 28 other women Doctors and nurses were taken under armed guard to Belgrade, then to Hungary and then onto Vienna before being set free in Zurich. They reached London on the 29th February 1916. On the 17th of July 1916 Jessie signed up with SWH again, this time joining the American Unit, so called after the amount of money that poured in from America on hearing how brave the women had been. ” Scottie” as her friends called her teamed up with Dr Hutton and Dr Muncaster and sailed from Southampton and headed for Salonika. The journey was a treacherous one, the seas were filled with mines, submarines and Zeppelins over head. From Salonkia they traveled up to Lake Ostrovo. Today Lake Ostrovo is in Northern Greece. Many of the sixty women that made up the unit were from Australia and New Zealand and their CMO was Dr Agnes Bennett a formidable lady who herself was from Australia, in fact in Jessie’s notes at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow she refers to the unit as “Bennett unit”. The American unit which was completely under canvas, was positioned in a hollow and as it was summer they were surrounded by wild flowers and trees. The lake views and scenery were quite breathtaking. That moment was shattered when on their first night in the tents they were startled by the booms and flashes of fire as shells crashed into the dark night and by the next morning the Serbian Army who they were supporting were on the attack. Soon their 200 bed field hospital filled up. The wounded were lifted from the fighting and put on to mules or taking by the women in their ambulances. The hospital was so close to the fighting that they could see it with their own eyes. For Jessie this was a grueling time in the operating tent, often working day and night and often with shells fizzing overhead and into the camp. The unit went wherever the Serbs went and various field hospitals were set up as the front line breathed in and out like a huge beast. Jessie loved the Serbian people. During one of the offensives a number of Serbian boys died while they were in their care. For those that survived Jessie would light a candle at night and place it beside their bed. Despite the traumas of war and at times the arduous weather, the heat in the summer brought not only exhaustion but full scale outbreaks of Malaria. And the winter got so cold bunking in the tents that their hair would be frozen to their pillows.

Jessie remarked that she enjoyed all the challenges and struggles that the unit endured.For her work with the Serbian army she was awarded the Order of St Sava, third class, by the Serbian government. Returning to England in 1920, Scott again worked as a medical officer for the London County Council until 1922, and completed further post-graduate studies in diseases of women and children.

In 1924 Scott returned to Christchurch to work as an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Christchurch Hospital. Frustrated by what she perceived as the continual obstruction of her authority by male colleagues, she soon resigned and went into private practice. She was honorary gynaecologist to the hospital for 10 years.

For many years Jessie Scott served the Canterbury and West Coast District of the St John Ambulance Brigade as lady district superintendent. In what spare time she had she enjoyed nature study and painting, and encouraged and assisted volunteer workers in the paramedical services. A member of many womens’ organisations, she was at one time president of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Federation of University Women, and was a member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand. During the Second World War she was deputy chairwoman of the Women’s War Service Auxiliary.

In May 1958 Scott travelled to England for a reunion with some of her colleagues from the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She was also one of the two New Zealand representatives to the International Congress of Medical Women, held in London at Bedford College in July. In retirement she retained a lively interest in developments in medicine, especially the treatment of women and children, and visited modern hospitals in several countries.

Jessie Scott died at Christchurch on 15 August 1959. She had never married. For most of her professional working life she had had to contend with the prejudices of male colleagues. A reserved woman, with a great sense of humour, her achievements show her also to have been strong-willed, independent and resourceful.

I used The encyclopedia of New Zealand for some of the more personal information.

Alethea Seymour

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Coventry

Alethea Winifred Norris Seymour was born in Coventry , warwickshire, United Kingdom in 1881. Her father
Arthur Seymour was born in 1835 at Stoneleigh, Warwick, England. His
occupation was solicitor. His parents were Edward Villers Seymour and
Martha Seymour.

Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, she contributed to war effort at Hillcrest Auxiliary Hospital, Radford Road, Coventry.

Alethia Seymour joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital in late October 1915. She served with the Girton and Newnham Unit, under the command of Dr L McIlroy. The unit had been posted at Troyes, France but due to the units effectiveness and competence, and at the request of the French Expeditionary Force were in October 1915 ordered to leave for Salonika. While the core of the unit left Marseilles for Salonika, reinforcements like Alethia traveled by sea from the UK. The principal aim of the unit had been to push up into Serbia and support the Serbian troops. However by the time the unit arrived in November Serbia was encircled by the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. While the allies had bickered over what troops were where, Germany decided that if Turkey was to be effective, they would need support by rail. Simply this meant that Serbia was in the way. Nearly 500,000 fresh fighting troops were deployed and Serbia who had battled so gallantly and with great fortitude was now over run. The unit did push up to Gevgelija in Southern Macedonia, and for a few short weeks opened and ran a hospital in a disused silkworm factory. In the few weeks the hospital treated wounds from high explosive shells and frostbite. In December the hospital was evacuated and the unit headed to Salonika. Alethia had served as an orderly in the unit and in May 1916 returned home. Alethia continued to support the war effort and joined the Red Cross in Egypt. In 1961 she died in Oxfordshire.

Alice Sharp

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Alice was born in Glasgow, her father John was a House factor in the city. By the age of 18 she was a medical student in Edinburgh and in 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a Doctor and headed to Valjevo in Serbia.
On the 21st of April 1915 Dr Alice Sharp and the rest of the unit which included 3 other Doctors, 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic.(photo above)The unit was under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. A backlog of illnesses combined with malnutrition and long time suffering.Alice would certainly of had her work cut out. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Dr Alice Sharp returned home in September.

Gertie Simenson

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Lancashire

Gertie Amalia Simonsen was born in Chorlton on Medlock , Lancashire, United Kingdom in 1881 to Anna Sophia and Lionel Michael Simenson. The family were originally from Denmark. With her mother being born in Copenhagen. In 1914 she joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment/ British Red Cross, Woodlawn Hospital, West Didsbury, United Kingdom. Her work duties were were named as dispenser. Gertie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital in October 1918 as an orderly. Gertie worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hospital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Gertie only served at Royaumont till December 1918.

She died in Surrey in 1955.

Marguerite Simms

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Kent, England

Marguerite “Peggie” Simms
Marguerite Simms, known as Peggie, was a nurse in the London Unit that served with Dr Inglis in Russia near the Romanian border in 1917. On the tough return journey with her colleagues and the thousands of Serbian soldiers being evacuated, which traversed revolutionary Russia and then across the perilous arctic waters to Newcastle, she was one of the medical team attending the dying Dr Inglis (“The Chief”) in her final days. She also kept a diary detailing every day of her time away, as well as taking many photographs. The last leg of her adventure across the Arctic Sea is of particular interest, because there is only one other known account of those days, by Mary Milne and heavily featured in “Between The Lines”, Audrey Fawcett Cahill’s excellent account of the experiences of Elsie Inglis’s Russian Unit. Whilst mirroring Milne’s details of the dangers the convoy faced – weather and German submarines to the fore – it offers an alternative description of the time, detailing for example how despite the Chief’s terminal ill health, Peggie and her colleagues still had to be aware of Inglis “on the warpath” to catch them fraternising with the ship’s crew and other male personnel on board, whilst barely a few hours later she’d be administering enemas to her boss.
Born in 1890, Peggie was brought up near Herne Bay in Kent. By 1908 she was nursing at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. It appears she joined the London Unit late, because she is not listed in Cahill’s list of “those who served”, (although she is in Sue Light’s records found on the link from this website). This might explain why, despite having copies of her diary and photographs in The Imperial War Museum since the mid 1990s, they were perhaps missed by Cahill whom it is who points to Milne’s Arctic account being the sole known record.

Peggie left St Pancras station on July 2nd 1917, accompanied by unit secretary Margaret Gwynn. In Edinburgh they met fellow nurses Elizabeth Cowan and Helen Riddoch. Travelling through Norway, Sweden and Finland, they arrived in Petrograd on July 11th where the intention was to stay for a few days whilst sorting out tickets with the help of the British Embassy and the Red Cross for the next leg of the journey down to Odessa. Although there were signs of February’s recent unrest – “lots of the buildings covered with holes from the bullets in the Revolution…A princess had been killed in one of the rooms near” – the group were able to take in some of the sights, such as The Hermitage Museum. “A lovely building with no end of vases etc.” was Peggie’s concise initial opinion of the place! Very soon however, Petrograd once more became a city of revolt.

On July 16th (3rd in the Russian Julian calendar), just after “quite a nice tea” at the Astoria Hotel and an unsuccessful attempt to secure their tickets, “we heard loud cheering and flew onto the balcony and saw thousands of soldiers marching by, took 3/4 of an hour for them all to pass and they were running by most the time.” This was the beginnings of The July Days – a misjudged attempt by the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, to seize power in Petrograd. The uprising was suppressed within days by troops loyal to the Government. Peggie’s diary gives one an idea of the confusion and disorganisation surrounding the uprising – “July 19th…Nurses from the Anglo Russian say that none of the wounded men…knew in the least what they were fighting for and for whom. They said “Someone told us to fire and we did”.” The next day she reported, “Heard that the casualties in the last few days were over a thousand. Cossacks were guarding the Arsenal and ninety went out to stop the rebels who were attacking and only twenty six returned. The rebels even killed the wounded cossacks. The ministers have declared a democratic republic and Korensky [sic] has made himself President. Sure to be more rows….So far Lennin [sic] has escaped but the others have been caught.” The following morning the nurses were free to continue their tourism, “Found some very nice shops at the top of the “Nevsky””.

On July 29th Peggy and her colleagues arrived near Reni, a small Russian town on the banks of The Danube, now in Ukraine and at a triangular point that joins Ukraine with Romania and Moldova. “We turned in onto our camp beds…(we) heard the guns firing on the Bulgar-Russian front” she wrote that first evening. The next day, “Riddoch told matron we’d like to go on duty! So after some wrangling Cowan and I got put on together”. In her diary entries of her month in Reni, details of the mundane are mingled bluntly with the seriously stark, e.g. “Glorious morning. The cerebral hernia man died. Found him dead in bed. Awful shock. Had a very stiff night again”.

Rumours of the unit’s next move thrived despite the perpetual uncertainty of the situation – “August 20th….Dr Inglis came back…heard we were to move in about four days to join up with The Serbian division & go wherever they go.”, “August 24th…Heard the Russians are retreating fast and the Germans are quite near in the hills”. A week later, the day of evacuation to their next base Hadji Abdul, a village 20 miles further north, seemed to arrive…”…Off to the station with all the luggage about 9 o’clock. Sat there until twelve…and were all told to go back again as a message had come from Dr Inglis to say there was no water in Hadji Abdul. Heavens and she had a week to find that out…So we had to collect all our things and trudge up to the bungalow again…The language!” They did however set off the next day.

What Peggie and most of the unit didn’t know was that during these months Dr Inglis was bombarding the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, and the equivalent of various other countries with potential involvement, with telegrams, letters and personal messages to secure evacuation for the unit and the Serbian Division before the latter were sent to fight alongside the fast crumbling Russian army and with it likely annihilation.

The unit’s stay at Hadji Abdul with the First Serbian Division lasted nearly two months. The hospital work was relatively low-level – sick and long-term wounded in the main – and the routine became comparatively leisurely. Peggie’s hospital work combined with such pursuits as walks, entertainment evenings, lectures on Serbian politics, and bridge (with Dr Inglis, Dr Ward and Miss Onslow). She longed to be able to ride horses like some of the others and in exchange for teaching him English, was given some lessons by a Lieut Georgovitch. Within a couple of weeks she was able to report “Nearly had a violent row – his English is improving”. 

Rumours continued to flourish – “Sept 14th…Heard that the Germans were advancing and could be here in an hour’s time. The guns were awfully plain…Dr Inglis awfully upset as the transport hadn’t obeyed her orders & turned up. Great excitement in the camp!”. “Sept 28th…Heard the glorious news of going to Blighty & on to France with the Serbs. Hurrah!”, but on October 20th, “Heard the awful news that the Serbs were not going back to England. The Romanians were keeping them back.” Six days later however…”Glorious news; going home after all. First train goes Sat. and we are the sixth. We all went mad for the moment and danced round our tents like maniacs!”.
 
Ships at Archangel in the far north of Russia awaited for the evacuation of 6000 men and the trains left the south at a rate of two a day. The Unit’s train arrived outside Moscow on November 5th…”We were told we were not allowed into Moscow at all. Everyone was bitterly disappointed and having to pass through at night too so we couldn’t even see it.” There had been fighting on the streets and the October Revolution was imminent.
 
Accompanied by three transporters the boat set off for Newcastle on November 13th. Peggie and her colleagues spent much of their time playing cards in the smoking room, and trying not to be ill – “November 16th…The boat really started to roll & heavens we all left the table one after the other & just got to the cabin in time, & Inky [Cowan] flew down after me. We couldn’t help laughing, each in a different corner with a Charlie Chaplin [I assume this is what she called the vessel resembling Chaplin’s upside-down hat into which they were sick!]. Stayed there until the next day!” The next night after more cards, “Terrible night, the boat stayed over on one side for about a quarter of an hour. They thought it was all up.”
 
On Monday 19th Peggie and a colleague got in trouble with Dr Inglis, who despite being a week away from death was still not someone to mess around with, “The chief was up and had Sturty up for sitting with her head on the Captain’s shoulder & then asked to see me & said she saw me with the little doctor sitting in my pocket!”. Two days later Dr Inglis was again “on the warpath”. Once she’d gone to bed the nurses “returned to our mutiny!”. The next day however Peggie had a different reason to be with The Chief. “Awful carry on giving the chief an enema & salts & arrowroot etc., but, poor soul, she is pretty rotten”. The following day, November 22nd, “I was put on to relieve Fordy with the Chief. Help! Saw land. Wild excitement. The Farne Islands. The Tenacious – a destroyer – came alongside.” That accompaniment would have been most welcome – two days earlier they’d heard that two German ships were nearby in the North Sea and had already “sunk two of our ships & Danish & Norwegian ships – all crew lost, so Parker said we must sleep in our clothes for the next few nights. Awful sea, so there wouldn’t be much hope.”
 
Tynemouth was reached on November 23rd, with Peggie still one of the primary carers for Dr Inglis – “More enemas etc.”. The disembarkation day on the 24th was eventful – a Russian discovered as a spy and to be shot the next day, a young English officer who had died the previous day – “slung over into a tug, covered with a Union Jack” and “awful wind and rain”. The latter led to the most dramatic event – half the men and some of the unit were off their boat when “we broke loose from the tugs and drifted & so the boat [tug] had to go off without the rest of us. It was an awful moment. We just missed another steamer by about two feet and then drifted sideways into another boat and gradually towards a torpedo boat with a submarine alongside.” They had to stay on board another night – “jolly lonely with so few of us”, but “had wine and cigarettes in Parker’s room”. The next day Peggie and Cowan were enjoying wine with the Chief Engineer and being shown the engines. They hadn’t realised that the last tug was waiting for them – “Some rush to get our hats and rucksacks, & down the steps like nothing else…everyone standing on the tug with marked disapproval written large across their faces”. They were the last to leave.
 
“November 26th…Saw Inky and the rest of the Scotch people off. Felt like a lost soul without her. Saw Dr Inglis awfully ill”. By the evening Dr Inglis had died and Peggie had arrived back in Kent….”Pouring wet night. Had a cat home. It is lovely to be back by Jove”.

At the end of the war Peggie was reunited with her husband Arthur, who had been serving in Egypt. At some point, possibly even before her Russian adventure, she was nursing in Wells, Somerset, but by the 1920s they’d settled down in Potters Bar, Middlesex and had a son, Paul. In 1970 they moved to a large L-shaped bungalow called Lower Breache Farm in Ewhurst, Surrey, next to the house where Paul and his family lived. Arthur died in 1976 and Peggie in 1980, a week after her 90th birthday. 

In the photo Peggie is front row, second from left (looking down with her hand in her pocket).

Biography by Hugo Simms who is the Grandson of Peggie.

Many thanks for a fascinating and personal account.

Olive Smith

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Haltwhistle

Olive Smith was born in 1880 in Haltwhistle,Northumberland. Her father was Robert Smith of Greystone Dale, Haltwhistle and his occupation was Varnish maker. Olive, after her studies at Durham College and Oesterbergs college in Dartford, became a distinguished physical training instructor. Olive was the first female teacher of gymnastics at a Glasgow female prison. Its success lead to all prisons adopting her system. Olive also taught physical training to teachers at a Glasgow centre.
Olive Smith lived at 30 Woodcroft Ave;Broomhill,Glasgow during that time.

In 1916 after spending some time in Malta she volunteered to join the Scottish Women;s hospitals as a masseuse. On the 3rd of August 1916 she boarded the Dunluce Castle ship at Southampton and with her unit, (the American unit, so called due to the large donations of money coming from America), set sail for Salonika. The journey to Salonika was a nervous affair. While the women of the unit spent the 10 day journey learning languages and keeping fit, the ship was in constant danger from mines, submarines and Zeppelins overhead. When Olive arrived in Salonika she was incredibly excited at the prospect of working at the Hospital.
Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Olive worked at Lake Ostrovo, 80-100 miles north of Salonika. Malaria was huge problem and not just for the patients, the staff also were also failing with the disease, heat and volume of work. Sadly Olive Smith became unwell only weeks after finally getting to work. She died on the 7th of October 1916 of malaria after slipping into a coma.

Isobel Ross from the Island of Skye described her funeral:
“There was a Serbian guard of honour, and several emblems of flowers. Among them was one from the the 3rd Serbian Army tied up in red, white and blue ribbon on which was written: `In memory of a generous English friend who gave her life for us.’ She was buried between two British soldiers. Dr Bennett read the oration that Captain Stephanovitch gave over Smithy’s coffin first in English and then in Serbian. They are words I always want to remember: `Friends, it is a sad duty which I have to perform, to say the last adieu to a friend of our people, to say it in the names of all those whom she came to help and for whom she suffered death. Through unselfish devotion and pity for our pains and sufferings, she came to us from her great country, she came to soften the hard fate of a small and most unhappy people, and she shared it to the last”.

Olive is buried at Salonika at the military hospital

William Smith

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

William Smith was born c1869 in the Old Machar district of Aberdeen.He was the son of Aberdonian parents William Smith and Mary Ann Duncan.
1871 Census of Aberdeen has the family living in Old Machar. Father,William,is noted as being a Printer and Compositor.William(aged 2) was the youngest of three children.
1881 Census shows that the family are living in 24 Rose Street,Old Machar.The family has now increased and William has five siblings.
1891 census has the family living at 18 Brighton Place,Old Machar but.William is not at home.
1901,William(now aged 32) and having an occupation as “Artist” is back in the family home at 21,Brighton Place and, in 1911,William is still residing there.
William never married and died on 10/3/1941,aged 72,at 5 Albyn Place,Aberdeen. His usual address was 21 Brighton Place.Cause of his death was Acute Bronchitas and Myocarditis.Informant of death was his brother,James,of 21 Brighton Place.

William was one of a small band of men who enrolled in The Scottish Women;s Hospitals. As the organisation was born out of the NUWSS which never excluded men, the SWH deployed the same position and was not doctrinaire.
William joined the SWH as a clerk in December 1914 and headed for Kragujevac in Serbia. William was a fantastic writer and painter and much of what he wrote as well as his drawings captured the events in Serbia and were published in the newspapers of the time. In particular his version of the Serbian retreat where he lead a party of women nurses to safety over the mountains.
William Smith tells his story “The road was a moving mass of transport of all kinds–motor-wagons, bullocks-wagons,horse-wagons,men and guns,besides the civilian population. Men, women and children, all intent on escape.The country here is undulating, and the procession, as it dipped into the hollow and reappeared on the crest,to dip and reappear again and again, until it was finally lost as it passed over the distant hills, looked like a great dragon wandering over the countryside. This procession had been passing continuously for days, stretching from on end of Serbia to the other, and one realised that this was something more than an army in retreat, it was the passing of a whole nation into exile, a people leaving a lost country”. ”

There are excellent examples of William Smiths work in the collection at the Glasgow City Archives.

Madge Ramsey Smith

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Peebles.

Madge (Margaret) Ramsay Smith was born on 31st July 1884 at Minnie Bank, Peebles. Her father was John Ramsay Smith, solicitor who gave his name to the well-known local law firm of Blackwood & Smith. Her mother was Mary Graham Ramsay Smith ms Norwell. Madge also had a sister( Eleanor).
According to some research i carried out, both women were involved in the Peebles suffrage society .A local NUWSS society was formed in 1909 as a branch of the Edinburgh Society and also in nearby Innerliethen. Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916 she lived in Peebles at Kingsmuir Hall, possibly with her sister.
Madge became Secretary of Royaumont Abbey, near Paris in May of 1916. The Hospital was operated under the auspices of the French Red Cross. Madge was ideal for the post. She was not only fluent in French but her ability’s as secretary were outstanding. Few of the women in the SWH had a service like she had. Working at the hospital for three years. Royaumont is best remembered for its endevours during the battles of the Somme and the final push of 1918, all of which Madge witnessed. Her war years are explained in detail in Eileen Croftons excellent book “The Women Of Royaumont”.

Madge tho was awarded the Croix de Guerre and later on she was honoured with the Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Peebles for her work during World War 1 in France, both at casualty clearing stations near battlefields and at a field hospital(Viller Cotterets) which she help to evacuate despite shelling around it. Madge died in 1977 in her home town of Peebles.

Dr Grace Eleanor Soltau

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Ilford Essex

Grace Eleanor Soltau was born in 1877 in Ilford,Essex to Plymouth born father George and London born mother,Grace Elizabeth.
1881 Census of Barking,Ilford,Essex shows that her father was the Governor of District Village Home for Neglected and Destitute Orphans.Her mother was the Lady Superintendant.
Grace Eleanor was three years old at the time and lived there with her parents and three siblings.
From the 1901 Census,we see that the family were in Tasmania in 1891,as that is the place of birth given for her younger twin brothers.The 1901 Census also tells us that her father George,is now a Minister of the Congregational Church,whilst 23 year old Grace Eleanor is a Medical student,as is her 20 year old brother.

Eleanor was in charge of the first Serbian Unit and Elsie Inglis took over her place in April,1915,due to Eleanor becoming ill with Diptheria,in the midst of a Typhus epidemic.Eleanor was decorated by the Serbian Government and died 30/12/1962 in Watford,Herts.Eleanor had lived from the late 1940’s -1950’s in the Kensington and Chelsea districts of London.

The Chief Medical Officer of the first Serbian unit was Dr Eleanor Soltau,
Eleanor with her unit of 40, boarded the ship at Southampton on the 1st of December 1914 and headed for Serbia via Salonika. At the time of crossing the mission looked bleak as large parts of Serbia including Belgrade had fallen into enemy hands. But on arrival at Salonika they were greeted and uplifted by the tremendous news that Serbia had been victorious in the battle of the ridges and despite heavy losses and an epidemic of typhus had pushed the Austrian/Hungarian troops out of Serbia, the first allied victory in WW1.

At Salonika Eleanors orders were to en-train for Kragujevac a military key point near Belgrade. The unit arrived on the 6th of January and was geared for a 100 beds but immediately had to admit 250 patients and soon after 650. Eleanor and the unit worked around the clock trying to save as many lives as possible. The magnitude of the disaster was everywhere, thousands of men and civilians were scattered in buildings all over the town. Kragujevac was really one large hospitals. Broken limbs, gangrene, frostbite and open infected wounds were just some of the conditions endured by the men. Many lay dying with no medical help. Unfortunately things were set to get worse with the outbreak of typhus, Eleanor wired to HQ for more nurses,” dire need for more fever nurses” unable to use the word typhus, the Serbs not wanting her enemy’s to know the fragile condition it was in. Elsie Inglis got the message and dispatched 10 more nurses.
In march Eleanor took control of a typhus hospital, sadly three nurses, Jordan, Minshull and Fraser all died in consecutive weeks during March and by mid April Eleanor was ill, suffering from diphtheria she was force to return home and was replaced with Elise Inglis.
Eleanor was awarded the St Sava 111 class by the King of Serbia.

Adeline Jessy Elizabeth Sproat

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Carlisle

Adeline was born in Carlise in 1873, both her mother and father came from Castle Douglas in Scotland. Her father Tomas was a Metal merchant. They moved to Kirkintilloch and it was from here that Adeline joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in June 1917 as a nurse. The hospital in Corsica was opened in December 1915,and with the help of the French government they shipped the Serbian refugees to Ajaccio in Corsica. On Christmas day the unit finally got to work on the French island. Commandeering an old convent with no water, heating or sanitation was demanding enough, dealing with the hundreds of men, women and children who were devastated with typhoid, pneumonia and starvation tested all the women. Dr Blair wrote of the Serbian refugees “and they looked so desolate and forlorn though most of them put a brave face on it,that we all felt inclined to weep” . By 1917 however things were quite and Adeline for whatever reasons choose to leave in October 1917. She returned to the UK and it seems, spent her life in Lenzie, Scotland. Adeline died at the family home in Middlemuir house Lenzie in 1950, she is buried at the Auld Aisle Cemetery in Kirkintilloch.

Edward Percy Stebbing

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: London

Born in London in 1870, his father also Edward, was a carpet merchant. It certainly goes along way to explain Edwards love of travel. Edward was a pioneering British forester and forest entomologist in India. He was among the first to warn of desertification and desiccation and wrote on “The encroaching Sahara”. In 1935, he wrote of the “desert whose power is incalculable and whose silent and almost invisible approach must be difficult to estimate.” He suggested that this was man-made and this led to a joint Anglo-French forestry mission from December 1936 to February 1937 that toured northern Nigeria and Niger to assess the danger of desertification. He joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Transport Officer of the American Unit from 1-Jul-16 till 1-Oct-16. Edward wrote of his experiences in the book ” At the Serbian front in Macedonia”. Its available to read on line. He was married to the well known landscaper designer Maud Evelyn Brown and was also a Professor at Edinburgh University.
The book ” At the Serbian front in Macedonia” gives an excellent account of the transport unit that supported the hospitals at the front line as they pushed into Serbia.
Eward died in London in 1960.

Nettie Stein

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Cumbernauld

Birth Certificate
At Barnhill, Cumbernauld, on 6th December, 1885
Nettie Hunter Stein
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Brickmaker
Mother: Annie Cleland Bulloch m/s Henderson
Birth registered by John G Stein – Father – Present
Parents married 23rd November, 1883 at Cumbernauld

Nettie served as an orderly at Royaumont Abbey near Paris. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1917. Nettie did qualify as a Doctor in 1909 at Glasgow University, her reasons as to why she went as on orderly are unknown to me. Nettie had been working at HQ in Edinburgh before going out and was fluent in the French language. Nettie also had a spell working at Villers-Cotterets. Villers was a smaller sister hospital of Royaumont. At it peak Villers accommodated hundreds of patients and was staffed by around 50 personal. As it was just miles from the front line the surrounding area was devastated by shells. In May 1918 the hospital was forced to be evacuated when the Germans mounted an offensive. Often in the last days at Villers, the lights went out and the orderlies would hold the candles, while the Doctors operated. On one such occasion seven legs were amputated by candle light. Nettie left France in July 1918, but returned to work with her sister Christina at the canteen at Favresse south of Reims. Unlike the other canteens, the one at Favresse was unsuccessful. The canteen was opened in October 1918 and closed in December 1918. In the 1930 Nettie traveled to America and France.

Death Certificate
At 5 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh. Found dead at 9.50am on 5th January, 1965. Last seen alive 5.15pm on 3rd January, 1965
Nettie Hunter Stein Medical Practitioner (retired) Aged 79 years
Single
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Firebrick Manufacturer deceased
Mother: Annie Hunter Stein m/s Henderson deceased
Cause of Death: 1 Acute Cardiac Failure 2 Cardiovascular Degeneration
Registered by T N Risk – Solicitor – 169 West George Street, Glasgow

Christina Stein

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Cumbernauld

Birth Certificate
At Glencryon Cottage, Cumbernauld, on 3rd October, 1884
Christina Bulloch Stein
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Firebrick Maker
Mother: Annie Cleland Bulloch m/s Henderson
Birth registered by John G Stein – Father – Present
Parents married 23rd November, 1883 at Cumbernauld

Chrissie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1917, she headed to France where she worked at the Canteen at Creil. The object of the canteens was to provide the soldiers with a hot drink or a quick bite to eat. The soldiers would arrive by train, bound for the front line or returning on leave. Often the men had gone days without food. The site of smiling faces with their 1200 litre basins filled with coffee or soup must have felt homely and welcoming, especially for the lads heading to the front. Trains arrived from all over the front, Dunkirk, Soissons and Fismes bringing troops from all over the world, French, British, Canadian, American and many from the French Colonies. Heavy work lugging the boiling cooking pots around, freezing cold as they were largely in the open and clouds of smoke coming from the six stoves usually stoked by the men.The canteen at Creil at the end came in for heavy attack and scarcely not a night passed without the bugles warning notes. By May 1918 the bombing was steady and in early June it was fierce. Night and day French troops and lorries laden with guns thundered into the little town enroute to the front and at night came the roar and throbs of the Gothas(German Aircraft) The rattling of the air-aircraft, the screams from the engines of our own aircraft. Chrissie wrote in her letters about the nightly visits from the Gothas(photo above) and at how sad she was to leave the canteen and all the good work they had done. In June 1918 she was home but returned with her sister Nettie to Favresse in France in October 1918. The canteen at Favresse was not successful as local girls ended up doing the same work, the canteen was closed in December 1918.

In 1935 Chrissie traveled with her sister to Canada.

Death Certificate
At 13 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, on 7th February, 1972
Chrissie Bulloch Stein Independent Means Aged 87 years
Single Date of Birth 3rd October, 1884
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Brickmaker deceased
Mother: Annie Cleland Bulloch m/s Henderson deceased
Cause of Death: 1a Myocardial Degeneration 1b Arteriosclerosis 2 Senile Pemphigus(I think)
Registered by Kenneth W Sanderson – Nephew- * Abercromby Place, Stirling

Daisy Mary Stephen

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Born in the granite city of Aberdeen in 1884, she grew up in the family home with her father and mother, William and Jane Stephen. Her father died in 1897 in South Shields, Durham. At the age of 17 she was living at St Mary’s Convent at Berwick Upon Tweed. In 1911 she was working as a nurse in St Marylebone hospital, London.

Daisy joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916. She joined the Transport Column as a driver and under the command of Katherine Harley. The unit was moved 30 miles north of Salonika to Lake Ostrovo and supported the Serbian Army’s push back into her homeland. They also worked in tandem with the American Unit. The role of the unit was to operate near the front line to collect Serbian casualties and bring them to the SWH hospitals for treatment. Five ambulances, one lorry and a support car made up the column. There was severe fighting around this time in the Moglena Mountain range and the Transport Column did sterling work evacuating the wounded and working non-stop to keep their vehicles roadworthy in often primitive conditions. Despite their good work the Transport Column did attract adverse comment. They were enthusiastic about their work but this often went beyond enthusiasm to willfulness and even insubordination (more than once they defied Katherine Harley and operated at night and close to the battlefield despite explicit orders not to). These women were astonishing, working night and day, without regard for their own safety as they ventured up and down mountain roads, in all weathers and onto the battlefield to save as many lives as possible. In January 1917 Daisy became ill with appendicitis and was sent home. She actually became very ill on the way home and was operated on in Malta.
Daisy returned to the UK in February 1917 where she stayed at her fathers old home in Stonehaven. Daisy in 1921 had moved to Torquay in Devon. And in 1921 she died aged only 37.

Rhona Mildred Stephens

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Bristol

Born in 1873, Rhona’s father George was a Local Building contractor.

Rhona joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in 1916 as an orderly. She joined the American Unit, and it was the 7th Field hospital unit of the SWH. It comprised approximately 200 tents and was situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia during the First World War under the command of the Serbian Army. It was often called The America Unit as the money to fund it came from America and except for a few dressing stations, it was the Allied hospital nearest the front. During the first 8 weeks the hospital received over 500 case. It was the roll of the drivers to go onto the battlefield and retrieve the wounded. Without question very dangerous and exhausting work. From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Rhona worked at Lake Ostrovo, 80-100 miles north of Salonika. Rhona left the SWH in December 1917.

Rhoda Mildred Stephens of Hillside Willsbridge nr Bristol spinster died 22 November 1934 at Rodway Hill House Mangotsfield Glos Probate to Howard George Purcell Stephens limited company director and George Henry Young auctioneer and valuer Effects £6022 2s 10d resworn £6261 15s 11d

Her headstone at Arnos Vale, Bristol, England reads.. Of Bristol and Woodford Berkeley; Served in the Great War and decorated for her work with the S.W.H. (Serbian) Unit on the Macedonian Front and for Relief work at Ostrovo and Villiers Brettonneux

Rose Stone

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Bristol

Rosa Alice Stone

Rose Alice Stone born in Bristol in 1881. Rosa(Rose) was the daughter of Charles and Harriet Stone. Charles was a furnace stoker in a soap factory. Rosa began her training at Eastville Workhouse Infirmary, Bristol. Prior to ww1 Rosa was employed as a nurse in whitehaven. In July 1915 she joined the Serbian Relief Fund. She served in Serbia until the end of 1915 when Serbia was forced into exile. Rather than return home Rosa travelled with the Serb troops to Corfu. She spent the best part of two years nursing and caring for the soldiers. In October 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She travelled once more to Serbia with the Elsie Inglis Unit. The unit supported the Serbian troops as they pushed for home and in many cases the Serbian civilian population who, had been greatly exposed to starvation, cruelty and no medical facilities. Working in Greece, Serbia, Macedonia and a short spell in Sarajevo. Effectively Rosa gave three years of her life supporting the Serbs during ww1. She never married and died in 1949.

Edith Anne Stoney

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Dublin.

Edith Anne Stoney BA MA Edith Anne Stoney was born into a scientific Irish family in Dublin on 6 January 1869, eldest daughter of the eminent physicist G. Johnstone Stoney FRS. Her sister Florence Stoney MD OBE became a pioneer radiologist. Her mother died when Edith was not yet 4 years old and her father never remarried. Edith was devoted to him, caring for him after his retirement when they had settled in London. Edith gained a scholarship to enter Newnham College Cambridge and achieved first class grading in the Part 1 Maths Tripos examinations in 1893. She was later awarded BA and MA from Trinity College Dublin: Cambridge did not formally award degrees to women until 1948. With her skill in maths she performed complex calculations on marine turbines and searchlight design for Sir Charles Parsons, a family friend. Following three years teaching mathematics at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Edith became the physics lecturer at the London (Royal Free) School of Medicine for Women (LSMW) in 1899. In 1902, with Florence, she set up the new x-ray service at the Royal Free Hospital, gaining practical knowledge of particular value for her later war work. At this time, Edith also actively supported the women’s suffrage movement, and became the first honorary treasurer of the British Federation for Women Graduates. In May 1915 she left the LSMW to join the Girton and Newnham unit of the SWH. This unit went first to Troyes, continuing to Ghevgali in Serbia and then Salonika. In each place she set up and ran the x-ray department with her assistant George Mallett. Her work on x-ray localisation of bullets, and on the radiological diagnosis of gas gangrene, was particularly valued. In Salonika she also established electrotherapy and mechanical therapy: the electrical supply was provided using a generator she had bought for herself in Paris. She left Salonika in June 1917, having failed to secure the position as radiologist in the British military hospital there. In November she returned to the front line with the SWH to run the radiology service in Royaumont. and Villers Cotterets. After the war she returned to a physics lectureship in King’s College for Women, eventually re-joining her sister in retirement in Bournemouth in 1925. She died on 25 June 1938. In her will she left funds to establish the Florence and Johnstone Stoney Studentship to support a physics or maths student from Newnham College to enter medical training. Edith Stoney was probably the most highly academic of the SWH staff. She was respected for her focussed dedication to her work, while being also known as a sometimes difficult colleague. Nevertheless, at a time when radiology was still developing, she earned great respect from her medical colleagues for her deep technical and scientific knowledge, which enabled her to create and maintain xray departments in several SWH hospitals under highly challenging conditions at the front line.

Francis A Duck

Rose Strange

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Oxford

Nurse Rose Ethel Strange, born 1881 in Oxford. Raised in the family home she lived with her Father(Joseph) and Mother (Sarah). Joseph was a Bootmaker. In 1911 Rose was working as a nurse in Lambeth Infirmary. In 1915 she was working as a Nurse in Cardiff. Rose joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1915. After a journey from Cardiff to Salonika by ship, she then took the train into Serbia. She joined Dr Elsie Inglis unit at Kragujevac, Serbia. Kragujevac as elsewhere in Serbia, had in the winter of 1914-1915 been through a Typhus epidemic. Rose came out to work in the hospitals to prevent any repeat of the winter of 1914. Things did not go according to plan and Rose found that Serbia shortly after her arrival would fall. By October 1915 all the hospitals were being evacuated south. Between November 1915- January 1916 the unit were located in Krusevac. Twenty eight of the women under the leadership of Elsie Inglis had refused to abandon the Serbs and were effectively POW’s. By the middle of February they had all made it safely home.
Rose continued with her nursing after the war working in Dorking. She died in 1955 in the district of Oxford.

Bessie Gray Sutherland

Date of Bith: 1871
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Bessie Gray Sutherland was born 16/10/1871 at Livingstone Place,Edinburgh.Daughter of Book-keeper Andrew Gray Sutherland and Helen Crawford.
Bessie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals second Serbian unit on the 1st of April as a nurse. On the 21st of April 1915 Bessie under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit which included 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas( around 40 tents) on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. In August Bessie became ill, The hospital despite having high hygiene standards, was positioned close to a recent battlefield and as a result of this millions of flies were present, the walls of some of the tents were in fact black with flies and no way of getting rid of them., Bessie died on the 26th of September 1915 of Typhoid fever. Initially buried at Valjevo her body was latter moved to the Chela Kula cemetery at Nis Serbia where it is lovingly cared for by the city of Nis. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. At Valjevo;s National Museum there are documents and photos on display.

Mary Isabel Tatham

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Lancashire

Mary grew up in Patricroft in Lancashire. Born on the 18th of October 1885 her father William was a cotton yarn buyer. By 1911 Mary was living in Macclesfield her Occupation was given as Private Means.

Mary’s war years were astounding and packed with adventure. In 1915 Mary served with Stobart Field Hospital (Serbian Relief Unit), Kraguyevatz, Serbia. 1916-1917, Corsica, Serbian Relief Fund. In May 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Royaumont and Villers-Coterets, France, until the Armistice.
After the war she traveled to Sydney, Australia where she wrote about her experiences, particularly about the Serbian retreat.
“The field hospital had been busy for eight months trying to stem the awful tide of death which was sweeping over the country, and, together with other volunteer units, had pretty well succeeded.

The typhus, sinister legacy of the Austrians when they evacuated Belgrade at Christmas 1914, had been carried to the farthest comer of Serbia by soldiers going home on leave – to the little farms and cottages where, under Turkish domination for hundreds of years, the ideas of hygiene and sanitation were practically undeveloped. With the result that nearly a third of the total population succumbed.

By October 1915 the typhus had been fought and beaten, and then the human enemy overwhelmed the country. The Bulgarians declared war early in October. Simultaneously the Austrians attacked on the north, and the field hospital had to retreat with the Army.

We were in the town of Kraguyevatz, arsenal of Serbia, which had suffered the bombardment of Austrian aeroplanes for weeks before the evacuation. and was left an open city. Having sent off every man who had sound feet, and left those who were unable to move in charge of American doctors (who were then neutrals) the trek southwards began.

It was southwards at first, for we had been told that, if we could reach Monastir, there was the possibility of transport to Salonika. The single railway line from Belgrade to Salonika had been cut the first day after the declaration of war by the Bulgarians; and there was the life-line, as it were, severed, for on that railway line all the stores, men, and ammunition were transported.

We started off with bullock-wagons with as much of the hospital equipment as we could carry, and for three weeks we trekked south – a long, slow procession of springless carts, each drawn by oxen, moving deliberately at the rate of two miles an hour – day or night was all one.

Several times the unit halted, hoping that the retreat was stayed, for all the telephone wires were down, and no one knew exactly what was happening. There we would rig up a dressing station, and dress the wounds of the men as they marched by, and there we were invariably sent to join the retreating mass again, as the sound of the guns drew nearer and the towns behind were occupied by the enemy.

The stream of the refugees grew daily greater – mothers, children, bedding, pots and pans, food and fodder, all packed into the jolting wagons; wounded soldiers, exhausted, starving, hopeless men, and (after the first few days) leaden skies and pitiless rain, and the awful, clinging, squelching mud.

The roads were obliterated by the passage of big guns – those guns served by that wonderful “Last Hope” of the Serbians, the old men, the Cheechas, the “uncles”, who held the enemy for the priceless few days or even hours, and so saved the youth of the country.

For every Serbian boy – every man-child over twelve – had to retreat. The Serbians had at last realized that the enemy were out to finish her as a nation, and the only way to save herself was to run away. And at first all those battalions of boys, gay with the coloured blankets they carried coiled across their backs, camping round the great camp-fires at night, were happy – until the days grew into weeks, and the rain fell and fell and there was no bread anywhere.

But the rain, which churned up the mud, and soaked the ill-clad people, was called by the Serbians “the little friend of Serbia”, for it held up the Austrian advance, and consequently saved practically the whole of Serbia’s remaining Army.

We camped one night in an old monastery, deep in the heart of the mountains, the residence of the Metropolitan, dating back to the thirteenth century. Here it was decided we might stop for a time, and the monks gave us their new school-house for a dressing station.

We had high hopes of being able to remain the winter, so entirely ignorant were we all of the real conditions, and we actually did remain for a fortnight, amongst the most beautiful hills, clothed in their gorgeous autumn colours, for the country thereabouts was one glowing wonder of beech-woods.

Until again came the order to evacuate, and in haste, for we were not on the beaten track, and were in danger of being cut off.

We had orders to go to a town called Rashka, and we trudged there in a jam of ox-wagons and soldiers, big guns and refugees, in the most appalling mud and pelting rain – and quite unquenchable good spirits. Until we were nearly there, when one of our number was shot through the lungs – an accidental shot, fired by an irate farmer after some flying refugees who were stealing his horses.

The injured girl was taken to a Serbian dressing station about eight miles back along the road, with two doctors and a nurse; after which the rest of us tramped unhappily on, knowing that they would inevitably be taken prisoners, which they were two days later.

They were well treated, however, by the Austrians, and when the girl who had been shot was sufficiently recovered to undertake the journey, they were all passed through Vienna and Switzerland, and so home to England. But that is another story.

Meanwhile, the rest of us arrived, soaked to the skin, at Rashka, and were cheered by hot soup and cocoa, in the awful little hovel in which the earlier arrivals were housed.

We slept that night under a roof, but infinitely preferred our previous nights under the stars, for about twenty of us were crammed into an indescribably filthy room, over a stable full of Army horses, and next to a larger room in which they were making shells!

In those days there was no time for factories. Things were made anywhere. Most of the Army had no uniforms. The country had not recovered from the Balkan Wars of 1912 and 1913, and there was no help outside the country when all Europe was engaged in her own bitter struggle.

Then, two days before we would have reached Monastir, the Bulgarians took it. We had no choice now but to cross the mountains – the mountains of Albania and Montenegro, which we had been told were impassable for women in the winter. The three weeks’ trek south had made us three weeks later in the beginning of the attempt, and the very first night we got to the narrow ways, the snow came.

The roads were now too narrow for wagons, even though at the beginning they had been sawn laboriously in half, so that two wheels might pass where four would not, and the only means of transport were pack-mules or donkeys. These carried what food we had, and the blankets without which we would have perished. For many died on those pitiless mountains, and the snow fell and covered up their misery for ever.

Yet, with all hope gone, their country left behind, their women left behind (for when we reached the mountains the only women were the Red Cross units), starving, beaten, miserable, how wonderful were those soldiers!

Peasants, driven from the soil which bred them, these men had no high education to tell them how to hold themselves in this disaster. But every Serbian is a poet: how else had they kept their souls free under 500 years of the Turkish yoke?

And ever down those years, entirely through their songs and stories, and through their religion (for, to give the Turks their due, they did not interfere with that), they had kept alive and burning bright the flame of the belief that one day their country would be free.

And in the year 1912 it came true, for the small Balkan states banded together and pushed the Turks out of their country – back to Constantinople. But for a pitiful short time, for in 1914 came Armageddon.

These retreating men, even if they won through wounds and starvation and exposure and hardship unspeakable, had only hope of exile. For us who were with them, the end of our journey was home. So it was easier to bear things cheerily, though hearts could hold no more of pity.

Simple as children, with the unquestioning gratitude of such, no one ever saw them other than forbearing with each other, when men fell dead of starvation while waiting for the ration of bread and were laid by the roadside and left for the snow to shroud; no one ever saw them other than courteous to women.

And when one remembers how the conditions of retreat can turn men into animals, when things are down to the bed-rock of primitive passions and desire for life, then it is a proud thing to remember also the high courage with which this people bore their disaster.

To add to the horrors of the retreat, there fell upon the mountains in that December one of the worst snow-storms for decades, and then was the pathway indeed bordered by death.

We were crossing the higher passes, and only a 2-foot track wound upwards. On the right were snow-covered cliffs, on the left a sheer drop to the river 1,000 feet below. Two mules could not pass each other on that path, deep in snow or slippery with ice, and when a pack mule fell and died (brave little faithful beasts of burden) there they froze and the trail passed over them.

The worst night of the storm we sheltered in an Albanian hut. The fire smoldered in the middle of the mud floor, the smoke escaping through a hole in the roof – and round the fire squatted the family – unto the third and fourth generation!

Around them again, the refugees, soldiers, and nurses, and the livestock of the little farm. (My neighbour on one side was a warm and comfortable calf!)

Everything that could be sheltered was sheltered; those that had no shelter remained out on the mountain and died. In the morning, the pack-mules, which were under the lee of the hut, were frozen stiff; and again the blankets and gear were reduced.

At the last, when the mountains were crossed, and the weary, muddy miles to the sea lay before us, nothing remained to most of us but what we carried ourselves.

But we had our lives, and many had left theirs on those cruel heights. But for those exiles, literally bereft of everything that made life worth living – family, home, country – what use, after all, seemed even that?

Those last days, towards the sea and the ultimate hope of rest, were even more dreadful than the rest. For now it was not the snow which covered death and corruption, but mud. It seemed as though there never had been and never again could be anything else than rain, rain, rain. And in all the world there is surely nothing more depressing than rain which falls soddenly on mud, and mud which receives all sullenly the rain.

Then, as the uttermost depths seemed reached, the skies of the nearly-last night cleared. It was late, nearly midnight, but the little fishing village on the Adriatic coast had somehow to be reached by morning – for a ship was to be there to take us off. (It was torpedoed, and we sat on the shore, as it happened, for three more days.)

And suddenly, out of the welter of misery, the road burst out on to the sea – lying dark and shining under stars; and perhaps the most vivid memory of all those weeks of adventure is the sight of her – sudden, beautiful, clean. “Who hath desired the sea, the immense and contemptuous surges”; after all, what was starvation and death?

The Italian ship which was to meet us at San Giovanni di Medua was, as I said, torpedoed, along with every food-ship which was being sent by the Italian Government to meet the refugees. The little harbour was full of the sprouting masts and funnels of unhappy ships which had been sunk, a pitiful sight at the ebb of the tide.

And the surrounding hills were quivering at night with the little fires of innumerable soldiers, who had survived starvation on the mountains only to meet it again on the shore. While overhead the Austrian aeroplanes circled, and dropped their bombs.

Then, after three days, a ship got through. Little as she was, she was able to take off all the Red Cross units. The soldiers had to set off again on that everlasting trek, down to Alassio and the further ports. No man of military age was allowed on board, but many refugees who were quite hopelessly smashed, and women of the coast as well, filled the little ship literally to overflowing.

There was not room for all to lie down. Twice she was attacked, and tacking, swerving, zigzagging across the Adriatic, we came at last at dawn to Brindisi. And as the light grew, to port and starboard of the little ship, loomed in the mist first one and then another protecting form. And hearts at last believed in safety, for they were British gunboats. We landed at Brindisi, and had our first real meal for over two months.”

Mary Isabel Tatham died in 1956 after returning home to Macclesfield.

Alice Tebbutt

Date of Bith: 1868
Place of Birth: Bluntisham, Huntingdonshire

The Tebbutt Family of Bluntisham were staunch members of the village Baptist Meeting House. Alice was the daughter of Charles Prentice Tebbutt, Bank Manager and Farmer (of 340 acres employing 13 men and 5 boys in 1871). She was born in Bluntisham, Huntingdonshire in 1868. She was brought up in the family home “The Walnut Trees”, photo attached. They were a wealthy family. Her mother, Mary Tebbutt died in 1891. Alice seems to have looked after her father for the next 20 years. When her father died in 1910 he left an estate valued at £36,749 11s 5d. Probate was granted to her 5 brothers: Neville, Sidney, Arnold, Charles Goodwin and Louis. In 1911 her brother Charles Goodman was living in the “Walnut Trees” with his family.
On March 25th 1926 her name appears on the passenger list of the “Khyber” sailing from London to Yokohama but her destination was Shanghai. Her address was given as Rochfort House, Bathurst Rd., Bath. Her brother Lt. Col. Louis Tebbutt is listed with her but his details have been crossed out.

In April 1915 Alice Tebbutt signed up to serve as an orderly with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in Serbia.On the 21st of April Alice met her new colleagues for the first time on Cardiff docks where they were regaled to the song of “Long way to Tipperary” and boarded the SS Ceramic and headed for Salonika(Greece) where by train they would travel to Valjevo in Serbia. On board with her were Chief Medical Officer Dr Alice Hutchinson, 25 nurses, a sanitary inspector, matron, clerk, 2 cooks, four orderlies and two handymen ( the only males of the unit). The voyage took a detour and docked at Malta for around 3 weeks at the request of the Home Office. Soldiers mainly from Australia and New Zealand were pouring in from Gallipoli many with serious wounds. The unit began working immediately at the Hospital of the Knights of St John, however they were ordered by the SWH to move on to Serbia and keep on programme.

Valjevo was a small town, 80 miles south of Belgrade. Lying in a sleepy green valley Alice would have felt at home, however only a few months earlier Valjevo had looked very different. The big guns boomed day and night, men fell in their thousands, civilian’s were rounded up and often massacred and the dreaded Typhus raged through Serbia, uncontrollable and without mercy. The mortality rate in Valjevo was 70% and as a result they lost a huge number of Doctor’s and nurses.
By the time Alice reached Valjevo things were improving however there was much to be done, Valjevo had been on the front line and with the summer heat and all the rotten flesh from man and animal, the flies swarmed in their millions bringing diseases.
The hospital was under canvas, the 40 tents pitched on the hillside over looked the town and by and large up until August there were few serious cases. Their was still plenty to do, many wounds had been untended and cases scurvy and malnutrition required urgent attention. However by mid August the big guns were back. This time it was the Germans, Austrians, Hungarians and Bulgarians, and Serbia stood alone encircled by 500,000 fighting men. Also making an unwelcome comeback was Typhus and sadly nurse Sutherland succumbed to the deadly disease.

On the 8th of October 1915 Belgrade fell and Serbia was thrown into chaos, Valjevo was on the main railway line and they were given orders to evacuate, firstly to the town of Vrnjacka banja at that point some of the women choose to join the Serbia Retreat, Alice stayed and at the end of November the unit were moved to the town of Krusevac, not a happy experience as they were accommodated in an overcrowded and filthy hotel and now prisoners of war. Dr Alice Hutchison;s earned the nickname of “the little General” due to her persistence and constant badgering of her captures the unit were removed from Serbia and by train was sent to Hungary where they were sent to a POW camp for the next few months. Finally being allowed to return home at the end of February. Alice told a reporter on her return ” Alice Hutchison was simply splendid, she had to bear the brunt of the brutal abuse that came our way”

Only four months after her ordeal Alice was back on board another ship, again she signed up to work with Scottish Womens Hospitals and joined the American unit, so called due to huge amount of donations coming in from America. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains the bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From July 1916-January 1917 Alice would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going,Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in, very hot summers and cold winters and on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. Alice worked for periods at Salonika and Lake Ostrovo, But like all the units they always made time for the women to engage in sports, dance and song with local people. And Alice would have enjoyed her nights dancing the kolo while learning the words to songs like Tamo Daleko a favourite among many of the women. An incredible lady, and was awarded the Serbian Order of St Sava. Alice Tebbutt died in January 1957, she is buried at the Baptist Chapel in the village of Bluntisham Cambridgeshire.

Many thanks to Marian Land for her knowledge and input.

Norah, Soutter Tempest

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Dundalk, Ireland

The daughter of the wealthy Dundalk merchant William Tempest, Nora was born in 1886 in the town of Dundalk, Ireland.

In September 1915 Nora joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a cook and headed to war torn Serbia where she would work at the large hospital in Kragujevac under the command of Dr Elsie Ingis.
Nora’s war was ephemeral, nevertheless she ended up after only being in Serbia for two months walking the great Serbia retreat. Following the invasion of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian armies into Serbia in October 1915. With his forces vastly outnumbered and outgunned, Serb Vojvoda Marshal Radomir Putnik ordered a full retreat of the Serbian military south and west, down through the plains of Kosovo and over the mountains of Albania and Montenegro .The weather was dreadful the roads and tracks were barely passable and the army had to assist the tens of thousands of civilians who had retreated alongside the soldiers who had almost no supplies or food left. But the bad weather and poor roads worked for the Serbians as well, as the Germans and Bulgarians could not advance past the treacherous Albanian mountains, and so the thousands of Serbs who were fleeing their homeland managed to evade capture. However, hundreds of thousands of them were lost due to hunger, disease, starvation, frostbite and hypothermia and many perished in the hands of Albanian tribal bands. And by the time this human river of misery and heartbreak reached the Adriatic sea nearly 300,000 men, women and children had vanished or lay dead in the snows of their mountain graves. Thousands more would die by the time they reached the safety of Corfu, the waters off the the island Vido were to be know as the Blue Graveyard. For Nora and the other members of the SWH that made the seven week trek, this surely must have had an immense effect on them. Nora took many photos on the retreat the picture above is one of hers, she also wrote in the newspapers about her experiences.

In 1916 Nora married and had a child. She lived her life in Dundalk and there she died in 1960.

Gertude Mary Tew

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Cheadle, Staffordshire

Gertude grew up in the family home at Millhouse Farm, Hollington Road Cheadle, her father John was a farmer. In 1911 Gertude was working as a Mental Nurse at Camberwell House Asylum, Peckham Road, Camberwell.
In April 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to Serbia. By April 1915 the typhus outbreak that had been under control suddenly started to show signs of relapse. The town of Mladenovac was considered at risk and the SWH were asked to step in and provide a hospital in case of a new epidemic. Dr Elsie Inglis wasted no time in dispatching a hospital unit to Mladenovac. By July 1915 Dr Beatrice McGregor, Gertudes CMO, with her new recruits arrived at the hospital and took over as chief medical officer.
During the early days Beatrice and the unit ran a 300 bed hospital and with things being fairly quiet she opened a dispensary for the women and children which became very popular.
Then in October German and Austrian troops attacked Serbia with such huge force that by the 12th of October the unit had no choice but to evacuate the hospital as the town was on the main railway line. They fled south to Kraguievac and regrouped opening an emergency dressing station, 100’s of Serbian causalities poured in. With the Bulgarians joining the assault on Serbia they were forced to move down to Kraljevo and open another dressing station. Finally in early November all hope was gone and the SWH were forced to choose between retreat to the Adriatic Sea or remain and fall into enemy hands. On the 5th of November Dr McGregor and her nurses joined “The Great Serbian Retreat” Gertude joined the endless procession of men, women and children, a beaten nation, attempting in the frozen depths of winter with very little or no food and poorly clothed to trek for weeks covering hundreds of miles over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountain. 100,000’s of thousands of Serbians poured like blood from the heart of the motherland, estimates that well over 150,000 died, killed or were lost along the way. History has few parallels to this mass exodus. Gertude Tew made it back to the uk on the 23rd of December they to had suffered when Caroline Toughill was killed on the mountains of the Ibar valley. The Serbs have never forgotten their bravery and Gertude was awarded the Serbian Cross of Mercy. Today the fountain at Mladenovac, built to remember the SWH, still holds a ceremony to honour these gallant women.
Gertude died in Bournemouth in1973.

Marguerite Thicke

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Oxfordshire

Marguerite Olive Thicke
Born in Oxford in 1891.
Her father Richard was working as a hall servant at the college. In the 1911 census Marguerite is now working as a nurse at The Cig Infectious Diseases Hospital, Over Highnam Near Gloucester, she is aged 20. Prior to ww1 Marguerite was living at 5 glebe st Oxford.
In September 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Girton and newnham unit and headed to Salonika. Previously the unit had served at Troyes in France. But in October 1915 a combined Franco-British force of some two large brigades was landed at Salonika (today called Thessalonika) at the request of the Greek Prime Minister. The objective was to help the Serbs in their fight against Bulgarian aggression. But the expedition arrived too late, the Serbs having been beaten before they landed. It was decided to keep the force in place for future operations, On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. The hospital at Geuvgueli quickly dissolved as Serbia had fallen and the great retreat had begun. Marguerit spent the next year and a half nursing at the large SWH hospital in Salonika. The hospital at Salonika was a large all canvas hospital and had been mainly used to support the Serbs and allied troops pushing back into Serbia. Marguerite left the unit in May 1918.

She died in 1970 in Oxford.

Jean Thom

Date of Bith: 1871
Place of Birth: Glasgow

JEAN THOM was born in Glasgow in 1871.Her maiden name was Jean Hogg McOwat,daughter of Grocer William and Jessie.In 1901,she was a Hospital Nurse at Ayr County Hospital. 1911 census shows her as being a widow,at her brother’s house at 33 Academy Street,Coatbridge.

Jean Thom served a nurse at Royaumont Abbey, 30 miles from Paris. The Abbey operated as hospital from January 1915-March 1919. The hospital rose to importance during the many battles along the Western Front including the battle of the Somme. Jean went out on February 1917 and worked on until December 1918. By 1918 the Germans, due to the ending of the war with Russia had up to 30% more soldiers available. German offensives were carried out at Lys, Ypres and the Champagne regions. The hospital at Villers-Cotterets was forced to evacuate, thus giving the hospital at Royaumont a huge amount of extra work. The number of beds at the hospital was now 400 and by May that increased to 600. The hours were long and all the staff were exhausted, wounded men poured in day after day. 1918 was a testing year and perhaps their finest hour.

Jemima Tindal

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Born in Aberdeen in 1881, Jemima grew up in the city’s Wellington st, her father Alexander was a cashier/bookkeeper.
On the 1st of April 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and headed to war torn Serbia. Serbia was also devastated by the huge typhus epidemic that had swept the country a few months earlier. With few surviving doctors and very few nurses the work Jemima would carry out over the next five months would be critical in helping the Serb soldiers and many of the country’s civilians. Her post was in the small town of Valjevo in Serbia, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade. That winter Valjevo had gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached Valjevo, there was still plenty of work to do.A backlog of illnesses combined with malnutrition and long time suffering, Jemima would certainly have had her work cut out. On entry to the hospital to help stop the spread of typhus and any other diseases the men would be stripped, clothes were burned or boiled in hot water, all body hair was removed and the men and beds sprayed with benzene to kill the lice and prevent to spread of this awful killer. Jemima was lucky enough to get sent home in September in 1915, other members of the unit were not so fortunate and many in the next few months either went on the Serbian retreat or became POW, at Kragujevac. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability and saving the lives to the towns people.

Helen, Wardlaw Toshack

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Dunfermilne

Helen W. Toshack aka Nellie was b. 23/8/1880 at Bowershall, Dunfermline. Her parents were Saline born Railway Surfaceman,Thomas and Dunfermline born,mother Janet Low.
1891 Census of Dunfermline shows Nellie living with her parents and three siblings at Bowershall.
1901 Census has Nellie working as a Domestic Housemaid for a family at 1,Park Quadrant,in the Kelvin District of Glasgow.
Helen served as a nurse with the unit in Corsica between April 1917-November 1917. Refugees who had poured out of Serbia during the early part of 1916 and were suffering from the appalling conditions that they had endured on the retreat. Starving and exhausted many of the civilians were shipped over to the safety of Corsica where Dr Mary Blair on Christmas day 1915 had set up a hospital unit to aid with the suffering. The hospital was really the only hospital unit set up by the organisation to work primarily with civilians. The hospital was closed in the spring of 1919.

Helen Received the British War medal after serving in the French Red Cross.She died on 30/9/1957 at Dunfermline.Her address at that time was 7,St Leonards Street,Dunfermline.

Caroline Toughill

Date of Bith: 1865
Place of Birth: Bengal, India

Caroline Toughill was born in Saugov in Bengal, India in about 1865, as Caroline Macdonnel Ferrier Reid Brown. She was the only daughter of Major Robert Brown of the 29th Madras Native Infantry. She was sent to the UK to be educated and is shown on records as living at Gresham House in Heston, Middlesex. She married Francis Toughill, a private in the Scots Guards, in Ireland in December 1896. Tragically, it appears that he died on the very same day that they were married. She gave birth to a son, Francis Jnr, in 1897[2]. She resided in Edinburgh at 1 Roseburn Gardens and lived from private means (probably a pension or inheritance)[3].
Caroline Toughill served with the SWH as one of Dr. McGregor’s unit in Mladanovatz in Serbia from 1st July 1915[4] when the tasks were both treating war injured and dealing with a severe typhus epidemic. The Serbian army’s medical capabilities were woefully inadequate (their army medical service had a mere 300 doctors to serve half a million troops) and there was little commitment to maintaining appropriate levels of hygiene and sanitation in the army. As a consequence infectious diseases, especially typhus, took a heavy toll on the army and on the civilian population.
The Serbian army were forced into retreat in the second half of 1915 and marched through south Serbia and into Albania and Montenegro where, after enduring indescribable hardship, the survivors were picked up by the Italian and French navies and taken to safety in Corfu. The SWH and other British military, medical and relief missions joined the retreat and endured the same hardships as the soldiers.
Caroline Toughill died on 14th November 1915 during the retreat when, after leaving the town of Raksha the vehicle she was travelling in went off the road – her car attempted to pass a lorry on a narrow road, the edge of the road gave way, and the car fell down a precipice. She was buried in a nearby village[5] in the graveyard of an old church. A wreath was improvised from moss and berries and her coffin was carried by relays of Serbian soldiers[6] – officers, soldiers and Austrian prisoners of war paid their respects and Orthodox priests conducted the burial service. In a way the place of her death was fitting as she had been moved by the beautiful scenery of the area and remarked “Oh to be allowed to rest forever on such a hill and to be alone with God.
[1]

[1] Eva Shaw McLaren A History of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals (reprint by General Books, Memphis, USA, 2012) (p.44)
[2] Francis, along with 50 others, was killed on 21st December 1916, while serving as a Midshipman on HMS Negro when it was severely damaged by depth charges which exploded after they broke loose from HMS Hoste which had accidentally rammed HMS Negro.
[3] The information concerning her early life has been gleaned from submissions to the Great War Forum (http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums).

[4] http://www.scarletfinders.co.uk/138.html

[5] Both Raksha and Leposavic are now in Kosovo.
[6] In about 1920, Caroline Toughill’s remains, along with the graves of Commonwealth servicemen in various parts of Macedonia and south Serbia, were moved to the British Military Cemetery in Skopje (now the capital of the Republic of Macedonia)

Many thanks to Stephen Mendes for compiling this article and for taking the photos at the grave in Skopje

Mary Moir Trail

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Mary Moir Trail was born in 1891 in the district of Old Machar,Aberdeen.She was the third child of Orkney born,Professor of Botany at Aberdeen,James William Helenius Trail and Aberdeen born Katherine Elizabeth Molligan.
1891 Census of Old Machar has the family living at 71,High Street.Six months old Mary was living there with her parents and elder siblings William Samual and Helen.The family employed three servants in the household.
1901 census has Mary(aged 10) still living at 71 High Street.Her father and brother William,were also present on that census night.
On 13/7/1920,Mary married A.Landsborough Thomson(A Government Official of Chelsea) at King’s College Chapel,Old Aberdeen.Mary had been living at home at 81,High Street at date of marriage.

Mary was still living on the High st Aberdeen when she joined the Scottish Women’s
Hospitals in May 1916 as an orderly. She worked at the beautiful Abbey at Royaumont under the command of the French war office. Royaumont was opened in 1915 and remained open till march 1919. Hundred’s of women Doctors, nurses and orderly’s worked their during those years. However Mary’s time there during the summer of 1916 was no place for the fainthearted, Royaumont was only 25 miles from the front line and it was common the hear the thunder from the cannons and no stranger to the horrors of war, but on July the 2nd all hell broke loose for the next 20 days Trains carried men to Royaumont like streams the SWH own 4 ambulances recovered over 100 men in the first 24 hours. The Somme had begun. For the next two months the unit and hospital would be tested in every way. Mary had a short spell at Royuamont, working as a cook during the summer of 1916. On her return to the uk she worked as a Lathe operator.at the Aeroplane Factory in Coventry.

Laura Henrietta Ulph

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: St Ives, Huntingdon

Laura spent her childhood living at the family home in St Ives, her father John was the local Ironmonger and employed around 8 people. In 1901 Laura was working as assistant matron in the Yorkshire town of Iikley and by 1911 she was Hospital nurse and masseure in Margate.
In August 1916 she made the brave and exciting decision to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and head to the Russian front under the stewardship of Dr Elsie Inglis. Two field hospitals were sent to the Russian front and the journey to reach the Serbian First army was treacherous. They sailed from Liverpool to Archangel and from there by train to Odessa and on to Romania. They supported two offensives, battled and fought the awful conditions during three retreats, observed the upheavals of the Russian revolution in 1917. For nurse Ulph the experience was truly mammoth. Laura also assisted in helping to get Angela Bell home , a driver who suffered a nervous breakdown. Laura died in 1963 in Brighton. There is a small photo of Laura in the excellent book Between the Lines by Audrey Fawcett Cahill.

Elsie Underwood

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Bromsgrove

Elise Underwood as signing up as an orderly and departing for Sallanches on the 30th August 1918. This is four months after her husbands death. He died on the 30th March 1918 aged 39. Elsie served at the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs, Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. She joined the SWH under her married name. The hospitals it self was based at the used “Grand hotel Michollin” and operated from Feb1918-March 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis a huge problem in Serbia at the end of the war. The Chief Medical officer for the hospital was Dr Matilda MacPhail. Elise died of Spanish Influenza on the 21st of October 1918. A look into her personnel file shows she is buried in the Cemetery of Sallanches and at some point her coffin was moved to a part of the cemetery where the Serbs were buried. Which was payed for by her mother. We are currently trying to find out if Elsie’s headstone is still located in the cemetery at Sallanches.

Photo above, Elise Inglis Hospital for the Serbs at Shallanches

Catherine Upton

Date of Bith: 1882
Place of Birth: Staffordshire

Catherine Beatrice Strelley Upton was born in 1882 in Handsworth, Staffordshire.She was baptized on July 2, 1882 in Derbyshire. Her father, Richard was 44 and a captain in the army. Her mother, Harriet, was 35. She had six brothers and five sisters. In 1911 Catherine was a nurse at the infectious diseases hospital in Gloucestershire. In 1914 she travelled to America. Its more than likely Catherine was introduced to the SWH by Kathleen Burke. Kathleen was a remarkable speaker and raised vast amounts of money for the SWH in America.
In 1917 she was living at Leigh-on-sea. Catherine joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in July 1917, located for over a year at Lake Ostrovo in Macedonia before travelling onto Vranje in Serbia. She had joined the America unit who got it name from the fundraising work stateside. In november of 1918 Catherine became seriously ill, suffering from the flue and had a nervous breakdown. In fact all the women of the unit were suffering from an illness of one sort or another. In late 1918 she pricked her thumb while stitching up a septic dead body and contracted erysipelas and her arm became immobile. In May 1919 she was back in the UK. After the specialists rendered her arm to be doubtful of recovery she decided to head back to America. In 1920 she returned to America and became a citizen . Catherine took a post as head nurse in a New York Hospital. Catherine died in Florida in 1947.

Elsie Vyvyan

Date of Bith: 1892
Place of Birth: Cornwall

Elsie Vyvyan was born in November 1892, Landewednack,Cornwall. In 1911,was living at The Rectory ,The Lizard,Cornwall with her parents.She was a Governess in a Nursery and her father was “Clerk in Holy Orders” She joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals on the 11th of October 1918 and headed for the Elsie Inglis Hospital for the Serbs, Sallanches, Haute-Savoie, France. Elsie’s sister Dorothy was serving with the SWH in Corsica. The hospital it self was based at the “Grand hotel Michollin” and operated from February 1918-May 1919. Primarily to help Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis. Principally the patients were Serb students studying in France. The Chief Medical officer for the hospital was Dr Matilda MacPhail. The hospital functioned with around 100 beds this increased to 150. Funding for the hospital was provided from donations mainly from Wales, Greenock, Kilmarnock and Birmingham and a ward was named after each of these places. Elise returned home in January 1919 and in 1959 she died. The hotel where they worked was closed down in the 1970’s.

Dorothy Kildare Vyvyan

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Cornwall

Dorothy Kildare Vyvyan b.abt 1890 at Landewednack,Cornwall. In 1911,was living at The Rectory ,The Lizard,Cornwall with her parents. She was a Governess in a Nursery and her father was “Clerk in Holy Orders.
Dorothy joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in January 1918 as an orderly and headed for the hospital at Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. She worked under the command of Dr Honoria Keer. The hospital had opened in 1915 to aid with the thousands of Serbian refugees who were homeless, starving and had a number of infectious diseases. The hospital in the first few years were tested to the limit. However by 1918 things were calm. The hospital was closed in April 1919. Dorothy left Corsica in July 1918 She also had a sister, Elsie who also worked the SWH in France. Dorothy died in 1975.

Maude Evelyn Waddle

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Ireland

Although Maude was born in Ireland she grew up in Dunfermline, living at the family home in Rolland st with her Father, mother and 6 siblings. Her father Alexander worked at the local gas works and was the manager. Maude during 1916 elected to head to Royaumont Abbey near Paris, where she worked as an orderly. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Maude volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform. Maude went through some very tough times at the Abbey, including The Battle of the Somme, when she would have worked day and night carrying the wounded from ward to ward. And of course much worse. Train loads of men arrived at the Abbey each day, men peppered with bullet holes or suffering from gas gangrene, amputations were all to common. They worked until exhausted, sleeping was a luxury, often the women became sick from all the endless hours of contentiousness work. Maude left the Abbey in October 1917.

Frances Wakefield

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Kendal.

Frances Margaret Wakefield was born in Westmorland, Kendal. Her Father William was a Banker and a Justice of the peace. By 1881 she was a scholar living in St Andrews, Fife. She had now taking on the name Daisy. In 1895 she was at St Helen’s school, Clifton, Bristol. In 1905 she had Qualified as MB Bac Surg from University of Edinburgh. Source: Medical Register 1907. Daisy spend the next number of years working as a missionary in Nigeria. She return home to support the war effort and joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in December 1914. She was attached to the typhus hospital at Kragujevac in Serbia. Daisy wrote ” With so much misery about we could not expect special attention and comforts when we fell ill. We did what we could for each other but or primary duty lay with the Serbs. Each doctor or nurse less meant double the work for others. We gambled on our good health to pull through and it mostly did. Reaction to one’s illness often reflects a state of mind, forget about oneself especially when others around are far more ill, then one often gets well without even noticing it. At one time or another time or another most of us did this during that awful winter in Serbia.” During those dire days when Serbia was locked into the devastating typhus epidemic, not only did she battle to help save as many lives of the Serbian nation but personally treated Dr Elizabeth Ross, who sadly perished along with three other unit members. Daisy herself survived typhus and after a few weeks in bed was back on duty. Daisy returned home in June 1915. She went on with her medical work in Africa, joined the Women’s Royal Air Force, service. Daisy had an extraordinary life. But it seems she came from that sort of family her brothers Edward made aviation history when the seaplane he designed was the first in the British Empire to successfully take off and land. Rodger became a Doctor,
Arthur qualified as a medical doctor and served on the front line in the First World War. After the war he travelled to Newfoundland in Canada to join the Grenfell Institute and work as a missionary doctor for 15 years with the Inuit eskimos.
Dr Daisy Wakefield died in 1970 Bedfordshire, England

Hypatia Wakefield

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Halifax

Hypatia Robertshaw Wakefield was born in Halifax , Yorkshire, United Kingdom in 1886. Her father was Aurelio B Wakefield. In 1817 she had been in Argentina.
In August 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an x-ray sister and headed to Royaumont abbey. The abbey was located just miles from the front lines and only hours away from Paris. Hypatia joined during the final push of 1918. Although much of the patients were battle casualties, a number required various surgical treatments and of course many of the sick were admitted. Out of the 10,861 patients treated 8,752 were soldiers. The rest were made up of outpatients. Hypatia left the hospital and her unit in December 1918, just as the hospital was due to close.

In 1919 she traveled to Singapore.

Hypatia died in Halifax 6 Nov 1924.

Patricia Walker

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: Scotland

The early life of Patricia is vague,.Her father Robert was in the Royal Navy and consequently her siblings were born in Chile. We know from her records that Patricia was living at Woodlands, Moffat before the war. In August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly. Her journey took her to the Russian front. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Winnie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917.Patricia returned home on the 1st of March 1917. Patricia on her retuen married John Orr in 1919 in Moffat. We also know she had a son John.

Enid Walters

Date of Bith: 1982
Place of Birth: Kent, England

When Enid Margaret Walters was born on June 10, 1882, in Dover, Kent, her father, Frank, was 30 and her mother, Cecilia, was 30. She had two brothers and five sisters. In 1991 Enid Margaret Walters lived in Isle of Man in 1891. She lived for awhile in Nottingham before moving to Dorset.
She attended the London School of Medicine for Women in the early 1900’s. Dr E. M. Walters held the appointments of: Assistant School Medical Officer Hull, Assistant Medical Officer and Pathologist Devon County Asylum, House Physician New Hospital for Women Euston Road, and House Surgeon Victoria Hospital Children Hull. July 1916 Contracted to work for 12 months as a Civilian Surgeon attached to the RAMC. Her salary was 24 shillings a day including allowances, but excluding duty transport. A gratuity of £60 was awarded at the end of the contract, provided employment was not terminated for misconduct. Most of the medical women were invited to renew their contracts at the expiry of their first year’s work.
16 Aug 1916 Embarked for Malta as part of the Women’s Medical Unit RAMC.
In October 1917 Enid joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a Doctor and headed to Royaumont abbey, outside Paris.Fro Royaumont she traveled up to Villers-Cotterets. Villers was a satellite hospital of Royaumont. That summer they were just a few kilometres from the front line. Villers had though been battered in the months before. The surrounding countryside was stripped of trees, trenches lined the roads. Shell holes some 30 feet deep splattered the fields, villages were reduced to piles of stone. Refugees tramped the roadside, begging for help as German prisoners attempted to mend the roads. The wooden huts at Villers, which were to become ward and accommodation for the hospital , were basic. Corrugated iron roofs, oil-papered windows and duck boards for path, with the mud being so bad. At night the huts would shake from the booms of the big guns and half dead men would be brought in. Enid was forced to leave her post utterly exhausted and suffering from stress. In September 1918 she was sent home. Her contribution during the final push of 1918 and being only one of three Doctors working at Villers had taken its toll.

After the war she continued to work as a Doctor. Enid Margaret Walters died on 27 February 1960 in Dorset when she was 77 years old.

Ethel Ward

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Durham

Ethel Sarah Annie Ward.

At the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, Ethel was living in at ” The Woodlands” Hexham on Tyne. This was 1916, Ethel volunteered as Cook and set sail for the already established hospital in Corsica. In December 1915 Dr Blair was instructed to set up a Hospital for Serbian refugees on the island. On Christmas day 1915 the Corsican unit, also known as the Manchester and District unit, began. And as 1915 came to a close hundreds of Serbian refugees poured in on a daily basis. Dr Blair remarked that ” they looked so desolate and forlorn though most put a brave face on it, that we all felt inclined to weep”.
The main hospital was located in Ajaccio in a two storeyed building of Villa Miot. As the work load grew so did the hospital and tents were pitched in the gardens for open air treatments. A fever hospital was situated a few miles from the General hospital in Lazaet, a historic building that stood high, over looking the gulf. By this time nearly 3000 refugees and a few decimated regiments had arrived from Serbia. Also a band of a few hundred Serbian boys arrived for a few months recuperation. Thirty thousand boys set off on the Serbian retreat. Such were the conditions and horrors of that journey, that only 7000 made it to safety. Nearly 300 of these lads, after they were rested on the island, were sent on to schools in UK and France. Out- patients hospitals were opened in Chiavari some 20 miles from Ajaccio and St Antoine. The value of the work is indubitable and many a young life benefited from the units endeavours. 79 babies were born during the hospitals tenure, a reminder that life even in the darkest of times prevails. The hospital closed in April 1919.

Ethel worked as cook between June 1916 and August 1917. By September she had returned home and married Francis Gibbins. They were living in the Hexham area. Ethel died in 1965 aged 91,She had moved to Hailsham.

Ruby Warner

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: India

When Ruby Annette Maud St. John Warner was born on July 31, 1891, in India, her father, Reginald, was 30 and her mother, Alice, was 28.
Ruby Annette Maud St. John Warner lived in Halton, Lancashire, in 1901
Ruby Annette Maud St. John Warner lived in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland, on 2 April 1911.
Ruby joined the Scottish Women,s Hospitals as an orderly in September 1917. Ruby worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women,s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Ruby left the service in March 1918.
She was married to Arthur Hodgson in December 1918 when she was 27 years old.
Ruby Annette Maud St John Warner died on 29 August 1965 in Surrey when she was 74 years old

Beatrice Victoria Warr

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Bridport, Dorset

Beatrice grew up in the family home in Bridport. Bridport is a market town in Dorset, England, situated approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) inland from the English Channel near the confluence of the small River Brit and its tributary the Asker. Its origins are Saxon and it has a long history as a rope-making centre, though many of its buildings date from the 18th century. Her father William repaired the fishing nets. Beatrice developed an interest in Nursing as a profession and by 1911 she was working as a hospital nurse in nearby Taunton Hospital. Beatrice joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse towards the end of the war working at Royaumont between January 1918-July 1918.

Ruby Wearn

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Sussex

Ruby Florence Wearn was born in Lindfield, Sussex in 1885. She grew up in the family home in Lindfield where her father Arthur was a Grocer and Draper. By 1911 Ruby was working in London at London Fever Hospital, Liverpool Road, Islington, her occupation was Hospital nurse. From her records at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow she was living in Cornwall prior to joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Ruby in June 1918 joined the organisation, electing to serve in The Girton and Newnham unit, so called due to very healthy donations coming from the College. Ruby’s destination was Salonika (Thessaloniki). The SWH had ran a large and well equipped hospital at Salonika since early 1916 mainly supporting French and Serbian troops. Ruby arrived at a time when large amounts of Serbs, French, Italian and British troops were pushing hard to break the Bulgarians control of the Kaimatchalan mountains. As the unit had been inundated with soldiers in 1917 suffering from malaria, now the hospital was bursting with wounded men. In October, with the Serbs attacking and making for home Bulgaria surrendered. Just as the other SWH units in the region were able to follow their beloved Serbians home so did much of the Girton and Newnham unit. Ruby in June 1919 was working at the Elsie Inglis Hospital Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. As Elsie had died in 1917 this was something that thrilled the women and was clearly a proud moment for all the unit.She left Belgrade in August and headed down to Salonika. Her records show she left the unit in July 1919 it wasn’t until November 1919 that she returned home. Ruby Florence Wearn died in 1947 in Brighton ,Sussex.

Edith Elizabeth Webster

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: St Bees, Cumberland

Born in 1884, her father John Webster was a clerk of justice. John passed away when she was young and was therefore raised by her mother Ann. In 1911 she was living and working in London. Edith like so many of the women was involved in the suffrage movement. Edith’s occupation was described as “local Secretary London Society Goldenness Suffrage”. Edith joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in May 1915 as an orderly. The work of orderly’s was a grueling and often stomach churning. Typically the orderly’s came from well to do family’s but were eager to play a part in the war effort. They received no salary and only the uniform, board and lodgings were payed for by the organisation. Edith spent eight months working at Royaumont Abbey close to Paris. Royaumont was well suited to take casualties from the front,. In 1915 trains carrying the soldiers from the battlefields of Reims, Soissons and Noyon sector would roll down to Creil where they would be collected in SWH ambulances and taken to Royaumont. Edith left the hospital in January 1916.

Rua Mackenzie Webster

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Catherine Rua Mackenzie Webster was raised in Glasgow, her father Harry was a paint manufacturer and was from Australia. At the age of 17 Catherine was living in Cheltenham, at the ladies boarding college. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916 only leaving in November 1917. She volunteered as an orderly. A position that would guarantee her long hours and heavy work, a far cry from her life at home. It was unpleasant work, cleaning up the blood soaked beds and clothes, mopping up of the operation rooms and wards. Catherine took this on purely to play her part in the war effort or maybe it was an act of humanity either way she did it without question and without any salary. Typical of so many women who went about their war in a quite, industrious and diligent manner. In 1919 she married Sir Dudley Williams, an Australian who served on the western front but went on in life to become a judge. In November 1919 they moved out to Australia and lived in Sydney until Catherine died in 1959.

Mary Garnett Welch

Date of Bith: 1871
Place of Birth: Preston.

Mary Garnett Welch was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1871. Her father William was a clerk at the local brewery. The family home was in the village of Wolstanton where she lived with her mother (Marianne) and siblings, Geo.Richard and Ada.

Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916, Mary worked as a nurse in Bermondsey military hospital, London with the British Red Cross Society. On the 14th of December 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Invited to serve at Lake Ostrovo with the American Unit. The American unit got its name due to huge amount of donations coming in from America. Largely down to the fund raising of the determined Kathleen Burke.
Mary joined a reinforcement party at Southampton and sailed to Salonika, a journey that took around 10-14 days and fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and Zeppelins all responsible for the lost of many a ship, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians hoping to push for home. Mary as a nurse in 1916-1917 would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going. Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Very hot in summer and cold winter and on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. At the time of her joining the front had pushed north and there was a plan to move the hospital at Ostrovo that didn’t happen but a field hospital was opened in the mountains at Dobraveni, all the women took a turn at working at this supporting hospital, something they enjoyed despite the appalling injuries the men came in with. The hospital at Ostrovo was large and all under canvas. At times the camp was only a few miles from the front line and shells rained over head, often close to or on the hospital. The wounded were fetched too and fro by mule, often requiring amputations and urgent medical assistance. The women slept in their tents, during the winter it was bitterly cold, the ground as hard as iron, hot tea frozen in minutes and their hands and feet turned blue with the dropping temperatures. Often wolves strolled around close to the camp, hoping steal a meal. Even in these trying conditions the women made sure any of the patients that died in there care were buried.
in the summer of 1917 the hospital at Ostrovo was taking medical cases as well as the wounded from the battles. Malaria was rife as it had been the year before when thousands of men were wiped out, many of the staff suffered or were victims themselves. The CMO Dr Bennett contacted malaria and was sent home, she was popular with women as she was excellent at her job. Fellow Australian Dr Mary De Garis took over the running of the camp. During her time at Lake Ostrovo Mary Garnett Welch nursed Serbian, Russian, French, Italian and Macedonian troops, often they tended the POW’s the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. Mary returned home in November 1917, she was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. She returned to London, never married and on the 25th of October 1947 she died at the nursing home, park lane, Barnstable, Devonshire.

MARY FRANCES WEST

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Paulton, Bath

Nurse: Mladanovatz 1-Jul-1915 to 1-Nov-1915
Nursing Sister: British Red Cross Hospital, Netley 1918
Assistant Matron: Girton Newnham 2-Jul-1918 to 15-Nov-1919

Mary was born in 1885 in Paulton, near Bath, Somerset. Her father was a saddler and her parents jointly owned a grocery business.
She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1915.
Mary left Southampton on the 23rd June 1915 on a converted hospital ship, the ‘Gloucester Castle’, together with the 3rdunit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital bound for Serbia. They travelled with other medical units including men from the RAMC who were bound for the Dardanelles. At Malta they transferred to the French maritime steamer ‘Lotus’ and were joined by several other missions on their way to Salonika where they arrived on July 25th.
After two weeks at Kragujevac the unit was sent to a camp medical hospital at Mladenovatz, a major crossing point 40 miles from Belgrade. At first the hospital was fairly quiet, the cases were mainly of malaria and some typhus. However in late September news came of unrest in Bulgaria. For many days Serbian troops passed through Mladenovatz to guard the Bulgarian front. When the Austro-German invasion began in the north, the men retraced their steps through Mladenovatz. Soon the hospital filled with exhausted soldiers. A Serbian artillery regiment set up camp very close to the hospital tents. Having ammunition so close put everyone in danger and soon the base was the target of enemy planes that killed several men in a nearby camp.
On 10th October they left Mladenovatz and returned to the hospital at Kragujevac. The hospital was soon overwhelmed by the wounded but after only ten days they had to retreat to a French mission hospital at Kravielo. After a few days tending the wounded here they received orders to retreat to Rashka. The order was hard for them, as they did not want to leave so many wounded behind.
Mary and four others travelled on to Metravitsa by ambulance. On the narrow slippery road, whilst passing another vehicle, they skidded and turned over on to the bank below. The nurses were thrown on top of each other into the roof of the ambulance. Luckily the roof was stuck in the sand, preventing the vehicle from falling into the river. But unfortunately one of the nurses was seriously injured. She was taken to a camp hospital three miles away. Sadly she died three days later from a fractured skull and was buried in a hillside graveyard near Rashka.

The group hoped they could return home via Greece but it was not possible. They were faced with crossing the Albanian and Montenegrin mountains in winter with hundreds of fleeing refugees and soldiers, many dying on the way. Food was scarce and if they found accommodation it was often impossible to lay down. Their clothes were always wet. The intense cold left Mary with frostbite in her toes, later these needed amputation. Eventually they reached St. Giovanni di Medua in Albania where they were eventually picked up by an Italian cargo steamer, returning home via Brindisi.

Mary went on to be a nursing sister at the British Red Cross hospital at Netley. Then in July 1918 she returned to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an assistant matron joining the Girton and Newnham unit at Salonika. They worked with the French Red Cross Orient Command, nursing French Foreign Legion soldiers.

In March 1919 Mary assisted Dr. Louise McIlroy in establishing a hospital for post war civilians in Belgrade. They also hoped to set up a nurse training school for Serbian women. She helped set up a dispensary twenty kilometres out of town that soon turned into a small camp hospital.

In November Mary felt her work was done here and resigned. She went on to take up a position in the Fiji Islands.

Finally she left nursing to enter a Brigittine convent at Syon Abbey in Devon where died aged 88 years.

(EXTRACTS FROM HER JOURNAL 1915 – 1919)

Many thanks to Rosemary Brooking for sharing this fascinating first hand information. Mary was Rosemary ‘s great aunt and we are so glad she agreed to write this article.

Dulcie Mary White

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Burslem,Staffs;England

Dulcie Mary White was born C1887 at Burslem,Staffs;England.In 1911 she was a Probationer Nurse at North Staffs Infirmary,Stoke on trent.
Nurse White served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles for Paris. The Scottish Women’s Hospitals unit offered their services to France and opened a hospital in the ancient Abbey of Royaumont, near Paris. The hospital operated from 1915 to 1919 and became famous for its nursing care, cleanliness and efficiency, recognised by the French authorities as a key wartime hospital.

Irene Mildred Whittet

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: Perth, Scotland.

Irene Mildred Whittet was born 1895,Perth.She was daughter of Perth born father,James Peter Whittet (Tea,coffee and seed merchant) and mother Agnes(born Forgandenny,Perthshire).1901 Census had family living at Craig Isla,Kinnoull,Perthshire. Irene died at Ween Cottage Hospital,Aberfeldy on 5/11/1961.

Irene served with the Scottish Womens Hospitals from the 15th of August 1916-17th of February 1917. She worked at Royaumont Abbey near Paris as a nurse.From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was used as a military hospital by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, under the direction of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting and they received thousands of casualties during ww1. A gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war.

Alice Gertrude Williams

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Shrewsbury

She was born in 1881, 4th child of Samuel Wilson Williams who married Mary Jane Edwards in Shrewsbury. She was one of 10 children. Samuel was a Joiner.
In September 1915 she took the very courageous decision to head for Serbia. Serbia had been battered by war, typhus epidemics, starvation and a lack of support. Alice left the Uk on the 11th of September 1915 and arrived in Valjevo in Serbia on the 5th of October. That voyage would open these brave nurses eyes, as after they sailed from Malta heading to Salonika they saw the bodies of victims of a submarine attack on a ship floating on the water. Alice traveling with around a dozen other nurses heading to Valjevo to help and support the already busy and overworked hospital in the town. However a few days after arriving in Valjevo Serbian lines were breached and the Serbian capital Belgrade was smashed by a rain of bombs. Over the next few weeks Serbia was flung into chaos, all Alice could do was retreat with the Serbian army and assist where she could. Serbia’s picture deteriorated day after day and on the 10th of November the unit woke up to the disbelief that they were now effectively prisoners of the Austrian army. In the days and weeks the followed the hospital continued to run as best as it could but with the cold weather, a lack of food and dialog between them and there captures in free fall, they were moved on. For a brief time they ran a small hospital at Krusevac but in early December the unit was moved to the frozen hinterlands of Hungry. Transferred by cattle trucks and forced into wooden huts under guard they spent the next 10 weeks living on bread and soup. A monotonous mix of confinement, lack of food and freezing temperatures only broken up by the brief excitement of Christmas day and Burns night. In February they were ordered to leave the camp and return home. By train to Budapest, Vienna and into Switzerland. Finally sailing home to their family’s. After returning home Alice joined her sister and worked as a nurse at Stokesay Court, Shropshire, England. Employed here from June 1917 – December 1918 during the time that Stokesay Court was an auxiliary VAD hospital. She joined her sister Lilian who was also employed at Stokesy Court as a nurse.

Theodora Williamson

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Musselburgh

THEODORA WILLIAMSON was born 1893 in Musselburgh. Daughter of plasterer John and Ina.They lived at 77,Millhill,Musselburgh and in 1911,Theodora was a Domestic Servant.

Theodora joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an Orderly. She volunteered to work at Royaumont Abbey in France between 6-Sep-18 and 2-Dec-18. The orderly’s were known as “the white caps” They were very much the backbone of the hospital carrying out heavy work including moving the stretchers from place to place. The mopping up of blood stained floors and beds. All the unpleasant tasks. And for no wage. Only travel, uniform and board and lodging were provided for. An impressive contribution and often overlooked.

Marian Elizabeth Wilson

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Perthshire

Marian was born in Abernte, June 1881, her father John was the local minister at Abernyte in Perthshire. Marian studied medicine at Edinburgh university, qualifying as a Doctor on 1906. Marian was a very bright and astute student who had a vast knowledge of languages. Fluent in German, Arabic, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. There was little in life that Marian could not turn her hand to. She studied French history, music, books and a raft of hobbies. She was a keen horse rider and loved to play hockey.
Her first post as Doctor was in Barrow in Furness in Cumbria. In 1911 she took on the challenge of medical mission work in Palestine, she was popular everywhere she went but did love the people of Jaffa and Hebron where she was affectionately known as “El Hakiemeh (the lady Doctor). In 1914 she returned home to take up a position in York but in November 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and elected to work at Royaumont Abbey some 30 miles outside Paris. Marian choose Royaumont, she was asked to go to Serbia but declined. Its was said that she was an excellent physician, her colleagues and patients all raved about her. Intellectually she had a brilliant mind and although she could be distant and reserved she was very much adored by all around her. In July 1917 she took a break from all the work at Royuamont and headed to the Alps for some much needed rest. On the 1st August 1917, Royaumont fell silent as the news broke that Marian had died of acute appendicitis, the impact of her death was sorely felt among the staff and patients alike, many of them bursting into tears. On the photo above, there is an inscription on the monument to commemorate those who died. The monument rightly carries the name of Marian Elizabeth Wilson.

Maud Winstanley

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Rainford, England

Maud Winstanley was born in Rainford in 1879.

War broke the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey.
Without question their most testing time came in July 1916. The big push had begun. For anyone connected with the Battle of the Somme these were horrendous, dangerous and difficult days. The women of Royaumont proved time and time again that they had the metle and expertise to face all the horrors of this war.
Maud joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont in February 1916 firstly as a nurse, quickly being promoted to matron on account of her organisational skills and willingness to work all hours. The hospital was in fantastic condition, partly due to Maud’s efforts. As Matron she was paid a salary of £120 per year.
By July 1917 she moved to the hospital 40 miles away, Villers-Cotterets. The hospital at Villers-Cotterets was joined to the railway station so the wounded could be taken directly into the wards. Maud was very proud of the hospital and under her stewardship the hospital was hugely successful. Maud, very popular with the staff, worked at Villers-Cotterets until November 1917.

Maud died in 1956.

Florence Stanley Winter

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Doune, Perthshire

Florence grew up in the family home. Her father, Adam Winter was the local Gamekeeper and as such they lived in the Gamekeepers Lodge in Doune. Florence joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in July 1917 leaving in December 1918 just before it closed down. She served as a nurse and faced many challenges. During her time at Royaumont, Florence was very much involved in the final push of 1918, when the hospital took in hundreds of causalities. Unceasing work and all manners of injures. Physically and mentally they were tested day after day. In June alone Royaumont took in 1,240 admissions.
In January 1919 she joined the unit at Sallanches, France. The Elsie Inglis memorial hospital in France offered comfort and medical assistance to Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis. The hospital was opened in March 1918 and continued until its Closure in April 1919, Florence then returned home. It seems she never took a break from her service from July 1917-April 1919.

Florence married John Dobbie in 1918 and died in Edinburgh in 1955.

Monica Yeats

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Hertfordshire, England

Monica Kathleen Balderstone Yeats
Monica was raised in Yorkshire, her father was George Yeats a local clergyman. Monica it seem had the taste for adventure and she certainly fits the profile of many of the women who volunteered as drivers. Youthful, carefree and eager to shoot the moon.
Monica joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in May 1917, she sailed to Salonika where she worked as an ambulance driver. The SWH had a large hospital in Salonika and her role was supporting the manly Serb soldiers in their push for home. In July she was in France again working as a driver at Royaumont Abbey close to Paris. Monica in December 1918(after the Armistice) was involved in a rescue mission. A French Corporal required a driver to help find his wife, who had been a imprisoned by the Germans, she was now free but was somewhere around the town of Fourmies. Fourmies had been part of the invaded land and the surrounding area had often witnessed some of the bloodiest fighting of ww1. The journey to Fourmies near the Belgium border took them through some hellish sites. The towns and villages were often raised to the ground. A treeless landscape, rivers of mud, shell holes, trenches and dugouts. A once beautiful countryside torn and blasted was now full of streams of the displaced and the starving. Worn out soldiers tramped along with refugees begging for food, clothes or perhaps a lift. The ambulance hurled and bumped its way along the battered roads, passing through the towns of Villers-Cotterets, Soissons, the Chermin des Dames and Laon. Monica was to triumph though, with the Corporal and his wife reunited for the first time in four long years she headed back to Royaumont. Stopping along the way to hand out what blankets and food she had and sharing cups of tea made with water from the radiator of the ambulance, the ground so cold frost, Monica gingerly made her way to the abbey. Monica was so distressed about the plight of the lost souls she encountered along the road she filled a report to encourage organisations to send help forthwith. Lion-hearted and full of spirit seems to describe Monica.

Birth
January 1885 • New Barnet, Hertfordshire, England
5 Sources
1885
(AGE)
Birth of Brother Thomas Flasby Yeats(1886–)
January 1886 • Heworth, Yorkshire, England
1886
0
Birth of Brother Basel E Yeats(1888–)
abt 1888 • Heworth, Yorkshire, England
1888
2
Birth of Brother Austin Gerard John Yeats(1889–1919)
October 1889 • Heworth, Yorkshire, England
1889
4
Residence
1891 • St Cuthberts, Yorkshire, England
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
1 Source
1891
6
Death of Mother Rosa Bertha Yeats(1852–1900)
January 1900 • York, Yorkshire East Riding
1900
15
VIEW
Residence
1901 • York, Yorkshire, England
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
1 Source
1901
16
Residence
02 Apr 1911 • Broadview, Meopham, Kent, England
Marital Status: Single; Relation to Head of House: Sister
1 Source
1911
26
Death of Brother Austin Gerard John Yeats(1889–1919)
24 Jan 1919 • Kent, England
1919
34
Death
28 May 1944 • Chichester, Chester, England

Wilhelmina Yorkston

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Wilhelmina Yorkston was born in Edinburgh about 1878.In 1901,she was residing at Devizes Cottage Hospital,Wiltshire.She was a trained Hospital Nurse,aged 23.
In 1911,Wilhelmina,aged 33,was a Member of Staff at Grimsby Sick Nursing Hospital.Wilhelmina, joined the Scottish women’s hospitals in September 1916, working with the Girton & Newnham unit as an nurse. She served for two years at the large hospital at Salonika under the command of Dr McIIroy. That particular time at Salonika was unusually quiet, which might explain some of the quarrels that took place between some of the senior members of staff. In August 1917 Wilhelmina would have witnessed the great fire of Salonika which burned most of the old town to the ground and once again the hospital was full with refugees and casualties of the fire. The hospital its self being close to burning down, as it was under canvas and sparks were at one point falling down on the tents. Luckily the wind direction changed on time. Salonika became a transit center for Allied troops and supplies, and the city filled with thousands of French and British soldiers, numbering up to 100,000. The hospital was often busy and had been mainly used to support the Serbs and allied troops pushing back into Serbia. Most of the work at that time involved nursing malaria patients, Wilhelmina remained in Salonika until November 1918.

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