A-Z of Personnel

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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”

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