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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 1925â€“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.
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 – only nurses could enlist. Her fiancÃ©e, 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.
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 orderlyâ€™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 â€œThe Great Serbian Retreatâ€ 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. 100,000â€²s 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 â€œGrand hotel Michollinâ€ 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.
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 AsniÃ¨res-sur-Oise in Val-dâ€™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.
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 Womenâ€™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 Hutchinsonâ€™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 POWâ€™s. They continued their work until the end of November when they were sent to Krusevac. The hospital was described by the women as â€œthe zooâ€ 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. Itâ€™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, 100â€²s 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 â€œThe Great Serbian Retreatâ€
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. 100,000â€²s 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 Womenâ€™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 â€“ 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 â€“ 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 Womenâ€™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 â€˜a great big familyâ€™. 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.
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