A-Z of Personnel

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Edith Catherine Hacon

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: England

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

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

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

Eileen Alexandra Haig

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Dublin.

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

Eileen Alexandra Haig

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Dublin.

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

Catherine Gray Hall

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Fraserburgh

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

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

Cicely Hamilton

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: London

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

In the photo above, Cicely is seated.

Mabel Hardie

Date of Bith: 1866
Place of Birth: Stockport

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

Katherine Harley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[6] Ibid p.45

[7] Ibid p.54

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

[9] Ibid p.191.

[10] Ibid p.189

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

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

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

[14] Ibid p.196

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

Florence Lyle Harvey

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Hamilton Canada

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

Evelina Haverfield

Date of Bith: 1867
Place of Birth: Kingussie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[16] Ibid (p.203)

Many thanks again to Stephen Mendes the Biography.

Maud Doria Haviland

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Staffordshire

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

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

Maud is on the right of the photo.

Louise Haviland

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: Staffordshire

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

18 Oct
Tamworth, Staffordshire, England
1 Source
Age: 1
South Stoke, Oxfordshire, England
1 Source
2 Apr
Age: 20
Swinderby, Nottinghamshire, England
1 Source
15 Jul
Age: 29
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 Source
5 Jan
Age: 32
London, England
Age: 32
Marriage to Reginald Dundas Merriman DSC
Age: 33
Rangoon, Burma
1 Source
10 May
Age: 52
Liverpool, England
Age: 52
1 Source
Age: 86
Surrey South eastern, Surrey, England
Age: 86

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

Geraldine Hedges

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

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

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

Lydia Manley Henry

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

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

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

Edith Blake Hollway

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

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

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

Edith died in 26/12/1948 Newton Abbott.

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

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

Nora Webb Hollway

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

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

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

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

Vera Louise Holme

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

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

Laura Margaret Hope

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Adelaide australia

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article was written by Helen Jones.

Rowena Hopkin

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

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

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

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

Edith Hore

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: Essex

Edith Ethel Florence Hore

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

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

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

Christina Hunter

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: New Zealand

Christina Annabella Hunter

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

Alice Marion Hutchinson

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: India

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

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

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

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

Isobel Emslie Hutton

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

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

Ambrosine Hyslop

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Lanarkshire

Born in 1884 in Cambusnethan,Lanarkshire,

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

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

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

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