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Mabel Effie Jeffery

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Sheffield

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

Florence Jenkins

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Bristol

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

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

Yvonne Fitzroy in her book notes:

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to Norman Gooding for sending us this information.

Louisa Jordan

Date of Bith: 1878
Place of Birth: Glasgow

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

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

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

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

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

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