A-Z of Personnel

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Helen Orient Pagan

Date of Bith: 1866
Place of Birth: New Zealand

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

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

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

Grace Winifred Pailthorpe

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

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

Gertrude Pares

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

Birth
1867
Abt
Ockbrook, Derbyshire, England

Residence
1871
Age: 4
Thursley, Surrey, England

Residence
1881
Age: 14
All Saints, Sussex, England

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

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

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

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

Many thanks to Chris Burge.

Gertrude is on the right of the photo.

Lilly Park

Date of Bith: 1872
Place of Birth: Sunderland

Lilly Maria Park

Lilly was born in Sunderland in 1872.

She gained her nursing certificate between 1892-1894 at Grimsby and District Hospital.

Lilly joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Salonika in October 1916. More than 20 allied hospitals were located near the port.
In October 1915 a combined Franco-British force of some two large brigades was landed at Salonika (today called Thessalonika) at the request of the Greek Prime Minister. The objective was to help the Serbs in their fight against Bulgarian aggression. But the expedition arrived too late, the Serbs having been beaten in retreat before they landed. The hospitals and port were off huge importance in assisting Serbia’s fight for home over the next three years. Lilly joined the unit at Salonika as Matron. Unlike the mobile field hospitals that were mainly tending the wounded from the battlefields, the salonikia hospitals were mostly fighting diseases. Malaria with its symptoms of fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, aching limbs and deep depression if not death in extreme case. The Eastern campaign in Salonika was sometimes called ‘The Doctor’s War’ because it wasn’t the enemy that was the main problem. The winters were bitterly cold with frostbite a constant problem , there was always the dread fear of typhus and other epidemics. Two- thirds of Salonika were destroyed in August of 1917 with the SWH tents close to going up in flames. In September 1917 Lilly returned home.

After the war Lilly returned to Sunderland and lived at no 18 Featherstone street. She continued to work in medicine into the late 1930’s.

Lilly died in 1950 in Sunderland.

Flora Parker

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Essex

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

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

Winifred Parry

Date of Bith: 1888
Place of Birth: Maidstone.

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

Eliza Partick

Date of Bith: 1865
Place of Birth: Glasgow

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

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

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

Bessie McLean Peddie

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: Creiff Perthshire

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

Annie Younger Peebles

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

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

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

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

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

Annie Younger Peebles

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

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

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

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

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

Daphne Persse

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Galway

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

Agnes, S Peters

Date of Bith: 1874
Place of Birth: Arbroath

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

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

Mary Elizabeth Phillips

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

Mary Elizabeth Phillips was the first woman to qualify as a doctor from Cardiff University College at the turn of the century and became known as Mary ‘Eppynt’ Phillips, taking the name from the mountain near where she was born. Her father William was a farmer and Mary went to school in the area.
Her involvement in the First World War came in December 1914 when she received a letter from the Scottish Women’s Hospital for Foreign Service, Edinburgh, asking her to travel to Calais at once to assist at a hospital that had been established there.The hospital at Calais was the Scottish Women’s Hospitals first hospital to be set up.Dr Mary Eppynt Phillips was in Calais by Christmas Day 1914 and worked until April 1915.
She was involved in running the Typhoid Hospital at Calais before joining the 2nd Serbian Unit as a Senior Physician at the Scottish Women’s Hospital at Valjevo, Serbia in April. Mary was greatly loved by the Serbian people who called her “Drouga doukha” (second mother)
Fever forced her to return to Britain in 1915 where, having recovered, she undertook a lecture tour to raise funds for the Scottish Women’s Hospital. Returning to the continent in April 1916, she travelled to Corsica where she was the Chief Medical Officer at the hospital in Ajaccio on the island. Here she remained until she travelled home in June 1917. Mary worked at Merthyr Tydfil training Serbian girls to become nurses. After that she moved to London. Mary died in 1956.

Euphemia Philp

Date of Bith: 1860
Place of Birth: Fife, Scotland

Euphemia Philp
Matron with SWH 2nd Serbian Unit

Euphemia Kirk Philp was born in 1860, the 8th of 13 children. Their parents were
Benjamin and Euphemia Philp and they lived in Lundin Links, a small fishing village on the south
coast of Fife, part of the parish of Largo.
Benjamin was an agricultural merchant who bought grain off farmers and sold them seeds
and fertilisers. He later also became an Inspector of the Poor, responsible for examining all
applicants for Poor Relief in the parish of Largo and Collector of Poor Law Rates. He had
previously been a baker in St Andrews and a member of the Town Council with a particular interest
in bringing clean water supplies to the city. Euphemia, along with her siblings was educated at
Madras College in St Andrews.
One of Euphemia’s brothers became a GP, but another, Robert, was a teacher at Hutchison’s
Grammar School in Glasgow, where he later became headmaster. When Phemie, as she was known,
was 19, Robert’s wife died, leaving an 18 month old son. Phemie was sent to help look after the
baby and seems to have stayed for nearly 10 years, until Robert married again. Of the four
unmarried sisters in the family, each was expected at some time in her early adult life to be carer for
nephews or housekeeper to a brother or else to stay and help her mother keep the family home. For
Phemie, after being released from caring for Robert and young John, things changed and she had
the chance to go out and earn a living.
In 1891, two years after Robert remarried, Phemie, aged 31, can be found in the census
with her occupation is given as “masseuse”. This is a term, which, then as now, was somewhat
ambiguous. 3 years later in 1894, the Society of Trained Masseuse was founded to distinguish
respectable masseuses from prostitutes. It later became the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists
and was a profession that became widely respected during and after the First World War when it had
plenty of opportunity to prove its worth, however in 1891 it was still in its infancy. In the same
house in Wemyss, where the census listed Phemie as a Visitor, there was a woman boarder whose
occupation was “Queen’s Nurse”. Phemie herself qualified as a Queen’s Nurse in July 1892, a year
later. Perhaps she was visiting as part of her training.
We now call such nurses District Nurses. Their training then included a range of subjects
unfamiliar to most hospital nursing, but of great relevance to a war-time nurse, including sanitary
reform, health education, ventilation, water supply, diet and control of infectious diseases.
Queen’s Nurses based in large towns had to live in homes, under the charge of a resident.
In the census of 1901, Euphemia is listed as a Queen’s Nurse, or more precisely she is assistant
supervisor in the Training Home for Queen’s Nurses in Castle Terrace in Edinburgh. In the 1911
census Phemie is in the same place, but is now superintendent heading the institution, She might
have been expected to stay in the job until she retired. Instead the big adventure of her life was
about to begin. In 1915, at the age of 55, she joined the second Serbian Unit of the Scottish
Women’s Hospitals, led by Dr Alice Hutchison.
Before the War, Alice Hutchison had worked in Edinburgh as physician in charge at St.
John’s Street Dispensary in the Canongate providing free medical attention to the sick poor in their
own homes. It seems very likely that in this capacity she knew Euphemia Philp. Perhaps this
explains why Phemie already at the top of her profession, went to war. Phemie’s younger sister,
Elsie, had served as an army nurse in South Africa from 1900-1902 during the Boer War, so Phemie
would have been under no illusions about the glory of front-line nursing.
On the 19th April 1915 members of the Second Serbian Unit set off from Edinburgh
heading for Cardiff, to embark on a ship to the Mediterranean. Drawn from throughout the UK, the
Unit consisted of 4 doctors, an administrator, a sanitary inspector, a matron (Phemie, seated to our
right of centre in the photo), a dispenser, a clerkess, 25-30 nurses, a laundress, 2 cooks, 4 orderlies,
a baggage master and a handyman.
The 2nd Serbian Unit boarded the SS Ceramic at Cardiff docks with all the equipment
necessary for a 200-bed hospital. 8 days later, the ship docked in the Grand Harbour in Valetta, in
Malta. The Unit were to wait here for another ship to take them to Salonica. However the Unit was
commandeered to deal with the wounded pouring in from Galipoli, until such time as the RAMC
and Red Cross arrived from Britain.
The Unit eventually arrived in Valjevo and they started erecting and equipping their tents
on a sloping hillside with its own water supply, above the town. It was not until the beginning of
July that the first patients began to arrive. They were a mixture of medical and surgical cases but by
August there was an outbreak of enteric fever or typhoid, for which two wards had to be set aside.
Three doctors and three nurses succumbed to the disease and one of the nurses died.
The SWH were ordered to evacuate Valjevo on 17th October as the Austrians advanced
south. The Serbian army was persuaded by their allies to retreat over the Montenegrian and
Albanian mountains in the hope that they might be able to reform again into a useful fighting force.
The women of the SWH were each given the choice of going home by joining the Serbian retreat or
of staying at their posts. Drs Inglis and Hutchison and most of their staff, including Phemie, decided
to stay rather than abandon the patients they had been treating. They felt there would be ever more
work to do in Serbia after invasion. As medical personnel, the Geneva Convention said that they
should be allowed to carry on their work.
On 10th November the Austrians arrived at Alice Hutchison’s Unit and were described as
“slouchy, poorly fed, badly dressed”. However they were well behaved as they made the women
prisoners of war. The Unit was sent to Krushevatz. Some of the women got talking to two German
newspaper reporters at the station. According to their news report “Only two or three of them were
very young, most of them wore spectacles, short skirts, hats
utterly devoid of taste, and heavy mountain boots. I was afraid to
address them with a complimentary remark, for at first glance
they seemed to be very forbidding.” A wonderful description!
Did he really expect prisoners of war, to be glamorously dressed
after nursing in military hospitals? But is there a hint here, that
it was perhaps the older members of the SWH who chose not to
join the great retreat over the mountains?
On 4th December, the women were moved on,
eventually arriving in Kervavara on the plains of Hungary, where
they stayed for 3 months as prisoners of the Germans. Phemie
later told her family that the Austrians were nice to them, the
Germans were not. On 4th February the group was eventually
repatriated. The women were not supposed to bring any
souvenirs home, but apparently Phemie, like some others ,
brought back a couple of empty shell cases hidden under her
voluminous skirts. She also brought back a number of postage
stamps for her nephew John’s 8 year old son. She posted these
stamps to him from stations the Unit stopped at throughout the
war and also sent back unused stamps from the same places.
Although many of the women carried on serving with
the SWH for the remainder of the War, Phemie retired back to
Lundin Links, to live with her sisters until her death in 1948.

My great aunt, Euphemia Philp

Was written by Fiona Wilson.

Elsie Pleister

Date of Bith: 1890
Place of Birth: London

Elsie Margaret J Pleister was born in St John’s Wood, United Kingdom in 1890.
On the 30th of August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Sanitary inspector. She joined the Elsie Inglis London unit, donations where sent from London and that’s why the name. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard ” The Huntspill” a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle. At that time there was evidence of mines in the North Sea and The Channel. The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The nurses at this time remained in ignorance of the ships final destination . After 9 days at sea the ship arrived at Archangel. Here grim news awaited them. The joint Serbian and Russian army fighting in Romania had lost 100 men. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Elsie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. As sanitary inspector Elise was responsible for clean running water, all manners of medical and human waste and often the burials of the dead men. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. Elsie returned home in August 1917 and in 1982 she died in Cambridge.

Ruth Plimsoll

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: London

Ruth Wade Plimsoll was born in london, United Kingdom in 1891 to Harriet frankish Wade and samuel Plimsoll. Her father Samuel Plimsoll was an English politician and social reformer, now best remembered for having devised the Plimsoll line (a line on a ship’s hull indicating the maximum safe draft, and therefore the minimum freeboard for the vessel in various operating conditions). In the 1920s Plimsoll shoe’s were named for their similarity in appearance to the Plimsoll line on boats. Prior to joining the war effort Ruth was living in the very affluent area of Mayfair. In August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an ambuslance driver. Her journey took her to the Russian front. On August 31st 1916 the unit sailed from Liverpool aboard The Huntspill a small boat described as being extremely unhygienic condition with a very drunken crew. The unit was known as The London Unit due to the donations that came from the city, it was also known as the Fifth Serbian Unit as the mission was to support the First Serbian Army who were attached to the Russian army. The ship followed a zig zag course well into the Arctic Circle.The greatest danger was from the highly mobile submarines . Germany had already sunk 51 merchant ships in July and early August. There was an attempt on board to study a language which could prove useful. They studied Russian and Serbian , Russian was the primary choice. 16 automobiles and a great deal of equipment were included in the cargo. The Russian unit, mainly went out to support the Serbs who were fighting on that front, but assisted and administered medical where and when it was required. They were split into two field hospitals and Ruth worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. At Bubbul Mic she was in charge of the cholera victums. This ambulance was kept separtated from the others in order to take cases to isolation hospitals. During one of her journeys, she narrowly escaped death as a bomb fell in the exact spot where she had been waiting. The hospitals were during that period always on the move due to the intense fighting that took place in the region. The hospitals worked not only close to the front line but also between the lines. Witnessing two huge offensives that resulted in the loss of many lives, three retreats that cost the lives of many, many civilians and broke the hearts of many of the women. They also observed and at times were hindered by the uprisings and revolutions in Russia during 1917. In March 1917 Ruth returned home. All the drivers worked in frantic conditions, with bombs often raining down on them as they transported patients to the various hospitals. Ruth Wade Plimsoll died in hampshire in 1957, she never married.

Irene Plunket

Date of Bith: Berkshire, England
Place of Birth: 1885

Irene Arthur Lifford Plunket was born on May 9, 1885, in Cookham, Berkshire to Louisa Frances HEWITT, age 38, and Hon Arthur Cecil Crampton Plunket. She had four brothers and four sisters. Irene joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in April 1917[ her sister died in April] and headed to the Russian front. Irene was enrolled as an orderly. Irene joined the unit as part of a support group but unfortunately these were the closing months for the unit. The Russian soldiers were increasingly restless, war was dragging on and millions dead. During the summer and into the autumn tensions were mounting as revolution was in air. Irene returned home in November 1917.
In the 1920’s she turned to writing and produced the book ” Europe in the Middle Ages” Irene Arthur Lifford PLUNKET died on April 11, 1970, in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, when she was 84 years old. She never married.

Margaret Alexandra Poock

Date of Bith: 1894
Place of Birth: London

Born in January 1894. Margaret was raised in the family home in St George Hanover Square, London, England. Her father Ebenezer was a surgeon. In October 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals London unit{Elisie Inglis unit}, a unit that traveled from Greece into Macedonia and finally into Serbia. The units This unit supported the Serbs in their push for home. Margaret joined as an Auxiliary Nurse and in April 1919 she joined the Girton and Newnham unit. She continued to work with the unit, now in Belgrade. She worked in the Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital until October 1919. Making her one of the last to leave. After the war she married Col Charles Brewitt in Cathedral Church, Rangoon, Burma. In 1945 Margaret and her husband returned from Burma after Charles retired from working with the Burmese railways. Margaret died aged 77. This was 1971 and she was living in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England.

Cicely Mary Leigh Pope

Date of Bith: 1889
Place of Birth: Redbourn, Herts

.Born December 1889 and Baptised at Redbourn, Herts 8th January 1890, Daughter of Frances A. Pope, of 12A, Kensington Mansions, Earls Court, London, and the late Rev. W. A. Pope.

Joined the Girton and Newnham unit in 1917 under the command of Dr Mcllroy, Cicely was posted to Salonika as an orderly. Cicley was something of a “star” full of fun and zest, she often in her spare time loved to sing and dance. Described as having blue eyes, curly hair and roguish smile, she kept the audience in constant merriment. She was known to everyone as “Popeski”. We know Cicely remained with the unit until 1919 so perhaps she ended up in Belgrade at the end of the war. There are few detail on her. At some point she returned to Serbia as a VAD. Cicely sadly died on 25th June 1921 and is buried in Chela Kula Military Cemetery, Nis, Serbia.

Ethel Portus

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Wales

Ethel Emma Portus, daughter to George Portus. George was a surgeon. Was born in 1887 in the Welsh district of Flintshire. In 1901 Ethel was employed as Matron in Bute cottage hospital in Luton. In 1911 Ethel is working in Liverpool in what looks like the field of medicine. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1915, working as a nurse she served at Royaumont Abbey close to Paris. Royaumont Abbey was built by Saint Louis between 1228 and 1235 under the oversight of his mother, Blanche de Castille.
The abbey’s isolated location, simple layout and unadorned buildings bespeak its origins as a Cistercian monastery. Remaining closely associated with the monarchy until the French Revolution (Cardinal Mazarin became its abbot in 1645 and the abbey was given to the House of Lorraine between 1651 and 1728), Royaumont was host to intellectuals and artists from its inception. Vincent de Beauvais, encyclopaedist and author of the Speculum Majus, was appointed reader at Royaumont in 1246 and Louis XIII held one of his ballets, La Merlaison, there in 1635.

In 1791, the abbey was sold as “national property” but saved from destruction by its water system. It was transformed into a cotton mill, one of the largest industrial sites in the Seine-et-Oise region. Meanwhile, it became a magnet for society and the arts, with the Théâtre de Royaumont attracting the Parisian upper crust between 1834 and 1840. Converted to a noviciate in 1869, the abbey was extensively restored. The Goüin family then acquired it in 1905. During the First World War, the family made the site available to the Scottish Women’s Hospital, which cared for more than 12,000 wounded soldiers there between 1915 and 1919. Ethel worked at the abbey until July 1916. She was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal for her gallant efforts.

After the war she never married but returned to Liverpool and in April 1927 in passed away at the Robert Davis nursing home.

Lina Potter

Date of Bith: 1876
Place of Birth: London

Lina Mary Potter was born in London in 1876, her father John was a Physician. Lina would follow her father into medicine and after qualifying as a Doctor, she went to work at London’s Greenwich Union Infirmary. In February 1916 Lina was in Corfu working as a Doctor with the Serbian Relief Fund. Corfu was to become the temporary home of the Serbian Army after its catastrophic retreat from Serbia, when Tens of thousands of its civilians and soldiers died when forced into exile. Lina joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916, this time she traveled with Dr Elise Inglis to the Russian front. Supporting the Serb forces on the Russian front was a particularly punishing with the various retreats and bloody offensives that took place, often with the Serbs being put in impossible situations. Lina returned to London in March 1917. She seems to have spent some time on the Western front working in Reni, France. In August she returned to service with the SWH. Lina was invited to join the staff at Royaumont hospital near Paris. Five of the Doctors had become sick, mainly with over work during the days of final push. Lina after the war worked in London and also in Geneva, where she took a position with the Red Cross.

Lina died in London in 1952.

Winifred May Price

Date of Bith: 1898
Place of Birth: Newport, Wales

Winnie grow up in Newport Wales. Her father Tomas was Congregational Minister in the town and Winnie lived in the family home with her mother and three siblings.

On the 1st of July she joined the Scottish women’s hospitals and headed for Serbia as on orderly. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Elizabeth was a nurse and there was no shortage of work. In October 1915 Serbia was invaded not just by Austria and Hungary but the Germans and Bulgarians who vowed to crush Serbs, finally breaking her back. The Serbs were fractured and exhausted after months of fighting alone. Typhus epidemics and starvation had taken its toll and ammunition was down to the last. Winnie or “The Kiddie” as she was know because of her young age, being only 18 at the time was lucky to escape the coming months and in October she left Serbia. She was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, 1914-1920 (W. Price.), Serbia, Cross of Mercy.

Winifred May Price

Date of Bith: 1898
Place of Birth: Newport, Wales

Winnie grow up in Newport Wales. Her father Tomas was Congregational Minister in the town and Winnie lived in the family home with her mother and three siblings.

On the 1st of July she joined the Scottish women’s hospitals and headed for Serbia as on orderly. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as part of a reinforcement party and headed to Kragujevac in Serbia. The hospital was run by Elsie Inglis and was one of the largest hospitals working in Serbia in 1915. The work at the hospital at that time was very hard going and typhus in the spring of 1915 had taken thousands of lives and 3 of the SWH nurses. Elizabeth was a nurse and there was no shortage of work. In October 1915 Serbia was invaded not just by Austria and Hungary but the Germans and Bulgarians who vowed to crush Serbs, finally breaking her back. The Serbs were fractured and exhausted after months of fighting alone. Typhus epidemics and starvation had taken its toll and ammunition was down to the last. Winnie or “The Kiddie” as she was know because of her young age, being only 18 at the time was lucky to escape the coming months and in October she left Serbia. She was awarded the British War and Victory Medals, 1914-1920 (W. Price.), Serbia, Cross of Mercy.

Ruth Proctor

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Huntly

Ruth Elizabeth Proctor, was born in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Her father Charles was a chemist. Ruth gained a M.A. in 1908 and a M.B., Ch.B. in 1913 at St. Andrew’s University. During the Great War she was Civil Surgeon at Middlesex County War Hospital and in 1917 a Medical Official with the Auxiliary Section of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Between June and October of 1915, Ruth served with the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s as a Doctor at Royaumont Abbey outside Paris. Royaumont was the largest continuously-operating voluntary hospital in France at the end of the First World War. Its mortality rates were better than its army-run equivalents. What started with 6 patients, quickly growing to 300 and during the various battles , it would swell to over 500 patients. By the end of the war Royaumont had treated over 10,800 patients. She gained her D.P.H and R.C.P.S. in England in 1922. Latterly she was Head of Department, Hygiene and Bacteriology, at the King’s College of Household and Social Sciences; Honorary Medical Director, Albany Deptford Babies Hospital; Examiner in Hygiene, Western Joint Committee of the University of Bristol and Training Colleges; Part-time Assistant Medical Officer of the London County Council and Assistant Medical Officer, Bromley Borough Council and Middlesex County Council.

Ruth Elizabeth Proctor died in 1976.

Ethel Pryce

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Bangor

Ethel Jane Mildred Pryce was born in Bangor, Caernarvonshire, Wales. Her father was John Pryce and his occupation is given as a clerk. At the age of 32 we find her residing in Glasgow’s Queen Margaret Halls where she is a Medical student. In 1905 she gains her MB and in 1913 completes her studies as MD. Between May 1917 and November 1917 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, as a Doctor in Salonika. She joined the Girton and Newnham Unit, under the leadership of Dr L McIlroy. It was a quieter time and tensions were building in the unit. Personality’s were clashing, the position of the hospital was in question and the x-ray truck had still not arrived. Salonika its self had in the summer of 1917 went through a horrendous time when a fire burned for 2 days, even the hospital was a one point in danger of bursting into flames. Ethel would have been very busy in the days after, as the hospital took in victims affected by the flames and smoke. In mid-October a flash flood nearly destroyed the hospital and Ethel would have spent days cleaning up the mud and water damage. This large hospital remained in Salonkia until the end of the war until they could finaly join the Serbs and other SWH units in Belgrade.
In 1937 Ethel passed away living in Barnet, Middlesex, England

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