A-Z of Personnel

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Laura Stewart Sandeman

Date of Bith: 1862
Place of Birth: Bradshaw,Lancashire

Dr Laura Sandeman ran a Medical practice in Aberdeen for 25 years, born in 1862 her father was Colonel Frank Stewart Sandeman who ran Stanley mills in Perthshire.
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 hospital was sponsored by the Girton and Newnham school for girls and the unit was therefore named The Girton and Newnham Unit. The Chief Medical officers for the unit were Dr Louise Mcllroy of Northern Ireland and Dr Laura Sandeman from Aberdeen and staffed with around 40 other women who worked as Nurses, orderly’s, cooks and drivers.
The hospital was stationed in the grounds at Chanteloup. 250 beds were erected under large marques and by June they were full. Operations were carried out in the Orangerie( similar to a large conservatory).
By October 1915 the unit was invited to join The French Expeditionary Force in Salonika and they accepted as the hospital at that time had been quiet for a few months. In late October they sailed from Marseilles to Salonika where the unit worked in a 1000 bed hospital for a large part of the war.

Laura however returned to Scotland, running the Dundee poorhouse for a while, she twice contested the Aberdeen North seat in 1924. In the same year she also unveiled the war memorial in Stanley. Laura became a prominent Doctor and Surgeon in the city of Aberdeen. She died of Pneumonia in 1929 at 22 waverley place Aberdeen.

Gertrude Sargeant

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: London

Gertrude Hance Sargeant was born in Wandsworth, London, United Kingdom in 1885. Her Robert Bessel Sergeant was a civil service clerk in the meteorological office. In the 1911 census they were living in the family home, with Gertrude having no occupation.

Gertrude joined the SWH American unit in August 1917. The unit operated in Ostrovo, Macedonia. The unit was supporting the Serb army who were now pushing for home. It was a 200-bed hospital, operated by 50 women, surrounded by camps of soldiers from the Serbian, French, Russian, Italian and Greek armies. When Gertrude arrived at the hospital, things were difficult. Malaria was having an effect on not only on the soldiers but also the staff. The heat was unbearable as were the flies and wasps.
It was run as a military hospital, with discipline, curfews and mail censoring. Also in August of the year the hospital began treating Medical cases as well as surgical. At Ostrovo between 1916-1918, 1084 operations were performed involving amputations, bomb and bullet wounds, compound fractures, hernias etc. By October 1918 the Serbs had worn down the Bulgarians and the unit now could press onto Vranje. The conditions at Vranje were dire. Hundreds of desperately ill patients and civilians awaited them. Cases of pneumonia, starvation and pleurisy were a common site, as were the many wounds and surgical cases that needed immediate treatment. Typhus was to follow and hundreds perished, including one of the nurses.( Agnes Earl). For many of the Serbs, returning home was not a cause to rejoice. Towns and villages were often raised to the ground. Family, including wives and children had been either killed or died from starvation or disease. It was not uncommon for some of the soldiers who had fought for nearly three years, to give up and end their life. In April 1919 Gertrude left for home.

Gertrude died in in Stroud, Gloucestershire in 1964

Ethel Scammell

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Eastbourne, Sussex

Ethel Maude Scammell was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, United Kingdom in 1886. Here parents were Henry Scammell and Annie Eliza Ogburn.

Ethel enjoyed a long and industrious career as a nurse.

Between 1907 -1911 Ethel worked as a nurse at Dreadnought Seamen’s Hosp. Greenwich.
From 1911 till 1914 she was employed at the Royal Waterloo Hospital, West Kent General Hospital and the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton.
From October 1914 till July 1916 she joined the Serbian Relief Fund under the leadership of Lady Paget. Ethel worked at the hospitals in Skopje and Corsica.
Ethel from December 1917 until January 1920 worked with the Scottish Women’s Hospital, firstly with the American unit at Lake Ostrovo in Northern Greece, before joining the Girton and Newnham unit in Belgrade, Serbia.
After the war Ethel travelled to work in Nigeria. Ethel in 1930 returned home.

She passed away on the 26th May 1965 – Croydon, Surrey, England

Jessie Scorgie

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Jessie was born and raised in Aberdeen, her father John was a boilermaker. She gained employment firstly as a dress maker at the age of 15 but by the time she was 25 Jessie was working as a nurse in Manchester.
Jessie was back living at 128 spital in Aberdeen when she joined the Scottish Women s Hospitals in July 1915. Jessie went to Kragujevac in Serbia as a nurse as part of a reinforcement party 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 three of the SWH nurses.
By October Serbia was facing a sledgehammer. Austria, Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria were advancing with vigour. Serbia stood alone, outgunned, massively outnumbered and still in recovery from the typhus epidemic. Jessie 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. Jessie and around 60 other Doctors and nurses including Elsie Ingis refused to leave and therefore ended up being POW’s and kept under guard by the German and Austrian soldiers for the next three months. Fortier Jones wrote of Kruevac” was the sort of picture which,having once seen,changes for ever the aspect of life.If i were asked to give the death of Serbia in few sentences i should tell of a tearless women beside the shreds of her little boy, struck down by an aeroplane bomb, for moral effect”
Jessie arrived back in London on 12th of February 1916.

Jessie Dow Scott

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Auchterarder Perthshire

Jessie Dow Scott was born in Blackwood,Auchterarder ,Perthshire in 1886.
1891 Census shows that she was the daughter of gamekeeper,Daniel Scott and mother Margaret.Along with her three siblings they were living at Hilton,Dunfermline.Her father was b. in Caputh,Perthshire and her mother and siblings had been born in Kinnoull,Perthshire.
Ten years later,1901, the family have moved to “Arnot Cottage”,Main Road,Carnock,Fife and Jessie,now aged 15,is employed as a Damask Weaver.Her Father is still employed as a Gamekeeper and she now has 7 siblings.
1911 Census has Jessie employed as a Hospital Nurse,living in Leeds and working under the Leeds Board of Medicine.

Jessie joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals on the 1st of April 1915 . She joined her unit and heading to Serbia under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson who was The Chief Medical Officer and in charge of the second Serbian unit. On the 21st of April 1915 Jessie 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. During September a huge invading army with over 500,000 soldiers were starting to advance on Serbia. Serbia was about to be cut off from the outside world and Jessie by the end of September had made the difficult and depressing decision to leave gallant Serbia behind, fearing their own safety. In fact they were lucky to escape, the train taking them to Salonika was nearly shelled at Lapovo railway junction.Jessie left with Sara Morrison’s party and headed back down to Salonika and home. The remaining women tried to work on but by early November Serbia was occupied. Some of the women went on The Great Serbian Retreat, others were taken as prisoners of war.The 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.

Jessie, undeterred and like many of the women were hugely fond of the Serb’s. She got her chance again to sign up with Scottish Womens Hospitals and joined the American unit( so called due the donations pouring in from America). On the 4th of August 1916 she set sail from Southampton and headed back to Salonika. A journey that was around 2 weeks and fought with danger. Mines, submarines and Zeppelin’s all claimed many a ship and hundreds of lives. Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains the bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From July 1916-January 1917 Jessie would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going,Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in, very hot summers and cold winters and always on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. Jessie worked for periods at Salonika and Lake Ostrovo. Jessie returned from Salonika on the 1st of January 1917.

In 1945 she was matron of a hospital south of Kuala Lumpar and died following the evacuation of Singapore.

Ruth Scott

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Kelso

At the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Ruth Scott was living at 44 bridge street Kelso. Ruth joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s in the winter of 1918 and went out to Royaumont Abbey near Paris. She served as an orderly. War had broken the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France. The Abbey became during WW1 an all women hospital run by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by the end of the war had saved and aided thousands of lives. The women who served and devoted a slice of their life, helping mainly the French soldiers are remembered by plaques on the walls and in the grounds of the Abbey. March 1918 was an especially difficult time with the Germans pushing into the Oise valley. The outcome was a huge number of injured men. Streams of badly bombed cases were brought to the hospital, amputations were a daily occurrence and Ruth would have worked around the clock fighting to save as many lives as possible. May brought more fighting the attack on the Chemin des Dames ridge began and more working from dawn till dusk. Air raids were constant and often the women were forced to operate under candle light. While all around them the shells raining down. Ruth worked at the hospital for six months and in July 1918 returned home.

Elizabeth Robb Scott

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Born in Edinburgh Elizabeth by the age of 25 was working as a nurse at St Marylebone Infirmary London. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in April 1915 and returned from her travels to Serbia in September 1915. 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 Elizabeth 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.

Jessie Ann Scott

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: New Zealand

Jessie Ann Scott was born on 9 August 1883 at Brookside, Canterbury, New Zealand. Her father David Scott was a farmer. After attending Christchurch Girls’ High School, Jessie Scott studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. During her student days she became great friends with Dr Laila Muncaster and Dr Emslie Hutton. In 1916 they would all work together with the American unit with the Scottish Women’s hospitals. She was also active in the women’s suffrage movement, like so many of the women in the SWH.
Jessie graduated MB and ChB in 1909, then became resident medical officer at the Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children. After about eight months she resigned, moving to London in 1910 to join the London County Council as assistant medical officer, a position she held until 1913. Scott found this work varied and interesting, and the part-time nature of the appointment enabled her to study for the Diploma in Public Health, which she completed during this period. She graduated MD from Edinburgh University in 1912. By May 1913 Jessie Scott had returned to New Zealand, and was in practice in Auckland. During the smallpox epidemic of that year, Scott, with the aid of three nursing staff, was in charge of a large temporary isolation hospital. Dr Emslie Hutton described Jessie as “gentle, soft -voiced, serious idealist who had thrown up her practice in New Zealand to take part with us in the war, was now an excellent surgeon”. Jessie joined the SWH in October 1915 and was stationed briefly in Valijevo Serbia. Her chief medical officer was Dr Alice Hutchison known affectionately as “the Little General” However by mid October Belgrade had fallen and the German and Austrian armies began their assault on the rest of Serbia. Alice Hutchison’s unit were ordered to evacuate Valijevo, moved for a short time to Pojega and then moving south on to Vrnjatch Banja. By the end of November the Austrians entered Vrnjatch Banja and the women were now POW’s. They continued their work until the end of November when they were sent to Krusevac. We know that Jessie worked as a Doctor at the Czar Lazer hospital, she was in charge of ground floor( really did mean ground!! ). The hospital was described by the women as “the zoo” due to the overcrowding and wailing from the men who by that time has lost their country and were suffering from frostbite, exhaustion and appalling injuries. The hospital was at times overflowing with Serb soldiers, an estimated 12,000 gathered hoping for treatment. It’s at this time she met Dr Elsie Inglis. On February 1916 she with 28 other women Doctors and nurses were taken under armed guard to Belgrade, then to Hungary and then onto Vienna before being set free in Zurich. They reached London on the 29th February 1916. On the 17th of July 1916 Jessie signed up with SWH again, this time joining the American Unit, so called after the amount of money that poured in from America on hearing how brave the women had been. ” Scottie” as her friends called her teamed up with Dr Hutton and Dr Muncaster and sailed from Southampton and headed for Salonika. The journey was a treacherous one, the seas were filled with mines, submarines and Zeppelins over head. From Salonkia they traveled up to Lake Ostrovo. Today Lake Ostrovo is in Northern Greece. Many of the sixty women that made up the unit were from Australia and New Zealand and their CMO was Dr Agnes Bennett a formidable lady who herself was from Australia, in fact in Jessie’s notes at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow she refers to the unit as “Bennett unit”. The American unit which was completely under canvas, was positioned in a hollow and as it was summer they were surrounded by wild flowers and trees. The lake views and scenery were quite breathtaking. That moment was shattered when on their first night in the tents they were startled by the booms and flashes of fire as shells crashed into the dark night and by the next morning the Serbian Army who they were supporting were on the attack. Soon their 200 bed field hospital filled up. The wounded were lifted from the fighting and put on to mules or taking by the women in their ambulances. The hospital was so close to the fighting that they could see it with their own eyes. For Jessie this was a grueling time in the operating tent, often working day and night and often with shells fizzing overhead and into the camp. The unit went wherever the Serbs went and various field hospitals were set up as the front line breathed in and out like a huge beast. Jessie loved the Serbian people. During one of the offensives a number of Serbian boys died while they were in their care. For those that survived Jessie would light a candle at night and place it beside their bed. Despite the traumas of war and at times the arduous weather, the heat in the summer brought not only exhaustion but full scale outbreaks of Malaria. And the winter got so cold bunking in the tents that their hair would be frozen to their pillows.

Jessie remarked that she enjoyed all the challenges and struggles that the unit endured.For her work with the Serbian army she was awarded the Order of St Sava, third class, by the Serbian government. Returning to England in 1920, Scott again worked as a medical officer for the London County Council until 1922, and completed further post-graduate studies in diseases of women and children.

In 1924 Scott returned to Christchurch to work as an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Christchurch Hospital. Frustrated by what she perceived as the continual obstruction of her authority by male colleagues, she soon resigned and went into private practice. She was honorary gynaecologist to the hospital for 10 years.

For many years Jessie Scott served the Canterbury and West Coast District of the St John Ambulance Brigade as lady district superintendent. In what spare time she had she enjoyed nature study and painting, and encouraged and assisted volunteer workers in the paramedical services. A member of many womens’ organisations, she was at one time president of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Federation of University Women, and was a member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand. During the Second World War she was deputy chairwoman of the Women’s War Service Auxiliary.

In May 1958 Scott travelled to England for a reunion with some of her colleagues from the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She was also one of the two New Zealand representatives to the International Congress of Medical Women, held in London at Bedford College in July. In retirement she retained a lively interest in developments in medicine, especially the treatment of women and children, and visited modern hospitals in several countries.

Jessie Scott died at Christchurch on 15 August 1959. She had never married. For most of her professional working life she had had to contend with the prejudices of male colleagues. A reserved woman, with a great sense of humour, her achievements show her also to have been strong-willed, independent and resourceful.

I used The encyclopedia of New Zealand for some of the more personal information.

Alethea Seymour

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Coventry

Alethea Winifred Norris Seymour was born in Coventry , warwickshire, United Kingdom in 1881. Her father
Arthur Seymour was born in 1835 at Stoneleigh, Warwick, England. His
occupation was solicitor. His parents were Edward Villers Seymour and
Martha Seymour.

Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, she contributed to war effort at Hillcrest Auxiliary Hospital, Radford Road, Coventry.

Alethia Seymour joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital in late October 1915. She served with the Girton and Newnham Unit, under the command of Dr L McIlroy. The unit had been posted at Troyes, France but due to the units effectiveness and competence, and at the request of the French Expeditionary Force were in October 1915 ordered to leave for Salonika. While the core of the unit left Marseilles for Salonika, reinforcements like Alethia traveled by sea from the UK. The principal aim of the unit had been to push up into Serbia and support the Serbian troops. However by the time the unit arrived in November Serbia was encircled by the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. While the allies had bickered over what troops were where, Germany decided that if Turkey was to be effective, they would need support by rail. Simply this meant that Serbia was in the way. Nearly 500,000 fresh fighting troops were deployed and Serbia who had battled so gallantly and with great fortitude was now over run. The unit did push up to Gevgelija in Southern Macedonia, and for a few short weeks opened and ran a hospital in a disused silkworm factory. In the few weeks the hospital treated wounds from high explosive shells and frostbite. In December the hospital was evacuated and the unit headed to Salonika. Alethia had served as an orderly in the unit and in May 1916 returned home. Alethia continued to support the war effort and joined the Red Cross in Egypt. In 1961 she died in Oxfordshire.

Alice Sharp

Date of Bith: 1883
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Alice was born in Glasgow, her father John was a House factor in the city. By the age of 18 she was a medical student in Edinburgh and in 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a Doctor and headed to Valjevo in Serbia.
On the 21st of April 1915 Dr Alice Sharp and the rest of the unit which included 3 other Doctors, 25 nurses, cooks and orderly’s sailed from Cardiff on the SS Ceramic.(photo above)The unit was under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson. They were briefly diverted to Malta to help staff the naval and Valletta military hospital, Australians and Kiwis were among the many casualties who were serving at the peninsula of Gallipoli. They continued working there for around three weeks but were soon ordered to there original destination, Valjevo Serbia.
Valjevo, a town some 80 miles south of Belgrade had that winter gone through its own personal hell, thousands of its citizens and thousands of soldiers had perished in a typhus outbreak that was destroying huge parts of Serbia. Valjevo had itself been turned into one large field hospital and many, many men lay wounded and untreated due to the lack of Doctors and nurses.The unit worked completely under canvas on a hillside just outside the town and although it was an improving picture by the time they reached there, there was still plenty of work to do. A backlog of illnesses combined with malnutrition and long time suffering.Alice would certainly of had her work cut out. Dr Alice Hutchinson and her unit are fondly remembered today in Valjevo for their bravery and helping to bring stability to the towns people. Dr Alice Sharp returned home in September.

Gertie Simenson

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Lancashire

Gertie Amalia Simonsen was born in Chorlton on Medlock , Lancashire, United Kingdom in 1881 to Anna Sophia and Lionel Michael Simenson. The family were originally from Denmark. With her mother being born in Copenhagen. In 1914 she joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment/ British Red Cross, Woodlawn Hospital, West Didsbury, United Kingdom. Her work duties were were named as dispenser. Gertie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospital in October 1918 as an orderly. Gertie worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hospital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women’s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. The hospital was situated near the front line and nursed 10,861 patients, many with serious injuries. The fact that the death rate among the mainly French servicemen was 1.82% is a testimony to the skill, endless compassion and boundless energy shown by the women. Gertie only served at Royaumont till December 1918.

She died in Surrey in 1955.

Marguerite Simms

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

Marguerite “Peggie” Simms
Marguerite Simms, known as Peggie, was a nurse in the London Unit that served with Dr Inglis in Russia near the Romanian border in 1917. On the tough return journey with her colleagues and the thousands of Serbian soldiers being evacuated, which traversed revolutionary Russia and then across the perilous arctic waters to Newcastle, she was one of the medical team attending the dying Dr Inglis (“The Chief”) in her final days. She also kept a diary detailing every day of her time away, as well as taking many photographs. The last leg of her adventure across the Arctic Sea is of particular interest, because there is only one other known account of those days, by Mary Milne and heavily featured in “Between The Lines”, Audrey Fawcett Cahill’s excellent account of the experiences of Elsie Inglis’s Russian Unit. Whilst mirroring Milne’s details of the dangers the convoy faced – weather and German submarines to the fore – it offers an alternative description of the time, detailing for example how despite the Chief’s terminal ill health, Peggie and her colleagues still had to be aware of Inglis “on the warpath” to catch them fraternising with the ship’s crew and other male personnel on board, whilst barely a few hours later she’d be administering enemas to her boss.
Born in 1890, Peggie was brought up near Herne Bay in Kent. By 1908 she was nursing at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. It appears she joined the London Unit late, because she is not listed in Cahill’s list of “those who served”, (although she is in Sue Light’s records found on the link from this website). This might explain why, despite having copies of her diary and photographs in The Imperial War Museum since the mid 1990s, they were perhaps missed by Cahill whom it is who points to Milne’s Arctic account being the sole known record.

Peggie left St Pancras station on July 2nd 1917, accompanied by unit secretary Margaret Gwynn. In Edinburgh they met fellow nurses Elizabeth Cowan and Helen Riddoch. Travelling through Norway, Sweden and Finland, they arrived in Petrograd on July 11th where the intention was to stay for a few days whilst sorting out tickets with the help of the British Embassy and the Red Cross for the next leg of the journey down to Odessa. Although there were signs of February’s recent unrest – “lots of the buildings covered with holes from the bullets in the Revolution…A princess had been killed in one of the rooms near” – the group were able to take in some of the sights, such as The Hermitage Museum. “A lovely building with no end of vases etc.” was Peggie’s concise initial opinion of the place! Very soon however, Petrograd once more became a city of revolt.

On July 16th (3rd in the Russian Julian calendar), just after “quite a nice tea” at the Astoria Hotel and an unsuccessful attempt to secure their tickets, “we heard loud cheering and flew onto the balcony and saw thousands of soldiers marching by, took 3/4 of an hour for them all to pass and they were running by most the time.” This was the beginnings of The July Days – a misjudged attempt by the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, to seize power in Petrograd. The uprising was suppressed within days by troops loyal to the Government. Peggie’s diary gives one an idea of the confusion and disorganisation surrounding the uprising – “July 19th…Nurses from the Anglo Russian say that none of the wounded men…knew in the least what they were fighting for and for whom. They said “Someone told us to fire and we did”.” The next day she reported, “Heard that the casualties in the last few days were over a thousand. Cossacks were guarding the Arsenal and ninety went out to stop the rebels who were attacking and only twenty six returned. The rebels even killed the wounded cossacks. The ministers have declared a democratic republic and Korensky [sic] has made himself President. Sure to be more rows….So far Lennin [sic] has escaped but the others have been caught.” The following morning the nurses were free to continue their tourism, “Found some very nice shops at the top of the “Nevsky””.

On July 29th Peggy and her colleagues arrived near Reni, a small Russian town on the banks of The Danube, now in Ukraine and at a triangular point that joins Ukraine with Romania and Moldova. “We turned in onto our camp beds…(we) heard the guns firing on the Bulgar-Russian front” she wrote that first evening. The next day, “Riddoch told matron we’d like to go on duty! So after some wrangling Cowan and I got put on together”. In her diary entries of her month in Reni, details of the mundane are mingled bluntly with the seriously stark, e.g. “Glorious morning. The cerebral hernia man died. Found him dead in bed. Awful shock. Had a very stiff night again”.

Rumours of the unit’s next move thrived despite the perpetual uncertainty of the situation – “August 20th….Dr Inglis came back…heard we were to move in about four days to join up with The Serbian division & go wherever they go.”, “August 24th…Heard the Russians are retreating fast and the Germans are quite near in the hills”. A week later, the day of evacuation to their next base Hadji Abdul, a village 20 miles further north, seemed to arrive…”…Off to the station with all the luggage about 9 o’clock. Sat there until twelve…and were all told to go back again as a message had come from Dr Inglis to say there was no water in Hadji Abdul. Heavens and she had a week to find that out…So we had to collect all our things and trudge up to the bungalow again…The language!” They did however set off the next day.

What Peggie and most of the unit didn’t know was that during these months Dr Inglis was bombarding the British Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, and the equivalent of various other countries with potential involvement, with telegrams, letters and personal messages to secure evacuation for the unit and the Serbian Division before the latter were sent to fight alongside the fast crumbling Russian army and with it likely annihilation.

The unit’s stay at Hadji Abdul with the First Serbian Division lasted nearly two months. The hospital work was relatively low-level – sick and long-term wounded in the main – and the routine became comparatively leisurely. Peggie’s hospital work combined with such pursuits as walks, entertainment evenings, lectures on Serbian politics, and bridge (with Dr Inglis, Dr Ward and Miss Onslow). She longed to be able to ride horses like some of the others and in exchange for teaching him English, was given some lessons by a Lieut Georgovitch. Within a couple of weeks she was able to report “Nearly had a violent row – his English is improving”. 

Rumours continued to flourish – “Sept 14th…Heard that the Germans were advancing and could be here in an hour’s time. The guns were awfully plain…Dr Inglis awfully upset as the transport hadn’t obeyed her orders & turned up. Great excitement in the camp!”. “Sept 28th…Heard the glorious news of going to Blighty & on to France with the Serbs. Hurrah!”, but on October 20th, “Heard the awful news that the Serbs were not going back to England. The Romanians were keeping them back.” Six days later however…”Glorious news; going home after all. First train goes Sat. and we are the sixth. We all went mad for the moment and danced round our tents like maniacs!”.
 
Ships at Archangel in the far north of Russia awaited for the evacuation of 6000 men and the trains left the south at a rate of two a day. The Unit’s train arrived outside Moscow on November 5th…”We were told we were not allowed into Moscow at all. Everyone was bitterly disappointed and having to pass through at night too so we couldn’t even see it.” There had been fighting on the streets and the October Revolution was imminent.
 
Accompanied by three transporters the boat set off for Newcastle on November 13th. Peggie and her colleagues spent much of their time playing cards in the smoking room, and trying not to be ill – “November 16th…The boat really started to roll & heavens we all left the table one after the other & just got to the cabin in time, & Inky [Cowan] flew down after me. We couldn’t help laughing, each in a different corner with a Charlie Chaplin [I assume this is what she called the vessel resembling Chaplin’s upside-down hat into which they were sick!]. Stayed there until the next day!” The next night after more cards, “Terrible night, the boat stayed over on one side for about a quarter of an hour. They thought it was all up.”
 
On Monday 19th Peggie and a colleague got in trouble with Dr Inglis, who despite being a week away from death was still not someone to mess around with, “The chief was up and had Sturty up for sitting with her head on the Captain’s shoulder & then asked to see me & said she saw me with the little doctor sitting in my pocket!”. Two days later Dr Inglis was again “on the warpath”. Once she’d gone to bed the nurses “returned to our mutiny!”. The next day however Peggie had a different reason to be with The Chief. “Awful carry on giving the chief an enema & salts & arrowroot etc., but, poor soul, she is pretty rotten”. The following day, November 22nd, “I was put on to relieve Fordy with the Chief. Help! Saw land. Wild excitement. The Farne Islands. The Tenacious – a destroyer – came alongside.” That accompaniment would have been most welcome – two days earlier they’d heard that two German ships were nearby in the North Sea and had already “sunk two of our ships & Danish & Norwegian ships – all crew lost, so Parker said we must sleep in our clothes for the next few nights. Awful sea, so there wouldn’t be much hope.”
 
Tynemouth was reached on November 23rd, with Peggie still one of the primary carers for Dr Inglis – “More enemas etc.”. The disembarkation day on the 24th was eventful – a Russian discovered as a spy and to be shot the next day, a young English officer who had died the previous day – “slung over into a tug, covered with a Union Jack” and “awful wind and rain”. The latter led to the most dramatic event – half the men and some of the unit were off their boat when “we broke loose from the tugs and drifted & so the boat [tug] had to go off without the rest of us. It was an awful moment. We just missed another steamer by about two feet and then drifted sideways into another boat and gradually towards a torpedo boat with a submarine alongside.” They had to stay on board another night – “jolly lonely with so few of us”, but “had wine and cigarettes in Parker’s room”. The next day Peggie and Cowan were enjoying wine with the Chief Engineer and being shown the engines. They hadn’t realised that the last tug was waiting for them – “Some rush to get our hats and rucksacks, & down the steps like nothing else…everyone standing on the tug with marked disapproval written large across their faces”. They were the last to leave.
 
“November 26th…Saw Inky and the rest of the Scotch people off. Felt like a lost soul without her. Saw Dr Inglis awfully ill”. By the evening Dr Inglis had died and Peggie had arrived back in Kent….”Pouring wet night. Had a cat home. It is lovely to be back by Jove”.

At the end of the war Peggie was reunited with her husband Arthur, who had been serving in Egypt. At some point, possibly even before her Russian adventure, she was nursing in Wells, Somerset, but by the 1920s they’d settled down in Potters Bar, Middlesex and had a son, Paul. In 1970 they moved to a large L-shaped bungalow called Lower Breache Farm in Ewhurst, Surrey, next to the house where Paul and his family lived. Arthur died in 1976 and Peggie in 1980, a week after her 90th birthday. 

In the photo Peggie is front row, second from left (looking down with her hand in her pocket).

Biography by Hugo Simms who is the Grandson of Peggie.

Many thanks for a fascinating and personal account.

Olive Smith

Date of Bith: 1880
Place of Birth: Haltwhistle

Olive Smith was born in 1880 in Haltwhistle,Northumberland. Her father was Robert Smith of Greystone Dale, Haltwhistle and his occupation was Varnish maker. Olive, after her studies at Durham College and Oesterbergs college in Dartford, became a distinguished physical training instructor. Olive was the first female teacher of gymnastics at a Glasgow female prison. Its success lead to all prisons adopting her system. Olive also taught physical training to teachers at a Glasgow centre.
Olive Smith lived at 30 Woodcroft Ave;Broomhill,Glasgow during that time.

In 1916 after spending some time in Malta she volunteered to join the Scottish Women;s hospitals as a masseuse. On the 3rd of August 1916 she boarded the Dunluce Castle ship at Southampton and with her unit, (the American unit, so called due to the large donations of money coming from America), set sail for Salonika. The journey to Salonika was a nervous affair. While the women of the unit spent the 10 day journey learning languages and keeping fit, the ship was in constant danger from mines, submarines and Zeppelins overhead. When Olive arrived in Salonika she was incredibly excited at the prospect of working at the Hospital.
Their main objective was to support the 2nd Serbian Army who were fighting the Bulgarians in the Moglena mountains. The bigger picture was to support a huge force of Serbians , French and British to reclaim Serbia and push back the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Olive worked at Lake Ostrovo, 80-100 miles north of Salonika. Malaria was huge problem and not just for the patients, the staff also were also failing with the disease, heat and volume of work. Sadly Olive Smith became unwell only weeks after finally getting to work. She died on the 7th of October 1916 of malaria after slipping into a coma.

Isobel Ross from the Island of Skye described her funeral:
“There was a Serbian guard of honour, and several emblems of flowers. Among them was one from the the 3rd Serbian Army tied up in red, white and blue ribbon on which was written: `In memory of a generous English friend who gave her life for us.’ She was buried between two British soldiers. Dr Bennett read the oration that Captain Stephanovitch gave over Smithy’s coffin first in English and then in Serbian. They are words I always want to remember: `Friends, it is a sad duty which I have to perform, to say the last adieu to a friend of our people, to say it in the names of all those whom she came to help and for whom she suffered death. Through unselfish devotion and pity for our pains and sufferings, she came to us from her great country, she came to soften the hard fate of a small and most unhappy people, and she shared it to the last”.

Olive is buried at Salonika at the military hospital

William Smith

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

William Smith was born c1869 in the Old Machar district of Aberdeen.He was the son of Aberdonian parents William Smith and Mary Ann Duncan.
1871 Census of Aberdeen has the family living in Old Machar. Father,William,is noted as being a Printer and Compositor.William(aged 2) was the youngest of three children.
1881 Census shows that the family are living in 24 Rose Street,Old Machar.The family has now increased and William has five siblings.
1891 census has the family living at 18 Brighton Place,Old Machar but.William is not at home.
1901,William(now aged 32) and having an occupation as “Artist” is back in the family home at 21,Brighton Place and, in 1911,William is still residing there.
William never married and died on 10/3/1941,aged 72,at 5 Albyn Place,Aberdeen. His usual address was 21 Brighton Place.Cause of his death was Acute Bronchitas and Myocarditis.Informant of death was his brother,James,of 21 Brighton Place.

William was one of a small band of men who enrolled in The Scottish Women;s Hospitals. As the organisation was born out of the NUWSS which never excluded men, the SWH deployed the same position and was not doctrinaire.
William joined the SWH as a clerk in December 1914 and headed for Kragujevac in Serbia. William was a fantastic writer and painter and much of what he wrote as well as his drawings captured the events in Serbia and were published in the newspapers of the time. In particular his version of the Serbian retreat where he lead a party of women nurses to safety over the mountains.
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”. ”

There are excellent examples of William Smiths work in the collection at the Glasgow City Archives.

Madge Ramsey Smith

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Peebles.

Madge (Margaret) Ramsay Smith was born on 31st July 1884 at Minnie Bank, Peebles. Her father was John Ramsay Smith, solicitor who gave his name to the well-known local law firm of Blackwood & Smith. Her mother was Mary Graham Ramsay Smith ms Norwell. Madge also had a sister( Eleanor).
According to some research i carried out, both women were involved in the Peebles suffrage society .A local NUWSS society was formed in 1909 as a branch of the Edinburgh Society and also in nearby Innerliethen. Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916 she lived in Peebles at Kingsmuir Hall, possibly with her sister.
Madge became Secretary of Royaumont Abbey, near Paris in May of 1916. The Hospital was operated under the auspices of the French Red Cross. Madge was ideal for the post. She was not only fluent in French but her ability’s as secretary were outstanding. Few of the women in the SWH had a service like she had. Working at the hospital for three years. Royaumont is best remembered for its endevours during the battles of the Somme and the final push of 1918, all of which Madge witnessed. Her war years are explained in detail in Eileen Croftons excellent book “The Women Of Royaumont”.

Madge tho was awarded the Croix de Guerre and later on she was honoured with the Freedom of the Royal Burgh of Peebles for her work during World War 1 in France, both at casualty clearing stations near battlefields and at a field hospital(Viller Cotterets) which she help to evacuate despite shelling around it. Madge died in 1977 in her home town of Peebles.

Dr Grace Eleanor Soltau

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Ilford Essex

Grace Eleanor Soltau was born in 1877 in Ilford,Essex to Plymouth born father George and London born mother,Grace Elizabeth.
1881 Census of Barking,Ilford,Essex shows that her father was the Governor of District Village Home for Neglected and Destitute Orphans.Her mother was the Lady Superintendant.
Grace Eleanor was three years old at the time and lived there with her parents and three siblings.
From the 1901 Census,we see that the family were in Tasmania in 1891,as that is the place of birth given for her younger twin brothers.The 1901 Census also tells us that her father George,is now a Minister of the Congregational Church,whilst 23 year old Grace Eleanor is a Medical student,as is her 20 year old brother.

Eleanor was in charge of the first Serbian Unit and Elsie Inglis took over her place in April,1915,due to Eleanor becoming ill with Diptheria,in the midst of a Typhus epidemic.Eleanor was decorated by the Serbian Government and died 30/12/1962 in Watford,Herts.Eleanor had lived from the late 1940’s -1950’s in the Kensington and Chelsea districts of London.

The Chief Medical Officer of the first Serbian unit was Dr Eleanor Soltau,
Eleanor with her unit of 40, 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 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, Eleanor wired to HQ for more nurses,” dire need for more fever nurses” unable to use the word typhus, the Serbs not wanting her enemy’s to know the fragile condition it was in. Elsie Inglis got the message and dispatched 10 more nurses.
In march Eleanor took control of a typhus hospital, 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.
Eleanor was awarded the St Sava 111 class by the King of Serbia.

Adeline Jessy Elizabeth Sproat

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Carlisle

Adeline was born in Carlise in 1873, both her mother and father came from Castle Douglas in Scotland. Her father Tomas was a Metal merchant. They moved to Kirkintilloch and it was from here that Adeline joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in June 1917 as a nurse. The hospital in Corsica was opened in December 1915,and with the help of the French government they shipped the Serbian refugees to Ajaccio in Corsica. On Christmas day the unit finally got to work on the French island. Commandeering an old convent with no water, heating or sanitation was demanding enough, dealing with the hundreds of men, women and children who were devastated with typhoid, pneumonia and starvation tested all the women. Dr Blair wrote of the Serbian refugees “and they looked so desolate and forlorn though most of them put a brave face on it,that we all felt inclined to weep” . By 1917 however things were quite and Adeline for whatever reasons choose to leave in October 1917. She returned to the UK and it seems, spent her life in Lenzie, Scotland. Adeline died at the family home in Middlemuir house Lenzie in 1950, she is buried at the Auld Aisle Cemetery in Kirkintilloch.

Edward Percy Stebbing

Date of Bith: 1870
Place of Birth: London

Born in London in 1870, his father also Edward, was a carpet merchant. It certainly goes along way to explain Edwards love of travel. Edward was a pioneering British forester and forest entomologist in India. He was among the first to warn of desertification and desiccation and wrote on “The encroaching Sahara”. In 1935, he wrote of the “desert whose power is incalculable and whose silent and almost invisible approach must be difficult to estimate.” He suggested that this was man-made and this led to a joint Anglo-French forestry mission from December 1936 to February 1937 that toured northern Nigeria and Niger to assess the danger of desertification. He joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as Transport Officer of the American Unit from 1-Jul-16 till 1-Oct-16. Edward wrote of his experiences in the book ” At the Serbian front in Macedonia”. Its available to read on line. He was married to the well known landscaper designer Maud Evelyn Brown and was also a Professor at Edinburgh University.
The book ” At the Serbian front in Macedonia” gives an excellent account of the transport unit that supported the hospitals at the front line as they pushed into Serbia.
Eward died in London in 1960.

Nettie Stein

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Cumbernauld

Birth Certificate
At Barnhill, Cumbernauld, on 6th December, 1885
Nettie Hunter Stein
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Brickmaker
Mother: Annie Cleland Bulloch m/s Henderson
Birth registered by John G Stein – Father – Present
Parents married 23rd November, 1883 at Cumbernauld

Nettie served as an orderly at Royaumont Abbey near Paris. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1917. Nettie did qualify as a Doctor in 1909 at Glasgow University, her reasons as to why she went as on orderly are unknown to me. Nettie had been working at HQ in Edinburgh before going out and was fluent in the French language. Nettie also had a spell working at Villers-Cotterets. Villers was a smaller sister hospital of Royaumont. At it peak Villers accommodated hundreds of patients and was staffed by around 50 personal. As it was just miles from the front line the surrounding area was devastated by shells. In May 1918 the hospital was forced to be evacuated when the Germans mounted an offensive. Often in the last days at Villers, the lights went out and the orderlies would hold the candles, while the Doctors operated. On one such occasion seven legs were amputated by candle light. Nettie left France in July 1918, but returned to work with her sister Christina at the canteen at Favresse south of Reims. Unlike the other canteens, the one at Favresse was unsuccessful. The canteen was opened in October 1918 and closed in December 1918. In the 1930 Nettie traveled to America and France.

Death Certificate
At 5 Great Stuart Street, Edinburgh. Found dead at 9.50am on 5th January, 1965. Last seen alive 5.15pm on 3rd January, 1965
Nettie Hunter Stein Medical Practitioner (retired) Aged 79 years
Single
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Firebrick Manufacturer deceased
Mother: Annie Hunter Stein m/s Henderson deceased
Cause of Death: 1 Acute Cardiac Failure 2 Cardiovascular Degeneration
Registered by T N Risk – Solicitor – 169 West George Street, Glasgow

Christina Stein

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Cumbernauld

Birth Certificate
At Glencryon Cottage, Cumbernauld, on 3rd October, 1884
Christina Bulloch Stein
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Firebrick Maker
Mother: Annie Cleland Bulloch m/s Henderson
Birth registered by John G Stein – Father – Present
Parents married 23rd November, 1883 at Cumbernauld

Chrissie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in October 1917, she headed to France where she worked at the Canteen at Creil. The object of the canteens was to provide the soldiers with a hot drink or a quick bite to eat. The soldiers would arrive by train, bound for the front line or returning on leave. Often the men had gone days without food. The site of smiling faces with their 1200 litre basins filled with coffee or soup must have felt homely and welcoming, especially for the lads heading to the front. Trains arrived from all over the front, Dunkirk, Soissons and Fismes bringing troops from all over the world, French, British, Canadian, American and many from the French Colonies. Heavy work lugging the boiling cooking pots around, freezing cold as they were largely in the open and clouds of smoke coming from the six stoves usually stoked by the men.The canteen at Creil at the end came in for heavy attack and scarcely not a night passed without the bugles warning notes. By May 1918 the bombing was steady and in early June it was fierce. Night and day French troops and lorries laden with guns thundered into the little town enroute to the front and at night came the roar and throbs of the Gothas(German Aircraft) The rattling of the air-aircraft, the screams from the engines of our own aircraft. Chrissie wrote in her letters about the nightly visits from the Gothas(photo above) and at how sad she was to leave the canteen and all the good work they had done. In June 1918 she was home but returned with her sister Nettie to Favresse in France in October 1918. The canteen at Favresse was not successful as local girls ended up doing the same work, the canteen was closed in December 1918.

In 1935 Chrissie traveled with her sister to Canada.

Death Certificate
At 13 Marchhall Crescent, Edinburgh, on 7th February, 1972
Chrissie Bulloch Stein Independent Means Aged 87 years
Single Date of Birth 3rd October, 1884
Father: John Gilchrist Stein Brickmaker deceased
Mother: Annie Cleland Bulloch m/s Henderson deceased
Cause of Death: 1a Myocardial Degeneration 1b Arteriosclerosis 2 Senile Pemphigus(I think)
Registered by Kenneth W Sanderson – Nephew- * Abercromby Place, Stirling

Daisy Mary Stephen

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: Aberdeen

Born in the granite city of Aberdeen in 1884, she grew up in the family home with her father and mother, William and Jane Stephen. Her father died in 1897 in South Shields, Durham. At the age of 17 she was living at St Mary’s Convent at Berwick Upon Tweed. In 1911 she was working as a nurse in St Marylebone hospital, London.

Daisy joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916. She joined the Transport Column as a driver and under the command of Katherine Harley. The unit was moved 30 miles north of Salonika to Lake Ostrovo and supported the Serbian Army’s push back into her homeland. They also worked in tandem with the American Unit. 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. Five ambulances, one lorry and a support car made up the column. 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). These women were astonishing, working night and day, without regard for their own safety as they ventured up and down mountain roads, in all weathers and onto the battlefield to save as many lives as possible. In January 1917 Daisy became ill with appendicitis and was sent home. She actually became very ill on the way home and was operated on in Malta.
Daisy returned to the UK in February 1917 where she stayed at her fathers old home in Stonehaven. Daisy in 1921 had moved to Torquay in Devon. And in 1921 she died aged only 37.

Rhona Mildred Stephens

Date of Bith: 1873
Place of Birth: Bristol

Born in 1873, Rhona’s father George was a Local Building contractor.

Rhona joined the Scottish women’s Hospitals in 1916 as an orderly. She joined the American Unit, and it was the 7th Field hospital unit of the SWH. It comprised approximately 200 tents and was situated near Lake Ostrovo, Macedonia during the First World War under the command of the Serbian Army. It was often called The America Unit as the money to fund it came from America and except for a few dressing stations, it was the Allied hospital nearest the front. During the first 8 weeks the hospital received over 500 case. It was the roll of the drivers to go onto the battlefield and retrieve the wounded. Without question very dangerous and exhausting work. From 1916-1917 she would have worked often at times day and night and all under canvas. The conditions were very hard going, Cases of malaria, gas gangrene, amputations all a common sight, at times quiet then hundreds of injured men pouring in. Very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Rhona worked at Lake Ostrovo, 80-100 miles north of Salonika. Rhona left the SWH in December 1917.

Rhoda Mildred Stephens of Hillside Willsbridge nr Bristol spinster died 22 November 1934 at Rodway Hill House Mangotsfield Glos Probate to Howard George Purcell Stephens limited company director and George Henry Young auctioneer and valuer Effects £6022 2s 10d resworn £6261 15s 11d

Her headstone at Arnos Vale, Bristol, England reads.. Of Bristol and Woodford Berkeley; Served in the Great War and decorated for her work with the S.W.H. (Serbian) Unit on the Macedonian Front and for Relief work at Ostrovo and Villiers Brettonneux

Rose Stone

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Bristol

Rosa Alice Stone

Rose Alice Stone born in Bristol in 1881. Rosa(Rose) was the daughter of Charles and Harriet Stone. Charles was a furnace stoker in a soap factory. Rosa began her training at Eastville Workhouse Infirmary, Bristol. Prior to ww1 Rosa was employed as a nurse in whitehaven. In July 1915 she joined the Serbian Relief Fund. She served in Serbia until the end of 1915 when Serbia was forced into exile. Rather than return home Rosa travelled with the Serb troops to Corfu. She spent the best part of two years nursing and caring for the soldiers. In October 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. She travelled once more to Serbia with the Elsie Inglis Unit. The unit supported the Serbian troops as they pushed for home and in many cases the Serbian civilian population who, had been greatly exposed to starvation, cruelty and no medical facilities. Working in Greece, Serbia, Macedonia and a short spell in Sarajevo. Effectively Rosa gave three years of her life supporting the Serbs during ww1. She never married and died in 1949.

Edith Anne Stoney

Date of Bith: 1869
Place of Birth: Dublin.

Edith Anne Stoney BA MA Edith Anne Stoney was born into a scientific Irish family in Dublin on 6 January 1869, eldest daughter of the eminent physicist G. Johnstone Stoney FRS. Her sister Florence Stoney MD OBE became a pioneer radiologist. Her mother died when Edith was not yet 4 years old and her father never remarried. Edith was devoted to him, caring for him after his retirement when they had settled in London. Edith gained a scholarship to enter Newnham College Cambridge and achieved first class grading in the Part 1 Maths Tripos examinations in 1893. She was later awarded BA and MA from Trinity College Dublin: Cambridge did not formally award degrees to women until 1948. With her skill in maths she performed complex calculations on marine turbines and searchlight design for Sir Charles Parsons, a family friend. Following three years teaching mathematics at Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Edith became the physics lecturer at the London (Royal Free) School of Medicine for Women (LSMW) in 1899. In 1902, with Florence, she set up the new x-ray service at the Royal Free Hospital, gaining practical knowledge of particular value for her later war work. At this time, Edith also actively supported the women’s suffrage movement, and became the first honorary treasurer of the British Federation for Women Graduates. In May 1915 she left the LSMW to join the Girton and Newnham unit of the SWH. This unit went first to Troyes, continuing to Ghevgali in Serbia and then Salonika. In each place she set up and ran the x-ray department with her assistant George Mallett. Her work on x-ray localisation of bullets, and on the radiological diagnosis of gas gangrene, was particularly valued. In Salonika she also established electrotherapy and mechanical therapy: the electrical supply was provided using a generator she had bought for herself in Paris. She left Salonika in June 1917, having failed to secure the position as radiologist in the British military hospital there. In November she returned to the front line with the SWH to run the radiology service in Royaumont. and Villers Cotterets. After the war she returned to a physics lectureship in King’s College for Women, eventually re-joining her sister in retirement in Bournemouth in 1925. She died on 25 June 1938. In her will she left funds to establish the Florence and Johnstone Stoney Studentship to support a physics or maths student from Newnham College to enter medical training. Edith Stoney was probably the most highly academic of the SWH staff. She was respected for her focussed dedication to her work, while being also known as a sometimes difficult colleague. Nevertheless, at a time when radiology was still developing, she earned great respect from her medical colleagues for her deep technical and scientific knowledge, which enabled her to create and maintain xray departments in several SWH hospitals under highly challenging conditions at the front line.

Francis A Duck

Rose Strange

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Oxford

Nurse Rose Ethel Strange, born 1881 in Oxford. Raised in the family home she lived with her Father(Joseph) and Mother (Sarah). Joseph was a Bootmaker. In 1911 Rose was working as a nurse in Lambeth Infirmary. In 1915 she was working as a Nurse in Cardiff. Rose joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in September 1915. After a journey from Cardiff to Salonika by ship, she then took the train into Serbia. She joined Dr Elsie Inglis unit at Kragujevac, Serbia. Kragujevac as elsewhere in Serbia, had in the winter of 1914-1915 been through a Typhus epidemic. Rose came out to work in the hospitals to prevent any repeat of the winter of 1914. Things did not go according to plan and Rose found that Serbia shortly after her arrival would fall. By October 1915 all the hospitals were being evacuated south. Between November 1915- January 1916 the unit were located in Krusevac. Twenty eight of the women under the leadership of Elsie Inglis had refused to abandon the Serbs and were effectively POW’s. By the middle of February they had all made it safely home.
Rose continued with her nursing after the war working in Dorking. She died in 1955 in the district of Oxford.

Bessie Gray Sutherland

Date of Bith: 1871
Place of Birth: Edinburgh

Bessie Gray Sutherland was born 16/10/1871 at Livingstone Place,Edinburgh.Daughter of Book-keeper Andrew Gray Sutherland and Helen Crawford.
Bessie joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals second Serbian unit on the 1st of April as a nurse. On the 21st of April 1915 Bessie under the command of Dr Alice Hutchinson 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( around 40 tents) 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. In August Bessie became ill, The hospital despite having high hygiene standards, was positioned close to a recent battlefield and as a result of this millions of flies were present, the walls of some of the tents were in fact black with flies and no way of getting rid of them., Bessie died on the 26th of September 1915 of Typhoid fever. Initially buried at Valjevo her body was latter moved to the Chela Kula cemetery at Nis Serbia where it is lovingly cared for by the city of Nis. 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.

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