A-Z of Personnel

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Maude Evelyn Waddle

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Ireland

Although Maude was born in Ireland she grew up in Dunfermline, living at the family home in Rolland st with her Father, mother and 6 siblings. Her father Alexander worked at the local gas works and was the manager. Maude during 1916 elected to head to Royaumont Abbey near Paris, where she worked as an orderly. Orderly’s took on all hard and often unpleasant work, mopping up blood and carrying stretchers up and down flights of stairs, were very much normal day to day choirs. Maude volunteered to do this work as orderly’s were not paid, only board and lodgings were paid for along with the uniform. Maude went through some very tough times at the Abbey, including The Battle of the Somme, when she would have worked day and night carrying the wounded from ward to ward. And of course much worse. Train loads of men arrived at the Abbey each day, men peppered with bullet holes or suffering from gas gangrene, amputations were all to common. They worked until exhausted, sleeping was a luxury, often the women became sick from all the endless hours of contentiousness work. Maude left the Abbey in October 1917.

Frances Wakefield

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Kendal.

Frances Margaret Wakefield was born in Westmorland, Kendal. Her Father William was a Banker and a Justice of the peace. By 1881 she was a scholar living in St Andrews, Fife. She had now taking on the name Daisy. In 1895 she was at St Helen’s school, Clifton, Bristol. In 1905 she had Qualified as MB Bac Surg from University of Edinburgh. Source: Medical Register 1907. Daisy spend the next number of years working as a missionary in Nigeria. She return home to support the war effort and joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in December 1914. She was attached to the typhus hospital at Kragujevac in Serbia. Daisy wrote ” With so much misery about we could not expect special attention and comforts when we fell ill. We did what we could for each other but or primary duty lay with the Serbs. Each doctor or nurse less meant double the work for others. We gambled on our good health to pull through and it mostly did. Reaction to one’s illness often reflects a state of mind, forget about oneself especially when others around are far more ill, then one often gets well without even noticing it. At one time or another time or another most of us did this during that awful winter in Serbia.” During those dire days when Serbia was locked into the devastating typhus epidemic, not only did she battle to help save as many lives of the Serbian nation but personally treated Dr Elizabeth Ross, who sadly perished along with three other unit members. Daisy herself survived typhus and after a few weeks in bed was back on duty. Daisy returned home in June 1915. She went on with her medical work in Africa, joined the Women’s Royal Air Force, service. Daisy had an extraordinary life. But it seems she came from that sort of family her brothers Edward made aviation history when the seaplane he designed was the first in the British Empire to successfully take off and land. Rodger became a Doctor,
Arthur qualified as a medical doctor and served on the front line in the First World War. After the war he travelled to Newfoundland in Canada to join the Grenfell Institute and work as a missionary doctor for 15 years with the Inuit eskimos.
Dr Daisy Wakefield died in 1970 Bedfordshire, England

Hypatia Wakefield

Date of Bith: 1886
Place of Birth: Halifax

Hypatia Robertshaw Wakefield was born in Halifax , Yorkshire, United Kingdom in 1886. Her father was Aurelio B Wakefield. In 1817 she had been in Argentina.
In August 1918 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an x-ray sister and headed to Royaumont abbey. The abbey was located just miles from the front lines and only hours away from Paris. Hypatia joined during the final push of 1918. Although much of the patients were battle casualties, a number required various surgical treatments and of course many of the sick were admitted. Out of the 10,861 patients treated 8,752 were soldiers. The rest were made up of outpatients. Hypatia left the hospital and her unit in December 1918, just as the hospital was due to close.

In 1919 she traveled to Singapore.

Hypatia died in Halifax 6 Nov 1924.

Patricia Walker

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: Scotland

The early life of Patricia is vague,.Her father Robert was in the Royal Navy and consequently her siblings were born in Chile. We know from her records that Patricia was living at Woodlands, Moffat before the war. In August 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an orderly. 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. 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 . 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 Winnie worked principally in Odessa, Bubbul Mic, Medgidia, Galatz and Reni. 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.Patricia returned home on the 1st of March 1917. Patricia on her retuen married John Orr in 1919 in Moffat. We also know she had a son John.

Enid Walters

Date of Bith: 1982
Place of Birth: Kent, England

When Enid Margaret Walters was born on June 10, 1882, in Dover, Kent, her father, Frank, was 30 and her mother, Cecilia, was 30. She had two brothers and five sisters. In 1991 Enid Margaret Walters lived in Isle of Man in 1891. She lived for awhile in Nottingham before moving to Dorset.
She attended the London School of Medicine for Women in the early 1900’s. Dr E. M. Walters held the appointments of: Assistant School Medical Officer Hull, Assistant Medical Officer and Pathologist Devon County Asylum, House Physician New Hospital for Women Euston Road, and House Surgeon Victoria Hospital Children Hull. July 1916 Contracted to work for 12 months as a Civilian Surgeon attached to the RAMC. Her salary was 24 shillings a day including allowances, but excluding duty transport. A gratuity of £60 was awarded at the end of the contract, provided employment was not terminated for misconduct. Most of the medical women were invited to renew their contracts at the expiry of their first year’s work.
16 Aug 1916 Embarked for Malta as part of the Women’s Medical Unit RAMC.
In October 1917 Enid joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a Doctor and headed to Royaumont abbey, outside Paris.Fro Royaumont she traveled up to Villers-Cotterets. Villers was a satellite hospital of Royaumont. That summer they were just a few kilometres from the front line. Villers had though been battered in the months before. The surrounding countryside was stripped of trees, trenches lined the roads. Shell holes some 30 feet deep splattered the fields, villages were reduced to piles of stone. Refugees tramped the roadside, begging for help as German prisoners attempted to mend the roads. The wooden huts at Villers, which were to become ward and accommodation for the hospital , were basic. Corrugated iron roofs, oil-papered windows and duck boards for path, with the mud being so bad. At night the huts would shake from the booms of the big guns and half dead men would be brought in. Enid was forced to leave her post utterly exhausted and suffering from stress. In September 1918 she was sent home. Her contribution during the final push of 1918 and being only one of three Doctors working at Villers had taken its toll.

After the war she continued to work as a Doctor. Enid Margaret Walters died on 27 February 1960 in Dorset when she was 77 years old.

Ethel Ward

Date of Bith: 1877
Place of Birth: Durham

Ethel Sarah Annie Ward.

At the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, Ethel was living in at ” The Woodlands” Hexham on Tyne. This was 1916, Ethel volunteered as Cook and set sail for the already established hospital in Corsica. In December 1915 Dr Blair was instructed to set up a Hospital for Serbian refugees on the island. On Christmas day 1915 the Corsican unit, also known as the Manchester and District unit, began. And as 1915 came to a close hundreds of Serbian refugees poured in on a daily basis. Dr Blair remarked that ” they looked so desolate and forlorn though most put a brave face on it, that we all felt inclined to weep”.
The main hospital was located in Ajaccio in a two storeyed building of Villa Miot. As the work load grew so did the hospital and tents were pitched in the gardens for open air treatments. A fever hospital was situated a few miles from the General hospital in Lazaet, a historic building that stood high, over looking the gulf. By this time nearly 3000 refugees and a few decimated regiments had arrived from Serbia. Also a band of a few hundred Serbian boys arrived for a few months recuperation. Thirty thousand boys set off on the Serbian retreat. Such were the conditions and horrors of that journey, that only 7000 made it to safety. Nearly 300 of these lads, after they were rested on the island, were sent on to schools in UK and France. Out- patients hospitals were opened in Chiavari some 20 miles from Ajaccio and St Antoine. The value of the work is indubitable and many a young life benefited from the units endeavours. 79 babies were born during the hospitals tenure, a reminder that life even in the darkest of times prevails. The hospital closed in April 1919.

Ethel worked as cook between June 1916 and August 1917. By September she had returned home and married Francis Gibbins. They were living in the Hexham area. Ethel died in 1965 aged 91,She had moved to Hailsham.

Ruby Warner

Date of Bith: 1891
Place of Birth: India

When Ruby Annette Maud St. John Warner was born on July 31, 1891, in India, her father, Reginald, was 30 and her mother, Alice, was 28.
Ruby Annette Maud St. John Warner lived in Halton, Lancashire, in 1901
Ruby Annette Maud St. John Warner lived in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland, on 2 April 1911.
Ruby joined the Scottish Women,s Hospitals as an orderly in September 1917. Ruby worked at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles outside Paris. From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was turned into a voluntary hospital, Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, operated by Scottish Women,s Hospitals(SWH), under the direction of the French Red Cross. On arrival the staff found that the buildings were in a deplorable condition. They were dirty; there was a shortage of practically every amenity that they would need to run an efficient unit. There were no lifts; water had to be carried to where it was needed. By dint of much hard work the hospital was eventually given it certificate by the Service de Sante of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting, the winters bitter and I was left with unstinting admiration for this very gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war. 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. Ruby left the service in March 1918.
She was married to Arthur Hodgson in December 1918 when she was 27 years old.
Ruby Annette Maud St John Warner died on 29 August 1965 in Surrey when she was 74 years old

Beatrice Victoria Warr

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Bridport, Dorset

Beatrice grew up in the family home in Bridport. Bridport is a market town in Dorset, England, situated approximately 1.5 miles (2.4 km) inland from the English Channel near the confluence of the small River Brit and its tributary the Asker. Its origins are Saxon and it has a long history as a rope-making centre, though many of its buildings date from the 18th century. Her father William repaired the fishing nets. Beatrice developed an interest in Nursing as a profession and by 1911 she was working as a hospital nurse in nearby Taunton Hospital. Beatrice joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as a nurse towards the end of the war working at Royaumont between January 1918-July 1918.

Ruby Wearn

Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Sussex

Ruby Florence Wearn was born in Lindfield, Sussex in 1885. She grew up in the family home in Lindfield where her father Arthur was a Grocer and Draper. By 1911 Ruby was working in London at London Fever Hospital, Liverpool Road, Islington, her occupation was Hospital nurse. From her records at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow she was living in Cornwall prior to joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Ruby in June 1918 joined the organisation, electing to serve in The Girton and Newnham unit, so called due to very healthy donations coming from the College. Ruby’s destination was Salonika (Thessaloniki). The SWH had ran a large and well equipped hospital at Salonika since early 1916 mainly supporting French and Serbian troops. Ruby arrived at a time when large amounts of Serbs, French, Italian and British troops were pushing hard to break the Bulgarians control of the Kaimatchalan mountains. As the unit had been inundated with soldiers in 1917 suffering from malaria, now the hospital was bursting with wounded men. In October, with the Serbs attacking and making for home Bulgaria surrendered. Just as the other SWH units in the region were able to follow their beloved Serbians home so did much of the Girton and Newnham unit. Ruby in June 1919 was working at the Elsie Inglis Hospital Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. As Elsie had died in 1917 this was something that thrilled the women and was clearly a proud moment for all the unit.She left Belgrade in August and headed down to Salonika. Her records show she left the unit in July 1919 it wasn’t until November 1919 that she returned home. Ruby Florence Wearn died in 1947 in Brighton ,Sussex.

Edith Elizabeth Webster

Date of Bith: 1884
Place of Birth: St Bees, Cumberland

Born in 1884, her father John Webster was a clerk of justice. John passed away when she was young and was therefore raised by her mother Ann. In 1911 she was living and working in London. Edith like so many of the women was involved in the suffrage movement. Edith’s occupation was described as “local Secretary London Society Goldenness Suffrage”. Edith joined the Scottish Women;s Hospitals in May 1915 as an orderly. The work of orderly’s was a grueling and often stomach churning. Typically the orderly’s came from well to do family’s but were eager to play a part in the war effort. They received no salary and only the uniform, board and lodgings were payed for by the organisation. Edith spent eight months working at Royaumont Abbey close to Paris. Royaumont was well suited to take casualties from the front,. In 1915 trains carrying the soldiers from the battlefields of Reims, Soissons and Noyon sector would roll down to Creil where they would be collected in SWH ambulances and taken to Royaumont. Edith left the hospital in January 1916.

Rua Mackenzie Webster

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Glasgow

Catherine Rua Mackenzie Webster was raised in Glasgow, her father Harry was a paint manufacturer and was from Australia. At the age of 17 Catherine was living in Cheltenham, at the ladies boarding college. She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in August 1916 only leaving in November 1917. She volunteered as an orderly. A position that would guarantee her long hours and heavy work, a far cry from her life at home. It was unpleasant work, cleaning up the blood soaked beds and clothes, mopping up of the operation rooms and wards. Catherine took this on purely to play her part in the war effort or maybe it was an act of humanity either way she did it without question and without any salary. Typical of so many women who went about their war in a quite, industrious and diligent manner. In 1919 she married Sir Dudley Williams, an Australian who served on the western front but went on in life to become a judge. In November 1919 they moved out to Australia and lived in Sydney until Catherine died in 1959.

Mary Garnett Welch

Date of Bith: 1871
Place of Birth: Preston.

Mary Garnett Welch was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1871. Her father William was a clerk at the local brewery. The family home was in the village of Wolstanton where she lived with her mother (Marianne) and siblings, Geo.Richard and Ada.

Before joining the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1916, Mary worked as a nurse in Bermondsey military hospital, London with the British Red Cross Society. On the 14th of December 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Invited to serve at Lake Ostrovo with the American Unit. The American unit got its name due to huge amount of donations coming in from America. Largely down to the fund raising of the determined Kathleen Burke.
Mary joined a reinforcement party at Southampton and sailed to Salonika, a journey that took around 10-14 days and fraught with dangers, submarines, mines and Zeppelins all responsible for the lost of many a ship, sailing from Southampton passing the Bay of Biscay, through the Straits of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean sea, the Aegean sea and into the port at Salonkia (Thessaloniki). 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 hoping to push for home. Mary as a nurse in 1916-1917 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 summer and cold winter and on the move as the front line breathed back and forth. At the time of her joining the front had pushed north and there was a plan to move the hospital at Ostrovo that didn’t happen but a field hospital was opened in the mountains at Dobraveni, all the women took a turn at working at this supporting hospital, something they enjoyed despite the appalling injuries the men came in with. The hospital at Ostrovo was large and all under canvas. At times the camp was only a few miles from the front line and shells rained over head, often close to or on the hospital. The wounded were fetched too and fro by mule, often requiring amputations and urgent medical assistance. The women slept in their tents, during the winter it was bitterly cold, the ground as hard as iron, hot tea frozen in minutes and their hands and feet turned blue with the dropping temperatures. Often wolves strolled around close to the camp, hoping steal a meal. Even in these trying conditions the women made sure any of the patients that died in there care were buried.
in the summer of 1917 the hospital at Ostrovo was taking medical cases as well as the wounded from the battles. Malaria was rife as it had been the year before when thousands of men were wiped out, many of the staff suffered or were victims themselves. The CMO Dr Bennett contacted malaria and was sent home, she was popular with women as she was excellent at her job. Fellow Australian Dr Mary De Garis took over the running of the camp. During her time at Lake Ostrovo Mary Garnett Welch nursed Serbian, Russian, French, Italian and Macedonian troops, often they tended the POW’s the Germans, Austrians and Bulgarians. Mary returned home in November 1917, she was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. She returned to London, never married and on the 25th of October 1947 she died at the nursing home, park lane, Barnstable, Devonshire.


Date of Bith: 1885
Place of Birth: Paulton, Bath

Nurse: Mladanovatz 1-Jul-1915 to 1-Nov-1915
Nursing Sister: British Red Cross Hospital, Netley 1918
Assistant Matron: Girton Newnham 2-Jul-1918 to 15-Nov-1919

Mary was born in 1885 in Paulton, near Bath, Somerset. Her father was a saddler and her parents jointly owned a grocery business.
She joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in 1915.
Mary left Southampton on the 23rd June 1915 on a converted hospital ship, the ‘Gloucester Castle’, together with the 3rdunit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital bound for Serbia. They travelled with other medical units including men from the RAMC who were bound for the Dardanelles. At Malta they transferred to the French maritime steamer ‘Lotus’ and were joined by several other missions on their way to Salonika where they arrived on July 25th.
After two weeks at Kragujevac the unit was sent to a camp medical hospital at Mladenovatz, a major crossing point 40 miles from Belgrade. At first the hospital was fairly quiet, the cases were mainly of malaria and some typhus. However in late September news came of unrest in Bulgaria. For many days Serbian troops passed through Mladenovatz to guard the Bulgarian front. When the Austro-German invasion began in the north, the men retraced their steps through Mladenovatz. Soon the hospital filled with exhausted soldiers. A Serbian artillery regiment set up camp very close to the hospital tents. Having ammunition so close put everyone in danger and soon the base was the target of enemy planes that killed several men in a nearby camp.
On 10th October they left Mladenovatz and returned to the hospital at Kragujevac. The hospital was soon overwhelmed by the wounded but after only ten days they had to retreat to a French mission hospital at Kravielo. After a few days tending the wounded here they received orders to retreat to Rashka. The order was hard for them, as they did not want to leave so many wounded behind.
Mary and four others travelled on to Metravitsa by ambulance. On the narrow slippery road, whilst passing another vehicle, they skidded and turned over on to the bank below. The nurses were thrown on top of each other into the roof of the ambulance. Luckily the roof was stuck in the sand, preventing the vehicle from falling into the river. But unfortunately one of the nurses was seriously injured. She was taken to a camp hospital three miles away. Sadly she died three days later from a fractured skull and was buried in a hillside graveyard near Rashka.

The group hoped they could return home via Greece but it was not possible. They were faced with crossing the Albanian and Montenegrin mountains in winter with hundreds of fleeing refugees and soldiers, many dying on the way. Food was scarce and if they found accommodation it was often impossible to lay down. Their clothes were always wet. The intense cold left Mary with frostbite in her toes, later these needed amputation. Eventually they reached St. Giovanni di Medua in Albania where they were eventually picked up by an Italian cargo steamer, returning home via Brindisi.

Mary went on to be a nursing sister at the British Red Cross hospital at Netley. Then in July 1918 she returned to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an assistant matron joining the Girton and Newnham unit at Salonika. They worked with the French Red Cross Orient Command, nursing French Foreign Legion soldiers.

In March 1919 Mary assisted Dr. Louise McIlroy in establishing a hospital for post war civilians in Belgrade. They also hoped to set up a nurse training school for Serbian women. She helped set up a dispensary twenty kilometres out of town that soon turned into a small camp hospital.

In November Mary felt her work was done here and resigned. She went on to take up a position in the Fiji Islands.

Finally she left nursing to enter a Brigittine convent at Syon Abbey in Devon where died aged 88 years.


Many thanks to Rosemary Brooking for sharing this fascinating first hand information. Mary was Rosemary ‘s great aunt and we are so glad she agreed to write this article.

Dulcie Mary White

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Burslem,Staffs;England

Dulcie Mary White was born C1887 at Burslem,Staffs;England.In 1911 she was a Probationer Nurse at North Staffs Infirmary,Stoke on trent.
Nurse White served with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont Abbey 30 miles for Paris. The Scottish Women’s Hospitals unit offered their services to France and opened a hospital in the ancient Abbey of Royaumont, near Paris. The hospital operated from 1915 to 1919 and became famous for its nursing care, cleanliness and efficiency, recognised by the French authorities as a key wartime hospital.

Irene Mildred Whittet

Date of Bith: 1895
Place of Birth: Perth, Scotland.

Irene Mildred Whittet was born 1895,Perth.She was daughter of Perth born father,James Peter Whittet (Tea,coffee and seed merchant) and mother Agnes(born Forgandenny,Perthshire).1901 Census had family living at Craig Isla,Kinnoull,Perthshire. Irene died at Ween Cottage Hospital,Aberfeldy on 5/11/1961.

Irene served with the Scottish Womens Hospitals from the 15th of August 1916-17th of February 1917. She worked at Royaumont Abbey near Paris as a nurse.From January 1915 to March 1919 the Abbey was used as a military hospital by the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, under the direction of the French Red Cross. Their work was unremitting and they received thousands of casualties during ww1. A gallant band of doctors, nurses, orderlies ambulance drivers, cooks, who gave so much to their patients throughout the war.

Alice Gertrude Williams

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Shrewsbury

She was born in 1881, 4th child of Samuel Wilson Williams who married Mary Jane Edwards in Shrewsbury. She was one of 10 children. Samuel was a Joiner.
In September 1915 she took the very courageous decision to head for Serbia. Serbia had been battered by war, typhus epidemics, starvation and a lack of support. Alice left the Uk on the 11th of September 1915 and arrived in Valjevo in Serbia on the 5th of October. That voyage would open these brave nurses eyes, as after they sailed from Malta heading to Salonika they saw the bodies of victims of a submarine attack on a ship floating on the water. Alice traveling with around a dozen other nurses heading to Valjevo to help and support the already busy and overworked hospital in the town. However a few days after arriving in Valjevo Serbian lines were breached and the Serbian capital Belgrade was smashed by a rain of bombs. Over the next few weeks Serbia was flung into chaos, all Alice could do was retreat with the Serbian army and assist where she could. Serbia’s picture deteriorated day after day and on the 10th of November the unit woke up to the disbelief that they were now effectively prisoners of the Austrian army. In the days and weeks the followed the hospital continued to run as best as it could but with the cold weather, a lack of food and dialog between them and there captures in free fall, they were moved on. For a brief time they ran a small hospital at Krusevac but in early December the unit was moved to the frozen hinterlands of Hungry. Transferred by cattle trucks and forced into wooden huts under guard they spent the next 10 weeks living on bread and soup. A monotonous mix of confinement, lack of food and freezing temperatures only broken up by the brief excitement of Christmas day and Burns night. In February they were ordered to leave the camp and return home. By train to Budapest, Vienna and into Switzerland. Finally sailing home to their family’s. After returning home Alice joined her sister and worked as a nurse at Stokesay Court, Shropshire, England. Employed here from June 1917 – December 1918 during the time that Stokesay Court was an auxiliary VAD hospital. She joined her sister Lilian who was also employed at Stokesy Court as a nurse.

Theodora Williamson

Date of Bith: 1893
Place of Birth: Musselburgh

THEODORA WILLIAMSON was born 1893 in Musselburgh. Daughter of plasterer John and Ina.They lived at 77,Millhill,Musselburgh and in 1911,Theodora was a Domestic Servant.

Theodora joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals as an Orderly. She volunteered to work at Royaumont Abbey in France between 6-Sep-18 and 2-Dec-18. The orderly’s were known as “the white caps” They were very much the backbone of the hospital carrying out heavy work including moving the stretchers from place to place. The mopping up of blood stained floors and beds. All the unpleasant tasks. And for no wage. Only travel, uniform and board and lodging were provided for. An impressive contribution and often overlooked.

Marian Elizabeth Wilson

Date of Bith: 1881
Place of Birth: Perthshire

Marian was born in Abernte, June 1881, her father John was the local minister at Abernyte in Perthshire. Marian studied medicine at Edinburgh university, qualifying as a Doctor on 1906. Marian was a very bright and astute student who had a vast knowledge of languages. Fluent in German, Arabic, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. There was little in life that Marian could not turn her hand to. She studied French history, music, books and a raft of hobbies. She was a keen horse rider and loved to play hockey.
Her first post as Doctor was in Barrow in Furness in Cumbria. In 1911 she took on the challenge of medical mission work in Palestine, she was popular everywhere she went but did love the people of Jaffa and Hebron where she was affectionately known as “El Hakiemeh (the lady Doctor). In 1914 she returned home to take up a position in York but in November 1915 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and elected to work at Royaumont Abbey some 30 miles outside Paris. Marian choose Royaumont, she was asked to go to Serbia but declined. Its was said that she was an excellent physician, her colleagues and patients all raved about her. Intellectually she had a brilliant mind and although she could be distant and reserved she was very much adored by all around her. In July 1917 she took a break from all the work at Royuamont and headed to the Alps for some much needed rest. On the 1st August 1917, Royaumont fell silent as the news broke that Marian had died of acute appendicitis, the impact of her death was sorely felt among the staff and patients alike, many of them bursting into tears. On the photo above, there is an inscription on the monument to commemorate those who died. The monument rightly carries the name of Marian Elizabeth Wilson.

Maud Winstanley

Date of Bith: 1879
Place of Birth: Rainford, England

Maud Winstanley was born in Rainford in 1879.

War broke the tranquil and peaceful ambiance of the 13th century cistercian abbey. Royaumont Abbey north of Paris, France 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.
Without question their most testing time came in July 1916. The big push had begun. For anyone connected with the Battle of the Somme these were horrendous, dangerous and difficult days. The women of Royaumont proved time and time again that they had the metle and expertise to face all the horrors of this war.
Maud joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont in February 1916 firstly as a nurse, quickly being promoted to matron on account of her organisational skills and willingness to work all hours. The hospital was in fantastic condition, partly due to Maud’s efforts. As Matron she was paid a salary of £120 per year.
By July 1917 she moved to the hospital 40 miles away, Villers-Cotterets. The hospital at Villers-Cotterets was joined to the railway station so the wounded could be taken directly into the wards. Maud was very proud of the hospital and under her stewardship the hospital was hugely successful. Maud, very popular with the staff, worked at Villers-Cotterets until November 1917.

Maud died in 1956.

Florence Stanley Winter

Date of Bith: 1887
Place of Birth: Doune, Perthshire

Florence grew up in the family home. Her father, Adam Winter was the local Gamekeeper and as such they lived in the Gamekeepers Lodge in Doune. Florence joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in July 1917 leaving in December 1918 just before it closed down. She served as a nurse and faced many challenges. During her time at Royaumont, Florence was very much involved in the final push of 1918, when the hospital took in hundreds of causalities. Unceasing work and all manners of injures. Physically and mentally they were tested day after day. In June alone Royaumont took in 1,240 admissions.
In January 1919 she joined the unit at Sallanches, France. The Elsie Inglis memorial hospital in France offered comfort and medical assistance to Serbian boys suffering from Tuberculosis. The hospital was opened in March 1918 and continued until its Closure in April 1919, Florence then returned home. It seems she never took a break from her service from July 1917-April 1919.

Florence married John Dobbie in 1918 and died in Edinburgh in 1955.

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