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WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania

Three British Women in the Balkans, 1915

Dr. Elsie Maud Inglis, (1864-1917), shown on the pot at the base, in front of the largest tent, founded the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, (SWH), at the start of WW1. They were staffed by women and operated independently of the War Office. She had offered her services as an experienced doctor in support of the war effort but was brushed off with: ‘My good lady, go home and sit still.’ The SWH set up field hospitals throughout the conflict zones in Europe and Russia and, in 1915, the hospital units were in Serbia to support both soldiers wounded in action on the Balkan front, and the civilian population, which was suffering an epidemic of typhoid.

Above the field hospital is a bullock train bringing supplies to set up one of the field hospitals in Serbia. Mabel St. Clair Stobart, (1864-1952), pictured further round the pot, at the base, with two horses, founded the Women’s Sick and Wounded Convoy Corps, (1912), and the National Women’s Service League, (1914). She commanded the Serbian Relief Fund's Front Line Field Hospital in Serbia and, during the bitter winter of 1915/16, joined the Great Serbian Retreat, leading her staff through the Albanian mountains to the Adriatic coast, without any loss of life.

Also joining the retreat was Flora Sandes, (1876-1956), who was working with the St. John’s Ambulance unit at the time. She had always wanted to be a soldier and resented the limitations of life as a girl and as a woman. She had to join the retreat when enemy forces invaded and, initially, joined the Serbian Red Cross but then enrolled in the Serbian army and fought on the allied side, with the Serbs. She was awarded the Order of the Karadorde’s Star, Serbia’s highest military honour, for bravery in active service, ‘under fire,’ and was promoted to Sergeant Major. She lived most of the rest of her life in Serbia, returning to England only after the death of her husband in 1941. She is pictured at the base of the pot, lit up by fire, during the battle of Monastir, where she was wounded in 1916.



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WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania
WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania
WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania
WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania
WW1 1915, Ararat to Albania