Get Premium for free!
A timeline documenting the formation and wartime activities of the Scottish Women's hospitals during the Great War.
7 months ago
28/06/14 Gavrilo Princip assassinates Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo.
28/07/14 Austro-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
04/08/14 Britain joins the war on Serbia's side.
18/09/14 A notice is published in the 'Common Cause', journal of the NUWSS stating that the Scottish Federation appeals for £100 (£10,588 in 2016) to enable a mobile Red Cross Hospital to work at the Front. Elsie Inglis named as main proposer of the scheme.
At some point in October, 1914, the Scottish Women's Hospitals officially form and are given their name. Fundraising begins.
04/12/14 First SWH French Unit crosses the Channel to Dieppe.
11/12/14 First Serbian Unit headed by Dr Eleanor Soltau begins journey to Serbia (via Malta & Salonica).
07/11/14 The French accept the SWH's offer of medical assistance.
08/11/14 The Serbian government accept the SWH's offer of medical assistance.
Mid-April: A telegram is received at SWH HQ stating that Dr Soltau is ill with diptheria. Dr Elsie Inglis resolves to replace her. Takes Rt. Hon. Evelina Haverfield (administrator) to Kragujevac with her.
Mid-February The SWH equipment sub-committee in operation. Hold first meeting. Deal with mundane but essential business (e.g. Who will supply whisky/cotton pyjamas for the units etc.).
21/04/15 The second Serbian Unit headed by Dr Alice Hutchison sets sail for Serbia, but is diverted en route.
27/04/15 Second Serbian Unit arrive in Malta. Though they expect to move on swiftly, the unit is commandeered by the Maltese who beseech them to help treat the wounded from the Dardanelles.
18/05/15 Colonel Hunter of the RAMC proposes that the SWH move to Mladenovac to deal with the incresingly worsening Typhus epidemic.
May: The Kragujevac unit splits in two. Surgical hospital left in Kragujevac with Dr Lillian Chesney in charge. Unit members: Dr Lillian Chesney Dr Laird 7 nurses The rest head to Mladenovac.
06/06/15 Dr Hurchison's unit arrives in Serbia. The first tent is pitched at Valjevo.
28/05/15 Mladenovac Unit forms: Dr Elsie Inglis Dr Beatrice MacGregor Dr Bignold Dr Mary Phillips (Sent home after suffering badly from enteric fever.) Dr Sybil Lewis (Replacement doctor.) Dr Ellen Porter (Replacement doctor.) Evalina Haverfield (Transferred to Mladenovac from Kragujevac because of a personality clash with Dr Chesney.) Vera “Jack” Holme.
July: Heads of the SWHSU meet at Kragujevac to discuss their role in a country where there was no fighting and - by then - very little disease. 1) Resolution passed that no unit should leave. Wait for emergencies. 2) Dr Inglis proposes the takeover of a Serbian hospital in Lazarovac. Puts Dr Holloway in charge.
In August (Valjevo): 3 doctors and 3 nurses become seriously ill with enteric fever. Dr Mary Phillips becomes too weak to continue and is sent home. Dr Sybil Lewis & Dr Ellen Porter replace Dr Phillips. One nurse - Sister Sutherland - died.
07/09/15 Stone Fountain is unveiled in Elsie Inglis' honour at Mladenovac.
May, 1915 The Girton & Newnham Unit forms - funded by the Cambridge women's colleges. Sent to Troyes. Members: Dr Laura Sandeman in charge of medical beds. Dr Anne Louise McIlroy in charge of surgical beds. Isabel Emslie (Junior Doctor) Honoria Keer (Junior Doctor) Edith Stoney Mary Laird Olive King Violet Inglis (Elsie’s niece) Mrs Harley (Administration) Katherine Loudon (New Administrator – June 1915)
September: Girton & Newnham unit prepared for Allied offensive
The Battle of Loos: Took place from 25 September – 8 October 1915 in France on the Western Front.
06/10/15 Girton & Newnham Unit asked to go along with the French Expeditionary Force to Salonica.
20/10/15 Girton & Newnham Unit set sail for Marseilles. Arrive in Salonica at the beginning of November.
08/10/15 The Fall of Belgrade. Serbian Retreat begins.
12/10/15 Mladenovac Unit forced to evacuate. Set up emergency dressing station at Kragujevac. Handling aprox. 400 cases a day.
17/10/15 Dr. Hutchison's Valjevo Unit receive orders to evacuate by the next day. After a stop-over, they reach Vrnjacka Banja where they are given hospital of 100 beds.
Takeover of Serbian hospital at Lazarevac by Dr Holloway.
Evacuation of Lazarevac hospital.
Following 3-day journey Lazarevac unit reach Krusevac. Open another dressing station at a barracks.
Mladenovac Unit: Ordered to Kraljevo. Opened another dressing station.
Kragujevac Unit: Dr Chesney's unit still in Kragujevac but full to overflowing. Beds increase from 125 to 175.
Kragujevac Unit receives orders to evacuate. Sent to Krusevac. Journey tooke 40 hours instead of 4.
German Army occupy 2 bridges over the Danube. Kragujevac becomes their first objective.
25/11/15 Serbian Field Marshal Radomir Putnik orders a full retreat of the Serbian military south and west through Allied Kingdom of Montenegro and into neutral Principality of Albania.
SERBIAN RETREAT: SWH Serbian units faced with choice: Retreat OR Remain in Serbia and fall into enemy hands.
REMAIN: Dr Hutchison resolves to stay in Vrnjacka Banja along with some other women from her Valjevo unit.
REMAIN: Dr Inglis, miserable about abandoning patients in Kragujevac, stays (in Krusevac?).
05/11/15 RETREAT: Two groups of women join the Serbian Retreat. 1 group under William Smith (clerk). 1 group under Dr MacGregor.
23/12/15 Some of the retreating women arrive home in Britain.
07/11/15 Chesney's unit, now in Krusevac (with Inglis?). German's arrive and takeover. Orders for removal of ALL Serb patients.
All Serb patients from Krusevac ordered to Czar Lazar Hospital where Dr Hollway is in charge.
08/11/15 German's order the women to leave and join Dr Hollway.
24/11/15 German's prepare to leave Krusevac and handover occupation duties to the Austrians.
10/11/15 Austrians enter Vrnjacka Banja.
30/11/15 Dr Hutchison's unit sent to Krusevac.
Kevevara: Dr Hutchison's unit not allowed to stay in Krusevac. Sent out of Serbia into Hungary. 32 women were given 2 rooms. Held as prisoners for 5 weeks.
17/12/15 Dr Hutchison ordered to take charge of Serb cholera block. Received a backlash of abuse. Kept incarcerated until end of the war and treated like a prisoner.
Dr Hutchison and Dr Inglis meet in Kevevara. Dr Inglis' unit of over 20 people being held in 1 room where they eat, sleep and work.
c. 20/11/15 Girton & Newnham Unit start to work for the Serbs. Whilst the Serbs retreated and other SWH units were taken hostage the Girton & Newnham unit sent to Ghevgheli.
04/12/15 After a fortnight of working, orders received by Girton & Newnham unit to evacuate their hosptial at Ghevgheli. Sent back to Salonica where another SWH unit is now working.
c. Beginning of November Girton & Newnham unit arrive in Salonica.
End of October: Corsica Unit arrives in Salonica. There does not seem to be much for them to do. Head = Dr Mary Blair
25/12/15 Dr Blair's Corsica unit land in Corsica on Christmas morning. Blair: 'It was the dreariest Christmas that any of us have ever spent.' There were over 300,000 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.' They spend their time offering aid to Serbian refugees.
28/12/15 28 members of Inglis' unit accept offer of repatriation. They had been held as prisoners and transferred from: Belgrade > Kevevara > Vienna > Waidhofen. Held at Waidhofen for 5 weeks before being sent back to Vienna, Switzerland & then home.
07/02/16 Unofficial reports that whole hospital unit to be moved to Belgrade. Inglis, Haverfield, Holme & Dr Corbett wish to stay in Serbia. Concoct a scheme to conceal themselves in peasant's cottages, thus be left behind. Due to delayed departure of the unit, their absence was noticed and they were forced to join the rest.
29/02/16 The unit reaches England.
28/12/15 28 members of Dr Inglis' unit accept offer of repatriation.
29/02/16 Dr Hutchison's unit sent to Keceskemet, near Budapest.
03/02/16 Dr Hutchison's unit told they would be going home.
05/02/16 Dr Hutchison's unit begins their homeward journey from Vienna. At Austrian frontier they were searched and all letters, diaries, photos and undeveloped film was seized. Margaret Kerr, Alice Hutchison manage to save their diaries by concealing them.
12/02/16 Arrival of Hutchison's unit in London 'having had no communication from home for four months.'
08/02/16 Dr Blair reports 42 patients. 20 = soldiers. 3 bad typhoid cases. 1 tubercular meningitis. Several cases of abscesses. Several pneumonias. 2 cases of Phtisis. Many cases of high fever.
By the beginning of April ... Dr Blair's hospital has 62 patients. Very short-staffed. The opening of an isolation hospital really stretches them. Blair wires for another doctor and more nurses to be sent out..
April: Dr Elsie Inglis visits Corsica. Very pleased with hospitals running and progress.
May: Dr Edith Hollway & Dr Mary Phillips, who have both served in Serbia, are sent out to Corsica. Many of the nurses who also arrive in Corsica have served in Serbia previously, too.
03/04/16 Elsie Inglis becomes first woman to be awarded the "Order of the White Eagle," highest honour that can be bestowed in Serbia.
16/04/16 Dr Inglis receives a response from Government of India to her offer of medical assistance for Mesopotamia. They shift responsibility of acceptance back to Chief Imperial General Staff War Office, who originally sent Inglis to them. Eventually, case ends up with Sir Alfred Keogh, who refused SWH assistance in 1914. REFUSED AGAIN WITH NO CLEAR REASON OTHER THAN THEIR GENDER. (p. 57).
16/03/16 Fundraiser Kathleen Burke is raising funds for SWH's Serbia mission in America. In May she reaches her goal of £10,000 (present day: £798,230.77).
JUNE 1916: Serbs from Austro-Hungarian empire surrender to the Russian Army rather than fighting against other Serbs. Serbian government request medical units from SWH to be attached to the Serbs in Russian Army. SWH Committee agrees as long as Dr Inglis heads it. Dr Inglis refuses, claiming that 'Serbs need hospitals badly.' (p. 59)
JUNE 1916: Dr Inglis adds in her letter responding to SWH Committee's requests that she wishes to resign. (p. 59) Cites the committees attitudes as a reason for her resignation. Their wish for her to take the unit to Russia, she claims, makes it seem: 'not a question of "Is the Unit needed," only of who will take it. The Unit may be needed but if I don't take it, it is not to go.' (p. 59).
The SWH Committee believe that: 'It would surely be disastrous to our future if Dr Inglis carries out her threatened resignation. What a fiasco for the public to gloat over - how it would thrill them to think when women cannot get their own way in every little detail, they must needs all threaten resignation.' (p. 60)
01/07/16 Battle of the Somme begins.
Events at Somme = Increase in cases at Royamount.
JULY 1916: Due to length of the war, War Office was now recruiting female doctors.
18/11/16 Battle of Somme ends.
September: Dr Blair advises committee she will be leaving in September alongside Dr Edith Hollway.
Summer of 1916: Macedonia experiences malaria epidemic.
August, 1916: 'American' Unit arrives in Salonica. 60 members. CMO: Dr Agnes Bennett. Some members old 'SWH' members. Dr Lewis & Dr Scott were prisoners. Dr Muncaster on the Retreat. Mrs. Harley's transport column attached. Ishobel Ross' unit!
17/08/16 American Unit is moved from Salonica to Ostrvo. Very near the Front.
LONDON UNIT: 01/09/16 The London Unit set out for Russia. CMO: Dr Elsie Inglis Evalina Haverfield Transport Column. Known as 'the greys' because of their uniform.
10/10/16 LONDON UNIT Arrives in Archangel, Russia.
London Unit: Mid-September, 1916. Travelled South by train from Archangel to Odessa.
London Unit: Arrive in Odessa 9 days after leaving Archangel. Many of the locals were amazed by these "masculine" women: 'They stop and ask us if we're Boy Scouts!' (Katherine Hodges, p. 75) Newspaper accounts were: 'killingly funny ... [they] said we were strong manly women.' (Elsie Bowerman, p. 75.)
24/09/1916: London Unit leaves for Medjidia, Rumania. They were given their own barrack hospital. First 2 days spent cleaning, then wounded came pouring in.
08/10/1916: Ethel Moir, orderly, writes: 'we were all at the "end of our tether", but the sight of a mail bag bucked us up no end, & altho' dead weary, we sat up 1/2 the night reading the home letters & newspapers.' (p. 78)
14/10/1916: The railway line in Medjidia hit.
London Unit is split: 12 members of unit headed by Dr Chesney, sent forward to Bul-Bul-Mic to start a field hospital.
20/10/1916 Chesney/B unit: Moved back from Bul-Bul-Mic line. Medjidia had a 'diabolical' morning. (p.78)
21/10/1916: B Unit: Left Bul-Bul-Mic on this evening due to German & Bulgarian advance.
26/10/1916: B Unit: Started retreating at 5am and did not halt at all that night.
27/10/1916: B Unit: Reach the pontoon bridge at Isaccea and crossed the Danube from Rumania into Russia. The Bulgarians 'very nearly nabbed us.' (Ethel Moir, p. 80.)
25/10/1916: Span of the main bridge across the Danube at Tchernavoda was blown up by the retreating Rumanians.
22/10/1916: Constanza abandoned.
Early November: Dr Chesney's Unit still retreating.
Autumn, 1916: During this second retreat members of the SWH occasionally met, but for the most part retreated via different routes.
SWH Unit members end up in 3 different towns: Galatz & Braila = Rumania Ismail = Russia. Equipment was in Galatz. Thousands of wounded men pouring into Braila & only 1 surgical hospital and 1 civillian hospital in the town. Dr Inglis ordered as many of her unit as possible to Braila.
B Unit: In Ismail, capital of Bessarabia, Dr Chesney opened small hospital. Serbian doctor looked after medical cases. Dr Chesney looked after surgical cases.
12/09/1916: The Battle of the Gornichevo ridge begins. Only a few miles from Ostrvo. Pressure to open hospital.
19/09/1916: the Drina Division make it to the summit of Kajmakcalan (Gornichevo Ridge), send the Bulgarians into retreat.
05/10/1916: Olive Smith, the masseuse, seemed to be recovering from malaria, but passed away the same evening.
16/11/1916: Dr Agnes Bennett, who had strong views on acceptable behaviour, is worried about the 'very objectionable' rumours that were doing the rounds about the girls. (p. 90)
27/10/1916: Delegates had come to Salonica to set the Girton & Newnham Unit to rights.
19/11/1916 Monastir retaken. Morale boost for the Serbs and Allies.
December, 1916: LONDON UNIT: On the move again. Dr Inglis agrees to place her unit under the Russian Red Cross as temporary measure. Sent to Ciulnitza - next target for attack. Bucharest falls next day.
27/11/1916 Battle of Bucharest begins.
06/12/1916 Battle of Bucharest ends. Bucharest falls to Central Powers. Allies withdraw from Dobrudja. Galatz threatened.
11/12/1916 LONDON UNIT: Reaches Braila. Uncertainty of the Russian defence means the unit is swifly moved back to Galatz. 'This has been our second retreat in less than three months,' wrote Dr Inglis, 'and the unit has behaved with its usual good temper and cheerfulness through this last, which I think has been the most uncomfortable retreat I have ever experienced: and I feel that I am becoming an old hand at them now.'
December in Galatz. One of Dr Inglis' primary concerns - in addition to setting up a hospital - was 'the discovery that some members of the unit were swearing (not surprisingly, the Transport were the worst offenders). (p. 96).
27/12/1916: Hospital in Galatz is ready. (Only hospital in the town!)
30/12/1916 Wounded begin to pour into Galatz hospital. By the end of the first night the hospital is completely full with 109 patients.
01/01/1917: Elsie Bowerman recorded the arrival of 147 more wounded in Galatz. (Hospital max. 107).
04/01/1917: Order is given to evacuate Galatz. Dr Inglis insists upon staying until every last patient is taken to safety.
B Unit: Ismail heavily bombed. B Unit unable to remain in Ismail. Eventually decided that Dr Chesney would start a base hospital in Odessa.
22/12/1917: B Unit arrive at 100 bed hospital in Odessa.
04/01/1917: 9 members of Evalina Haverfield's Transport unit just arrived in Odessa after a bust with Mrs. H. Unclear what the bust up was about.
22/01/1917: Dr Inglis travels the 150 miles from Reni to Odessa in an attempt to sort out Haverfield's Transport unit woes.
02/02/1917: The London Committee of the SWH hold a special meeting re: Mrs. H Transport woes with 5 of Mrs. H's transport members who had returned home. Women cited a lack of proper administration/organisation as reason for woes. Mrs. H is difficult to work for.
Early February: 'B Unit' have packed up because there is little work in Odessa.
23/02/1917: Ellie Rendel writes: 'Here we are still stuck fast in Odessa and in a state bordering on homicidal mania.' (p. 100).
19/03/1917: 'B unit' finally receives orders to move.
December: Dr Bennett's 'American Unit' is packed up and ready to go, but orders to leave never arrive.
December: Dr Agnes Bennett has the idea to establish an outpost hospital at Dobraveni in the mountains. Just 40 beds would make a difference to the many wounded men in the area.
09/12/1917: Dr Bennett travels to Salonica with Agneta Beauchamp to see Col. Sondermeyer re: outpost hospital. He is 'biddable as a lamb' and agrees to the idea.
11/12/1916: The French suspend operations on the Macedonian front; Monastir was to be held but no further advance to be made.
22/01/1917: Incident regarding SWH Ostrovo/American unit leaving the French causes a rift between Dr McIlroy and Miss Bauchamp. Miss Beauchamp, fearing that the doctors would resign rather than submit to outside control, tries to resign to avert crisis.
Mid-January: British War Office hands over the 300 bed Girton & Newnham unit to the Serbian Army. The French are very offended because the unit had worked so well under them. SWH believe request has come from French, whilst French claim the request has come from the SWH. Misunderstanding cleared up by Dr McIlroy who insists they wish to remain under the French.
American Unit Seeing the Ostrvo hospital so idle Miss Beauchamp suggests dividing hospital into two with 100 beds given to Dr Hutchison in Vodena. This arrangement was much to the distaste of Dr Bennett, who threatened to resign.
11/02/1917: Dr Bennett reports that the work done by outpost station is so good that Dr Cooper has been decorated by Russians.
19/02/1917: Girton & Newnham Unit For a fortnight in February, the Girton & Newnham Unit comes under duristiction of British WO. Dr McIlroy very unhappy about this. 'The whole object of these Scottish Women's Hospitals was to show that although doctors were refused by the W.O. they were capable of doing the work of Army doctors, and the French were generous enough to give us the opportunity of showing it. Now we have been commandeered by the War office.' (p. 105.)
19/02/1917: Administrator Lilian Laloe writes to Mrs Laurie that no one quite knows what kind of hospital the Girton & Newnham Unit are now.
January 1917: Corsica Unit Hospital now has 80 beds & has treated c. 2000 patients. Personality clash raging between CMO Mary Phillips - beloved by the Serbs - and the administrator, Miss Culbard.
The Russian Revolution begins
The Russian Revolution "ends."
March, 1917: When Russian Revolution began several Transport members, and some orderlies, were in Petrograd awaiting passage home. Street fighting took place outside their hotels.
March 12-17th, 1917: Revolutionaries take over top floor of London Unit's building. Elsie Bowerman and her friend have a narrow escape when they hide in a church from gunmen, only to learn that the church is being fired at. By the end of the week,things seem to have returned to "normal."
20/03/1917: Prince Dolgourkoff, who commanded the Reni area, paid Elsie Inglis' unit a surprise visit and decorated some of the wounded and ALL unit members who had taken part in the Dobrudja retreat with the St. George's Medal 'for bravery under fire.' (p. 112)
10/04/1917: One of Dr Inglis' orderlies, Agnes Murphy, is arrested on suspicion of spying. Russians insisted upon taking Murphy away for questioning, but Dr Inglis refused to let her go alone, so accompanied her.
11/04/1917: Ellenor Broadbent, taking a walk and carrying 2 books (her diary and a book on Russian Grammar) is arrested and her books confiscated. Dr Inglis immediately pays a visit to town commandant and Broadbent was released. Leaves the women 'boiling with rage and insult.' (114)
Easter: 'B Unit' Have left Odessa for Tecuci in Rumania. Spend 2 days upon arrival searching for hospital site and camping ground.
09/05/1917: Ellie Rendel writes to her mother to let her know their hospital is full.
Spring 1917: Germany's declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare means WO is refusing to consent for women doctors and nurses to travel abroad.
05/06/1917: Dr Inglis has vexations. Advises the London Committee that Margaret Marx (Transport Officer since Haverfield's departure) was so worried about the situation in Russia that she did not want to have women drivers anymore, and when Dr Inglis refused male drivers, she resigned. (See p. 116 for more.)
Mid-July Most trained nurses had completed their contracts and departed. The Foreign Office was adamant about no more women travelling to Russia, so replacements could not be sent, and Dr Inglis reluctantly closed down 'B' Hospital in Tecuci.
Mid- July 1917: Closure of 'B Hospital' in Tecuci. Remaining women move forward to Varnitza.
2 days later: Air-raids begin in Varnitza.
10 days later: Women moved to another valley, but the Germans attacked leaving the women under constant shell fire. Unit members retreated to Tecuci and thence to Reni, where they joined Dr Inglis' unit.
10-20 August, 1917: Dr Inglis is in Odessa trying to persuade authorities not to demand a useless sacrifice of the Serbs by sending them back to another debacle in Rumania.
17/08/1917: Margaret Fawcett writes that there is no time to write home because there are 200 patients in the hospital.
05/05/1917: Dr Bennett writes to the committee that the American Unit has been through a troublesome time because of individuals claiming the unit is 'not wanted.' (119).
Early June: Dr Bennett works on reorganising the staff work.
20/06/1917: Girton & Newnham Unit Main preoccupation of CMO is finding another site for the hospital. 'The smells nearly knock one over there, and it is not the fault of the hospital.' (121).
August, 1917: Great fire sweeps through Salonica & for several hours there are fears that the SWH camp would go, too, but the wind changed direction and they were saved.
June, 1917: Everybody in Corsica unit is much happier now after the departure of administrator, Miss Culbard, whose personality clash with Dr Phillips had been causing misery. Katherine Royds takes over admin post.
June 1917: Arrival of Dr Elizabeth Coultard from Royamount to replace Dr Phillips.
Beginning of August, 1917: Corsica Unit New CMO comes to the island, Dr Matilda Macphail, to take over Dr Courtauld's role.
Committee begins to mull over the idea of a Scottish Women's Hospital in Britain. Would be renamed Scottish Women's Hospitals for Home and Foreign Service.
Early August: War Office, surprisingly, approves the idea of a home-front SWH, even approving their chosen premises.
15/08/1917: Hospitals committee votes to give up the idea of home-front SWH because, citing costs.
April, 1917: American fundraiser, Kathleen Burke, managing to raise and send £1000 a week.
08/09/1917: Kerensky and Kornilov quarrel. London unit hears of civil war in Petrograd.
3 weeks later: The unit has not left for Archangel and neither have the Serbs.
21/10/1917: Plans changed. Serbs are to remain with the Rumanians.
27/10/1917: Unit learns that the Serbian Division is going to be transferred to Macedonia - and the unit is to be sent to Archangel and from there to home.
30/10/1917: The Unit leave Hadji Abdul for Archangel. The journey takes the best part of 4 weeks, in fourth-class carriages. Dr Inglis is persuaded, with difficulty, to travel in second-class carriage.
07/11/1917: Petrograd garrison falls to the Bolsheviks.
09/11/1917: The train arrives in Archangel. The ship, Porto Lisboa, is scheduled to set sail on the 13/11/1917.
15/11/1917: In the morning, ice breakers clear a path and the convoy sets sail for England.
25/11/1917: After a horrendously difficult (stormy) and perilous journey, the unit finally sets foot on land and returns to Newcastle.
26/11/1917: Dr Gillian Ward, who has been taking care of Dr Inglis, calls for a second doctor, but discovers it is too late. There is no more hope. Dr Inglis directs final messages to units, family and friends.
26/11/1917: Dr Inglis passes away that evening.
End of September, 1917: Elizabeth Abbott has nearly finished Queensland, Australia Tour. Does not think she will reach the £6000 hoped for.
September: Girton & Newnham Unit Dr Louise McIlroy on leave in Britain. Attends Hospitals Committee meeting in Edinburgh and reports that a new site has been found for the unit. Expect to move in by December. Hospital is to be extended from 300 to 500 beds. Asks committee for permission to start an orthopaedic department.
Mid-October, 1917: Girton & Newnham Unit Before Dr McIlroy back in Salonica, Lilian Laloe, admin, glad they have so few patients because the camp has been flooded.
Mid-October, 1917: American Unit in Ostrvo Hospital now takes in medical cases as well as surgical. CMO Agnes Bennett has suffered so badly from Malaria she is sent home. New CMO is Dr Mary de Garis, formerly a Junior Doctor. First promotion of this kind for the SWH. New junior doctor, Joan Rose, arrives in Ostrvo.
November, 1917: Dr Inglis' remaining SWH unit rejoins Serbian Division.
September, 1917: Dr Inglis' London Unit spends month in the village of Hadji Abdul in Bessarabia. Dr Inglis reports back to committee that they have not had much work. By this time she is extremely ill/ dying from the cancer she has kept a secret.
End of September: Dr Inglis collapses. She is, hereafter, too ill to leave her tent, though on fine days she sits outside. Continues to direct the work of the unit. It is believed the Serbs and the unit will leave for Archangel.
02/09/1917: Martial Law declared in Petrograd.
06/12/17: Decision made to open an Elsie Inglis memorial hospital in France for Serbian boys suffering from tuberculosis.
February 1918: Sallanches Unit (Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital). CMO: Dr Matilda Macphail. 60 beds.
Early March, 1918: Sallanches Unit. First patients are admitted, though equipment not yet arrived from Britain and essentials had to be borrowed from local sources. Major problem: water supply short because of drought.
Winter 1918: Corsica Unit CMO is now Dr Edna Guest. A new programme of 'health visiting' had been started in Corsica, led by Dr Mary Fergurson.
February 1918: Corsica Unit Dr Guest becomes very ill.
Middle of March, 1918: Corsica Unit Dr Guest is still ill. Mary Saunders (administrator) writes that: 'it is doubtful if she will ever be able to resume work in this climate.' (143).
February 1918: Elsie Inglis Unit forms. (Managed & financed by the London committee.) CMO Dr Annette Benson. Destined for the Serbian front in Macedonia. Fully staffed. Ethel Moir (orderly) amongst the returned.
18/02/1918: Elsie Inglis Unit. Inspected by the King & Queen at Buckingham Palace.
Winter, 1917: American Unit (Ostrvo) Avg. of 170 patients at any one time, compared with 120 three months prior. New CMO Dr de Garis. Dr de Garis was a polarising figure. She 'did not believe in a patient's right to assent to or refuse treatment but followed an authoritarian, military model that said a doctor always knew best and patients must obey orders.' (145) Dr de Garis' behaviour led unit matron, Mrs Nye to resign.
25/12/1917: Arrival of: Violetta Thurstan (new matron) & Margaret Munn (new orderly). The unit produced 'A DELIGHTFUL CAMP JOURNAL AT THE TIME.' (146)
25/02/1918: American Unit (Ostrvo). The unit's camp is hit by a hurricane at 1am. Raged until nearly 7. Every tent is flattened. All patients had to be evacuated.
Mid-March, 1918: Following the hurricane, Dr de Garis tenders her resignation. (It was not accepted.) She did so because she had learned of criticisms from unit members regarding her leadership.
March, 1918: American Unit (Ostrvo). Arrival of Rose West (driver) from Scotland.
January, 1918: Girton & Newnham Unit The unit finally moves away from the appalling site they had been forced to inhabit up to this point.
January, 1918: Talks from the Girton & Newnham Unit of an administrator from the American unit running a hostel in Salonica for departing and arriving SWH members. Dr de Garis resisted this, putting a strain on the running of the G & N unit, who bore the brunt of staff coming and going.
Mid-January, 1918: Elizabeth Abbott sends report to committee re: fundraising in Australia & New Zealand, which she found both fruitless and trying. Queensland contribution: £6,800. New South Wales: £20,000 (target) £7,000 (raised). Abbott: 'It is a man's country, run by men for men; and though one is generally met with courtesy (not always) I think the pressure from one business man in each place would have done as much as my toiling and speeches.
Winter 1917-1918: Kathleen Burke about to commence third tour of fundraising in America. (11 Feb, 1918 - 20 June, 1918). Continues to be a success. Calculated that Miss Burke netted: £10,630: 18: 3d (first tour) £46,609: 1: 9d (second tour).
06/02/1918: Passing of the Representation of the People Act means women householders and the wives of householders, aged 30 or over, were given the right to vote.
Total of 8 SWH units in the field: 1 Girton & Newnham (Salonica) 2 American Unit (Ostrvo) 3 Elsie Inglis & transport (Macedonia) 4 Corsica Unit 5 Sallanches 6 Royamount 7 Villers Cotterets 8 Canteens
Spring, 1918: Girton & Newnham Unit Spend spring getting their new camp ready, alongside the new Calcutta Orthopaedic Centre.
June, 1918: Girton & Newnham Unit Asked to host a meeting of the British Army Medical Society. Dr McIlroy chairs discussion.
Beginning of July, 1918: Girton & Newnham Unit. At the beginning of July, 22 unit members (who had been in Serbia in autumn, 1915 or with a Serbian unit elsewhere) were awarded Serbian decorations.
20/07/1918: Girton & Newnham Unit Visited by the King of Greece, who is very impressed by the unit.
23/08/1918: Calcutta Orthopaedic Unit Officially inaguarated.
Autumn, 1918: R. W. Campbell states: 'Every doctor, nurse, and driver of these units has achieved immortality [...] Pick up any photos and you find them smiling - hiding their trials and troubles, and never revealing the awful conditions under which they have had to work. [...] if you only knew - [...] that ghastly shambles, the plague-stricken fields, the scenes of pain, horror, and devastation in which these women have laboured you would not sleep to-night.' Mitchell Library, (Large Trunk).
Hospitals committee seeks legal advice about the respective positions of the two committees (London and Edinburgh). Things are turning increasingly sour between the two in their struggle for power.
15/08/1918: Allied offensive begins in Macedonia.
25/09/1918: Armistice requested by Bulgarians and Allies.
30/09/1918: Armistice reached on Balkan Front.
19/09/1918: Yelak Kathleen Dillon's transport unit involved in evacuating wounded soldiers to Scocivir. on 19th Sept, sent to the village of Gradesnica.
09/10/1918: Kathleen Dillon's transport unit leaves for Leskovac.
October (?): Arrival in Belgrade. 'In Belgrade the two commandants were decorated with the Order of St Sava, and the rest of the unit with the Gold Medal for Zealous Service, which was normally reserved for officers.' (173).
23/10/1918: American Unit (Ostrvo). Leave Ostrvo and advance to Vranje. Dr Emslie asked to take the unit there. 'It was a mobile war that the American unit now faced.' (175)
Autumn, 1918: American Unit sets up hospital at regimental barracks in Vranje. Take on many sick patients. Disease is prevalent so death almost inevitable. Find themselves now treating many civilian casualties. (174-175).
11/10/1918: Elsie Inglis Unit: Ethel Moir sent back to Britain because she falls ill. A new arrival enters unit in the form of Dr Ellie Rendel. Unit finds itself in Skopje, where it is full up and very busy with cases of malaria and Spanish influenza ending in pneumonia. Lilian Laloe (administrator) writes that: the hospital was 'still feeling the effects of the advance.' (178)
29/09/1918: Girton and Newnham Unit The only Macedonian unit not to move during this period. Dr McIlroy writes to comittee: 'I should think we will be among the last left behind here, but I am so anxious to help on this camp and to do the work we are doing quietly until we are absolutely compelled to go. I want to be just at the Front or at the Base, as, on the lines of communication one may get little good work, and we are quite satisfied with our usefulness here.' (178)
11/11/1918: ARMISTICE DAY
18/11/1918: Sallanches Unit: Growing discord amongst staff. Mrs Robertson writes: 'Another very worrying day. This place is becoming as bad as Corsica for unrest & intrigue. My opinion of women doctors is not changing only growing "more so". I'm afraid I'm becoming Early Victorian in my old age - give me men to work with thank you! every time.' (183)
November 1918: Corsica Unit: Continuing to run smoothly under Dr Keer.
End of November: Elizabeth Abbott is 'in the middle of a tremendous campaign in Calcutta.' Believes the campaign should raise £5000. Kathleen Burke has been visiting the various fronts and SWH units and was preparing to return to America where she expected to raise another £10,000. (184)
There are continued disagreements between the London and Hospitals committees. The London committee place their resignation in the hands of the Executive Committee of the London Society for Women's Suffrage. Agree to continue work until 29 December, 1918.
12/12/1918: 23 members of the Royamount unit are awarded the Croix de Guerre.
31/12/1918: Royamount to close. Dr Coultard very upset by this.
January 1919: Sallanches Unit: Unit continues to care for tubercular young Serbs. The unit is unhappy. Rifts between Dr Bullock and Mrs Robertson. Mrs Robertson discovers that they are over-spending budget by almost half. Mary Milne, the cook, is left most upset by this. (187-188)
December, 1918: Elsie Inglis Unit Resignation of London Committee leaves unit in awkward situation. Ordered to Sarajevo, so members leave Skopje in beginning of December, staying with Girton & Newnham Unit in Salonica. Whilst on board ship, Dr Chesney receives telegram from London ordering unit not to go to Sarajevo but to return home at the end of December. She is very upset but unaware of the London Committee's resignation.
Early January, 1919: Elsi Inglis Unit: The first unit members start for home but small hospital still open.
End of January: Elsie Inglis Unit Dr Chesney has an acute attack of sciatica that can only be alleviated with morphine.
Winter, 1918: American Unit Still in Vranje where they are the only hospital and the only doctors in town. Dealing with c. 350 patients a day. The work-load is not decreasing.
March, 1919: American Unit The committee agrees that the unit should continue its work.
Winter, 1918: Kathleen Dillon's Transport Column Remain in Serbia, though there is no real work for them. They were requested to stop by Serbian authorities because Serbian Army were very dissatisfied. It was believed that having a foreign unit continuing to work there would boost morale.
March, 1919: Kathleen Dillon's Transport Column Withdrawn.
December, 1918: Girton & Newnham Unit Dr McIlroy discusses possibility of opening hospital in Belgrade with committee. Begins search for appropriate site.
January, 1919: Girton & Newnham Unit The hospital receiving patients from evacuating French units, with cases of tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, influenza and malaria, in addition to its 120 orthopaedic patients.
End of January, 1919: Girton & Newnham Unit Dr McIlroy and Dr Gillian Ward travel to Belgrade in pursuit of a suitable hospital building. Dr Mary McNeil, who has been with unit since conception, is placed in charge.
14/03/1919 Girton & Newnham Unit Dr McIlroy writes to the committee claiming to have found a perfect hospital building in Belgrade. 3 days later, Dr McIlroy finds herself having to write to committee again as she has received telegram claiming the building is being taken over by the Minister of Education.
Elizabeth Abbott returns home. No question of further collection from the Colonies. America is still very lucrative and Kathleen Burke sends a further £8500 to Mrs Laurie.
November, 1919: Kathleen Burke sends Mrs Laurie another £1000 cheque.
February 1920: Kathleen Burke finds it is no longer possible to raise funds in America. Her fundraising campaign ends.
Spring 1919: Closure of Corsica hospital.
Spring 1919: Closure of Sallanches Hospital. Final nail in the unhappy unit's coffin is the lack of order at the hospital and the continuing discord between staff and CMO, Dr Bullock. 'We have some beastly minded boys here at present, and if any girls show the least kindness, however innocent, to a special patient, they at once spread scandal about her. The place is seething with filthy tales, and I should not like to enquire what Sallanches thinks of our morals.' (195)
Spring, 1919: American Unit Given a reprieve.
Beginning of May, 1919: American Unit The hospital in Vranje was full to overflowing again.
Spring 1919: Girton & Newnham Unit Dr McIlroy continuing to make arrangements for Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade.
Mid-May, 1919: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Dr McIlroy finds an excellent building in the city and persuades authorities to give it to SWH. Struggles ensue in getting the equipment and staff to Belgrade.
June, 1919: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Dr McIlroy resigns.
End of September, 1919: American Unit, Vranje Vranje Hospital to be closed down. Dr Hutton very upset by this.
September, 1919: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Dr Hutton is to take over from Dr McIlroy in Belgrade. Former is most unhappy about this. She believes maintaining the hospital at Vranje would have been the better option as it was more needed.
24/12/1919: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital The committee advise Dr Hutton to continue working, but she is desperately short-staffed since so many nurses have sought other employment when they were told the hospital was to close.
Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Visited by Dr Russell and Miss Kemp who are very keen on beginning a training school for nurses. There was a need for nurses in Serbia, but nursing profession was despised by the Serbs.
December, 1919: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Serbian male doctor returns to his position at the hospital, which was apparently promised to him without SWH's knowledge. The SWH prepare to leave. There is no way they can work there alongside him.
March, 1920: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Hospital ceases operation. Relations between committee and CMO Hutton very strained.
April, 1920: Belgrade Elsie Inglis Memorial Hospital Hospital disbanded. There is much bitterness felt towards the committee by the nurses, orderlies, doctors and all others affected.
The committee issue a medal for all who worked with the SWH for 2 years or more, but there was no ceremonial disbanding of the units, just a slow and depressing winding down. (202)
About & Feedback