Focus On... Women in Uniform
 
* Scottish Women's Hospitals - Introduction  
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Introduction
Nurses in the Crimea
Nurses in the British Army
Almeric Paget Military Massage Corps
Scottish Women's Hospitals

1. Introduction

2. Profile

3. Sources

4. Further Reading

Women's Royal Naval Service
Women in WWII
Links
Credits
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Detail from the Report of Scottish Women's Hospitals for Home and Foreign Service. Imperial War Museum, Department of Printed Books: Women's Work Collection. Ref: BRCS 24.6/3 Detail from the Report of Scottish Women's Hospitals for Home and Foreign Service. Imperial War Museum, Department of Printed Books: Women's Work Collection. Ref: BRCS 24.6/3
View full image of report of Scottish Women's Hospitals for Home and Foreign Service. Imperial War Museum, Department of Printed Books: Women's Work Collection. Ref: BRCS 24.6/3. Opens in a new window - 50kSee more
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Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH) was founded in 1914 with the financial support of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and the American Red Cross.

When war broke out in 1914 SWH founder, Dr Elsie Maud Inglis, approached the War Office with the idea of either women-doctors co-operating with the Royal Army Medical Corps, or women's medical units being allowed to serve on the Western Front. The authorities were less than helpful and it is reported that an official said to her "My good lady, go home and sit still".

Undeterred, Scottish Women's Hospitals opened its first 200 bed Auxillary hospital at the 13th century Abbaye de Royaumont, France, under the French Red Cross. Suffragettes Inglis, Ishobel Ross and Cicely Hamilton were among the team at Royaumont.

Throughout the First World War Scottish Women's Hospitals arranged 14 medical units to serve in Corsica, France, Malta, Romania, Russia, Salonika and Serbia. They provided nurses, doctors, ambulance drivers, cooks and orderlies.

Russia - 1916 Russia - 1916
Catalogue reference: FO395/25National Archives' Catalogue

During 1915 several women were captured by the Austro-German army while running a series of field hospitals, dressing stations, fever hospitals and clinics in Serbia on the Balkan Front. Amongst those captured was founder and unit leader Dr Inglis. Aided by American diplomats, the British authorities were eventually able to secure their release.

In August 1916 the London Suffrage Society financed a group of 80 women to support Serbian soldiers fighting in Russia. Another leader in the suffrage movement, Evelina Haverfield, was recruited as head of transport. A Serbian official who saw the work of the women in Russia said "No wonder England is a great country if the women are like that".

After the First World War the unit disbanded and their affairs were wound up in 1922 with the remaining funds used to build the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland.


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