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The Scottish Women's Hospitals

In 1914 when Scottish suffragist Dr Elsie Inglis approached the War Office to offer her services to the British Army she was told to ‘Go home and sit still', and that commanding officers ‘did not want to be troubled by hysterical women'.

Disregarding their advice, Inglis instead founded the Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH), which was funded by the Scottish Federation of Women's Suffrage Societies. Starting with a 200 bed auxiliary hospital at Royaumont Abbey in France in 1914, by 1917 the SWH had branches on the Western and Eastern Fronts. In 1915 the staff of one of the Serbian units of the SWH were taken as prisoners of war by the invading Austrian army. Inglis and others refused to leave their patients, and after their release in 1916 moved to the Russian Front to continue their work. Vera ‘Jack' Holme, who had been Emmeline Pankhurst's chauffeur, joined the SWH in 1914 as an ambulance driver, and was later awarded the Samaritan Cross by the King of Serbia in recognition of her service.


Scottish Women's Hospital with the Serbian Army, 1915



Catalogue number

IWM (Q112236)