Marguerite Olive Thicke
Born in Oxford in 1891.
Her father Richard was working as a hall servant at the college. In the 1911 census Marguerite is now working as a nurse at The Cig Infectious Diseases Hospital, Over Highnam Near Gloucester, she is aged 20. Prior to ww1 Marguerite was living at 5 glebe st Oxford.
In September 1916 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Girton and newnham unit and headed to Salonika. Previously the unit had served at Troyes in France. But in October 1915 a combined Franco-British force of some two large brigades was landed at Salonika (today called Thessalonika) at the request of the Greek Prime Minister. The objective was to help the Serbs in their fight against Bulgarian aggression. But the expedition arrived too late, the Serbs having been beaten before they landed. It was decided to keep the force in place for future operations, On arrival at Salonika, the Unit was instructed to proceed to Geuvgueli, just across the border in Serbia where the French were forming a large hospital centre. An empty silk factory was given to the Unit and used for staff accommodation, the operating theatre, X-ray room and the pharmacy. The hospital at Geuvgueli quickly dissolved as Serbia had fallen and the great retreat had begun. Marguerit spent the next year and a half nursing at the large SWH hospital in Salonika. The hospital at Salonika was a large all canvas hospital and had been mainly used to support the Serbs and allied troops pushing back into Serbia. Marguerite left the unit in May 1918.
Annie Rebecca Courtenay was born in Dunleer, Co Louth Ireland, she was raised by her mother Louisa. By 1911 the family had moved to Dublin she was 18 at the time and living with her sister Mary who also served during ww1 although not with the SWH.
Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed “The Elsie Inglis unit”. On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of twenty five personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Annie joined the unit at the start. She joined as a driver and in April the work began supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian, a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the name “Dead horse camp” on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. In October 1918 the unit moved up to Skopje and formed a hospital in a disused boys school. A house was commandeered as staff quarters. Within three days of arriving the hospital was full, mainly due to an influenza epidemic that hit the region. The women shivered from the cold as they did their best to tend to the hundreds of patients. Orders came that the hospital was to move to Sarajevo. Annie, with the unit, made her way to the port of Salonika. However Annie returned home. Annie displayed enormous courage and the above photo contains both Annie and her sister Mary’s medals.
WW1 Mini Essay Monday, April 27, 2009
Before heading to Serbia Annie was Matron of the Blackburn Fever Hospital, she worked at the hospital for 14 years, but in 1915 eager to play her part in ww1 she joined the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and by ship took the journey to Serbia. She joined her unit in September 1915 as a nurse.
Centre Pompidou Málaga - Museos de Málaga
Evelyn Margaret Abbott was born in 1883 at Grosmont, Monmouthshire, Wales. Her father Joseph was a Schoolmaster and as a family they tended to move around. In 1911 Evelyn was working as a Hospital nurse at Royal Free Hospital, General Hospital, Grays Inn Road, London. In 1916 Evelyn as a nurse joins the Scottish Women’s Hospitals at Royaumont abbey, near Paris, France. War had broken 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. For anyone connected with the Battle of the Somme these were horrendous, dangerous and difficult days. Evelyn left the unit in July 1916 and returned home. Evelyn died in London 1958.
Museos de Málaga presents Centre Pompidou Málaga
Mary was born and grew up in the parishes of Holm and Paplay on the the Orkney Isles. Her father, Daniel was the minister/medic for the Free Church of Scotland and they lived at the manse at Holm. Mary was part of a large family and her brother Patrick was killed in 1917 in the Great War. Mary went into medicine and studied at Glasgow, she graduated from the Queen Margaret College as a Doctor in 1905. Before WW1 Mary was working at the fever hospital in Leicester. Subsequently she joined the SWH in 1916. Mary was a Doctor with the Girton and Newnham unit firstly at Salonika. Much of the work at Salonika was spent fighting Malaria, a huge killer made worse by the lack of suitable clothing supplied by the allied armies. Mary spent three and a half years working with the unit that finished up working in the Elise Inglis Memorial Hospital in Belgrade. A wanderer and zest of living Mary went on to work in Palestine and India as a Doctor. In 1928 Mary died in Uganda where she had spent 7 years working saving lives. A youthful soul who lived an unselfish life.