Debbie Robson: The SWH & the Aussie women who served in it.

Posted on: Mon 2 Dec 2019

This month 102 years ago, a British female doctor called Elsie Inglis died.  Elsie was almost 50 years old when World War One was declared.  She offered her medical skills to the War Office, and was resoundingly rejected with the words, “My good lady, go home and sit still.”

Sitting still at home had never been one of Elsie’s strengths.  She contacted the Scottish Federation of Women’s Suffrage Societies with the intention of forming independent medical units staffed by women, in order to support Allied troops where they were needed most.   She was able to establish the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service (the SWH), and they sent medical teams to Belgium, France, Serbia and Russia.  Many Australian women served in these units.  They saved countless lives during WW1 and alleviated untold suffering.  Today Debbie Robson brings us the story of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, and some of the Australians who served in them.

Producer Helen Meyer


Photo:  Debbie Robson and photo of staff at Salonica is from Papers of Dr Honoria Somerville Keer, 1883-1969, medical graduate. Provided by D Robson and used with permission



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