British women – the heroines of Serbian army in the WWI. 6 commemorative stamps to underline their contribution are released!

December 8th, 2015

British women were the inseparable part of Serbian army in the First World War therefore they are considered to be real heroines and were honored by Serbian Post with six special commemorative stamps underlining their contribution to the victory. invites our readers to learn about these brave and devoted female-soldiers with this historical stamp release.

Flora Sandes (Nether Poppleton, Yorkshire, 22 January 1876 – Suffolk, 24 November 1956) was the only female officer of the Serbian army during the First World War and the only woman from Great Britain in the active military service. When the War started, she voluntarily signed up as a nurse in the Infirmary of Saint John, with which she came to Serbia in August 1914. In Kragujevac she joins the Serbian Red Cross and works as a nurse in the Second Infantry Division of the Serbian army. During the retreat of the Serbian army across Albania, Flora Sands was officially recruited as a soldier and she became the first foreigner in the active service in the then Serbian army.

Dr. Katherine Stewart MacPhail (Glasgow 1887 – St Andrews 1974), graduated medicine in Glasgow. In January 1915, with the Scottish Women's Hospital, she arrived to Serbia, Kragujevac, and then proceeded to Belgrade to work at the Military Hospital, Department of Infectious Diseases, with patients suffering from typhoid fever, and Katherine MacPhail herself fell ill as well. After convalescence, as early as spring 1916, she returned to humanitarian work and worked in France, in hospitals where Serbian soldiers were also treated.

Dr. Elizabeth Ross

Dr. Elizabeth Ross was one of those brave volunteers who came to Serbia early in 1915. That noble Scottish lady doctor was born in 1878 and finished her medical studies at the University of Glasgow in 1901. After graduation she worked in various places in Great Britain until 1909, when she went to Persia (Iran), where she worked until the beginning of the so called Great War. When she heard of the urgent need in Serbia she left Persia as soon as she could and volunteered to serve in Serbia. She came to Kragujevac at the beginning of January 1915, where she worked at the First Military Reserve Hospital, which at that time was actually a typhus hospital. Working there intensively and devotedly for several weeks under shocking conditions she contracted typhus herself and died there on her 37th birthday on February 14th, 1915. She was buried in Kragujevac, next to two British ladies who also died in Serbia of typhus.

Evelina Haverfield

When World War I broke out in 1914, Haverfield became concerned with how women could help in the event of an invasion of the UK and founded the Women's Emergency Corps. In 1915 she volunteered to go abroad with the Scottish Women's Hospitals, joining Elsie Inglis in Serbia. In early 1916, they were forced to leave Serbia following the German invasion. Haverfield returned to England and gave press interviews about the situation in Serbia. In August, she travelled at Inglis' request to Dobrudja in Romania. With Flora Sandes she founded the Hon. Evelina Haverfield's and Sert-Major Flora Sandes' Fund for Promoting Comforts for Serbian Soldiers and Prisoners. Following the end of the war, she turned her attention to the orphaned Serbian children. She died in 1920 of pneumonia in Serbia having gone there the previous September to work in an orphanage.

Lady Isabel Galloway Emslie Hutton was a Scottish medical doctor who specialised in mental health and social work. Doctor and officer with the Scottish Women's Hospitals (SWH) in France and Serbia during World War I. Hutton received the Serbian Order of the White Eagle for her services.

In summer 1918, she was appointed as the chief medical officer of an SWH unit at Ostrovo, Greece, which moved to Vranja, Serbia, in October 1918. Her unit, although equipped with limited resources and staff, treated both the military and Serbian civilians. Her hospital remained in Vranja until October 1919. Hutton helped to establish local hospitals to replace the SWH hospital before it closed. She then assumed command over another unit in Belgrade. After her service with the SWH in Serbia ended in June 1920, Hutton worked briefly with Lady Muriel Paget's Child Welfare Scheme in the Crimea.

Elsie Inglis (16 August 1864 – 26 November 1917) was an innovative Scottish doctor and suffragist. During the First World War Inglis arranged fourteen medical units to serve in France, Serbia, Corsica, Salonika, Romania, Russia and Malta. In August 1916, the London Suffrage Society financed Inglis and eighty women to support Serbian soldiers fighting for the allies. One government official who saw the doctors and nurses working in Russia remarked that: "No wonder England is a great country if the women are like that".