Zvezdana Popovic has followed up her information about the exhibition and service held at St Sava Church to honour British women in medical missions in Serbia and on related fronts during the Great War. Popovic spoke about the suffragists and suffragettes who were in the majority of those who served as doctors, nurses, orderlies, ambulance drivers and others. She displayed ‘twelve panels about the heroines of the Great War’ and some photos from the service and display appear here.
The Serbian ambassador, Mr Pribicevic, attended and two priests served at the memorial service commemorating the women. One, Father Dragan Lazic talked about Lady Laila Paget, to whom Zvezdana referred in her previous post.
The women [who served in the Great War] believed that their bravery, medical knowledge, professionalism, determination and patriotism, would be rewarded after the war with the right to vote, at least. Undeterred by the War Office refusal, they offered help to France, Belgium and Serbia, and they all accepted it. Ten out of 14 Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service were in Serbia or on the related fronts. In the struggle for women’s rights and prevented to prove themselves in their own country, these women established their full reputation in helping the Serbian people, and this commemoration shows that we did not forget them.
She further comments that:
The children’s choir sang beautifully a popular song from 1916 – Kreće se lađa francuska. The commemoration ended with choir singing Tamo daleko, song that became a symbol of Serbian suffering during the Great War, and very popular among the foreign medical missions.
I think that women from Scottish Women’s Hospitals and other medical missions would have been pleased if they had had a chance to be in the church on Sunday, 13th of March.
Perhaps, they were there.
Zvezdana Popovic’s belief that this will become an important event is reflected in the research that has been undertaken in digital resources that refer to this period of women’s history.
Carol Coles’ work ‘The use of online resources in the search for the women doctors of the Serbian relief Fund: Unit 3’ was published in Women’s History Spring 2015. Amongst a huge number of resources she refers to Claire Hirshfield’s article, ‘In Search of Mrs Doring. The Great War’ in which the Scottish Women’s Hospitals are mentioned.
There is an impressive exhibition dedicated to the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, their work and their leaders at Duke Milos’ House in Topcider, Belgrade. As the blog item, published on 5th January, 2014 notes, these women and their work are more readily remembered in Serbia than their country of origin. ‘Women of True Grit – Scottish Women’s Hospitals’ is a documentary film which gives an account of the women.
Zvezdna Popvic supplied the photographs and the title for this blog. The title comes from on the topic that she recommends, Mabel Stobart’s The Flaming Sword in Serbia and Elsewhere (Hodder and Stoughton: London, New York and Toronto, 1916).