• STV
  • MySTV

Scots doctor who saved thousands in Great War remembered

Elsie Inglis set up hospitals for wounded soldiers on front lines across Europe.

Hundreds have gathered to mark 100 years since the funeral of Elsie Inglis, a pioneering doctor whose hospitals saved thousands of lives in the Great War.

Dr Inglis set up Scottish Women's Hospitals across Europe to treat wounded soldiers as the war raged on.

On Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Princess Royal were among hundreds who gathered for a special service at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Relatives of Dr Inglis were also present at the ceremony, which heard reflections on her hospital work in Scotland as well as her service abroad.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Dr Inglis saw the conflict as an opportunity for women to demonstrate their medical skills.

The War Office told her "my good lady go home and sit still", as female medics were not permitted to serve in front-line hospitals.

She instead offered her services to Britain's allies and founded the Scottish Women's Hospitals movement, setting up facilities at front lines in countries including France, Greece and Serbia.

Alongside colleagues from the suffragist movement, she raised the equivalent of £53m and the hospitals served the war effort from 1914 to 1919. They were not formally disbanded until 1925.

She spent most of her wartime years in Serbia and her work there led to the doctor becoming known as the "Serbian mother from Scotland".

Elsie Inglis: Hundreds gathered 100 years on from her funeral.
Elsie Inglis: Hundreds gathered 100 years on from her funeral. STV
'At the age of 50 and with cancer, a health issue she kept from her colleagues, she set off on a remarkable journey.'
Alan Cumming, historian

Amateur historian Alan Cumming has been researching the story of Dr Inglis and the Scottish Women's Hospitals for four years.

He said: "As a young doctor in the 1890s Elsie had worked tirelessly to improve maternity care for the women of Edinburgh.

"At the age of 50 and with cancer, a health issue she kept from her colleagues, she set off on a remarkable journey - often distressing and dangerous - to support her beloved Serbs wherever they needed her.

"A vigorous campaigner for votes for women, by this cause she also knew she would demonstrate the capabilities of women while doing her bit for the war effort."

He added: "It is very appropriate that we remember on the centenaries of her death and her funeral, the amazing achievements of Elsie and her 1500 colleagues that served with the Scottish Women's Hospitals."

Patricia Purdom, whose great-grandmother was a cousin of Dr Inglis, said: "I am very proud of Elsie Inglis and what she achieved and I am delighted that her memory is being recognised in these services.

"I would have loved to have met her and heard her stories first-hand.

"I remembered my father recalling her remarkable achievements when we would look through the family album and I'm very privileged to still have these photos today."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.