Letter from Francis Tailleur, from May till October, 1915 was installed(settled) on the site of the domain of Chanteloup, to Sainte-Savine, in the suburb of Troyes (France) a military hospital under tents, managed by Women’s Scottish Hospitals.
About hundred years later, on the same site, is implanted l’Institut Chanteloup, the school which welcomes and schools children persons with motor or sensory disability.
The community of the Institute (children, parents and professionals) has the project to make known the history(story) little known by the “Hôpital auxiliaire bénévole 301”, to commemorate its centenarian(centenary) and to pay tribute to the volunteers of the SWH.
Our project is above all educational. It aims at making sensitive the pupils in the history of the World War I.
Our project plans in particular “to reconstitute” partially the hospital and to propose an exhibition(exposure) which will take place in May, 2015 ( one week). The pupils of the Institute will be involved strongly in the preparation of the exhibition(exposure).
Here are the first ideas:
Portal Chanteloup in 1915…
(Australian War Museum) …and as it might be in 2015
It is imagined to recreate certain parts(parties) of the hospital:
The operating room A tent, accommodating wounded persons. The office(desk) of the administrator The tent cooks tent. The detached house(flag) of the X-rays Expose(Explain) an ambulance
We also imagine to present documents, photos, objects of the Great War in the big showroom of Institut Chanteloup.
Our friend, Alan Cumming brings us for several weeks his very precious help and became one of the main partners of the project. We thank him warmly.
We would be delighted and honored that Alan is the main speaker of the conference whom we shall organize in May, 2015.
We are in search of all the documents (texts, photos) which will help us in the success of our project.
We thank beforehand all those who among you can help us. Francis TAILLEUR
As a writer, I am fascinated by the first half of the last century, particularly with little known events such as the Macedonian Front of WWI. When I discovered in 2010 that Australian doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers and orderlies served in Salonika and Serbia during the war, I began to research and write my manuscript The Grey Silk Purse. In 2011 I began my blog http://debbierobson.wordpress.com chronicling researching and writing the manuscript. In 1920 my main character Miss Summerville has lost her memory. What she has forgotten (among other things) is driving an ambulance for the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and the Serbian Army during 1917 and 1918. I have been inspired by the life of Olive Kelso King and also the memoirs of Dr Emslie Hutton and Elsie Corbett. I have also been researching the war experiences of Dr Mary de Garis and Dr Agnes Bennett.At the moment I am on the hunt for an agent for The Grey Silk Purse and working on my new manuscript set in Paris and Sydney during the 1920s. The author of Tomaree, a WWII love story set in Port Stephens, New South Wales, Australia and Crossing Paths: the BookCrossing novel inspired by that wonderful website www.bookcrossing.com. There is more about both books at http://www.tomareebook.com with links to buy. I am a booklover, bookcrosser and firm believer in synchronicity. There is no such thing as coincidence!
Debbie Robson from Australia, has been researching many of the Australian women who served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals. Debbie got in touch with us and together we have been building a Wikipedia page, it’s a work in progress but worthwhile. Many people around the world use Wikipedia and this is a positive step in ensuring the story receives maximum coverage on the internet.
Here is the link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Women%27s_Hospitals
Currently living in Virginia, USA. I am Scottish-American, my mother was born and raised in Edinburgh, and I visit my family in Edinburgh often. I received my Bachelor of Arts in History from Old Dominion University in Virginia, USA and my Master of Arts in History from the University of Texas at San Antonio, in Texas, USA. I will begin my PhD in Fall 2015.
As a historian, I have found the unknown stories are the best ones to share leading me to stumble upon the story of Dr. Elsie Inglis and the legacy she left in Scotland and in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century. It is this legacy and the many stories of Dr. Inglis and the women who served in the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on the battlefronts of the Great War that I am exploring presently.
Over the last year, I have been researching Elsie Inglis’ life and the work of the SWH throughout the First World War. This organization and the women who worked in it were unique for the time. The work they accomplished during the war is an important part of the story of WWI and it needs to be examined. Presently, I am working on a scholarly article to explain the work of Dr. Inglis throughout her medical career including the work of the SWH. This article will then serve as the starting point for a book to explain the role of the SWH during the Great War and the importance of it being an all-female organization on the frontlines at a time when the world expected women to remain in the shadows of men. These women devoted their lives to the treatment of soldiers during one of the most devastating times the world as seen, it is time for their stories to be told.
The Scottish Women’s Hospitals website is a great site for anyone who wants to learn of the many women who served with the SWH. I heard of the site recently after reading an article in the Edinburgh Evening News. The founder of the website, Alan Cumming, has worked hard to narrate the stories of the women and has pushed to create a wider public knowledge of Elsie Inglis and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals, helping their legacies live on.
Fiona Foster, M.A.
In Summer 2014, Alan Cumming sent me information about Dr Catherine Corbett, a former pupil of Manchester High School for Girls as part of my research into the war work undertaken by the school during World War I
Catherine Corbett was a member of the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit which worked in Kraguievac in Central Serbia where there was a typhoid epidemic. When Serbia was invaded by half a million German, Austrian, Hungarian and Bulgarian troops in 1915, Catherine Corbett and her colleagues became prisoners of war in an Austrian camp. They escaped but were recaptured and forced to leave. After a few weeks in England she joined a Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit on the Russian front working mainly in Odessa, Galatz and Reni. After being caught up in the chaos of the Russian revolution she finally returned to England in November 1917.
The Manchester High School archive contains the outline of Catherine Corbett’s experiences, but I am indebted to Alan Cumming for the information which he sent to me and which was invaluable. He has also offered to send me a copy of a book which Catherine Corbett wrote about her life.
The information about Catherine Corbett is being included in a booklet I am writing about Manchester High School during World War I. It will also be used in one of the presentations which are given on Speech Day in October and will be a major part of Founders’ Day in March 2015. I am also trying to interest the media in her remarkable story.
I am very grateful to Alan Cumming for his prompt and unstinting help on my behalf.
Dr Christine Joy, School archivist
Manchester High School for Girls, Grangethorpe Rd, Rusholme, Manchester M14 6HS