Diary of Peggie Simms

Thank you to Hugo Simms for sending me this spectacular link.  So often the work of the SWH on the Russian front tends to be over looked.  The diary of Peggie Simms as told by Hugo Simms,  unlocks the retreats and offensives that the SWH so proudly supported on the Russian front.  A unique and comprehensive window into life at that time. 


By Hugo Simms

My grandmother Peggie Simms nursed with the London Unit of the Scottish Women’s Hospital from July to November 1917. She kept a diary detailing her adventures every day of her experience. She also took many photographs. One hundred years later I am retelling her story through the modern mediums of Twitter and Blog, each day exactly 100 years to the day using her words, photos, postcards and various ephemera. During her time away she travelled through Revolutionary Russia to the Romanian front where she worked alongside Elsie Inglis and her unit. In November they returned through Russia alongside the thousands Serbian troops evacuated at the instigation of Dr Inglis, who was dying at the time. Peggie was one of the nurses attending to her in her final days, as they crossed the treacherous North Sea back to Newcastle. She kept writing in her diary until the moment she returned to her home in Herne Bay. 


To find out more about this fantastic story, copy and paste the links below. 






In The Service Of Life

One of the questions I am frequently asked is,  “What is a good read on the Scottish Womens’ Hospitals”

Without question, Leah Leneman’s book ” In The Service Of Life” is the most comprehensive ever to be assembled on the subject.


Published in Edinburgh, in 1994, it goes into enormous detail from the inception of the organisation in 1914 to its demise in the mid 1920’s 

    The book weaves a very clear and precise account of the tireless work of the SWH,  the various hospital units joining the war on the Eastern and                       Western fronts in 1914-1919 and their journeys into Serbia, France, Greece, Russia, Romania and beyond, taking the reader to the battlefields ,the                       landscapes, and, the people, decimated by war.

 A spotlight also gleans over many of the women’s personal stories as they demonstrated staggering feats of bravery in every situation and against all odds.

  Just as many of these stoic women were a little “off-centre” and trailblazers, Leah Leneman was herself, something of a free spirit.

Leah was born in California in 1944.   At a young age she developed an interest in the film industry.  However, she began a career as an actress on stage in New York before moving to London to work for an airline.

She had a love of travel and also wrote a number of Vegan cook books.  She visited Scotland , quickly fell in love with the country and moved to Edinburgh 

 where she achieved a degree in History at Edinburgh University.   Leah then went on to write a string of books on Scottish history.

  Leah Leneman was clearly a well rounded academic, but her style of writing appeals to everyone and allows the reader to follow the narrative with ease.

     I would recommend the book ” In The Service Of Life” to anyone interested in the story of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.   I would also recommend reading  her book on ” Elsie Inglis” and “Scotland’s Suffragettes” 


  Leah died in 1999 and what a treasure to the nation she was.






Save the date! Hospices of Hope – Edinburgh Ball 2017

I am writing to let you know the Hospices of Hope Edinburgh Ball 2017 is taking place on Saturday 7th October at the beautiful Prestonfield House.  Please see attached flyer with full details.  

Tickets are £85pp (£850 for a table of 10) to include a welcome drink on arrival, a delicious 3 course dinner with wine, entertainment and dancing.  Tickets are available online at http://www.hospicesofhope.co.uk/edinburgh-ball-2017 or please feel free to contact me directly to reserve your tickets/table.  

We are raising money to fund the ‘Dr Elsie Inglis Ward’ in our new hospice in Serbia, as well as for our Children’s Centre in Romania.  Last year we raised over £20,000 and this year we hope to raise even more to help our patients in South East Europe.


Lets hope this event is a huge success.