Aberdeen Museum

We were  delighted to look into the women that served in the SWH that came from Aberdeen. Our inquiries this far have discovered 20+ women all living in the area.   Subject to finding out more information on these women it’s hoped that this year there will be enough information for an exhibition and we hope to provide a presentation for Aberdeen Museum.

Below is a small taste of some of the story’s. More detail will be on the women page.

Margaret Stuart Fowler was born 2/10/1884 at Ardenville,Woodside,Old Machar,Aberdeen.

In August 1916 Margaret joined the SWH as a nurse, she joined what was know as the American Unit  And by the 4 th of August had boarded the HM Hospital ship ” Dunluce Castle”  in Southampton and set sail for Salonika( Thessaloniki) in Greece.Margaret was stationed in Salonika for the first 2 weeks and then moved to the 200 bed hospital at Lake Ostrovo( now part of Macedonia)  The units job  was to support the Serbian Army who at the time were trying to take the mountains of Kajmakcalan.
Margaret returned home for a short time but  returned in July 1919 with the Girton and Newnham unit where she worked in Belgrade Serbia as a driver till December 1919. Margaret married a Serb Major Dushan Hitch In 1925.
Margaret Warrender Kinnaird born 3/6/1890 in Banchory Devenick,Aberdeen.

Margaret at the time of joining the Scottish Women’s Hospital’s lived at Braefarm Mannofield Aberdeen. She joined the SWH as a nurse in August 1916, signing up to work with Elsie Inglis Russia unit. she sailed from Liverpool on the 31st of august the voyage took her to Archangel in Russia and then by train to Odessa. We  know she returned in August 1917. Maggie died in Canada,on 4/10/1969.


William Smith, born Aberdeen, painter of landscapes in the Highlands in oil and watercolour’s. William smith  joined the SWH as a clerk  on the 1st of December 1914 and headed to Kragujevac south of Belgrade in Serbia. Nursing the Serbian Troops often around the clock in desperate conditions, IN  1915 Serbia could fight no more, out numbered by 10/1 and with very little ammunition left,  the decision was made to retreat. The retreat was to be  know later as the Great Serbian Retreat and took men, women and children manly on foot in the dead of winter hundreds of miles down through Serbia and into Kosovo and over the Albanian and Montenegrin mountains and down the Adriatic sea, its estimated that some 200,000 men , women and children perished on the route.William and many of the Doctors and nurses choose to remain with the Serbs and  went on the retreat with them.  Williams ability at painting and drawing is well demonstrated in the many pictures and maps he made on the retreat. On arrival at Adriatic sea  he boarded a ship for Brindisi Italy and from their came home via France.

Jessie Scorgie

Jessie was living at 128 spital in Aberdeen when she joined the Scottish Women s Hospitals in July 1915, she like William Smith went to Kragujevac in Serbia, She with went out from Southampton as a nurse on the 12th of September 1915 on board the “oxfordshire”  However unlike William she and around 60 other Doctors and nurses including Elsie Ingis refused to leave and therefore ended up a POW. For the next two months were taken from camp to camp, first to Belgrade then Vienna, Kerevara in Hungry and finally the German border town of Waidhofen. Jessie arrived back in London on 12th of February 1916.

Mary Moir Trail was born in 1891 in the district of Old Machar,Aberdeen.She was the third child of Orkney born,Professor of Botany at Aberdeen,James William Helenius Trail and Aberdeen born Katherine Elizabeth Molligan. ary was still living on the High st Aberdeen when she joined the Scottish Womens Hospitals in May 1916 as an orderly. She worked at the beautiful Abbey at Royaumont under the command of the French war office. Royaumont was opened in 1915 and remained open till march 1919. Mary’s time there during the summer of 1916 was no place for the fainthearted, Royaumont was only 25 miles from the front line and it was common the hear the thunder from the cannons and no stranger to the horrors of war, but on July the 2nd all hell broke loose for the next 20 days Trains carried men to Royaumont like streams the SWH own 4 ambulances recovered over 100 men in the first 24 hours.  The Battle of the Somme had begun. For the next two months the unit and hospital were tested in every way.


Dr Laura Sandeman ran a Medical  practice in Aberdeen for 25 years, born in 1862 her father was Colonel Frank Stewart Sandeman  who ran Stanley mills in Perthshire.

In May 1915 the SWH  were requested by the French War Office under the command of General De Torcy to proceed to the Chateau Chanteloup just on the outskirts of Troyes in northern  France. The hospital was stationed in the grounds at Chanteloup. 250 beds were erected under large marques and by June they  were full.

By  October 1915  the unit was invited to join The French Expeditionary Force in Salonika and they accepted as the hospital at that time had been quiet for a few months. In late October they sailed from Marseilles to Salonika where the unit worked in a 1000 bed hospital for a large part of the war.
Laura however returned to Scotland, running the Dundee poorhouse for a while, she even contested the Aberdeen North seat in 1924 and in the same year she also unveiled the war memorial in Stanley. She died of Pneumonia in 1929 at 22 waverley place Aberdeen.