First World War documentary ‘The Women Who Went to War’ to air on STV


Elsie Inglis - Women who went to war
Elsie Inglis – Women who went to war

To mark one hundred years since the start of the First World War and Armistice Day 2014, STV will air a documentary that recognises the contribution of Scottish women to the war effort.

Airing on Tuesday, November 11 The Women Who Went to War – A Great Adventure reveals the story of the ladies of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals who travelled 2000 miles to Serbia in Eastern Europe to deliver medical assistance.

Narrated by Kirsty Wark, the documentary tells the tale of a group of ordinary Scottish women who undertook an extraordinary journey to help an ally in dire need.

She said: “This is an extraordinary untold story of wonderful ordinary women who travelled far from Scotland in World War One, because of a calling to help the wounded and dying. In former Serbia they are loved and revered but all but forgotten here at home.”

The Scottish Women’s Hospitals was the idea of Dr Elsie Inglis, one of Scotland’s first female surgeons and a prominent suffragette.

The story of Elsie and her colleague’s contribution throughout the war is picked up by Alan Cumming, a football fan from Cumbernauld who uncovered a memorial to the women on a trip to Belgrade in Serbia to watch a match.

Alan Cumming - Women who went to war
Alan Cumming – Women who went to war

Every year there is a poignant memorial service in the city of Kragujevac to remember these brave Scottish women. Meanwhile, back home, the story remained untold. Alan took it upon himself to get recognition in Scotland of their sacrifice – as many of them never came back and died far from their homeland.

This is a story of ordinary women from Scotland who made such an impact with their bravery and courage that a nation thousands of miles away remembers them to this very day. This documentary gives a Scottish audience the chance to hear their story for the first time.

Elizabeth Partyka, deputy director of channels at STV, said: “This documentary offers a fascinating insight into the untold story of the Scottish women who risked their lives to help in the war effort.

“When their offer of help wasn’t welcomed in Britain they travelled to work with an ally who, to this day, recognises their contribution and valuable support. We are sure viewers will appreciate the harrowing story of these unsung heroes of the First World War.”

The documentary will air on STV at 8pm on Tuesday, November 11.

The Women Who Went to War – A Great Adventure is a coproduction for STV and BBC Alba by independent producer Mactv. A separate Gaelic language programme, Caileagan a’ Chogaidh Mhòir (A Great Adventure) will air on BBC Alba on Sunday (November 9) at 9pm.