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