British WW1 women appear on Serbian stamps

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Six British women who took on humanitarian roles in Serbia during the First World War are to be honoured on the Balkan country’s stamps.

Scots Evelina Haverfield, Dr Elsie Inglis, Dr Elizabeth Ross, Dr Katherine MacPhail and Dr Elmslie Hutton and Englishwoman Captain Flora Sandes were among a group of around 600 British women who travelled to Serbia to serve as doctors, nurses and drivers.

Heroic actions

Haverfield died in Serbia in 1919, having set up one of the country’s first orphanages.

Dr Inglis – one of the first female graduates at the University of Edinburgh – founded the Scottish Women’s Hospital project in Serbia, while Dr MacPhail opened the first paediatric ward in Belgrade in 1921.

Dr Ross, who had previously worked in Iran treating women in an Islamic harem, arrived in Serbia in January 1915. She immediately volunteered to work in a typhus hospital which was in a state of chaos with patients dying at an alarming rate.

Despite her colleagues pleading with her not to linger at the hospital, Dr Ross continued to treat patients while attempting to bring some order and hygiene to the place. However, three weeks after arriving in Serbia, she fell ill with typhus and died shortly afterwards.

Captain Sandes, the only British woman to bear arms in the First World War, served as an officer in the Serbian Army. Originally from Yorkshire, she remained in Belgrade after the war and also served during the Second World War.

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