Scottish Women’s Hospitals Lapel Badge

The Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service were founded in 1914 with the Headquarters located in Edinburgh. It had been suggested by Dr Lucy Inglis, with the backing of the Scottish Federation of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, that female medical units be put together to serve on the front line. As the idea was rejected by the War Office, financial support for the 14 units that were formed came from private donations, the fund-raising efforts of local societies, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies and the American Red Cross. Scottish Women’s Hospital units served in Corsica, France, Malta, Romania, Russia, Salonika and Serbia.

This particular badge belonged to Christchurch born Dr Jessie Scott. Scott completed her medical training at Edinburgh University. When WWI broke out she was initially asked by Ettie Rout to come and work in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force hospitals in Egypt but instead she volunteered with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service. Her unit, which included Dr Lucy Inglis, was captured by the Austrians and taken to Vienna in February 1916. After negotiations, they were released in Switzerland. Scott and her unit went on to serve at the Russian front in Romania, attached to the First Serbian Division but due to the advancing German army, they were forced to retreat to Russia along with Romanian refugees. She continued to serve with the Serbian Army until 1918. In 1919 she was attached, as a surgeon, to the 61st General Hospital, Salonika, with the Royal Army Medical Corps. Scott was awarded the Serbian Order of St Sava for her work with the Serbian Army. After the war she returned to New Zealand and worked in Christchurch until her retirement.


By Elizabeth Mildon

Curator of Heraldry