Elsie was born on the 16th August 1864 at Naini Tal in India. Her father John Forbes David Inglis was a chief commissioner in the Indian Civil Service. She was one of six siblings. Her father retired in 1876 and after a two year period in Tasmania, where two of her eldest brothers had settled, returned to Edinburgh.
Fortunately for Elsie her father considered education for his daughter just as important as for a son. It was in Edinburgh, and then Glasgow, that Elsie studied medicine, something that was unusual and difficult for a woman to achieve. However she passed the requisite exams in 1892 and took up the position of house surgeon at a new hospital for women in Euston Road London. She was also an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage.
Elsie returned to practice in Edinburgh and studied for further medical degrees at the University of Edinburgh graduating MB, CM in 1899. She now dedicated her life to her work, including the founding of a nursing home and maternity centre, and the suffrage movement.
When war broke out in 1914 Elsie visited the War Office to offer her services. At the time the war was perceived to be short affair, and consequently Elsie received the historic remark: ‘My dear lady go home and sit still’. The remark became famous amongst British nurses working in Serbia. Whilst working under terrible conditions they would ask as to what was their next task. The answer, received with much amusement, would be the famous remark. Elsie had been instrumental in setting up a fully equipped nursing unit for the Serbian Army.
In the spring of 1915, when the current head of the unit at Kraguievatz went down with diphtheria, that Elsie went to there to take over the unit. It was primarily involved with combating typhus, a decease which ravaged Serbia in 1915. Other Serbian hospitals were in a terrible condition and it would be Elsie that championed the need improvements. She would eventually gain ‘heroine’ status. She became the first woman to be awarded the Order of the White Eagle, Serbia’s highest honour.
As the Germans overran Serbia later in 1915 and personnel were encouraged to evacuate, Elsie refused to go. She and her unit were made prisoner and were eventually repatriated in 1916. She campaigned further and in 1917 was back with another unit treating Russian troops. After the Russian Revolution she and her team were evacuated home in November 1917. However, by now she was very ill suffering from cancer and died on the 26th November 1917. She is buried in Edinburgh.
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Information from Judith Farrar which relates to her husband Don’s great-uncle. Joseph Stoney’s occupation before the war as a stonemason, a skilled trade which places strenuous demands upon the worker’s hands. This was of some consequence following his attempt to enlist at the start of the First World War. He had previously been a territorial soldier with the West Yorkshire Regiment and when war broke out he naturally offered his services to his former regiment. His record shows that he was accepted, but that after only sixteen days he was discharged. The medical discharge paper records ‘Deformity of both thumbs, rheumatoid arthritis. Loss of gripping power. General debility.’ This judgement is reinforced by a second comment in a second hand, ‘Not likely to become an efficient soldier.’ This judgement did not deter Joseph from trying again, as his medal card attests. He managed to join the 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment as 21581 Private J Stoney and was awarded the British War medal. Unfortunately John died either on the way out to India where the battalion was stationed, or when returning on leave. John died from dysentery on 10 May 1917 and is buried in the Cape Town (Maitland) Cemetery. His headstone appears to record the correct regimental number, but displays the West Yorkshire badge, rather than the Yorkshire Regiment.
Submitted by Jennifer Bullen daughter in law of Lieutenant Bullen. Tempest Carey Bullen was born on the 28th of May 1898 in North Shields. He is listed in the 1901 census along with his father Tempest Carey, his mother Edith, brothers William and Harry and sisters Edith Anna and Kathleen. His father’s occupation is listed as “ship broker”. The family were living in the Percy ward of Tynemouth and must have been comfortably off because they had a servant called Ada George and a nursery maid called Elizabeth Knox. By 1911 the family had moved to Woodbine Avenue in Gosforth. In the census Tempest’s mother Edith is listed as head of the family so it is likely that Tempest senior was deceased. His elder brother (aged 15) is now an apprentice Fitter. They have a boarder, Hugh Robson (an apprentice Ironmonger) and a servant called Mary Jane Malpas. Jennifer recounts that Tempest was under age when he first tried to enlist and was promptly sent home! He persisted and subsequently joined up and went on to be awarded the Military Cross in 1918 aged about 20. He survived the war and his death is recorded in 1976 in South Shields.
Olive was born on the 29th August 1899 in Harrogate. The 1911 census shows Olive living at home with parents George and Miriam, and baby brother George (aged 1). Other than she would gain employment at Barnbow Munitions Factory little is known of her life. Barnbow Munitions Factory, at Crossgates Leeds, was one of the new purpose built munitions factories to meet the demand for shells and ammunition. The factory was operational by December 1915, so it would have probably been around that time or shortly after that Olive started work there. It was a huge complex and at peak output was employing about 16,000 workers. The local train station was extended and would bring in workers from the surrounding towns and villages. It even had a farm producing 300 gallons of milk per day, with employees receiving a free daily milk ration. Munitions work was dangerous. Barnbow ran 3 shifts a day and involved hard manual work involving the use of heavy machinery. Most of the workforce was women and young girls, attracted by the high wages on offer. Conditions at the factory were very hot, the raw materials toxic which would turn their skin and hair yellow in a short time. This led to the nickname ‘The Barnbow Canaries’. The uniforms offered inadequate protection against the dust which could prove deadly if settling in the lungs, even though masks were provided. Olive worked in Room 42, as one of about 170 workers, where the fully loaded shells were…