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Flora Sandes – The Vote – Friday 22nd August 1919


 Woman’s Military Honour.

The story of Sergeant Flora Sandes, recently promoted by the Crown Prince of Serbia to commissioned rank as a second-lieutenant in the Reserve, reads like the exploits of some daring princess of a bygone age. Miss Sandes, who is of Irish birth, and the daughter of a clergyman, went out to Serbia in the first weeks of the war with no greater qualification than that of first-aid certificate. On arrival she was met with

Appalling Conditions.

Hundreds of wounded men were lying about helpless. There were very few doctors, and a complete lack of medical supplies and hospital equipment. Miss Sandes accordingly returned to London and appealed for help. A considerable sum of money, besides a large amount of medical equipment, was subscribed in response, and, thus fortified, she returned to Serbia, where she organised a military hospital.

When the terrible epidemic of spotted typhus broke out at Valjevo Miss Sandes was one of sixteen women who volunteered to go into the infected camp. All sixteen were attacked by the disease, and eight of the nurses died, Miss Sandes herself being nursed back to life by an Austrian prisoner of war. Later she was attached to a Serbian infantry regiment as a military nurse, but during the terrible mid-winter retreat following upon the second Austrian invasion, she abandoned her non-combatant office, put on the uniform of a dead Serbian soldier, shouldered his rifle, and finally

Marched with the Regiment

occasionally cheering and encouraging the troops, and buying bread for them wherever possible in the villages through which they passed. At Durazzo she was made a sergeant, with a squad of men under her, and it was said in the regiment that she got more work out of her men than any of the Serbian sergeants. One of her first jobs was to load a transport with the new uniforms and equipment which were being sent to Corfu to refit the tattered Army. She went with the Army to Corfu, and upon her return to Salonika, where a special ceremony was held, she was formally received into the Serbian Army. She went to the front with her regiment, and marched in the big drive to Monastir.

Miss Sandes was in the Serbian trenches north of Monastir, when, at 7 o’clock one morning, the order was given to go “over the top.” She was one of the first out of the trenches, and was charging with her regiment up the steep ground when a Bulgarian soldier hurled a bomb which struck her in the side, breaking her arm, and ripping open her side to the knee. She was

Saved from Capture

by one of her own men who altogether unwittingly, seized her by her broken arm and dragged her to a place of safety. She was sent down to a military hospital at Salonika, where she remained for some months, and where the Crown Prince Alexander visited her at her bedside and presented her with the Cross of Karageorge for bravery.

Miss Sandes fought with her regiment in the last great drive which completely broke the Bulgarian Army and recovered Serbia for the Serbians. She is now in Belgrade, and will shortly be demobilised with the rest of the Serbian war-strength Army, but will be liable to be recalled for active service with the troops should Serbia again be involved in war. Her promotion to commissioned rank is probably the only instance in history of a woman being honoured with a commission as a combatant officer in a European army.

The story of her interesting experiences “”An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army,” (Hodder & Stoughton, 2/6 net.) can be obtained at this office. D. M. N.


The Vote – Friday 22nd August 1919

October 25, 2020 Posted by | Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miss Flora Sandes – The Illustrated War News – Wednesday 21st February 1917

“The Princess,” with a Difference: A Serbian Jeanne d’Arc.


  In “The Princess,” Tennyson laid down a rule of life which the conditions of war have ruthlessly broken. “Man for the field and woman for the hearth, Man for the sword and for the needle she.” To-day, the war has called into the ranks of actual workers millions of women, and here and there may be found a woman in the ranks of the combatants. One of these, who has recorded her experiences as a Serbian soldier, is Miss Flora Sandes, who went as a nurse to Serbia, but carried a rifle a Sergeant-Major. She was wounded by a Bulgarian hand-grenade, and decorated with the Cross of Kara-George “for bravery in the field.” Our photograph shows her taking her first walk as a convalescent in the streets of Salonika.


The Illustrated War News – Wednesday 21st February 1917

October 25, 2020 Posted by | Social History, Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment