Staff Stories – John Hutchison

March 12, 2014 12:06 pm Published by

John Hutchison – Head of Finance & Operations

John’s Granny was Dr Alice M Hutchison, and here is her story.

Dr Hutchison was educated at Moffat and Bridge of ADr Hutchisonllan and at Edinburgh University, where she graduated M.B., Ch.B in 1899.  Prior to the war, she returned to her place of birth, India, and held an appointment at the Dow Memorial Hospital at Gujrat in the Punjab before holding various posts in Edingburgh.

Upon the outbreak of war she helped to organise a hospital unit under the Scottish Women’s Hospitals and accompanied the unit to Serbia. A 1916 issue of The British Journal of Nursing stated that Dr Alice Hutchison and her unit, who were prisoners of war at Kevavara in Hungary, demonstrated “the spirit of British women in adversity”.   The image accompanying the article depicts Dr Hutchison guarding the Union Jack by wearing it as a petticoat when all the effects of the unit were removed – “a lesson in patriotism and resourcefulness of which her compatriots may well be proud”.

The unit then fell into the hands of the Austrians and the Austrian Commander proposed to hand them over to the Germans but Dr Hutchison objected.  They were eventually interned as ordinary prisoners at Kevavara with only straw to sleep on.  The only food they received was half a loaf of black bread at noon, watery soup in a bucket and black coffee morning and evening.  The area the twenty-two women were given to sleep in was equivalent to that of a workroom for nine people under the British factory laws.

For her work during the war, Dr Hutchison was awarded the Serbian Order of St. Sava and the Belgium Order of the Palm Leaf.


Return to WWI Homepage

Categorised in:

This post was written by Lynn Scrivener

Comments are closed here.