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Dr Sybil Lonie Lewis

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Just came across this lady's memorial in Old St Paul's church in Edinburgh. Sorry about the shine, hi-res photo available if you PM me


"In this spot are immurred the ashes of Dr Sybil Lonie Lewis a faithful and loving member of this congregation of Christ's church who died March 10th 1918 after working in Serbia on the start of the Scottish Women's Hospital 1915,6,7 and of the Serbian Relief Fund 1917. Her experiences in the campaign and as a prisoner of war so undermined her health that she died shortly after her return home. In recognition of her services, HM the King of Serbia conferred on her the order of Saint Sava. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

and her obituary from the British Medical Journal

"DR. SYBIL LONIE LEWIS, who died at Hull on March 1Oth

after a slhort illness, was born in 1874. Shie studied medicine

in Edinburgh and Dublin, having previously been

trained in nursing and midwifery, and obtained the

L.R.C.P., L.R.C.S., and L.R.F.P.S. diplomas in 1905.

After serving as assistaint resident medical officer at the

Larbert Asylum she began practice in Hull, and held the

appointment of school medical officer and the honorary

medical officerships of the Diocesan Maternity Home, the

Hull Sheltering Home for Girls, and the West Hull

creche. In the spring of 1915 Dr. Lewis volunteered for

work in Serbia, and went out there in June under the

Scottish Women's Hospitals. She was in Serbia when the

country was overrun by the eniemy and the hospital staffs

taken prisoners in 1915. Althouglh a Red Cross party,

they were detained in Hungary for four montlhs, under

the roughest conditions, and were not released and sent

home until February, 1916. Dr. Lewis went out again in

August, 1916; and worked with the Serbian army in

Macedonia and among the civilian refugees till December,

1917, when she was recalled by urgent need at home..

Slhe received the Serbian, decoration, of the Order of

St. Sava. Fourth Class, in recognition: of herdevoted work

among the Serbs. Her illness lasted only three days, but,

in the opinion of tbe surgeon attending her, the conditions

causing it were contracted abroad, and her name must be

added to the growing list of medical women who have given their lives for Serbia."


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Brussels Dawn


What a lovely tribute you have made.

Isnt it lovely that a fabulous woman like her is remembered. She is truely a role model to many women. It was quite an achievement that this lady become a nurse and midwife at this time, never mind become a medical doctor.



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Very interesting and thankyou for posting this up. So far as I can find she is nowhere mentioned in Eva Shaw McLaren's History of the Scottish Women's Hospitals and she certainly does not appear on the role of honour of those who died, included as an appendix to that book. That she died at home rather than on 'active service' doubtless explains the latter. There is a short obituary in The Times of 12th March 1918, confirming some of the details included on her plaque. It's good to see that someone obviously keeps this well-polished!

Eric Webb

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