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Remembered Today:

retired civil servant

Veronique Chatenay-Dolto

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Good morning , I am doing some research about the life of my grand mother Barbara Edith Stirling (born in 1891) who served as an ambulance driver in Serbia from november 1916 to november 1917 , with the British red cross before going on the French front in november 1917, with Miss Toupie Lowther in the SSY3 Unit.We have a lot of information about her service in France but nearly nothing about Serbia and Salonika..Is it possible that she was part of the battle of Monastir? do anyone know where the Red Cross Unit where settled at that time? and is there any indication that the hospital was gas bombed?Thanks for your help.

Véronique Chatenay-Dolto

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There is a record on findmypast which states that she worked for the Serbian Relief Fund, which is,   as far as I know, a separate organisation to the Red Cross, even though the findmypast database includes the words Red Cross.

This is the record, which is a transcript only on findmypast.

First name(s) Barbara Edith

Last name Stirling

Initials B E

Rank Chauffeur

Certificate number 14124

Department Serbian Relief Fund

Passport number 123993

Destination Salonica

Record set British Red Cross Register Of Overseas Volunteers 1914-1918

Category Military, armed forces & conflict

Subcategory Regimental & service records

Collections from Great Britain


There are some online books linked from the FIBIS Fibiwiki  page  Salonica and the Balkans (First World War), about members of the Serbian Relief Fund, although probably about  earlier dates in Serbia than mentioned above.



If the Serbian Relief Fund was part of the Red Cross it would no doubt be mentioned in the book

Reports by the Joint War Committee and the Joint War Finance Committee of the British Red Cross Society and the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in England on voluntary aid rendered to the sick and wounded at home and abroad and to British prisoners of war 1914–1919, with appendices, London 1921, HMSO. If you can't source this book in a library, it is available as a reprint from Naval &  Military  Press. 





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Barbara Edith Stirling was  a very brave and courageous lady who was awarded the following

A Serbian Samaritan Cross as a Driver, Serbian Relief Fund, this has not been gazetted in the London Gazette but comes under Foreign Office File: FO 372/1322 Correspondence (Roumania, Russia, Serbia)  1919 which is held at NA Kew.


She was also awarded a Serbian Silver Medal for Bravery as a Volunteer Driver, Serbian Relief Fund, this also has not been gazetted but comes under Foreign Office File: FO 372/1483 Treaty: Decorations, Balkans  1920, also held at NA Kew.


Members of the Red Cross were permitted to wear foreign awards without being gazetted by the fact that the Red Cross Society was given permission to accept foreign awards for their members without gaining War Office approval.


This is her first VAD card



and her second card which states she also received a French Croix de Guerre with palms for gallantry, this I have not been able to confirm with a Foreign Office file, but that does not matter, as it is on the card.




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I hope these images work


The Silver medal for Bravery I believe is the bottom one, it is the award most often referred to.

Cross of Mercy or Samaritan Cross, Obv.jpg

Cross of Mercy or Samaritan Cross, Rev.jpg

Obilich Bravery medal, silver, Obv.jpg

Obilich Bravery medal, silver, Rev.jpg

Edited by ForeignGong
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Thank you very much for these information .I was wrong about the Red Cross then, and I will check all the links you mentionned.I have  photos of her medals in the family archives but the medals themselves have been lost.Barbara Stirling was very brave indeed , but she never talked about the war, as if it was just the normal thing to do.So now it is not very easy to find out more about where she was  and what she did as an ambulance driver in Serbia.

Anyway thanks again.

Véronique Chatenay-Dolto

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No, you were not wrong about the Red Cross, that is who she was with, but she served with the Serbian Relief Force as well as the French at some time.

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Thanks again for all the useful information you sent me.Still I have found nothing about the use of  gas during the battles on the Eastern Front, Would you know where to search?

best regards

Véronique Chatenay-Dolto

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