Dr. Elsie Inglis refused to retreat. Not this time. She was in
at one of the hospitals she had created. She had recently been persuaded to
leave critically ill patients during a retreat, and although they had been left
in the hands of a competent Serbian doctor, Elsie’s decision still haunted her.
Now, she witnessed the final retreat that would be forever after known in
as the Great Retreat. The promised help from Serbia ’s allies was clearly not
going to come. There was no longer any hope of holding the country from its
enemies, who were now invading landlocked Serbia from all of its borders but
the southwestern one. The Serbian army was about to do the only thing left: take a
dangerous winter journey on foot with the few supplies they could muster
through the Albanian mountains to the southwest. Many civilians, including
staff from Elsie’s hospital, accompanied them. Serbia
On November 6, 1915, Elsie and the others who had chosen to remain in the hospital in Kruševac felt a great explosion. It shattered the windows in the hospital and in the house where the medical staff lived. A train loaded with ammunition had been blown up by the retreating Serbs, who couldn’t take it with them across the mountains, to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy. The Germans retaliated by bombarding the retreating Serbians. The Germans would be in Kruševac the following day. Dr. Elsie Inglis was determined to be there when they arrived. . .
Opening paragraphs from "Elsie Inglis: Surgeon and Hospital Founder" from Women Heroes of World War I.