Margaret Ada Box, my Great Aunt, wrote many letters home during her time as a nurse in Serbia with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals during and after the First World War. By the time this letter was written the war had ended and the nurses, doctors and other women of the unit were thinking about their return home.
Elsie Inglis Unit
4th Surgical Field Hosp.
Headquarters Royal Serbian Army.
My dear Mother
We are in luck’s way this week – this morning we had another small mail & I received the parcel with the puddings, chocolate & biscuits etc that was addressed to Salonica also a duplicate letter that Father had sent to Salonica. Very many thanks for all the good things, the biscuits are lovely & crisp & are so nice & sweet, the chocolate too is delicious. Please thank Leonard for the book which I shall find very useful altho’ there is no Serbian but I find that half the Russian words are the same as Serbian. I most try & learn up a little Italian for the home journey. Please thank Norah for her letter & the handkerchief which I think is most beautiful specially the embroidery on it. I will write to her. The toothpaste is also very welcome.
Two of our Transport are starting home tonight.
Today thousands of men are roaming the streets shouting for a Republic & conditions generally seem to be in a very excited way. We are wondering what will happen – they are furious that food is so scarce & so expensive.
The weather is still very warm & crocuses & snowdrops are appearing. We have had some rain.
The day before yesterday we went to see the Museum where there are harems & all sorts of exciting waxworks figures, embroideries & other wonders. Coming home we got drenched with rain & the mud flowed up to our ankles.
We are going to have one of my puddings on Sunday – Nathan & I & 2 others, in the kitchen then afterwards – weather permitting we want to go for a nice long walk up the mountains.
One night lately Dr Chesney invited us to go for a sort of party in the office. We ate home made sweets made of honey rations that some one had saved & then played dumb charades. It was great fun – we made an awful noise (in between the scenes) & finally went to bed at 12 midnight.
This afternoon Nathan & I went up the mountain & dug up primroses & crocuses. I have put them together in a basin on my ward table & they look so pretty – the crocuses are deep purple.
I hope Aunt Janet & Doris have enjoyed their stay with you, I should think Doris is too young for nursing of any sort – I did not imaging she would begin just yet.
Very much love to all
Your loving Daughter – Margaret
This is probably what is now the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was built in 1888.
Aunt Janet and Doris
Aunt Janet was probably Janet Webster (1863-1941), sister of Ada Webster, Margaret’s mother. Doris would be Doris Janet Mildred Austin (1903-1952), her daughter, and Margaret’s cousin. Doris would have been 16 at the time.