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Scottish Women's Hospitals 'American Unit' in Thessaloniki (Salonika), 1917

This photograph album belonged to Sister E. Moscyop of the American Unit. 

Photographs include the barracks; patients and staff; the unveiling of Miss Harley's monument by the Archbishop of Serbia; Dr. Louise McIllroy (Cheif Medical Officer) of the Newnham and Girton Unit; field kitchen; Scottish Women's Hospitals concert parties and entertainment; Great Fire of Salonika (Aug 1917) and the hospital ship Divona.

The American Unit (so-called as funded by American donors) set sail for Salonika in August 1916, initially joining the Newnham & Girton Unit. The original intention was to establish a base hospital in Salonika, however, with heavy fighting in Macedonia during the summer of 1916, it was decided the Unit would be located closer to the action. In September the Unit was consequently moved to the hills near Lake Ostrovo, 85 miles from Salonika, in order to support the Serbian Army. Unlike the Newnham & Girton Unit, this was a well-equipped unit that arrived with a transport column (Miss Harley's), the Headquarters Committee seemingly having learned from previous mistakes in terms of resourcing. The purpose of a transport column (or ambulance unit) was to get to casualties quickly and carry out rapid treatment, rather than wait for casualties to be brought to them. 

Environmental conditions in Eastern Europe and the Balkans were testing. Diseases such as dysentery, malaria and typhus (several SWH staff succumbed to local diseases), challenging terrain, overcrowding in tents and lack of proper drainage at camp, extreme weather conditions, as well as remoteness, became part and parcel of camp life in the east, as did the ever present fears arising from proximity to front lines and enemy aerial bombardment.