Saturday, March 01, 2008

Women's Reserve Ambulance - World War One

Evelina Haverfield nee Scarlett was born in Scotland on the 9th August 1867. On her marriage to Major Henry Haverfield she moved to Devon, Caundle Marsh, Dorset and later Peace Cottage, Brendon, North Devon.

She accompanied her second husband John Blaguy to South Africa, where he was in the military. Her sister Ella Scarlett- Synage) a doctor, was also in South Africa working with Millicent Fawcett in monitoring the British Concentration camps for Boer prisoners and their families.

On her return to Britain, Evelina Haverfield became a prominent suffragette, initially involved in in the West of England National Union of Women Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) she joined the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) 1909 and became secretary of Paddington branch of the WSPU in 1910.

Her horse riding skills were used to great advantage by the suffragettes when tackling mounted police and in providing mounted horse escorts for suffragette events.

She was arrested for her part in the suffragette "Black Friday" on 18th November 1910 an accused of assaulting a police officer, on her arrest she was reported as stating that " next time I will bring a revolver".

A year later, 1911 she was sent to Holloway jail for two weeks for her part in suffragette disturbances on 21st November 1911

By 1914 she had joined Sylvia Pankhurst's East London Federation becoming its treasurer.

It was during her suffragette work that Haverfield came into contact with Vera Holme, who would later become her Lesbian partner.

During World War One Haverfield was appointed Commandant in Chief of Women's Reserve Ambulance (Green Cross Society) in August 1914, but left after a disagreement and became involved in the Scottish Women's Hospital in Serbia from 1915.

She spent the rest of her life fighting for the rights of the Serbian people

Evelina Haverfield died on the 21st March 1920 of pneumonia in Bajina Basta , Serbia, and is buried in the local cemetery, later a children's health centre was named after her in the town.

Picure right of Evelina's grave (Thanks to Tom Allan)