215 MMR Reservist Attends Nursing Conference in Belgrade


Earlier this month Reservists from 215 (Scottish) Multirole Medical Regiment and 254 (East of England) Multirole Medical Regiment travelled to Belgrade to attend the Balkan Nursing Conference and the Scottish Women’s Hospitals Commemoration, highlighting the long-standing diplomatic relations between the UK and Serbia.

Captain Pounder, a Nursing Officer with 215 MMR joined 254 MMR’s Corporal Newton for a four-day visit filled with opportunities for knowledge sharing with counterparts from the Serbian Armed Forces, as well as a chance to reflect on the historical connections between the two nations dating back to the First World War.

A practical demonstration in operational healthcare at the Belgrade Military Medical Academy

During the Balkan Nursing Conference, Captain Pounder joined fellow members of the Army Medical Services for a series of lectures and demonstrations at the Military Medical Academy, a highly-respected scientific research institution founded in 1844. 

A key aim of the Nursing Conference was to develop attendees’ understanding of operational healthcare in complex and unique environments. With over 400 medical experts invited to the Academy each year for seminars, lectures and symposiums, the visiting Reservists could not have hoped for a better learning facility.

Alongside the great educational opportunity offered by the Serbia trip, Captain Pounder and her fellow UK personnel took part in a Scottish Women’s Hospitals (SWH) World War I Commemoration with members of the Serbian Armed Forces, Red Cross and a number of local and international dignitaries.

Captain Pounder of 215 MMR, left, Serbian Defence Attache Colonel Williamson, centre, and Corporal Newton of 254 MMR, right.

Founded by Dr Elsie Inglis in 1914, SWH established hospitals in France, Serbia, Corsica, Salonica and Russia to treat military personnel wounded in action. All those involved in the running of these hospitals, from administrators and surgeons to cooks and engineers were women, and they worked tirelessly from November 1914 until the end of the war, with many of them receiving medals from their host countries in recognition of their invaluable service.

The SWH Commemoration took place on 14 February in the city of Kragujevac, where three women who worked in the local hospital during the First World War had been laid to rest: Dr Elizabeth Ross, Nurse Mabel Dearmer and Nurse Lorna Ferriss. In honour of their commitment to caring for Serbian war casualties, the people of Kragujevac hold an annual wreath-laying service at their graves each year. For this year’s commemoration, Captain Pounder played an active role by piping a lament as the wreaths were laid.

The fact that the work of Scottish Women’s Hospitals is still commemorated by the people of Serbia over a century after the end of the First World War is a testament to the enduring relationships that can exist between countries and underscores the immense value of teamwork and collaboration on an international level.

Captain Pounder of 215 Multirole Medical Regiment with Corporal Newton of 254 Regiment and two members of the Serbian Armed Forces at the Scottish Women's Hospitals Commemoration

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