Mary Lee Milne journal tells story of a remarkable lady
The remarkable story of the life of a Borders woman during the First World War will be one of many told at the Saving and Sharing the Borders Experience at the Mac Arts Centre, Galashiels next month.
At the age of 43, Mary Lee Milne, from Selkirk and latterly Bonchester Bridge, set sail for Southern Russia in 1916 with the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH).
She is listed as the unit’s head cook and travelled with 75 women led by Dr Elsie Ingles. Being a gifted writer Mary documented her travels and made slides of her journey, some of which were taken at great personal risk, to give a graphic insight into the sacrificial work of the SWH with the Serbian nation in field hospitals in Romania and Russia.
During her service with the SWH Mary endured the physical and mental devastation of a field hospital on the front line. She witnessed many hundreds of wounded Serbians and Russian’s with horrendous injures; life and death were constant companions
Mary Milne died August 1948 aged 75 and was laid to rest in Hobkirk Churchyard, her obituary in the Hawick News records states: “…she was women of great individuality and force of character...”
Mary’s story will be one of many told at a day of presentations about the Borders experience of WWI which will be showcased by Live Borders Libraries and Archives.
Shona Sinclair, museum curator, who will lead the presentation on Mary Lee Milne said: “I have been captivated with Mary Lee Milne whose life I’ve found intriguing.
In 2015 I decided to extend my research and recreate her 1919 Selkirk illustrated lecture.
“This remarkable archive, has also brought to our attention the contribution of these remarkable women of the Scottish Women’s Hospital who refused “to go home and sit still” and, despite personal sacrifice and intense opposition, were motivated to leave their ‘Next of Kin” and go off to War.”
Saving and Sharing the Borders Experience takes place on Saturday, September 9 at the Mac Arts Centre in Galashiels. 10am – 3pm (doors open at 9.30am). This is a free event and includes refreshments and lunch. Places must be booked in advance by contacting The Heritage Hub, Kirkstile, Hawick, TD9 0AE. T: 01450 360699 E: email@example.com.