Monday, 14 April 2014

Mabel Annie St Clair Stobart (1862 - 1954)

Mrs Stobart was rather scathing in her criticism of the Red Cross Voluntary Aid Detachment scheme, which she felt “played with women” and both she and Viscount Esher resigned their membership of the Red Cross for that reason.   Could that be why Mrs Stobart set up The Women's Convoy Corps that served in Bulgaria from 1912 - 1913?

When the First World War broke out, Mrs Stobart offered the services of a women’s medical unit to the Belgian Red Cross and travelled to Brussels to set up a hospital in the University buildings.  The following day, the Germans entered the city, took over the Belgian Croix Rouge and commandeered the hospital for their own use.   Mrs Stobart escaped to Tongres where she was arrested and condemned to death as a spy.  When she remonstrated with the German Major who was in charge, he replied that "You are English and this is a War of annihilation" (p. 8 "The Flaming Sword in Serbia and elsewhere" by M.A. St. Clair Stobart, published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, 1916).

I wonder whether the phrase "war of annihilation" was common knowledge at that time? 



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