The Serbian army were forced into retreat in the second half of 1915 and marched through south Serbia and into Albania and Montenegro where, after enduring indescribable hardship, the survivors were picked up by the Italian and French navies and taken to safety in Corfu. The SWH and other British military, medical and relief missions joined the retreat and endured the same hardships as the soldiers. Catherine with her friend Mary Mackenzie made this epic journey. Enduring the freezing temperatures, the walking for days and days over the mountain passes and the huge suffering of a people now starving, homeless and without hope. Catherine returned home a few days before Christmas 1915.
Undaunted by these experiences and clearly determined to help the Serbian people, Catherine in May 1916 joined the SWH again as a nurse and sailed to the island of Corsica. The unit at Corsica was formed in December 1915 as a result of Serbian refugees pouring into Salonika, Serbia had been completely overtaking by invading forces. Catherine and her unit were responsible for the welfare and recovery of mainly children during that time. The hospital at Ajaccio was based at the Villa Miot and the grounds were also required for tents to house the sick. Catherine left the hospital in March 1917, her sister Maggie was still working at Royaumont in France but Catherine decided to again help the Serb’s who were now pushing their way back in their homeland. In September 1917 she was reunited with her highland friends Mary and Florence Mackenzie who were working with the American unit at Ostrovo Lake 30 miles north of Salonika. On 30 September 1918 the unit received news of the armistice with Bulgaria and on the morning of 23 October the unit started for northern Serbia with a convoy of nine vehicles on a 311 kilometer trek. All the staff made the trip and the unit was set up in an abandoned army barracks in Vranje, Serbia. The scenes at Vranje were awful, the entire city was one huge unattended hospital, disease, soldiers requiring urgent attention and homeless women and children often dying with starvation and frostbite. The hospital at Vranje was a large ex army barracks and packed with hundreds of patients with a hole manner appalling conditions, pneumonia, pleurisy and serious surgical cases. Sadder still was one of women’s account of the children ” the injuries are terrible, we have had several poor little hands to amputate and often they have terrible abdominal wounds” The unit was closed at Vranje in the summer if 1919. Catherine was awarded the Serbian Cross of Mercy. An astonishing lady who served with the Scottish Women;s Hospitals through the very worst of times. Brimming with courage and ability her contribution was indeed vast. Thankfully there is a monument at Mladenovac to reflect on the work theses women did during that time.
Even a unit situated as close to the front line as Ostrovo had quieter periods. In her lively diary Ishobel Ross records Christmas celebrations, visits to the nearby Russian camp and riding in the countryside, activities in which Anna was a keen participant. No wonder when Joan Rose arrived to work at Ostrovo in 1917, she wrote admiringly of Anna who was by then the longest serving doctor at the Unit, therefore speaks with authority and with a good deal of common sense: reported to be engaged to a Serb, fraternises with the more lively section of the shovers ( chauffeurs ), likes bathing and riding and other energetic pastimes. It was this seniority of experience that led her into conflict with Dr Mary de Garis, the successor to Agnes Bennett, early in 1918 over her unwillingness to move the hospital nearer to the then front line.
Annie Rebecca Courtenay was born in Dunleer, Co Louth Ireland, she was raised by her mother Louisa. By 1911 the family had moved to Dublin she was 18 at the time and living with her sister Mary who also served during ww1 although not with the SWH.
Elsie Inglis, just a day after reaching Newcastle, passed away. Her dying wish was to make sure the Serbs had their hospital and transport. Only fitting then that the London unit that Elsie had been in charge of in Russia in 1917 was renamed “The Elsie Inglis unit”. On the 19th of February 1918 the new unit was rolled out in front of the King and Queen at Buckingham palace, the King expressed his admiration for Elsie and he wished the unit a safe journey. The unit consisted of twenty five personnel and a transport section with its twenty five cars and thirty two personnel. Annie joined the unit at the start. She joined as a driver and in April the work began supporting the Serb troops in Macedonian, a demanding time with plenty of casualties and the unit suffering from two bouts of malaria. The camp was dubbed with the name “Dead horse camp” on account of the camp being surrounded by partially buried horses. The stench, heat and millions of flies must have been suffocating. The work load was heavy during that summer with malaria effecting the soldiers and staff alike. The drivers had the arduous task of driving on seriously dangerous tracks, up and down mountain passes night and day with shells shattering in their wake. Equally challenging was the task of keeping up with Serbs as they roared forward, every man desperate to be reunited with loved ones, to kiss the land they had been exiled from nearly three years earlier. In October 1918 the unit moved up to Skopje and formed a hospital in a disused boys school. A house was commandeered as staff quarters. Within three days of arriving the hospital was full, mainly due to an influenza epidemic that hit the region. The women shivered from the cold as they did their best to tend to the hundreds of patients. Orders came that the hospital was to move to Sarajevo. Annie, with the unit, made her way to the port of Salonika. However Annie returned home. Annie displayed enormous courage and the above photo contains both Annie and her sister Mary’s medals.
Dr. G. LIEBA BUCKLEY died at her home at Bournemouth on July 2 after a long illness. She was 65 years of age. Born on April 2, 1891, the daughter of the late Dr. T. W. Buckley, of Thrapston, Northamptonshire, who was a greatly respected general practitioner, Gladys Lieba Buckley decided to take up medicine at the early age of 9. From St. Swithun’s School, Winchester, she entered Girton College, Cambridge, taking Part I of the Natural Sciences Tripos in 1913 and Part II in the following year. She then went on to the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women to receive her clinical training. Before qualifying M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1922 she spent some time in France with the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit at Royaumont during the first world war. She obtained the London degrees of M.B., B.S. in 1923, and held the appointments of resident surgeon at the Royal Sea-Bathing Hospital, Margate, and assistant medical officer and radiologist at the Ransom Sanatorium, Mansfield, before settling at Bournemouth in 1926. She decided on a career in radiology and took the D.M.R.E. of Cambridge in 1927. She acquired a large radiological practice in Bournemouth, succeeding the late Dr. Florence Storey, who died in 1932. At the time of her death Dr. Buckley was consultant radiologist to the Royal Victoria and West Hants Hospital, Bournemouth, the Lymington and District Hospital, and the Christchurch Hospital. During the second world war she joined the R.A.M.C. and was employed in Haifa, Palestine, for two years. She continued at work in Bournemouth until 1953. A member of the British Medical Association for 32 years, she acted as one of the honorary secretaries of the Section of Radiology and Electrotherapeutics when the Association held its Annual Meeting at Bournemouth in 1934. She was also a member of the Radiologists Group Committee from 1950 to 1952. K. M. H. writes: Dr. Buckley was a woman of marked ability and many interests. She travelled as widely as the exigencies of her profession would allow, and maintained a keen interest in music and sport, especially cricket. Her devotion to duty was the mainspring of her life, and during her last year, when illness kept her from active work, she spent her failing strength in literary work in connexion with her chosen specialty and in keeping in touch, both personally and by correspondence, with the large circle of friends who will now sincerely mourn her loss.
In April 1915 Agnes took the decision to head to the front and joined the SWH as a nurse. She sailed to Salonika and by train reached the city of Kragujevac. The hospital at Kragujevac had been operational since early 1915 and had endured many awful days and weeks. Typhus, starvation, battle wounds and dysentery all contributed to the horrendous conditions the unit worked under. For Agnes at the time of her arriving the hospital was handling 400 cases a day, all emergency dressings. The Chief Commanding Officer for the unit was Dr Elsie Inglis. Elsie had also come to Serbia in April 1915 and touched the lives of many Serbians whom she treated and developed a strong reputation in the country. In October 1915, the SWH units in Serbia including Agnes had to evacuate from several of their locations as German and Austrian soldiers advanced. After evacuating once, Dr. Inglis refused to evacuate a second time and proceeded to remain to care for her patients in Krushevatz. When the German troops arrived, Inglis, Agnes and several other women with the SWH who had chosen to remain with the patients were taken as Prisoners of War. The women were released and returned to London on February 29, 1916.
This is one of a handful of poems written in the 20th century that people from all walks of life – politicians, bankers, and scientists – are not afraid to learn and quote by heart. For one thing, you can’t accuse of being elusive or indecisive: a complaint about a lot of modern poetry. This one hits like a ton of bricks. The language is blunt and direct, but the rhythm is complicated and musical. When you repeat lines like, "The blood-dimmed tide is loosed," it’s like an entire period of history has been summed up in only a few words. Indeed, people still quote from Yeats during every war. The recent war in Iraq is no exception: for example, in 2006 a Congressman Jim McDermott gave a speech titled
Another reason the poem has been so popular is that its mysterious symbolism can be interpreted in a meaningful way by anyone, regardless or their social or political views. Some people think that Yeats is trying to steer society back to its traditional values; others say that he thinks only a revolution will lead to a new order. Above all, "The Second Coming" amounts a frightening document of how poets often have a specific perspective – a "vision" of the way things are that most of the rest of us are unable to see.
The poem begins with the image of a falcon flying out of earshot from its human master. In medieval times, people would use falcons or hawks to track down animals at ground level. In this image, however, the falcon has gotten itself lost by flying too far away, which we can read as a reference to the collapse of traditional social arrangements in Europe at the time Yeats was writing.
In the fourth line, the poem abruptly shifts into a description of "anarchy" and an orgy of violence in which "the ceremony of innocence is drowned." The speaker laments that only bad people seem to have any enthusiasm nowadays.
At line 9, the second stanza of the poem begins by setting up a new vision. The speaker takes the violence which has engulfed society as a sign that "the Second Coming is at hand." He imagines a sphinx in the desert, and we are meant to think that this mythical animal, rather than Christ, is what is coming to fulfill the prophecy from the Biblical . At line 18, the vision ends as "darkness drops again," but the speaker remains troubled.
Finally, at the end of the poem, the speaker asks a rhetorical question which really amounts to a prophecy that the beast is on its way to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ, to be born into the world.
Robartes copied out and gave to Aherne several mathematical diagrams from the , squares and spheres, cones made up of revolving gyres intersecting each other at various angles, figures sometimes with great complexity. His explanation of these, obtained invariably from the followers of Kusta-ben-Luki, is founded upon a single fundamental thought. The mind, whether expressed in history or in the individual life, has a precise movement, which can be quickened or slackened but cannot be fundamentally altered, and this movement can be expressed by a mathematical form. A plant or an animal has an order of development peculiar to it, a bamboo will not develop evenly like a willow nor a willow from joint to joint, and both have branches, that lessen and grow more light as they rise, and no characteristic of the soil can alter these things. A poor soil may indeed check or stop the movement and rich prolong and quicken it. Mendel has shown that his sweet-peas bred long and short, white and pink varieties in certain mathematical proportions, suggesting a mathematical law governing the transmission of parental characteristics. To the Judwalis, as interpreted by Michael Robartes, all living minds have likewise a fundamental mathematical movement, however adapted in plant, or animal, or man to particular circumstance; and when you have found this movement and calculated its relations, you can foretell the entire future of that mind. A supreme religious act of their faith is to fix the attention on the mathematical form of this movement until the whole past and future of humanity, or of an individual man, shall be present to the intellect as if it were accomplished in a single moment. The intensity of the Beatific Vision when it comes depends, upon the intensity of this realisation. It is possible in this way, seeing that death itself is marked upon the mathematical figure, which passes beyond it, to follow the soul into the highest heaven and the deepest hell. This doctrine is, they contend, not fatalistic because the mathematical figure is an expression of the mind's desire and the more rapid the development of the figure the greater the freedom of the soul. The figure while the soul is in the body, or suffering from the consequences of that life, is usually drawn as a double cone, the narrow end of each cone being in the centre of the broad end of the other.It has its origin from a straight line which represents, now time, now emotion, now subjective life, and a plane at right angles to this line which represents, now space, now intellect, now objective life; while it is marked out by two gyres which represent the conflict, as it were, of plane and line, by two movements, which circle about a centre because a movement outward on the plane is checked and in turn checks a movement onward upon the line; & the circling is always narrowing or spreading, because one movement or other is always the stronger. In other words, the human soul is always moving outward into the objective world or inward into itself; & this movement is double because the human soul would not be conscious were it not suspended between contraries, the greater the contrast the more intense the consciousness. The man, in whom the movement inward is stronger than the movement outward, the man who sees all reflected within himself, the subjective man, reaches the narrow end of a gyre at death, for death is always, they contend, even when it seems the result of accident, preceded by an intensification of the subjective life; and has a moment of revelation immediately after death, a revelation which they describe as his being carried into the presence of all his dead kindred, a moment whose objectivity is exactly equal to the subjectivity of death. The objective man on the other hand, whose gyre moves outward, receives at this moment the revelation, not of himself seen from within, for that is impossible to objective man, but of himself as if he were somebody else. This figure is true also of history, for the end of an age, which always receives the revelation of the character of the next age, is represented by the coming of one gyre to its place of greatest expansion and of the other to that of its greatest contraction. At the present moment the life gyre is sweeping outward, unlike that before the birth of Christ which was narrowing, and has almost reached its greatest expansion. The revelation which approaches will however take its character from the contrary movement of the interior gyre. All our scientific, democratic, fact-accumulating, heterogeneous civilization belongs to the outward gyre and prepares not the continuance of itself but the revelation as in a lightning flash, though in a flash that will strike only in one place, and will for a time be constantly repeated, of the civilization that must slowly take its place. This is too simple a statement, for much detail is possible. There are certain points of stress on outer and inner gyre, a division of each, now into ten, now into twenty-eight, stages or phases. However in the exposition of this detail so far as it affects their future, Robartes had little help from the Judwalis either because they cannot grasp the events outside their experience, or because certain studies seem to them unlucky. '"For a time the power" they have said to me,' (writes Robartes) '"will be with us, who are as like one another as the grains of sand, but when the revelation comes it will not come to the poor but to the great and learned and establish again for two thousand years prince & vizier. Why should we resist? Have not our wise men have marked it upon the sand, and it is because of these marks, made generation after generation by the old for the young, that we are named Judwalis."'
Their name means makers of measures, or as we would say, of diagrams.
The essay "'Everywhere that antinomy of the One and the Many': The Foundations of A Vision," by Neil Mann in the collection , edited by Neil Mann, Matthew Gibson, and Claire Nally (Clemson University, 2012), provides useful further exploration of this subject.
This title is available for free download or from Clemson University Press (click if seems the link may have changed). It is also accessible online via and (simplest to search on "Yeats" and "Vision"; functional April 2016), though this is by subscription or through a library.