British Hospitals with the Serbs (4 and final)

No 33 Stationary Hospital went to Amyntaion (Αμύνταιον then Sorovitch) near the south-west end of Lake Vegoritis (Βεγορίτις then Ostrovo), on the Monastir railway line, where it opened in November 1916. Its accommodation was expanded to 600 beds. Its personnel carried out much work in bathing and disinfecting the Serbian divisions concentrated about Amyntaion in 1916 and 1917. Another hospital for the Serbian Army was the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) in Arnissa (Άρνισσα then Ostrovo) known as the American Unit. For the latter there will be a specific new post.

Positions of 36 and 37 GH (I), 33 stationary hospital (II) and the SWH in Ostrovo (III)

36 37 33 swh.resized

According to RAMC reports, the Salonika front had three casualties of disease to every one casualty of enemy action. The great dominating factor throughout the occupation of Macedonia by the British Salonika Army was malaria. Malaria proved to be a serious drain on manpower during the campaign. In total, the British forces suffered 162,517 cases of the disease and in total 505,024 non-battle casualties.

Dr. Copinaris, the Greek Medical Officer of Health for Macedonia gave valuable information regarding the villages where malaria was most prevalent, as well as information regarding epidemic diseases, such as cholera, typhus and plague. Many actions have been undertaken against malaria. Draining of 1,500 acres of swamps south of the Monastir road was commenced in February and completed in May 1916. Similar drainage operations were carried out in marshy areas along the Galliko river and in the vicinity of Lembet village, on the Exochi (Εξοχή Hortakioi) plateau, and elsewhere in the area of the entrenched camp. When the troops moved forward, constant work was carried out for canalizing streams in the areas occupied by the divisions. In the final operations (1918) a very large number of cases of influenza and broncho-pneumonia were admitted.

Overall, the British authorities provided around 50,000 hospital beds in the Macedonian Front.


6 thoughts on “British Hospitals with the Serbs (4 and final)

  1. Hi Nikiforos,
    It’s great to read your blogs which so far anyway lol are reinforcing my research. In my manuscript my main character working for the Scottish Women’s Hospital comes down with Malaria and two of the Australian CMOs had to leave Ostrovo because of the disease. Just wondering which is Ostrovo the top red mark or the lower one.


  2. Hi Nikiforos,
    I am in Melbourne, Australia and researching Australians who served with the SWH “American” unit in Ostrovo and on the Salonika Front in general during WW1. My grandfather and great uncle were Serbian Officers at the Salonika Front during WW1. I am planning to visit the site of the Ostrovo location and the battlefields of Kajmakcalan and Dobro Polje in September-October 2016,
    I am wondering if you could kindly provide me with directions or GPS coordinates to find the Ostrovo site?

    Kind Regards

    Bojan Pajic


    • Hi Bojan

      Here are some coordinates

      1. SWH in Ostrovo (modern name Arnissa): 40°46’26.9″N 21°51’32.8″E
      It was a tented hospital so there are no buildings, just cultivated land. See my blog.

      2. British hospitals No. 36 & 37 in Mavrovouni: 40°47’16.2N 22°08’40.3E
      Tented hospitals. Only remaining building is the water cistern next to the railway.

      3, The nearby French-Serbian airfield: 40°47’12.5N 22°09’35.4E

      4. The restored by the Serbs orthodox church in Apsalos (then Dragomanci): 40°53’51.3N 22°03’28.0E. They also used to bury there the dead. Now it’s the village cemetery.

      5. The Decauville railway station in Apsalos: 40°53’30.8N 22°03’46.5E Next to it there was a big Serbian hospital. Through this line Serbs used to transport equipment to the front and the wounded in the hospital.

      6, And very important the little church on top of the Voras mountain; the Kaymakchalan peak. The church was built by the Serbs in the early ‘20s to commemorate the fallen soldiers during the ferocious battle of Kaymakchalan which took place in September 1916, exactly 100 years ago. I may write something about it in September.
      40°55’50.7N 21°47’10.3E. A must visit site!
      More information (in Greek) in my FB. Finally, in August-September there will be a summer school on the Macedonian Front in University of Thessaliniki with some excursions in important sites:

      I wish you a nice trip to these historical places.


      • Hi Nikiforos,
        Many thanks for your advice and my apologies for the delayed response due to travel.
        We plan to visit the sites you kindly pointed out in late September or early October. Apart from the site of the Ostrovo unit of SWH, we hope to see the sites of the key battles of Kajmakcalan (September – November 1916) and Dobro Polje (September 1918).
        Your help and your wonderfully informative website is much appreciated.


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