Doctor Helen Hanson

Dr Helen Hanson served with the Auxiliary Hospital Unit in Antwerp during WW1. She is entitled to the 1914 Star with clasp, the British War and Victory Medals, the Order of St. Sava, 2nd type from Serbia, 4th Class breast badge and a Red Cross Decoration.

She was born in 1874.

She graduated M.B. & L.S.A. in 1901 and received her M.D. from the University of London in 1904 having trained at the London School of Medicine for Women (The Royal Free Hospital).

For three years she served as Medical Officer to the Kinnaird Memorial Hospital at Lucknow, India.

In 1911 she was awarded the Diploma in Public Health of Oxford University and was appointed Assistant School Medical Officer to London County Council.

Shortly after the outbreak of war Dr Hanson went to Belgium with the St. John Unit forming the Auxiliary Hospital at Antwerp commanded by Mrs St. Clair Stobart. The unit served during the siege of Antwerp and were amongst the last civilians to leave before the city was occupied by the Germans. The unit then operated in a chateau at Cherbourg until April 1915 when it transferred to Serbia.

After serving there for 6 months, she returned to London and early in 1916 addressed the Royal Society of Arts on her experiences in Serbia as a Red Cross worker. During that time she served for 6 weeks at the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit at Kraguijevatz.

Later Dr Hanson served with the Royal Army Medical Corps in Malta and Salonika, holding the honorary rank of Captain. Very few women served with the Royal Army Medical Corps during WW1.

Picture of her medals (sold at Dix noonan Webb in December 2012)

click on the image to enlarge

After the war she served with the Black Sea Expeditionary Force at Constantinople, returning to London in 1920 to work once more for the L.C.C.

On 6 July 1926 she was killed in a motor accident. She was buried at Finchley. A Requiem Service was held for her at St. Martin-in-the-Fields on 20 July 1926.

click on the image to enlarge

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