Who's Who - Flora Sandes

Flora Sandes Flora Sandes (1876-1956) was a British nurse who subsequently enlisted as a Serbian Army soldier during the First World War.

The daughter of an Irish clergyman Sandes was prompt in volunteering for service with a Serbian ambulance unit upon the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war with Serbia on 28 July 1914.

When the Serbian Army was overrun by invading Austro-German-Bulgarian forces in November 1915 Sandes travelled with the Army and government-in-exile during the 'Great Retreat' to Corfu via the mountains of Albania.  Sandes herself enlisted with the Serbian Army - the Iron Regiment - during the retreat.

In November the following year Sandes achieved a remarkable promotion, to Sergeant-Major.  The same year, 1916, she published An English Woman-Sergeant in the Serbian Army as a means of raising necessary funds for the Serbian cause.

Before year 1916 was out she had suffered a wound caused by an enemy grenade during hand-to-hand fighting.  Her wound meant that she returned to her original wartime occupation, running a hospital.

In spite of the end of war in late 1918 Sandes chose to remain with the Serbian Army, eventually retiring with the rank of Captain and with Serbia's highest decoration, the King George Star.

Having lived a decidedly unusual and adventurous life for a woman of the period Sandes eventually married in 1927.  Upon the death of her husband Yurie Yudenitch in 1941 Sandes remained in Belgrade until the end of the Second World War, belatedly returning home to England where she died in Suffolk in 1956.

A Daisy Cutter was a shell with an impact fuse to explode immediately upon touching the ground.

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