Faces of Salonika : Daisy Dobbs MM, TFNS

My thanks go to Geoff Botting who has kindly provided these details and photos of his remarkable grandmother, Daisy Dobbs, who was a nurse in Salonika, where she won the Military Medal for her courage. The man she later married, George Botting, was also a holder of the Military Medal; surely a unique occurrence!

Daisy Dobbs MM in her nurses uniform; photo provided by her grandson, Geoff Botting.Before the war Daisy Dobbs was working at the Willesden Institute as a staff nurse. She was called up for duty with the Territorial Force Nursing Service (TFNS) on 3rd February 1915 and was posted to the 4th General Hospital in Lincoln. After some 20 months in Lincoln she was sent overseas to the 29th General Hospital in Salonika on 20th October 1916.

Daisy remained in Salonika for the following two years.  In February 1917 she was wounded during an enemy air raid on the hospital but, despite her injuries, continued to attend to those around her. For her actions that night, Daisy was awarded the Military Medal and became one of only a small group of women, and the first woman of the British Salonika Force, to be so honoured.

The citation for the medal reads:

For conspicuous bravery, calmness and devotion to duty in looking after the safety of the patients under her charge, even after she was wounded by a piece of bomb and bleeding profusely, during an enemy raid. One patient was killed beside this Nurse and another wounded by the same bomb.

The wounds were to her face and chest.

Daisy Dobbs receiving her Military Medal from General Milne; photo provided by her grandson, Geoff Botting.Her duties prevented her from receiving her medal at Buckingham Palace so, as this picture shows, she received it from General Milne.

She was later assigned to the 31st casualty clearing station and, following some time in the 49th General Hospital recovering from sand fly bites, completed her two-year service in Salonika.

The difficulties of communication between England and Salonika are illustrated by her father writing to the Matron-in-Chief some six months later asking about his daughter as he had not heard from her for six weeks.

On her return from Salonika in August 1918 she narrowly escaped death when the Hospital Ship Warilda was torpedoed and sunk. An account of her experience of the torpedoing can be found on the British Military Nurses website www.scarletfinders.co.uk under ‘Nurses Tales’.

Daisy was demobbed, as a Staff Nurse, on 11th March 1919. A year later Daisy received a letter from Dame Sydney Browne telling her that Her Majesty Queen Alexandra had graciously given permission for ‘you to retain your T.F.N.S. badge permanently as you have completed four years’ good service during the war’. Despite this, Daisy was denied the award of the Territorial Force War Medal on the grounds that ‘she was not enrolled with the TFNS until December 1914′.

She received an unusual posthumous honour in 2011 when the Great British Beer Festival in Earls Court chose Daisy as one of its ‘Military Heroes’ to have a bar named after her; odd considering she was tee-total


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Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal - 'The New Mosquito' - a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915 to 1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.