Five Facts about Louisa Jordan:

1 The field hospital created at Glasgow’s SEC during the coronavirus has been named after a city nurse called Louisa Jordan – but who was she? Louisa was born in July 1878, on Gairbraid Street in Maryhill, where she lived with her mum Helen, dad Henry, who was a white lead and paint mixer, and brothers David and Thomas.

2 Louisa’s first job was as a mantle maker (someone who made overcoats) but she switched to nursing and went to work at Crumpsall Infirmary in Manchester. When she came home to Glasgow, she worked at Shotts Fever Hospital and then moved to the small mining community of Buckhaven in Fife to become a Queen’s Nurse (District Nurse).

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3 She signed up to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals on December 1, 1914 and worked under the command of Dr Eleanor Soltua at the 1st Serbian unit in Kraguievac, around 100 miles south of Belgrade. At the time, Serbia was short of medical facilities, so the work was busy and distressing. However, according to the Scotland’s War website, Louisa wrote in her diary: “We are quite a happy family.”

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4 In February, typhus broke out, an epidemic which was to claim 150,000 lives in six months. Because of her experience in Shotts, Louisa was assigned to the new fevers ward. Many doctors died and others were too sick to treat patients. While nursing a colleague, she wrote in her diary that “hardly a day passes but there is one or two funerals here.”

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5 Louisa died of typhus on March 6, 1915, age 36, one of four Scottish Women’s Hospitals (SWH) staff to die in Serbia. Madge Fraser, Augusta Minshull and Bessie Sutherland also died in the epidemic. Louisa is buried in the Chela Kula Military Cemetery and commemorated at Wilton Church in Glasgow and on the Buckhaven War Memorial. A dedicated service is held each year in Kraguievac.


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