Lady Doctors of the Malta Garrison No 23 Gorrie Eleanor Amelia
No 23 Dr Eleanor Amelia Gorrie MB ChB (Ed
1907) 17 Apr 1881 – 11 Jan 1960 [Whitstable, Kent]
In May 1916, Dr Louisa Aldrich-Blake, Surgeon at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital and Dean of the
London School of Medicine for Women, approached all the women on the Medical Register asking them to say if
they would be willing to serve with the Royal Army Medical Corps. From the replies received, 48 lady doctors
were enrolled. The first 22 medical women embarked for Malta on 2 August 1916; another 16 lady doctors embarked
on the Hospital Ship Gloucester Castle on 12 August 1916.
The Director General Army Medical Services, Sir Alfred Keogh, was responsible for employing medical women
and for dealing with illnesses among them. Women doctors, also referred to as lady doctors, were classed as
civilian surgeons attached to the RAMC. Women serving as full time doctors in the Army and doing precisely the
same work as their male colleagues had neither military rank nor status, but received the same pay, rations,
travelling allowances and gratuity as temporary commissioned male officers of the Royal Army Medical Corps. A
uniform was not introduced until after April 1918. This was similar in appearance to that worn by the Queen
Mary's Auxiliary Army Corps (QMAAC) but with an RAMC badge on both lapels.
In October 1916, on hearing from the War Office that fifty more medical women were needed for service with
the RAMC in English hospitals, Aldrich-Blake again negotiated with all the women who had qualified in the
preceding ten years, and secured the requisite number in a very short time. On 20 October 1916, eleven medical
women embarked on the Hospital Ship Britannic for Malta.
The casualties from operations in Gallipoli (25 April 1915 – 9 January 1916), and Salonica (October
1915 – 30 September 1918), were initially treated in
Malta and Egypt, but in 1917, submarine attacks on hospital ships made it unsafe to evacuate from Salonica
and five General Hospitals, Nos 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65, mobilized in Malta for service in Salonica to which the
medical women were attached.
Between August 1916 and July 1917, eighty two lady doctors served in war hospitals in Malta. They worked
alongside their RAMC colleagues and carried out all but administrative duties. Their assistance was very highly
appreciated. Their work was recognized in the King's Birthday Honours list of June 1918 when Dr Barbara Martin
Cunningham MB ChB, Military Hospital Mtarfa, Mrs Katharine Rosebery Drinkwater MB BS, in charge of Military
Families Staff and Department Malta and Miss May Thorne MD, in charge of Sisters' Hospital and Staff Department
Malta, were awarded the Order of the British Empire for services rendered during the war.
Service Record — Eleanor Amelia Gorrie
Dr Eleanor Amelia Gorrie was baptized at the Free Church, Dalkieth, Midlothian on 15 May 1881, a daughter of
George Hutton Gorrie and Mary Jane Krith.
She qualified in Edinburgh in 1907 having won a George Heriot Bursary for Women (Medicine) at Edinburgh
University on her matriculation from George Watson's Ladies College (recorded in the University's Calendar for
1900); she was awarded her degrees with First Class Honours, and came 2nd in her class (1908 Calendar).
She was Resident Medical Officer at the Infectious Disease Hospital Stoke on Trent, Clinical Assistant West
Riding Asylum Wakefield and Senior Assistant at the Sanatorium at Bridge of Weir, Scotland for
28 July 1900 Passed the First Professional examination for the degrees of Medicine
and Surgery of the University of Edinburgh. Qualified in 1907 and her name was entered in the the Medical
Register on 10 April 1907.
1911 Recorded in the 1911 Census as the sole Resident Medical Officer, with a
Matron and 27 nurses, at the Infectious Diseases Hospital Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.
1913 Recorded in the Medical Register of 1913 as residing at 35 Warrender Road,
Feb 1916 The Sanitary Record and Municipal Engineer dated 25 February 1916
At the last meeting of the Borough Council, the Committee reported that they had received three
applications, and they recommended the appointment of Dr Eleanor Amelia Gorrie, who is at present acting as
locum tenens at the central Tuberculosis Dispensary. After a long discussion, an amendment was carried
substituting the name of the second candidate, Dr Arthur B S Cooke, of Kennington Park Road, for that of Dr
July 1916 Contracted to work for 12 months as a Civilian Surgeon attached to the
RAMC. Her salary was 24 shillings a day including allowances, but excluding duty transport. A gratuity of
£60 was awarded at the end of the contract, provided employment was not terminated for misconduct. Most
of the medical women were invited to renew their contracts at the expiry of their first year's work.
Malta 22 Nov 1917 Declared unfit by
a Medical Board. Was granted leave and left Malta on 22 November 1917.
1917 The Medical Directory lists her address as Dalkeith House, 78 Bow Road
1 Dec 1917 – 31 Dec 1917 Granted leave by a Medical Board.
21 Jan 1918 A Medical Board declared her fit for Home Service only, and was posted
5 Feb 1918 – 11 Aug 1918 On duty with Western Command.
1923 Tuberculosis Medical Officer on the staff of the Public Health Department of
the Metropolitan Borough of Camberwell.
1926 – 1939 Recorded in Kelly's Directory and Harrow & Wembley Electoral
Registers residing at 31 Monks Park, Wembley, Middlesex with her two unmarried sisters.
1942 Assistant Tuberculosis Officer the Camberwell Tuberculosis Dispensary. The
Dispensary which was situated at 19 Brunswick Square, came under the control of the Borough Council in April
1921. Prior to that date, it was directed by a voluntary organisation. Dr William Brand was the Tuberculosis
Officer for Camberwell in 1926. He was still in post in 1930.
In the 1942 Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health for the Borough of Camberwell, dated at
Camberwell Town Hall 30 September 1943, H W Barnes wrote:
To assist Dr Eleanor Gorrie, the Assistant Tuberculosis Officer, the Council of the neighbouring
Borough of Southwark approved the loan of the services of their Tuberculosis Officer, Dr Pritchard, for the
purpose of conducting one clinic weekly at the Camberwell Tuberculosis Dispensary.
11 Jan 1960 Died at Whitstable, Kent. She remained unmarried.
No 23 (24/G/465), Army Book No 82. Record of Special Reserve Officer's Service (Records of 132 Lady