A Dorset Woman at War: Mabel Stobart and the Retreat from Serbia 1915

The story of one Dorset woman; told through the museum's unique collection of photographs.

George Rankin, Lady of the Black Horse (portrait of Mabel Stobbart), 1916 Red Cross Museum and Archives, courtesy of Studland Village Hall Committee

George Rankin, Lady of the Black Horse (portrait of Mabel Stobbart), 1916

Despite already being in her mid-fifties, Stobart travelled to Serbia with female doctors and nurses who she had recruited and trained to help with the war effort. The display traces her incredible journey from the tented field hospital she established near the front line to her 250 mile trek through the Albanian mountains, and her final escape from Scutari.

A feminist, playwright and farmer she was a strong supporter of the Suffragette movement, and believed that women should earn the vote by demonstrating that they were as valuable to society as men. She led the mission to Serbia even though she faced opposition from prominent British surgeon Sir Frederick Treves, who felt there was no place for women in the conflict.

The photographs on display are highly graphic and reveal the true the horrors of war. Stobart always had a mind to share these images and after she returned from Serbia she decided to embark on a lecture tour of America. When Kodak developed the pictures they were so impressed that they had them blown up, mounted and hung in their head office. 


Venue details

Dorset County Museum High West Street, Dorchester Dorset DT1 1XA 01305 262735 www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

Entry details

Free with National Art Pass (standard entry £6.35)

1 Apr  –  31 Oct
Mon –  Sat, 10am ​–  5pm

19 July – 13 Sept
Sun, 11am ​–  4pm

1 Nov –  31 Mar
Mon –  Sat, 10am - 4pm

Closed 25 –  27 Dec