From the outset of the war until November 1918, trained nurses were sent abroad at short notice under the banner of the Red Cross. Over 2,000 women offered their services in 1914, many declining a salary, and from this list individuals were despatched to areas of hostility including France, Belgium, Serbia and Gallipoli. From 1915 onwards they were joined by partially trained women from the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) who were posted to undertake less technical duties.
On 27 October 1915, the Alloa Circular reported:
ALLOA NURSE FOR MALTA
Miss Bessie Coltman, 47 Ochil Street, Alloa, has been appointed one of the Queen Alexandra Nurses, and has been ordered to proceed to Malta on active service with the troops. Nurse Coltman has admirable qualifications for the work to which she has devoted herself. She holds the local Government Board's Certificate for Fever Nursing which includes passes in Medical and Surgical Nursing, Anatomy and Physiology, Hygiene and Dietetics (with distinction), and infectious Diseases (with distinction). She also holds the Certificate of the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for Medical and Surgical Training.
LOCAL NURSE FOR RUSSIA
Miss Sophia Robertson, daughter of the Reverend Dr. Robertson, The Manse, Clackmannan, left Clackmannan on Wednesday en route for Petrograd to take charge of nursing corps there. Miss Robertson has already been in Serbia and Bulgaria.