|Description||Eileen Crofton was educated at North London Collegiate School and Somerville College, Oxford, England. She qualified in 1943 and became a captain in the RAMC [Royal Army Medical Corps] (1944-45). During a posting to Northern Ireland immediately after the war she met John Crofton and they had five children, before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland in 1952, where her husband was appointed Professor of Respiratory Diseases. (In 2010 an official Chair was named by the university as the Sir John Crofton Chair, the last public engagement to which Eileen came.) In 1962 Eileen Crofton resumed her career as research assistant in medical epidemiology and medical officer of the British Red Cross Society. |
In 1973, she became the first medical director of Action on Smoking and Health Scotland, work for which she was awarded an MBE. She served on the World Health Organisation's expert committee on smoking from 1975 to 1987 and lectured nationally and internationally on tobacco control topics. After retirement she became involved in women's issues as a member and vice-chairman of the Scottish Convention of Women. She wrote many special medical papers.
Crofton's book, 'The Women of Royaumont: A Scottish women's hospital on the Western Front', tells the story of the hospital that went to France to the beautiful Abbey of Royaumont, operating continuously from January 1915 to March 1919 under Frances Ivens, chief medical officer. Being close to the front line, it received extremely severe casualties. The initial 100 beds increased to 600 at the request of the French authorities, who recognised it as one of our most efficient hospitals. It was heavily involved in the offensives of 1915, the Somme battles of 1916 and the final struggles of 1918, when its forward hospital was overrun.
The Scottish Women's Hospital of the First World War was the inspiration of Dr Elsie Inglis. An honorary secretary of the Scottish Federation of Women's Suffrage Societies, she was keen to demonstrate what woman could contribute to the war effort, particularly in the field of medicine. With the Federation's backing, she offered a 100-bed unit staffed entirely by women to the War Office or to the Red Cross. Both offers were summarily rejected. Undeterred, with her committee's backing she offered units to the French and Serbian authorities. Both offers were accepted.
Contents: 'The Call of Our Allies and the Response of the Scottish Women's Hospitals for Foreign Service', 1915; lists of members of the Royaumont and Villers-Cotterets Association, 1926-1964; newsletters, 1928-1973; staff ledger for Royaumont, 1915-1919