26 SEPTEMBER 1914, Page 17


[To THE EDITOR OP TER " SPRCTATOR."1 SIR,—At this time of national crisis it is natural that our main efforts should be devoted to providing for our own soldiers and sailors, and to alleviating the dire needs of our Belgian allies. Public attention has been concentrated on the western theatre of war, and the part played by Serbia has to a certain extent been overlooked. And yet her military achievements cannot be a matter of indifference to the Allies; for the battles of Jadar and Shabatz have accounted for four Austrian army corps, which would otherwise have been free for employment west of the Rhine, and which might thus have turned the scale against us at the height of the German invasion of France. In practice, if not in theory, Serbia is as much our ally as Russia, and as such is entitled, not merely to our esteem and sympathy, but also to assistance of a more practical kind.

In striking contrast to her achievements are the meagre resources of the little country. For the third time in two years she is involved in war, and this time her very existence as a nation is at stake. The last two wars cost her not less than fifty thousand lives out of a population of barely three millions, and yet despite her exhaustion she has hurled back Austria's boasted punitive expedition and in her turn inflicted severe punishment on flying Austrian armies. But this success has been won at fearful cost, and the shortage of doctors and

nurses is very great—greater than in any other part of warring Europe. On previous occasions Serbia has been able to rely very largely for the care of her sick and wounded on the sympathy of her fellow-Slays in Russia and Austria. To-day the resources of every other Continental country are strained to the utmost by urgent needs at borne. A small detachment of ten British nurses, under the leadership of Mine. Grouitch, is now in Serbia; but these gallant volunteers urgently need further help, bow urgently is best proved by the pathetic appeal of the Serbian Government, enjoining strict economy in lint, cottonwool, and hospital appliances!

Nor is this all. Serbia's undefended capital has been systematically bombarded by Austrian and Hungarian troops ; the fertile district of Shabatz has been brutally ravaged by the invaders in the opening weeks of the war, and the suffering among non-combatants in the North of Serbia is therefore infinitely more acute even than in Belgium and Northern France. In these circumstances we have no hesitation in appealing to the generosity of the Briitah public in aid of a country which is assuredly fighting our battles as well as those of her own race.

Any help will be most gratefully received and acknow- ledged. Parcels of clothing (especially medical and surgical supplies) should be addressed to Lady (Ralph) Paget at 195 Queen's Gate, S.W.; cheques should be sent to Sir Edward Boyle, Bart., Hon. Treasurer, Serbian Relief Fund, 63 Queen's Gate, S.W., or to the London County and West- minster Bank, Ltd., Sussex Place, Queen's Gate (crossed " Serbian Relief Fund "). It may be added that we are acting with the hearty approval of H.E. the Serbian Minister and of Mr. Miyatovich, late Serbian Minister in London.—We are, Sir, &c., LEILA PAGET. J. ST. LOE STRA.CHEY.



FITZMALTRICE. (Chairman of Executive).


ARTHUR J. EVANS. (Secretary). T. P. O'CONNOR.

[We have no hesitation in strongly recommending this appeal to our readers. Our gallant Serbian allies deserve all the help and support they can possibly receive from us. The pluck and determination of this nation in arms—we use the term in the full literal sense—cannot be over-estimated.- ED. Spectator.)