THE HEROIC deeds of a Dorset woman during the First World War are being celebrated at a new exhibition at the Dorset County Museum.

A Dorset Woman at War, which runs until November 15, is the museum’s first exhibition commemorating the centenary of the Great War.

The display focuses on the story of Mabel St Clair Stobart, who travelled to Serbia in 1915 to head an all-female medical team.

It traces her brave efforts at a tented field hospital near the frontline and the relentless 250-mile trek through the Albanian mountains that led to her final escape during the tragic Serbian retreat from German, Austrian and Bulgarian forces.

The exhibition was launched by former war correspondent Kate Adie, who has researched the role women played during the First World War for her book Fighting on the Home Front.

She said that, while Mabel Stobart may not be that well-known in Dorset, Serbian school children still learned about her and the many other women who played a heroic role in their country’s efforts during the war. Mrs Adie described her as a ‘fantastic woman’ who ‘wrote wonderfully’ and said she was one of many ordinary women who ‘rose to the occasion’ and became heroines of the Great War.

She said: “Every individual in the country was affected by that war and some women really rose to the occasion, Mabel Stobart was at the forefront.”

The exhibition includes photographs of Stobart’s adventures and extracts from her writings with most of the material for the display coming from the Dorchester museum’s own collections.

President of the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Captain Michael Fulford-Dobson said the museum was also grateful to the Imperial War Museum, British Red Cross Museum, the Studland Village Hall management committee, Poole Museum and the Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum as well as the Stobart family themselves for their support of the exhibition.

Chairman of the society Dr Peter Down also praised the efforts of the museum staff and volunteers.

He said: “Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who are too numerous to mention but for whose support we are extremely grateful.”