We learned about the Dobrashian family through George Rowland Dobrashian’s descendant Marc Willers QC, who was interviewed for the project. Additional research found further interesting material about the family, especially Gertrude Dobrashian, once of the first pioneering female doctors in Britain.
Gertrude Margaret Dobrashian was born on 23 January 1887 into Constantinople, in the family of Gabriel and Martha Dobrashians, committee members of the Quakers Friends’ Armenian Mission. They have been interested in Quaker teachings and converted, becoming active committee members helping the community.
Gertrude Martha Gillet and Gabriel Dobrashian married in 1885 in Banbury, after which she moved back to Constantinople with her husband for several years where they had their children Gertrude Margaret (1887), George Rowland (1891), Theodore(1892), and Richanda Winifred (1896). The youngest – Arnold was born in London in 1898. Gabriel Dobrashian was a doctor and continued working as a doctor according to the 1901 census, when the family were living in Willesden.
Gertrude studied at first at Cambray House in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and then at the London School of Medicine for Women and graduated in 1911, studying under Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who was the first woman to qualify in Britain as a doctor, and a prominent suffragist. After qualifying, she worked as a House Physician at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and as Resident Medical Officer of the Ransom Sanatorium Mansfield. However, in 1916, she was posted to Malta during WW1, where medical care was centralised and casualties from Gallipoli and Salonica were sent here to be treated. Gertrude was one of the first women doctors to join the Royal Army Medical Corps. Her salary was 24 shillings a day and a gratuity of £60 was awarded at the end of the contract. She was in Malta during 1916-1917, where she served as a Medical Officer and Registrar at Mtarfa Military Hospital. She specialised in the treatment of Bacillary Dysentery in patients from Salonica.
Gertrude’s younger brother Arnold also served in WW1 as an RAF pilot. He’s mentioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, in the University of London Memorial Roll book. He moved to Canada in 1927, marrying there in 1935.
There is some information about that George Rowland was also serving in the army and his name is in the list of passengers travelling to Malta as a Lieutenant in 1917.