Records of the Scottish Ambulance Unit in Spain, humanitarian and aid unit, 1936-c1939, Scotland

Scope and Content

  • Pamphlet advertising a Spanish Market to be held in Glasgow, 1937;
  • Article about the Scottish Ambulance Unit, 1938;
  • Photographs, c1938.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Scottish Ambulance Unit was was sent to Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) to aid the humanitarian effort to help the wounded and starving people in the poorest and worst hit parts of Madrid. It was formed by wealthy Glasgow-based businessman and Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Sir Daniel Macaulay Stevenson (1851-1944) in 1936. Stevenson was was one of the University's most generous benefactors and founded The Stevenson Lectureship in Citizenship in 1921, and the Stevenson Chair of Italian and the Stevenson Chair of Spanish (which became the Stevenson Chair in Hispanic Studies) in 1924. He also funded exchange scholarships with Spanish, French, and German universities.

The first convoy of six ambulances and a lorry left Scotland for Madrid in September 1936, and served during the siege of the Spanish capital. The unit was led by Miss Fernanda Jacobsen, who later received an OBE for her services to humanity and for her assistance during the war in Spain. During the first few months in Spain, the unit suffered from a series of problems with its personnel: five members of unit were sent home for "disciplinary reasons" immediately after their arrival at the front. The Scottish Ambulance Unit initially operated separately from the Spanish Medical Aid Committee, with which it had an uneasy relationship.Back at home fundraising events were held in Glasgow in order for the Unit to continue its aid efforts in Spain.



The arrangement of this material reflects the original order in which it was received

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposit : Unknown : 1994 : ACCN 1308

Other Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Alternative Form Available

No known copies

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

None which affect the use of this material

Conditions Governing Use

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the Archivist.

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use and condition of documents.

Appraisal Information

This material has been appraised in line with standard GB 0248 procedures

Custodial History



None expected

Related Material

A biography of Sir Daniel Macaulay Stevenson can be found on our University of Glasgow Story website.

Collections of Sir Daniel Macaulay Stevenson's correspondence can be found at

  • GB 097, London School of Economics, Library, Archives Division, letters to Edwin Cannan, 1928-1933;
  • GB 233, National Library of Scotland, Manuscripts Collection, miscellaneous correspondence, 1906-1936 (MSS 10401, 10543-10571, 10603);
  • GB 652, University of Toronto, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, correspondenc with James Mavor, 1911-1916.

GB 152, Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick, archives relating to the Spanish Civil War have been digitised and are available online here.

Location of Originals

This material is original


No known publications using this material

Additional Information

Description compiled in line with the following international standards: International Council on Archives,ISAD(G) Second Edition, September 1999 and National Council on Archives,Rules for the construction of personal, place and corporate names


Fonds level description compiled by Vikki Laidlaw, Hub Project Assistant, 08 April 2005. Lower level description compiled by members of Glasgow University Archive Service staff.

Collection catalogued by Vikki Laidlaw, Hub Project Assistant, 8 April 2005 and members of Glasgow University Archive Services staff. Catalogue converted to Encoded Archival Description by Andrew Thomson, Hub Project Archivist, 13 April 2005. Administrative history, related material, and index terms edited by Gemma Tougher, Assistant Archivist, (Cataloguing), 15 May 2012.