We believe that in this image above we see Maud Thompson and her then husband The Rev. H. P. Thompson. As in many of our archive images they are accompanied by armed guards, in this case four uniformed men with rifles and dogs. The remote mountainous regions of the Balkans were dangerous areas in the interwar years.
Archive Image ref no: 03-37.
Maud Thompson, seen above, had, interestingly, a particular and unexpected usefulness to the rest of the group. Of course she more than held her own when it came to collecting plants, to the extent that one of her specialities Sempervivum had a variety named after her (Sempervivum thompsonianum). The Reverend never achieved such honours. But it was not that, but the rather surprising fact that she spoke Serbian that was of enormous benefit in connecting the group to the gendarmes, villagers, market-vendors, guides, porters etc. whom they encountered daily.
Intriguingly, we have now found Maud Thompson’s Regimental & Service Records, in the British Red Cross Register of Overseas Volunteers 1914-1918.
Category: Military, Armed Forces & Conflict.
First Name: Maud Susan Emily. Last Name: Callwell.
Rank: Sanitary Inspector. Certificate Number: 18629.
Department: Serbian Relief Fund. Destination Salonica.
Passport Number: 217566.
Here Maud is seen again in three images, second from left in the seated group, and then again on the far right, camping al fresco. The young man in the left picture, right foreground, remains a mystery. Notice again the presence of armed escorting militia men, left and center images.
We remain uncertain as to the identity of some of the people who appear in our images, especially if they only feature occasionally. To the left may be Dr. Giuseppi. To the right the Rev. H. P. Thompson..
The Reverend Henry Paget Thompson.
What we do know is that he was born in 1880 and would have been in his 50s at the time most of the slides bearing his image were taken. He was, as his title indicates, a man of the church and it is there, rather than in the more arcane world of horticulture that he made his name—though we shall see no glimmer of that alter-ego in our pictures. He went to Christ Church at Oxford (see below) and was later ordained and served in the parish of Poynton between 1919 and 1924. He went on to become Assistant Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; one of the oldest and largest of the Christian missionary societies. He became an absolutely prolific traveller and writer of religious books, documenting the missionary field in almost every corner of the world.
Expedition members mentioned at various times: Maud Thompson. Dr Hugh Roubilliac Roger-Smith. The Rev. H. P. Thompson (seen above as a young undergraduate at Christ Church College, Oxford). Villim Laschnigg, Walter Ingwersen. Dr. & Mrs Giuseppi. Dr. Seligman.
Above Photo Credit: The Governing Body of Christ Church College, Oxford.
Here we have Maud Thompson again, sitting and adjacent to the armed guard on her right. We are particularly interested in identifying the young man in the group who only appears once in the collection. Enlarged image right.
Archive Image file ref: 03-24.
Two articles have been found, covering Alpine Plant hunting trips in 1935 and 1937, that name Villim Loschnigg of the Sarajevo Museum as a member of the party.
We find that from1898 to 1950, the preparator at the Department of Botany of Sarajevo Museum was Villim Loschnigg. He played an important role in collecting and bringing plant material as a preparator. In the period from May 31 to June 2, 1925, he broughjt 40 species from the surroundings of Dubrovnik. At the beginning of October of the same year he brought 45 species from Dubrovnik and continued collecting in February, March and April 1926, 1927, 1928 and in 1930. In 1935 he performed a great expedition along the mountains of Macedonia (Jablanica, Vodno, Pelister, Karadzica).
In the herbarium are still specimens of plants with his original signature.