Vera Collum

Vera Christina Chute Collum (4 April 1883[1] – 25 February 1957), was a British journalist, suffragist, anthropologist, photographer, radiographer and writer.

Vera Collum
Vera Christina Chute Collum died 1957.jpg
Vera Christina Chute Collum

4 April 1883
Umballa, India
Died25 February 1957(1957-02-25) (aged 73)
Guildford, Surrey


Vera Christina Chute Collum was born in Umballa, India in 1883 to Betty Chute Ellis and Lucius Joseph Collum. She came to England as a child after her father died. Her mother remarried but Collum never got on with her step-father, John Prosser Adams. Her grandfather was the South Australian John Ellis[2]

World War IEdit

Unknown date and photographer

Collum ran the press office of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in London in 1914. There she was strongly involved in the suffrage movement. When World War I started she volunteered to help with the Scottish Women's Hospitals, serving from February 1915 to November 1917.[3] Her initial deployment was to Royaumont Abbey, the military hospital also called Hôpital Auxiliare which was set up to treat wounded French soldiers. She worked with Ruth Nicholson there. Collum started as an orderly but was then trained as a radiographer in the new department. She became extremely experienced and developed the skill. However, in March 1916 she was sent home for rest and recouperation. But on her return journey on 24 March from Folkestone to Dieppe, her ferry the SS Sussex, was torpedoed. Collum was badly injured.[4] Between 50 and 100 people were killed. Collum was sent back to England for treatment and returned to her post before July 1916. The French Government awarded Collum the Military Health Service honour medal in 1915 and the Croix de Guerre in 1918 for her work. She was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal by the British Government.[3] During her time at the hospital she wrote about her experiences for Blackwood's Magazine under the name Skia. Her detailed descriptions of the staff, equipment and situations in the hospital give an invaluable insight into the hospitals of the war especially during the July 1916 offensive.[2][5][6][7][8][9][10]

After the warEdit

After the war Collum was advised to stay away from radiation work after the results of her blood tests came back. She had experienced radiation burns on her hands and neck. Collum then worked as an anthropologist and archaeologist. She wrote extensively. Collum was elected to the Royal Anthropological Institution in London in May 1924 and was a member of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. She had no formal education and declared herself a student of the world. She traveled in Japan and the Far East. In 1931 Collum excavated a megalithic tomb at Tressé in Brittany. She worked with Mary Eily de Putron on the le Déhus dolmen and the Delancey Park excavations. Collum moved to Guildford in Surrey where she was living in 25 February 1957 when she died at St Luke's Hospital in the town.[7][9][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] In her will she left £15,590 16s 2d.[13]


  • Manifold Unity,1940
  • The Tressé iron-age megalithic monument (Sir Robert Mond's excavation) : its quadruple sculptured breasts and their relation to the mother-goddess cosmic cult, 1935
  • Art in Greece, 1927
  • The dance of Civa; life's unity and rhythm, 1927
  • Race and history : an ethnological introduction to history, 1926.
  • The earth before history : man's origin and the origin of life, 1925
  • Prehistoric man : a general outline of prehistory, 1924.

References and sourcesEdit

  1. ^ 1939 England and Wales Register for Vera C C Collum
  2. ^ a b Thomas, A.; Duck, F. (2019). Edith and Florence Stoney, Sisters in Radiology. Springer Biographies. Springer International Publishing. p. 266. ISBN 978-3-030-16561-1. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  3. ^ a b Vera C C Collum in the UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
  4. ^ Lyn MacDonald, The Roses of No Man's Land. London, Macmillan, 1980. pp. 139-143.
  5. ^ "John Chute (Jock) ELLIS". Virtual War Memorial. 1917-06-06. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  6. ^ "Vera C.C. Collum - Royaumont Abbey, France - Hôpital Auxiliare 301 (HA 301)". Inspirational Women Of World War One: Vera C.C. Collum. 2014-08-20. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  7. ^ a b "Life story: Vera Christina Chute Collum". Lives of the First World War. 1957-02-25. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  8. ^ Brock, C. (2017). British Women Surgeons and their Patients, 1860-1918. Cambridge University Press. p. 188. ISBN 978-1-107-18693-4. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  9. ^ a b Crofton, E. (2013). Angels of Mercy: A Women's Hospital on the Western Front 1914-1918. EBL ebooks online. Birlinn. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-85790-616-8. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  10. ^ Brock, Claire (1915-12-24). [/core/books/british-women-surgeons-and-their-patients-18601918/inside-the-theatre-of-war/8F3326DFD4BF47D0161B9E95273E69E0/core-reader "Inside the Theatre of War (Chapter 4)"] Check |url= value (help). Cambridge Core. pp. 181–233. doi:10.1017/9781316911921.005. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  11. ^ "THE WOMEN OF JAPAN - HOW THEY WORK. AND HOW THEY ARE EDUCATED. - The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 - 1950) - 26 Dec 1912". Trove. 1912-12-26. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  12. ^ "WOMEN'S NOTES. - WOMEN OF JAPAN. - Darling Downs Gazette (Qld. : 1881 - 1922) - 5 Sep 1913". Trove. 1913-09-05. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  13. ^ a b Vera Christina Chute Collum in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
  14. ^ Saunders, M. (2019). Imagined Futures: Writing, Science, and Modernity in the To-Day and To-Morrow Book Series, 1923-31. Oxford University Press. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-19-882945-4. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  15. ^ "Collum, Vera Christina Chute, b. 1883". Catalogue. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  16. ^ Adam, T. (2016). Transnational Philanthropy: The Mond Family’s Support for Public Institutions in Western Europe from 1890 to 1938. Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series. Springer International Publishing. p. 245. ISBN 978-3-319-29127-7. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  17. ^ Bradley, Richard (2015-01-02). [/core/journals/antiquity/article/vera-collum-and-the-excavation-of-a-roman-megalithic-tomb/2CCBEFD1807361E98106CA12E79AE8E1 "Vera Collum and the excavation of a 'Roman' megalithic tomb - Antiquity"] Check |url= value (help). Antiquity. 74 (283): 39–43. doi:10.1017/S0003598X00066114. ISSN 0003-598X. Retrieved 2019-10-20.