Evelina Haverfield was born Evelina Scarlett in 1867 at Inverlochy Castle, Kingussie in Scotland. Her parents were William Scarlett, 3rd Baron Abinger and his wife Helen, the daughter of a United States Navy Commodore.
After attending school in Düsseldorf, Haverfield married Major Henry Wykeham Brooke Tunstall Haverfield in Kensington on February 10 1887 at the age of 19. Henry was 20 years her senior and their marriage was a happy one, with Eveline enjoying many freedoms other women of her time did not. The couple had two sons before Henry died in 1895 and Haverfield married another Royal Artillery officer, Major John Henry Balguy, in 1899, keeping her late husband’s name.
When the Second Boer War began in 1902, John was posted to South Africa and Haverfield joined her husband, working as his assistant. By all accounts she thoroughly enjoyed the military lifestyle, even attending rifle practise on a regular basis and establishing a retirement camp for horses.
On returning to England, Haverfield began to take an interest in politics and women’s suffrage. Initially supporting moderate groups, she became more militant over time and eventually joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies where she participated in a number of demonstrations and was arrested on numerous occasions. In 1909 she attended the infamous Bill of Rights March where WSPU members attempted to storm the House of Commons and 100 women, including Haverfield herself, were arrested. In 1911 Haverfield began a relationship with fellow suffragist and actress Vera “Jack” Holme, which lasted until her death.
When World War I broke out in 1914, Haverfield was certain that women could play invaluable roles in the event of a German invasion of the Britain. She founded Woman’s Emergency Corps which later evolved into the Women’s Volunteer Reserve and in 1915 volunteered to join the Scottish Women’s Hospitals work in war torn Serbia.
In 1916 as successful German invasion meant that the Scottish Women’s Hospitals were forced to flee the country. Haverfield did not give up and on returning to England gave many press interviews about the desperate situation in the Serbia. Later that year she travelled to Dobrudja in Romania where she joined forces with Sergeant Major Flora Sandes to establish ‘the Hon. Evelina Haverfield’s and Sert-Major Flora Sandes’ Fund for Promoting Comforts for Serbian Soldiers and Prisoners’.
When the war ended, Haverfiled returned to Serbia where to care for orphaned children. Sadly, she contracted pneumonia while working in an orphanage in the mountain villiage of Baijna Bashta and died on the March 21, 1920.