Thursday, 19 June 2014

Memorial Stones for Nurses

The grave of Jeannie Barclay Smith at Etaples, one of those that would have had a memorial stone placed upon it

     While completing the transcription of the war diary for the nursing services in France and Flanders, I came across some rather intriguing entries in September 1919 which refer to the placing of memorial stones on the graves of nurses who had died during wartime.

Miss Wilton Smith, Q.A.I.M.N.S., went to Wimereux and Turlington Cemeteries and placed the little Memorial Stones on the Sisters’ graves there.

From there I drove home to Aubengue through La Bassee, Bethune and Lillers.  At Lillers we placed a little Memorial Stone on Sister Andrew’s Grave and took a photograph. From there we drove through St. Omer and arrived at Aubengue about 5 p.m. after having a very interesting day.

Left Aubengue about 9.30 a.m. for Havre.  Went via Etaples and called at No.24 General Hospital and saw Miss Rentzsch, Q.A.I.M.N.S., the Assistant Matron, who is doing Matron’s duties during Miss Allen’s absence on leave, and left with her eight little Stone Memorials for the Sisters' graves and she has undertaken to have same place and photographs taken.
From there went on to Havre and arrived there in time for dinner.  I had come via Etretat so as to be able to place Memorial Stones on the two American Sisters’ graves and took photographs of the graves.

     At that time the graves would have been simply marked with a wooden cross, and without the headstones that are so familiar to us today, but I've never seen any reference before to anything of this sort. It would be fascinating to know more about the stones - how big they were, what they looked like and whether they had any wording on them - and a photo would be wonderful. If anyone comes across any further information about these stones, please let me know.

The grave of Emily Cole at Wimereux would have been one of those mentioned above


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