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Remembering First World War nurse Edith Munro

A special commemoration service in East London.

11 Mar 2016

First World War nurse Edith Munro has been recognised for her bravery at a special commemoration service in East London.

Senior Officer Steve Godecharle represented the Royal College of Nursing at the stone setting ceremony which remembered the courage shown by so many nurses in the conflict a century ago. 

Edith Hilda Munro, originally from Bow in East London began her nursing career at the Albert Dock Seamen’s Hospital in Greenwich. She was part of the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nursing group which was founded in 1909 and comprised of volunteer nurses who worked in war zones in the Imperial and Commonwealth Forces.

The 28,000 VAD nurses made themselves indispensable in front-line hospital duties and earned a reputation for courage and calmness under fire.  Unfortunately many perished in the flu epidemic at the time while nursing sick soldiers. Edith was one of these and died on 12 December 1916, aged just 23.

Several years ago researchers at AJEX (Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women) discovered her grave at Plashet Jewish Cemetary in East Ham and she was formally recognised as a war casualty. As a consequence, her gravestone has been re-consecrated and the decision was made to honour her properly.

The commemoration service was held on March 8 (coinciding with International Women’s Day) where a host of dignitaries, interested parties and family members united to honour Edith’s memory in a service conducted by Rabbi Reuben Livingstone, Senior Jewish Chaplain to HM Armed Forces.

Steve said: "It was both an honour and a privilege to represent the RCN at the stone laying ceremony which was attended by more than 70 people. Edith's surviving relatives thanked the RCN for sending a representative. They said that they were overwhelmed by the number of people and organisations that attended the ceremony to honour Edith."

You can read more information about the event in The Jewish News.

For more information about the work of RCN London please visit www.rcn.org.uk/london