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A century on, hero nurse to be recognised with headstone

By Donna Deeney

A nurse who is the only woman named on the War Memorial in Londonderry is set to be recognised by the Mountjoy Orange Lodge on the 100th anniversary of her death.

Laura Gailey left her home in Bayview Terrace in Derry to work as a nurse in Liverpool, where she tended wounded and dying soldiers injured in the battlefields of the First World War.

Little was known about her efforts in her home city until the members of Waterside-based Mountjoy Lodge began a research project.

The Lodge not only located Laura Gailey's unmarked grave in a cemetery in Liverpool but fundraised for a suitable headstone which will be dedicated on March 21, 100 years after she was laid to rest.

Lodge Secretary, Valerie Moore explained: "Laura Gailey's name is among 756 men on the War Memorial at the Diamond, but few people know anything about her.

"Laura served as a nurse during the First World War but although she was given a military funeral, she wasn't of a high enough rank to be awarded a headstone. A few members of our Lodge searched and found her grave during a visit to Liverpool in last year, when we laid a wreath. However, we felt she deserved to have a headstone so we began fundraising.

"We have organised for a lay preacher and a piper to join us at the dedication service of her headstone, which is already in place.

"We thought it was only fitting that the only woman mentioned on the War Memorial should have a proper marker on her grave and we are proud to have been able to do that for her."

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