Belfast Telegraph

Council backs call for new names on Portadown war memorial

By Rebecca Black

An Ulster Unionist councillor, inspired by the story of a female Army medic from her home town, is campaigning to see her name and the names of almost 50 others added to the war memorial in Portadown.

Julie Flaherty said one of her motivations was Dr Isabel Addy Tate, a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps stationed in Malta during the First World War, and died there in 1917.

Ms Flaherty brought a proposal to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, seconded by a party colleague Glenn Barr, for Dr Tate's name and nearly 50 others be added to the town's war memorial.

"Given that we are fast approaching the centenary of the end of the Great War, I felt it was both necessary and fitting to take steps to ensure that the nearly 50 local Portadown people who lost their lives in that war, but who are absent from the town's war memorial, are finally recognised," she said.

"One story in particular struck a chord with me, that of Dr Isabel Addy Tate.

"She was an extraordinary woman, born in the same town as myself, a Methodist like myself, a graduate of Queens University like myself but who served her whole career as a medic only to die at the same age as myself."

Ms Flaherty went on: "She was born on May 1, 1875 into a large family living in 19 High Street Portadown.

"Isabel worked hard, and excelled herself at Alexandra School in Portadown and entered Queens University Belfast in 1893."

Having graduated with a degree in medicine, she worked in England and at the beginning of the war volunteered for service in the Military Hospital in Valletta and in Serbia as a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps. She died during service in Malta in January 1917.

The councillor added: "Dr Isabel Tate was an extraordinary lady. Her grave can be found in Malta, she is remembered with honour at Pieta Military Cemetery and even more significantly, she is the only woman included on the Queen's University Belfast Roll of Honour and on their war memorial.

"Yet, in spite of her inspiring story, Dr Isabel Addy Tate is not included on the war memorial in her home town."

Ms Flaherty said her motion will ensure that a century after the end of the First World War, the names of all those forgotten people will finally be recognised with respect and dignity in their home town.

The motion has been passed by the council and Ms Flaherty hopes to see the names added by Armistice Day in November.

Belfast Telegraph

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