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Service honours World War One nurses

Memorial held on centenary of death of only member of First Aid Nursing Yeomanry to die in active service on the Western Front

A service was due to take place at the cemetery in Sézanne, Marne, on Friday, as part of a commemorative weekend celebrating the dedication and bravery of members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry during World War One.

The memorial service will mark the centenary of the death of Eveline Shaw, from Edgbaston, Warwickshire, who was the only member of the organisation to die in active service on the Western Front.

A driver attached the the French Army, she was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme for her service. The citation reads: "A volunteer driver of devotion and courage, beyond all praise. She exerted herself selflessly, completely disdaining danger and fatigue, whilst carrying our evacuations, often in difficult circumstances and under enemy attacks. She died as a result of a contagion illness (dysentery) contracted in the course of her duty."

Family members Richard Selwyn Sharpe, Rachel and Sarah, great-great-nephew and nieces of Eveline Shaw attended the service, along with 47 members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and a number of local officials.

They will also visit several other locations where Corps members lived and worked during the conflict, including the Priory at Port-a-Binson, Chapel at Dormans, Memorial De Mondement, Port St Croix at Chalons-sur-Marne, and the Trenches at La Main de Massigne.

Founded in 1907, the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry is the oldest, most highly decorated, uniformed women’s organisation in the UK. During the First World War, its nurses and ambulance drivers in Flanders and France were awarded a Legion d'Honneur, 27 Croix de Guerre, three Belgian bravery medals and 17 British Military Medals.

Today, the charity has more than 140 highly-trained volunteers on call 24/7, ready to support civil and military authorities providing assistance to the public. Focusing on relief in the 72 hours after an incident, it provided 1,835 hours of support in the aftermath of the Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge Terrorist attacks, and also Grenfell Tower Fire.


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