Sunday, 12 March 2017

Mary Bethia Marshall (1886 – 1917) - British Nurse from Scotland with the QAIMNS WW1

Mary was born in Gutcher, North Yell in the Shetland Islands on 1st June 1886.  Her parents were James Marshall and his wife Catherine, nee Hoseason.  Mary’s siblings were John James, William R. and Agnes.

Mary trained as a nurse and from 1st October 1908 till 31st January 1913, she worked at the Royal Southern Hospital in Liverpool, where she was in charge of the Tropical Ward.  After that she worked in a Cancer Hospital in London, in the Children’s Hospital in Heswall and in the Merchant’s Hospital in Liverpool.   She joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service during WW1 and served with the 37th Hospital which was established in June 1916 in Vertekop (now called Skydra) near Manastir in Salonika, attached to the Serbian Army.   The Field Hospital at Vertekop was clearly marked with large red crosses and was quite a long way from the Front Line.   For her bravery in trying to save her patients, Mary was awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palms and was Mentioned in Despatches. 

Mary Bethia Marshall is commemorated on the War Memorial in Heswall, Wirral, UK and on the plaque dedicated to the nurses of WW1 in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

Another nurse killed in the same air raid also attempting to protect her patients was Staff Nurse Margaret Smith Dewar who was also Mentioned in Despatches for her bravery.   Nursing Sister Dodds, of the Territorial Force Nursing Service, who trained at Willesden Infirmary, was wounded during the attack, and Nursing Sisters Ethel Garrett and Annie Rebecca Colhoun were awarded the Military Medal for their bravery during the attack.

Mary and Margaret were buried with full military honours in Vertekop. After the war, their bodies were moved to Mikra British Cemetery in Kalamaria, Greece, where there are


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