Saffron Walden archivist pays tribute to young nurse who died serving in the First World War

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a service led by Rabbi Ruben Livingstone - Credit: Archant

A woman from Saffron Walden who is collecting photographs of the headstones of every woman who died serving in the First World War, took part in a special ceremony on International Women’s Day, March 8.

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a service led by Rabbi Ruben Livingstone - Credit: Archant

Tanya Birnie and her daughter Molly, 15, paid tribute at the grave of nurse Edith Munro, who died aged 23 in 1916.

Edith was a member of the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) as well The Red Cross and, like Tanya and Molly today, volunteered for St John Ambulance.

Edith volunteered in 1914 and worked at the Seaman’s Hospital, The Royal Albert Dock Hospital, in Silvertown in London’s East End.

She died after pneumonia led to heart failure. As one of four children with a Scottish father and a Jewish mother, she was buried at Plashet Jewish Cemetery, in Manor Park.

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a service led by Rabbi Ruben Livingstone - Credit: Archant

Two years ago, her grave was marked with a stone by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Last week, a belated Jewish stone-setting ceremony was held at her grave, attended by Tanya and Molly and led by the Jewish chaplain to the armed forces, Rabbi Major Reuben Livingstone. The dignitories included Dame Ann Cable, Red Cross deputy lieutenant and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Barking and Newham, John Barber.

The service was organised by Stan Kaye from Holme, Cambridgeshire, who has been investigating lost Jewish war graves from the first war. Stan traced Edith’s relatives and her great niece and great, great nephew, Lesley Wiggins and Dr Fraser Wiggins, were at the graveside.

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Tanya, who has taken 400 photographs since she started the project in 2014, said: “Nurses were the unsung heroines. They had a huge role in bringing soldiers home or doing whatever was needed where soldiers were wounded. They were also ambulance drivers, and canteen drivers and they worked all over the world including Australia and Canada.”

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a

The commemoration service for WW1 VAD nurse Edith Hilda Munro at the Plashet Jewish Cemetery with a service led by Rabbi Ruben Livingstone - Credit: Archant

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