|Florence Nightingale (middle) in 1886 with her graduating class of nurses from St Thomas' outside Claydon House, Buckinghamshire|
|The only known photograph of Mary Seacole, taken for a carte de visite by Maull & Company in London (c. 1873)|
I trust that England will not forget one who nursed the sick, who sought out her wounded to aid and succour them, and who performed the last offices for some of her illustrious dead.
Seacole's work was honoured on Thursday 30 June 2016, when a bronze statue of her was unveiled in the garden of St Thomas' Hospital, London - opposite the Houses of Parliament. This follows twelve years of campaigning by the Mary Seacole Memorial Statue Appeal. The Mary Seacole Trust is due to be launched next month in June 2017.
|Greenwich Cemetery's stunning memorial to lives lost in the First World War|
Sadly throughout the twentieth century, many women, including military nurses, were not been regarded as official war dead. Although this is now changing, there are still many nurses whose contributions to war and to humanity have not been publicly acknowledged. One such nurse is 20 year old Eleanor Dabner, who died 12 days before the end of the Great War, on 30 October 1918.
Dabner, whose burial record (shown above) can be found in the Deceased Online database, worked as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Nurse at Brook War Hospital in Shooter's Hill, Woolwich. Like many nurses, she has no known grave. As it has been proven that Nurse Dabner is buried at Greenwich, the Commonwealth War Grave Commission is now adding her name to the screen wall pictured above.
The example of Nurse Eleanor Dabner illustrates exactly why International Nurses Day remains important. It has also taken over 150 years for Mary Seacole's contribution to the nation's armed forces to be publicly acknowledged. Many more nurses remain forgotten.
If any of your ancestors were nurses or you have found the record of a nurses you feel should be celebrated in our collections, do please let us know in the Comments Box below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.