Ladies’ lodge in Liverpool tribute to First World War nurse

Participants at the unveiling of the memorial headstone to nurse Laura Marion Gailey. INLS 15-755-CON
Participants at the unveiling of the memorial headstone to nurse Laura Marion Gailey. INLS 15-755-CON

The Ladies of Mountjoy WLOL 29 have provided a tribute in Liverpool to a Londonderry-born nurse noted for her caring role in the First World War.

At Kirkdale Cemetery, Valerie Moore had the honour of unveiling the memorial headstone to nurse Laura Marion Gailey.

Laura passed away in Fazakerley Hospital, Liverpool, from fever she contacted whilst nursing soldiers returning from the trenches of World War 1.

Prior to March 24, her grave was only recognisable by the number 1433.

To mark the unveiling ceremony, the vice-chairman of Merseyside Royal British Legion, Bill Sergant, assisted with organising a memorial service which was attended by six standard bearers from the branch.

A lone piper led a walk from the cemetery gates to the graveside followed by standard bearers, sisters from Mountjoy Lodge and male and female members of the Orange Institution representing England and Northern Ireland.

The Grand Mistress of the Ladies Grand Lodge of England was also in attendance and expressed her support.

Rev. Thomas Laverty, minister of Liverpool Free Presbyterian Church, conducted the service and dedication.

This was followed by an address from Bill Sergant detailing the short but fulfilling life of Laura Gailey.

In a statement, WLOL 29 explained: “The ladies from Mountjoy Lodge have been involved with this project for a number of years and the service of dedication was a fitting conclusion to the many months of fundraising.

“The ladies have now achieved their aim and an appropriate headstone stands in a Liverpool graveyard.

“The memorial acknowledges the final resting place of the only woman named on the cenotaph in Londonderry.”

Ms Gailey, who was one of the first voluntary aid detachment nurses to serve in WW1.

A resident of Bayview Terrace, she was posted to serve in Fazakerley Hospital treating injured soldiers returning from the battlefields of Europe.

She contracted measles which developed into pneumonia and died from the fever in 1917. She was buried with full military honours, her coffin draped with the Union Flag and borne on a gun carriage.