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Monument To Wartime Nurses Unveiled At National Memorial Arboretum

It carries the names of nearly 1,300 nurses who died during or as a direct result of their war service.

Nurses who served in the two World Wars will be remembered with a new sculpture at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The memorial carries the names of nearly 1,300 professional and Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses who died during or as a direct result of the conflict.

The event is the culmination of more than six years of campaigning by the Nursing Memorial Appeal, who have been fundraising for a permanent monument since 2011.

The Countess of Wessex took part to the special service of dedication on Monday.

WW1 and WW2 Nurses remembered at the National Memorial Arboretum
HRH The Countess of Wessex, Colonel-in-Chief of Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps is also Royal Patron of the Nursing Memorial Appeal.

Ethel Lote, from Aldridge, West Midlands, was one of the former nurses who took part to the service.

The 97-year-old was just a teenager when she began working as a nurse at Burntwood Military Hospital during the Second World War.

The first convoy of soldiers evacuated from Dunkirk was taken to the hospital where she was training.

We were ones of the first hospitals to get them. Some were very very badly hurt", she explains.

"There were all sorts of injuries and burns. A lot of them had been burnt and were all covered with the mud and the blood and sand from the beaches." ​​​

WW1 and WW2 Nurses remembered at the National Memorial Arboretum
Ethel (right) continued to work in nursing after the war and did not fully retire until she was 90.

Nurses like her came from across the world to serve, with many from Commonwealth nations.

Barbara Hallows, Chairman of the Nursing Memorial Appeal, explained to Forces News the concept behind the memorial:

"We thought we should have the hand of a nurse - and at that time they were women's hands - holding a world, in which we could put in their names around the lands in which they worked, reminding us of how many died in the two World Wars."

A new initiative which will fund bursaries and research grants for students working in the field of humanitarian and conflict nursing was also announced during the service.