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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Nurse Nellie Spindler


Guest mruk

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Dave - Queen Alexandra's Imperial Military Nursing Service is how Staff Nurse Spindler is usually described. I'm not sure what the "R" at the end means. She is buried in Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, near Poperinge, Belgium.

Tom

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Many Thanks, Tom. Many Thanks, Steve.

I'd a feeling it had something to do with the 'Queen Alexandra's' but didn't know much more. Steve, you've thrown me on this one, and there was something similar raised on 'Cems and Mems' only a few weeks ago. I'm sure someone will have an explanation.

Regards to Both,

Dave

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The 'R' is for 'Reserve.'

The memorial plaque is wrong - Nellie Spindler was working at 44 Casualty Clearing Station, Brandhoek, when she was killed. Her body was moved to 10 CCS at Remy Siding, from where she was buried the following day. The confusion over the place is probably due to Abbeville being the administrative headquarters of the nursing services at the time. Kate Luard was the sister in charge of 32 CCS, which was alongside 44 CCS at the time of the attack, and gives this account in 'Unknown Warriors'

"I’m afraid you’ll be very disappointed, but we are to re-open on the same spot so Leave is off. The Australians are not to go back, but we are to carry on the abdominal work alone as we did before they came up. I imagine that this week’s Push has gone well and that we’ve shoved their line back a bit, or they wouldn’t start the Hospital there again. Westhoek Ridge is ours. I don’t know about St. Julien, but we’ve done well. The ground has been hard and Tanks have been able to get going, flattening out these Pill-boxes which held us up before.

I expected [for one rash day] to be telling you all about Tuesday at home tomorrow, but must write it now. The business began about 10 a.m. Two came pretty close after each other and both just cleared us and No. 44. The third crashed between Sister E’s ward in our lines and the Sisters’ Quarters of No. 44. Bits came over everywhere, pitching at one’s feet as we rushed to the scene of the action, and one just missed one of my Night Sisters getting into bed in our Compound. I knew by the crash where it must have gone and found Sister E. as white as paper but smiling happily and comforting the terrified patients. Bits tore through her Ward but hurt no one. Having to be thoroughly jovial to the patients on these occasions helps us considerably ourselves. Then I came on to the shell-hole and the wrecked tents in the Sister’s Quarters at 44. A group of stricken M.O.’s were standing about and in one tent the Sister was dying. The piece went through her from back to front near her heart. She was only conscious a few minutes and only lived 20 minutes. She was in bed asleep. The Sister who shared her tent had been sent down the day before because she couldn’t stand the noise and the day and night conditions. The Sister who should have been in the tent which was nearest was out for a walk or she would have been blown to bits; everything in her tent was; so it was in my empty Ward next to Sister E. It all made one feel sick."

Sue

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Cheers Sue,

Now there's a nice little twist. I was having a brief chat with one of the ministers today, and I'll drop her a line tomorrow with the info you've kindly supplied. Very interesting.

Kind Regards,

Dave

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  • 3 weeks later...

I visited the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery on April 27th and made this photograph of Nellie Spindler's grave.

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Please click on the photo to enlarge it.

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Some more information about Nellie Spindler from the Lichfield Mercury in 1917. Apparently she nursed at Whittington Barracks for some time.

JPG

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For those interested here are the memorial plaques at St James Hospital Leeds from where she went to the war.

Cheers Roger.

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  • 9 months later...
The 'R' is for 'Reserve.'

The memorial plaque is wrong - Nellie Spindler was working at 44 Casualty Clearing Station, Brandhoek, when she was killed. Her body was moved to 10 CCS at Remy Siding, from where she was buried the following day. The confusion over the place is probably due to Abbeville being the administrative headquarters of the nursing services at the time. Kate Luard was the sister in charge of 32 CCS, which was alongside 44 CCS at the time of the attack, and gives this account in 'Unknown Warriors'

"I'm afraid you'll be very disappointed, but we are to re-open on the same spot so Leave is off. The Australians are not to go back, but we are to carry on the abdominal work alone as we did before they came up. I imagine that this week's Push has gone well and that we've shoved their line back a bit, or they wouldn't start the Hospital there again. Westhoek Ridge is ours. I don't know about St. Julien, but we've done well. The ground has been hard and Tanks have been able to get going, flattening out these Pill-boxes which held us up before.

I expected [for one rash day] to be telling you all about Tuesday at home tomorrow, but must write it now. The business began about 10 a.m. Two came pretty close after each other and both just cleared us and No. 44. The third crashed between Sister E's ward in our lines and the Sisters' Quarters of No. 44. Bits came over everywhere, pitching at one's feet as we rushed to the scene of the action, and one just missed one of my Night Sisters getting into bed in our Compound. I knew by the crash where it must have gone and found Sister E. as white as paper but smiling happily and comforting the terrified patients. Bits tore through her Ward but hurt no one. Having to be thoroughly jovial to the patients on these occasions helps us considerably ourselves. Then I came on to the shell-hole and the wrecked tents in the Sister's Quarters at 44. A group of stricken M.O.'s were standing about and in one tent the Sister was dying. The piece went through her from back to front near her heart. She was only conscious a few minutes and only lived 20 minutes. She was in bed asleep. The Sister who shared her tent had been sent down the day before because she couldn't stand the noise and the day and night conditions. The Sister who should have been in the tent which was nearest was out for a walk or she would have been blown to bits; everything in her tent was; so it was in my empty Ward next to Sister E. It all made one feel sick."

Sue

I was very interested to see what had been written about Nellie Spindler and was suprised because when I was staying in Poperinghe I became friendly with a very old lady who remembered her mother talking about Nellie and how she was killed taking an injured soldier to the railway station in Poperinghe. He was being sent back to England. In fact both Nellie and the soldier were killed. My old lady friend said she would go with me to see Nellies grave in Lijssenthoek. Whatever the details she was a very brave young woman.

Wallis2

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I was very interested to see what had been written about Nellie Spindler and was suprised because when I was staying in Poperinghe I became friendly with a very old lady who remembered her mother talking about Nellie and how she was killed taking an injured soldier to the railway station in Poperinghe. He was being sent back to England. In fact both Nellie and the soldier were killed. My old lady friend said she would go with me to see Nellies grave in Lijssenthoek. Whatever the details she was a very brave young woman.

Nellie Spindler's death is very well documented in several places, and she was definitely in bed when she was killed. And worth remembering that although she died, which was very tragic, it was other nurses - the one's who survived - who might well be described as 'brave.' In the extract I posted from Kate Luard's 'Unknown Warriors', the 'Sister E.' who she refers to, Elizabeth Eckett, was awarded the Military Medal for her actions that night. All the nurses who worked in forward units were subject to the threat of shelling and death every day - it was not only the dead who were brave.

Sue

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Jim

Yes, it's rather confusing really as Elizabeth Eckett and Minnie Wood were working in different CCSs, but as they were adjacent and so close, they seem to get lumped into one for the purpose of this raid. Counting up, there were 7 nurse MMs Gazetted on the 17th October 1917, mainly for actions that took place on either the 20th or 21st August 1917 (before and after midnight I guess), but they seem to cover a variety of different units - a very busy night.

Citations here

Sue

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  • 8 years later...

Anything on nurse Nellie Spindler would be welcome.

 

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