The Nursing Memorial

Published on: Tue, 28/04/2020 - 14:05

The National Memorial Arboretum is home to The Nursing Memorial

The National Memorial Arboretum is home to hundreds of stories; tales of camaraderie, leadership, heroism in extraordinary circumstances and accounts of sheer strength and resilience. Our team tell them, every year to hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Given the unprecedented circumstances we currently find ourselves in, they wanted to share some of them with you as inspiration.

The National Memorial Arboretum is home to The Nursing Memorial. Dedicated in 2018 in the presence of HRH The Countess of Wessex The Nursing Memorial remembers nurses who served in the two world wars.

The memorial was designed by sculptor Georgie Welch and features two bronze caring hands, holding up a sandstone globe. The globe itself, is engraved with over 1,200 names of nurses, both professional and volunteers serving with the Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs), who died in or as a result of their service during the wars.

One of the most well-known VADs was Vera Brittain who wrote ‘Testament of Youth’ a recollection of her time as a nurse and of losing her fiancé, brother and two closest friends in the First World War. She vowed that if the war spared her, she would “immortalise in a book the story of us four”. Her promise kept, the first run of the book published in 1933 sold out and subsequent reprints after her death placed the book firmly as a classic.

Now more than ever we are grateful for the service of others and especially the thousands of nurses currently caring for people up and down the country. Fittingly, the inscription around the base of the Nursing Memorial reads: ‘As stars in a dark sky they lit up the world’.