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Countess of Wessex to attend service of dedication at the National Memorial Arboretum

The Countess of Wessex is set to attend a service of dedication at the National Memorial Arboretum.

The Royal guest will visit the Alrewas site today (June 4) as the memorial commemorating the service of professional and voluntary aid detachment (VAD) nurses is unveiled.

She will be joined by Margaret Bearley, a former VAD, and Ethel Lote, a retired nurse.

The memorial carries the names of nearly 1,300 nurses who died as a direct result of their war service.

A spokesperson said: “These nurses came from across the world to serve, many from Commonwealth nations.

“The soldiers they worked alongside valued them highly, however they received very little political or public recognition for their service. Wartime conditions meant that many also returned home traumatised by their experiences and never felt comfortable to tell their story.”

Ethel, from Aldridge, was just a teenager at the outbreak of the Second World War when she began work as a nurse at Burntwood Military Hospital.

She gained first hand experience of the injuries suffered by soldiers who had been evacuated from Dunkirk, and went on to care for injured servicemen during the conflict, before continuing in nursing after the war – not fully retiring until she was 90.

Ethel has since gone on to speak about her wartime experiences.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.