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Thread: Escape chain helper

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    Default Escape chain helper

    In Newhaven cemetery is a memorial stone to Elizabeth Mary Collins died 1952. It states that whilst serving with the French Red Cross in Paris this Irish nurse risked her life on many occasions helping aircrew to escape. For this she was awarded the King's Commendation for Brave Conduct ( LG state "helping the Allied cause") and the French Red Cross Bronze Medal. She returned to Newhaven as a school "nit nurse". I can't find anything locally-any one else know anything? Cheers Pete

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    Default Escape chain helper

    Pete - I am making enquiries about this lady and hopefully will be able to find some information and come back to you.
    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pointon View Post
    Pete - I am making enquiries about this lady and hopefully will be able to find some information and come back to you.
    Chris
    Thanks Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pointon View Post
    Pete - I am making enquiries about this lady and hopefully will be able to find some information and come back to you.
    Chris
    Did you ever find out any more? Seaford RBL are restoring her gravestone at last. Pete

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    Pete - would you be so kind as to contact me off board at chrisATlichfield.plus.com substituting the AT for the obvious.
    Many thanks
    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Pointon View Post
    Pete - would you be so kind as to contact me off board at chrisATlichfield.plus.com substituting the AT for the obvious.
    Many thanks
    Chris
    Email sent

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    Seaford RBL will be dedicating the new headstone 2/8/09 at 1230, if anyone wishes to attend they are welcome. Pete

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    Default Escape chain Helper

    Hello,

    Found this on the web.

    "Letter: A sorry state
    From the archive, first published Tuesday 10th Aug 2004.

    During a trip to Newhaven I came across a gravestone in the cemetery.

    It states: "To the Honour and Proud Memory of Elizabeth Mary Collins who Died on 7 June 1952 aged 65. This Irish Nurse rendered invaluable assistance to wounded Allied Service Personnel During the German Occupation of France 1940-194, She risked her life on many occasions to help prisoners of war escape. She was awarded the Kings Commendation for Brave Conduct and the Bronze Medal of the French Red Cross."

    The gravestone today is in a bad way with the lettering so weathered it is barely readable.

    I thought I would try to find out more about Elizabeth and hopefully get her headstone replaced.

    Unfortunately this has not been an easy business. It turns out the gravestone is the property of the Royal British Legion. I contacted them and, although helpful, they stated that as a result of changes in Charity Law the Charity Commissioners would not allow such expenditure.

    So now poor old Elizabeth is stuck in limbo. If nothing is done soon her bravery will be forgotten. Which seems such a travesty.

    I also tried the Commonweath War Graves Commission but, as she was a civilian and of Irish citizenship, they too could not help as her grave fell outside their parameters.

    I also have tried to find out what she actually did during the war. The London Gazette merely states she won her Brave Conduct medal "for services to the Allied Cause". Not very helpful. Efforts with the French Red Cross proved equally unsuccessful and the checking of national and local newspapers archives left us baffled.

    All we found was she had no next of kin and ended her days cycling between Peacehaven and Newhaven working as the local nit nurse to the thousands of children in the area.

    It seems so sad a lady who served this county so well both in wartime service and after can't even be given a proper grave to commemorate her life and bravery.

    -Mark Allamand, Dunstable"

    So it looks like someone came through with the goods in the end.

    Well done
    Alex

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    Mark was one of 3 people that enquired more or less at the same time about this, luckily one had links to the RBL and got things moving. She is a bit of a mystery, I think I may have found her birthplace in Cork, where she was in 1911 census and that she was in the QAIMNS in WW1. But as to if she was in France with the BEF or Red Cross is an unknown.

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    Pete, An MIC exists for Elizabeth M. Collins, QAIMNS; presumably the same woman. Hopefully someone can download it for you. Regards, Terry

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