Calls to honour nurse killed in the First World War with a Wakefield star

Calls are being made to honour a Wakefield nurse who died during the First World War with a city-centre star as the 100th anniversary of her death approaches.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 16th June 2017, 2:30 pm
Nurse Nellie Spindler.
Nurse Nellie Spindler.

Heroine Nellie Spindler worked on the battlefields near the French/Belgian border during the conflict, tending to men badly injured on the front line.

The 26-year-old was killed in August 1917 when the medical tent she was working in was bombarded by heavy shelling.

Close to a century on, a retired Wakefield nurse says a permanent memorial is needed to remember Nellie who was just one of around 1,500 nurses among millions of soldiers to have perished.

Nellie Spinder's grave.

Janet Miller, a former nurse for 40 years at Clayton Hospital and nurse memorabilia collector, says Nellie should even be considered for one of the Wakefield Stars on the city-centre pavements.

Mrs Miller said: “She was a very brave woman, a woman who is buried among 10,000 men.

“To volunteer she just had to have been committed to her job and I think it’s important that she is remembered.

“Women are sometimes overlooked because of all the men who died.

Nellie Spinder's grave.

“There’s nothing in Wakefield about her, the house in which she grew up in is still there but there is no plaque. “There should be, or even have her name on one of the stars.”

Nellie Spindler was born in Wakefield in 1891, and grew up on Stanley Road.

Training as a nurse, she worked at St James’ Hospital in Leeds before volunteering to ‘do her bit’ with the Queen Alexandra’s Nursing Service.

She found herself close to enemy lines during the bloody Battle of Passchendaele.

Nellie and her colleagues were at a casualty clearing station just behind the British front line, and close to the strategically-important railway which came under attack from the Germans on August 21, 1917.

A stray shell fell on the nurses’ sleeping quarters when Nellie was resting, having worked through the night.

She was hit by shrapnel and despite the frantic efforts of her colleagues to save her she died within 20 minutes and is buried in Belgium.