OWEN Meriel Georgina Eardley – First Aid Nursing Yeomanry
First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Died on 16th November 1918.
Meriel Owen was the youngest daughter of Canon and Mrs Owen of The Rectory, Oldswinford, and the only known woman from the parish to die in the Great War. She had volunteered for nursing service and had served overseas in several Voluntary Aid Detachments. She returned, as the war was coming to a close, to work with the wounded in Britain and was based in London. She contracted influenza and was looked after in Chelsea VAD Hospital. She died on the 16th November. There was great sympathy in the parish at this personal tragedy for the Rector and his family. The Parish Magazine noted that they had received nearly four hundred letters and cards of sympathy. At the close of the funeral service in St. Mary’s the Nunc Dimittis was chanted and the coffin was carried by the cadets of Stourbridge Grammar School into the churchyard. Over the grave the firing party discharged three volleys and the bugler sounded ‘The Last Post’. The dedication on the grave emphasizes that she died on ‘war service’ but her name is not on the church or the Stourbridge War Memorials. Nurse Meriel Owen was 19 years of age and is commemorated by a brass plaque inside the church and on the memorial for nurses who died on military service in York Minster.
Researched by The Black Country Society.