Diamond War Memorial Project

Nurse Laura Marion Gailey

Voluntary Aid Detachment. Regimental Number ----
Born: ---- Died: 1917-03-24 Aged: -- Enlisted: ------

Name commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Youngest daughter of William Gailey (born 1844/45), stationer, and Margaret Elizabeth Gailey (born Tyrone, 1853/54), 6, Bayview Terrace, Londonderry. Sister of Jean (Jeanie, born 1876/77) Gailey, Waterloo Place, Londonderry; Evelyn Gailey (born 1881/82), who married the Reverend R. H. Davidson, Stranorlar, on October 1, 1912 (both appear to have moved to Tullyhogue, County Tyrone); and Ethel Margaret Gailey (born 1885/86), who married Lieutenant J. G. Moses, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, son of Mr and Mrs J. G. Moses, Glenlea, West Hartlepool, at Great James Street Presbyterian Church, on June 23, 1919 (both appear to have moved to New Zealand).

Miss Gailey, who was one of the first Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses to volunteer, had been engaged in military hospital duties. Some four weeks before her death she had an attack of measles, which developed into pneumonia, and this proved fatal. On Thursday, March 29, 1917, the Londonderry Sentinel announced that the remains of Miss Laura Gailey were interred the previous day, with full military honours. The military authorities took charge of the entire arrangements. The coffin was borne to the cemetery on a gun carriage, covered with the Union Flag, and after the interment the 'Last Post' was sounded by buglers. The chief mourners were deceased's sorrowing mother and sister, and representatives were present from Fazakerley Hospital, in which the deceased had nursed for eight months until falling ill.

More details of Miss Gailey's funeral were given in a letter from an English gentleman to a friend in Londonderry ? 'I have just come from attending the funeral of Nurse Gailey, a most impressive and solemn spectacle. Ranking as an officer, the deceased lady was entitled by King's Regulations to a funeral with full military honours. The firing party and band numbered about eighty, and there were about 200 nurses present to pay the last tribute to a dead sister, whom everybody in Fazakerley Hospital liked for her gentle disposition and ready sympathy. The band and buglers belonged to the Welsh Fusiliers. Many of the officers were present, and R.A.M.C. non-commissioned officers acted as bearers. On the Union Jack covering the coffin were many wreaths. I shall not soon forget the inspiring effect of the moving procession, the measured tramp, tramp, tramp of the soldiers, or the sad yet lofty music of the ?Dead March,? with muffled drums.'

At the close of the evening service in Great James Street Presbyterian Church, on Sunday, March 25, 1917, the Reverend Dr James Thompson made a touching reference to Nurse Gailey's death. She whose early removal we mourn this evening, he said, was dearly loved in the family to which she belonged, and was held in high esteem by all who knew her. She heard the call of her King and country to do something in the crisis through which we as a nation are passing. When accepted she went right willingly to the work that fell to her lot, and faithfully she discharged the duties devolving upon her until sickness intervened and stayed her hand. There are elements of comfort for the bereaved in the fact that death came to their dear one when she was engaged in such noble and self denying service, ministering to the necessities and assuaging the sufferings of those who were wounded in their country's defence and service.

Nurse Gailey's mother, Margaret Elizabeth Gailey, became proprietress of a news agency and stationery business in Waterloo Place, Londonderry, following the death of her husband. She died on March 20, 1919, from pneumonia, following an attack of influenza. Nurse Gailey's sister, Jeanie, appears then to have become proprietress of the same business. She died, suddenly, on May 6, 1934, at the residence of her aunt, Miss White, in Richmond Crescent, Londonderry.

Laura M. Gailey, Bayview Terrace, signed the Ulster Solemn League and Covenant (September 1912) pledging resistance to Home Rule for Ireland.