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Blue Plaque To Be Unveiled for Margaret Anderson

19 February 2018

The Ulster History Circle will commemorate Margaret Anderson (1881 - 1956) Nurse, by unveiling the blue plaque on Thursday 22nd February 2018 at 11:30am at Mourne Presbyterian Church, Greencastle Street, Kilkeel, BT34 4BH.

The plaque will be unveiled by a great nephew of Margaret

Anderson and who is a member of the Mourne congregation.

Known as ‛Mourne’s Florence Nightingale’, Margaret Anderson was born in the townland of Ballinran, Kilkeel on 2Ist December I88I, to Joseph Anderson and Elizabeth Beck. She was the eldest daughter of a family of seven daughters and one son. At the age of thirteen Margaret went to Waringstown, Co. Down, to work as a medical receptionist. From there she travelled to the Leeds Union Infirmary where she trained as a nurse, qualifying as a SRN and obtaining also her state certificate in midwifery.

At the outbreak of the Great War, Margaret offered her services and at once was accepted, joining the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Reserve. For five years she did excellent work in the Mount Dore Military Hospital in Bournemouth, England, and despite having volunteered to go overseas, such was her dedication and devotion to duty at the Military Hospital that the authorities refused to let her go.

On I8th December I9I9 Margaret Anderson was awarded the Royal Red Cross, the highest decoration that could be conferred for nursing, from King George V at Buckingham Palace. His mother, Queen Alexandra also presented a book to Margaret, with a signed message of thanks for her service.

I9I9 saw Margaret fulfilling her wish to go overseas, and Sister Anderson left for Mesopotamia where until the end of I922, she continued in the nursing service with the British Expeditionary Force.

Upon her return to England she was appointed assistant matron at the Royal Infirmary, Truro, Cornwall but I925 saw Margaret return to her native Kilkeel, to become Matron of the temporary Silent Valley Hospital which had been established during the building of the reservoir.

By I932 Margaret Anderson had returned as matron to a hospital near Oxford, and remained there until the outbreak of war in I939. At the age of 58, she rejoined the Nursing   Reserve and took part in several sorties across the English Channel during the evacuation of Dunkirk.

In later years she returned home to Kilkeel where she died at The Moor on I9th October I956. Nurse/Sister/Matron, Margaret Anderson is buried in the grave in the grounds of Mourne Presbyterian Church, the church where she was baptised and attended.

Chris Spurr, Chairman of the Ulster History Circle comments,

‘Margaret Anderson was in her teens when she developed an interest in becoming a nurse. This led to a lifelong commitment in her profession, at home, in England, and overseas, and to the highest award for nursing service in wartime. The Ulster History Circle is delighted to commemorate ‛Mourne’s Florence Nightingale’ with a blue plaque at the church she attended in Kilkeel.

The Circle would like especially to thank the Ulster-Scots Agency for their financial support towards the plaque, and Mourne Presbyterian Church for their assistance.’

Contact- Maud Hamill 07766823535/

Information to Editors.

The Ulster History Circle is a voluntary, not for profit charity which puts up blue plaques in public places across the nine counties of Ulster, to celebrate people of achievement. A person is not considered for a blue plaque unless they have been dead for a minimum of twenty years, or would have reached their I00th birthday. The Circle’s work on its Blue Plaque programme is carried out entirely by a small team of volunteer members, and the the Circle relies on local authorities, organisations, societies, businesses and individuals to support its plaques as it has no funds of its own. There is no similar body doing such work through the whole island of Ireland.