Remembering the only Sidmouth woman who died in WW1

Red Cross nurse Mary Tindall was the only serving Sidmouth woman to die in World War One. Photo cour

Red Cross nurse Mary Tindall was the only serving Sidmouth woman to die in World War One. Photo courtesy of Sidmouth Museum - Credit: Archant

The only Sidmouth woman who is listed as serving in World War One will be remembered on Wednesday (September 20), 100 years on from her death.

Born in 1880, nurse Mary Tindall enlisted with the Red Cross but came home from her duties seriously ill in August 1917.

Despite the best medical attention of the time, she died six weeks later in her parents’ home, the Marino in Cotmaton Road, at the age of 37.

Inside the west door of Sidmouth Parish Church are the names of those residents who died fighting for their country. Mary is the only woman to be listed. She is buried in Sidmouth Cemetery and Dave O’Connor, who chairs the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion, will mark the centenary by placing flowers on her grave.

Reporting her funeral at the time, the Sidmouth Observer wrote: “Despite the highest medical skill and best devoted attention, [Mary] gradually became worse.

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“A little more than a week since an operation was performed, which, unfortunately, proved unavailing, and although she temporarily rallied, hope of her ultimate recovery was very faint.

“She passed away at Marino at a late hour at the age of 37 years, to the great grief and sorrow of her many friends.”

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The report says Mary was held in the deepest respect and esteem by ‘all classes’ in Sidmouth ‘and her early death has occasioned much regret in the town’.

The Observer tribute continued: “We feel that by her death, a life full of usefulness and self-sacrifice has been removed from our midst. Whatever the late Miss Tindall undertook, she always seemed to carry it out with enthusiasm, whether it was some game or one of the more serious occupations of recent times.

“She was, undoubtedly, an inspiration to others, and her brightness and cheerfulness infected others with whom she came into contact. She got the best out of everything, and by her amicable disposition won the love of a host of friends, by whom she will be greatly missed.”

Mary’s father John was a banker and one of her brothers, Christian Tindall, CIE, (1878-1951), married Elsie Toogood, who was killed in 1943 in an air raid in Exeter.

Mary’s other brother, Noel, was a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy, who was killed in 1919.

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