Only woman named on Scottish WW1 memorial to be honoured

A nurse believed to be the only woman from the First World War named on a Scottish war memorial is to be honoured today.
Grangemouth War memorial.Grangemouth War memorial.
Grangemouth War memorial.

Annie Campbell Reid is the only female name inscribed on Grangemouth’s war memorial, which lists those from the Stirlingshire town who were killed in two world wars.

The staff nurse was included on the memorial in the town’s Zetland Park although she died aged 32 from peritonitis in 1919 – the year after the war ended.

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Grangemouth Heritage Trust spent several years trying to locate Annie’s descendants, some of whom will unveil a memorial plaque and lay wreaths during a ceremony at the cenotaph.

Maureen Burns, the trust’s historian, said: “One name on the Grangemouth war memorial always intrigued me – Annie Campbell Reid’s. She is the only female listed on the memorial and, we think, the only female from World War One mentioned on any Scottish war memorial.”

Annie was born in Dundas Street, Grangemouth, on 3 January 1887, the fourth child of Peter and Grace Campbell, who had a total of 11 children.

She worked as a laundry maid in 1909 and married John Lyon Reid, a riveter, on November 25 that year. They had two daughters, Grace and Joan, but John died aged 23 from colon cancer in Falkirk Infirmary on the 24 June 1911.

Official documents from the time show Annie died from peritonitis on 4 March 1919, in Cairo, where she was working as a staff nurse in Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service.

She was buried in the War Memorial Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt, and her two daughters were entrusted to her father.

Her daughter Joan died in 1991 in Falkirk, and Grace died the following year in Hawick, in the Borders.

Annie’s name appears on Grangemouth’s Roll of Honour alongside 2,280 men from the town who served in World War One.

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Grangemouth Heritage Trust launched a search for Annie’s descendants in the hope of uncovering more details about her life, including why Annie, a widow and single mother of two young daughters, would volunteer to go to war.

Mrs Burns’ research traced a granddaughter, three great granddaughters and a great niece.

Grangemouth War Memorial stands at the northern entrance to the town’s Zetland Park.

The cenotaph is 27ft tall and raised on a paved and stepped platform 60ft wide.

Today’s ceremony will honour the town’s war heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, particularly staff nurse Annie.