South East Wales

Blue plaque for decorated WWI nurse Annie Brewer

Annie Brewer

A nurse who served in France throughout World War One despite being injured in a shellfire attack while on duty is to be recognised with a blue plaque.

Annie Brewer, from Newport, had worked in hospitals in the UK but had moved to Paris before the war broke out.

She joined a French hospital and ambulance organisation and survived four years of war, but died of kidney disease in 1921 aged 46.

The French government awarded her the Legion d'Honneur and Croix de Guerre.

A blue plaque will now be unveiled on West Street in her home city.

She also received war and victory medals from the British government but was never recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Annie Brewer, later Mistrick, was born in Newport in 1874 and trained as a psychiatric nurse, working in hospitals around Britain including in London and Chester, before travelling around Europe as a personal nurse and companion.

While in Paris in 1914, WWI broke out and she joined up with French nursing services, seeing action in war zones including the Marne, the Somme and Verdun.

She was given a bravery award when her ambulance was hit by shellfire, wounding her in the head and leg, and on another occasion she was almost killed when a hospital she was working in was shelled.

Her work fed over into her personal life when she met French ambulance driver Daniel Mistrick, marrying him on the Verdun battlefield according to French genealogy sources.

She remained in Europe, working at a feeding station in Germany after the war ended.

However in 1921, she returned to Newport to nurse her ailing mother, but was herself seriously ill and died of kidney disease on 30 January 1921.

The Western Front Association will unveil the plaque on West Street with guests including members of Mrs Mistrick's family and health minister Vaughan Gething.

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