Heroic World War I women remembered at Etaples


The CWGC has installed new visitor information panels (VIP) at Etaples Military Cemetery in France.

The smartphone technology embedded within this panel reveals the contribution made by women during World War I and features the stories of 32-year-old Nursing Sister Dorothea Crewdson and YMCA volunteer Bertha ‘Betty’ Stevenson.

Sister Crewdson was serving as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse at Etaples when it was attacked by German aircraft. Despite having been wounded, she refused treatment in order to care for her patients. For this selfless action, she was awarded the Military Medal. She died in March 1919.

In April 1917, Betty Stevenson was posted to Etaples as a YMCA driver, where she was responsible for transporting relatives visiting wounded soldiers. In 1918, she was killed in an air raid while assisting French refugees.

She was posthumously awarded the Croix de Guerre avec Palme by General Pétain.

Etaples was the largest British base during World War I and was a place with which most troops would have been familiar. There are more than 10,000 identified casualties in the town’s military cemetery.

There is more about Sister Crewdson’s diary, which has been published by W&N, here.

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