Sunday, April 14th, 2024

Local historian encourages Sevenoaks residents to attend centenary memorial service for wartime nurse who is buried in Riverhead

LOCAL historian, Matthew Ball, has organised a memorial to a Sevenoaks nurse who served throughout the war.
Bridget Aurea Teresa Lambarde, who was better known as Aurea, rests in a war grave with a private memorial in the churchyard at St Mary’s Riverhead, which one of her ancestors had supported the building of.
Aurea was born in Ireland in 1889 to an Irish mother, Florence, and was the elder daughter of Major William Gore Lambarde. William Lambarde was the last owner of Bradbourne House and estate in Sevenoaks, which, having no sons to inherit,  he sold in 1927. Lambarde Road in Sevenoaks is named after the family.
Aurea served with the Kent Reserve Voluntary Aid Detachment and was commandant at St John’s VAD Hospital from October 1914 until July 1915.
She died from pneumonia while serving at the Royal Naval Hospital, Portland in Dorset. The inscription on her grave reads ‘In loving memory of Bridget Aurea Teresa Lambarde, elder daughter of William Gore and Florence Lambarde of Bradbourne Hall, Riverhead, who died March 5th A.D. 1919 aged 29 years’.
Matthew Ball said: “I’m keen to remember Aurea’s contribution on the centenary of her death. Right at the start of the war, she led one of the town’s VAD hospitals and oversaw arrangements for the arrival of the first wounded men and Belgian refugees who began to arrive in Kent from October 1914.
Aurea would have been well known locally and often wrote to the Sevenoaks Chronicle to appeal for funds and support for the hospital and her efforts.
“Like many others, Aurea died in the influenza epidemic that had begun in late 1918. I think it is important for her efforts to be remembered and I’m grateful to St Mary’s church for agreeing to hold a short service at her graveside on the anniversary of her death. I hope that local people, especially women and perhaps some who have themselves nursed will be able to join us to remember Aurea’s life.”
Aurea Lambarde is one of two First World War graves at the church. More information on both can be found in Matthew Ball’s book, Sevenoaks – The Great War and its Legacy, available from Sevenoaks Bookshop.
The short service will take place at 10am on Tuesday 5 March and those attending are asked to arrive for 9.50am. A short service and prayers will be offered by Lay Minister Daphne Harrison of St Mary’s church.
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