South East Wales

WW1: Torfaen's only female casualty is commemorated

Ms Avery and six-year-old Jaea Watkins Image copyright Torfaen County Borough Council
Image caption Ms Avery and six-year-old Jaea Watkins laid a cross at the grave

A service has been held for World War One casualty Lucy Jane Saint, a waitress in the Queen Mary's Army Auxiliary Corps.

She was the only woman from Torfaen to die in the Great War.

Her 88-year-old niece, Megan Avery, said it was an "emotional day" at St Michael's Church in Pontypool.

Lucy died of influenza in October 1918, a disease that struck at the end of the World War One and took more lives than the war itself.

Ms Avery and six-year-old Jaea Watkins laid a cross on the grave at the service to mark 96 years since her death.

Lucy Saint, Megan Avery and Jaea Watkins all went to George Street Primary School in Pontypool.

Image copyright Torfaen County Borough Council
Image caption Lucy Jane Saint died a month before the end of the war
Image copyright Torfaen County Borough Council
Image caption The grave was obscured by overgrown plants until recently

Prayers were be led by the Reverend Nicholas Taylor, followed by traditional procession and a trumpet call to mark the end of the service at 11.00 GMT on Monday morning.

'Courage'

A new path, made by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission means that the grave is no longer obscured by overgrown plants.

Ms Avery said it was important for her to be there as "the last of the family" to pay her respects to the aunt she never met.

"It was quite emotional... I admire her for being a woman in 1917 who had the courage to join up."

Aged 23, Lucy joined the army as an assistant waitress and was posted to Christchurch, Dorset, attached to the 5th Reserve Battalion of Royal Engineers.

She died at a hospital in nearby Boscombe a month before the end of the war.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites