Nurse & Heroine
Refused to leave her patients
In 1944 a Mayo born Nurse remained and lost her life with her patients when the Germans dropped bombs over the West End in London, one of its targets being the hospital where she worked.
Bridget Quinn was born in Churchfield, Tourmakeady, Co Mayo, in 1919.
Bridget worked in the Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Regent’s Park. The Hospital was established in 1878 in Welbeck Street, moving later to St. Katherine’s Lodge, Regents Park, until the bombing. The name of the Hospital until 1915 was “The West End Hospital for Diseases of the Nervous System, Paralysis and Epilepsy”. Following the bombing this Hospital moved to Deane Street.
German Bombers were flying over London at the same time that Bridget was looking after her patients. A flying bomb hit the hospital directly and Bridget refused to leave her care. A subsequent explosion killed Bridget and eleven of her patients.
Tribute to Bridget in London
In 1955 the Mayor of Westminister, Patrick Stirling, unveiled a plaque in Bridget’s honour. A new Ward was also named in the new hospital after her. Another nurse Margaret Patterson who survived the bombing but lost her sight on the night, attended the event.
Bridget’s mother and her two sisters were also present at the unveiling, they were living in London at this time.
Tribute to Bridget in Castlebar
Thanks to Michael Feeney and his committee at the Mayo Memorial Park, there is a plaque there to acknowledge the bravery of Bridget, the plaque reads “In Memory of this brave nurse who refused to abandon her patients and died caring for them, at the Hospital for Nervous Diseases during the German bombing of London on 17th June 1944. Reflect and Pray”.
Source: Irish Press, Saturday 25th May, 1955.
Comments about this page
Thank you for your comment. According to an article in the Irish Press, November 1955, the air raid that ended Bridget’s life was on June 17th 1944. This article has now been uploaded as both an image and a .pdf
Can you please correct the statement about bombers flying over London. The last aircraft raids ended in May 1944 (Operation Steinbock). We think the bomb was a V1 ‘Doodlebug’ flying bomb but the initial damage might point to it being the more powerful V2 ballistic missile. From accounts I’ve heard my Aunty Bridget was killed when a stone archway collapsed as she returned to escort more patients out of the burning hospital, despite being warned of its imminent collapse. My Grandmother Catherine Quinn (nee Keane) told of being consoled by the Queen Mother over a cup of tea after the plaque unveiling.
Tom Gillespie in his Column ‘ A Mayo Outlook’ on page 23 of the Connaught Telegraph edition 16th June 2020 mentions the heroic nurse Bridget Quinn with an image of her Plaque within Mayo Peace Park.
Hi, my Dad (Bridget Quinn’s youngest brother) says Bridget was never known as Bridie. Where did you get the information that that was what she was called? Are you able to call her by the name she was always known as, Bridget Quinn?
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