This short original film is about Laura Gailey, the only woman named on the War Memorial in the Diamond in Derry/Londonderry. Laura Gailey was a resident of the city who became a volunteer nurse tending the war-wounded in Liverpool during WWI.
She died in her twenties after contracting measles and pneumonia. The film traces the movements of Laura’s ghost around the places in Derry/Londonderry she knew and frequented as a young woman as she wonders how or whether she is remembered at all in 2013. Her journey ends at the War Memorial in the Diamond, where she is gratified to discover her name.
The film has been used as a starting point for discussion in further sessions around the Decade of Anniversaries including consideration of the Ulster Covenant, UVF and WWI.
There was little awareness that there was a woman on the War Memorial, in keeping with the fact that women feature little in public histories. Laura’s story was thought to capture a number of the significant events of the era: her family was a prominent Unionist family and Laura herself signed the Ulster Covenant Declaration opposing Home Rule.
What worked well and what, if anything, didn't?
The DVD is an enduring resource which can be used in many ways. The human story has been a powerful way of engaging people in discussions about the Decade of Anniversaries. There has been increased awareness from this and from the Diamond War Memorial Project as a whole that at least half of those named on the memorial are from the Catholic community, yet for decades there was a perception that it was relevant only to the Unionist Community. Laura’s story has also opened up discussion about the exodus of the Protestant people from the City side and about the changing nature of the city.
Further funding has been secured to develop music and song which further evoke the story of Laura Gailey and for another short film about a Catholic chaplain from Dunree who served in WWI.
Eamonn Baker, The Junction, 028 7136 1942 or firstname.lastname@example.org.