Attica in Seneca County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
A Nurse’s Sacrifice in the Great War
Ayres joined Red Cross Unit 12 in 1916. She and fellow nurse Helen Wood died May 20, 1917 while their unit was sailing to Europe to join the Allied war effort. Aboard their ship, the S.S. Mongolia, a shell exploded prematurely during gunnery practice. Flying debris killed Ayres and Wood, the first American women to become casualties after the United States declared war. Another nurse, Emma Mazen, was wounded. The Mongolia immediately returned to port. Nurse Ayres’ remains were returned to Attica and she was given a funeral of high honor befitting her sacrifice. She was 36 years old.
Erected 2017 by American Legion Family
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, World I. In addition, it is included in the Ohio Historical Society / The Ohio History Connection series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1917.
Location. 41° 3.989′ N, 82° 52.876′ W. Marker is in Attica, Ohio, in Seneca County. Marker is at the intersection of Lemmon Street and Venice Street, on the left when traveling east on Lemmon Street. It is in the Attica Venice Cemetery. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Attica OH 44807, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Site of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Attica Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Attica Area Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Purple Heart Vietnam Bench (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Fallen... But Not Forgotten (approx. 0.4 miles away); POW-MIA Chair (approx. 0.4 miles away); Let Us Pray For Those Who Serve & Protect (approx. 0.4 miles away); Omar Chapel (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Attica.
Also see . . . Historian tells story of nurse who died at start of WWI. 2017 article by
A hundred years after the accident on the Mongolia, historian [Marjorie] Waterfield believes that people can still learn much from Mrs. Ayres’ death. “Women didn’t get the same honors that men did,” said Ms. Waterfield, giving a lecture about Mrs. Ayres at the Way Public Library in Perrysburg on Wednesday.(Submitted on November 9, 2019.)
At the time, Red Cross nurses did not hold recognized military positions, meaning that Mrs. Ayres never received a military funeral or gravestone. The nurses’ deaths on the Mongolia, however, did receive national coverage. From the New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, the American press mourned the death of Mrs. Ayres.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 9, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 9, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 237 times since then and 84 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 9, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.