Second Lt. Laverne Farquhar was the first army nurse to be killed in World War II, and it was to Comanche County, Texas that the army would send notification of her death.
Laverne was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F.A. Farquhar who lived in Sidney, Texas at the time she entered the army in 1942. She did her training at Camp Barkeley, Texas before joining with the 2nd Auxiliary Surgical Hospital that served in Africa and Italy.
It was in Africa that German planes bombed what they could clearly see was a marked hospital. When the message came in about her death, it was the Arch Boyd family who had the horrible task of telling her parents that their daughter was dead because Mr. and Mrs. Farquhar did not have a phone themselves. (I actually had no idea that the army ever notified any family member by phone.)
A memorial service was held for Laverne at the Sidney Baptist Church, but it would be three long years later before the Farquhars could actually bury their daughter because her body was not shipped back to the states until after the war. She was buried with full military honors in Fluvanna, the town from which she had graduated from high school.
Laverne’s sister said, “She kept the family going during the depression. She was a nurse in the Blackwell Brothers Clinic in Gorman and sent home money for food and clothes… She was beautiful and had big brown eyes. She was very headstrong and outgoing If she thought she could do something she did it…”
It was probably that “strong head” that made Laverne Farquhar decide to join the army as a nurse.
“During the first two months that the hospital was in Italy, the surgical team for which she was a nurse operated on more than 100 critically wounded soldiers. Not one of them died during an operation. That was Laverne’s contribution to the war–her answer to those who believed that a woman’s place is in the home…”