Mary Seacole honoured by Google Doodle – here's what you need to know about the Crimean War heroine

MARY Seacole appears in the 13th series of Doctor Who as it features the Crimean War.

The Jamaican-born nurse was renowned for treating the sick and wounded on the battlefield at her own expense after having been rejected several times to help.

Who was nurse Mary Seacole?

Mary Jane Seacole was born November 23, 1805.

She was a British-Jamaican, healer and businesswoman who set up the "British Hotel" behind the lines during the Crimean War.

She was renowned for treating the sick and wounded on the battlefield and after the conflict ended her reputation rivalled that of Mary Nightingale.

She was born Mary Grant, the daughter of a Scottish soldier and a free Jamaican woman who ran a boarding house in Kingston, Jamaica.

Young Mary learned her nursing skills from her mother, a "doctress" who was well-versed in traditional Caribbean and African herbal remedies.

Though she had few rights as a mixed-race woman, she travelled widely and learned more about Western medicine.

What did Mary Seacole do in the Crimean War?

In 1854, now a widow, Mary went to London where she heard about poor medical facilities in Crimea and volunteered her services to the War Office – but was turned away.

Undeterred she funded her own trip to the war zone and set up the British Hotel near Balaclava to provide "a mess-table and comfortable quarters for sick and convalescent officers".

Immediately she began nursing the troops, even coming under fire on the battlefield as she tended the wounded.

War correspondent W.H. Russell, who made Mary Seacole famous, described her as "a warm and successful physician, who doctors and cures all manner of men with extraordinary success.

"She is always in attendance near the battle field to aid the wounded, and has earned many a poor fellow's blessings."

Eventually, Marys set up hotel was able to provide comfortable accommodation and became a celebrated destination that was also used for theatrical performances and horse racing events in between the battles.

But after the war ended in 1856 she returned to England bankrupt and in ill health.

Grateful soldiers and members of the public organised a benefit festival to raise money for her retirement, featuring 1,000 performers and huge crowds shouting her name.

Seacole died in 1881 and has been overshadowed by Nightingale in popular memory.

How is Mary Seacole featured in Doctor Who?

The recent Doctor Who Series 13 trailer teased viewers that the first block of filming features the Crimean War and Mary Seacole.

Sara Powell has a credit for portraying Mary Seacole in a Doctor Who block directed by Jamie Stone.

As the trailer goes on, we see what looks to be an epic battle between humans and the Sontarans, which will lead to a "massacre."

Hundreds of fans commented on the trailer, one saying: "I am so excited for this episode why can't it be Sunday again already!!!"

"This episode is going to be excellent and I cannot wait to see it Sunday night," another joined in.

How was Mary Seacole honoured by a Google Doodle?

In 2016, Marry was honoured by a Google Doodle.

However, Mary Seacole faded into obscurity and was largely forgotten until she was recently recognised as the first black woman to make her mark on public life in Britain.

In 2004 she was voted the greatest black Briton of all time and in 2016 a memorial statue was erected in her honour at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

There was also a renewed interest in her role in 19th century society which saw her celebrated as an icon who overcame racial prejudice.

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