Stop 8: Edith Rose Tench
Edith Rose Tench was the first women ever buried in the National Cemetery. She served as a “yeomanette,” third class in the United States Naval Reserve Force at the Norfolk Navy Yards during World War I. By the time the war ended more than 11,000 women had served with the US Naval Reserve Force. “Yeomanettes” performed tasks such as clerical duties, designing camouflage for battleships, and acting as translators, draftsmen, fingerprint experts, and recruiting agents. Tench graduated with the 1928 class of Mary Washington Hospital, but died in November 1929 at the age of 36 after battling Bright’s Disease.
The cemetery closed to new burials in the 1940s. The last soldier buried in a separate grave was Harry Bankard in 1945. Bankard was not the last soldier buried here; that honor goes to Admol Jett who was buried four years later in the same plot as his father. The final burials in the cemetery would be the spouses of soldiers already buried here who had reserved their spots while still living. Today if a soldier is found buried within the park, they are not reinterred into the National Cemetery. Instead their grave is marked and the remains not disturbed. You can find a few of these marked graves at Chatham and outside the Chancellorsville Visitor Center.