A BOURNEMOUTH woman who was honoured for her heroic role in the Spanish Civil War has died at the age of 101.

Penny Feiwel, nee Phelps, served in Spain as a nurse from 1936 to 1939 and, just months before her 100th birthday, was offered joint nationality for her role in fighting Franco’s fascist-backed rebels.

Penny was 25 when she offered her services to the Spanish Medical Aid Committee, travelling to Spain with the International Brigades after losing her job at a London hospital for helping treat hunger marchers.

Her experience and spirit earned her lieutenant rank as well as the name by which she became widely known – English Penny.

Penny set up in isolation hospital in Quintana for the Garibaldi Battalion, as well as running a clinic there for the local population. She was a theatre nurse during the battles of Tarancon, Jarama and Brunete, and during the retreats.

While working in a makeshift hospital during the conflict, Penny was bombed by Franco’s planes, suffering broken ribs and shrapnel wounds to her body.

After evacuation from Spain on HMS Sussex, she was returned to a London hospital to convalesce, but the injuries forced Penny to retire from nursing.

While she was recovering, however, Penny met noted dermatologist Michael Feiwel, whom she married three months later.

The couple moved to Bournemouth at the start of the 1970s, where Penny’s sister Louisa lived, and moved into a 15th floor flat in West Cliff.

Penny and Michael shared their lives until 1999, working together at Michael’s Harley Street practice, and celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary shortly before his death.

Penny died in Bournemouth on January 6.

Marlene Sidaway, president of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, said Penny was “incredibly strong, brave and hard working in the most terrible conditions” during her time in Spain.

She added: “Since the IBMT was formed 10 years ago, Penny has been a key member, always ready to help the cause of remembering her comrades in Spain and gathering love and admiration from all who knew her.

“We will miss her very much.”

Please note that comments are being left open to pay tributes to Penny. Any other comments will be removed.