Throughout these postings, Barry was known for her dedication to improving both living and hospital conditions for women, children, soldiers and the poor. Concurrently, she was also known for her tendency to ruffle feathers of those in local politics and for her disagreements with some figureheads back in England. A letter by the famous nurse Florence Nightingale recounts an unpleasant dispute with the doctor.
Dr. Barry retired – reportedly against her wishes – in 1864. The following July, she died from dysentery. Sophia Bishop, the charwoman who tended her body, made Dr. Barry’s sex known publically.
Barry was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery under the name James Barry, and with full rank.
After the discovery of Barry’s sex, the British Army sealed all records relating to her for 100 years.
*Originally published in February 2014