Edith Cavell

Edith Cavell Facts

Occupation: Nurse
Born: 4th December, 1865
Died: 12th October, 1915 (age 49)
Parents: Reverend Frederick and Louisa Sophia Cavell
Venerated in: Church of England

Edith Cavell Summary

Edith Cavell was a medical caretaker who was commended for equally sparing the lives of soldiers from both Allied and German armies and in helping 200 Allied fighters escape from German-controlled Belgium during the First World War, for which she was double-crossed and captured. She was then court-martialed, discovered liable of injustice and sentenced to death.

She was quoted as saying “patriotism is not enough”. Her firm Anglican ideals moved her to help each and every individual who greatly requires it, both German and Allied fighters. She was also cited as saying, “I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved”. The 12th of October is celebrated in remembrance by the Anglican church in her memory, despite the fact that it is not an “example of saint’s feast day” in the customary sense.

She was conceived on December 4th 1865 in Swardeston town near Norwich, where her father was a vicar for 45 years. She was the eldest of the four offspring of the Reverend Frederick and Louisa Sophia Cavell and was taught dependably to reach out to the less fortunate, regardless of her family’s small income. After working as a family tutor, including a number of families in Brussels from 1890 to 1895, she prepared herself for training as a London Hospital medical attendant with Matron Eva Luckes as superior and employed in numerous hospitals located in England, including Shoreditch Infirmary. In 1907, Dr. Antoine Depage was the one who enrolled Cavell to a recently opened nursing school called L’École Belge d’Infirmières Diplômées (The Berkendael Medical Institute), on the Rue de la Culture (now called Rue Franz Merjay), Ixelles in Brussels. By 1910, Cavell felt that the field of nursing had gained enough solid attention in Belgium to warrant the distribution of a professional diary for nurses. Thus, she began the publication of the nursing diary “L’infirmière”. After a year, she became a nurse trainer for three hospital facilities, 24 schools, and 13 kindergartens in Belgium.

In November 1914, after the war broke out and Germany began control of Brussels, Cavell started shielding British troops and channeling them out of Belgium to the Netherlands. Injured British and French fighters and Belgian and French regular folks of military age took refuge from the Germans and were given false papers by Prince Reginald de Croy at his estate of Bellignies at Mons. From that point, they were directed by different advisers to the homes of Cavell, Louis Séverin and many others in Brussels, and outfitted by them with cash to flee to the Dutch outskirts and with aides hired through Philippe Baucq. This put Cavell in a situation where she was infringing upon German military law. German police grew increasingly suspicious of her activities, which was further supported by her outspokenness.

She was captured on 3rd August 1915 and accused of harboring Allied soldiers. It was revealed that she had been sold out by a Frenchman named Gaston Quien, who was later sentenced by a French court as a co-conspirator. Despite worldwide demand for her release, she was executed via German firing squad. News of her execution was far-reaching, and was covered by the international press. At the time of her execution, she was at that point the figurehead in helping develop nursing to what it is today.