Things you may not know about Edith Cavell Who was she?

Things you may not know about Edith Cavell
She was the daughter of a vicar but she thought her father's sermons were boring.
Edith's father was something of a Puritan and would want to keep a strict Sabbath (Sunday).
The family were quite poor as Frederick Cavell had used most of his money building the vicarage at his own expense.
When Edith was a girl, one of her favourite winter pastimes was ice skating.
As a child she helped establish a church room for a Sunday School.
Edith was quite an accomplished artist.
As a young woman, she once danced until her feet bled.
She is thought to have had a romantic fondness for her second cousin, Eddie.
Edith was described by her nursing teachers as unpunctual and even a little lazy but when placed in charge of others she became a strict matron!
She was fond of animals and nature.
Edith was weeding when she heard that World War 1 had started. More
The password of the underground movement in Belgium that Edith worked with was 'Yorc'.
Edith carried out most of the work with the escaped soldiers herself as she did not want to implicate others.
She sewed her diary into a cushion so it would not be found if the nursing school was searched.
Edith was not arrested for espionage, as many people believed, but for treason.
The only evidence found against Edith at the hospital was one tatty postcard.
Although more than 200 troops had passed through the hospital, the only incriminating document the nurse had was a battered postcard, sent by an English soldier thanking her for helping him to reach home.
Edith did not attempt to defend herself.
Her last words were that she was glad to die for her country.
She did not want to be a martyr.
Although the German action was justified according to the rule of war, it was a serious blunder.
Laurence Binyon, a famous English poet, wrote a poem about Edith shortly after her execution.
Edith's body was carried from Dover to London in a passenger luggage wagon.

Edith Cavell said.
But this I would say, standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness toward anyone.
Edith Cavell was a vicar's daughter, an English matron of a teaching hospital and an influential pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium.

When World War 1 broke out she was visiting her mother in England. She returned to Belgium as she felt her nursing skills would be needed more than ever and felt it was her duty to stay in the occupied country rather than return to the safety of England. Edith's hospital became a Red Cross hospital, and wounded soldiers of all nationalities were equally treated there. Her strong Christian beliefs motivated her to help all those in need, both German and Allied soldiers. She once said, "I can't stop while there are lives to be saved". However, when some wounded British soldiers, who had been cut off from their comrades, arrived, Edith had to face a near-impossible dilemma: if she helped the soldiers she put at risk the neutrality of the Red Cross and would possibly endanger others working with her. If she refused to help them they would be in danger of being executed, along with any civilians who had harboured them.

Edith decided to help them despite the risk to herself. "Had I not helped, they would have been shot", she later said. She then agreed to join a Belgian underground movement and helped more than 200 Allied soldiers to escape to neutral territory. When the network was betrayed, she was arrested, tried by a court martial, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.

The execution was carried out at dawn by a firing squad, on October 12th, 1915, in Brussels. Edith was still wearing her nurse's uniform. She immediately became a national heroine to the British and her death was used as propaganda against the Germans. However, Edith never wanted to be a martyr; to Edith the protection of hunted men was a Christian and humanitarian act for which she was prepared to face the consequences. Just as importantly, she is also remembered for her forgiveness.

On the eve of her execution she said, "I am thankful to have had these 10 weeks of quiet to get ready. Now I have had them and have been kindly treated here. I expected my sentence and I believe it was just. Standing as I do in view of God and Eternity, I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone".

I hope this is not to long...i did edit it as much as i dared without spoiling the story.

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Published in People & Events, Senior Chatters


  1. PollyPie

    Long, but a good read.
    There is a mountain near Jasper, Alberta in the Rockies that I have been lucky enough to go up twice. It was first ascended by A.J. Gilmour, E.W.D. Holway in 1915.
    Its called ‘Mount Edith Cavell’.
    Thanks shadow 🙂

  2. passaggio

    Thank you for posting this Shadow. What a fascinating young woman. A bit of European History I did not know about . I really enjoyed the read. 🙂

  3. Faye

    Sad to say I have never heard of her…til now. Goes to show…never too old to learn something new….:-)

    1. lani36

      so good to relive that story, which is a true story ,many sacrifices are made during wartime, but the real heros and heroines are those that forgive their enemies…..