Edith Cavell (4 December 1865 – 12 October 1915) was a British nurse during the First World War who was living in Brussels, Belgium. A compassionate woman who didn’t see the difference between allies or the enemy, she cared for humanity as a whole. However, it was this compassion that led to her death. During November 1914, in German occupied Belgium, Cavell began to shelter British troops and helped them to run away to the Netherlands, which was neutral during the war. What Cavell was doing, was a massive breach of conduct of German Military Law which resulted in a heavy punishment, death.
On the 3rd August 1915, after helping British, French, and Belgians leave German-controlled Belgium, Cavell was arrested and charged with harbouring allied soldiers. Edith admitted to the charges given and during her trial she openly admitted that she helped over 200 men in that short time. Although there was international diplomatic pressure put on Germany by the allied countries, Edith Cavell was still killed by firing squad on the 12th October 1915.
Whilst researching this remarkable woman, we came across the Cavell Nurses Trust. A charity formally known as NurseAid launched in 1917, it was created following the public’s anger at Edith’s execution. The Cavell Nurses Trust provides vital support to nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants, student nurses and retired nurses.
Edith Cavell was a remarkable woman whose legacy still lives on.