Edith Cavell Biography

Edith Cavell (December 4, 1865 – October 12, 1915) (Swardestone, Norfolk, England). A nurse of British origin, who served for the Red Cross, during World War I.


She is known historically for her brave help to wounded soldiers in German-occupied areas, especially the military in neutral countries, whom she healed and helped escape. Once discovered, Edith Cavell was imprisoned and executed by German forces, becoming a model of service and humanity ever since. His figure was used, among Allied troops, as an icon of courage and surrender.

Early life

Edith Cavell was born on 4 December 1865, in Swardestone, Norfolk, near Norwich, England, the eldest of four children of the Reverend Frederick Cavell and his wife.

He belonged to a family of humble origin and totally linked to religious practice. From an early age he learned the importance of helping the needy. In his youth, he helped his father collect money and inputs for the poorest.

One of the forms was through the sale of some pictures of flowers and birds, which Edith painted with great talent and so he was able to raise up to three hundred pounds, for the constitution of a Sunday school, in the church where his father was reverend.

Beginnings as a nurse

In 1890, Edith Cavell moved to Belgium, where she served as governess, for the sons of a family of French origin. He also had the opportunity to visit Austria, where he met a free hospital, where the sick were cared for without being asked for anything in return. This impressed Edith’s way.

Some time later he had to return to England, in order to care for his father, who had become seriously ill. After settling for this family situation, Edith decided to leave for the British capital, where she entered the London Hospital, to train as a nurse. In this institution, she had the opportunity to be a student of Eva Lucke, who at the time had the reputation of being the best midwife in the city.

In 1907, she moved back to Brussels, where she managed to get a job as a midwife at a School of Nurses. During these years, Edith developed her career as a midwife and nurse, having the opportunity to work in several hospitals.

She also devoted part of her time to education, teaching at various nursing schools. He even went on to edit a magazine, L’infirmi’re, in order to share his knowledge.

Within the professional medical guild, it had become a personality, thus being one of the pioneers of modern nursing.

World War I

The start of World War I, in 1914, surprised her in England, visiting her mother’s house. Quickly, he returned to Brussels, in order to return to his job. Upon his arrival, he got the hospital he worked for to be under the control of the Red Cross.

A few months later, in November, Edith Cavell saw Germany take Brussels. From then on, this British nurse was plotted to not only heal the wounds of Allied soldiers, wounded in combat, but also decided to help them escape from German forces.

For a total of ten months, he hosted more than a hundred Allied soldiers in his home to help them escape their situation as a war detainee.

Detention and execution

However, Edith Cavell was reported to German forces, who took letters on the matter immediately. On 3 August 1915, nurse Edith Cavell was arrested and sent to Saint Guilles prison. From the outset she admitted with complete dignity and foremost the positions of which she was accused, agreeing to have helped more than a hundred Belgian, French and British soldiers regain their freedom.

Guilt to him who felt no repentance, for as some historians refer, he always felt that he did what he should do. Their arrest was quickly reported in troops and allied governments, who from the outset invoked the Geneva Convention, which dictates protective measures on medical personnel, during armed conflicts.

Despite all attempts to solve their situation, through international politics, and even opposition from senior members of the German government, Edith Cavell was executed by German forces on 12 October 1915, after ten weeks confined to a strict order of presidio. His death shook the world, who from the outset took it as a printing stamp of struggle and belief in the principles of humanity.

His body was deposited in a grave on one side of the prison of Saint Gilles, where he spent the last days of his life. After the war, she managed to be exhumed, and taken to England, where she was buried in Norwich.

Image source: eveningnews24.co.uk

Edith Cavell Biography
Source: Education  
August 14, 2019


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