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Edith Cavell

Edith CavellEdith Cavell Edith Cavell (1865–1915) was an English nurse who, during World War I, cared for wounded soldiers of both sides at the hospital where she was working in Brussels. She helped around 200 soldiers from the Allied countries (France, Britain and Belgium) fighting Germany to escape from German-occupied Belgium and reach the Netherlands, a neutral country. She sheltered the soldiers until they could make their way to safety, led by guides organized by a Belgian architect named Philippe Baucq. But both she and Baucq were arrested and shot by the Germans. Edith Cavell became a much-publicized heroine for the Allies.


St Mary's Church, SwardestonSt Mary's Church, Swardeston

Early life

Edith Cavell was born on 4th December 1865 in Swardeston, Norfolk where her father was the vicar. She was a talented artist and showed a proficiency for languages at school. After school she worked as a governess for a family in Belgium, becoming fluent in French. She started training to be a nurse in 1895, and returned to Belgium in 1907. 



Cavell (seated centre) with the nurses she trainedCavell (seated centre) with the nurses she trained

The Berkendael Institute

Following her execution, Edith became a popular name for French and Belgian girls. The French singer, Edith Piaf, who was born two months after Cavell was executed, was the best known.

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