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Compiled and Copyright © Martin Edwards 2003

Edith Cavell, the daughter of the rector of Swardeston, Norfolk, was born in 1865. After training as a nurse at the London Hospital she became the first matron of the Berkendael Medical Institute in Brussels.

After the German Army invaded Belgium in 1914, Berkendael became a Red Cross hospital for wounded soldiers regardless of their nationality. On 5th August 1915, she was arrested by the Germans and charged with having helped about 200 allied soldiers to escape to neutral Holland.

Cavell was kept in solitary confinement for nine weeks, during which time she was tricked by the Germans into making a confession. Edith Cavell was tried by court-martial, and along with her Belgian accomplice, Philippe Baucq, was found guilty and sentenced to death. Cavell's execution by firing-squad on 12th October, 1915, received world-wide press coverage.

The Marble statue is by Sir George Frampton (1920). Inscribed are her own last words "Patriotism is not enough". It is generally considered to be a very ugly monument. At its unveiling a General murmered to Lady Asquith "The Germans will blush when they see this", to which she is said to have replied "Won't the British?".

See also Peterborough Edith Cavell Memorial

Photographs Copyright © Martin Edwards 2003
Edith Cavell's grave in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral

Last updated 14 February, 2019

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