Edith Cavell : Nurse, Martyr, Heroine
by Diana Souhami
Editor: Quercus Publishing
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Edith Cavell was born on 4 December 1865, daughter of the vicar of Swardeston in Norfolk and shot dead in Brussels on 12 October 1915 by the Germans to shelter British and French soldiers and help them to flee across the Belgian border.After a traditional village childhood in 19th century England, Edith worked as a governess in the UK and abroad, before being trained as a nurse in London in 1895.For Edith, nursing was an obligation, a vocation, but above all a service.By 1907, she had travelled through most of Europe and became head nurse at her own hospital in Belgium, where, under her leadership, a dilapidated hospital with few staff and little organization became a role model in nursing school.In total, she has helped more than two hundred menWhen her secret work was discovered, Edith was tried and sentenced to death by firing squad.She spoke only 130 words for her defense.A fervent Christian, the night before her death, she asked to be remembered as a nurse, not a hero or a martyr and prayed to be in shape for heaven.When news of Edith’s death reached Britain, army recruitment doubled.After the war, Edith’s bodies had returned to England by train, and every station through which the coffin passed was invaded by mourners.Diana Souhami among the most beautiful heroes of the Great War brings back to life in this biography of a assiduous, courageous and independent woman.
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