History's HEROES? 1865 - 1915

Edith Cavell

Views and opinions

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I realise that patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.
Edith Cavell – night before her death, Oct 11th, 1915

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I have no fear or shrinking; I have seen death so often it is not strange or fearful to me.
Edith Cavell to British Chaplain Mr Graham 1915

We reminded him of the burning of Louvian and the sinking of the Lusitania, and told him that this murder would stir all civilized countries with horror and disgust. Harruch broke in at this with the remark that he would rather see Miss Cavell shot than have harm come to one of the humblest German Soldiers, and his only regret was that they had not “three or four” English old women to shoot.
Hugh S. Gibon, First Sec of State American Legation at Brussels talking to Baron Von de Landen

She was binding the wounds of her enemies when they came. The lint in her hand unrolled. They battered the door with their rifle butts, crashed it in, she faced them.
Laurence Binyon, English poet, 1917
The probationers wear blue dresses with white aprons and white collars. The contrast which they present to the nuns, in their heavy stiff robes, and to the lay nurses, in their grimy apparel, is the contrast of the unhygienic past with the enlightened present.
Edith wiring in the journal, the Nurses Mirror about her training school in Belgium
Edith Louisa Cavell had plenty of capacity for her work, when she chose to exert herself...She is not at all punctual.
Miss Lückes, whom Edith trained under, around 1897
We were all trembling with fear, and Madame found me sitting weeping. She peered into my face with that powerful gaze of hers, with something mild in it, yet full of firm reproach, and bade me not to give way to my feelings, telling me that my life no longer belonged to myself alone, but also to my duty as a nurse.
Jacqueline van Til, one of the Nurses describing Edith's actions as Brussels fell to the Germans, 1914

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Ask father Graham to tell my loved ones later on that my soul, as I believe, is safe and that I am glad to die for my Country.
Edith Cavell, last words to German Lutheran Prison Chaplain 1915

I do not believe that Miss Cavell wanted to be a martyr...but she was ready to die for her country
Paster Le Seur

To my astonishment and relief I found my friend perfectly calm and resigned.
A British chaplain, Rev Stirling Graham, visited her on the eve of her execution, 1915
I have told you that devotion will give you real happiness, and the thought that you have done, before God and yourselves, your whole duty and with a good heart will be your greatest support in the hard moments of life and in the face of death.
Edith Cavell to the nurses at her school, written just before her execution from the cell, October 11th, 1915
My darling mother and family, if you open this, it will be because that which we fear has now happened, and Brussels has fallen into the hands of the enemy. They are very near now and it is doubtful if the Allied armies can stop them. We are prepared for the worse. I shall think of you to the last, and you may be sure we shall do our duty here and die as women of our race should die. God bless you and keep you safe.
Edith writing to her mother just before the fall of Brussels 1914
Some day, somehow, I am going to do something useful. I don't know what it will be. I only know that it will be something for people. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy.
Edith writing to her Cousin as a young women
A few minutes later the coffins were lowered into the graves, and I prayed over Edith Cavell’s grave, and invoked the Lord’s blessing over her poor corpse. Then I went home, almost sick in my soul.
Pasteur Le Suer, the clergyman who Edith to the firing squad 1915
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