WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years After German Execution
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WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years After German Execution

A wreath has been laid in Salford to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of a war heroine executed by the Germans. Nurse Edith...

WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years After German Execution
A wreath has been laid in Salford to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of a war heroine executed by the Germans.
 
Nurse Edith Cavell was shot at dawn a century ago today for helping British soldiers escape occupied Belgium during World War One.
 
Cavell, aged 49 when she was executed, worked for a time in Manchester and today the Royal College of Nursing's history society held a memorial event to mark her death.
 
Two wreaths were laid at the war memorial bearing her name at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford, where she was once a parishioner, while nursing the poor in the city.
 
WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years On After German Execution.
WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years On After German Execution.
 
Rev Canon Andy Salmon spoke at the brief commemoration at the war memorial outside the church, repeating some of the last words Cavell said before her execution: "I have no fear or shrinking. I have seen death so often it is not strange or fearful to me."
 
A two-minute silence was held before Professor Christine Hallett spoke about Cavell's life and legacy as a nurse and humanitarian, at the event attended by local schoolchildren and civic dignitaries.
 
David Winston, parishioner at the church, said: "I thought it was a very fitting memorial to Edith. She was a woman of incredible courage and great humility and those two things are always worth thinking about."
 
 
WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years After German Execution
WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years After German Execution
Cavell was training nurses in Brussels when war broke out, then worked for the Red Cross treating injured British and German soldiers in Belgium, after it was occupied by the Germans.
 
But the vicar's daughter from Swardeston, Norfolk, became a resistance worker.
 
Instead of handing over British soldiers to the Germans when they were better, she became part of a secret network helping at least 200 soldiers escape to neutral Holland.
 
German spies uncovered her activities and she was arrested and imprisoned.
 
After a trial for treason she was summarily executed, learning of her fate only the day before without time to mount any appeal.
 
She was taken from her cell at 7am on October 12 1915, tied to a post, blindfolded and shot by a German firing squad.
 
Her last words were: "I die for God and my country."
 
But her execution caused worldwide revulsion, handing the British a propaganda coup, doubling the numbers of men joining up to 10,000 a week and precipitating the US's involvement in the war.
 
WWI Heroine Edith Cavell Remembered 100 Years After German Execution
A propaganda stamp issued shortly after her death.
 
Cavell was given a state funeral, a statue of her erected close to Trafalgar Square and her remains were buried at Norwich Cathedral.
 
Commemoration of centenary events of the 1914 to 1918 conflict has revived the memory of her life with the Royal Mint issuing a commemorative £5 coin.
 
Mr Winston added: "I think its fair to say she was forgotten for a while. I think people have become more aware and I hope she becomes more widely known. She is a heroine."