Senior nurses pictured at the Edith Cavell Memorial, just off Trafalgar Square, after the centenary remembrance service (Photo: Centenary News)

Day of tributes on centenary of Edith Cavell's execution

Posted on on 12 October 2015
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Tributes have been held in Belgium and the UK today to mark the centenary of nurse Edith Cavell's execution in occupied Brussels during the First World War.

*Princess Anne from the UK joined Princess Astrid of Belgium for the unveiling of a commemorative bust in Brussels. There was also a ceremony in the Belgian Senate, where Edith Cavell was tried by a German court martial in October 1915 for helping Allied soldiers to escape. 

*In London, several hundred people gathered for a remembrance service at the Edith Cavell Memorial, just off Trafalgar Square.

*Two minutes silence was held at Peterborough Cathedral after a dawn procession in the city where Edith Cavell received part of her schooling.

*The Bishop of Norwich led the annual service at Edith Cavell's graveside at Norwich Cathedral on October 10th. Edith Cavell was born in Norfolk, and her body was brought home for burial in 1919.

Edith Cavell was executed by a German firing squad on October 12th 1915 for helping more than 200 Allied soldiers escape from Belgium to the neutral Netherlands.

The centenary commemorations at the Edith Cavell Memorial in London, October 12th 2015 (Photo: Centenary News)

Today's ceremony in London was attended by representatives from nursing, the UK and Belgian governments, the armed forces and veterans' organisations.  

Senior nurses praised Edith Cavell as a role model for the profession.

"Edith Cavell was an extraordinary woman and her legacy has meant nurses can aspire to being as caring and compassionate as she was," said Tosh Denholm, a matron at the Royal London Hospital, where Edith Cavell trained.

"Every year we come to lay a wreath here and it really is quite an emotional moment. It is an extraordinary legacy that she has left us."

The event was hosted by the Cavell Nurses Trust, a charity dating from 1917 which continues to provide welfare and support for the profession.

The British government was represented by Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch MP, and Belgium by Jan Bayart, Deputy Head of Mission at the Belgian Embassy in London.

In a statement marking the centenary of Edith Cavell's death, Tracey Crouch said: "It is an honour to be here today to remember an inspirational woman who sacrificed so much in order to save the lives of soldiers from both sides of the trenches during the First World War.  

"Edith Cavell embodied the wartime spirit, and it is important that we not only remember her tragic death, but also reflect on her courageous life.

"Today we give thanks to all that she did for the ill and wounded, and the selfless work still carried out by so many nurses today."

Information: Visitflanders; Cavell Nurses Trust

Images: Centenary News

Posted by Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News