My history hero: Edith Cavell (1865–1915)

Novelist Kate Mosse explains why she admires an iconic nurse

A statue of celebrated English nurse and wartime heroine, Edith Cavell

This article was first published in the January 2015 issue of BBC History Magazine 

Edith Cavell (1865–1915) was a British nurse who was shot by a German firing squad in the First World War for helping Allied soldiers to escape occupied Belgium. A vicar’s daughter, she trained as a nurse and in 1907 became matron of a nursing school in Brussels. Following the outbreak of war in 1914, she began sheltering and helping British and French troops to escape to the neutral Netherlands. But after being betrayed by a collaborator, she was tried and executed by the German authorities. Cavell became an iconic figure in death, and her execution was exploited by the Allies for propaganda purposes. Numerous memorials were later erected in her honour.

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