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INTRODUCTION

Amongst the most emblematic individuals of the First World War stands, without doubt, Edith Louisa Cavell, a British nurse executed on the 12th October 1915 in Brussels. Her “crime” was to have helped allied soldiers, separated from the British Expeditionary Force, and young people seeking to re-join the Belgian army, to escape to The Netherlands, a country that was neutral during the First World War.

Beyond these resistance activities, in what has sometimes been called the “Cavell Network”, it is important to remember the role she played in the development of health care and the beginnings of professional nursing in Belgium, the principal reason for her being in Brussels. Edith Cavell in her role as a nurse found herself at a meeting point of patriotism, self-sacrifice, faith, feminism and nursing. At this moment in time it is surely of interest to examine the life and the role of this Anglican pastor’s daughter against the background of Brussels in the First World War.

This commemoration website has been built to introduce readers to Edith Cavell’s story and to present the commemoration plans for October 2015, the centenary of her death.

The Belgian Edith Cavell Commemoration Group (BECCG) wishes to thank the following for their generous support in the preparation
of this website: