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Edith Cavell
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Nurse
    (December 4, 1865-October 12, 1915)
    Born in Swardeston, England, United Kingdom
    Nurse at the Berkendael Institute in Brussels, Belgium
    Helped 200 Allied soldiers escape to neutral Holland
    Executed by the German military for aiding the enemy
    Her first nursing supervisor complained about her frequent tardiness.
    British propaganda posters usually depicted her as being much younger than her 49 years.
    The French executed two German nurses for the same offense of helping prisoners of war escape.
    When asked why they never commented on the executions, a German propaganda officer said, 'The French had a perfect right to shoot them.'
    She was visiting her parents in England when World War I broke out and immediately returned to Belgium, saying 'At a time like this I am needed more than ever.'
    The night before her execution, she told her chaplain, 'Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.'
    Her execution provoked such outrage, particularly in the US, that the death sentences of her co-defendants were commuted to imprisonment.
    Prime Minister H. H. Asquith said, 'She has taught the bravest man among us the supreme lesson of courage.'
    She said she did not want to be remembered as a martyr or heroine but simply 'a nurse who tried to do her duty.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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