Edith Cavell -
Faith before the firing squad


This year Services of Remembrance take place on Remembrance Sunday, 8 November 2015, around the United Kingdom at churches, war memorials and at the National Memorial Arboretum. It is an opportunity for churches to bring communities together to look back with gratitude for lives given in defence of our country.

This year, on 12th October, many people will also mark the centenary of Nurse Edith Cavell’s execution. Many remember her patriotism. But Edith said patriotism was not enough. Many saw her as a hero and a martyr; some even think she was a spy. But Edith asked to be remembered ‘… only as a nurse who tried to do her duty’.

Dozens of authors have written about this Norfolk-born nurse, but none answers the question: ‘How could she be so calm and confident facing death?’ A new book, Edith Cavell - Faith before the firing squad (Monarch, £8.99) by HOPE’s Communications Director, Catherine Butcher, tells Edith’s faith story. It traces the roots of her confidence in Jesus, her love for others expressed in practical, selfless service to friend and foe alike, as well as her courage helping fugitives from war to find freedom. 

Click here to order copies. 

Download PowerPoint slideshow about Edith Cavell. 

 

Twenty facts about Edith Cavell 

 
  1. She enjoyed ice skating on frozen Norfolk rivers.
  2. Watercolour painting was a favourite pastime.
  3. She painted greetings cards to raise money to build a Sunday school room in her village. 
  4. She gave an 11-year-old runaway her brother’s suit.
  5. In the early days of the Davis Cup, Edith was an accomplished tennis player.
  6. She was confirmed by the Bishop of Bath & Wells when at school near Bristol.
  7. She learned to speak fluent French at school in Peterborough.
  8. Her first employment was as a governess.
  9. She wrote a book about caring for dogs.
  10. She trained as a nurse in the hospital that had been home to the Elephant Man.
  11. The matron at the London Hospital said in a report that Edith was ‘not a nurse that can altogether be depended upon’.
  12. The only medal she received was awarded by the people of Maidstone to Edith and about 250 nurses who had been sent to help contain a typhoid fever epidemic in 1897.
  13. She took four children to St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex to convalesce after a typhoid epidemic.
  14. When sitting with a patient for 36 hours after an operation on his spine, she painted a spray of apple blossom on the flyleaf of his Bible.
  15. Because she could speak French and had been trained in the Florence Nightingale style of nursing, she was recruited to start a nurses’ training school in Brussels, Belgium.
  16. She was in England when the First World War was declared, but left to return to her nurses’ training school.
  17. She hid an escaping soldier in a barrel of apples.
  18. Her two dogs, Don and Jack, were adopted strays.
  19. She gave a home to a 13-year-old girl who had run away from a travelling circus.
  20. One of the spies whose snooping led to her capture had an injured foot which she treated.
 

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