Edith Cavell by Diana Souhami

Edith CavellA recent visit to Peterborough Cathedral reminded me that the memory of Edith Cavell was being celebrated this year……in fact, just three weeks ago, on October 12th. Following in those famous traditions established by the ‘lady of the lamp’, Florence Nightingale, she entered nursing (still regarded as an unseemly profession for ladies of her background in the mid-19th century) at the age of 30 (the same age as her pioneering predecessor). Having been largely unfulfilled by a series of posts as governess to rich families, she decided she wanted to devote herself to something ‘for the good of humanity’, and began her training in what was a rapidly evolving profession.

Though ambitious, with a strong desire to rise in the profession, her personality frequently got in the way. Quiet, self-effacing and not given to self-promotion, she lagged behind in scaling the ladder of promotion but, eventually, she was offered the post of Matron in a new nurses’ training school in Brussels. Her previous 5 years as governess to a rich Belgian family stood her in very good stead from a linguistic point of view, and she took on the post with great energy and vision in 1907.

Just 7 years later, while she was on holiday at home in Norfolk, she was caught by the outbreak of the Great War and, instead of staying put in the relative safety of rural East Anglia, she sped back to Brussels to resume charge of the rapid changes taking place to her school’s provision. But the day that wounded British soldiers started turning up on her doorstep proved to be a dramatic, and ultimately fatal, change in the direction of her life. In effect, she joined the underground resistance movement in Belgium and helped stranded allied soldiers escape  from the occupied zone.

She, along with dozens of others, was arrested, seven were sentenced to death, but only two of them were eventually executed. Her execution, and the haste with which it was carried out, scandalised not only the whole of the allied world, but also caused much shame amongst the axis powers. Like Florence Nightingale before her, heroine of the Crimea War, Edith Cavell became a war heroine of the Great War…..so much so, that not only were statues erected in her honour and streets and hospitals named after her, but even a mountain in Canada came to bear her name, as did a feature on the planet Venus, the Cavell Corona.

A remarkable person whose right to sit comfortably side-by-side with the greatest heroes of this country is well deserved.

Advertisements

About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on November 2, 2015, in Book reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

Inside news from Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Bicycles

Bike 5

A better way to get where you're going.

Kite*Surf*Bike*Rambling

KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change

4000milestothesea

On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

CyclingEurope.org

Europe... on a bicycle

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news

chrisp666

Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

fossilcycle

FOSSIL - A Fine Old Senior Soul In Lycra

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living

weston.front

The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child

Bricycling...

Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs

THE SPORTSWOOL DIARIES

................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: