Edith Louisa Cavell was a pioneering British nurse, a woman of courage and strong character, celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides during the First World War. When she helped some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium—sheltering most of them in her house—she was arrested, court-martialed, found guilty of treason, and sentenced to death.
On the night before her execution she told her chaplain, "Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."
She was shot on 12th October 1915, aged 49, by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation: her heroic death caused international outrage and may have contributed to America's decision to enter the war.
Cavell is widely remembered in films and plays. Streets, bridges, schools, and hospitals are named in her honor across the Commonwealth, and the UK government has released a commemorative coin. This is her story.