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Nurse Edith Cavell and the British World War One propaganda campaign
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Her selfless sense of duty drove her to risk her life nursing and aiding Allied soldiers hiding from the Germans in war-torn Belgium. Cavell's patriotism and loyalty to Britain, as well as her sacrifice to humanity, has made her a significant heroine of World War I. Born on December 4, , the oldest child of the Vicar of Swardeston and his wife, Edith was taught to help those less fortunate than herself and was often sent on errands of mercy in their village. Her father, a strict Victorian, abhorred lying and raised his children to have an unswerving respect for the truth.
Cavell's compassion for others was apparent as she confided her dreams to her cousin, "Someday, somehow, I am going to do something useful. They are, most of them, so helpless, so hurt and so unhappy. Cavell studied at home with her father until the age of eighteen, when she enrolled in Miss Gibson's School for Young Ladies in Peterborough.
She discovered she had a gift for languages and learned to speak French fluently, earning praise as the teacher's best student.
By graduation, Cavell had grown into a serious young woman with a frail build who scorned fun and mischief. In , she accepted a position with a wealthy English family who needed a governess. Although this was not an occupation to fulfill her dreams, she grew to love the children and remained with the family for six years.
She spent another five years as a governess in Belgium. In she returned to England to care for her seriously ill father. After tending him for nearly a year, he gradually recovered.
The experience provided Cavell with a calling in which she felt needed. She decided to become a nurse. The following year, at the age of thirty, she entered the London Hospital Nurses' Training School as a probationer. The next five years Cavell faced long hours of work and study, with little financial reward. She ministered to the old, the sick, the criminal and the poor in the dreary hospital and in the squalid London homes she visited on out-duty.
In , she completed the nursing course and took a position as night supervisor of a small hospital. She was quickly promoted and within three years was employed as assistant matron of a large hospital where she gained experience teaching and lecturing senior probationers.
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Cavell's meticulous work and supervisory skills soon elevated her to the top of her profession. The letter contained an offer to organize and direct a nurses' school in Brussels to educate and professionally train personnel as Florence Nightingale had in England. The surgeon, Antoine Depage, was frustrated with the religious orders that controlled Belgian nursing. He had available four brownstone houses and sought a matron to begin the training school.
The nurse he sought must have administrative experience and teaching capabilities, understand Belgian people and be fluent in French. Nurse Cavell satisfied all the requirements. Cavell opened the school on October 1,, with four students.
Edith Cavell: WWI Nurse, Hero, Martyr
As director of the Berkendael Institute of Brussels, she demanded the highest standards from her pupil nurses. She stressed duty and service to others, as well as ethical conduct, cleanliness, dedication to work and punctuality. As the months went by, the nursing staff grew, and by , Cavell had twenty-three probationers and was supervising three other hospitals in Brussels, as well as the Institute. She wrote many articles on nursing and sent periodical reports to the English Nursing Mirror.
In , she started her own nursing magazine, L'infirmiere. Cavell was vacationing in England when Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated. Although her family begged her to stay in England, Cavell insisted on returning to Belgium to ready the nurses for the flood of wounded.
All were hard at work in the Institute in the suburbs of Brussels when the German army occupied the city less than a month after her return. As the war raged around them, the Belgian people began aiding Allied soldiers that had become separated from their units. Ships in 7 to 10 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book!
- Edith Cavell, Nurse, Martyr, Heroine by Diana Souhami | | Booktopia.
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Following a traditional village childhood in 19th-century England, Edith worked as a governess in the UK and abroad, before training as a nurse in London in To Edith, nursing was a duty, a vocation, but above all a service. By , she had travelled most of Europe and become matron of her own hospital in Belgium, where, under her leadership, a ramshackle hospital with few staff and little organization became a model nursing school.
When war broke out, Edith helped soldiers to escape the war by giving them jobs in her hospital, finding clothing and organizing safe passage into Holland. In all, she assisted over two hundred men. When her secret work was discovered, Edith was put on trial and sentenced to death by firing squad. She uttered only words in her defence. A devout Christian, the evening before her death, she asked to be remembered as a nurse, not a hero or a martyr, and prayed to be fit for heaven.
When news of Edith's death reached Britain, army recruitment doubled. After the war, Edith's body was returned to the UK by train and every station through which the coffin passed was crowded with mourners.