Updated: Feb 3, 2021
Edith Louisa Cavell was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was accused of treason, found guilty by a court-martial and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.
She is well known for her statement that "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone." Her strong Anglican beliefs propelled her to help all those who needed it, both German and Allied soldiers. She was quoted as saying, "I can’t stop while there are lives to be saved." The Church of England commemorates her in its Calendar of Saints on 12 October. Cavell, who was 49 at the time of her execution, was already notable as a pioneer of modern nursing in Belgium.