Me­mo­rial to a First World War hero­ine

The story of Edith Cavell, a nurse ex­e­cuted by the Ger­mans dur­ing the First World War, is well known, what isn’t as well known is how that story links to Bea­cons­field. Don­ald Stan­ley finds out more

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - PEOPLE AND PLACES -

FOR more than 100 years Bea­cons­field and The Daily Tele­graph news­pa­per were linked by the Law­son fam­ily of the Hall Barn es­tate. At the time of the First World War both were owned by Ed­ward Law­son who in 1903 had been cre­ated lst Lord Burn­ham.

In Oc­to­ber 1915 the English nurse, Edith Cavell, daugh­ter of a Nor­folk cler­gy­man, was ex­e­cuted by the Ger­man army.

Af­ter work­ing in Bel­gium as a gov­erness she had trained as a nurse at the Royal Lon­don Hos­pi­tal be­fore re­turn­ing to Brus­sels where she founded a nurses’ train­ing school which upon the out­break of the First World War was taken over by the Red Cross.

As one of their nurses she treated al­lied and Ger­man wounded with­out dis­tinc­tion.

She also saw it as her Chris­tian com­pas­sion and hu­man­i­tar­i­an­man­i­tar­ian duty to join Bel­gium m civil­ians in shel­ter­ingg and as­sist­ing the es­cape to neu­tral Hol­land of Bri­tish and al­lied sol­diers and civil­ians of mil­i­tary age.

She was be­trayed and ex­e­cuted by a Ger­man fir­ing squad, a costly blun­der with reper­cus­sions through­out the world, es­pe­cially in the United States which hich had re­cently suf­feredd the sink­ing of the Lusi­ta­nia,nia and a spur to mil­i­tary re­cruit­ment.

It also gave rise to ex­ten­sive pro­pa­ganda in the form of posters, post­cards and a movie. Al­most imm im­me­di­ately Lord Burnh Burn­ham started a fund to which read­ers of hi his new news­pa­per co could m make d do­na­tions to to­wards th the public m me­mo­rial w which sta stands tod to­day in St Mar Martin’s Place Place, Lon­don Lon­don. It is of Edith Cavell in nur nurse’s uni­form and sculp sculpted from white mar­ble.

The sculp­tor, Sir Ge­orge Framp­ton, de­clined any fee. At the re­quest of the Na­tional Coun­cil of Women there were added in 1924 her words when she re­ceived Holy Com­mu­nion the night be­fore her ex­e­cu­tion: ”Pa­tri­o­tism is not enough. I must have no ha­tred or bit­ter­ness to­wards any­one”.

Money raised was also used to set up the Edith Cavell Trust which still trains nurses and as­sists those in need.

In 1919 her body was repa­tri­ated from Bel­gium. A horse-drawn car­riage bore it to a state fu­neral at Westminster Abbey at­tended by King Ge­orge V af­ter which a spe­cial train car­ried her cof­fin to Nor­wich where she was re­buried in the grounds of the Cathe­dral.

Edith Cavell day is com­mem­o­rated each Oc­to­ber 12 and the cen­te­nary of her death is marked this year by a com­mem­o­ra­tive £5 coin is­sued by the Royal Mint.

Queen Alexan­dra un­veils the me­mo­rial to Nurse Cavell in 1920 and, above, the Royal Mint coin that marks the 100th an­niver­sary of her death.

The re­mains of Nurse Edith Cavell, pic­tured above, were given a naval guard of hon­our as the cof­fin is brought a shore in Dover in May 1919

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