Brief Biography of Edith Cavell Brief Biography of Edith Cavell

'I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone' - Edith Cavell, 1915

Edith Louisa Cavell was born in a vicarage in Swardeston, Norfolk on 4 December 1865 to a Parson and his wife, followed by siblings Florence, Lillian and John. In her youth Edith painted and made cards to sell with the profits going to church refurbishments. She enjoyed ice skating and even as a child had the wish to be buried at Westminster Abbey.

In 1895 Edith nursed her father back to health following a brief illness and this instilled a desire and determination in Edith to become a nurse and her training commenced in 1896.

Edith Cavell

In Belgium, in 1912, Edith Cavell was busy managing 1 nursing school, 3 hospitals, 3 private nursing homes, 24 communal schools for nurses, 13 private kindergartens, private duty cases, a clinic and was giving 4 lectures a week to doctors and nurses.

Three years later, in 1915, she was arrested for helping 200 allied soldiers to freedom. She was subsequently court-martialled, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.  Despite international pressure for mercy she was shot to death by a German firing squad.  Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.

The first part of her burial service took place at Westminster Abbey on 15 May 1919.  She was then transported by train to Norwich station followed by a procession to Norwich Cathedral. She lays at peace outside the Cathedral in a spot named ‘Life’s Green’.

October 2015 marked the centenary of the death of Edith Cavell with a wide range of activities and events both nationally and internationally scheduled to commemorate her work and legacy.


The Cavell Nurses Trust

The Cavell Nurses Trust is a registered charity that provides free support to nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and students suffering financial or personal hardship.

The Forum

Contact Us

Lucie Dack, HSC Administrator

Tel: 01603 597093 Email:

Fusion at the Forum 5 October - 30 October



Public Lecture Series



Mount Cavell Expedition