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Dawn tribute to executed nurse Edith Cavell

By Joel Lamy

Edith Cavell
Edith Cavell

War heroine Edith Cavell was remembered in a special ceremony in Peterborough on the 100th anniversary of her death this morning (October 12).

Nurse Cavell was shot at dawn a century ago for helping British soldiers escape occupied Belgium during the First World War.

The ceremony in Bridge Street in memory of executed nurse Edith Cavell. Picture David Lowndes
The ceremony in Bridge Street in memory of executed nurse Edith Cavell. Picture David Lowndes

She was remembered with a special dawn parade and service at Peterborough’s War memorial - exactly 100 years since her execution,

Cavell was executed on October 12, 1915 by the Germans who had occupied Brussels during the First World War.

The nurse, who was educated in Peterborough, went to Brussels to nurse injured soldiers of all nationalities when war broke out in 1914.

The clinic she was in charge of became part of a resistance network of safe houses for hundreds of Allied soldiers before they were smuggled into the Netherlands.

The news of Edith Cavell's death was first reported at the time.
The news of Edith Cavell's death was first reported at the time.

However, in August 1915, this resistance group was betrayed by a German collaborator and Cavell was arrested and tried for treason before being executed. Her execution received worldwide condemnation.

This morning, a civic procession in her memory left leve Peterborough Town Hall in Bridge Street for Peterborough Cathedral at 6.45am.

A two minute silence was observed at 7am at the cathedral with the procession then heading to the Peterborough War Memorial for a service of memorial led by the Mayor of Peterborough, Councillor John Peach, and The Reverend Canon Bruce Ruddock, Canon Precentor at the cathedral.

There was also a gun salute to commemorate the centenary of Cavell’s execution.

A blanket of hand-crafted poppies created by Peterborough artist Charron Pugsley-Hill was laid at the war memorial.

The blanket consists of 49 felt poppies made by Peterborough women, each poppy representing a year of Cavell’s life.

It also has a centrepiece design of Britain, Belgium and the sea that contains words and symbols associated with her remarkable life.

Representatives from the Royal British Legion also attended the ceremony to support the run-up to the launch of the 2015 Poppy Appeal.

A further commemorative event to mark the execution is being held on Saturday with music of the Great War, from popular songs to classical choral works, being featured in a special concert at the cathedral.

Tickets for the concert are priced at £15 (£12 concessions, £8 under 18s) including a glass of wine or a soft drink during the interval.

Tickets can be purchased on the Peterborough Cathedral’s website at www.peterborough-cathedral.org.uk or by calling the box office on 01832 274734. Tickets will also be available on the door.


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