Saturday, 12 April 2014

Patriotism is not enough - Edith Cavell part two

Real photographic postcard of the graves of Nurse Edith Cavell (centre) and architect Philippe Baucq, Belgium.

Belgian born Philippe Baucq was caught by the German authorities and convicted of spying. Nurse Cavell was caught and accused of treason. Cavell and Baucq were transported by German military vehicles from St Gilles Prison to Belgium's national shooting range at Schaerbeek on 12 October 1915. They were both shot dead by firing squad and buried at the execution ground as seen above.

Nurse Cavell's execution was widely publicised throughout the British Empire and the Dominion of New Zealand. Both true and fictional accounts of the execution spread through the world's newspapers. Cavell's death quickly led to her recognition as a hero, and the propaganda machine began (as seen by the smoking gun  held by the German officer in the fictional depiction of her execution below).


On 4 December 1915 the New Zealand Herald reported "the execution of Miss Edith Cavell, the English nurse, on a charge of harbouring in Brussels, has greatly shocked the Belgian community in that unhappy land, and they call it the bloodiest act of the whole war".