Edith Cavell

I thought this was well known:

It remains one of the most shocking episodes of the First World War: Edith Cavell, a British nurse, executed by firing squad for helping Allied soldiers to escape occupied Belgium.
The German claim that Cavell was a spy was vehemently denied by the British government and she became a national heroine whose death inspired tens of thousands to join up for the war effort.
But Dame Stella Rimington, the former director-general of MI5, has made a startling claim on the centenary of Cavell’s death.
In a BBC programme, she will assert that Cavell’s network was indeed smuggling intelligence back to the Allies.

Cavell was spying and the Germans had every (legal) right to execute her. It was PR folly but legally just peachy.

As I say, I thought that had been settled for ages.

9 thoughts on “Edith Cavell”

  1. Tim
    If Allied soldiers escaped from their German captors and got home, they would carry back intelligence – such as the name and location of the unit that captured them. [NB this was intelligence – location of your regiment was censored out of soldiers’ letters home] That did not make them spies – a soldier in uniform is, by definition, not a spy who may be shot. Unless Edith Cavell personally passed information to the escapees, the Germans were wrong in law to shoot her

  2. Unless Edith Cavell personally passed information to the escapees, the Germans were wrong in law to shoot her

    Not German Military Law as it was applied to occupied Belgium at the time. She was shot for helping the wounded to escape.

  3. @ SE
    I bow to your superior knowledge.
    [I could argue that the German presence in Belgium was illegal as Belgium’s neutrality was confirmed by international treaty so they could not apply German Law of any kind to Belgium, but that would be tendentious and not germane to the debate on this thread, so I’ll accept your correction]

  4. It is just another excuse to smear the British government, and by extension the British ruling class and by a longer, more tenuous extension, Britain as a whole.

    Anything that continues to allow Baby Boomers to indulge in their pet belief that the British are uniquely evil.

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