Google Doodle pays tribute to Edith Cavell, heroic WWI nurse

Google Doodle pays tribute to Edith Cavell, heroic WWI nurse
Edith Cavell

A British nurse who risked — and ultimately lost — her life to help British and French soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium in World War I is remembered with a Google Doodle Tuesday.

Edith Cavell was born on December 4, 1865, in Norfolk, eastern England. Nursing wasn’t an immediate vocation — she turned to it at the age of 30, after caring for her sick father.

Following training at the Royal London Hospital with Matron Eva Lückes, a friend of Florence Nightingale, she went on to work in a number of UK hospitals before her life changed forever with a move to Belgium.

There she was appointed the first matron of the Berkendael Institute in Brussels, where she became a pioneer of modern nursing.

Cavell, who never married, was visiting family in 1914 when war broke out. She immediately returned to Brussels, where she pledged to treat casualties of all nationalities — regardless of their allegiance.

She simultaneously became involved with an underground group that sheltered French and British soldiers. Together, they helped around 200 men to escape occupied Belgium.

But disaster struck in August 1915 when Cavell was caught, arrested and charged with treason. She confessed to a German military court and was executed on October 12, 1915, despite an international outcry.

Two years after her death, the Nation’s Fund for Nurses was launched to assist those who “sought the health of others at the expense of her own.” It was later renamed the Cavell Nurses’ Trust.

Cavell is the latest in a long line of notable women to be honored by Google, among them singer Ella Fitzgerald, actor Audrey Hepburn and pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart.

The image will be viewable in Britain, Iceland, Peru, Australia, Argentina and several other countries around the world.