In early May 1919 Edith Cavell’s remains were exhumed from the Tir National shooting range in Brussels where she had been shot on 12 October 1915. Her coffin was returned to Dover from Ostend on the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Rowena. Early on Thursday May 15th it was conveyed in a specially prepared railway van (now located in Kent – http://www.preservation.kesr.org.uk/wagons-vans/cavell) to Victoria station in London. The coffin was taken on a gun carriage with full military honours to Westminster Abbey for a memorial service at 11.45. Queen Alexandra and the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, were present.
The coffin then travelled through the crowded London streets to Liverpool Street station where a special 14.30 train took it to Norwich. All along the line people stood in silence remembering nurse Cavell.
At 17.30 that day her remains were laid to rest in a simple grave outside the east end of Norwich Cathedral.
There will be events in May 2019 to mark the centenary of these events:
In Ostend, Belgium: 26th April to 13th May 2019
Oostende Town Hall, Vindictivelaan 1, 8400 Oostende – Edith Cavell Exhibition
Opening times: Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 17h00
In Brussels : May 2019 (date to be announced)
Holy Trinity Pro-Cathedral, Rue Capitaine Crespel 29, 1050 Bruxelles
Edith Cavell Memorial Service.
In Dover, Kent: On Tuesday May 14 the bells of St Mary’s church will peal from 10 am – 1 pm in memory of Edith Cavell – see https://www.dadonline.eu/updates/the-bells-of-st-marys-will-peal-once-again-for-edith-cavell/. An exhibition of photographs of 1919 events will be on display.
In Swardeston, Norfolk (where Edith grew up): From Saturday May 11th in church a new exhibition of material from the church’s archive and a new walk around the village seeing sites relevant to her. Parties wishing to have a guide for the walk please book via firstname.lastname@example.org Music related to Edith Cavell will be available to listen to in the church.
Wednesday May 15 2019 – the centenary of the return of Edith Cavell’s body to London with services at Westminster Abbey and Norwich Cathedral.
In London : Edith Cavell will be remembered along with Florence Nightingale at Westminster Abbey in a service for nurses at noon. Sadly no tickets are still available.
In Norwich : The Dean of Westminster will preach in Norwich Cathedral at 6.30pm on May 15th at a service marking the centenary .
In Harwich Suffolk : from July 5-14 centenary commemorations of the return of the body of Captain Charles Fryatt from Belgium on July 8.
More detail on Capt Fryatt at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Fryatt. The ‘Cavell Van’ which conveyed both his coffin and Edith Cavell’s and that of the Unknown Warrior (November 11th 1920) will be open to visitors at the Mayflower Heritage Centre in George Street Harwich. See https://preservation.kesr.org.uk/wagons-vans/cavell for more details. There will be a new exhibition on nurse Cavell by a local embroiderer’s guild and other linked events.
The background story of 1919
Sunday October 13th
Biennial Cavell festival at St Mary’s church Swardeston.
There will be a service from 9.30-10.30, followed by the Festival for the rest of the day with the flower festival with the theme ‘A day to remember’, food and refreshments, many stalls and other attractions.
The flower festival will also be open on Saturday October 12th in church. On both days visitors can see the Cavell exhibition, with new material from our archive, take a guided walk around the village as Edith knew it (or use the new map) and even walk the 5 miles to the Cathedral in Norwich where she is buried.
Put the dates in your diary and watch this space for further detail nearer the time…