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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 October 2005, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
War heroine honoured at cathedral
Edith Cavell
Edith Cavell was executed in 1915
Nurses and service people have paid tribute to World War I heroine Edith Cavell at Norwich Cathedral.

The nurse helped more than 200 allied soldiers to escape captivity but was shot by the Germans within hours of her trial in Belgium on 12 October 1915.

The cathedral service marked the 90th anniversary of her execution.

Bill McClintock, from the Combined Services Organisation, arranged the service and said people still admired the courage of Edith Cavell.

The nurse, born at Swardeston near Norwich, was arrested, tried and executed by firing squad in 1915.

The sentence was carried out less than 10 hours after her trial ended.

Ready for death

Foreign Office hopes of securing imprisonment in Germany were dashed because of the speed of her execution.

The National Archives has now released correspondence between the Foreign Office, US diplomats in Brussels and the nurse's family in Norfolk, which had been kept secret under the 90 year rule.

Just before she was taken out for execution she handed a message to the Rev Stirling Gahan, Anglican chaplain in Brussels, who had stayed with her through the night.

This message was read by a nurse from Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital at the Norwich Cathedral service.

It read: "I am happy to have had these 10 weeks of quiet (since her arrest) to get ready for my death. Now I have had them and have been kindly treated here.

"I expected my sentence and I believe it was just. Standing as I do in view of God and eternity, I realise patriotism is not enough, I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."

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