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What is Mount Edith Cavell?

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Edith Cavell (4 December 1865 - 12 October 1915), an English nurse, was among a group of thirty-five people who were arrested by the Germans in August 1915 and charged for aiding the escape of Allied soldiers and workers from occupied Belgium to the Netherlands during the First World War. The trial, held in Brussels, Belgium in October 1915, began with the German prosecutor quoting from paragraph 58 of the German Military Code: "Will be sentenced to death for treason any person who, with the intention of helping the hostile Power, or of causing harm to the German or allied troops, is guilty of one of the crimes of paragraph 90 of the German Penal Code." It had been said that Edith Cavell was the head of a conspiracy to organize the escape of British and the recruitment of French and Belgians - which was untrue. The trial had only taken two days and was conducted in German. Despite her lawyer's efforts to defend her and his appeal to the court on humanitarian grounds, Cavell was found guilty of treason by a court martial and sentenced to death. She was executed by firing squad on the night of 12 October 1915. Cavell's remains were returned to Britain after the war and a state funeral was held at Westminster Abbey. Her body was reburied at the east side of Norwich Cathedral on 19 May 1919. While there have been many memorials erected in her honour throughout Europe, Canada was of one of the first countries to commemorate her. It was on 4 July 1916 that the Geographic Board of Canada officially designated 'Mount Edith Cavell' in her honour. This mountain feature is located in the Athabascan River and Astoria River valleys of Jasper National Park and is the most prominent peak (about 3,363 m) within the province of Alberta. Shown in the lithograph print is a scene painted by Canadian artist Loren Chabot (1954 - 2010) of the Northeast face of Mount Edith Cavell.

On this day, 4 July 2022, we mark 105 years since Canada's naming of Mount Edith Cavell in her honour and commemorate the upcoming 107th anniversary of this heroine's death.

André M. Levesque

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