came back to Norfolk each year for a summer holiday
in a cottage in West Runton and to see her mother in
College Road, Norwich. She was here when the First
World War broke out. She immediately returned to Brussels.
The deprivations and anxieties of living in the occupied
city affected all the nurses. But work continued and
Edith visited her trainee nurses at St Gilles Hospital
and the various Red Cross hospitals in Brussels. Then,
early in 1915, the Germans took over the hospital at
St Gilles and staffed it themselves, sending all the
Belgian nurses home. This left Edith and her two British
compatriots increasingly isolated at the Institute.
Edith still had to run the Institute and supervise
the new building works whilst the Principal, Dr Depage,
was working in a Belgian Army Military Hospital. From
an early stage she was a pivotal active member of the
escape network. She was at odds with the Trustees of
the Institute, who became increasingly alarmed at the
rumours of her escape work.
Despite the increasing interest of the German secret
police, Edith would not reduce her undercover activities.
Many at the training school did not know fully what
she was doing. It was noted by some that she seemed
older, increasingly withdrawn and silent - and more