Shortly after Nurse Edith Cavell was shot in Belgium in 1915 by the Germans for spying,
THE TIMES reported that her death was worth a couple of Army Corps to the British as
chivalrous and generous youth flocked to their Colours to avenge the supposed atrocity.
An Army Corps could be anything from 50, 000 to 100,000 men. So perhaps 200,000
suckers rushed to kill or be killed on the basis of a lie, persisted in for the following
100 years. In September 2015 on the centenary of the “martyr’s” execution, Dame
Stella Rimington, former Director of MI5, came clean. Nurse Cavell had been passing i
nformation to the British and her execution as a spy did not contravene the laws of war.
The Church of England inscribed Cavell in its Calendar of Saints, on a date I don’t
know. I’d be surprised if the inscription has been erased since Rimington spilled the
Nurse Cavell’s statue stands in Trafalgar Square beside the National Portrait Gallery
and a few feet from the Anglican Church – St Martin in The Fields.
A strange service took place there a few months ago, to honour a man who was neither an Anglican
nor an Englishman, nor an acknowledged spy for the British Government. He was Sean O’Callaghan,
an Irishman from Kerry, who had been in the IRA but gave information to the Garda Siochana,
believed then to owe their allegiance to the Irish State and its Government in Dublin.
But he moved to England and appears to have told stories to the British Services and to Lord Bew
and Ruth Dudley Edwards. He had died on holiday in Jamaica, apparently drowning in a swimming pool.
One cynic speculated that he wasof no further use to his British handlers, and that his body was cremated
without an ,inquest. Certainly no coffin was present when the C of E thanked Heaven for his life.
The secret services may in one hundred years reveal how they felt about his death.
Some months ago, near the New Forest I was in a Waterstones Bookshop.
I had a general look around and looked to see had they anything on Ireland.
They had one -a scurrilous book on James Connolly by the late informer/informant.
May the Lord have mercy on him,even if the C of E hasn’t canonised him.