Who's Who - Gabrielle Petit

Gabrielle Petit Gabrielle Petit (1893-1916) was, in the manner of Edith Cavell, executed by the German Army in Belgium on suspicion of spying on behalf of the British Government.

Unlike Cavell however, whose guilt is at best uncertain, Petit (a former saleswoman from Tournai) was certainly in the pay of the British, passing on details of German troop movements to the former.

One of only eleven women to be executed by the Germans Petit was shot on 1 April 1916 following imprisonment at St Gilles prison in Brussels.  Her death went curiously unnoticed during the war itself however, unlike Cavell's (which attracted much widespread newspaper coverage and consequent condemnation from as far abroad as the U.S.).

With war over however Petit's name grew in fame and was thereafter venerated as a brave token of Belgian resistance to brutal German domination of violated Belgian territory.

A "chit" was British slang for a piece of paper.

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