Nancy Wake AC, GM

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by Kyt, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Nancy Wake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Nancy Grace Augusta Wake AC, GM (born August 30, 1912), was the Allies' most decorated servicewoman of World War II who fought alongside the maquis groups of the French Resistance.

    Born in Roseneath, Wellington, New Zealand 30th of August 1912, her family moved to Sydney, Australia in 1914. At the age of 16, she ran away from home and became a nurse. With £200 she received from her aunt, Hinamoa, the 'disgrace' of her mother's family, she journeyed to London, then New York where she trained herself as a journalist. In the 1930s she worked in Paris. Later she worked for Hearst newspapers’ European correspondent. In 1935 she witnessed the rise of Adolf Hitler, Nazis, and saw the violence towards Jews, gays, gypsies, and protesters on the Paris streets and in Vienna.

    In 1935, she met French industrialist Henri Fiocca, whom she married on November 30, 1939. She was living in Marseille, France when Germany invaded. After the fall of France, she became a courier for the French Resistance and later joined the escape network of Captain Ian Garrow. The Gestapo called her the "White Mouse". The Resistance had to be very careful with her missions as her life was in constant danger and the Gestapo were tapping her phone and intercepting her mail.

    By 1943, she was the Gestapo's most wanted person, with was a 5 million-franc price on her head. When the network was betrayed in December 1943, she had to leave Marseille and leave her husband behind. She was later arrested in Toulouse, but released four days later. Her fifth or sixth attempt to cross the Pyrenees to Spain succeeded. She went to Britain and joined the Special Operations Executive.

    On the night of April 29-30 1944 Nancy Wake parachuted into the Auvergne and became a liaison between London and the local maquis group headed by Captain Henri Tardivat. She coordinated resistance activity prior to Normandy Invasion and recruited more members. She also led attacks on German installations and local Gestapo HQ in Montluçon.

    From April 1944 to the complete Liberation of France her 7000 maquisards fought 22,000 SS soldiers, causing 1400 casualties.[citation needed] Her French companions, especially Henri Tardivat, praised her fighting spirit - amply demonstrated when she killed an SS sentry with her bare hands to prevent him raising the alarm during a raid. During a 1990s television interview when asked what had happened to the sentry who spotted her, Wake simply drew her finger across her throat. On another occasion, in order to replace codes her wireless operator had been forced to destroy in a German raid, Nancy Wake rode a bicycle for more than 100 miles through several German checkpoints.

    After the war, she received the George Medal, the U.S. Medal of Freedom, the Médaille de la Résistance and thrice the Croix de Guerre. She also learned that the Gestapo had tortured her husband to death in 1943 for refusing to disclose her whereabouts.

    She worked for the Intelligence Department at the British Air Ministry attached to embassies of Paris and Prague. In 1957 she married John Forward and returned to Australia. In 1985 she wrote her autobiography The White Mouse. In 1988 she received the French title of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. John Forward died in 1997; the couple had had no children.

    In March 2004 she was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, and in April 2006 she was awarded the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association's highest honour, the RSA Badge in Gold. Nancy Wake's medals are on display in the Second World War gallery at the Australian War Memorial.

    As of 2007, she is living in a rest home in London.

    Companion of the Order of Australia
    George Medal
    Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (France)
    Croix de Guerre (France), with two bronze palms and a Silver Star
    Médaille de la Résistance (France)
    Medal of Freedom (USA) with Palm
    RSA Badge in Gold

    The New Zealand Edge : Heroes : Warriors : Nancy Wake
  2. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

  3. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    From: Nancy Grace Augusta 'The White Mouse' Wake, AC, GM
    Nancy Grace Augusta 'The White Mouse' Wake, AC, GM

  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

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