Death of a Heroine: The White Mouse

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by OldSnowy, Aug 8, 2011.

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  1. OldSnowy

    OldSnowy LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    After all the fuss made about the deaths of Amy Winehouse, the death of a true Heroine passed relatively unnoticed at the weekend.

    Nancy Wake, known as the “White Mouse”, died yesterday (in the hospital where my wife works), at the age of 98. Her list of Honours and Medals alone are enough to show what she did, and I heartily recommend reading about her autobiography “The White Mouse”.

    Working as a journalist in Europe, she interviewed Adolf Hitler in Vienna in 1933 and then vowed to fight against his persecution of Jews. After the fall of France in 1940, Mrs Wake became a French Resistance courier and later a saboteur and spy - setting up escape routes and sabotaging German installations, saving hundreds of Allied lives. She worked for British Special Operations and was parachuted into France in April 1944 before D-Day to deliver weapons to French Resistance fighters. She lead a group of several thousand Maquis, who killed an awful lot of Germans. Her personal activities include killing an SS sentry with her bare hands. Absolute ****ing Nails; my favourite quote:

    "I have only one thing to say: I killed a lot of Germans, and I am only sorry I didn't kill more,"

    Wiki entry:
    Nancy Wake - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Edited to add - see other Thread on the "Australia" board (despite the fact that she lived most of her life over here :)
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Old Snowy, there is already a thread open about her demise. Totally agree with your sentiments though!
  3. A few years ago I was at Duke of Yorks in Chelsea, the FANY were having a parade, and there were a number of their veterans there. The medals some of those women were wearing was humbling. When I was in my 20s I was worrying about work, when they were my age they were parachuting into enemy territory.

    A couple of them had Croix de guerre, with a fair number sporting crosses of one sort or another, and all looking like Miss Marples, or your granny. Mine drove an ambulance through Coventery.

    A truly impressive generation.
  4. RIP, truely nails.
  5. I remember reading her story as a young lad, truly inspiring.
  6. Truely courageous - I take my hat off to Nancy Wake and her ilk.

    Rest in Peace Ma'am - we will remember.
  7. Very, very few left who were so brave, so bloody brave as to defy understanding.

    No wonder Australia insist on claiming this lady as one of theirs.

    In truth I do not believe that she, and others like her, were adequately honoured.

    Males captured doing what this lady did suffered unimaginably horrible torture and death - think on Arrssers about the fate of captured female agents.
  8. I had the honour to meet her. She couldn't say much by then, but I was glad to have visited her anyway. We had cake and Australian white wine - and that is what I shall drink in memory of her tonight.

    She was a brave and beautiful killer with a filthy line in swearing.

    Farewell to a splendid FANY.
  9. If you ever walk down Baker Street there's a lighting shop at 62-64. Just a normal everyday kind of shop but that was the HQ for SOE during the war. SOE itself directly employed or controlled about 13,000 people of whom 3,200 were women. It indirectly organised and supported about a million guerrilla fighters world wide. Thirty nine of the SOE agents parachuted into France were women and thirteen of them never returned because they were captured, tortured and killed by the Gestapo.

    Other female agents fought the Germans with a ferocity which astonished and appalled friend and enemy alike. The most dangerous them all was the ‘White Mouse’, the Australian girl turned soldier, Nancy Wake, Companion of the Order of Australia, George Medal, Officier de la Legion d’Honneur, Croix de Guerre with Two Palms and Star, Presidential Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm and Medaille de la Resistance.

    From April 1944 to the complete liberation of France the White Mouse led 7,000 resistance fighters battling against 22,000 SS soldiers, causing 1,400 casualties while taking only 100 themselves. One of the German casualties was an SS sentry Nancy Wake killed with her bare hands to prevent him raising the alarm during a raid.

    There's going to be one hell of a piss up in Valhalla tonight.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    Indeed, a loss: She will be joining Odette, Svabo and the rest in a better place. And that better place may well be occupied France in 1944: Wake always said that the war years were the best years of her life.

    While she almost certainly had a better time of if than the PBI in any engaged army, the risks she faced were, indeed, towering.

    RE: Media adulation on Winehouse vs Wake
    A sad comment on our times.
    One was a heroine who fought at extreme peril against the most murderous dictatorship in mankind's history.
    The other was a woman with bad hair who could (on a good day) sing.

    Such is 21st century Britain.

    A possible ray of light in this is that a film is (reportedly) in pre-production about Wake, though whether the producers will be able to raise the money to do it is in question. Any film about Winehouse, OTOH, will likely enjoy the generous sponsorship of Diageo and various well-off Columbian entrepreneurs.
  11. RIP Top Bird! Read about her today in the paper, and what I liked was the fact she thought the most impressive thing she had done in the war was cycle 300 miles in 72 hours! I agree its impressive but choking the crap out of fritz is just as impressive. Hat doffed to this truly remarkable lady
  12. Its actually a bit sad when we have a thread about a lady as amazing as this, with 13 replies yet Duggan, a true 'solja' ignites the site with opinion. A sad sign of the times however nice to look back at an era when honour, courage and loyalty were a virtue. An amazing story and one that should never be forgotten.
  13. A hell of a knees up - Hun not invited.
    What is so odd is how Australia all but ignored her until 2004,
    when she received the highest decorations from the UK, US and even France immediately after the war.
    Maybe you have some insight into why this was?