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Capt Nancy Wake

Photo added by Bob Hufford

Capt Nancy Wake

  • Birth 30 Aug 1912 Wellington, Wellington City, Wellington, New Zealand
  • Death 7 Aug 2011 Richmond, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, England
  • Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Ashes scattered at Montlucon, France.
  • Memorial ID 74617823

World War II Resistance Figure. The most decorated servicewoman of the conflict, she was code-named "White Mouse", was a recipient of the George Medal, and was once the most wanted person in Europe. Born Nancy Grace Augusta Wake, she was raised in Sydney, Australia, ran away from home at 16, and made her way to England via New York, supporting herself as a self educated freelance journalist. Working throughout Europe, Nancy developed an antipathy to the Nazis from her observations in Vienna during the mid 1930s; married to a Frenchman named Henri Fiocca, she offered her services to the Allies and was initially tasked with maintaining an escape route for French aviators attempting to get into Spain. Nancy became a valuable courier for a Toulon based Resistance unit, got at least one British operative out of a concentration camp, allowed her home to be used as a safe house, found a five million franc bounty on her head, and after multiple attempts reached Spain from whence she traveled to England. Trained by the Special Operations Executive (SOE), she was commissioned in the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry (FANY) and in April of 1944 was parachute-dropped at Montlucon, France. As second-in-command of an SOE section having charge of roughly 7,500 French Maquisards she controlled communication with London headquarters and in preparation for D-Day undertook a 72 hour 500 mile roundtrip bicycle ride thru enemy lines. After the invasion she helped destroy convoys and railroads, once killed a sentry with her bare hands, raided a Gestapo headquarters in Montlucon killing 38 SS, and interrogated prisoners. With the coming of peace Nancy was awarded the George Medal, the U.S. Medal of Freedom, and the French Resistance Medal and Croix de Guerre with Palm and Star. She also found that her husband had been killed and that she was essentially broke and thus was forced to remain in the Intelligence Service; working at the embassies in Paris and Prague she came to hate the Communists as badly as she had the Nazis. Nancy returned home in 1949 and twice stood unsuccessfully for the Australian Parliament before once again going back to England in 1951. She worked for the Air Ministry until her 1957 remarriage, relocated to Australia in 1960, and lived quietly. Following her second husband's death in 1997 she moved to England for the final time in 2001. Nancy stayed in hotels on the charity of others including, according to rumour, Prince Charles until entering the Royal Star and Garter Home in 2003, there to live out her days. Her 1985 autobiography "The White Mouse" was made into the 1987 television miniseries "True Colors" in which she was portrayed by Nancy Hazlehurst. Named by France Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1970 she was to see the designation upgraded to Officer in 1988. Nancy was made Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 2004 and in 2006 was awarded the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association Badge in Gold. Her medals are on display at the Australian War Memorial Museum in Canberra.

Bio by: Bob Hufford

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 8 Aug 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 74617823
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Nancy Wake (30 Aug 1912–7 Aug 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 74617823, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Ashes scattered at Montlucon, France..