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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (4)

Born in Wellington, New Zealand
Died in Kingston upon Thames, England, UK  (complications from a chest infection)
Birth NameNancy Grace Augusta Wake
Nickname The White Mouse

Mini Bio (1)

Nancy Wake was born in New Zealand but her family moved to Australia when she was 2. She spent her childhood in Sydney and after her studies she traveled to Europe where she worked as a journalist. In 1939 Nancy married French industrialist Henri Fiocca who was killed during the War. Nancy Wake joined the French Resistance with the nickname of "The White Mouse". After having been arrested, she was released but left France for Spain, then England. There, she became a British special agent. On 29th April 1944, Nancy was parachuted into Auvergne (region of France) with the task of helping the resistance to prepare for the armed uprising that was due to coincide with the D-Day landings. She received several medals after the war and worked for the Intelligence Department at the British Air Ministry before coming back to Australia in the 60s after she married John Forward. An English TV movie is based on her story: Nancy Wake (1987).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Raphaël Jullien

Spouse (2)

John Forward (1957 - 1997) (his death)
Henri Fiocca (1939 - 1943) (his death)

Trivia (20)

She was awarded the George Medal on July 17, 1945 for her services to the Allied Troops in Special Operation in France during World War II and the A.C. (Companion of the Order of Australia) on February 22, 2004 for her services to wartime and Australia.
She is expected to be cremated and her ashes spread in Montlucon in central France, the scene of much of her heroism.
It was only after the liberation of France that she learned her husband, French businessman Henri Fiocca, had been tortured and killed by the Gestapo for refusing to give her up.
She was top of the Gestapo's most wanted list.
She worked for British Special Operations (BSO) and was parachuted into France in April 1944 before D-Day to deliver weapons to French Resistance fighters.
After the fall of France in 1940, Nancy became a French Resistance courier and later a saboteur and spy.
Working as a journalist in Europe, she interviewed Adolf Hitler in Vienna in 1933 and then vowed to fight against his persecution of Jews.
The German Gestapo named her the "White Mouse" because she was so elusive.
Her life as a World War 2 French Resistance fighter inspired the novel, and film, Charlotte Gray (2001).
During World War II, she was credited for saving the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers and downed airmen between 1940 and 1943 by escorting them through occupied France to safety in Spain. She helped established communication lines between the British military and the French Resistance in 1944 to weaken German strength in France during the Allied Invasion.
She killed a German sentry with her bare hands and ordered the execution of a woman believed to be a German spy.
She was awarded the French Legion D'Honneur, the highest military honor in France, for her services during World War II.
She became a French Resistance Fighter during her visit to Vienna, Austria in the 1930s where she witnessed the Nazi gangs beating Jewish men and women in the streets.
She was the youngest of six children born in Wellington, New Zealand. Her father moved them to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia where he would leave them. She left home at 16 to work as a nurse and left Australia for Paris, France after also visiting London, England and New York City to work as a journalist.
She met a Marseilles industrialist, Henri Fiocca, in 1936 and married him in 1939 to settle in Marseilles, France. With the German invasion of France, she used her wealth and social standing to help French Resistance Groups defeat the Nazis. In 1943, she fled France when the Nazis learned of her activities in helping the Allies. Her husband was arrested and executed.
She left France in 1943 to England where she was trained by the British Special Operations Executive or the S.O.E., an intelligence group working with the French Resistance. In April 1944, she parachuted into France to help with preparations for the D-Day invasion. She collected night parachute drops of weapons and ammunition and hid them in storage caches for the advancing Allied Armies, set up a wireless communication with England, and harassed the Nazis.
After the war, she worked for the British government and returned to Australia and ran unsuccessfully for public office there in the 1950s.
She returned to England in 2001 following the death of her second husband. She lived upon charitable hotels until 2003 where she lived in the Royal Star and Garter Home until her death.
Upon her death, she was cremated and her ashes were scattered over Montlucon, France.
She was awarded the France Chevalier of the Legion of Honor in 1970 for her services during World War II. She was awarded the Officer of the French Foreign Legion of Honor in 1988. In 2006, she 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.

Personal Quotes (10)

I have only one thing to say: I killed a lot of Germans, and I am only sorry I didn't kill more.
[on her wartime exploits] Freedom is the only thing worth living for. While I was doing that work, I used to think it didn't matter if I died, because without freedom there was no point in living.
[on being a courier for the Allied Soldiers] It was much easier for us, you know, to travel all over France. A woman could get out of a lot of trouble that a man could not.
[on the Nazis] If ever the opportunity arose, I would do everything I could to stop the Nazi movement. My hatred of the Nazis was very very deep.
[on women's role during wartime] I don't see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.
[describing herself] someone who loved nothing more than 'a good drink' and handsome men 'especially French men.'
[on killing during World War II] I was not a very nice person. And it didn't put me off my breakfast.
[on not having affairs during World War II] And in my old age, I regret it. But you see, if I had accommodated one man, the word would spread around, and I would have had to accommodate the whole damn lot.
Life after war: It's dreadful because you've been so busy and then it all just fizzles out.
I was never afraid. I was too busy to be afraid.

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