This post was originally published on December 2, 2011.
The world recently lost an inspiring chero…and a force to be reckoned with.
Nancy Wake was a freespirit who enjoyed the odd drink and a good laugh. After working with the French Resistance to help shelter airmen and prisoners of war, she was recruited by the British Special Operations agent. Although it’s rumored that she requested face cream and silk stocking be air-dropped in along with grenades and Sten guns, and that her flirtatious nature and alluring good looks aided her in eluding the Gestapo, Nancy Wake was not to be trifled with.
In the weeks prior to D-Day, she parachuted into southern France blew up the Gestapo headquarters, bicycled over 300 miles to find a radio operator, and reportedly killed a German sentry with her bare hands. Not surprisingly, she became the Gestapo’s most wanted person. Her ability to avoid capture earned her the nickname “White Mouse” and her courage earned her honors from five nations, making her the most decorated female spy of World War II.
She once told an interviewer, “I don’t see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.”
Nancy Wake certainly didn’t do that. She passed away earlier this year at the ripe old age of 98.