The Whie Mouse, Nancy Wake, has passed away.
Probably not widely known about in the USA, this woman should have her story related here:
I have highlighed in bold two ecerpts in the second article that are worth highlighting. This woman was a warrior, in every sense of the word.
A female relative of mine was at the Australian Defence Force Academy when this impressive woman spoke to her class back in the late 1980s. My relative was, to say the very least, highly impressed and humbled, as well as being inspired.
========================Australia's most decorated World War II servicewoman Nancy Wake has died
Wake, known as the White Mouse, died on Sunday in a hospital in London, where she had lived since 2001. She was 98.
A close friend confirmed Ms Wake's death early today. Tributes have flowed in the hours that followed.
The fearless WWII French resistance fighter and leader had lived in a London nursing home for retired veterans since suffering a heart attack in 2003. Her health deteriorated recently after she was admitted to hospital with a chest infection.
After a typical fighting recovery late last week, her condition worsened over the weekend and she passed away peacefully at the Kingston Hospital.
When France was occupied by the Nazis in 1940 she and her French husband Henri Fiocca became active in the resistance movement. Ms Wake saved thousands of Allied lives by setting up escape routes and sabotaging German installations. Trained as a spy by the British, she led 7000 resistance fighters in D-Day preparations and was on top of the Gestapo's most wanted list.
Called the White Mouse by the Germans because of her ability to evade capture, Ms Wake learnt at the end of the war that her husband was tortured and killed in 1943.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard today described Ms Wake as a person of exceptional courage whose action saved hundreds of lives.
''Nancy Wake was a woman of exceptional courage and resourcefulness whose daring exploits saved the lives of hundreds of Allied personnel and helped bring the Nazi occupation of France to an end,'' Ms Gillard said.
''Today our nation honours a truly remarkable individual whose selfless valour and tenacity will never be forgotten.
''Nancy Wake will remain an abiding inspiration to generations of Australians.''
RSL national president Rear Admiral Ken Doolan said Ms Wake was a great heroine of World War II.
''She was an extraordinarily brave person who did an enormous amount behind enemy lines, avoiding the Gestapo, standing up in a most courageous way against an awful regime, and setting a fine example for all of us,'' he said.
Rear Admiral Doolan said Ms Wake was an enormously important figure.
''What she did for the Allied cause was remarkable,'' he said.
''She wasn't of course the only one. There were many others who equally behaved impeccably and with great courage, but she certainly stands out as one of those who we should remember especially.
''To be a young woman behind enemy lines, doing what she did, having the courage of her convictions, it's not something that most people could do. What she did was remarkable.''
Acting Opposition Leader Warren Truss said all Australians could be proud of Ms Wake.
''It's remarkable that after all the dangers, all the help that she gave to other people in the most difficult circumstances, all of the horrors of war, that she was able to die peacefully after 98 years,'' he told reporters in Canberra.
''(It's) a wonderful tribute to a marvellous woman and a person of whom all Australians feel very proud.''
Wake's life was chronicled in three books, one an autobiography, and inspired Australian actor Cate Blanchett's role in the film Charlotte Gray
Australian director Bruce Beresford is making a feature film about the war heroine, taking the title The White Mouse
A statement issued today said casting and financing was underway, with production expected in the second half of 2012.
New Zealand's Veterans Affairs Minister Judith Collins said Ms Wake was an inspirational and courageous woman.
''Nancy Wake was a woman of exceptional courage and tenacity, who cast aside all regard for her own safety and put the cause of freedom first,'' Ms Collins said.
Ms Collins said Ms Wake would have known that her chances of survival were remote when she chose to return to France during the war as a resistance leader.
''Her work setting up vital escape routes while being hunted by the Gestapo helped save the lives of thousands of Allied servicemen,'' she said.
Ms Wake was born in the New Zealand capital Wellington in 1912 but grew up in Sydney after her family moved to Australia when she was a year old.
She is regarded as a heroine in France, which decorated her with its highest military honour, the Legion d'Honneur, as well as three Croix de Guerre and a French Resistance Medal.
She was also awarded Britain's George Medal and the US Medal of Freedom and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2004.
The NSW branch of the Liberal Party, of which Wake was once a member, also expressed its heartfelt condolences to her family.
''Nancy will be remembered for her great tenacity and courage during the darkest hours of World War II,'' NSW Liberal Party president Arthur Sinodinos said in a statement.
''Members of the Liberal Party will also remember Nancy as a great servant of our cause.''
Wake was a member of the party's NSW executive and stood as a candidate at the historic 1949 federal election.
She contested the seat of Barton, held by the Chifley Labor government External Affairs Minister Dr Herbert (Doc) Evatt, in the poll.
She was unsuccessful but in 1951 stood against Dr Evatt - who was by then deputy opposition leader - for the second time.
After a period living overseas, Wake later unsuccessfully contested the seat of Kingsford Smith for the Liberals at the 1966 federal election. AAP
Read more: http://www.smh.com.a...l#ixzz1UbzdnhZ2
From a 2004 article: Overdue honour for one of the bravest
August 8, 2011 This article, by Nancy Wake's biographer Peter FitzSimons, first appeared on March 5, 2004
And so it is done. All these years on, after decades of pleas, plaints and petitions, Nancy Wake has accepted this nation's highest honour, the Companion of the Order of Australia.
It brings to a close a campaign that started almost immediately after World War II, when, despite the fact that the governments of the United States, Britain and France pinned to her lapel their highest honours for her wartime exploits fighting with the French Resistance against the Nazis, the Australian Government had never so much as given her an official pat on the back.
By the time she turned 60, in the early 1970s, on the occasions she returned to Paris the gendarmes would the instant they spied the rosette of her Officier de Legion d'Honneur salute and stop traffic for her to cross the road, while she was all but forgotten in Australia.
To be fair, in latter years this lack of recognition was in part caused by her refusal to accept any such honours. Twice she stood unsuccessfully for the Liberal Party in federal elections, and her overall view was that she wouldn't trust most politicians as far as she could kick them, which she'd like to do.
When I first met her for the Herald at her Port Macquarie apartment in April 2000, I raised the subject of whether she would accept an honour from the Australian Government. "No," she said with a ferocity that shocked me. "The last time there was a suggestion of that I told the government they could stick their medals where the monkey stuck his nuts. The thing is, if they gave me a medal now, it wouldn't be given with love, so I don't want anything from them." The lesson for me when I came to write her biography was that the spirit which propelled her up the steps of the Gestapo headquarters at Montlucon in June 1944, rolling grenades like bowling balls and spraying German officers with machine-gun fire, was absolutely intact six decades on, even though the flesh had become weaker.
At the biography's launch Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove made a wonderful speech, concluding with: "Nancy Wake, you are a wonderful woman; you have been a great warrior for a great cause, and you have always done this country proud. I am deeply honoured to launch this book."
He bowed low, and some 250 people gave thunderous applause as Wake stepped up to the microphone. The crowd fell respectfully silent. "I have only one thing to say," she rasped. "I killed a lot of Germans, and I am only sorry I didn't kill more." Stunned silence, followed by more thunderous applause.
She now lives in an absolutely first-class London nursing home reserved for distinguished war veterans. When I visited her late last year making my way past a man on the reception desk who was the closest Adolf Hitler lookalike I have ever seen it seemed she really had mellowed. This time when I asked whether she would accept an honour, she said she would, and I, for one, say bravo to those who have organised it. One thing though . . .
In his just released book on the New Guinea campaign of WWII, A Bastard of a Place, Peter Brune made a wonderful point. He noted a great arbitrariness to which soldiers we honour. If they fell in a famous place like Gallipoli, the Western Front, Tobruk or Kokoda then the nation accords them an automatic reverence denied those who, while equally brave, died in a nameless ditch in some place that history soon forgets. But it shouldn't be like that.
So, too, with Nancy Wake. Her exploits were extraordinary, and she fully deserves her honour. But beyond what the Federal Government has done for her in recent weeks I cite the medal and that it has paid for a carer to help look after her much more important is its initiative to put another $300 million towards all veteran entitlements. It is still only a down payment on the debt, but it is something.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.a...l#ixzz1UbyxGOnf
Lest we forget
Edited by DougRichards, 10 August 2011 - 0329 AM.